Pet Advice Guides for Pet Owners

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Coping with problem pets can be daunting without good pet advice. If you have encountered aggressive behaviour in dogs, cats who refuse to use their litter trays, overweight pets, nervous behaviour and fear of loud noises, excitability, skin ailments and general poor health, help is at hand. Our Pet advice pages are based on years of work with all sorts of animals. Through our dog adoption services, we have seen all sorts of behavioural problems. Sadly, this usually results in owners getting rid of the problem, often due to many months (even years) of trying to cope. Our aim is to educate, rehabilitate and create harmony between owners and their pets. We provide assistance, help, maybe just a shoulder to lean on, so you can enjoy a balanced, healthy relationship with your pet.

If you have a specific pet problem and would like some advice, let us know.
All our pet advice pages are provided as a free service for you to enjoy. If you find them useful, a small donation is always appreciated.

New born kittens

cats - twinks kits 2

Twinkle has had her kittens at last, she was wandering round looking huge and we thought she must surely burst1  They arrived quickly and safely and motherhood certainly suits this little tortoiseshell cat.  This picture is when they are just over a day old.  We leave them in the birthing nest for the first twenty four hours and only move them when we can see that mum is settled well with them.

There were no problems with Twinks, she loves her babies and is protective of them and nursing well.  The only time she leaves them is to eat!   There is a ginger and white (the biggest and what’s betting he’s a boy?), a ginger tabby, a fawn tabby and the littlest is, we think, a tortie, just like mum.

We’re not disturbing this new family as yet, she’s doing well and we like to keep it that way.

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Fat little tummies full of milk!

Friendly rabbit for adoption

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Pepperpot is a pretty multi-coloured girl rabbit with loving shadings of colour in her coat – there’s beige, orange, grey, black, white and all hues in between.  She’s a friendly girl who has been well handled and is easy to care for – like all rabbits, she would be best with a companion and a neutered male would be ideal.  They have to get on together and with rabbits – two females who don’t know each other sometimes find it hard to make friends.

We’re looking for a very good home for Pepper so if you are looking for a rabbit friend please come and meet her.   We’re open every day except Thursdays, between 11.0am and 3.0pm.

rabbits - pepper

LOST CAT – Pretty tabby

lost cat - tabby

This lovely female tabby has gone missing and her owners are desperate to find her.  She’s 2yrs old and is tabby and white, been spayed and wearing a blue flea collar.  She was last seen on 4th March in the North Wingfield area.  Please get in touch with us in the first instance if you know her whereabouts. 01246 455777.  We’ll pass all details on to her people straight away.

Lost an African Grey parrott

birds -; african greyIt’s desperately worrying to lose a much loved bird, there are so many dangers out there and the nights are still cold.  An african grey parrott, thought to be a female, went missing from Brimington on 10th March and hasn’t been seen since..  A reward is being offered for her safe return. Please get in touch if you have seen her or know her whereabouts.

Brave cat with only one eye

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Tortie is an elderly cat who has been with us for several months.  We took her in as an emergency when her owner had an accident. She’s a lady in her eighties, who fractured her hip and had to go into hospital.  Since then she has recovered but has has changed accommodation.  It’s sad but Tortie can’t go back home.   This lovely calico cat is a real favourite here though and has settled well.  She’s put weight on and is very loving and good natured.  Tortie is a well behaved cat who is clean and rewarding to care for, she is an excellent companion.   Although she is a teenager (we don’t know exactly how old she is) she is in good health for her age.  She only has one eye but it doesn’t seem to bother her at all and she gets around just fine.

It would be lovely if we could find someone to give her a gentle retirement home, alternatively if you would like to sponsor Tortie by making a donation that would be much appreciated.   You can come and meet Tortie during opening hours and she will give you a big fuss, especially if you bring her a pouch!

cats - tortie one eye 4Tortie has put weight on since this photo was taken



Good manners, good dog

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Many of the dogs we get brought in to the sanctuary have behavioural problems and a period of re-hab and re-training is necessary.  This isn’t the case with Scooby who is very well behaved and a pleasure to look after.  He is polite, good mannered, sociable and charming as well as walking calmly on the lead.  Dogs who pull are not good to take out and if they haven’t been taught their manners as puppies, they are difficult to handle.

This is why so many are thrown out as young adults, a boisterous ‘teenage’ dog is a handful.   Teaching puppies how to behave is so important, it’s much harder for them to learn their lessons when they are older.

Training classes are good ways to socialize young dogs, it helps to avoid the nightmare of the nervous adult who shows fear aggression.   Most of the training is done at home though, by example and consistent routine.   If you let your dog sit on the sofa when he’s a baby dog, it’ll be hard to stop him doing it when he’s grown up.

