Sanctuary Life

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


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Bargains!  Bargains!  Bargains!  We’re having a massive YARD SALE next Sunday – 5th October starting at 11.0am and going on till around 3.0pm – it’s inside and we have lots of great items for sale to raise funds for the animals – everything from pine cabinets to dog beds, books, vintage jewellery, ornaments,  toiletries, handbags, fabulous top label clothes (loads of them), collars, leads, beds, pet accessories  and just about all you can think about in between.    Refreshments are available and delicious hand made cakes, muffins and mince pies.

It’s a good time to say hello again to everyone who helps us and you can meet hedgehogs, owls, kittens and the ponies who are always looking for a fuss.   We won’t be doing any re-homing on the day but we can tell you about the pets we do have for adoption at present.   Jack Spratt and Miss Nolene are always ready for a fuss so don’t forget to say hello to them while you’re here.

If you have any clothes or anything else please bring in before Sunday if possible.   You’ll find us on Broomhill Road – just follow the balloons up the drive and in to the top yard.  We’ll be in the visitor part of the kennels so come right in – we’re looking forward to seeing you.


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Stray dogs the reality

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A typical stray – big, cross bred and untrained.   It was tragic to hear about all the dogs who lost their lives in the fire at a stray dog kennels.   Another kennels (a breeding one this time) has also  burned down over the weekend.  There seems to be a lot of confusion about what happens when a stray is found.  We don’t see them running around the streets as happened in the past.  Now the strays are quickly picked up by the Dog Wardens.  All strays are the responsibility of the Local Authority.  This is the Council where the dog is found and not where the owners or finders live.   All strays must be handed in, a photo is taken and they are checked for a microchip.  Then they are put on the Lost Dogs Register..  Sometimes the finder wants to keep the dog but bear in mind that he isn’t your dog and there may be an owner desperate to have him returned.

Mostly the dog will have been dumped and no one wants him back.  It’s for the Council to decide what is to be done with him when all the checks have been done and the required period of time for the owner to claim, has elapsed.  It’s usually either 7 or 10 days.

A dog handed in will go to the Council’s lost dog kennels – they are paid by the Local Authority to deal with stray dogs.  Kennelling these dogs is a business and the kennels will be paid in full for the dog’s care for either seven or ten days. Although it is lucrative and the Council payments profitable, for an animal shelter the problems outweight the benefits and most sanctuaries  don’t want to take them. Although the payments would be welcome it’s what to do with them after the ten days is up.  If they are not claimed then they either have to be kept to see if they can be re-homed or they have to be destroyed.

If they were young, healthy, friendly and well trained there would not be a problem.  The problem is that most often they are not.  Every day more space has to be made for the next stray broughht in.   Most of the dogs are not strays at all, they are unwanted dogs who have been abandoned.   They may be aggressive, destructive, untrained, chronically ill and have all sorts of issues.   They need veterinary sttention and a long period of rehab.    It’s impossible for most sanctuaries to be able to afford this.   At the end of the council payment time there will be no option but to euthanase..    For those dogs who have little chance of being re-homed, Dr.Death will call and it will be you-you-and you.  It’s the end of the line and a body bag for the unlucky ones.

More stray dog reality tomorrow …..


Baby hedgehogs what to do

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I’ve found a baby hedgehog – what shall I do with him?   We get calls most days just like this.  You can bring the little one in to us if you wish, we’re open 11.0am to 3.0pm – if the hedgehog is obviously ill or injured it’s best to take it to a vet for a check up and treatment first..   Here’s a checklist of what to ifhere is no sign of injury::

Observe – it isn’t normal for a hedgehog to be sitting outside during the day – they are nocturnal creatures so it usually means they are ill.   Small hedgehogs (hoglets) are probably separated from Mum and may be starving and dehydrated so this is when you should step in and help.

Keep warm – pick a bedgehog up using a towel – then you won’t feel the spines.   Put him in a cardboard box with paper on the base and filled at one end with hay, dried grass or even shredded paper.   Put the towel you’ve picked him up with in the box too, hedgehogs liked to snuggle and burrow and make a  nest.  Keep the box somewhere warm – near a radiator indoors is good.   A hot water bottle under the bottom of the box or under a towel is a good heat source.   The hedgehog will love the warmth.   This is vital if it’s a poorly or baby hedgehog.

