We were going through the dreaded paperwork the other day when we came across this letter. It brought back memories of the cat dumped in a basket on a cold night outside our gates. The poor thing was in a bit of a state. It’s just one of the many sad cases we see. Over the years we’ve had all sorts abandoned on our door step. It’s worrying to think if we didn’t exist what would happen to these pets? It’s a daily struggle just to keep going, we never have enough funds to cope with demand. Still, we perform miracles when no one else can help. Safe at last, it’s our sanctuary motto.
Dogs, cats, goats, ponies, wildlife, farm animals, horses, ponies. how did it all begin? The roots to the sanctuary were planted just after the second world war by a Sheffield man called Colin Bentley. He’d been in the Medical Corp and was sickended by the carnage in North Africa and Italy. While he was horrified by human suffering, he was also haunted by the plight of the animals, especially the horses and mules who were killed in their thousands.
When he eventually made it home, he devoted his life to saving animals. Where Meadowhall is now situated in Sheffield, there was a horse slaughterhouse and Colin went past it every week on his way to work. At first he didn’t know what went on but then discovered that it was where horses were butchered. The horse meat trade was still active in those days. He began buying broken down horses and ponies every week and on rented land he restored them to health. He was a Horse Whisperer and all animals knew they were safe with him. He was often seen cradling a baby pig on his arm or some orphan pup. His daughter Joan followed his footsteps and devoted her life to helping animals and people too. She started St Bernards Animal Sanctuary on a wing and a prayer and helped thousands of animals over the course of her life. In 2012, her work was acknowledged when she won the local peoples award for services to the community. Over the years it has evolved to become the Pet Samaritans, with the aim to educate, campaign and provide a safe refuse for animals.
We hope to be here for many years to come but we need your help. We receive no funding and do not have excess reserves like the major charities. Get involved and become a Pet Samaritan and support your local sanctuary. The winter months are upon us and it’s a difficult time of year for an animal sanctuary. Costs spiral with increased food bills for hay for our hoofed friends, heating bills, bedding and even more demand for our services.
How can you help us? Fund raise, volunteer, donate building materials for housing, tell friends about us, drop off some cat pouches (the cats will love you), nominate us at super markets food banks, take one of our collection boxes to your local shop, knit us some blankets for the cat cabin, sponsor a hedgehog and help keep them warm over winter, adopt a pet. There are so many ways you can help us make a difference. Give us a call or send us an email if you would like to get involved. For more info visit our donate page.
You might be wondering whatever happened to the cat in the basket left out on that cold night. We are happy to say we found him a lovely home and he lived happily ever after.