Sanctuary Life

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Find out about the dogs, cats and four legged friends at the Pet Samaritans Animal Sanctuary in Derbyshire.

Tiny kitten left out to die

kittens - muffin

This little kitten has already used up one of her nine lives – she was left out to survive on her own on a Sheffield street.  Children had caught glimpses of her for a week but were unable to get hold of her.  As she became weaker a parent managed to catch her and brought her in to us the same day.   This kind act saved the kitten’s life.   She was weak and exchausted when she arrived.  The emergency meal she was given as she was on her way probably saved her life.   One of the children suggested Muffin as her name – no doubt about her sex as she is a Tortieshell colour and these cats are always female.

Muffin ate a little more, had a drink of our special ‘recovery’ milk and then fell asleep wrapped in a blanket.  She is improving slowly, sleeping, eating and not doing much else as yet.  Such a sweetie to have had so hard a life already.  We’ll make it up to you Muffin.

Horse and pony rescue and retirement

ponies - sundance 2Horses and ponies are under pressure.  We get calls every week telling us about problems and asking us to help.  We’ve taken two more ponies in recently, one small, the other medium sized.   The main difficulty people find is being able to afford to keep their pony.  Unless you have your own land you have to pay for livery which is rent for a stable and buying in of feed.   Sometimes we go out to see ponies who are in a terrible condition, it might be lack of knowledge and ignorance of correct horse care.  Horses and ponies need a lot of room to walk around and have natural exercise.  Keeping them in a tiny ‘play-pen’ paddock will only lead to long term problems.

If you have a pony you can’t look after or have an old-stager who needs a comforable retirement please get in touch, we’ll try to help if we can.  A donation is required, which helps with the care of our many horses.


yard sale 2nd Nov

It’s our 1sr Sunday in the month yard sale on 2nd November, at the sanctuary in the Visitor Centre indoors.   If you have any unwanted items please bring them in (before Sunday please) and help the animals.   We are struggling at present, ten kittens born here in the last couple of weeks and another two brought in this weekend – all gorgeous, all need vaccinating!

We’re starting at 11.0am – lots to see – owls, cats, kittens, rescued dogs, ponies, hedgehog tea party, ferrets -  the goats maybe -  but as always, goats do roam!

Tea, coffee and delicious cakes, mince pies with cream, a great tombola – good prizes – Look forward to seeing you.

Holly is scared of everything

dogs - holly 7

Holly is a sweet little terruer who was brought in this week  – she is a scared little youngster who cowers and cringes whenever anyone goes near her – mostly she is terrified of men.  We don’t know what has happened to her in the past but it hasn’t been good.  She is also very thin.   When she is on her own in her room she burrows down into her bed or runs and hides in a corner.   We’ve given her a den so she can feel safe but it will be a slow process to get her to feel confident and happy.

She is beginning to be a bit more confident with us and when we cuddle her she is starting to  relax, it’s just a question of gaining her trust.  She’s such a pretty little dog and when she realizes that she isn’t going to be hurt you can see her tail start to wag.  It is distressing to see a dog cower and cringe so much though.

Going out for a walk is fine unless she sees a sudden movement and then she hits the floor and puts her head and her tail down.   She has such a sad face.   She did a lot of shivering at first so we’ve put her a coat on and that is comforting for her.  Dogs like to be wrapped up warm when they are stressed.

If Holly doesn’t know what  something is she won’t go near it – even the feed dishes were a worry for her at first.  Now she’s eating well although it will take a while to get her weight up to normal.

dogs - holly 5

This is Holly when she first came in.

dogs - holly 6

They are making lots of fuss of me here ….. but I’m still not sure …..

 dogs - holly 9

I’m cosy in my nice pink coat …..

dogs - holly in coat

Lots of fuss – just what I need …..

Ponies enjoying their hay

ponies eating hayWe’re putting hay out for the ponies twice a day now and they’re munching away at it, enjoying every mouthful.  It’s Little Dorritt in the foreground with Holly (one of t he Golden Oldies) behind her on the left and Bridget the Fidget and Chloe in the middle.  Sundance has just edged in to the picture – he’s the chestnut gelding on the left.   Any help you can give us with feeding the ponies will be much appreciated – you can buy a bale of hay for them online in our Sanctuary Shop – we’ll do the rest.  If you’d like to come and meet some of the ponies you are very welcome to call at the sanctuary on Saturdays and Sundays between 11.0 and 3.0.  Please press the bell on Reception (blue cabin on right) to let us know you’re here.   Carrots and apples much appreciated!

