Thursday, 25 February 2010

Sandy and Rolo

On Monday we received an appeal from the RSPCA inspectorate in Middlesborough. They had 9 dogs from various prosecution cases that they were struggling to find places for now that the cases had concluded in court. They were all oldies and if there was nowhere for them to go they were going to have to be put to sleep.

We had two empty kennels and no dogs lined up for them so I made a call to the Chief Inspector in Middlesborough and arranged to collect two on Wednesday. The CI was elated as we had chosen the one dog he had lost hope for, which was Sandy, because of her age. We also took her mate Rolo but didn't have the space to take their 3rd house mate Sheba but at least we have been able to throw these two a lifeline.

Except, I'm feeling guilty. The day we collected Rolo and Sandy one of our local inspectors had a dog for us I had to say no to, because we had no space now, and her dog was an oldie too. I confessed what I had done and she was great, saying if you have empty kennels you have to fill them. The spaces had only been empty over the weekend and I really should have waited a day or so, but in all honesty, my guilt is bigger than that.

We are barely rehoming dogs at the moment. Part of the reason will be because we don't have dogs that people want. I know we aren't a pet shop but, the logic goes, if we have more 'desirable' dogs we will rehome more and therefore be able to help more. But rightly or wrongly we have the philosophy of being willing to take in anyone, which has always sat comfortably with me until last week.

I was chatting with another inspector who was telling me how hard it was to find spaces for animals once cases had concluded because everywhere is full. She said she had to resort to putting to sleep a lovely, happy, healthy dog the week before because there was just nowhere for him to go and the money had run out to keep the him in private kennels.

So, here I am with two dogs, one of which could well end up living her life out with us, when I have probably denied the chance of life to many others. To ease my guilt I'm going to do all that I can to promote her in the hope of giving her old bones somewhere comforting to rest in her last few months. If anyone can help promote her please get in touch.

Sandy is a female staffie aged 14, Rolo is a 9 year old terrier (quite possibly a Tibetan terrier). They are not in kennels together and can be rehomed separately. The story is vile and actually messes with my head when I give it too much thought.

Their owner was prosecuted for "shutting the door on 18 small furries" and leaving them to die. In my house there are currently 10 "small furries" and I truly cannot comprehend how anyone can do that. They would have starved to death. They would have died a slow and miserable death. It is just vile. And sadly not an uncommon phenomenon for the inspectors.

The dogs were not involved in the case but removed nonetheless and the owner has since received a lifetime ban on keeping animals.

I really want to see Sandy in a home as soon as possible. So if you can help, or know of someone who can help, please get in touch.

Gumtree - I just don't know

I've been pondering for a while over Gumtree - it's a community website for people to advertise, buy and sell on etc. Two of my dear friends, and trustees of our charity, follow it closely and frequently tell me about how many animals are listed on there for sale, 'free to a good home' or 'free with a hutch' etc.

In fact, one of them did a home visit for a lady who adopted guinea pigs from us, became good friends with her, and several months down the line the lady has over 30 small furries she has 'rescued' from Gumtree that are all in various states of neglect and ill health and she is now close to bankruptcy due to the vet bills.

The other one wrote to complain to Gumtree about how irresponsible it was of them to allow this to go and Gumtree said that if enough people complained they would consider a ban. I asked her how easy it was to find the contact info and she said it took her ages to find and gave me this...

Try: or go to Manchester Gumtree Click on HELP link at bottom of page Click on Feedback Under the 'Suggestions new features' heading you can click to send a message direct.

All this has reminded me of the early days of Ebay. I remember being enraged many years ago by exactly the same thing. Lots of people complained, myself included, and eventually they banned the sale of live animals and loop holes such as 'free with a hutch'.

Now I am at the sharp end of animal rescue I don't know really whether these forums are promoting irresponsible pet ownership or offering a lifeline to animals in need.

Let me clarify.....I spend my days inundated with calls from people wanting to rehome their animals, I bare the brunt of their frustration when I explain we only take inspector rescued animals and they have to contact local animal sanctuaries. I more often than not get blasted and get told that all the local animal charities are full and not putting anymore on their waiting lists (one I know currently has 50 dogs on its waiting list!). The inevitable response I get is "what am I supposed to do then?".