Offer food and water:  Provide water in a shallow dish or a jam pot lid is good.   Emergency hedgehog rations (again on a saucer or shallow plate) are chicken flavour cat food, mealworms, sunflower seeds, peanuts and slivers of apple, blackberries,  A very tinty hoglet will need to be bottle fed and we have special milk for this purpose.  Goat’s milk will do in an emergency but not cow’s milk which they cannot digest.

Check for ticks:  These are grey blobs attached to the spines.   They suck the blood and make the hedgehog anaemic so they must be removed as soon as possible.   Either take to the vet or buy a tick remover (not expensive and it’s easy to do).   Have a pot of vaseline ready and pot the tick into the gel as soon as it is out.   Ticks jump and you don’t want one of these nasty blood suckers landing on you!  The grease keeps them immobile.  Don’t dispose of them in your garden or they’ll be back to bite another day!

If a hedgehog is breathing heavily or won’t eat or drink you must take him to the vet who will tell you if there is any treatment possible.   Sometimes they have been made ill be eating poisoned slugs, there is not usually a good prognosis in this case.   If your hedgehog has a cold he will usually respond well to medicataion.

Baby hedgehogs should be a good size (like a small melon) before being released  We normally keep them over the winter to be sure that they are alright before releasing in the spring.   Please don’t keep a hedgehog as a pet in a compound or in an enclosed garden – he is a wild animal and loves freedom.  Make sure you have gaps at the base of your garden fences so that the hedgehog can roam.  He likes a big territory but if you are lucky he’ll come back to see you  for supper or a midnight feast!

Beautiful Tallulah

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Tallulah is a gorgeous Main Coone cat who came in to us at the beginning of the year.   She was just under a year old  and a skinny and very stressed young lady.  Maine Coone’s need special care and like their freedom most of all.  We thought she had been cooped up and no matter how carefully we cared for her, she was a bit feisty and it was elastoplasts at the ready!   Nothing would do for this Miss but to be able to roam in the great outdoors and it’s been the making of her  We have some safe ‘wild wood’ areas where cats can be cats , still come in to the barn at night and be safely away from cars and traffic.   This suits Talullah perfectly.   She now has her own room and likes to snuggle up secure in the knowledge that she can be off on the hunt whenever she likes.

Talullah has become friendly and affectionate and there are no longer any of the bad tempered swipes we saw when she first came to stay.  She is a lovely cat who likes to be picked up and cuddled – not for long though, there is always another field mouse to stalk through the undergrowth.   She’s a large cat now she’s mature and with a magnificent coat – a real beauty.

Finding the right lifestyle for each cat is the key to feline happiness.   Some of the cats we have here would cringe at the thought of wild wooding – for others, like Tallulah, it’s the only thing that makes life worth living.  Every cat is different.

Injured hedgehog doing well

hedgehogs - WombleUsually we get hedgehogs handed in because they are thin, very young or poorly.  Mr. Womble is a large, adult hedgehog who was brought in with an injury to his back.  It’s healing up but he’s  lost a lot of his spines and has a bald patch.  Will they grow back?   We don’t think so but we’ll keep him a while and find out.  If he is left without spines it will make him vulnerable to predators.  Apart from man, hedgehogs are at risk from dogs and badgers who eat lots of these little creatures..

If Mr.Wombles spines don’t re-grow we’ll keep him and make sure he’s safe.   He is a great little hedgehog and quite a charmer, he isn’t afraid of us and doesn’t mind being picked up.   What motivates him most of all is food, he has a big appetite.  He’s also sociable with the other younger hedgies we still have here.   They all came in as hungry and poorly babies, they are well now but not big enough to hibernate yet.   Hedgehogs are usually loners but Mr.Womble goes to see the youngsters every day.   Maybe it’s for an extra meal and to finish their leftovers.

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Walter the pigeon comes to stay

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Walter is an ex racing pigeon who was badly injured and found by a kind lady who saw him hiding under a bush in her garden.  She nursed him until he was back on his feet but his injuries are, sadly, permanemt .  We don’t know what happened to him but he lost one of his eyes and has a damaged wing – he can flutter but can’t fly.   We don’t think that Walter will ever be able to live on his own so he was brought in to us at the weekend.   He’s a lovely handsome bird and is settling in well.  Walter is quite tame and likes to have attention and have a chat.  Pigeons are among the most intelligent of birds and we’ll make sure he has a happy life here with us.   We don’t have any more pigeons in at present – they’ve all recovered and flown away.   When another pigeon comes in he’ll have a friend.  Until then he’s making do with us.

