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No room at the inn for Cosette

Name: linzi anderson, from Bray, Co Wicklow

Pet: cosette, an abandoned puppy linzi's been caring for

Problem: Cosette needs a home and it's hard to find one in the lead-up to christmas

Linzi has a soft spot for animals, but she's not in a situation where she can keep a pet herself. She has a full-time job and so isn't able to give a pet the time that it deserves.

When she heard about an abandoned puppy, Linzi knew that she wouldn't be able to keep it herself, but she did want to help. She realised that she was getting involved when she came up with a name for the pup: Cosette, after the depressed, tattered little girl in Linzi's favourite musical, Les Miserables.

Cosette had been found in a friend's front garden. She's a cross-bred dog of a type that's become common in Ireland: a bit of terrier, some Staffie and maybe a little collie too.

She's going to be a big dog and she's full of energy, so she might be a handful. The person who takes on Cosette will have to make a serious commitment to looking after her for the next decade.


There will be plenty of rewards -- she will be a loving, faithful dog -- but she'll need training, regular exercise and loads of attention.

Linzi's friend, who found the pup, couldn't keep Cosette, so Linzi took her in as a foster carer. She set her up in a large cage in her living room. The pup is only about 10 weeks old, but she already has the basics of house training. Linzi's been feeding her puppy food, and has enjoyed her company, but this is only meant to be a short-term stay until the pup finds a permanent home.

Unfortunately, as Linzi has discovered, this is one of the most difficult times of year to find a home for a young animal.

Everyone is in "getting ready for Christmas" mode: buying presents and getting the home organised. A bouncy, excitable, demanding puppy just doesn't fit in.

Linzi phoned around some of the dog rescue centres who often help with this type of situation, but they are all struggling to cope at the moment and there's "no room at the inn" for unwanted pups like Cosette.


The Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre in Finglas was helpful to Linzi on the phone, but the picture they painted was bleak.

Their facility is over-full, with 108 adult dogs and 65 puppies already looking for homes. If Linzi was really stuck, they said they'd try to help, but Linzi didn't want to put them under more pressure, so she is trying her own ways of seeking a new home.

It was the Dogs Trust which coined the phrase: "A dog is for life, not just for Christmas." This is just so true -- people need to plan for dog ownership when they take on a pet.

That message has sunk home, which is why Linzi is having such a hard time finding a home for Cosette.

If you could offer Cosette a loving home (or indeed any other dog), call the Dogs Trust on Lo-call: 1850 252 928.

See www.petethevet.com