This week has been incredible. It has seen the staff and volunteers pull together to achieve so much. From the shop staff to home visitors everyone has pulled out the stops to help the animals this week. The enormity of it all dawned on me this morning when I woke up to find the text message that Fifi cat is finally a mum.
I say 'finally' because she came into our care 3 weeks ago allegedly heavily pregnant. We've been on tenterhooks all that time and by Thursday this week she was just so enormous that when I took her for a vet check I thought there must be a football team in there. But, no, there was just three: tabby, ginger and black and white. Her foster parents stayed up until the wee small hours keeping a close watch and are no doubt absolutely shattered now. What super foster parents and what a lucky Fifi to have them.
Kittens have definitely been the theme of the week. Tuesday saw the arrival of 3 very dishevelled 1 week old kittens that our foster mum Sue willingly took in, despite the 2 hourly regime of feeding! They had been handed in to a private vet over the bank holiday weekend. We know nothing more about their origin and not having this information is quite frustrating because they aren't in the greatest of shape but still holding their own. I'm just so grateful to Sue for affording them this life-line.
We've had 5 adult cats arrive too. Sadly one in a pitiful state having coped with a dislocated knee cap for a very long time. Magnus is unable to weight-bare and has severe muscle atrophy on the affected leg. He goes in for major surgery next week and then a long period of rehab so please keep everything crossed for him. Yet again our Catherine is facing up to the challenge and will do us proud, just like she did with Humphrey cat. It's just sad to know that Magnus has suffered with this for so very long.
Oh, and I have to mention our newbie Percy the Persian! He is a beautiful ,big, white boy who was found stray in the most terribly dirty and severely matted state. His fur was so densely matted that the clippers kept over-heating. Because he had to be sedated to be dematted there was no option but to crack on, but it resulted in 'clipper burns' all over his body. The poor lad! Percy Persian is doing fine though and will soon be available for adoption but he does look a sorry sight.
We have the wonderful new addition of Zak the dog too, whose owner moved out of her home and in with her boyfriend and returned to Zak just once a day to feed and walk him. Complaint calls resulted in him being signed over to our care and we are so pleased because he is such a lovely boy.
And then yet more kittens arrived! This time 4 x 1 week old kittens were handed in to the RSPCA vets. The finder said they were in his garden and no sign of mum. But from the condition of these kittens she was not far away because they were in such great condition, and content. We were extremely lucky when foster mum Sue volunteered to take these 4 on as well as the 3 from the beginning of the week. Just amazing. All 7 are doing really well but the contrast between the two litters is so evident.
With lots of new arrivals that means we've had lots of adoptions too. We've had to call on the same home visitors to do so very many recently that we may have to look at recruiting more if things carry on the way they are. For example, Hannah did two home visits back-to-back in one night so we could meet the demand to turn things around so quickly.
We've also had illnesses amongst the shop staff and the ones that have remained standing have been brilliant in rallying round, working extra shifts and sorting out cover. It has made me feel very honoured and proud of my shop team.
And of course yesterday was the first of two annual fixtures that sees a dedication and passion like nothing else. The Rabbit and Guinea Pig Roadshow not only offers the most comprehensive programme of services and support but sees my wonderful volunteers come out in force to put on the 'show'. They worked tirelessly yesterday and in just 4 hours the following was achieved:
- 31 rabbits and 33 guinea pigs were vet checked
- 20 rabbits were microchipped (my favourite stat from the day because stray rabbits, and ferrets, are such a problem)
- 7 rabbits booked in for free neutering
- 2 rabbits diagnosed with serious health complaints and both sent to see emergency vets.
- £275 taken on the stalls (profit very small due to small mark up but demonstrates people investing in their animals' well-being)
Tonight sees another example of how brilliant our supporters are. We have a fundraising Comedy Night taking place and all the acts and compere have volunteered their talents and time for free! Not only that but Dulcimer bar, where it is taking place, has given us a tremendous amount of help and support and the venue for free. Help like this is invaluable to a charity like ours and something that we highly value.
The support and kindness that we receive from our supporters and volunteers and staff is simply inspiring, motivational, reassuring but above all priceless. I cherish the way that you can be having a desperately bad day when seemingly from nowhere a letter, an email, text message or a phone call will arrive that will just make it all seem worthwhile. Some of my highlights this week have included:
- a post on our Facebook page by a foster carer extolling the virtues of his role
- email updates (with photos) of adopted animals
- flowers and thank you card
- letter with £25 donation
- very large box of chocolates to wish us Happy Easter
- text/Facebook messages of support for our loss
- volunteer returning from a two-year break (due to work and animal commitments)
Money can't buy the kind of generosity, kindness, caring and love that we and the animals receive. It's something that we will never take for granted and something that we truly value. The friendship that so many people afford to us means so much to me and I thank you all so much for enriching ours and the animals' lives.