Sunday, 22 May 2011

The Wow Factor

What a week and a half! There is so much to share this week that I'd almost forgotten about Sarah and Hannah's Manchester 10k triumph. They ran the course in just 1 hour and 12mins and raised £800 in the process. What a phenomenal amount. With two other people running for us too, well over £1000 has been raised for our animals at the event. This is such welcome news and may hopefully help us to balance the books this month (I shouldn't speak too soon, should I!).

Trying to find a steady stream of income is so difficult for all charities but one thing we've been determined to do for the last year is open a third charity shop. This is not as simple as it sounds, and we've been on the hunt for some while. Our dream area has long been Didsbury but the rents are simply too high and therefore too risky for us to take a gamble on. But a little miracle has happened this week and we have found a perfect little shop just off the main route through the village and we've negotiated a deal. We are all incredibly excited about this and can't wait to sign the lease and get trading! Hopefully we will be up and running by mid to end July and making some more money to secure our future for the furries. We will keep you posted on progress - I can't wait!

It has been a distinctly dog-themed week this week with 3 new arrivals. We've admitted a 12 month old Great Dane (we've never had one before and I'm so excited about her arrival), an akita x and a beautiful English Bull Dog. The last two have been cruelly abandoned. We think both had outlived their purpose as breeders and the poor Bull dog has a horrible skin complaint that's going to take weeks for us to get better too. We also have another Bull Dog and two whippets waiting to come in but with us only having 6 kennels, which are fully occupied, it's going to be a while before they can come in.

Currently we only have Bruno (pictured) available for adoption and whilst he's only been listed for a few days I am very disappointed we haven't had any interest in him because he is just so gorgeous and adorable and cuddly! The staff think it's because people won't find him as attractive as others, which makes me very sad because it's the black rabbit and black cat scenario all over again - no-one ever wants them, either.

We've also been on tenterhooks this week with our favourite cat Bilbo. I can't begin to explain why so many of us love Bilbo other than he is a tatty old cloth cat, just like Bagpuss. He has been through one hell of an ordeal - found in the most manky state with a ruptured eye, cauliflower ear, polyps and all sorts. He's now a one eyed tug-boat that is greedy and cheeky and will do anything for a bit of 'wet' cat food (see picture of him rummaging in the bin!). But his balance hasn't been great, again, and we knew it was likely related to the polyp problem down his cauliflower ear.

I had to make the decision as to what to do next, which was not easy because Bilbo is not your typical 'desirable' cat. In fact he's been up for adoption for some weeks with no offer a home. He's cost around £500 in veterinary treatment so far too. But with his personality being such as it is, and so many people being so attached to him, it makes it near impossible to make a rational decision (like I should do). But I got given a 'get out' card by our wonderful vet who said he would perform the op Bilbo needed at cost price. I can't tell you the relief that gave me.

Whilst Bilbo is not out of the woods yet, but what I can tell you is that by the very next day he was up to his naughty antics and endearing himself to all the vet nurses. It's going to be touch and go for a while to see whether Bilbo's op is successful, but in the meantime he is on cage rest at the vets and driving everyone to distraction - go Bilbo!

This week has also seen the first of our two Rabbit and Guinea Pig Roadshows. (We are also doing a third with the Wigan branch on Thursday, which we are really looking forward to.) We've been running the roadshows for some years now and typically see between 80-100 animals per event, but oddly, this time only 63 animals attended. Despite doing more publicity than ever before we can only put the poor attendance down to good weather (well it has been raining lots recently) and lots of other similar events taking place around the same time for Rabbit Awareness Week. I'll be honest, I feel really deflated after the yesterday's event and just hoping that our last one on Sat 28th in Eccles sees a better attendance because it then feels all the more worthwhile and you can justify the expenditure.

But the highlights of yesterday were undoubtedly seeing lots of old furry friends and their human companions but even more special was seeing people we've met at previous roadshows explaining how they had taken on board advice previously received from us and made their animals lives so much better as a result. This factor really did make it all the more worthwhile for us all and so I'm going to remain ever hopeful for a good turn out next weekend so we can help improve the welfare of even more small furries.

As I finish writing this blog our intrepid volunteer Clare Goss will be arriving in Las Vegas any time now. In the next couple of days Clare will be undertaking a sky dive over the Hoover Dam to raise money for our branch. What an amazingly stupidly brave thing to do! I can't wait to hear all about it and show you the pictures but for now, please keep everything crossed for Clare.

If you want to read more about Clare's motivation for doing this please go to

Clare's dog Ben was with us over a year, waiting for a home, much because he didn't have the visual 'wow-factor' like our Bruno. Just sad, so very very sad.