MEET Tigger – just one of the loveable and loving dogs needing rehomed by Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home which is now so full of pets it can only take in emergency cases.

Yet despite being “full to the rafters”, chief executive Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine is worried that they will be asked to take in still more as donations to the pet foodbank are at an all-time low.

It means that the home cannot fulfil all the requests for the 86 foodbanks it supplies in Central Scotland, the Lothians and Fife.

That in turn means staff know pet owners will be going without food themselves in order to feed their beloved companions. When they can no longer do so, they are forced to go through the trauma of giving up their pets.

The scale of the crisis can be seen in the number of daily calls to the home’s helpline which reached a record high last summer and has since never abated.

“People are constantly calling us saying they don’t know how to cope and we try to support them through the foodbank but when we are at such low levels that is a real challenge,” said Fyffe-Jardine.

The National: Tigger is just one of the dogs at the Edinburgh Dog and Cat HomeTigger is just one of the dogs at the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home

“We are trying to prevent dogs and cats coming to the home through the foodbanks and through our outreach work but when we are at a point of such low levels of donations we are struggling. We are scrabbling around to get those supplies in and they are dwindling.”

The team at the home do all they can to keep pets with their owners but fear more will be forced to give them up.

“I think there are going to be a lot more people who are going to be carrying round the trauma of losing a pet in this way and watching that moment of trauma happening to that person is not something you easily get over,” said Fyffe-Jardine.

“I don’t think it makes a pet or a person better off as the mental health impact of losing that pet is absolutely enormous. We know what a pet can do for someone and I absolutely challenge anybody to watch someone give up their pet when they don’t want to. It is just one of the worst things in the world.

“I don’t wish it on anyone to be part of that process and that is why we put so much energy into trying to keep the foodbanks going but we are struggling now as we are at the lowest levels of donations we have ever seen.”

READ MORE: Police appeal after osprey remains found near Loch of the Lowes

Donations are so low that the home is often not managing to supply the foodbanks with the amount they need.

“We know that means people are going to be feeding their pets their own food and that is absolutely heartbreaking,” said Fyffe-Jardine (below).

One of the reasons the pet foodbank was set up in 2019 was because foodbanks had reported that people were asking for items like tinned tuna and corned beef – not because they wanted to eat them but because they could feed them to their pets.

By the end of the following year, the home was supplying 50 foodbanks with pet food through the pet foodbank and is now keeping an estimated 4500 pets with their families each month.

“If we were to even get 2% of those dogs and cats we would be completely closing the doors,” said Fyffe-Jardine.

At the moment there are upwards of 60 dogs and 20 cats at the home.

“We are absolutely full to the rafters but people are going through the most challenging time at the moment and those who might have regarded themselves as reasonably comfortable three or four years ago are not comfortable anymore,” she said.

The National: CEO with an unnamed dog.

“A lot of people are quite quick to say you should not have taken that dog on, but many owners did have a stable situation and now the mortgage and energy bill rises and the general cost of living has destabilised them and made owning a pet unaffordable.”

The costs mean that people are less likely to take in bigger dogs from the home.

“They have just fabulous personalities but are struggling to get homes as quickly as people are a bit wary about the cost of taking on a bigger dog,” said Fyffe-Jardine.

If it is not possible to take in a dog or cat from the home, it can be supported through direct debits, one-off donations or by donating pet food at the donation stations in supermarkets.

“It’s a big issue for us to be able to have enough money to pay all the bills and also to have enough to get food and supplies out to foodbanks so any support we get goes a long way,” said Fyffe-Jardine.