Survey information

Changes in personal circumstances often force dog owners to make the heart-breaking decision to relinquish their pet; it is one of the most common reasons that dogs are handed into Dogs Trust’s rehoming centres. Owners face a range of personal difficulties, from seeking a new home but landlords not allowing pets in rented accommodation to challenging situations such as homelessness or domestic abuse.

At Dogs Trust, we know the bond between dogs and owners is truly special, so we work hard to keep owners together with their beloved dogs through the challenges that life brings. Through our Outreach Projects, we support owners who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness or fleeing domestic abuse to stay together with their dogs. We truly do take a trauma-informed approach.

Pets offer unconditional love, stability, and much-needed companionship for those facing isolation and loneliness and additionally dogs also keep their owners active. Our Pet-Friendly Housing Pilot, funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery, looks to improve and strengthen the availability of pet-friendly Social Housing which in turn, will make is easier to keep much loved pets with their owners.

In 2020-21 we worked with leading homelessness charity Simon Community Scotland to make all their homelessness services become dog- friendly, alongside a number of other homelessness services in Scotland. This work continues throughout the UK via our Welcoming Dogs endorsement scheme.

Through that work and further research, we recognise that social housing in Scotland is a more welcoming option for pet owners seeking permanent accommodation. We want to harness that warmth and work with Registered Social Landlords in Scotland on our Pet-Friendly Housing Pilot.

We were also heartened that the recent Scottish Government consultation on the New Deal for Tenants specifically asked for views on pets in Social Housing. Therefore, it made sense to roll our Pet-Friendly Housing Pilot out throughout Scotland.

Firstly, we would really appreciate you completing the short survey, hopefully any of the more technical questions related to stock will be handy due to your recent ARC return. We will analyse the results to see what the bigger picture related to pets in Social Housing in Scotland looks like.

From there, we would like to work with one RSL on a short pilot of 6 to 12 months (dependant on the scale of work involved, but that will be made very clear at initiation stage) to become more pet-friendly. Once complete, the RSL will be endorsed as Pet-Friendly by Dogs Trust. After this we would like to work with other interested RSLs on endorsement.

As part of the pilot and ongoing work, we see our main provisions as:

  • Pet related policy input and refresh
  • Assistance with any changes to Tenancy Agreement wording
  • Tips on additional documents you may need (e.g., pet CV, pet reference)
  • Access to the expertise of the Pet-Friendly Housing Lead
  • Access to the expertise of the Pets & Housing Team who have already implemented:
    • Lets with Pets – supports pet-owners looking for private pet-friendly accommodation with information about renting with pets, top tips on finding a pet-friendly property, and links to property websites that have pet-friendly listings as well as guidance and resources for landlords and letting agents
    • Hope Project Vet Scheme – free veterinary care for dogs whose owners are experiencing or at risk of homelessness
    • Welcoming Dogs Endorsement Scheme – supporting homelessness services to become dog-friendly, to ensure that owners experiencing homelessness can access this vital support with their dog
    • Christmas parcel service – festive parcels with doggie items sent to homelessness services each Christmas
  • Access to information on our Outreach projects such as Freedom which is our specialist dog fostering service for people fleeing domestic abuse
  • Signposting to resources related to pets in homes and responsible dog ownership (e.g., Happy Dog Happy Home free online workshop)

The survey collects your interest in being the chosen pilot partner. To get the best from the pilot we would ask you to think about these points before registering interest to commit to the pilot. We expect the pilot to be more intensive than the rollouts which follow, because the pilot will be about getting things right and shaping them together as we go. Our pilot partner needs:

  • Commitment to the work and effort that will be required
  • Willingness to adapt current practices to become more pet-friendly
  • Willingness to be involved in press releases, radio and television interviews, as there will be national press coverage to promote our partnership working

We feel the benefits speak for themselves - happier people make happier tenants - but from a business point of view this translates to these potential benefits:

  • Tenancy sustainment – those who feel happy and settled in their home are more likely to stay longer
  • Re-let times – the properties available will be available to a wider range of tenants
  • Satisfaction – an overall happier tenant could translate to satisfaction levels
  • Publicity – being recognised as an empathetic and inclusive Landlord

This is a really exciting opportunity to work together to make Social Housing more pet-friendly, or in some cases just more obviously pet-friendly, for pet owning tenants (or potential tenants), however we need your help to do that. Please do take the time to complete the survey and also register your interest to be part of this innovative project.

For more information regarding the survey, or the Pet-Friendly Housing Pilot, please contact Caroline Cameron-Russell on, our Pet-Friendly Housing Lead. The closing date for the survey is 7th July 2023.