HATS OFF TO OUR ANIMAL WELFARE CHARITIES!
By Ann Evans
Julie Andrews sang about her favourite things which included whiskers on kittens, cream coloured ponies and wild geese that fly, and I have to agree as they are some of my favourite things too. I’m just so glad that the animal charities who care for our unwanted, lost and injured cats, ponies and geese – along with dogs, rabbits and all our other four-footed friends, continue doing so.
The majority of animal welfare charities receive no Government or lottery funding and rely on the support of the general public through fund raising, legacies, volunteers and of course their own good housekeeping. Every year tens of thousands of animals would simply not survive without these dedicated and kind hearted people.
While many of us have been relaxing over the Christmas holidays, you can be sure that the staff of animal sanctuaries up and down the country will have been carrying out their usual routine of feeding and caring for the lost and unwanted pets and injured wildlife. And tragically after Christmas there is nearly always a rise in even more animals being abandoned.
If you can give a loving, permanent home to an unwanted animal, there is bound to be an animal welfare centre not too far from where you live. Or maybe you could support them by fund raising, making a donation, or volunteering in some way.
Here’s a snapshot look back at just some of the amazing animal charities that B-C-ing-U has featured this year.
Wood Green, The Animal Charity. This was founded more than 90 years ago and take in more than 5,000 animals every year. They have centres in London, Heydon, Godmanchester and Northampton. They rescue and re-home dogs, cats, small animals and field animals. They also offer advice for choosing a pet, and provide on-going guidance and information for both new and existing pet owners.
Their Education Team visits schools, colleges and youth groups teaching pet ownership through exciting, tactile and interactive activities as well as running Outreach Programmes providing young people and families with information on all aspects of animal care. Plus they have a Foster Circle providing support and care in emergencies.
A spokesperson paid tribute to the many people who make it all possible. She said: “As well as dedicated staff, we have a great team of volunteers and dog walkers. And of course the bands of fund raisers who support us up and down the country. We are very grateful to all these people.”
Further details: www.woodgreen.org.uk
Nuneaton and Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary. In the heart of Nuneaton’s busy town centre, kind hearted animal lover Geoff Grewcock has dedicated his life to rescuing injured, sick and abandoned wildlife; nursing animals and birds back to health, and wherever possible releasing them back into their natural habitat.
Geoff started the sanctuary in 2001 when he was forced into retirement through an injury at work.
Since then, he’s had an amazing 32,500 wild animals and wild birds through his doors. The majority he has managed to save and either release back into the wild, find suitable homes for, or has kept. Inevitably there have been the tragedies when a creature has been too badly hurt, or too sick to pull through.
There probably isn’t a wild species that Geoff hasn’t handled over the years. The list includes, deer, badgers, foxes swans, buzzards, eagle owls, hawks, geese, snakes, tarantulas, hedgehogs, rabbits, hares – the list goes on. Geoff and his team of volunteers are on call 24/7 every day of the year, and practically every day brings new challenges.
Further details: www.nuneatonwildlife.co.uk
Jerry Green Dog Rescue has been taking in lost and unwanted dogs for 55 years. It was founded by successful property developer, Jerry Green after his beloved pet spaniel, Rusty died. He was aware that while his pet had enjoyed 15 wonderful years, many other dogs weren’t so fortunate, so he decided to build a sanctuary for stray and unwanted dogs as somewhere they could go to find kindness, love and new homes. He always said: “No needy dog would ever be turned away.”
He and a Miss Peggy Dormon created their sanctuary and welcomed the first dog – a stray called Lucky, through the gates in 1961. There are now five Jerry Green Dog Rescue Centres throughout the UK, at East Yorkshire; North Yorkshire; Nottinghamshire, North Linconshire and South Lincolnshire.
