Sunday, 19 May 2013

Our Legacy

It has been a peculiar week of extremes. We've had the best news we could have wished for and seen the most extreme form of neglect I hope I never get to witness first hand ever again. In between there has been much, much more turbulence, but we are at least ending the week on a high note with some long overdue reserves on animals and a sense of achievement after delivering a very successful Vintage Tea Party yesterday, which achieved a whopping profit of £675!

The exceptionally good news came in the form of a legacy that has rescued us from us pending closure. We had no idea it was coming but it has meant that our future is definitely secure well into 2014. Of course we won't be resting on our laurels, the fundraising events will be plentiful and two in the planning are already exciting us, but for now I want to focus on the one of the reasons why people are so kind enough to support our work and leave such bequests.

Pictured above in the carrier is a petite, black and white cat that was found by a mother and her children as they walked home from school one afternoon this week. The cat and the carrier had been abandoned, just as you can see, on a residential street in Chorlton. Thankfully the family were not far from our offices and brought her to us. The initial panic of where we were going to put her quickly subsided when a very apparent stench came wafting from the carrier. 

As you peered into the carrier it became clear that the poor cat was quite badly matted. I assumed the stench was because the cat was an entire male and so swiftly named him Pepe Le Pew, after all what else would you call a stinky, black and white male cat? I didn't get Pepe out of the carrier and instead went straight down to the vets knowing full well that if nothing else he would need to be sedated to remove all the matting.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, could have prepared me for what myself and the vet discovered as we took Pepe out of the carrier and examined him. The pictures below are upsetting, hence the warning. So, if you don't want to continue, stop now.

This is a view of Pepe's belly. Matts are so bad that they obscure limbs and are caked in faeces and urine.

View from above. The cat is virtually unrecognisable.

The vet holds a solid matt that is so large that it is the size of half a football. This matt is just above the tail.

View from above, my hand stroking the cat's head, and the massive matt and on the back.

Distressing full image of the extent of the matting.

Lower back matting is just one solid mass.

The lower back matt and below the tails that is solid with faeces and urine.
Pepe was actually a girl. The stench was from matts impacted with faeces and urine. It is unfathomable how the poor cat managed to move around, which she clearly did because embedded in her matting were plant seeds. The extent of the neglect worsened as an exam of her mouth revealed terrible dental decay and she must have been in considerable pain from her rotting teeth and would have struggled to eat.

I'll be honest, I was in a state of shock at the extent of the neglect that stood before me. The most I could manage was the occasional swear word, but as I drove away, knowing she was finally in safe hands, I began to well with tears. I hope I never witness such extreme neglect first hand ever again; it really was incomprehensible; the pictures don't illustrate just how bad it really was.

The next day Pepe was relieved of her coat of burden after a lengthy procedure under sedation. Her matts filled a large carrier bag. Myself and the local RSPCA inspector went to see Pepe and to discuss investigation but with nothing to go on there was little we could do to find the perpetrator. Even more of a blow was the fact that blood tests had revealed that Pepe was in renal failure. It was the worst news and not what we were expecting. 
With great reluctance Pepe was put to sleep to end any further suffering. She had at least had a day of freedom from that hideous coat of matts, but what a hideous abuse of an animal. My sadness very quickly turned to anger, and I am still angry. My greatest thought was simply, "Why couldn't her owner have abandoned her sooner?" Pepe could have been saved from months of misery if only her owner had simply cared about her enough to abandon her sooner. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not condoning animal abandonment, it is illegal to do so, but given that some was motivated to do this in the first place, and in such a random location,  it just feels like a natural thought to question why they left it so long.

Whilst there is no evidence to go on to investigate Pepe's case further, I was somewhat reassured by our local inspector. He felt that she was part of a jigsaw that would likely reveal itself some day. I hope he's right because no-one should be allowed to get away with this level of animal cruelty. 

