Dozens of dogs join in Leeds Christmas knees-up

Jacqui Wilkins pictured with her dogs Honey (left) and Ellie.
Jacqui Wilkins pictured with her dogs Honey (left) and Ellie.
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This was one Christmas party where none of the guests was about to leave without a doggy bag.

Dozens of four-legged friends attended a festive knees-up in Leeds to help raise money in aid of animal charities.

About 45 dogs turned up for the bash at Harewood Village Hall, hosted by fundraising organisation Animal Ark Aid.

Sara Cockerham, co-founder of the group, said there were pets of all shapes and sizes at the event.

“We had every kind of dog you could think of – small dogs that were carried about by their owners, bigger dogs and rescue dogs,” she said.

“Everyone had an absolutely brilliant time and the dogs all got along famously.

“There were lots of wagging tails and a really good atmosphere.”

It is the second year that the fundraising organisation, which supports animal charities across Leeds and further afield, has held the dogs’ party.

Human party-goers were charged £10. Their pets – and children – got in free.

There were party games and music as well as a Christmas cake made from carrots and peanut butter.

“It was a good turn-out because of the size of the venue,” Miss Cockerham added.

“Everyone talked to each other, everyone got on really well.

“Dogs like to have things to stimulate them and often the only stimulation they get is when they’re taken out of the house for walks.

“They love playing with their friends, socialising with other dogs and having a laugh so this was a good chance for them all to get together.

“We’ve hopefully raised about £400.”

Animal Ark Aid was set up by animal lovers Miss Cockerham and her aunt Rita Panayi Reid because they were angry at the number of animals being neglected, abused and abandoned.

They say on their website: “We are doing our best to support the amazing charities that look after these animals.

“Through our fundraising activities we will support as many charities as possible so that they can continue the fantastic work that they do rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing animals that have had a bad start in life.”

Among the charities supported by Animal Ark Aid are rabbit and rodent rescue centre Camp Nibble, Bramley Cavies and Yorkshire Rose dog rescue.

Organisers, who also hold an Easter party for dogs and their owners, plan to repeat the Christmas fundraiser next year.

For more information about the group, visit

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