In this last column before Christmas, you are invited to join me on a sleigh-ride round our local rehoming centres to see how animals there will be spending Christmas.

First stop Battersea Dogs and Cats Home where 50 volunteers and staff work on Christmas Day to make sure every animal gets a special meal and gift. Carols are played throughout the Home and volunteers read books to the animals to keep them company. Dogs are taken for a long walk in Battersea Park.

Next stop, the National Animal Welfare Trust in Watford where Janet will be cooking for 200 animals. This is a tradition Janet started several years ago and means all the animals have a fresh, home-cooked dinner.

Janet raises money for the meal by selling homemade pet treats at stalls throughout the year. Now over to the RSPCA Stray Cat Centre at Southall where, thanks to the Centre’s Christmas Dinner Appeal, their cats will tuck into a chicken lunch.

Animals in the care of Hounslow Animal Welfare Society are in foster homes around West London instead of a single shelter. Foster carers give their little lodgers a special Christmas dinner and their own presents of tasty treats and new toys under the tree.

Over at Harefield, during December, Dogs Trust supporters are bringing in Christmas presents and placing them round the tree. None are opened till Christmas Day when the dogs are brought to the tree and whichever present they sniff / show most interest in is theirs. Dogs Trust aim to ensure that all 150 dogs receive one toy and a packet of treats.

At The Mayhew Animal Home, cats have a roast chicken dinner. After being found with her four kittens searching for food amongst rubbish, Buttercup will appreciate this. If you can help make sure this is Buttercup’s last Christmas without a home of her own, call 020 8969 0178 or see Buttercup’s details at

Finally, Happy Christmas to you all and thank you for your support for our local animals during the past year.