Sanctuary Life

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

Young crow rescued

birds - crowbaby - 1He can’t fly yet and Victor the crow hasn’t been out of the nest for long.   He was handed in to Ark Vets at Dronfield who kindly brought him in to us.  Victor was shocked at first and a heated pad helped him to recover, he is eating well which is a good sign.

Crows are highly intelligent birds and Ricky who we reared last year and released a couple of months ago, is still around and ‘caws’ to us when he flies over.  Sometimes he sits in the tree near to the kennels and keeps an eye on what we’re doing.

Victor couldn’t perch to begin with but when we showed him what to do he soon got the hang of it.  Well done little fella!

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Friendly Staffi for adoption

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She could almost be a twin of Millie, we have two pure white staffs, both in as strays who weren’t claimed and both are lovely gentle and friendly dogs.   Bella always has a smile on her face, she is a people pleaser who is sociable  with everyone.  She loves to give you a paw!

Bella is clean and well behaved, around five years old and we’ve been told she has lived with other dogs and with children.  She likes to go walks and is good on the lead. If you’d like to come and meet her please get in touch.

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Abandoned kitten is thin and hungry

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We don’t know where he came from originally but Jasper was left in a back garden and only the kindness of the lady who brought him in to us saved him.  She’d been feeding him but it’s shelter also that is needed and a bed to sleep in.

We’ve wormed him, de-flea-ed and taken him for a vet health check which he’s passed.  Apart from being seriously underweight he is fine.  There is bare hair round his neck which suggests to us that he’s had a collar on that was too tight and for too long.  We see this often, kittens have collars put on and then they don’t get taken off.  The kitten grows and it must be very painful having a collar fast round their neck.

The hair will grow back, he’ll fill out, we’ve had him vaccinated and he’s the sweetest little chap you could every find.  A good home anyone?

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A typical Parson Jack Russell

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Mr. Ed is a Parson Jack Russell who is typical of his breed.  He is the right size and shape and has a smooth coat.  ‘Parsons’ are recognised as a separate breed to ordinary Jack Russells although they share a common history.  They are always larger with long legs and a square outline.

The breed originated in the 18th century when the Reverend John Russell began breeding this type of dog.  Parsons were not recognised as a separate breed until the 1990’s when they were established with the Kennel Club.

They are healthy and energetic little dogs and particularly suited to a lifestyle involving lots of walks and games likes flyable and agility.  This isn’t a dog to sit in the kitchen every day doing nothing much.  They are filled with enthusiasm and like to have somewhere to go, something to see and something to do. Parson Jack Russells usually live to around fifteen years.

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Dogs don’t like it

dogs - staffi straysOur dogs have to be good natured to put up with us.  There are so many things we do that they dislike, think of neutering and spaying and keeping them on a lead when they want to run off.  Everything has to suit us, we try to make them in to mini-humans and forget that they are a different species.  It’s they price they have to pay to be fed, housed  and looked after by us.

There are other ways we can avoid upsetting them even more –  be considerate and learn what your dog likes and what are his pet hates.  Making eye contact with a dog you don’t know is one.  Your own dog may gaze lovingly back at you but a strange dog can feel threatened.

Don’t pick small dogs or puppies up without any warning.  To them it might feel a weird thing for you to do – what’s coming next?

Some dogs don’t like it when you pat their head.  They can’t see where your hand is going next or what you are going to do.   And if your dog is asleep, wake him gently by talking to him, he won’t appreciate being prodded.

Give a dog his own space, a den under the stairs is good and if he retreats there, leave him be for a while, he might just want to be alone.

Parson Jack Russell needs a home

Dogs - Mr.Ed - 1Mr. Ed is a super smart looking Parson Jack Russell who has been brought in because of difficult domestic circumstances.  He’s a super character, full of life and likes lots of walks.

Eddie is around five years old, but doesn’t look it, he’s friendly, in good condition and has lots of personality.  He’s also a very clean dog – how does he keep those paws so white?

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Hedgehog casualties

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We’ve had several more hedgehogs brought in this week, mostly they are small and weak, this year’s babies who haven’t been able to find enough food.  Some have minor injuries, not  life threatening but enough to cause a setback if untreated.