Hay and straw appeal Please help us feed the ponies

ponies - hay appeal 2

The ponies have had a good summer but now the grass is dying down and has little nutrition.   We’re feeding hay already and it’s more expensive than ever this year.  We have taken two more ponies in this year and both are doing well amd have put weight on   We give our horses and ponies a home for life and it’s all natural.  Ponies are herd animals and become attached to their companions (and us).

As soon as the weather worsens we’ll be fetching them in at night and we’ll need several tons of hay and straw to keep them going through the winter.  Most of our horses and ponies have come to us because of health problems and lameness so they need to have shelter and keep warm and dry.    Holly is elderly, Rhogan has arthiritis, Bridget is disabled, Chloe also is an old lady pony.  They will all stay with us all their lives.

Can you help us feed them?  Please check out our shop pages where you can buy them a bale of hay or straw – pay online and we’ll do the rest. It would be a tremendous help.  If you can sponsor a pony

If you’d like to sponsor a pony please get in touch – here’s a selection we have lots to choose from!


1. CHLOE -  an elderly bay mare and what a character

2. BRIDGET – a disabled youngster, pretty brown and white – very sweet

3. GRACE – a chestnut mare – lovely placid temperament

4.  PIXIE – a tiny tot – only 28 inches high!

5.  DAYDREAM – red and white with a beautiful long mane

6.  RUBY – a chestnut mare, the boss of the herd

A donation for a year’s adoption is much appreciated (online or if by cheque payable to Pet Samaritans) We’ll be happy to send you a photo, ‘your’ pony’s story and an adoption certificate – makes a great gift.

All these ponies are at the sanctuary and you can come and meet them at weekends between 11.0am and 3.0pm Saturday and Sunday.


Your name:   ………………………………………

Addres:          ……………………………………..

Pony’s name and number:  ……………………………………

Donationn:   ……………………………………………..

If for a gift – Name:   …………………………………

Address to post to: …………………………………..

ponies - sundance 2

Thank you  xxx

Sad news

baby owl 10

The baby barn owl went to sleep yesterday and never woke up.   He was just too weak when he came in and although we tried our best he couldn’t recover.   He was warm though and had fed and was comfortable.  He wasn’t out  in the cold on his own ……he was beautiful and precious and he knew we loved him.  We’ve buried him under a tree …. so sad.

Baby barn owl rescue

Barn owl - 1

T his baby barn owl was close to the end when he was brought in to the sanctuary yesterday.  Staff at Hardwick Hall had seen him on a roof, another older owl with him had already died.  When he was  brought in to us he waslying on his back with his feet in the air.  He was cold and emaciated.  Without his mother to feed him he had no chance.

We thought at first that it was already too late but amazingly, there was a spark of life.  We’d been alerted to his arrival and had a heat pad already on.  We’ve reared several abandoned owl chicks this year and all successfully.  This was this year’s first baby barn owl though.  It’s late in the season and he is probably a chick from a second hatching.  We don’t know what happened to his parents.

He’s been lethargic so far and is frail and only just clinging on but where there is life there is hope.   He is taking food, although he has to be persuaded to open his beak.  When I hold him he feels very light.  He has a few slivers of meat at a time;  I gently open his beak and pop a morsel in.   He thinks about it for a while then gulps it down.  As soon as he’s had enough he goes to sleep.  He isn’t able to stand yet but hopefully he’ll be stronger tomorrow.  We’ve had baby owls as weak as this one pull round before ……. he is an exquisitively beautiful creature, magical and otherworldly …… hopes and prayers please.

barn owl 2

A Ferret in the garden

ferret - sundayWe’ve had a busy weekend with cats, dogs being brought in and then our last rescue was a ferret.  He’s a handsome youngster  (or a she, we’re not on such familiar terms that we can find out as yet!) past the baby stage but not grown up yet.   He has a lovely coat with peach, pearl gray and white patches and the lovely inquisitive ferret face – they always seem to be asking questions – where’s my tea, can I come out, will you pick me up ……. etc. etc.

He was found in a garden.  The lady of the house picked him up in a towel and popped him in a cat basket and brought him in to us.  He’s a bit shy and wondering where he is so we’re letting him settle.   We made him a home in a cage in the lunch room where he can see everything that’s going on and get to know us.

So far we haven’t any idea where he’s come from.  It’s only rarely that ferrets are claimed, usually they have been abandoned but we’ll give it a few days and see if anyone comes forward.  We’ve called him PEPPER  and if you’d like to come and meet  him please get in touch.ferret - sunday 1


cats - jester 19

He went missing  from Newbold Road last week – he’s a friendly cat with a lovely nature, recently been neutered and vaccinated.  He is about a year old – please help find him as he will be cold and frightened.  Please contact the sanctuary if you find him or see him in the area – 01246 455777 or email.