Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Kitten update

It has been quite a rollercoaster ride this last week with ill cats and kittens and our vet bill for December has proven to be the most expensive one of the year. I daren't tell you how bad it is but it is well over our maximum budget of £3000. It is desperately difficult to know what to do and I think the logical option will be a reduction in animal admissions but that is so much easier said than done, isn't it.

Over the Xmas period we sadly had to put to sleep one of the three boy kittens that was abandoned in a cardboard box. Little Brett had battled valiantly, and against the odds, but he went downhill for the second time and there was little more we could do for him other than to end his terrible demise.

The chances of any of the kittens surviving, having been taken away from their mother at barely 3 weeks of age and dumped on a random drive way in freezing temperatures, really were slim. But on a happy note, the other two, Murray and Jermaine, are doing brilliantly and are enjoying Cimicat and kitten food now and have 'shot up'! I hope you enjoy the piccies their foster mum Camen is very proud to share.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas

Today Catherine and I had so much fun giving all the cats their Christmas turkey. Oliver and Albert were so comical - Oliver was just so desperately excited it was so funny to watch as he couldn't decide which bowl to scoff from! Merlin (our rather obese moggy) thought he had won the lottery! He has been on a strict diet but we broke it for him to enjoy a treat. Everyone else seemed chuffed too, including Buzz with his peculiar meow.

We left turkey for all the dogs to enjoy at tea time, including our newbies Sid and Elmo - both of their former owners left them behind when they were sentenced to prison this week.

And this morning all the bunnies got treats thanks to one of our wonderful supporters sending is a Xmas parcel for them - how fab is that!

We would also like to say a tremendous thank you to all the wonderful people out there who have offered support and help for Morag. And, I've learnt that she is a Sheltie - thank you everyon; I really do still have a long way to go with learning my dog breeds.

I am delighted to tell you that I met a really smashing lady this week who lives not too far from us and is going to offer her love and care to Morag after the Christmas festivities. We have had Morag at the vets today and she is doing ok but will be an awful lot better once she is in a foster home. So, a huge thank you to Sue for opening her home to our Morag and of course we will keep you posted on her progress.

In the meantime I leave with news of our last admission - a little kitten boy, just 10 weeks old, witnessed being 'kicked' out the front of someone's home and into the snow. Thankfully the observer rescued him and called up the RSPCA helpline. The wee fella is currently snuggled up in the arms of his foster dad; clearly relieved and very content.

So, please, let's hope for a peaceful Christmas for animals everywhere and that they don't get neglected because of the cold or Christmas festivities.

Thank you all for being such great friends of them and us. Very Merry Christmas,
RSPCA Manchester and Salford Branch

Monday, 20 December 2010

On Behalf of Morag

This is little Morag. I don't know what the correct name for her breed is but she is a dinky little collie so I'm guessing it is something like 'mini collie'.

Morag came into our care last Tuesday.It is with eternal credit to her owner that he contacted the RSPCA to essentially report himself for failing to meet her needs. The gentleman had fallen ill and was unable to care for her and acknowledged that she was in a poor way and needed our help.

Morag's pictures probably speak for themselves. She is very underweight, she is balding on her rear through lack of care rather than any skin/flea allergy, and her claws were desperately overgrown - suggesting she had not been walked in a very long while.

Morag desperately needs your help. She is seriously struggling to cope with the austerity of the kennels and is spending most of her days in her bed shivering. She needs to have maleseb shampoo baths once a week to help her skin/fur but in these temperatures it would simply be unkind for us to do this.

Yesterday was the first day we could coax her out of her bed and it was wonderful to see her enjoying the enclosed paddock and lots of toys and treats and snow! She is clearly very confused about what is happening to her but is a very friendly little girl too.

As yet we cannot assess what type of home would be suitable for her so for now we are looking for a foster home to help her get back on her paws without children and in the Greater Manchester area.

Please get in touch if you can help; you can email:

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Fabulous Festive Cheer

On Monday I took a call from a gentleman interested in adopting a dog from us. His dog Molly had passed away just 10 days previously but he was spurred on to find a new member of the family because his other dog Finbar was so desperately missing his mate.

His first choice was our Elkhound Sasha but as we had a viewing of her that day, and somebody else in reserve for her, we couldn't take any more interest so I referred him to our website. A short while later he called back to express an interest in Lady, our greyhound. We chatted about her history and greyhounds in general and left the conversation with the gentleman going away to think some more.

Now, most of you know we don't have our own animal centre and instead we use private boarding kennels for the animals that aren't in foster homes. So, this means we go round to visit the cats, dogs and small furries several times a week (which also means we aren't in the office 9-5 because we are with the fluffs) and so on Tuesday morning I was with the bunnies when a call came from the kennels......

They had rung to say a customer of theirs had popped along and taken a shine to Lady and could they have a look at her whilst they were there. We had a bit of a chat and strangely enough it sounded like the same gentleman who I had spoken to the day before, and it was!

It turned out that the kennel owners had known the people for many years and knew them really well and were able to give the most wonderful recommendation, so I didn't hesitate to let them see Lady. (Usually we do viewings by appointment only and with our staff conducting them but with Lady being so placid and well behaved I had no qualms at all.)

About half an hour later I got another call from the kennels to say they definitely wanted her and in fact she had jumped into the back of their land rover to go home with them so I said if they want take her now they can, and they did!

Later that day I got the full story of how Lady's adopter was at the kennels (cos at the time it wasn't appropriate to have a long natter). It turned out that Bob (Lady's new dad) had gone down to the kennels with Finbar to share the news of Molly dog's passing. In conversation Bob happened to mention how he had seen Lady the dog on the internet and asked if the kennels knew where the RSPCA might board their dogs. So, with great amusement the kennel owners turned and pointed to our Lady and said, "You mean this Lady?" You can imagine then how it all unfolded with astonishment and delight. It is just magic stuff and certainly everyone felt it was just meant to be.

Later in the day Bob rung to tell me that Lady was fast asleep with Finbar by her side, all besotted like! And on Saturday we met up with Lady and Bob at the vets for us to get her second vaccination done and it was plain to see just how happy Lady was with her new family and just how much they loved her already.

And to my absolute delight this morning I found a message on Facebook with this beautiful picture letting me know how well she has settled in and how lucky they feel to have such a beautiful new addition to the family. Lady looks so content in her new home with the very handsome Finbar. What a wonderful new start to her life she has, something Lady truly deserves after living her life in kennels. I can't thank Bob and his partner and Finbar enough for opening their hearts and home to her. Merry Christmas to you all.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Bret, Jermaine and Murray

Sometimes the weeks feel so long that the start of them are a distant memory, or, I think it all happened another week. This week has been desperately long with really long hours for both Catherine and I; each day trying to fit too much in to too little time.
We have kitten explosion everywhere, which is just so untypical for this time of year. Not many are ready for adoption yet due to ill health (one of the reasons why we have had lots of running around this week) or being too young. So we will have plenty many kittens staying in foster homes over Christmas until the New Year now. What fun on Christmas Day! Check out Dodger up the Xmas tree already.....(his foster mum has adopted him - yay!).

The three cuties above are our latest arrivals - found Friday night abandoned in a box in Didsbury. They are three boys barely 3 weeks of age and quite frankly are very lucky to be alive. They were so hungry that the nurses looking after them at the RSPCA hospital ended up putting saucers of 'cimicat' down for them and they just rolled around and got covered in it so that's why they look so bedraggled! The boys are now safely in the care of one our wonderful foster homes and are doing really well, so everything crossed for them please.

