A Worthing mother has made Christmas stockings for dogs that belong to homeless people.
Self-confessed animal lover Aimee Prentis was inspired to help the dogs that are companions to people sleeping in the town centre through her work as a volunteer for the Turning Tides homeless charity.
She made nine stockings for dogs, filled with food, treats and dental sticks, which she has been giving out over the last two weeks with her 14-year-old son Jack.
The 34-year-old from West Worthing said: “It is difficult for the dogs, because they don’t have a voice to say what they need. Apparently there are nine dogs in Worthing that are out on the streets with their owners.
“It is just horrible and heartbreaking; these animals are so loyal, they won’t leave their companions.
“We do so much for the homeless which is great, but not the dogs, so I thought wouldn’t it be nice to give them something.”
Last Christmas, a homeless man’s dog was taken away from him in Worthing, causing public outcry. Click here to read more.
Through her work at the charity, she saw homeless people being turned away from their shelters because they had dogs, due to allergies and health and safety issues.
So she posted on Facebook asking for donations – and said the response had been ‘absolutely amazing’.
In fact, she had so many donations that she was able to fill 25 stockings for cats at the Worthing Cat Welfare Trust’s shelter, which she is also involved with.
She said the reactions from the owners had been positive.
She said: “The owners of the dogs said they were really grateful.
“It is Christmas time, and everyone has their own thing to worry about and we do get lost in that sometimes.
“It was heartwarming to see their reactions.”
Aimee and Jack will be going back out into the town centre to give out water and mince pies to those sleeping rough.
She said: “When I speak to homeless people, they just say they want to be acknowledged. People don’t know what to say or do with homelessness – but they just want a ‘hello, how are you?’ or a ‘good morning’.”