Actress and radio presenter Gemma Atkinson is calling on Brits to show their support for shelter pets, as Hill’s Pet Nutrition launches a nationwide campaign today, to support homeless pets in desperate need due to COVID-19.

As the pandemic reaches the one-year mark, animal shelters up and down the country are facing unprecedented budget cuts and financial strain.

With a growing number of pets reportedly being given up or abandoned and fundraising events postponed due to the crisis, rescue shelters are at capacity and struggling to keep the animals they look after fed and cared for.

Gemma, owner of Spaniel and Sproodle Ollie and Norman and President of The Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary, is asking pet parents to share pictures of their furry friends using #MissionForeverFriend across Instagram and Facebook. For every post, Hill’s will donate a bowl of food to a local shelter throughout the month of April, providing up to 14,000 meals in the UK, and up to 100,000 meals across participating countries.

Gemma says;

Whilst the country has been in and out of lockdown the past year, shelters across the country have been working tirelessly to help the lives of the many animals in their care.”

She went on to add:

“Sadly, just like all businesses and industries, they have suffered hardship due to the pandemic and are in desperate need of support right now.

My dogs are a huge part of our family and I’m a massive advocate for animal welfare and successfully rescued pets.

By supporting #MissionForeverFriend, animal lovers can show their support for local shelters and give animals in need the second chance they deserve. Hill’s believes that all pets deserve the best care humanly possible, and that the right nutrition has the ability to not only transform lives physically but make shelter pets adoption-ready while they wait for their forever homes.”

In addition to posting a picture of their furry friend on social, pet owners can snap a picture of their pet using a virtual bandanna filter as a fun way to show support. The virtual bandana can be accessed on Hill’s UK and Ireland Facebook @hills4pets and Instagram pages @hillspetukireland.

There are also many other ways for pet lovers to ‘pay it forward’, including donating, volunteering at a local shelter or fostering a pet.

Affiliated shelters will put a face and name to some of these furry friends by posting photos of shelter pets in need. Hill’s will repost these photos on their own Facebook and Instagram pages so everyone can find their own forever friend.

Michael Unsworth, Hill’s Vet Affairs Manager, UK & Republic of Ireland said about the campaign

“#MissionForeverFriend is an extension of our 365 day-a-year commitment to helping shelter pets, but it’s never been more important to help animals in need than right now. Centres are at capacity with many people experiencing ‘buyer’s remorse’ or sadly suffering financial or health woes due to the pandemic.

The staff and volunteers at these shelters have worked round the clock to feed them and keep a roof over their heads, but there’s only so much they can do with funding and rehoming all on hold.

This movement will provide much-needed nutrition to thousands of innocent animals up and down the country, and we’re thrilled that Gemma is lending her support to help the cause.”

Hill’s Pet Nutrition UK and Ireland is proud to be partnering with Raystead Centre for Animal Welfare and Wood Green – The Animal’s Charity. Both charities aim to provide forever homes for shelter pets and offer support and advice for pet owners.

To learn more about #MissionForeverFriend and find ways you can help shelter pets find their forever homes, visit

Photo credit: Image Courtesy of K9 Magazine

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