About Blue Cross
Our history, our vision, our mission... and our future
Sick, injured and homeless pets have relied on us since 1897. Abandoned or unwanted, ill or injured, pets turn to us for help every year. Our doors are always open to them, and with your support, they always will be.
Each year, thousands of cats, dogs, small pets and horses turn to our animal hospitals, clinics and rehoming services for treatment and to find them the happy homes they deserve. Find out how you can help.
Every pet will enjoy a healthy life in a happy home.
We find happy homes for abandoned or unwanted pets, and we keep
pets healthy by promoting welfare and providing treatment.
Find out what we are doing to meet our vision and our mission.
- 1897 – A group of animal lovers founded Our Dumb Friends League – the original name for 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 horse welfare centre in Rolleston-on-Dove, Staffordshire.
- 2009 – We unveiled our new facilities at Thirsk and Southampton rehoming centres.
- 2012 – We refreshed our Blue Cross brand so we could embrace the changing times, reach out to new supporters and help more pets.