Monday, 6 August 2018

This is what it's all about: Dobby & Harry update

I'm writing this blog post on a Monday morning. The office is always the busiest today with staff playing catch up from over the weekend which includes the usual office calls, emails and queries, liaising with National RSPCA staff about which new animals are coming into our care, dealing with animals currently in our care (vet trips, delivering supplies, organising pictures and write ups for ones ready for adoption) not including all the admin involved with running our branch and its 5 shops, phew! But today we got an extra special reminder as to why it's all worth it when we received an amazing update.

Our regular social media followers will recognise Dobby's name instantly. Dobby came into our care as a tiny, terrified and broken little boy. An extremely distressing video of a black and white kitten was given to the National RSPCA who sent an inspector out straight away. The video shows a kitten being repeatedly thrown from a trampoline by young children and eventually hitting the ground. You can read the news story here but be aware of distressing footage and images.  Thankfully the amazing inspector located the kitten from the video and took him straight into a vet for emergency treatment. Please note that the cruelty investigation is now closed but for legal reasons we cannot provide further details.

Despite his happy little face, on examination he was found to have a broken collar bone, swollen head and other soft tissue injuries. 

Bottom right: Dobby when he first arrived at the vet. Top and bottom left: First day in his foster home. Top right: Meeting a kitten friend in foster a few days later!
Thanks to the amazing vet treatment he received and lots of TLC by the vets and nurses, the little kitten, now named Dobby pulled through. Once stable he moved into our branch's care and into a foster home. After a few weeks his foster parents helped him to literally bounce back into a lively, playful kitten.

Whilst in his foster home Dobby met his foster parents resident cats but also other foster kittens. He made a special bond with Harry. Harry is another kitten who had a terrible start and had to be rescued. He was found scared and alone in a member of the public's garden. Thankfully he was also collected by a National RSPCA inspector and came into our care where he met Dobby. They were best buddies from the start and we truly believe they helped each other get better and focus on being kittens again! 

So back to today, Monday morning and we received this picture....

Dobby & Harry settled into their forever home after being adopted last week. So there you go - this is what it's all about. All the hard work from the people who reported both kittens as needing help, the National RSPCA who went out to assist, the vets & nurses who treated them to the foster home who got them 'right' again to the amazing people who decided to adopt and not shop and take our boys into their family. Go team RSPCA!

Of course our work never stops and as I write this the National RSPCA will be taking hundreds of calls of animals in need, vets & nurses will be treating abused and injured animals and our foster homes will be working hard caring for their charges. If you'd like to help there's lots of ways you can!

- Donate unwanted items: our Withington charity shop is desperate for your donations! We then sell them to raise the money we need to run the branch. We take clothing, bags, books, belts, small electricals, bric a brac and jewellery. If you have a carboots worth, we'll even collect if you are local! 

- Donate cat food: with so many cats and kittens in our care we get through lots of food! If you'd like to donate some grubs to our moggies you can via our Amazon wish list here or donations can be left at any of our charity shop locations listed here!

- Make a one-off or regular donation: on average it costs £30,000 a month to run our branch alone. You can set up a direct debit or just make a one-off donation via Just Giving. Click here for more information.

- Adopt, don't shop! we always have lots of animal waiting for new homes, all neutered, chipped and vaccinated (where applicable). So if you or someone you know is looking for a new addition to their family tell them to check out our website or Facebook page which are both updated daily!

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Withington, we have arrived!

For many years we have wanted to open a shop in Withington and finally this year we've achieved our dream! All hands were on deck and our team worked so hard getting the shop ready including a complete refit, decorating and stocking up. Choosing the perfect wallpaper design was high on the agenda as well as general 'beautification!'

I think you'll agree the result was more than worth it and on the 11 June 2018 we opened our brand spanking new charity shop on Wilmslow Road! 