Undoubtedly the highlight of our week was a phone call on Monday that resulted in the adoption of our 7 year old boxer Dale on Thursday. You know, it is just so fantastic that there are people out there like Dale's new mum and dad.....

His new family have had boxers for 20 years and of late taken it upon themselves to give a home to the older ones, who don't get snapped up so easily. They had seen Dale on the RSPCA main website and for 10 days his photo had stuck in their minds. They had sadly not long lost one of their oldies and were contemplating giving a new dog a home. Even though a friend was fostering a two year old boxer that got on great with their other two, Dale's picture kept 'haunting' them.

They came to see Dale on Wednesday and our lad seriously took a shine to the gentleman. As they lived quite a bit out of our area they knew a home visit might take a while and they were desperate to get Dale home asap. Bless their hearts, they offered us double the adoption fee if we could sort out the visit before the weekend, so Mel hot-footed to their home that very afternoon and Dale went the very next day! How blooming amazing is that! Thank you so much Mel for working over your hours yet again for the dogs - they are very lucky to have you.

We also had the surprise of finding two of our cats reserved this week - my favourite, Sally and newbie Tigger. Now, ordinarily rehoming an animal is nothing unique (although something we always get excited about) but at this time of year it is positively rare. Including Dale, we have only rehomed 4 animals this month, so we were just overjoyed when these two beauties were reserved to live together. We were also deeply relieved because at this time of year we have to find spaces for foster animals as many fosterers can't look after their charges because of family commitments over Christmas. I can tell you it will be a seat-of-the-pants job as usual as we just about manage to find places for everyone. We also try to plan for emergencies too but this is rarely possible.

For example, we are absolutely snookered on the rabbit front. So much so that we have had to close entirely to admissions for the foreseeable future. Despite recent radio and newspaper appeals not one bunny has found themselves a home. It seems largely as a result of the fact that few people can meet our rehoming criteria (which I will never compromise on or make apologies for). I am passionate that as the RSPCA we must be upholding the very highest welfare standards and never, ever will a hutch be enough for a rabbit. They deserve so much more and a life worth living and they can't do that alone in a hutch.

So, my wish this week is for foster homes.....I have an incredibly grumpy house rabbit that needs somewhere to stay until he is either rehomed or it becomes Spring time and he can move into our rabbit boarding place. He is taking up a foster space at my house which I really desperately need for ill rabbits and is causing no end of turmoil at the mo (but I shan't bore you with that story). And we desperately need a foster home for about a month for Sian the dog. She is an adorable, chilled out Chow (truly a lovely one). She urgently needs an op for entropian and to be spayed. She is also suffering with urinary problems and is on a prescription diet and antibiotics and needs twice weekly shampoos with maleseb for a skin condition. We cannot achieve what she needs without placing her in foster care - so if anyone out there can look after or fluffy teddy bear for about a month and can cope with accidents in the house please get in touch. Sian has had a rubbish life and we want to do all we can to find her the happiness she deserves.

I'm hoping for a peaceful week next week whilst Catherine is on leave and we get everyone sorted out for Christmas. I know I'm deluding myself already so I'll just go back to bed in a bit and enjoy my first day off in two weeks. And hey, at least Bret, Jermaine and Murray are safe now - let's hope there aren't many others out there being written off people's xmas card list this year.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

It's been such an eventful week that I really don't know where to start. There have been some legendary moments and despite the most disastrous turn out at our Christmas Fair-come-pet health clinic everything still feels rather positive.

I can only conclude that the weather put people off yesterday cos even the pet health clinic only saw 63 animals attend. In total we took £660 and that will be a profit of around £400. We are incredibly chuffed with the sum of money raised, especially in light of the weather, but really it was only all the staff and volunteers spending so much that made this result. So thank you to them all for being so generous (and my hubby for giving me his wallet) amd I cansay for sure that if nothing else we had aa right good scoff and a natter for the day.

I must, however, say a huge thanks to the wonderful cake bakers - and no, this is not some kind of euphemism. Firstly, to our wonderful cat cuddler Debs, at the cattery, for making the cutest cakes ever that said 'miaow' and 'woof' on them - superb. Also to my lovely mate Debby, for spending the entirety of Friday baking and burning and cursing me - you are a diamond. And to a lovely lady called Lisa who rang up after reading my appeal on the blog for cakes and came along with a right big armful and an offer of a home for one our bunnies. Fnatastic! And of course a massive thank you to all the other cake bakers - you all did us proud. I ate so many I was borderline sick.

So on to the animal updates. Late admissions at the end of last week were greyhounds Lady and Earl. They had been kept kennelled all their lives and were products of the racing industry. From what I know, an inspector investigated a complaint whereby a number of greyhounds were being kept for breeding. They were all ex-racers or with a racing pedigree in the family. We received a plea to take some in and we went over capacity for a week so we could take in two.

Just so you know what 'going over capacity' means, it involves hiring an extra kennel at £8.50 a day. We do this very rarely, for obvious reasons, but on this occasion we knew we had two reserves on dogs so I was hopeful it would only be for a short period.

Anyhow, the state of them when they came in shocked everyone. One was crawling with fleas, though oddly the other one wasn't. One was underweight but the other one wasn't. They both had dental issues and have had to have extractions and scale and polishes under anaesthetic this week, and above all, what was so saddening was the state of Earl's fur - as you can see he is just bald.

Already we've clocked up nearly £500 in vet bills alone helping these two beautiful, gentle souls. And whilst I don't begrudge them a penny it does really irk me that people just don't understand how much cost is involved in caring for animals. We have to find that money from somewhere and at the moment that isn't easy because our two charity shop's income (our main source of income) is at an all time low what with the with the weather and run up to Christmas.

Anyway, undoubtedly the highlight of the week for me has been striking up a wonderful relationship (albeit over the telephone) with the adopters of our dogs Lily and Max. In a nutshell, both have been hindered from collecting their dogs by external forces, not least of all the weather!

Lily's new dad made the most epic journey on Wednesday to come down from North Yorkshire to collect her. The journey was through snow blizards and ungritted roads and involved his sat nav packing up along the way too. I tell you, the effort this lovely man went to to get to Lily was just amazing. We had a team effort helping him to navigate on the last leg of the journey and it really felt like 'Challenge Anneka'!

When Lily and her new dad finally got home, thankfully in half the time, I got a phone call to say they were safe and sound and already firm friends. I soon found myself crying with the description of Lily being flat of her back on the sofa with her new dad having tummy tickles as she snoozed. This image was just so special to me because this was 3rd time lucky with a home for her after she had been returned twice before. Lily had the most terrible start in life and she deserved much better than failed adoptions. Her new dad assures me they will be together forever, and I believe him. I just bitterly regret that we got it wrong the other times.

The other wonderful relationship was with a gentleman in Newcastle who had become smitten by our bouncy boxer cross Max. In the first instance his home visit was delayed because everyone was snow bound up there. But after 5 days this took place.

But then,the crazy snow weather didn';t cease up there and it became very likely taht it would be at least two weeks before they'd be able to get out of their street to collect Max. Whilst in the meantime Max was beginning to suffer in the kennels.

We all began checking the weather daily. Max's new dad tried in earnest to shovel himself out of his drive way but his street was just simply impassable, so it came to a point where we were accepting the fact that Max would be with us for a couple more weeks but then staff member Mel came to the rescue.

