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The referral process

A Freedom Project team member sitting by their laptop smiling at the camera.

At Dogs Trust, we understand how important dogs are to their families. Our research found that 95% of professionals said that some survivors won’t leave their home without knowing their pet will be safe. 

As many refuges can’t accept pets, our Freedom Project provides a solution to help your client get to safety, while providing a safe and loving temporary home for their dog.  

The service is free to access, and completely confidential. We cover the cost of dog food, veterinary treatment and any toys and treats the dog may need.  
If you’d like to make a referral, or have any questions about the project, please get in touch using the details below. If your client doesn’t live within one of these areas, please call your closest regional team and we’ll offer support and signposting. 

Step 1 : Referral Paperwork 

We’ll ask you or your client to complete a form to help us understand their dog’s needs, and we may ask for some photographs of the dog.  
If possible, we’d love to speak to your client to find out all about their dog, so we’re best placed to match them to the right foster family.  
Our supportive, female-only team are always happy to answer any questions about the project or talk through any concerns you or your client may have.  

Step 2: Agreement and Domestic Abuse confirmation 

We’ll provide an agreement document which explains the terms and conditions of the dog’s foster placement.  
If your client decides to place their dog in foster with us, we’ll ask them to sign to confirm they agree to these.  
We’ll also require an email or letter from you as the support worker, or from a relevant agency, confirming the client is fleeing domestic abuse and will be supported to find safe housing.  

Step 3: Temporary Fostering 

We will then match the dog to one of our dedicated volunteer foster carers and make arrangements to collect the dog from a safe location. Once the dog is on the project, we ask that we stay in regular contact with our clients' support workers, to ensure that they are also getting support and to keep us updated of how they are progressing with finding new housing where they can be reunited with their dog. 

Placement lenghts

We offer fostering placements for up to 6 months, however we may be able to make some extensions to this period. In order to consider extensions, we will contact you as the support worker and ask you to provide an update of the client's housing situation. 

We can also support you with finding new, pet friendly accommodation for your client. We can provide Pet CVs and liaise with Housing Officers to highlight the importance of the new property being pet friendly.