Fast forward and we've been open a month and its been going better than any of us expected! We've been really well received within the community and sales have been fantastic. Our charity shops fund our work therefore the more money they make the more animals we can help who have been rescued from cruelty, neglect and abandonment by the National RSPCA inspectors. The shop couldn't have opened at a better time as demand on the charity has continued. In June our animal rehoming team smashed their adoption record and rehomed 56 animals (that's 31 cats, 11 rabbits, 6 guinea pigs, 6 rats and 2 reptiles!). So a huge thank you to everyone that has made us so welcome to the area!

Just some of the animals we rehomed in June!

Would you like to get involved?

We're are on the look out for volunteers to fill the following roles. Generally volunteers spend a few hours per week with us:

- A dedicated clothes steamer
- Shop floor assistant to help with house keeping and general tidying.
- Working the till and general customer service.
- Volunteer to help with stock output and stock rotation.

Volunteer roles look great on your CV and you'll be part of a thriving team who put in 100% effort into raising money for our animals.

If you'd like to volunteer with us, please get get in touch
Call 0161 434 9374 (ask for lovely manager Lauren)
or email
Alternatively, just pop into the shop!

If you can't help out in the shop we are always in desperate need of items to sell, we can't keep up with demand which is brilliant!

We particularly need:
- Ladies wear & bric-a-brac

Donations can be brought to the shop during opening hours 
Monday to Saturday 9.30am - 5.30pm
466 Wilmslow Road, Withington, Manchester M20 6BG

Monday, 22 January 2018

Fighting for the underdog

Looking back

Many of us enjoy a bit of reality TV. It is an immersive and engrossing experience following individuals through highs and lows, watching them fighting against the odds; let's face it so many of us root for the underdog! Funnily enough this pretty much sums up our experience of rehabilitating and rehoming National RSPCA rescued animals.

Sometimes it feels like our work is akin to a ‘journey’ like that of a reality TV star. It is frequently over-flowing with feelings as we lunge from one emotion to the next as we take into our hearts and our care individuals who need us the most. Often in one day we experience euphoria, hope, frustration and sometimes despair. Having an animal to hug when times are tough should not be underated!

Nursing animals that seem beyond hope, seeing a previously abused animal find a loving new home or being thrown a lifeline when treatment options are running out is what our days are made of. It is an upsetting job to do, especially when in so many instances animal suffering could have been prevented. 

2017 was a really tough year for the volunteers and staff at the Manchester and Salford branch. Nearly 600 animals came into the branch’s care, many with problems we just couldn’t overcome due to the nature of the neglect and/or cruelty they experienced. However, 482 did find homes by the end of the year whilst the rest got to sit it out a bit longer waiting for a special home to call their own. Our staff and volunteers work so hard for each and every animal and we are so grateful to them.

Handful of the 482 animals who found loving homes in 2017

Helping the most in need
A highlight of 2017 has been working closely with the RSPCA Greater Manchester Animal Hospital taking in cats that have had extensive fracture repairs and in need of long term rehabilitation. We are always happy to help, whenever we can, with animals that need months of additional care before they are ready to be adopted. Our spaces are limited as we are only a small charity that rely on foster homes but we do make a difference to cats like Dennis…..

Dennis was reported to the National RSPCA in mid-2017. He was reported to have been found alone, dragging his leg behind him and in a rather terrible state. He was quickly picked up and brought to the local animal hospital.  X-rays showed he had a femoral head fracture. It was thought that the leg could possibly be saved but after many operations vets had to admit defeat and remove the leg entirely. Poor Dennis was now a tripod! After several months of treatment and rehabilitation he was finally put up for adoption towards the end of the year.

It's clear that Dennis is in no way phased by having one-less leg and now just need that forever home to call his own. Sadly Dennis is now our longest stay cat, as such we've popped him back into a foster home as he wasn't keen on the cattery. If you'd like to meet our boy have a read of his write up then give us a call 0161 882 0680 option 4!

Dennis much happier out of the cattery in a foster home!

Staff changes & a new charity shop!

