Monday, 9 September 2013

Autumn 2013 Newsletter

Autumn 2013 Newsletter for

Feel-good Summer

The summer months can sometimes be a bit tricky for us in the search for potential forever homes for our animals. This is the season of school’s out, beach holidays and lazy days in the park and new pets don’t always fit into the schedule. The July heatwave all but halted adoptions for three weeks – perhaps everyone was just too surprised that we were having a decent summer for once! Despite this, our dedication to the cause has shone through and we are delighted to report that we have found homes for 92 animals over the course of May, June & July after admitting 125.

We’ve parted company with some cracking animals over the past few months including Blanche, our long-stay giant rabbit, Melvin; a cheeky Staffie cross (pictured), and who can forget our pair of neglected Dobermans Roxy & Bella, now living in the beautiful Nottinghamshire countryside.

We also managed to have a bit of fun ourselves. We celebrated our 50thanniversary as a registered charity with a party for all our staff and volunteers in June, and in May we held our first Vintage Tea Party to great success. We all dressed up in our finest 1940s gear and ate far, far too much cake than is healthy – but it doesn’t matter while we are enjoying ourselves and raising funds at the same time!

The problem is we’ve now got the taste for partying, so the emphasis remains on fun for our forthcoming autumn fundraisers. We’ve got a boozy adults-only Pirate Party in September, a Strictly-style tea dance in November as well as our third Purrfect Party gala which will be our official 50th birthday celebration. All these events are guaranteed to be worth booking in for - details at the end of the newsletter.

Dispatches from a volunteer

Local writer and volunteer David Hartley reports on his experience playing shop at the Didsbury shop Book Day events...

As a writer, many people assume that I read a lot and have an unhealthy obsession with books. Well they’re right: I have more books in the house than shelf space and a ‘to read’ pile which is threatening to break a hole in the ceiling. So when Tom the manager of the Didsbury RSPCA shop asked if I wanted to help out at their monthly Book Day event, I leapt at the chance.

Half the battle with running a charity shop is giving people a reason to come through the front door in the first place -beyond their own sense of compassion of course. A charity shop, after all, is just a shop, and it has to play the retail game. It has targets to meet, staff to pay, displays to create and quality stock to source. But a lot of people don’t expect much from charity shops beyond so special, focussed event days such as Book Day are helpful for creating a bit more interest.

On this Book Day we were blessed with sunshine so we created an outdoor table display with a magnificent 1980s typewriter as a centrepiece. I felt like a contestant on The Apprentice: I had to turn a profit; I had to sell that typewriter!

So we kept the tables stocked and I put my bookworm knowledge to good use for once and made displays based on what I thought might sell. And it worked: passersby stopped to browse the table, many more came in to the shop itself and flicked through the clothes and shoes and bric-a-brac.

And that is all it takes. Charity shops trade on intrigue: what hidden gems at bargain prices could be stashed away on the next shelf or rail? In normal high street shops you always kind of know what you are getting, but in a charity shop, who knows what you’ll uncover? It’s like pure, thrilling shopping! All people need is an excuse to stop and pop in and then the intrigue gets them.

We smashed our target. Obliterated it. Half of that might have been me stocking up on sci-fi, but hey, it’s all good money! But best of all? We managed to shift that typewriter.

Didsbury shop Book Days take place on the first Saturday of every month. Keen reader? Get down to one to find some proper booky bargains!

Canine enrichment

After a fantastic appeal on our Facebook page we were able to raise enough funds to buy our dogs some enrichment equipment for the kennels. It is vital that a dog in rehabilitation with us is given the physical and mental stimulation it needs. Kennels can be stressful spaces, especially for the most vulnerable canines we take into our care.

Thanks to kind donations and generous purchases from our supporters our dogs are now the lucky recipients of a paddling pool, a sand pit, a jumping platform, a see-saw and lots of new toys for our dogs to enjoy. Here’s Tyson demonstrating the fun you can have with a sand pit...

We are always coming up with new ideas to keep the kennel enrichment high. We’d love for any budding gardeners out there to come down to the kennels and plant out some tubs and pots of chamomile and lavender to keep the place smelling good, and we’d love donations of unwanted soup ladles to fill with treats and hang in the cages. If you can help with any of this, just drop us an email

Superhero Fundraiser

Superstar volunteer Shealyn Horrocks has been helping out at branch events for four years now, despite the fact that she has only just turned fourteen. And she doesn’t escape from her duties at home either because she helps out her mum as a foster carer for some of our most vulnerable cats.

Always cheerful and willing to get stuck in, Shealyn has been a real asset to the branch and we hope she’ll continue to volunteer with us for as long as possible.

In the meantime, Shealyn is braving the Imperial War Museum Zipwire Challenge and raising money for us in the process. If you would like to cheer her on by sponsoring her, you can do just that on her Just Giving page:

If you are as brave as Shealyn and want to join in the fun we still have spaces remaining for the Zipwire. Give us a call on 0161 882 0680 or email

Upcoming Events
Sat 21st Sept
Pirate Parrrty
The Kings Arms, Salford

Sat 13th Oct
Zip Wire Challenge
Imperial War Museum North
Sat 9th Nov
A Very British Tea Dance
St. Werburgh’s Church
Sat 23rd Nov
Purrfect Party Gala
Worsley Court House