Saturday, 30 January 2010

Friends in Need

This is Tinker, and I love her with all my heart. The poor girl has been with us since August and she is our longest stay cat resident. The national RSPCA has kindly put an appeal on their website to help us find her a home. So I hope it works. Check her story by following the link.

So, I think this week can be officially rated as the worst week of the year so far. Now I know that there haven't been that many weeks yet, but I doubt it will be topped in a hurry.

Our charity's fortunes are simply not improving and rehomings are at an all time low. In fact, I'd be surprised if we reached double figures this month. It is incredibly demoralising having animals wait longer than average to be rehomed and to have to turn so many animals away, like today, when the animal hospital asked us to take in an abandoned mum and kittens.

We simply had to say no because we are desperately trying to keep animal numbers to 40, having had to make a cut of 50% over the last few months. This time last year we probably had closer to 90 animals in our care, but we just cannot afford the costs involved for that many animals any more. It is proving incredibly hard as we have a number of cats in foster care with long term health problems that simply cannot be rehomed yet - 'bed blocking' I guess! We also have bunnies that have been with s a while and continue to be overlooked. And then there are the dogs...

Well, on that front it is has been a huge mix of emotions this week. We have three new ones, two of which are finding kennel life a struggle. One in particular is in a real heightened state of anxiety and so we are doing all sorts to help him, but to see him like this is so heart wrenchingly sad. But then this weekend we have 5 different people booked in to see 5 of our dogs! We had 3 bookings last week but not one came off, so I'm not getting my hopes up just yet, but surely 1 will be a go-er??!

But the real reason this week has been so awful is because the charity has had to notify the staff that they have to make staff redundancies in order to survive. Breaking the news was pretty rough, but not half as awful as it must have been to learn your post is effected. We start the 'consultation process' next week but if no alternatives arise then a number of staff will leave at the end of March. I feel selfish saying I felt shitty having to do this, because my feelings pale into insignificance compared to what the staff must be going through, knowing that they maybe out of a job soon.

It is such a sad, sad sign of the times. I know that we are not the only charity/business having to do this (the national RSPCA has had to make a lot of redundancies too) but many of the people I work with I have known for years and it is a horrible thing to have to do people you care about. Many are being very brave and understanding but I know that really they feel angry and hurt. They want the charity to survive as much as the rest of us but it doesn't stop it from being really horrible. There simply is no other options to save money now except on staffing, it was always a last resort, having explored and implemented other options already, and I can only say how sorry and sad I am.

Even if the recession has been declared as officially over this week, I think it could be months, if not years, before we recover from the impact. For the time being, I would just be happy if Tinker found herself a home.