Max really wasn't coping in kennels but what with being only 7 months old and having spent most his life in a backyard it wasn't really surprising. Mel decided that she would have a go at taking Max up to Newcastle and meeting the adopters within walking distance of their home. From what I can tell it proved to be a very long journey and very hard going but they made it! And much to the elation of all concerned. I'm sure you will agree this make sMel a legend and Max a very lucky, happy lad! He is pictured above in his new home and you can see he is so chuffed. Early reports also say that he is settling really well, which considering all he has been through in life so far is incredible.

Bunnies are my last feature of the week. We have been lucky enough to get press coverage in three local papers for help with rehoming the large numbers we have as a result of the case ones being signed over. As yet nothing concrete has come of the appeals but we are hopeful that one or two homes might transpire, and on Monday morning I'm off to BBC Radio Manchester to talk about our rehoming appeal too. I'm on air at 10.45am and given as this is my favourite topic I'll easily fill my 5 minute slot! Can't wait to rabbit on. (Oh dear, terrible pun).

Lastly, I just want to say thanks to the lovely people who came down to the fair yesterday to buy our Beano a Christmas present. Beano is our longest stay bunny and keeps being overlooked and so we now have him his very own 'special appeal' page on the national RSPCA's website. Let's hope we get him a home very soon because he is such a beautiful natured lad that deserves to be loved and looked after in a home more than any other bunny we have (except possibly Shady, but he's a whole other story, bless him).

Sunday, 28 November 2010

One Out of Two

WARNING: this blog contains distressing information.

I have learnt first hand this week how sick and depraved some people can be. It has disturbed me greatly to have been, albeit indirectly, involved in two shocking cases of animal cruelty.

Just over a week ago a call came through to the office to report an animal emergency. I had to redirect it to the national helpline, as of course we are just the local branch and have no jurisdiction over the inspectorate operation, but in the process I got to hear the distress of the person who had found such a sickening sight.

The next day one of the inspectors rang me to ask if we could help fund treatment and take in the animal concerned and the true horror of what was found was revealed. A kitten, clearly suffering with some kind of skin allergy, had been bound up on its legs with duct tape, presumably to stop it bothering at its skin. The kitten had been dumped in some undergrowth with a plastic liner from a cereal packet intentionally wrapped around its head; presumably left to suffocate or freeze to death.

The tape had been bound around the legs for some time, and it was uncertain as to whether kitten could be saved. I got the news on Wednesday that kitten could not be saved because the tape on the legs had caused the tendons to rupture. Leg amputation was not an option because of it being both legs. This poor little mite had suffered unimaginably and experienced nothing short of misery.

The same day we were asked to take in a 6 week old puppy. I can't reveal the whole story but I went to meet puppy the next day. He is a gorgeous little bundle and the inspector investigating the case has decided to adopt him, which is wonderful, and certainly a softener to the evidence that was found on his tummy of cigarette burns. In total there was probably 5 or 6 burn marks all around his tummy/genitalia. The image was shocking but not as shocking as to know that this innocent, helpless, dependent puppy was treated in such a sickening and depraved manner. It really is unintelligible and the image will no doubt stay with us all for some time.

It's such a sad fact that we live in a society capable of such horrors on innocent lives.

This week has thankfully had some high points and we have seen an upturn in animal adoptions and several of our gorgeous furries have been reserved and gone to new homes. We also took in Maddy this week, pictured above in Mel's foster care with Dolly (her lab) and Jake (who she adopted after his terrible battle for life). Maddy's story is a little unclear but essentially domestic violence was part of her back-story. Maddy was absolutely petrified when she arrived, she had never been walked and we had to carry her if, and when, she allowed us too. But Jake proved to be just the tonic she needed and she has very quickly come out of herself. It will be wee while before we can put her up for adoption, as there are few things to work through but hopefully we will find her the perfect home for Christmas.

Next week will be a busy one again, with preps for our Xmas Fair and Free Pet Health Clinic on Sat 4th December. I'm really looking forward to it but still need home made cakes donating or else I'm going to be up all Friday night baking and my repertoire only extends to flapjacks! Please keep everything crossed for a successful event as we need the money so much, having seen yesterday our vet bill for November is nearly £3k. I'd also like to say a thank you to someone for their kind cheque donation toward the Xmas Fair - you know who you are and I'm very grateful to you for being so thoughtful and supportive.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Sunday Dog Walk

I've just received these beautiful pictures in my inbox of our dogs enjoying their walk yesterday. Aren't they just fantastic. Thank you to the fabulous Sunday walkers for braving all weathers to walk the pooches - they all look so happy.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Have you ever heard a rabbit scream?

Not many people know that rabbits can scream. Admittedly it is rare and I've only heard it a couple of times in my lifetime, thankfully, because they only do it under extreme duress and it really is the most chilling thing to hear.

Sadly, one of only two experiences of this happened in the early hours of Sunday morning from the big fella, George, I had brought home to nurse as he was a new case admission in a very very bad way. Thankfully my husband was up and went to him straight away and sat and calmed him down, only for him to pass away a few minutes later. I had take him to the vets the next day for an autopsy so cause of death could be determined and hopefully help strengthen the case - the only saving grace in his needless suffering .

Following this I couldn't face taking little old lady grub to the vets so I cancelled the appointment. I confess to having fallen in love with her and just wasn't feeling able to make any kind of 'rational' decision. Having talked her case through with the vet I took her in the next day, and I'm so glad I did because a large mass was found in the womb area. She was too ill and old to be operated on (she had breathing difficulties too) so fate took the decision out of my hands. I really had fallen for that little mite and just wanted to give her every chance, but as I say, the decision proved not mine to make. But it does make you wonder how she ever became 'stray' in the first place given how frail she was.

Sadly, it didn't end there. One of our bunnies from another case we dub 'The Allotment 6' was showing signs of needing another dental - she was averaging one every 4 weeks but now it was barely 3 weeks - and she was very clearly suffering and developing a tooth root abscess. The decision was taken to end her suffering because it was just so unkind to keep her going, and thankfully, because the alleged owner is denying ownership of our girl Chloe we could be safe to go ahead and do this. How crazy is this, really? It certainly is an aspect of the rescue side that I find deeply frustrating.

And to top it off on the rabbit front, the new group from last week have all got mites so it's a 'here we go again.....'

The week has also brought loads of new admissions and I am delighted to introduce to you little Biff (pcitured above). He was found in the subway at Salford precinct and is barely 4 months old. He has clearly been owned cos he is very sociable but quite why anyone would be letting a little fluff out to play so young is beyond me. Anyhow, he is safely in our care and beginning to settle into quite a little cutie pie!

We also admitted this week four cats and two dogs and we are expecting more next week - not that we have any space; I'll worry about it next week. Animal adoptions have dropped right off and it is a huge worry cos as if we don't find homes we can't take more in and with Christmas coming up it is only going to get worse. We could really do with a miracle on so many levels but despite all this we still feel quite buoyant.

On Sunday we had a microchipping event in Flixton and the response was simply phenomenal - we chipped 106 animals in just 2.5 hours. The response really took us by surprise and we didn't have the staffing levels to cope with so many numbers, but we got through it reasonably unscathed, just shattered!

So, we are turning our thoughts to our last fundraiser of the year - a combined free pet health clinic and xmas fayre on Sat 4th Dec. It should be heaps of fun and we are really looking forward to it but I'm having the usual struggle to find enough volunteers and cake bakers but it'll will work out on the day, I'm sure, and we have been getting together some fantastic stalls and games so I really do think it will be alright on the day. Just need to make sure we make as much money as possible to pay the bills.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Woo Hoo!