Why do dogs attack babies?

dog - rita 5

With some dogs you can see their aggression straight away.   Whenever we meet a dog there is an interchange of reaction.  Without being conscious of it the dog is eyeing us up and we are doing the same.  It’s obvious that some dogs would attack a baby or child or even an adult.   What makes a family pet behave in this way though?

It’s down to scent and familiarity.   A baby is new to the household and a dog has no concept of how important this small human is to us.  Dogs are pack animals and governed mainly by instinct.   The baby is an intruder and on the lowest level of the pack, to the dog he or she is of little importance.

However, adult dogs, even those with an aggressive nature, rarely attack puppies, even though they are vulnerable and at the bottom of the pack.  At the same time they will keenly attack a new born lamb, kid or rabbit.   The birthing process leaves a food scent to a dog or other predator.  Puppies have their scent (dog) so they leave them alone.

The difference is in the smell of the baby.   We love the fresh washed talcum powdery smell but to the dog this is only masking the exciting scent of the birth and milk and the nappy.   Put a nappy on the floor and any dog will immediately go to investigate.  Then the dog will start pulling it about, he will be intrigued by the smell.

A dog will see a small human as a possible food source.  It isn’t his fault, how could he know any difference – milk, blood, nappy?   With a family pet who is normally friendly, it isn’t aggression, it’s inquisitiveness.   It starts with a lick, then a nip and it’s too late.  The baby screaming only serves to make the situation worse.

The only answer is never to leave any dog near a baby or young child for even a second.   As the baby grows up and scents change the dog will have a different perception.  The child will have more importance in the pack.   In a small house it’s difficult to keep dog and baby or young child apart and, in our busy lives, to monitor the situation all the time.  One failure can lead to disaster.  It’s a risk no one should take.

Great dog food at low cost

pet food - plat

What price are you paying for your complete dog food?   £30?  £40?   It’s a big expense and we think that a lot of the products on the market are overpriced.  Are you paying for the advertising, hype and marketing?   We have to keep our costs down and feed a healthy diet too.   One of the best dog foods around is Dr.John’s Platinum and we’ve been using it for years.

At only £14.49 for a 15kg bag it’s one of the most reasonably priced complete food around and bnest of all – dogs love it!  Dr.John’s suits dogs with a delicate digestion and we’ve never had an upset tummy.  It’s also excellent for older dogs and those prone to arthiritis because one of the key ingredients is Green Lipped Mussel from New Zealand.  This is believed to have an anti-inflammatory effect on joints and muscles.  It works and we’ve seen big improvements in mobility and wellbeing.

Dr.John’s dog food has the royal seal of approval and is a complete food rich in chicken and with rice.  The Platinum is the variety we use and recommend, there is also a Gold and a Silver blend, both with lower protein and a lower cost.

The price is right and at £14.49 a 15kg bag you can’t go wrong.  We have Dr.John’s Platinum in stock and every bag sold helps the sanctuary (only by a small amount but every little helps!).

pet food

Tame ducks for adoption

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While most of our residents are hunkering down and keeping out of the rain, these beautiful ducks are loving it!  There are two of them, callled William and Harry, so a princely duo.  They’ve been brought in today because their owner no longer has the space for them.  They are mallards and well grown and in excellent condition.

William and Harry are not wild birds and have been reared in captivity – they are very tame and can be picked up and handled.  They would stand no chance in the wild.  Ducks respond well to humans and recognise and become affectionate with their carers.   If you can give these two fellas a safe home please get in touch.  Safe is the important word – their pen would have to be very secure from predators, foxes and dogs.   They need a hut to go in at night and water is essential – a man made pond which must be kept clean or running water or a pond is best of all.

birds - ducks 2

Aren’t they beautiful…

New pony comes to stay

ponies - holly 2Holly is a elderly pony whose owners could no longer care for her, her place at livery had been lost and there was nowhere for her to go.  They did not want to have her put to sleep but it was rapidly becoming their only option.  When we heard about her plight we offered her a place in the sanctuary.   We never put any healthy pony to sleep and although Holly is an old lady, she is still fit and well and enjoying life.  Holly had been used to living with other ponies and we hoped she would fit in well with one of our small pony herds.

ponies - holly

Holly is approximately 11.hands high and is dark brown in colour.   We were told she could sometimes be a bit grumpy with people but was always friendly with other ponies.   However, she was on her best behaviour when she arrived and showed no sign of a temperamental nature.   We gave her a feed and it looked as though she was enjoying all the attention.

ponies - holly 3

She loves food and is well behaved while she is having her dinner.   We put her in a large loose box next to some of the other ponies, she can see them but they are not together.  They can have a gossip over the stable wall and that way they’ll get to know one another.When we turn them all out together we’ll see how they are going to get along.  Ponies are herd animals and ours are a tight knit community.   How will they treat a newcomer?   Is Holly going to bully them?  She is quite a bit bigger than them and size counts in the pony world.  Introducing a newcomer isn’t easy, we’ll take it slowly.