Tuesday, 13 July 2010


There really is nothing worse than the feeling of sheer panic that you get when an animal is seriously not well. Undoubtedly that feeling is heightened when it's one of your own so when you get it with one of the RSPCA animals it's always a bad sign!

What I mean by this is that you know you've fallen in love and the chances of a). Making a rational decision goes out the window and b). You know you want to keep them!

So there I was, Monday morning, sat at the vets in a state of sheer panic with one of my foster buns in a very poorly way with my heart struggling to let my head take control and feel desperately impotent and very worried indeed.

It's really something I've always struggled to cope with - not being greedy when it comes to animals and trying badly not to keep them all. It helps to know I'm not alone as I have many comrades in arms that are just as greedy and facilitating! But now there is 'no more room at the inn' for me to keep any more buns, cos I have to keep space for fosters, so on this occasion the decision truly is out of my hands, but I guess it just goes to show how much these furry folk get under your skin and testament to how much we value their souls.

I've also had my thoughts turn again to what the value of an animal is. Let me explain....

So, that age old thing of - how do you draw the line at vet costs when nothing is ever quite as straight forward as saying "let's cap a limit of £150 per animal" - continues to haunt me and has been the source of debate once more, and without conclusion.

The reason for the continuation of the theme is that for the 2nd month running our vet bills have gone over by £1k. Whilst some people (thankfully) are philosophical about it all, the fact is it sends me into sheer panic because if that happened every month we'd have an overspend of £12k on the year on just vet bills alone, which is huge when your income is barely £200k per year.

At the end of the debate I think the best we could come up with was to do more fundraising because we cannot ever predict the state the animals will be in when the inspectors rescue them and bring them directly into our care.

At our staff meeting today we were trying to work out costings of different basic treatments to see if we could make any savings. What we found was the two most common ailments were ear mites and dental problems - just so many animals we are taking in now - cats, dogs, rabbits - are needing dentals and these are simply not cheap.

So, I remained stumped but dreading the next vet bill already we are looking at treatment costs of £400 alone for just one cat that was rescued last week. That's a huge amount of money that could be spent in so many other ways, like neutering many more, but if you actually spent any time with our newbie you couldn't reconcile with the idea of imposing a modest budget per animal because he is an individual, a unique personaity - a right little charmer and will definitely be rehomeable once sorted out.

if this makes us 'soft' then I'll weather that label. We prefer 'compassionate', but I just don't know how much longer we can afford to be compassionate but I certainly don't want us to change our approach as I would find it too difficult to adopt the alternative approach.

So, anyway, back to the start of my blog and my Monday morning panicked vet run.

Sadly I got 'hit' again this morning. Not so much panic but a whooping great shock to the system that left me reeling and genuinely stunned. The beloved foster bunny I had rushed in the day before had passed away overnight and when the vets came in this morning they were shocked, as much as I was, to learn he had died overnight. Whatever was wrong with him was clearly something quite serious and his death was not for a lack care and attention on anyone's behalf.

My delightful 'Dangerous Brothers', aka Mono and Stereo, who came via the RSPCA's Pet Retreat scheme are no more. Stereo (pictured above and so named cos Mono was missing an ear - geddit?), is struggling to reorientate himself. His loss and bewilderment quite evident.

Like him I feel a little bit disorientated. Someone I had fallen in love with has been suddenly taken away and I just feel like I've loved and lost someone very special to short of space and time.

To those of you out there struggling to come to terms with your own loss, just remember how empty life would be if you didn't share your life with these wonderful creatures. For all the heartache you are feeling now think about how much joy you gave each other and how much your lives were enriched by each others presence.That's gold that is, and I wouldn't miss it for the world. Animals are what make my world so special and fulfilled and I love you Mono so much.