Pets' Corner: I don't have time for my dogs

I have two beautiful dogs that I've owned for about five years. But I am struggling with work commitments, which are taking me away from home a lot. I walk them in the morning and evening, and I have a dog walker who pops in twice a week, but I don't know how much longer I can afford this. Am I being cruel by leaving them for so long? Is it time for me to say goodbye to them? Lindsey, via e-mail

Your situation breaks my heart, as many people are facing the same dilemma as you are. The number of pets being put into rescue centres has soared over the past year. Most animal charities were struggling, but now they are completely overwhelmed. Ideally, you shouldn't leave your dogs so long in the day, but they do have each other for company, which is a plus, and you are giving them a loving home. It's only in the past few years that professional dog walkers have become so prevalent. Before then, if people had a dog and they went to work, the dog was left at home or in the yard. Dogs today have a better quality of life, but are too easily bought and given away. Before you consider re-homing, ask friends and neighbours if they will either pop in or take them out for you, or maybe they have children of an appropriate age who need extra pocket money and can walk them occasionally. As long as you can spend quality time with your dogs at the weekends, you should be able to continue. But if none of the above is possible, sadly it may be best to find a new home for them.

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