Woo-hoo! Woo-hoo! Woo-hoo!

Last night was our Madhatter's Tea Party and we had the most brilliant time. We had a full house and raised £500 on the night and at the end of the variety acts we all danced the night away with our friend Kamey's covers band (Metro Squad) and they were awesome. In fact, all the acts were awesome and I am so grateful to each and everyone of them for donating their services for free and helping us to have such a successful night. I'm still on a high from it all!

We also have an end to the dreaded cat flu and we already have mucho plenty cats lined up to fill the spaces. As soon as word got out that we were 'open for business' again the inspectors and RSPCA clinic had filled the pens. It really is so bad again for cat abandonments. And what is even stranger is the number of kittens we are taking in still - having been found abandoned/stray etc. Even our vet Matt was saying he is seeing queens in season still. I have no idea what is going on but I have never known anything like it. Usually, from November through to March/April time there simply are no kittens but this week we have been inundated.

The other good news is that we have found a home for Bella and Jacob thanks to the blog and one of our wonderful home visitors, and last night, after 4 months of being in our care, they went to their new home - woo hoo! Just the best thing ever.

Other good rehoming news - our pup that was abandoned with a broken leg was finally given the all clear to be rehomed and went on his merry way to a very special new home. Rufus the kitten, abandoned in a cardboard box was rehomed yesterday too and we have a reserve on a very special dog called Thomas. He was never actually listed for adoption because he got snapped up before we got that far. Thomas came into our care because his owner passed away after battling cancer - he is for sure my most favourite dog. Phoebe the cat is going today and soon we hope Zena will too because she is also reserved.

This week we began the enormous task of sorting out our signed over case bunnies ready for adoption. We photographed them all on Friday - thanks Hannah! - and next week begins the major task of relaying them to the vets for neuters, vaccinations, health checks and it is surely going to take much of next week to do. Above is pictured mum Alexis and her babies Violet, Cybil and Pablo. I am quite worried about Pablo cos he seems to have stunted growth and a facial deformity but I feel hopeful for him nonetheless. The majority are rex bunnies and then a couple of lionheads and they are all just absolutely stunning.

Of course, we have had some low points too this week, as you already now, but then we got the devastating blow that 7 of our 27 case bunnies were ones that the owner has chosen not to sign over. This means that we will have them in our care indefinitely whilst the case proceeds and goes to court. They also happen to be some of our favourites too and one of the poor bunnies is needing dentals every 4 weeks. This means this poor little love is going to have to endure ongoing dental problems and repeated risks of anaesthetic whilst the case proceeds, which is just so unfair.

We also had 10 new bunnies arrive on Thursday from a new case. Thankfully 7 seem in good condition, although it is obvious from the staining on their fur that they've been kept in filthy conditions, but sadly 3 are in a bad way. I have one at my house and it is quite tough to see him like this. His future really is not hopeful, at all.

And then the little stray old lady bun we took in last week seems to be really suffering with her tooth roots despite lots of pain relief. She is at my house too. Whilst she is walking better and seeming more perky she just isn't right. I'm off to the vets with her Monday to discuss her prognosis but I'm not hopeful. I feel very much in conflict about her. My heart and head are really battling with each other. I think we are unlikely to be able to help her overcome allher problems and.......well, you get the picture. I really hate having to make decisions about life and death but I know it's coming along again and dreading it again. So for now, I am going to enjoy the week with my little old lady bun and put next week to the back of my mind.

In the meantime I'm going to pray for a small miracle in the shape of lots of new homes for our rescue bunnies.

Monday, 8 November 2010

The last seven days have been shot through with ups and downs.

The best thing by far was receiving more contributions to our rabbit appeal in the form of toys and an amazing cheque donation of £100. We also, last thing on Friday, found out that 417 out of 433 of the North Yorkshire case animals have been signed over. This means that we can soon get on with the task of having our group of 27 kitted out, ready for rehoming. This coming Friday Hannah and I will begin the enormous job of get them all posed and photographed so we can begin the process. Taking photos of bunnies is nowhere near as bad as photographing cats but still requires plenty of bribery in the shape of herb salad! I am actually really looking forward to it because it means that we can do what we do best - rehome animals!

Of course it also has a darker side because a small number are in quite a bad way and the kindest thing is to end the suffering of some of the ones that are in a bad way, and today I have taken Howie and Harrison to the vets to do just that. They had chronic dental disease and we just couldn't keep them going; it was unfair on them. And tomorrow morning I'm taking Bryony, who is incontinent, largely it seems because she has an abnormally small bladder. Further tests have suggested she may have an internal haemorragh too, so again, there is little choice left.

Arguably, for me, it is the putting to sleep animals that we have rescued that is the most difficult. I'm able to say that because I am not an inspector and don't see how badly they were treated originally. But from my role as rehabilitator and rehomer I feel like a failure when we can't give them what they deserve. I am feeling a little low, but I know in my heart that it is the kindest thing to do what we've done, it just hurts knowing we couldn't undo what what was done to these beautiful, innocent souls.

The cat flu is still running its course through the cattery so I can't see us reopening for another week or so. But despite this we have had people visiting and today Zena and Phoebe have been reserved and tomorrow someone is going to visit Harold - the cat flu perpetrator - so please keep everything crossed for him.

We also saw two more dogs go to their new homes this week - Buster the one year old lab cross and collie pup Sophie. They are both real handfuls so I always get quite anxious about them being returned but we will keep everything crossed that it works out for them both.

Last month, despite the closure of the cattery, again, (for ringworm) we still managed to rehome 22 animals, but I'll be honest, I am so worried about the future with all the dramatic government cuts and job losses. Only at the weekend I read that 4 prisons are to close and there will be further massive cuts to the prison service with 8,000 job losses. Where will it end?

We have experienced the effects of the recession first hand for quite some time but this weekend brought it really home to me. We have two gorgeous kittens, Jacob and Bella (pictured), who have been with us since the beginning of July and for some reason they keep being overlooked. We finally had someone lined up for them when they got the awful news that they were being made redundant. Obviously they made the sensible decision to not go ahead with the process of adopting them but I just can't help but think that this is the start of things to come and I'm very worried indeed about the implications on animals.

The last news I want to share is the loss of our baby boy Horace (pictured) under anaesthetic. He was one of seven baby bunnies abandoned in a box and had been happily causing mayhem in my foster care. He went for castration last Thursday and his heart stopped whilst he was under. It was an absolute shock but I couldn't help but feel more sorry for the attending veterinary staff because loosing rabbits under anaesthetic is just so rare to me (we use rabbit specialist vets and Horace is only the 2nd in about 1000 that this has happened to). I don't know if there is anything after death but I do like to picture our animals running free in glorious sunshine and fertile fields - so I hope that Horace, Howie and Harrison are there enjoying the life they should have had.
Let's hope we can make a difference to the animals we can help.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Things that have really touched me

It has been a tough few weeks and things aren't getting any better - the number of animals in our care is up to 85 (51 on the rehoming side and 34 case animals). There is just two of us doing the care side at the moment and it's really hard going but, at the same time, it has been a pleasure to see people offering their help and support, and, above all, expressing their gratitude for what we do. This is so rare to hear, yet so great to hear.