Whilst we may not have been able to save Pepe this time I am grateful for the fact she is no longer living in pain and misery. Her emergency care and vet treatment amounted to £240. Thankfully the legacy we received means that we can continue for some months to come to help animals like Pepe when they need us most. But really, I don't want to see another Pepe ever again.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Really Splendid People Compassionate about Animals

I'm exceptionally tired after an exhausting week of working long hours. Much of it has been taken up with and preps for the fair and fun dog show that was supposed to take place today. But trying to set up stalls in the rain and battling against the wind with gazebos was no fun whatsoever. The weather was the reason why we decided not to do such an event last year, but we came back after a year's break determined it might just work out this time, but alas the weather got the better of us yet again.

Maybe it's over-tiredness, maybe it's a sense of pride, but I'm sitting here feeling quite emotional looking at the pictures of the rehomed dogs that came along to say hello to us today. I think seeing all the pictures of the pooches has given me a jolting reminder of what incredible work the RSPCA does and what incredible adopters exist out there: thank goodness!

Here's the stories behind the pictures on our Facebook page from today:

This is Rolf on arrival. He came in with his mum and dad, Sadie and Bobby. They had been well loved dogs but their owner was simply incapable of meeting their needs any more, which is evident by the state of his coat.

Rolf was a delightful dog and found a wonderful new home in South Manchester. His human mum and dad came along today and surprised us with the Rolf you can see below.

The rain soggied Rolf somewhat but believe me when I tell you he looked amazing. He was such a happy, healthy looking lad and so incredibly well loved.

I recognised him in an instant and I have to say he stole a piece of my heart right there and then!


I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this donkey! I've tried to find the picture of him travelling in my car when I collected him when he was just a wee 4 month old pup, but alas I have failed. But let me tell you this wonderful natured puppy has grown up to be an 18 month old BFG! Arthur is his name and he has turned into such a beautiful chap and such a doting family dog.

I remember Arthur came over to us from the South Yorkshire inspectorate and I tootled along to collect him in my old micra and there he sat, strapped up in the back of my car, good as gold. No evidence of worry or puzzlement, just taking everything in his stride and enjoying the company.

I had the privilege of doing Arthur's home visit, and boy did he get lucky finding his forever family. Seeing him a year on was just marvellous - he's grown so much and is so lovely.

For me this dog can be described in one simple way; a hero. I still fill with pride when I see Benny or talk with his mum about him. I hope for animal kind everywhere we never meet another 'Benny' because what he went through was just vile.

Benny was thrown out into the backyard and left to starve to death. He was so thin that he weighed less than half of his ideal body weight. He was so thin that the female inspectors that rescued Benny were able to lift him with just one arm.

Benny's owners were successfully prosecuted and Benny was successfully rehomed two years ago.His mum and dad remain great friends and supporters of our branch and only last week the three of them raised £85 for us collecting at Tesco for RSPCA Week.

Benny now weighs more than double the body weight he had when he was removed from his cruel existence and is so fit and well now hat he accompanies his mum on endurance runs! I love seeing Benny and knowing that there is even hope in the darkest of places.

I bloody love this dog! We all bloody love this dog!

Ellie is her name and for the life of me I will never understand why she was overlooked for so very many months.

Ellie is probably one of the best dogs you could ever wish to meet and it was simply a crime that it took so long to find a home.

Thankfully her mum and dad could see exactly what we could in Ellie; a personality bursting with love and a heart of gold. Ellie looked as wonderful as ever and undoubtedly very happy and it was definitely worth the very long wait for Ellie as she couldn't be in better hands, with super proud 'parents'!

For as long as I live I will never, ever forget Harley. He was adopted earlier in the year just as we were beginning to give up all hope.

Harley had been returned to us after 4 years following a house fire. He was a different dog to the one that had left us and took quite some time to build his trust. After 3 months in our care he was in great shape but an ageing, bull-breed cross was not at the top of everyone's shopping list.

