THE RSPCA has urged Sun on Sunday readers this New Year to give abandoned pets loving homes.
Last December the animal charity fielded more than 61,000 calls to its cruelty helplines — up 5,000 on the previous year.
It expects December 2019 to be even busier and this winter it aims to home 10,000 pets.
By adopting a homeless pet, you will not only save an animal’s life, you will help put out of business the cruel illegal breeders supplying pedigree cats and dogs for sale.
In addition, many of those who adopt find it one of the most rewarding things they ever do, because of the joy their pet brings.
This month has been one of the busiest ever for the RSPCA — rescuing animals in need including a terrified German Shepherd cross found in a locked empty stable in Warwickshire.
Its howls were heard by dog walkers who alerted RSPCA inspectors.
They used boltcutters to open a padlock and rescue the dog.
The charity was also called to a hospital in Luton after someone saw a cardboard box with a note reading: “Need a home. Merry Xmas. Please help.” In the box were two shivering adult female cats and three ten-week-old kittens — all of which the RSPCA is now looking to rehome.
Dermot Murphy, Chief Inspectorate Officer at the RSPCA, said: “We urge anyone considering getting a pet to think carefully whether they have the time, care, patience and resources to care for that animal for life — and if you feel you do, please consider giving a rescue pet a second chance.”
Although circumstances change, so owners cannot cope with pets, the RSPCA says there is no excuse for abandoning an animal.
Dermot said: “There are other options. Dumping a pet is a cruel act which leaves it vulnerable and scared. Pets can be collected, or dropped off, so they are at least safe.”
Big-hearted Carol Stonley and husband Andrew, both 55, from Derbyshire, have just celebrated Christmas with rescue dog Judy, a Lakeland terrier. They took on the eight-year-old last Christmas from the RSPCA’s Abbey Street Animal Rehoming Centre in Derby, after their first rescue dog passed away.
They fell for Judy despite the fact she has lost her sight and is advancing in years.
Carol said: “We wanted to give another unwanted dog a forever home and Judy has been such a joy to us.
“The RSPCA staff helped us find a dog that suited our lifestyle and it’s a good feeling to support this charity. I’d recommend anyone who has time for a cat or dog to also adopt. It is so rewarding.”
But many RSPCA animals are still looking for homes — and that’s where YOU can help.
Ben, a five-year-old lurcher dog arrived at the charity’s Cornwall kennels 629 days ago. A spokesman said: “He would make a lovely companion for someone.”
Even if you cannot adopt a pet, there are other ways you can help. The RSPCA’s cash appeal Stock The Sleigh, helps the animals the charity takes in over the festive season and every penny makes a difference.
Dermot said: “Just £25 could help us keep answering the phone calls every day of the year as well as providing safe beds and food for animals in need.”
To read about the RSPCA and how you can help, see rspca.org.uk/giftofkindness
STAR OF THE WEEK
DESPITE an awful start in life, Spirit the German Shepherd cross’s gentle nature shines through so much he is set to become a therapy dog.
The pooch was found with puncture wounds all over his body, starving and frail, on the streets of Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
He was saved, taken to the Just For Dogs rescue centre in Derbyshire in 2016 and given a loving home with Trish Godfrey, 53, and husband David, 57, of Ashbourne.
Dog trainer Trish soon realised keen-to-please Spirit had the tempera-ment to help others.
She said: “He has all the qualities required and we will apply for him to be a therapy dog.”
Soon he will be visiting hospitals, schools, day centres and residential homes, bringing joy to others. What a way to repay being saved.
JOSH LEE, 26, from Brighton, doesn’t get on with his grandmother’s year-old ragdoll cat Bella. Vet Sean McCormack is here to help:
Q: WHEN I try to play with Bella she scratches me. Is there anything I can do to break the ice?
A: She may have been taught to play with humans in the wrong way. It is a common mistake to encourage kittens to “hunt” our fingers. That is fine and amusing when they are tiny but makes them more likely to scratch and bite later when they are in play mode.
You say it happens when you try to play with her, which makes me think it is misdirected play rather than fear-based aggression. Try fishing-rod toys and lures on strings rather than your hands. And make sure everyone else in the family does the same.
When she is super-excited, perhaps let her burn off that energy chasing a laser pointer. When she is calm and content, use gentle stroking and talking to build up a new association of what is appropriate human contact. Over time, hopefully she will learn that humans are for gentle interaction.
JANE CLARKE, 31, from Nottingham, has a three-year-old rescue dog called Beth who hates going to the vet. Sean’s response:
Q: MY German Shepherd cross gets herself into a terrible state going to the vet and has to be sedated or given a general anaesthetic. What can I do?
A: Ask your vet if you can bring her in, on occasion, for some pleasant visits – being weighed, getting treats and attention from the reception and nurse team.
In this way, gradually build up to being examined by the vet – all at her own pace, using plenty of reward-based training.
Most practices are more than happy to help with this approach, as they don’t want any pets to be stressed by a visit. By building her experience of the clinic as a place where she isn’t always restrained or has unpleasant things happen, she may learn to be a bit more relaxed there.
- Do you need the Pet Vet’s help? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and you and your pet could feature in The Sun on Sunday.
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