I came into the office today to find a parcel in my name and inside were lots of rabbit enrichment toys. I don't know who sent them in but it was just so great to know that our 'Rabbit Appeal' had touched someone and they had taken the trouble to order and send in some gifts for our case bunnies - I can't wait to give them out tomorrow. Thank you, whoever yo are.

People have been showing their kindness in other ways too - we have been inundated with offers of homes for Little Tess, pictured above. I swear, we could have rehomed her 50 times over and all over the UK too. I'm pleased to say she went to her new home on Friday.

I was also at one of adopter's homes last week after having taken her baby boys for neutering. She absolutely blew me away when she said she wanted to make a donation to our work and subsequently wrote out a cheque for £300. This has never happened to me before. It was amazing.

And then, on Saturday, anonymously through the post arrived a cheque for £500. Now that has never happened before, either. Just fantastic.

I have, of late, been seeing some amazing acts of kindness and this afternoon two more came along.

Firstly, I got a call from a lovely guy who we helped in late August when he had exhausted all possibilities of finding somewhere for his beloved dog to go following the breakdown of his relationship and being made homeless. He faced the very real possibility of putting to sleep his beloved dog because nowhere could help him after 4 weeks of trying. We took his dog into our care. Missy was her name and she was the most beautiful spirit.

We were lucky to rehome Missy in matter of weeks. And after a month of being in her new home her new family sent us through some wonderful photos of her settled in. The pictures spoke a thousand words so I printed them off and sent them to Missy's former owner - hoping with crossed fingers that the address we had on file would see him get the comfort he was no doubt longing for - to know that his girl was happily rehomed.

He was so pleased we'd sent him the photos that he rang up to thank us. He said he would treasure them forever and that not a day had gone by without him wondering and worrying about how she was doing. His gratitude was immense and his relief evident and he has pledged to help us help other dogs in need with regular contributions once he is back on his feet in the new year. And, what's more, I really do believe he will, and, I suspect our dogs will be enjoying some lovely treats before Christmas too.

I am so grateful to Missy's 'dad' for showing me a different side to human kind that was so genuine and compassionate. I really hope he can find peace in his heart now and rest easy that his girl has found a very wonderful forever home. (You can see pictures and an update of Missy on our website).

The last thing I want to share with you is about the future adopters of our puppy Frankie. Our lad was abandoned with a fractured leg. In fact, it was well into the healing process by the time he was dumped and now he faces an uncertain future with his leg as he is still struggling to weight bare and the leg muscle has atrophied. The nature and location of the fracture meant that to intervene with surgery would have been even more harmful. Frankie has been with his foster mum for 6 weeks and has another two weeks before he is due another check up. During this time one of the foster mum's friends has fallen in love with him and today they passed their home visit with flying colours.

Frankie's new owners have told us that no matter what the outcome is with his leg they still want him and they will do all they can to help him with whatever he needs - physiotherapy, hydrotherapy - absolutely anything at all. They have really fallen for him. They visit him daily and have already been out and bought him £200 worth of goodies!

So, whilst it maybe tough going at the moment, it is inspiring to know what love and support there is out there for animals, and I just want to thank everyone who cares, supports us and helps us out because we surely could not do this without your compassion and love.

Monday, 25 October 2010

My Big Fella

My big fella (pictured above) aptly named Biggun (full title Ivor Biggun), came from what we call a 'multiple animal case'.

My friend texted me on Friday to say the owner had finally been convicted and there was a full report about the awful conditions the 92 animals were kept in. I was really shocked by what I saw, I guess more than anything because we all rarely get to see just how bad things are.

Biggun was one of only two rabbits in the place, both of which we took in. One of the inspectors told me that his cage was so small that he couldn't fully lift his ears. Biggun is a Continental Giant.

To see the full report follow this link:

Biggun has definitely been 'damaged' by his past. He is incredibly territorial, highly values his space and possessions, he is a grumpy sod and can take offence at anything and anyone and isn't immune to boxing you when you aren't being quick enough with his breakfast or he has had enough of the loving strokes you are giving him. But whon wouldn't be after what he has been through. And besides, I love him so much and I'm so glad he is mine.

Quarterly Newsletter


How Are We Doing?
The truth is we are busier than ever and whilst we are pleased to report that rehomings have picked up after the post election blues, we are seeing ever increasing numbers of animals needing our help; and we fear things are just going to get worse with the latest announcement of government cuts.

We are unsurprisingly struggling financially still. Even our charity shops are feeling the pinch; we are not getting the donations or the customers like we used as people seem to be cutting back more and more. As a result, we are losing up to £1,000 a month alone from our shop income.

Financial donations are greatly down too and we fear the worst is yet to come. Sadly this is all happening at a time when we need financial support more than ever due to the intake of two cases of animals rescued by RSPCA inspectors from pitiful, squalid conditions.

One case is of 6 rabbits and the other case was of 430+ small animals in just one property, of which we took in 23 rabbits and 4 guinea pigs. This is 33 small animals in addition to the dozen we already had in our care (which is the maximum we can typically afford to care for) but when these desperate cases came along we had to rally round and help.

As a consequence we are launching the Rabbit Appeal this month; asking animal lovers to help us provide the extra 33 small animals in our care with the essential environmental enrichment they need to meet their needs to be kept occupied and stimulated.

We are also planning ahead for when the animals will, hopefully, be officially signed over to our care by the judges presiding over the cases and we can get them neutered and vaccinated at a cost of around £120 per rabbit.

Currently the animals can only receive essential veterinary care as they still technically belong to the owners. We only have the right to take care of them because the police have seized the animals for us.

Undoubtedly the most frustrating thing of all is that it could take upwards of 6 months for the prosecutions to reach conclusion, and then there is always the possibility that we won’t be successful and have to return them to their owners.

For the time being we have to put that thought out of our minds and give the animals the best care they could wish for, but it is disheartening to know they will have to wait indefinitely for the new homes and lives they deserve. This is all the more tragic for the five four week old baby rabbits that will miss out on growing up and being enjoyed in a loving home.

If you would like to donate any rabbit toys please bring them along to our Urmston or Chorlton charity shop. You can also make a financial donation via our website at or by sending us a cheque to the address below. And if you are a rabbit savvy owner and would like to help us care for and socialise the bunnies please get in touch.

Will You Join Us In Wonderland?
On Friday 12th November we will be holding our biggest fundraiser of the year at Chorlton Irish Club on High Lane in Chorlton – a Madhatter’s Tea Party no less!

Come and take a jolly tumble down the rabbit hole and join the Madhatter for a teaparty you will simply never forget. Bring a smile as wide as the Cheshire Cat and please don't be late or you will miss out on our fabulous entertainment including our magician, live music, comedy turns and a spectacular alternative dance troupe. There will be oodles of mysterious cakes, jam tarts, great music and a fully licenced bar, so follow the white rabbit and watch out for flamingos on your way to the greatest party in all the land!

Advance tickets £7 from our Chorlton charity shop or £8 on the door (50p off for concessions). Doors 7.30pm, first act 8.15pm. Full line up can be seen on our website.

Dog Demands
One of the saddest things we have seen over the last few months has been an unprecedented influx of young dogs needing our help. It seems that new dog owners are underestimating the demands and needs of puppies and before long are finding themselves unable to cope with unruly, ill trained, unsocialised dogs. So far these dogs have ranged from 3 months to 12 months of age and it is just tragic to see these poor animals ill cared for, unwanted and homeless through no fault of their own.