Deputy Manager at the newly refurbished Nottingham Centre, Sapphire Mcinnes, talked about how the charity has adopted a ‘meet and match’ approach to people taking on a new dog. “Prospective new families come in and we have a chat, talk about their circumstances and lifestyle, talk about the sort of dog they would like. We see if we have a dog that might be suitable, and we then bring the dog out of the kennel to meet the family in a relaxed environment. The family can then meet the dog on a one-to-one basis, and see the dog to its full potential,
Further details: www.jerrygreendogs.org.uk/
Cats Protection the UK’s largest feline welfare charity, founded 85 years ago, continues to strive to achieve its vision which is to create a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs. Fundamentally Cats Protection has three aims: To find good homes for cats in need; to support and encourage the neutering of cats; to improve peoples understanding of cats and their care.
Since it’s humble beginnings in the 1920s the charity has continued to grow and expand. To date well over a million cats have found new homes; thousands of strays have been reunited with their anxious owners; and tens of thousands of cats have been microchipped and neutered. Plus thousands of cat owners on low incomes have benefited through Cats Protection’s neutering and microchipping schemes.
Today the charity continues to be hugely grateful for its army of volunteers, fund raisers and people who have given donations of money and items to their charity shops without whom they could not continue the good work they do.
Farm Animal Rescue. Animal-lover Carole Webb, runs an amazing animal sanctuary in Warwickshire. And what makes it so amazing is that all its residents are farm animals – sheep, cattle, poultry, pigs and goats who were destined for the abattoir had Carole not intervened.
As a former veterinary nurse Carole was horrified by the live export trade and has strong feelings about man’s greed for profit through intensive farming methods. Back in 1988 she heard of a newborn lamb that was not expected to survive. She asked the farmer if she could adopt the tiny pathetic creature to which he agreed. She took it back home, named it Larry and nursed it back to full robust health. Gradually her flock of unwanted farm animals grew. At its peak the sanctuary was caring for over 800 animals at any one time, and there have been times when Carole has bottle fed 50 baby lambs at a time.
This amazingly kind hearted and hard working woman runs her sanctuary with just a few dedicated volunteers and is funded purely by donations.
Further details: www.farmanimalrescue.org.uk
Dog Theft Action. The theft of a pet is a devastating crime that is rife. And it’s not just pedigree dogs or puppies that can be in danger of being snatched. Practically any dog is at risk of being stolen by cold-hearted thieves.
The charity Dog Theft Action was established 11 years ago by Sylvia Tabor and became a registered charity in 2006. Its aim is to provide vital information to the victims of dog theft to assist them in their search for their stolen or missing dog. Additionally they promote responsible dog ownership so that dog theft incidents are reduced. And to act as a catalyst, bringing together all agencies involved in the canine world that could have a potential impact on this issue.
The charity stresses the importance of having your pet micro-chipped – and of updating that information on the chip’s database should your circumstances change. And should your dog go missing, act quickly. Get as much publicity as possible and as quickly as possible – make your dog ‘too hot to handle’.
They also ask people not to buy dogs off the internet or from car boot sales, as these animals could very well be stolen. If you want to buy a dog, then go along to a rescue centre.
Further details: www.dogtheftaction.com
Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity was founded in 1891 and was previously known as the National Canine Defence League. Each year they care for around 16,000 dogs at their nationwide network of 20 Rehoming Centres. Their mission is to bring about the day when all dogs can enjoy a happy life, free from the threat of unnecessary destruction. They never put a healthy dog down.
Additionally the charity run subsidised neutering campaigns. Their Education Officers give thousands of classroom presentations every year. Free teaching resources are made available to all schools in the UK. They run campaigns and projects such as their Freedom Project which helps pet owners who are fleeing domestic violence by fostering their animals while they start a new life. And the Hope Project which gives preventative veterinary care to dogs belonging to homeless people, as well as striving to encourage homeless shelters to welcome homeless people who have a dog. They also advise the Government on any matters concerning dog ownership, and much more.
Further details: www.dogstrust.org.uk
If our furry and feathered friends could talk, they would be saying a massive Thank You to everyone involved in animal rescue!