Stockholm dogs get a second chance

In a quiet area in the outskirts of Stockholm lies Hundstallet, a haven for lost or rejected dogs. The reasons are various but the goal is the same - finding new homes for all of them.

In the meantime, much work is needed to ensure that all the dogs put up for adoption get the most out of their time at the Hundstallet.

The centre is run by the Swedish Dog Protection Organisation [Svenska Hundskyddsförening], a non-profit entity that receives no contribution from the government and instead is entirely dependent on contributions from the public to meet the 2 million kronor annual budget.

The help received from the public ranges from membership fees to dog food, blankets, bowls, and leashes. But the most common kind of contribution is the Doggy-walker, who makes it possible for dogs to continue being dogs.

All it takes is becoming a member at the Swedish Dog Protection Organisation, a short introduction course, and a first- time supervised walk. The course, held at Hundstallet, is to ensure that all of those interested in becoming Doggy-walkers realise that dogs waiting for a new home have different needs than dogs from a happy home.

“Throughout the day we have Doggy-walkers coming in to walk our dogs. We would not be able to care for all dogs if we did not get help from the public,” explains Patrik Fridensköld, who is one of the five full-time employees at Hundstallet.

Last year, 168 dogs were brought in by the police and 67 by the public. Of these, 103 were put up for adoption while the rest were picked up by their owners. Runaway, lost dogs and cases of animal cruelty also bring dogs to Hundstallet. No dogs are put down if they do not get a new home; only those considered mentally unstable and ‘dangerous’ are destroyed. Last year, only six dogs met such a fate.

Strict rules ensure that the dogs that are up for adoption end up in the right home.

Hundstallet’s employees try to match dog and future dog-owner by way of interview and even a home visit. The average dog waiting for a new home is a large, young, male dog. The breeds vary from Rottweilers and German Shepherds to mutts.

“Being around so many dogs all day long is challenging, but fun. It is a lot of work, but we see results,” says Patrik Fridensköld, who gives the impression that caring for 25 dogs is a walk in the park.