No less tragic is the story of Lily, pictured above. Lily’s home was a car, locked inside with her litter mate Diaz because her owners were not allowed pets in them home they shared with their landlord. Lily was only 9 months old when she came into our care but is now nearly 18 months old, having being adopted twice and returned to us each time. Each time Lily’s needs were underestimated, meaning she has now had several places she has called home and has let been let down too many times, including by us.

We are desperate to find Lily a new home, preferably on a farm or in a home where outdoor pursuits are enjoyed daily. She is a cracking little energetic dog that needs someone that will give her the stimulation and activity that she needs.

Can you give her the home that she needs? Please contact us if you can.

Social Networking
This year, not only have we launched our new website but we are embracing the potential delights social networking sites have to offer charities such as ours.

We need friends! So please sign up to our new Facebook site where you can see and learn all about the animals in our care and the events we have going on. Search for us under RSPCA Manchester and Salford Branch.

Want our Tweets? Join us on Twitter @rspcamcrsalford and receive daily updates on our work and join in on the discussion board.

Of course you can still follow the ups and downs of our animal rescue work with our blog, which continues to be ever popular at

Dates For Your Diary
Sun 31st Oct Halloween Quiz Nite
Test your knowledge on all the things that go bump in the night at our Halloween themed quiz night.
At My Place, formerly The Lounge Bar, next door to Chorlton precinct entrance on Wilbraham Road. Doors 7pm, quiz starts 7.30pm, £1 pp entry.

Sat 6th Nov 11-3pm Pet Health Clinic
Free veterinary health checks for cats and dogs, plus £1 microchipping & discounted flea and worming treatment. Rainbow Community Rooms, 275 Liverpool Rd, Eccles, M30 0QN

Fri 12th Nov 7.30pm til late Madhatter’s Tea Party
Enjoy an evening of eclectic entertainment and wonderment with the Madhatter and his friends at Chorlton Irish Club, High Lane, Chorlton, M21. Doors 7.30pm, adv tix £7, on door £8 (conc. 50p off). Dare you enter the rabbit hole?

Sun 14th Nov 4.30-7.00pm £3 Microchipping for all pets at St John’s Church, Irlam Road, Flixton, M41 6AP. No appointment necessary.

Sat 4th Dec 11-3pm All Pets Xmas Party
Come join us for our annual Xmas fair plus FREE veterinary health checks for all pets, £3 microchipping and discount flea and worming treatment. St Matthew’s Church Hall, opposite Stretford Arndale, on Chapel Lane of Stretford Road.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Reptile Roadshow - The Results Are In!

RSPCA Manchester & Salford Branch

Reptile welfare first came to the branch’s attention in late 2008/early 2009 when the RSPCA inspectorate working in the Manchester & Salford area investigated several cases involving reptiles.

The branch had by now established a programme of animal welfare promotion, mainly involving the delivery of free pet health clinics to communities that did not have easy access to veterinary services whether that be through geographical or financial restrictions. Rarely were reptiles seen at these clinics despite always having (and advertising) the presence of an exotic vet specialist.

When the branch secured a grant from the national RSPCA to deliver ten pet health clinics during 2010 the idea of trialling a Reptile Roadshow came to mind. The branch had long been running very successful specialist Rabbit and Guinea Pig Roadshows and so the hope was that an event specifically for reptiles might reach these creatures and their owners and offer a wealth of advice and support to all.

What We Hoped to Achieve

Each time we delver a free pet health clinic our goal is to:
· help animals whose owners may not be able to afford routine health care
· help as many people and animals stay together during this time of financial hardship
· offer affordable microchipping and treatment for fleas and worms
· help prevent or alleviate illness and/or suffering
· help raise awareness about welfare needs and best practices
· offer further financial assistance with veterinary treatment, subject to availability and means testing

The goal was no different on this occasion accept with one added hurdle – overcoming prejudices amongst reptile keepers toward the RSPCA. Unfortunately the RSPCA is not popular amongst all fractions of society and previously it was felt by many reptile keepers that the RSPCA had a limited and scant understanding and knowledge about reptile keeping. Whilst we were fully aware that the odds would be slightly stacked against us we have never been a branch to avoid a challenge.

How We Achieved It
The branch is fortunate to have some very good friends in the reptile world, namely leading environmentalist and conservationist Crocodile Joe ( , tortoise expert and welfarist Debs Glanville, trainee exotic vet Sarah Pellet and one of the most prominent exotic vets in the country, Molly Varga. In fact, Molly is one of only four vets in private practice in the UK to hold the qualifications in exotic medicine that she has.

The team of experts provided invaluable help and support in setting up and running the roadshow and their credentials enabled us to approach reptile forums, tortoise charities and leading purveyors of reptile products with confidence and clarity of vision.

We received the most fantastic support from Practical Reptile Keeping magazine, Vet Ark and Bio-Care. The publicity achieved enabled us to reach a far wider audience than we could have hoped for whilst the product samples enabled us to offer free samples to animals in need and in the process educate owners about their availability and necessity.

At each event Crocodile Joe held court; educating and advising visitors on best husbandry practices for their reptiles. He was able to easily demonstrate these practices with his exhibition vivariums and expert handling skills. Undoubtedly Joe stole the show each day and added a really vital dimension to the roadshow because we all -staff, volunteers and visitors alike - learnt so much from his infectious enthusiasm and wealth of knowledge and experience.

Debs Glanville worked tirelessly talking at length with tortoise owners; offering alternative husbandry ideas, dietary and care advice and never failed to ‘coo’ over each and every tortoise that came along! To be honest, we could have done with cloning Debs, such was the demand for her helpful hints and advice.

But of course the main draw was the free health checks and advice offered by the exotic vets. Over the two roadshow dates a total of 98 animals were health checked for free in just 8 hours! By far the most popular animals that attended were tortoises followed by bearded dragons. More unusual visitors included a chameleon, red headed aganas, a white tree frog and a pastel boa.

Microchipping was not so much in demand as we had thought, even though we charging just £3 a time, as only 14 animals in total were microchipped and all of these were tortoises.

Attendance at each event proved surprising; the Saturday date in Stretford, South Manchester saw just 32 animals attend. Whereas the event that took place in Eccles on a Sunday saw 66 animals attend. If the funds are available for us to repeat the roadshow in 2011 we will head back to the Eccles event on a Sunday again, but this time in the height of summer, as the cold days would have definitely have deterred people from bring their animals out of their cosy, warm vivs.

As always, getting events publicised is the hardest bit but with the help of Practical Reptile Keeping and the local newspaper, Salford Advertiser, we received attendees as far away as the Lake District, Rhyl and Congleton in the heart of Cheshire. Hopefully, with having delivered this roadshow so successfully, word will get out about it and next time more people will feel able to trust our motivation and expertise.

Of the animals that were brought along the most striking cases were that of a recently rescued tortoise that had metabolic bone disease and septicaemia. We also saw a bearded dragon with septicaemia and plenty many examples of tortoises that had at some point not received sufficient calcium in their diet and developed deformed shells.
The highlights for the vets were the larger tortoises that came along, including a Burmese and a Leopard. The latter Molly had not seen before in all her years of private practice work. Both vets stated that they consistently saw well cared for animals whose owners had a better than average knowledge about good reptile keeping and had clearly come along to check they were doing things right and to get more helpful hints and ideas.

Of course what this does mean is that we were not successful in reaching the people whose welfare practices may need some additional support, and to be honest, we are not sure quite how we reach these people in the future. In addition, as the vets said, it can sometimes be harder to tell if your reptile is ailing (than amore common companion animal) so people may not know there is a problem until it the condition has progressed or it is too late.

