Christmas can be a stressful time for many, and it's the same for the residents of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. While the Home does everything it can to make kennel life as stress-free as possible, there are some animals that just don't cope well in what can be a busy and unsettling environment for them. With the shorter daylight hours, Christmas holidays approaching, and more hustle and bustle in the kennels and cattery, the Home's "Stress Squad" is at the ready to help out.

The Battersea Stress Squad – which is specially funded by players of People's Postcode Lottery – use a variety of sights, smells, and sounds to help reduce the anxiety felt by dogs and cats waiting for a new home. The Squad's specially trained team of volunteers have been given the task of keeping the 400 dogs and 250 cats across its three centres calm over the Christmas period.

Sarah Whiffen, Canine Welfare Trainer at Battersea, said the support from players of People's Postcode Lottery will go a long way in helping lost, unwanted or abandoned animals feel less anxious this Christmas season. "While we try our very best to make sure our dogs and cats are as comfortable as possible while they wait for a new home, some, like Gizmo the Staffie, find it very tough being in the kennels. For many people, Christmas is all about being with family, but for the dogs and cats at Battersea, the comforts of home can be exactly what they're missing.

"At Battersea, we're continually focused on improving kennel life, and it's very important for us to be able to make our kennels an interesting place where the dogs and cats can hopefully relax and also have some fun. Thanks to this generous Christmas award of £50,000 from players of People's Postcode Lottery, we're able to provide bundles of new toys and treats to make sure there's always an interesting sight, sound or smell to keep our animals occupied. In the spirit of the season, this will mean things like jingle bells for cats, festive chew toys for dogs and – of course – lots of attention from the Squad themselves."

Claire Horton, Chief Executive at Battersea, said, "We're so appreciative of this additional support from players of People's Postcode Lottery and are overjoyed to be able to give this early Christmas treat to the hundreds of dogs and cats looking for a new home at Battersea. As there is no time limit on how long a dog or cat can stay with us, it's important for us to make sure their time here is as stress-free as possible. Thanks to this funding from players, we're able to provide Gizmo and all our animals with new toys, treats and tunes to help settle their nerves as they wait for a loving new family."

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People's Postcode Lottery, said, "I am delighted that players of People's Postcode Lottery are able to support Battersea Dogs & Cats Home with this special Christmas award of £50,000. This funding will ensure that Battersea is well-equipped to provide the love, care and attention each animal waiting for a new home deserves this Christmas."

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