We start the new year in a unique position with two new rehoming staff, Angela & Vanessa and two new retail staff, Carmen and Caroline . It's been years since we've had staff changes, hopefully testament to having a happy staff team. We are also looking forward to opening a new shop in Withington very soon and will be our first new shop in 5 years, so we are all really excited about this new opportunity. If you live in the area keep us in mind as we'll need lots of good quality donations when we first open! Our charity shops fund the majority of our work so they really are truly vital.

Angela (L) and Vanessa with baby bunnies!

Update from our Deborah

Our regular supporters will know that last November our long serving staff member Deborah was one of the lucky applicants selected to start training to become a National RSPCA inspector. Although we are a separately registered charity to the National RSPCA, we work closely with them and the vast majority of our animals come from their rescues. We asked Deb for a little update to share with you all two months into her training!

After working at the RSPCA Manchester and Salford Branch for 6.5 years I thought I had a good idea of what being an inspector involved but as I approach the end of week 10 (of 31) I cringe at how clueless I was. Last week me and my group of 24 other trainees finally left the classroom where we'd spent 2 months studying the English legal system, police powers, the Animal Welfare Act and various other bits of legislation. Considering the National RSPCA inspectors have no legal power it's amazing how much they need to know and how dependent they are on the Police and on good animal welfare laws to back them up. 

After talking about what we can and can't do we finally got to put some of our new knowledge into practice with 3 weeks of field training; I've been sent to the Shropshire group which covers a vast, rural area. So far I've checked on chickens, sheep, a few dog welfare concerns and have a meeting booked in regarding puppy farms. It's very different seeing these things in real life to on the TV especially when you don't know what's waiting for you behind the front door but it's great to finally start helping the team. 
Thankfully we did get a little light relief before the real work with a visit to one of the four National RSPCA wildlife hospitals. I spent two days at West Hatch in Somerset learning handling techniques as calls to attend injured wildlife are by far the most common. A Barn Owl, a hedgehog, a bat, a very angry swan and over 30 juvenile seals (very cute but very aggressive!) had the pleasure of my company but I fear after practising catching and bagging, the swan may never speak to me again. 

We have more exams, more legislation and thankfully plenty more practical learning sessions such as boat training and large animal care lined up for us over then next 20 weeks but looking forward to seeing some of the animals I've rescued going up for adoption at the Manchester and Salford Branch, only 5 months left to wait!


We need your suggestions!

Last week the National RSPCA released statistics that showed 9/10 cats that come into RSPCA care are not microchipped. This causes a logistical nightmare trying to locate owners and get moggies back to where they belong. We'd like to help and need your suggestions for locations in Manchester & Salford where you'd like to see us offer cheap microchipping events.

In particular we need suggestions or offers of venues we can use for a few hours to hold clinics. In the past we've used scout huts, churches, community centres and sports halls. We need space to set up several tables to complete registration and a waiting area with chairs. If you have any ideas of good locations in our area please get in touch! Email or call 0161 882 0680 option 4. 

Friday, 20 October 2017

A State of Flux: News Round-Up Autumn 2017 Issue 7

A State of Flux

Well times are certainly a-changin’ at the branch as Autumn embraces us with leaves, gales and pumpkin spiced lattes! We’ve been so busy it’s been rather cathartic to take a moment to update you on all things RSPCA M&S. 

Deb with one of her many past foster animals!
Firstly, join us and shed a tear (or bucket-load) as we have two members of staff leaving us this year! As a team of four ladies (on the animal side of things) the loss of half our workforce is a scary thought! However, we are extremely happy as Deborah (left) who has been with us for 6 years, 3 months, has been accepted on to the National RSPCA inspector training course and Catherine (below) is leaving us temporally to have another beautiful baby! 

We are so very proud of ‘our Deb’ for making it through the rigorous selection process and starting her training in November. She’ll be training for a year before graduating as a fully fledged inspector. As many of you will know, we work very closely with the National RSPCA inspectors who are the front line service for rescuing the animals we then rehabilitate and rehome. Therefore, we hope to see lots of Deborah in her new role!

Catherine is in the middle, dressed in white!