The two day Reptile Roadshow cost over £1,000. All in all we feel it has been a success and hope that we have started something that we can build upon in the future. Ideally we would like to begin to develop a more trusting relationship with reptile owners and offer our services to many more of these magnificent creatures.

In the meantime we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who came along and supported the event and even bigger thank you to our team of volunteers, experts and the very wonderful reptiles that we met, because without you all we really could not have done it.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Hope Springs Eternal.....Sometimes

I have tried so hard this week to snatch half an hour to update the blog but it has been a really hectic week. I've clocked up well over 55 hours so far and it's only Friday. But, I tell you what, it has all been worth it and I'm just itching to tell you all our news.

We don't normally take in what we term 'case animals'; these are ones who have been removed from their owner and the owner is subject to further investigation with a view to prosecution due to neglect/causing suffering/failing to seek veterinary treatment/abandonment etc - you get the picture. The reason we don't normally take in these kinds of animals is because we don't have our own animal rehoming centre and so pay to board our animals at various boarding establishments.

It therefore makes a lot more sense for us to prioritise our limited spaces - 11 in the cattery, 8 in the kennels and in theory 12 small animal spaces - for animals available for adoption (e.g. because they have been abandoned, signed over, found stray etc). And to be honest animal centres are better equipped to look after case animals because it usually takes months for a case to come to conclusion and the animals has stay in our care all that time in case the owner wins the case and the judge orders the return of the animal(s).

But two weeks ago I got a call asking for help with what is arguably got to be the biggest multiple animal case we have ever seen. Thankfully, our small animals boarder has massive capacity outside of peak holiday seasons and was able to accommodate quite a few more than we normally can afford to house there so I agreed to take in 20 small animals.

(I must mention at this point two things: 1. we already have 6 case rabbits from another investigation/prosecution that we took in a week before this call, and 2. I have to be suitably vague about details so as to not jeopardise any investigations and future potential prosecutions.)

We went to collect the 20 animals a week ago, after they had been removed from the owner, only to come away with 27. I know, far more than we can possibly afford but they needed us and at times of crisis I feel us branches have to rally around together and do what we can. Long term I have no idea how we are going to afford the additional costs of neutering, vaccinations, health care etc when they are, hopefully, able to be rehomed, but as it could be months down the line yet I'm just putting it to the back of my mind.

The other confession I must make is the same day the call came through about the large animal case one of our inspectors had got a call about 7 baby bunnies abandoned in a box. Guess what happened to them.....yes, they are boinging around my house! However, two have found homes with friends of ours so I've not got quite as many...though that is a poor defence as another new admission came home with me today - a gorgeous bunny lad found stray in Sth Mcr with the usual dental problems and unable to eat. We had caught gut stasis just in time and he has a dental and is happily recovering at mine for the weekend (it was fair to say husband was not amused when I called to forewarn him).

As you are probably gathering, with so many animals whose owners are subject to potential prosecution, there is ill health aplenty and that is why it has been such a hectic week because we've had our normal workload to do too a swell seeing to all the extras. But like I say, I wouldn't have it any other way because we are helping when and where it is most needed.

So, the current count on small furries in our care (not including Buffy and Duffy who are going to their new home tomorrow - hooray!) is: 44 small furries. Yeah, I know, that's a helluva lot of fluff! I just hope we get to keep them and find them new homes.

On to cat news....the suspected case of ringworm was confirmed but thankfully had not gone beyond Sally cat. We were finally able to reopen the cattery last weekend and as a result had 4 cats reserved - Starry, Thomas, Izzy & Winston and they should all be leaving us to go to brighter futures in the next few days, which is a good job as we have to take in 4 on Monday.

On top of this we have newbie Wanda today who was found abandoned and Hendrix who was in a terrible RTA and had to have his leg amputated. Both are absolutely beautiful cats and I'm sure they will be snapped up quickly.

So, last news of all to share is dog updates. In fact, there is so much to tell that I'm not sure where to start but needless to say we have had a steady flow of interest in our new furries up for adoption. Little puppy Sophie, who was found stray in a field with bite wounds to her face and neck, has found a home and is going Sunday and we have lots of new admissions and 3 viewings booked in to see our dogs over the weekend - magic stuff!

So, I just want to finish this week with an 'in memory' bit. Exactly two weeks ago the two puppies pictured, Jake (left) and Elwood (right) were taken into the RSPCA animal hospital desperately ill with an absolutely terrible, terrible worm burden that had left them seriously malnourished, desperately dehydrated and fighting for their lives. They were only approx 7 weeks old.

It soon transpired that the owners provided false contact info as they could not be reached. This was confirmed two days later when an inspector was sent to check out the address. I can only hope that they were too ashamed to provide correct details and were embarrassed for not having sought help for these babies sooner.

After 6 days of hospitalisation the boys had appeared to have stopped passing live worms and appeared well enough to go into foster care with our Mel. But that night they went downhill, passing live worms out of both ends and became very lethargic. The next morning we took them to our regular vet and they were hospitalised immediately. Thereon in began an enormous effort by all the staff to save the puppies.

At first we lunged from one hour to the next, clinging to hope. Then from morning to afternoon to evening. We never made it from day to day but by Wednesday Jake had seriously bounced back and was ready to be discharged. Sadly, desperately, Elwood was slipping further away from us; his diagnosis uncertain but was treated with the utmost diligence and care yet by Thursday he was a shadow of himself and could barely lift his head. There was only one kind option left and that was to let him go.

Despite the best medical care money could buy this poor little lad died a needless death. I'm not sure I can forgive the people who allowed this to happen to him; he was only a baby, a trusting dependent, a needy, vulnerable baby. What we need now is massive dose of hope and faith that Jake will make it through - so please keep everything crossed for him.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

More Roadshow Photos

Aren't animals amazing.

Reptile Roadshow

Today really was just so much fun. We held our first ever Reptile Roadshow and it was just absolutely amazing. We were all like kids in a sweet shop - we met so many amazing creatures; I think the pictures really say it all.

Of my favourites were a chocolate and lime type coloured king snake, 'Yellow' the bearded dragon and 'Bud' the chameleon, oh and I mustn't forget Molly the giant spider (the proper name alludes me but she was so beautiful).

We can't wait for the second one next Sunday, 17th Oct 11-3 at the Rainbow Community Rooms on Liverpool Street in Eccles. I really hope we get to meet even more amazing creatures.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Dedicated Followers of Fashion

Mel and Catherine were out in the torrential rain today walking the dogs. Good to see spirits were high despite the weather. The dogs had a ball and we even managed to coax our new dog Roxy out of her kennel and for a play in the paddock - she loved it!

More about Rosie and all our newbies next time....

Tomorrow we are off to Great Ayton Animal Centre to help with the most biggest multiple animal case ever. Can't say too much but we are taking in just a small fraction, 20 rabbits, and I mean a small fraction.

More to follow, but in the meantime - how ace are Mel and Catherine? Very.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Theme of the week...

...has most definitely been 'abandonment', but it all feels really positive because we've been able to be there for the animals and take them in. So, let me tell you who we've met this week.

Well, first up was little Sophie, the cutest little leggy staffie cross pup ever! She is approx 10 weeks old and was found on a field all on her own with cuts to her face and neck. To be honest, they look like bite wounds from a bigger creature having mouthed/bitten her. They ahd to be flushed out under anaesthetic but they are healing nicely and she is now safe and sound in the care of one of wonderful foster mum's. She is very adorable, but very hard work like puppies can be at this age, and the foster kittens in the same home are still quite unsure about her, even though she is smaller than them!

