Our History

Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home has a long history of helping animals. From opening our doors in 1884 at Comely Bank Gardens, to the present day at Seafield Road East, the Home has continued to help the pets and people of our community. And we’ll never stop. After over 140 years of hard work and dedication, day after day, year in, year out, we’re still going and going and going.

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Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home history image of woman walking with multiple dogs on leads

A Quick Paw Through Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home’s History

1865 – In Victorian Edinburgh, the problem of stray dogs in the city was reaching its peak. William Chambers from Peebles, owner of Edinburgh publishing firm W&R Chambers, and John Brown, a local doctor, started to advocate for a dog home in the city.

1883 – We started working with the police and council to improve the lives of Edinburgh’s stray dogs.

1884 – We first opened our doors at Comely Bank Gardens in Stockbridge as ‘The Home for Lost and Starving Dogs’.

1900 – We moved to Broughton Road.

1926 – A new cattery was completed for £503 (around £30k in today’s prices!) and we became ‘The Edinburgh Home for Lost and Starving Dogs and Cats’.

1935 – As the city’s population grew, the Home opened collection depots across Edinburgh where stray or unwanted dogs and cats could be dropped off before being delivered to the Home.

1937 – With Broughton Road becoming more residential, there were more and more noise complaints against the Home, which led to our unfortunate eviction.

1957 – After a 20-year search, we found the perfect spot to call home. A former boating pond next to Portobello promenade in Seafield became the Home’s permanent residence – and we’re still here today.

1958 – We changed our name to ‘the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home’ and introduced pet boarding services.

1978 – We built a new night kennel so police could bring in strays 24/7. And it’s still in operation to this day.

1982 – We received a very special royal visitor to the Home – Princess Antoinette of Monaco. She even rehomed two of our dogs and flew them back to the French Riviera with her!

1989 – Legendary comedian Ronnie Corbett opened a new kennel at the Home.

1993 – Our first charity shop was opened in Portobello. Run by ‘the Friends of Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home’, the shop helped raise much-needed funds.

1994 – The birth of our Whelping Unit, built to offer specialised care for expectant mothers and to provide a quiet place away from the main kennels.

1997 – You’d be surprised by how much laundry we go through! That’s why, in 1997, we built a new, improved laundry service area.

1999 – We started offering microchipping to the public. This is a vital service which allows lost dogs and cats to be more easily reunited with their loving homes.

2000 – Mr Roy Connell, manager of the Home for 35 years, was awarded an MBE for services to animal welfare upon retirement.

2008 – We went digital with the launch of our first website.

2016 – We welcomed our first Animal Champions. These high-profile animal lovers — including celebrity vet Marc Abraham, Forth 1 DJ Micky Gavin, MSP Christine Grahame and ultra-runner Dion Leonard (and Gobi!) — are our ambassadors, and boost the profile of the Home by supporting our regular campaigns and events.

2017 – Our first app was launched, taking the rehoming process to your phone.

2019 – Our Pet Food Bank was opened, offering food, blankets, leads, toys and more to those in need.

2019 – We appointed our first ever in-house vet, Bridget O’Farrell, and announced a new partnership with Abercorn and Braid veterinary practices to provide the dogs and cats with better medical care.

2021 – We were one of the first animal charities in the UK to start accepting cryptocurrency donations. This year, we were also generously donated the biggest crypto donation in Scottish history from Pawthereum, a community-run charity project supporting animal welfare.

2022 – We launched our new vision for the future of the Home, so we can keep going and going and going.

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By donating today, you will help us go on and on and on for many years to come.

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