The Blue Cross

The Blue Cross is a charity dedicated to improving the lives of sick and unwanted pets. At The Blue Cross they take in animals of all shapes and sizes, from hamsters to horses, and as a result are found loving new homes. The Blue Cross ensure thousands more get the veterinary treatment they need when their owners cannot afford to pay.

Owning an animal is one of the most rewarding things you can do and The Blue Cross enjoys championing both people and their pets. You can get involved in lots of ways, like adopting an animal, volunteering your time or making a donation.


The Blue Cross Time line


  • 1897 – A group of animal lovers founded Our Dumb Friends League – the original name for The Blue Cross – to care for working horses on the streets of London.
  • 1900 – We bought the first horse ambulance to be used on London’s streets for £500, to transport injured animals to hospital.
  • 1906 – We opened our first animal hospital in Victoria, London, thought to be the first of its kind in the world. It has never once closed its doors to needy animals since.
  • 1912 – We launched The Blue Cross Fund to help animals during the Balkan War. We also helped animals in the First (1914-1918) and Second (1939-1945) World Wars.
  • 1945 – To help servicemen bring dogs back from overseas, our boarding kennels in Blackheath, London, were used for quarantine purposes.
  • 1948 – We launched national children’s dog shows to encourage children to care for their pets.
  • 1958 – We became officially known as The Blue Cross.
  • 1959 – We opened our new animal hospital in Grimsby.
  • 1964 – After 13 years of campaigning, we successfully persuaded the Irish government to ban horse exports.
  • 1991 – Our new head office in Burford, Oxfordshire, was officially opened.
  • 1992 – We were the first animal welfare charity to employ an animal behaviourist to help owners with problem pets
  • 1997 – We celebrated our centenary and Her Majesty The Queen became Patron.
  • 1999 – Our animal hospital in Merton was officially opened.
  • 2006 – We open our new equine welfare centre in Rolleston-on-Dove, Staffordshire.
  • 2009 – We unveiled our new facilities at Thirsk and Southampton adoption centres


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