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You can see his injuries, he’s blind on this side and his left wing droops.   We’ve known their wings to improve and enable them to fly again and this is what we’re hoping will happen in time.  Nothing can be done about his eye though so it’s doubtful if he could survive back in the wild.  It’s better for pigeons to be free but they do take well to captivity and become attached to their human friends.

Placid puppy needs loving home

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Sunny settled down with us very quickly and it was soon obvious that we’d given her the right name.  Not just for her beautiful golden colour but also because she has the most placid and sunny nature we’ve seen in any pup.   Sunny is so good and placid that she is a pleasure to look after – no puppy naughtiness, she sleeps all night through and we’ve not heard her bark at all.  She is a little doll, a round roly-poly little girl who loves to be cuddled and held close.

We took Sunny for her first vaccination last week and she had a health check too – passed first class.  She loves food and is having puppy nature diet at present, plus some baby dog milk and treats of cours – yes, that’s right we’re spoiling    her!  So what breed is she?  She’s a chunky little girl and we thought at first that she could be a staffi x.  Now, we’re not so sure.   She looks more like a Rhodesian Ridgeback x.   We have some Ridgebacks ourselves and she is the image of them as puppies.  This would account for her placid nature, these dogs are real couch potatoes, need lots of fuss and c uddles and a snooze on the sofa when they’ve had a big meal.

Sunny has a slight ridge down her back (and ridgebacks often don’t have a ridge at all), she has the right rich golden coloure and her head says ridgeback.  She is a big smaller than our puppies were at the same age though.   Whatever she is – she’s gorgeous.

If you can give Sunny a great loving home please get in touch and come and meet her.

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Sunny with volunteer Jodie – thanks for taking this baby dog home at night when she first came in.  Comfort, cuddles and companionship make all the difference.  Jodie told us that she was amazed at how good a puppy Sunny is.

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Another Golden Oldie

cats - charlieCharlie is the latest member of our Golden Oldie club although at 14 years he is one of the youngsters.   Peaches is the oldest at 23 years and still going strong and we have lots of resident cats who are in between.   Charlie is a lovely boy, very friendly and fussy.  He has settled in right away and  made himself at home.   Charrlie has been a much loved pet until his elderly owner’s hospitalization meant that he was home alone.   He is a handsome cat, and is in fine form except for his teeth – he doesn’t have any!   Biscuits are off the menu although we may try him with some tiny crunchies.   Some cats still eat biscuits even though toothless but Charlie isn’t used to them and loves soft food.   No complaints os far – he’s licked his plate clean every time!

Charlie’s fate was in the balance before he was brought to us, the vet had suggested that he be put to sleep if a retirement home couldn’t be found.  We were happy to help – Charlie is fit, active and healthy and we’ll make sure thst he has many more happy years ahead.


Thanks for all your help

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This is the most well behaved dog we have here!  Mutley was brought in as a donation and spends his time looking after Jack Sprtatts disabled carriage for him.  This ‘doggy pram’ has also been donated and is much appreciated by Spratt and Miss Nolene. They run about around the kennels during the day and they are fine because it’s nice and flat.  If we want to take them up the fields the ‘chariot’ is ideal because it’s too far and too uneven for them to walk their.   Spratt goes back to the vet today for a check up and to have his stitches out.

A big thank you to everyone who helps us and bring such good things in for our residents and to keep us going.   The food, blankets, towels, papers and other items are wonderful and a great help.  Thanks also to our dog walkers, fund raisers, kitten cuddlers and especially to Geoff who goes on rescue missions and takes dogs and cats (and a poorly hen last week) to the vet’s for us.

We couldn’t do any of this without you………

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Puppy is safe at last

dogs - puppy sunniA narrow escape for this pretty little puppy.  She was about to be destroyed when a kind hearted dog lover agreed to take her – saving her life.   She was brought in to us as her rescuer wasn’t able to keep her.  It was an emergency and we were glad to help.   The pup is only ten weeks old and has a lovely nature.  She’s bewildered and a bit scared right now but when she’s had her tea and lots of cuddles we’ll snuggle her up in some blankets, give her a teddy and make her cosy.  One of our volunteers is taking her home for the night so she’ll not be on her own.   This little baby will be up for adoption when she’s grown up a bit, been vaccinated and had a health check.

We’ve called her Sunny – it was bright sunshine and a lovely blue sky when she came in – a lucky day for this little girl dog who almost didn’t make it.