Pets across the county have been feeling the love during the pandemic, with one animal charity seeing a record lowest number of animals looking for a new home.

Staff at Oak Tree Animals’ Charity, at Carlisle, have seen a massive drop in numbers during the Covid-19 pandemic, with almost one-tenth of the usual number of pets in need of rehoming.

With an average of 20 dogs and 30 cats at the rescue centre during a “normal” period, it is currently home to just “two or three” dogs and four cats.

Caroline Yon, head of animal welfare at Oak Tree, said: “I think part of the reason is that people have been at home more, and have had more time to spend with pets.

“One of the biggest reasons people have to give up their animals is lack of time – they could have young children who need lots of attention, or they’re working long hours, so they feel they don’t have the time for their pets anymore.

“But with people being on furlough or being at home more, this obviously hasn’t been a problem.”

And while it’s good news for the much-loved pooches and kittens who are being looked after so well, the group have concerns over just how many people have thought their future plans through.

“People have called us and said they feel it’s the right time for them to get a dog because they’re at home a lot now, but we tell them to go and think about what their life will be like in six months’ time,” Ms Yon explained.

“If you’ll still have time to, say, walk a dog or play with them, and be in a good position to have a pet, then of course look for a puppy or kitten, or come to us and see if we have any suitable pets for you.

“But if things will have changed, it might not be the best time.”

She continued: “We are preparing ourselves for what will happen when people go back to work, or, worst case scenario, lose their jobs due to the pandemic and so can’t afford a pet anymore.

“We’ve spoken to other charities and they’ve also found this phenomenon of not having many animals at their centres, but we are all expecting an influx of people having to bring their pets to us probably around October time.”

But going back to work doesn’t have to mean the end of your relationship with your dog, as Ms Yon explained that, if possible, building up alone time from your pet allows them to get used to being on their own, and they might cope with being alone during working hours.

“There’s never judgement here though,” she said. “There are all sorts of reasons why someone would have to give up a pet, and it’s never easy.

“I think most owners know when it’s the right thing to do, and know what’s best for their pet.”

Ms Yon added: “If you are looking to rehome your pet, please do not put them on Facebook – bring them to us or another animal rescue charity and we will help you.

“You have no idea who you’re giving them to if you rehome them through social media, so please do bear in mind what’s best for the animal.”

A plea to keep dogs safe during the warmer weather was also issued, with the animal lover reminding owners not to leave pets in cars.

"Even with a window slightly open, the inside can become deadly within a very short period of time," she said.

For more advice and information on rehoming or buying a pet, visit the Oak Tree Animals’ Charity website.