We willbe able to look for a home for Sophie in seven days time and I have no doubt she will get snapped up; she really is so sweet.

I heard about the next cutie pie just after I had dropped off Sophie at her foster home. A puppy had been found tied to the railings of a block of flats with all his belongings and a very sore paw. He was taken to our animal hospital for the night and I collected him the following morning.

The poor love had a fracture to his leg, which is presumably why someone has abandoned him because they were worried about vet costs. Fred, as we've called him, is doing really well and the fracture is able to heal on it's own with the help of pain relief. But what a smashing lad he is. He is about 4 months old and good as gold. Fred sleeps through the night in his crate without any trouble, he is toilet trained and he loves his cuddles and is great with all his foster mum's other dogs too. He seems to be a crossed with a staffie and something like a collie and whilst he isn't likely to win 'Most Handsome' in a dog show his personality well and truly makes up for it. Fred is ace.

We have to wait 21 days before we can rehome Fred because an 'abandonment notice' has had to be served, but his leg will need a while to heal anyway so it's not too bad and he's lurvely!

And, if that wasn't enough excitement for one week, a box of 7 baby rabbits was abandoned on a member of the public's doorstep so guess who has seven babies hopping around her home? Yes, me, the greedy bunny lady!

One of them, Sky, was about a third bigger than the rest and was bullying all the others so I had to separate her. She also doesn't look anything like the others but presumably they are from the same litter? I guess we will never know....

The pics above show all but Sky. There is Juniper, Twiglet, Jeffrey, Horace, Penelope and Pogo. How good are those names? Not guilty - Hannah is. I drafted her in to help sex and name them as she is infinitely better at naming than I am. They are a lot smaller in real life than they look in the pics but they are every bit as gorgeous and they are ever so friendly. They absolutely adore their hay, which is so good, and they are going to make the most wonderful companion animals when they are old enough. In the meantime I get the pleasure of baby bunnies (eating me out of house and home). I really love them. (I think you all have got the picture by now that anything furry, but especially with a bobtail, gets very big thumbs up!)

We also admitted this week a lovely 1 year old lab x collie called Buster and on her way in, in fact as I type, is a female American Bull Dog. Sadly, we have no movement on the cat front and remain closed to visitors as the skin test results have not yet come back. Even more troubling news on the cat front is that some of our kittens are looking likely to have cat herpes and so we are now waiting results on them too. The cats really are having a tough time of it so we have been spoiling them all this week with fresh chicken and gourmet pouches.

I remain upbeat though, and after having done our rehoming statistics for September there is every reason to be so. We rehomed 27 animals in total - 6 dogs, 9 rabbits (which is a record) and 12 cats. That really is the first time we have rehomed more rabbits/dogs than cats. I really am not sure why but hopefully things will pick up on the cat front soon for their sake and so we can help more as the demand again this week to take in cats as been just as bad.

Tomorrow we are celebrating World Animal Day (it's actually Mon 4th October but we wanted to share the celebration with as many people as possible). At our Chorlton shop we will be on hand to talk all things animal related and RSPCA and to share out cake. Yes, cake! So, if you are around between 11-1pm please drop by.

Actually Saturday is looking really hectic as we also have a volunteer home visitors training course in the morning and a craft workshop in the afternoon with Rock Corps volunteers helping us make props for our Madhatter's Tea Party in November. It's going to be a hectic day but I'm really looking forward to it. Bring on the cake!

Friday, 24 September 2010

Kittens and cats

I received this photo in my inbox this morning and just had to share....

On the right is little Oscar, he was found last week on a rubbish dump in North Mcr, riddled in fleas and full of feistiness. He is now a sweetie pie and loving the company of his fellow foster kitten Ellie, who has been reserved today!

Sadly, the little kitten we saved from dying last week went desperately downhill yesterday and we were unable to do any more for her. Little Lily had been found on a scrapyard the same day Oscar was found and rescued, but little Lily just wasn't for this world and we had to amke the very sad decision to put her to sleep.

Her foster mum (who also has Ellie and Oscar) was heartbroken, but like she said to me - at least she had a week in her love and care rather than dying a cold and miserable death in a scrapyard.

We lost another cat yesterday too. Essy was abandoned on a small park in Salford with a brief note attached; there was evidently another cat left with her but she had escaped before they were found. We took Essy to the vets to find she was a desperately ill, old lady. So we can't help but think that maybe this was why she was dumped; the owners couldn't afford the vet bills. We really had no choice but to put her to sleep to end her suffering she was in such a state but I suppose at least least was found. I can't help but think about what state her mate Tabitha is in.

In total we've lost 3 cats this week and we really don't want to loose any more, please.

Thursday, 23 September 2010


I truly don't know if we are coming or going this week and it's only Thursday!

Last week was, all in all, a good one! Even though I worked 7 days in a row and I'm still exhausted, we saved a 4 week old kitten from dying and we raised over £1000 on our Mutt Strutt, which is simply phenomenal. Thank you so much for everyone's support and kindness as this money will really will go a long way to helping both us and the Nowzad Dogs charity.

This week has been a bit less forgiving and started on Monday with an answering machine that couldn't take any more messages it was that full. And why? Because everyone loves a pedigree dog. It's sad but true but Misty the Weimaraner has received an unprecedented response after being on the national RSPCA website over the weekend. The response has blown us away, so much so we stopped taking enquiries a few days ago and have taken her down.

I am pleased to say that we have found a potentially wonderful new home for her and several other of our dogs this week too. Jake the lab pup got snapped up in a matter of minutes of being listed, so did Sasha the Elkhound and Seb the staffie, and our beautiful poppet Missy went to her new home yesterday! Hooray! So as you can see, we have been very busy indeed.

We have also had a few poorly animals this week and a couple of life and death situations and sadly it was not a happy ending for one. We also have suspected ringworm - my worst nightmare - and so until the results of the tests come back we have closed the cattery and no visitors are allowed and the 'suspect' has been isolated in our downstairs office.

I was really hopeful that we didn't have it, until I found out that two friends have ringworm so it does seem to be going round. As long as none of the cats in the cattery have caught it and it's isolated to the little girl in my office, I'll be happy. I really just can't think about the worst case scenario as it could take weeks to clear if everyone else has it and of course that means no rehomings and not taking in any newbies, which would be a disaster because this last week has seen another massive influx of cat/kitten rescues and the inspectors are seriously struggling to find places for them all. I think we must have turned down over 10 this week, but hopefully other branches have been able to step in and take them in.

Doris at the Tamesdie branch is always a diamond for finding space when we've run out. Doris is fantastic and runs the cat side of things single-handedly as a volunteer. She is retired and seems to have unlimited amounts of energy. I really think she is amazing. I do wonder what animals would do without the likes of Doris' in the world and thank goodness they are there for them.

In my office currently is 3 cats, approx 9-10 months old, that have been almost exclusively confined to a rabbit hutch for the majority of their lives. It is the saddest thing to see animals that are essentially agoraphobic. It is going to take some time to rehabilitate them but I'm hopeful that we will because our sweet bunny girl Tasha had a similar history and came into us at 8 months of age having spent her life confidned to a small hutch. She too was frightened of open spaces but she has made such progress now that we have been able to put her up for adoption this week.

If anyone has any top tips on how we can help the cats we would be really grateful to receive them.