In some instances people have a genuine case for needing to rehome their animal, and it is these ones I feel really bad for. One lady, yesterday, said she had exhausted all options and to no avail and asked me if it were wrong of her to have her two 10 year old cats put to sleep. I reassured she was not wrong if there was no alternative and told her that the RSPCA has to resort to these measures sometimes when they cannot find any space for a rescued animal.

This lady is rare because most people I talk to would be more likely to abandon their animal than find the money to do this. I'm sure people would tell me they would rather abandon their pet because they love it too much to kill it but in reality what is more responsible pet ownership than taking control and facing up to the problem and dealing with it, however grim or heartbreaking it may be?

I think a big problem is neutering too. Either people won't have it done for a lack of education and imposing human thoughts on to their animals (I hear, 'I'm not cutting his manhood off',' all too frequently). It is also because many people can't afford it. There is plenty of help from animal charities if you are on benefits but if not it can cost upwards of £200 to have a bitch spayed. But I think this is a whole other debate.

So, this is why I find myself saying 'I just don't know'. I abhor the selling of animals and the whole idea of making money from them from breeding etc but I am beginning to question the role that websites like Gumtree play in animal rehoming. I can't help but wonder how many more animals would be abandoned or left to die if there weren't forums like Gumtree. It seems a double edged sword to me and I'm not sure whether it is a lesser of evils or promoting irresponsibility.

I know one thing for sure - people need to stop viewing animals as commodities and ephemera and take responsibility for their decision making and actions.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010


Mondays and Tuesdays are always the worst days of the week to be in the office. It's when we always receive a carzy number of calls from people wanting to rehome their animals or asking for us to pay for their animal's vet treatment. I don't think this week has been any worse than usual but I am really feeling it this week.

'It' being the breadth and depth of just how many animals are unwanted, passed from pillar to post or just treated like commodities and something to get rid of when they tire of them. It always astounds me that people have the attitude that it is someone else's responsibility if they don't want their animals any more.

And then the people who no doubt love their animals but have an expectation to receive treatment, neutering, vaccinations for free. I genuinely don't know sometimes whether it is me being unreasonable or the world is not right.

So let's put it all down to me just being fed up! So, to whisk me away from myself and my moaning let me tell you all about our new guy Bob.

Bob is a medium sized cross breed dog approximately 4 years old. Bob came into our care after he was abandoned by his owner. the Inspector who rescued him traced his owner and they agreed to sign him over into our care for rehoming.

Bob was understandably very stressed when he first came to us but he has slowly started to settle. He know loves his walks, he seems to be good with other dogs but is more interested in routing and sniffing in the bushes and being a typical male and cocking his leg at every opportunity!

Bob has only just started to play with toys. He is also quite an affectionate dog and enjoys a cuddle but he still does not trust enough yet to let himself bond with another human. But that is not surprising given what he has been through. We've no idea how long he was left alone but you can't blame him for being wary.
I am sure in the next few weeks as Bob settles more we will start to see his true personality shining through, and am sure he will make a fantastic addition to any family.

We have really slowed down on dog rehomings but cats have picked up no end. I hope our lovelies will find homes soon. And I find sanctuary in a huge piece of cake!

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Event - Full

I'm sitting at 7.30am on a Saturday morning wondering why on earth I'm not in bed on my day off.....

Thinking back on the last 7 days I realise we've had quite a busy week. So I thought I'd share what's gone on.

Last Saturday we held a free pet health clinic for people on low incomes in Old Trafford. We had quite a good response with 68 animals attending, including a parrot and a tortoise. I love it when we have exotics turn up cos we also employ an exotics vet in the hope of helping them too.

Then on Monday evening we had our 'Meat Free Monday' food evening and it went down a storm. We had a full house and raised £260, which is just brilliant. And there was plenty of compliments to the chef - that being me, which was nice. And everyone staggered off home having eaten far too much!

