About Blue Cross
Our history, our vision, our mission... and our future
Blue Cross has been dedicated to helping poorly, injured and abandoned pets for over 100 years. We opened the world’s first animal hospital in 1906 and since then our doors have never closed to sick and homeless animals. With your help, they never will. Today we run four animal hospitals and 12 rehoming centres across the UK, which provide treatment and seek happy homes for thousands of cats, dogs, small pets and horses every year.
We can't achieve this alone. As a charity, we don't receive any money from the government or local authority - and rely solely on public donations from animal lovers to continue our vital work. 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.