A HIGHBRDIGE family has given a lurcher new home after spending more than 300 days in a rescue centre.

Two-year-old Lurcher Boomer spent almost a year waiting for his new home at Dogs Trust Ilfracombe but he charmed Carol and Michael Timms from Highbridge and they decided to adopt him.

The couple said they were 'smitten' after spending lots of time with Boomer to get to know him.

At the start of the coronavirus outbreak rehoming of dogs was paused temporarily at Dogs Trust but as the pandemic continued staff were able to find their dogs the right homes through a virtual matching service - using video-based home checks and socially distanced appointments, either at the rehoming centres, or by taking the dogs out to adopters homes.

Demand for dogs has risen sharply since lockdown began and the Dogs Trust said it meant many adopters have considered dogs that would usually have been overlooked.

Boomer’s new owner, Michael, said: “When we enquired about Boomer and heard how long he’d been waiting for a home, it made it all the more special to be given the chance to adopt him.

"It’s still early days but Boomer has settled in so well. You get so much out of adopting dogs like Boomer and whilst everyone says he has landed on his paws with us, we feel like the lucky ones to be able to give him a forever home.”

Since lockdown began Dogs Trust has seen unprecedented demand for its rescue hounds.

From March 23 to the end of July, the charity had 43,365 calls enquiring to rehome a dog - a 42 per cent increase on last year. In just one day, the charity had over 1,000 emails from people enquiring about three Dachshund puppies.

Elise Watson, Rehoming Centre Manager at Dogs Trust Ilfracombe, added: “Lockdown has been a challenging time for us all, but we are so happy to see Boomer finally finding his forever home during this time.

"We believe that a dog is for life, not just for lockdown so our team has done a fantastic job in matching dogs to the right families during this pandemic and we have no doubt Boomer will bring lots of joy into his new family’s lives now and for years to come.

“We are grateful to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, whose support has allowed our specialist teams of Canine Carers to continue to give these dogs the best care, and find them their perfect forever homes.

“But the work doesn’t stop here – we still have lots of dogs who are looking for their new homes so, if you feel now really is the right time for you to be getting a dog, take a look at our website to find out more, and change the tale for more of our rescue hounds.”

But the Dogs Trust said while lockdown has seen many of their longer-term dogs leaving the trust and going home with their new families there are still plenty of others still looking for their forever homes at Dogs Trust Ilfracombe, including Diego, an 11-year-old Crossbreed who has found himself looking for a new home through no fault of his own.

"Diego is shy initially and takes his time to build a bond, but once he gets to know you, his affectionate, loving side shines through," a Dogs Trust spokesperson said.

"He is soft and gentle and he likes to lean into you for a fuss and some reassurance. He is a sensitive soul and is looking for patient and understanding owners who live in a quiet home with a comfy sofa to enjoy snuggles on. "His new family will need to visit Diego a few times before taking him home. He could have calm doggy walking buddies but would prefer to be the only dog in the home.

"He would love a secure garden to potter in as well as access to peaceful walks nearby."