And then we got busy with the animals....this week we have rehomed Polly and Fluff the kittens, Luke and Lavendar - two cats we rehomed as kittens exactly one year ago but had them returned just over a week ago for financial reasons went yesterday (can't tell you how pleased I was that they weren't around long cos I fostered them as kittens, so it was all quite sad), tomorrow Freeway the cat is going - he's only been with us a week, and I'm hopeful that by the end of the day Chase and Tinker will have reserves too.

Which means we have a number of newbies in including...

....two lil biddy kitties that were found down a ginnell in Salford. There mum had clearly given birth outdoors as a stray. They were extremely riddled with flea dirt, bellies chocker with worms and they were grubby as anything. Apparently there was two others but they were the only ones there were when the Inspector went to get them. They are about 7 weeks old and ginger and white, we've called them Rolo and Twix, and they are very frightened at the moment so it will be a few weeks before they are ready to be rehomed, bless 'em.

...then we admitted Katrina and her two kittens who came from the animal hospital - they are all gorgeous. 4-5 week old little boys we've called Simeon and Riley - one is black and one is tabby and they are scrummy, yummy little chunk monsters and mum is a beautiful pretty little black cat.

...and then we took in Smokey, who has been in an RTA and has a paralysed back leg that he drags around with him. It is hoped that he will regain sensation in it and so he is on cage rest for a couple of weeks and if no joy then he may have to have it amputated. Smokey is just a delicious, cuddle, snuggle monster but it will be weeks before he can leave us. His owner requested he be put to sleep, but thankfully she gave permission for us to take him in and has allowed us to rehome him, which is a huge blessing for him cos he has plenty of lives left in him.
...and lastly, we took delivery of a pretty 4-5 month old grey and white little girl, whose owner couldn't keep anymore. There was another young cat too but when the Inspector went to collect the lady decided to keep her.

So, indeedy, quite a few goings on, but, in true tradition, I am saving the best till last.....

Ben, our longest stay dog, (see previous blog) has found a home! He has gone to live with one of volunteers, whose been with us for years and is absolutely wonderful. She has another dog and they have been having regular introductions and finally, on Thursday, Ben went to the house.

Ben utterly disgraced himself in true Mcr & Salford style-animal antics-kind of way. Ben is obsessed with toys and quickly found his 'girlfriend' Tia's toy box and had all the toys out, then he start ragging his new bed and gathering it up and humping it, and then he started humping on the sofa too! What a disgrace. He was probably just very excited and happy but even so - tut.

Ben's first night went well and it will take time for both dogs to adjust to one another and the change to their environment but we are keeping absolutely everything crossed that this will work out. So please will you do the same?

So, after my essay on the week that was, I'm off to clean out the bunnies. Oh, and if you are in need of a bunny update, check out - our Hannah took new photos of the gang (the pic is of JJ) and there are even more fab piccies up there - check out Sophie. I can also tell you that newbie Jennifer (who was found allegedly stray) has had the all clear on her syphilis now too.

And that was the week that was!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Waiting 11 months for a 2nd Chance of Love

Quite frankly it's criminal and I don't know why Ben has been overlooked all this time, but he has. He is such a gorgeous dog, so playful, loving and affectionate. so why is he overlooked? We suspect because he is knocking on 7-8 and is a staffie cross of the ordinary kind.

I just wish people could see what we can see and that's a gorgeous, wonderfully spirited life companion.

Please make Ben your Valentine.


Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Flurry of Fluffy Activity

So, last week we took in two new bunnies and two new dogs. The week before we got two new dogs too. So I thought you would like to meet them and learn more, given that I've been awake since 3am I thought I'd make good use of myself!

The bunnies were both allegedly found by members of the public wondering stray. One poor little girl. who we have since named Jennifer, was in a mess, with one of the worst cases of syphilis our rabbit specialist vet had ever seen - in fact it spurred him to get his camera out. She is actually fine, not seeming to have noticed her mankyness at all. She is being kept in isolation, which means she is at my house, tipping me over to 8 "bloody rabbits" in the house. Mmm, definitely too much, but what can you do? She is absolutely adorable, a silver fox cross neddy, and is so nosey and confident and absolutely adores tickles, so I only hope we can get her better because she will make an ace house rabbit for someone.

