No-one involved in dog rescue can fail to be aware of the hazards that can befall a household when a dog is left alone for long periods of time.
At best it can mean a bored and lonely dog, at worst a demolished home or a neighbourhood disrupted by complaints about incessant howling.
‘Wouldn’t happen in our house’ or ‘our dog is always content and settled when we have to go out’ are common statements. But how can you be sure that’s true?
According to a study by Bristol University, a leading resource of veterinary and animal behaviour, dogs left alone at home suffer traumatic separation distress more than we think.
Research director John Bradshaw, an authority on animal behaviour, estimates 1.5m dogs in Britain suffer Home Alone syndrome.
While owners believed their pet to be content, video cameras showed them pacing in circles, whining and panting heavily.
Speaking to local authority dog wardens at Fareham and Gosport, dogs left alone are a major problem.
They, and the Ark, regularly receive calls about dogs causing a nuisance through being left alone.
Dog wardens are certainly on the lookout for stray dogs roaming the street but better legislation, technology such as microchipping and responsible ownership should reduce numbers.
Awareness and education are the answers but there are those who cannot or will not listen.
The Ark, often criticised for being too strict on how long dogs should be left, tries to be flexible without exposing a dog to the dangers mentioned here, not apparent to a surprising number of potential dog owners.