Northamptonshire animal charity worker's mission to get every rescue dog an advent calendar for Christmas

Emma Townsend is raising money to make sure no dog goes without this Christmas just because they are in kennels

Thursday, 18th November 2021, 2:46 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th November 2021, 2:48 pm

An employee at the Animals In Need organisation in Wellingborough is fundraising to make sure every dog taken in by the charity gets spoiled this Christmas.

Every Christmas, Animals In Need run shoebox appeals asking the public to make up a goodie bag or Christmas box containing food, treats, toys and blankets or towels to keep their animals warm, dry and happy throughout the festive season.

Assistant manager at Animals In Need, Emma Townsend, 29, spotted a potential problem: what about the dogs with special dietary requirements, who cannot enjoy generic treats that are usually sent in? Therefore, she came up with the solution to make sure each and every dog gets their own specially tailored advent calendar for Christmas.

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Emma Townsend, 29, with her adopted Staffordshire bull terrier Maisie.

Emma, who has been with Animals In Need for 11 years, said: "Unfortunately, we have dogs that cannot have generic treats because they have allergies and the treats can irritate their skin or cause stomach problems.

"We have this one dog, who - bless him - needs to have really strong toys because he just chews them up really quickly.

"Some dogs need specialist treats and toys so, this year, I thought it would be nice for them to get their own advent calendars because why should dogs in kennels be any different?"

The advent calendars will look like standard human ones - except they will consist of dog friendly chocolate drops and biscuits. Dogs with dietary requirements will receive special personalised advent calendars with trays that can be filled with their own treats.

Emma is collecting donations from the public, which will then be spent at one of the Pets At Home stores in Northamptonshire using a 'VIP card'. The VIP card will mean that every purchase made with it will mean that a certain amount of points will go towards a chosen charity.

The chosen charity - Animals In Need - will then receive all of the points collected from the purchases meaning that they will then be able to buy more essentials for their animals.

Emma added: "They do get spoiled all the time. Why shouldn't they? It is not their fault they are here, it is mostly because they were lost as strays."

Emma was promoted to assistant manager three years ago, which means that she is responsible for looking after the animals every day, managing staff and volunteers, sorting out donations and arranging pack walks and events.

There was a time where Emma believed that having a full time job was not an option for her.

Emma, who suffers with ADHD dyspraxia and dyslexia, said: "I was told by doctors that I would never hold down a full time job. This job has changed me in a good way and I am completely independent. I did exactly what the doctors said I would never be able to do.

"I tend to do school talks and I always say 'don't let anyone tell you what you want to be'. I believed it for years and years and look at me now.

"My job is amazing. No day is ever the same and, yes, it can be hard and it can be emotional - especially when an animal comes to us really poorly but then I have rehomed them and they are doing really well."

Emma herself has adopted a Staffordshire bull terrier from Animals In Need called Maisie, who has lived with her for five years. Maisie spent four years at Animals In Need because her behavioural issues meant that she kept getting overlooked by potential owners.

Emma added: "Me and my partner said, as soon as we found a place to live, we would have her. We hadn't even unpacked our boxes and she was straight in. I wouldn't be without her."

To help Emma provide every dog at Animals In Need with an advent calendar this Christmas, visit her donation page on Facebook.To find out more about the work carried out daily by the employees and volunteers at Animals In Need, visit