A new national pet friendly hostel accreditation scheme, launched by charity StreetVet was announced on Monday, and Dacorum-based charity DENS are very proud that The Elms, their pet-friendly hostel based in Hemel Hempstead, is the very first hostel to be awarded accreditation.
The scheme – which will roll out nationwide – aims to ensure that hostels are well-equipped to proactively support pet-owning residents, including: having a variety of health, hygiene e-training and safety policies in place and providing pet owners with access to vet care including telemedicine, free pet essentials, transport to vet practices and emergency kennelling should the pet owner be taken ill.
Sean Fitzgerald, Manager of The Elms 44-bed hostel, says: ‘We wanted to be part of this scheme because we see the benefits pets bring their owners every day with our residents. The accreditation process is thorough but it’s also simple, with all the support you need provided by StreetVet. The scheme helped us improve our pet policies and we know StreetVet will be there whenever we need them in an emergency. We would encourage as many hostels as possible to get involved as we see, first-hand, what a difference it makes to be able to be with your pet.’
Residents Debbie and sharpei Bluebell (pictured) have benefitted hugely from The Elms’ accreditation. Debbie explains: ‘Without Bluebell I don’t know where I’d be. Having her by my side and having that bit of companionship means the world. I adopted her from a family who didn’t treat her great. She was two and a half years old and hardly had any fur. It was awful, she was yelping and sore and scratching so badly and I couldn’t do anything about it. Since being in the hostel, Streetvet have helped her with loads with antibiotics, shampoo and advice and it’s so nice to see her with full fur and not scratching any more – her quality of life is 100 times better.’
StreetVet ambassador, the presenter, writer, broadcaster and animal-lover Clare Balding says: ‘This is a simple idea that will make an absolutely huge difference to pet owners experiencing homelessness and is a brilliant extension of StreetVet’s excellent work treating pets on the streets. Pets are more than animals, they are our family and friends. No pet lover would want to be separated from their pet, especially when going through a very difficult time in their life.’
StreetVet co-founder and vet Jade Statt was able to launch the scheme after winning funding from Purina’s BetterwithPets prize. Jade explains: ‘Any pet lover will understand that choosing between a roof over your head and the company of your beloved pet is no choice at all. Currently, one of the many complex reasons that people remain homeless is because there are not enough hostels that can safely accommodate them and their pet. Our hope is that in setting up the StreetVet Accredited Hostel Scheme, fewer people will have to make this impossible choice.’
To help DENS make a difference to more pets and their owners who face homelessness, you can make a donation at www.dens.org.uk.
To find out more information about StreetVet and the hostel scheme, visit www.streetvet.org.uk.