All the earlier hedgehogs are doing well and recovering nicely.  Pearl is a friendly girl who has an enormous appetite, as soon as her injury is completely healed we’ll let her go.  It’s always a wrench when they leave, we’re wondering if they will be safe, it’s such a threatening and dangerous world out there for them, humans being their biggest threat.  Please leave gaps in your garden fences so they can get out and roam, they go walkabout at night to find food and new territory.

Mr. Womble, who is our biggest hedgehog and who likes a boiled egg for his tea, is a resident here.  He’s been around for several years now and is quite tame, which makes him vulnerable.  After the first winter, when we let him go, he refused to leave.  He’s an inquisitive chap and comes for a nosy and to see what’s going on.  He has a semi-free life with his own territory and where he can come and go as he pleases.

Hedgehogs are solitary creatures and aren’t bothered about family life.  They ignore one another unless it’s mating time when they’ll travel a long way to find a partner.  When mother hedgehog has reared her babies, that’s it – they’re on their own.

We have to be cautious when introducing new hedgehogs into a group, sometimes they get on, other times it’s the fight club!  Single rooms only please.

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More dogs have diabetes

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When dogs are overweight they are at risk of contracting diabetes.  This is when the body has a shortage of insulin and as a result there is glucose in the blood.  It’s life threatening and a miserable condition for the dog with lack of energy, extreme thirst, cataracts, depression, liver problems and damage to the kidneys as a result.

In spite of the importance of keeping your pet at a healthy weight, there has recently been an increase of 900% in cases of obesity and subsequent diabetes according to pet insurer’s Animal Friends.

Your vet will check your pet for diabetes and prescribe a course of treatment if necessary.  Getting the weight down is essential but no crash diets, this can only be done with great care and under vet supervision.   You may have to inject your pet with insulin every day and the diet needs special management.

There are lots of tests to determine the level of damage and the exact cause, diabetes often has associated abnormalities so if your pet has this awful condition you will spend a lot of time at the vets.

Cats suffer from diabetes too and over the years we see more and more cats like cushions who are sufferers.  It’s an ‘if only’ condition and there is rarely a good outcome.  Both cats and dogs have a sweet tooth – more please! It would be good to know much sugar there is in pet food?  It’s pure, white and deadly – for them as it is for us humans.  Make sure what you feed has no sugar at all.

It’s true that prevention is better than cure and keeping pets slim and fit and healthy is the way to ensure they stay well and live to a healthy old age.    A holistic approach with plenty of exercise, natural food and no processed ready meals is the best way to do this.

Working with the community

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We have some wonderful volunteers who come rain and shine to help us and as well as these kind folk we do our best to work with the community.   Young people come on schemes and get training and experience of working with animals.  It’s often harder than they think but they do well and enjoy the work.

We also have volunteers with learning difficulties who come to help walk the dogs and brush the ponies.  Visits from schools are always popular and it’s an opportunity for us to get our message of animal care and conservation across.  If only it was on the curriculum.  Learning to respect and care for all living beings on planet Earth would make all the difference.

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U.S. Pit Bulls get a makeover

dogs - pit bulls - 1Pit Bulls are banned in the U.K. , we class them as dangerous dogs.  In the U.S. however, they can be sold as family pets.  There are still more of them in animal shelters than any other breed though and a recent article in the Washington Post is suggesting that their ‘demonisation’ is unjustified.

Before the 1970’s they used to be kept as pets and had a good reputation. Presidents Roosevelt and Jimmy Carter had pit bulls and the children’s writer Dr.Seuss kept one as a house pet in the parlour.  This was one of the most popular breed of dogs and owned by many Americans to protect them.  How has their image gone from dogs who love kittens and protect people to aggressive monsters who kill them?

The writer Bronwen Dickey has recently written a book entitled ‘Pit Bull, The Battle over an American Icon”.  This is an attempt to rescue these dogs from the character attacks on them over the last 40 years.   He claims their bad reputation is unjustified.  It’s true that they were used for dog fighting at the turn of the last century and because many were owned by criminals as attack dogs, how they were thought of changed.  Dog fighting, drug gang protection and media influence led to once adored pets being described as killing demons.

So how justified is their reputation?   Most people accept that dog aggression is caused by lack of socialisation  when young and either no training or the wrong training.   It’s also true that a pit bull gone bad is a very dangerous dog.  It’s not quite the same when a chihuaha goes on the attack.