If you haven’t been on a sleigh before, now’s your chance. We’re setting off on a sleigh ride round some of our local animal rehoming centres to see how the animals spend Christmas.

First stop, Dogs Trust at Harefield where on Christmas Eve, Santa delivers presents to the sleeping dogs so gifts are in front of their kennels when they awake. Toys and treats are top of Santa’s list here.

Next stop is Ealing and Hounslow RSPCA where toys and catnip mice are being prepared for cats and kittens in their care. Also, over Christmas, extra volunteers will be coming in to keep the animals company.

All aboard again and, soon, the sleigh comes to rest perched on Battersea Power Station. Looking down to the right, we can see Battersea Dogs and Cats Home where, on Christmas Day, carols are played and each animal gets a special lunch. Dogs enjoy a Christmas walk and cats receive plenty of cuddles with around 50 volunteers helping out.

 

We’re now circling west and the sleigh slides to a halt at the National Animal Welfare Trust, Watford - home to over 150 animals. For some, particularly dogs, it is their second Christmas in the Trust’s care. But wait, what have we here? Curled up in one of the shelters is a ginger cat who, apart from a swollen tummy, is as thin as a rake. Yes, this bag of bones is pregnant with kittens due anytime now. Holly was brought to the centre after being found in a filthy state on a building site. She’s certainly expecting a Christmas delivery. If all goes to plan, Holly and her kittens will be ready for rehoming in the New Year. If you would like to home one, call 020 8950 0177.

Now heading for home, thank you to readers for supporting the animals of London and beyond during the past year.