After a week off for my annual indulgence (aka Glastonbury Festival), followed by a week at Bristol Uni studying animal behaviour (at my expense), you could be forgiven for thinking I'd left the branch. So much so this week that I've been accused of avoiding people and disappearing altogether! You see two weeks in the world of animal rescue can seem like a like time because so much happens in that time. But, in reality, the faces change but the tragic stories amount to the same - neglect and despair.
During my two week absence much has changed. Most significantly we lost two beautiful souls - Bey and Lucky, yet we were blessed with the offer of a new home for our Dobermans, mother and daughter Bella and Roxy, in Nottingham. The girls have had a remarkable transformation thanks to their foster carers and extensive veterinary intervention and after 3 months of rehabilitation they were hardly recognisable (as you can see in Hannah's post below). They've been in their new home for 5 days now and we're hoping they are settling well.
With my return comes a mountain of administrative catch up and the admission of new animals. There really never is a shortage, in fact it's relentless. With few offers of homes for adult cats at the moment we are worrying how we are ever going to accommodate the sheer number of animals needing to come in. We think it's a combination of holiday time and people wanting kittens that has nearly halted the cat adoption side of things, but pleasingly we managed to find homes for 33 animals last month, 8 of which were rabbits. Now this is a massive achievement because rabbits are hard to home, hard to pair with other rabbits and hard to persuade people that they have very specific welfare needs. Few people appreciate just how much space they need and often choose to ignore advice and go off and buy a rabbit from a pet shop instead.
Buying rabbits from pet shops is fine, but the main reason we have so many neglected and abandoned rabbits is because an ill thought-out purchase has been made, the buyer has been given the wrong advice by the seller, or, as is often the case, the rabbits have been sexed wrongly.
Meet Leo, Carris and Kerry. Their owner were told they were buying a pair of females and in no time they had 20 rabbits!
And what few people know is that we also have to deal with the neglectful situations created by the suppliers of animals to the pet trade. I'm sure many of you have seen cases in the news of puppy farms being raided, but we also have to deal with it with small animals too. This week we've had a right big slap in the face after we took in 7 guinea pigs from a breeder (approx 50 were removed in total). Not only is it likely the females are pregnant but there's ringworm too. The 'r' word is every animal charity's dreaded fear. Only time will tell what impact it has on the other animals, and us, but for now they are in isolation and we are keeping everything crossed we've avoided a plague. )To learn more about it in guinea pigs check out this link.)
We've admitted 8 new cats this week. All of them are black, all around 4 months of age, but from 3 different homes. We also have an abundance of little kittens ready for adoption and guess what? Yes, most of them are black too. So few people want black cats/kittens, so we will just have to hope for a miracle me feels.
We've also admitted two beautiful dogs this week. They've been given nick-names - Old Shep and Hippo - probably unfairly, but it has given us something to chuckle over. Old Shep is with us because his owner was leaving him for 48 hours at a time. No doubt he'll now be anxious about being left in the kennel but at least he's safe now and hopefully the predictability of kennel life will enable him to rest at ease a little. He's going to make someone very happy because he is a lovely dog (and not actually that old, he's just started slightly greying on his muzzle) but at the moment he needs some veterinary treatment before he can go up for adoption.
Our other newbie, Hippo (officially our new favourite), was found abandoned, tied up. Hippo was microchipped and the registered owners were contacted but they said they'd rehomed him two weeks ago. Hippo is going to make another cracking companion for someone very lucky indeed. We've named him Hippo because he's a wee bit odd looking, a genuine crossbreed with a barrel belly like a Hippo! I'll be looking forward to the day when these two find their new forever homes; they are so deserving and so delightful.
Of course, as ever, I'm only scraping the surface about the details of my first week back, but you get the drift that there's been plenty to do. But perhaps what has excited us the most is the confirmation of two new, fundraising events. One is scheduled for September - a pirate themed night out at the Kings Arms on the edge of town. Our imaginations are running wild with this one and it is guaranteed to be alot of fun (but adults only). The other will be in November, to coincide with the return of Strictly Come Dancing, and will be a tea dance with a chance to learn ballroom dancing and enjoy lots and lots of tea and scones - how terribly British! Love it!
For now, let's enjoy the wonderful weather, but please keep your small animals in shaded, cool places and please do not take your dogs out walking during the day, or leave them for any amount of time in a car, or take them out running with you. As I finish off it's nearly 9pm and only now am I venturing out to walk my dog. Please be sensible and keep your animals safe from the sun and enjoy the weekend.