The other new bunny is a proper little neddy, he'd fit your pocket! The poor lad, called Zippy now, was so scared at being handled that he screamed. Rabbits very rarely scream, and in all the years of looking after them I have never heard it, until Friday. Oh, it was so heartbreaking to here his evident fear, but our Gilly is checking up on him for me and it seems he is calming down and there has been no repeat performances. Poor wee fella.

So, on to the dogs....the pair of lovelies are Nipper and Poppy. Their owner was sent to prison leaving 7 dogs behind. The family couldn't cope with so many and so signed over these two girls. They are inseparable so we are doing our usual BOGOF in the hope of finding them a home together quickly.

Then there is our 7 month old Neapolitan Bull Mastif Hank - yep, he is only 7mths old! The word Gullah was made for Hank. Apparently his owners had bought 2 of them as puppies and soon found out how big they grow and couldn't cope. They wanted to sell them but had no takers so an Inspector persuaded them to sign them over but they only agreed to Hank because they still wanted to sell the other dog to recoup some of the costs. In two weeks time, if they haven't succeeded, the Inspector will go back for the other Gullah!

And lastly, there is Bob. He only arrived Friday and needs time to settle into the change of environment. He was found abandoned in a property but the owners were tracked down by an RSPCA Inspector and they agreed to sign Bob over to our care. They claimed he was no more than 2 and an akita cross husky - he is none of these. He is German Shepherd Cross of at least 5 years of age. Bob is quite unsettled at the moment but hopefully he will adjust soon. I just hope it doesn't take too long to home him. Poor love.

None of them deserve this, do they.

Thursday, 4 February 2010


I'm not sure I can quite believe this but nearly half of our cats are reserved!

Dizzy & Will are reserved but they are still recovering from health problems, so they won't be going for a few weeks yet, but, this week we have the following kitties on reserve:

Freya & Millie, James, Moses, Sunshine, Jasper (his home visit has just passed) and Smudge.

Just absolutely amazing. It's so wierd this line fo work how you lunge from one emotion to the next!

Catherine is at the animal hospital doing our monthly free microchipping clinic and I have just telephoned her to tell her to round up as many cats as possible from the 'stray ward'! I bet by the end of the week all pending places will be filled.

In the meantime I wanted to tell you about our gorgeous new girl Tara (pictured). She came in last week and was so affectionate and lovely and happy, as you cans ee she is in our office enjoying a ray of sunshine. But since going into the cattery she is staying in her bed all the time and is really miserable. Poor Tara was brought to our animal hospital by a member of the public who claimed she was a stray and threatened to release her in the road if they did not accept her from them. We will pop her into foster care if she doesn't settle soon, but here's hoping she finds a home quickly too.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Wishing the Day was Over

Today, I don't think I could feel any worse than I do - so please don't try and make me!

I have spent the day informing staff that their posts are being made redundant. I don't really think it gets much shittier than this.

I have seen an array of emotions played out before me and I feel like have captured them all and they are playing around inside me - anger, hurt, shock, grief and utter sadness.

The sadness seems to mainly be because of how desperate the situation is, not just for the individual, the animals or the charity, but globally. The big recession has trickled down to us at the bottom and it feels like we are doggy paddling with a view to drowning.

To top if off we had to have a dog put to sleep today, who had only been with us a short while and was seriously suffering from being incarcerated in kennels. His anxiety levels were so extreme that he was self harming, and even meds from the vets to calm and sedate him were not helping. He went over the edge last week and didn't return. I can't explain here what happened but let me tell you this, we have never had an animal put to sleep before for behavioural problems - so perhaps that demonstrates how major it was and how awful the decision has been.

Our vet was wonderful today and made the process an awful lot easier - so thanks Matt for being so great.

And, if all that wasn't enough to drown yourself in a bottle of booze, our rehoming figures for January were the worst since May 2007. We rehomed just 9 animals and so we could only admit 11.

Please tell me things can't get any worse than this.