After a tricky selection process with many high-quality candidates applying for the posts, we narrowed it down and the interviews have taken place. We hope to be introducing you to our brand new team members very soon…. exciting times ahead for everyone!

The most common reasons that animals come into our care are abandonment (being left in woods, outside vets or at the side of busy roads to name a few!) or due to concerns over welfare. However, in the second half of the year we’ve had two unusual cases we’d like to share with you!

Case A: Hook, feline & sinker: Annette

We can honestly say there’s a first time for everything! National RSPCA inspectors were called to a case where a cat was reported to have a hook in her mouth. On arrival, lo and behold that was indeed the case! This poor girl had a fish hook completely through her delicate mouth. Thankfully, she was rescued and received immediate vet care. The offending item was removed and after some TLC Annette, as we named her, is now up for adoption!  Sadly, Annette wasn’t microchipped and her owner did not come forward but we are hopeful she’ll find a new, loving family very soon or even, maybe with you?!
Case B: Scrapyard bunny: Pia

If you are a regular follower of our Facebook page you’ll know that we live and breathe rabbits. As much as we absolutely dote on our cats, piggies, ratties, mice and reptiles—rabbits are our passion. As such, when we received a request from an inspector to take in a badly burned rabbit we had to help. However, we were shocked when we actually saw our girl, Pia. She was found by staff at a car scrapyard, collapsed with burns, probably caused by something on site. She was quickly sent for a consultation with our exotic vet and began treatment which included twice daily cleaning and medication. Despite the pain she must have been in Pia remained trusting of people and adores her fusses! She has been a true success story and is also now available for adoption. Perfect house bunny anyone?

Pia fit, happy and beautiful after her recovery!

Daring to care
With so many needy animals coming into our care this year it’s no wonder that the monthly cost to run the branch is currently roughly £30,000. To put this into perspective, the basic cost of neutering, microchipping, vaccinating, blood testing and flea/worming a cat ready for adoption is nearly £300. Add to that any costs for treating additional health problems plus paying for boarding in a private cattery (we don’t have an animal centre) and food, litter, toys etc—the expenses can soon can spiral! Therefore, anyone who offers to fundraise for us is welcomed with giant, open arms! This Autumn we’ve had several amazing supporters step forward and do amazing challenges for our animals….

Clare v  the Mountain

Long term supporter and adopter Clare climbed the summit of the second highest mountain in the Alps, Monte Rosa in September. It took two days and staying overnight in a mountain hut (not to mention the three days training beforehand) to scale. She raised an amazing  £986.73! You can still donate here too:

Gladiators Ready!

It was a team effort when Michelle, Hannah, Ricardo, Lisa and Rachel ran the gauntlet in September. They crawled up walls, monkey climbed and threw themselves down slippery hills, oh and ran 5K (Rachel doing a stonking 10K). In total a whopping £927.50 was raised by our intrepid gang of warriors!

13.1 miles for moggies

To top off our great fundraising activities just last week volunteer Hannah and staff member Michelle tackled the Manchester Half Marathon. Sadly for Hannah, who is particularly sensitive to warm weather when running, it turned out to be the hottest recorded temperature for that day for the past decade…. Despite this our top pair of ladies smashed the distance and raised a fantastic £540.  
Michelle and Hannah, victorious!

Looking forward

If the antics of our fundraisers have inspired you to join team RSPCA M&S and help abandoned, neglected and abused animals why not join us! Our next fundraising challenge will be at the Etihad Stadium on the 29 November. We need 30 people to join us for just a few hours to help collect donations. Fancy dress is encouraged, particularly bunny or cat ears! Last year we raised nearly £1,000 at the same event, can we beat that this year? Email to sign up! 

As I sign-off on this newsletter we are currently experiencing a wave of kitten and rat admissions; all rescued by inspectors and needing our help. So back to work we go! 

Keep up to date with all the news from the branch via our Facebook page and website (both updated daily). If you are interested in adopting an animal why not check out our website, your soul mate may be waiting for you… 

Enjoy the rest of your Autumn and as always, thank you for your support.


Happily adopted animals!