Harley caught the eye of a Twitter follower who spent 10 days thinking about him, revisiting his pictures and write up. And then we got the call - "Can we meet Harley?" I nearly fell off my seat in disbelief. The rest, as they say, is history and his new mum and dad have worked wonders with him. It may have taken us 5 years but we got there in the end. Harley genuinely deserves the moon on a stick and I reckon he's got it!

Peggy is without doubt the best dog in the world! Peggy was well loved by her original owner and it shows through to this day. She was a result of an accidental breed between a staffie and an American Bull dog. One of a litter of eight her owner understandably struggled to feed so many mouths so the inspectors came to the rescue with food, neutering vouchers and taking in the remaining pups. We got got Peggy and her sister Poppy.

Peggy is unquestionably the best friend anyone could wish for and her new mum and dad certainly had their dreams come true when they adopted her. They saw through the breed prejudice and to the beautiful girl that she is. I heart Peggy and always will.

Jacky (left) is our Deb's dog and here, for the first time in a year, she is reunited with her sibling Barry. They were a large litter of collie pups that got snapped up by the amazing adopters. Barry was an absolute credit to his family and such a handsome, well-behaved lad.

All the litter have grown up to be leggy collies. Just goes to show you can't always tell how they'll turn out. With Peggy we thought she'd be huge but she's just a classic staffie size.

The day would not have been complete without these two sisters being reunited. Hand-reared by the staff team from 10 days old after their mother rejected them, we are all immensely proud of how Molly and Dag have turned out.

The girls are nearly 5 months old and are just the apples of our eyes.

Molly and her mum and dad have well and truly become members of our 'family' and we get to unite the girls regularly.  I love watching them together and can't wait for the next play date!

Harley was thrilled to see his 'kennel mate' Deb. The pair of them developed a deep and lasting bond whilst he was in our care and as you can see he hadn't forgotten her.

Rolf enjoying a fuss and he too remembered his old friends.

And perhaps my favourite picture of the day is this one below of Jacky. It's because it sums up the great washout that it was with a quizzical look of bemusement from Jacky as if she is saying, "Can we please go home!"

It may have rained, it may have poured but we had a fantastic time catching up with old friends. Tiredness is greatly creeping on me but my welling eyes are most definitely through pride.

Monday, 6 May 2013

A Week in Pictures

Sunday 28th April 2013

Hannah running the Manchester Marathon in aid of the branch. after months of training it was all worthwhile as she raised £737 for the branch and did an amazing time of 5 hours and 27 minutes.

The cake eating team cheering Hannah on at the 15 mile mark.

Cuddles with our newest member of the team.

Monday 29th April 2013

An unexpected surprise arrived through the post. I discovered that lots of people had nominated me for this award!

Tuesday 30th April and Wednesday 1st May 2013

I got to spend two days at the International Animal Training Conference at Twycross Zoo thanks to the national RSPCA.

Preparations for a window competition to promote Rabbit Awareness Week. Our Urmston shop window even has flowing fountains!

Thursday 2nd May 2013

A week full of new arrivals including 4 month old Clara.

Friday 3rd May 2013

RSPCA Week Tesco collections kick start the weekend of fundraising. We start training our volunteers from a young age! Little Claudia helped raise over £50 in just two hours.

Saturday 4th May 2013

Dagnabbit did her bit to promote RSPCA Week by helping at both the Northern Quarter and Didsbury shops.

Didsbury shop held a book sale for RSPCA Week and raised loads of money.

Sunday 5th May 2013

We hosted the Northern Quarter Dog Show and enjoyed the company of 65 dogs! It was a brilliant day out.

Last day of Tesco Collections and volunteer Emma Garvey really gets into the spirit of things. The final total is yet to come in but we think over £1200 has been raised for the branch. A massive thank you to all the collectors for this amazing achievment.

We start the new week with a lot of excitement and anticipation.....

After waiting two months to find a home Rosie dog has been reserved and the home visit takes place this week. Paws and fingers crossed please.

We are really excited about this big event and hoping to get a brilliant turn out. Please come along and join in the fun.