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).