Sanctuary Life

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

Badly Injured Rook

birds - rook

His feathers are glossy, he’s hungry and eating well but the rook that was brought in to us this week is still in a bad way.   One of his eyes is damaged, we don’t know yet if he’s lost the eye or whether the lid may heal, we hope so.  He has damage to one of his wings, it’s an old injury but not healed.  Worse still, he’s lost one of his feet.  All he has is a stump.

Even so he is managing to hop about a bit, he tries to perch and pecks us when we go near him – which shows he hasn’t given up and still has a lot of spirit.   We’ve treated his wounds and all we can do is wait and see.   Will he survive?   Will he have a reasonable/good quality of life?   Will he fly again?   It’s hard to imagine him being released although we did have a one legged magpie who lived here, wild and free but relying on handouts, for several years.  We hope that this chap will do the same.

birds - rook 2


Barn owl babies having breakfast

birds - owlets 30Our owlets are always ready for their breakfast, even though we leave food out for them overnight they are hungry again when we open up.  Hansel (on the left) is more determined and stronger than Gretel.   Both of them are vocal and we get a range of hisses and clicks when they see us.  Clicks are for attention, the hisses sound as though they are cross but that may not be the case.  They move their heads from side to side when they are interested in something and, unless they are asleep, they watch us all the time.

We tried giving them a pinkie (small mouse) yesterday – they were suspicious at first but then decided, yes, it was food – and down it went.  Owls, even babies, have a very big mouth behind that sharp beak!

Horses getting ready for summer

horses - rhoganThis is Rhogan who is one of our older horses – he’s over 20 and has been with us for many years.   Rhogan has had a thick woolly coat all winter but we know it’s Spring when it starts falling out – there are hairs everywhere at present.   We brush and curry (metal scraper) him every day to help the hair come out.  He likes being groomed, perhaps his thick coat is itchy.   Rhogan rolls a lot and this is to help his coat loosen.  There are patches of grey hairs all over the fields.   The birds love it when we brush him and fetch the soft hairs for their nests.

Gradually the old hair will be gone and Rhogan will have a smooth, shiny coat which will be a different colour.  He’s a strawberry roan horse and is almost white in winter and a rosy chestnut in summer.   We’ll be featuring Rhogan in our next newsletter, he’s a lovely old fella and a big softie!

Stella enjoying the good life

dogs - stella 30

Do you remember Stella?   The brindle staffi who was here with us for years and years?   Stella was on our dog walking rota and had quite a fan club.   Stella was a much loved and very popular member of our residents but when she had the chance to be re-homed she was off without a backward glance!   Thanks Julie for giving this lovely staffi girl (who had some quirky little ways!) such a good home.   She looks very happy, a couch potato at last!

Barn owl babies are growing well

birds - owlets 20

Every day brings a change in their growth and behaviour.   They look more like barn owls now!   We’ve called them Hansel and Gretel and there is a real difference between them.  Gretel is the one at the back, it’s hard to tell the sex of owls until they reach maturity but this one looks more feminine.  Hansel has a larger and more pointed face.

They are attached to each other and we expect this friendship to go on for life.  We would not split them up unless they didn’t get on with each other.

Injured wildlife

birds - dove attacked

This little dove was brought in today after being attacked by a cat.  Her feather’s are ruffled and who could blame her, she has two bad injuries, one on her back, the other under one of her wings.  They are sore and dirty open wounds so not done recently.  This poor bird has been suffering for some time.   We’ve cleaned her up and warmed her – she was icy cold when she came in so was close to the end.   Will she recover?   We don’t know, we have seen them as bad as this one get better.  Others give up, it’s all down to her will to live.

She’s on a heated pad which will give her a good chance of hanging on.  Also, she has ate a little bit of corn – so that is a hopeful sign.

birds - dove attack 5

birds - dove attack

We’ve also had an injured hedgehog brought in with bad facial injuries. It’s not known what happened to him.  He’s had a feed though and so can still manage to eat.  We’ve dressed his wounds, with great difficulty – he doesn’t want us to and persuading him not to roll up in a spiny ball is difficult.

Rufus has a setback

rufus with sundance

Rufus was doing well until he developed a new, huge abscess last week.  It’s under his belly and is a sign that he is not yet in good condition, even though his coat looks shiny now.   All the years of not being fed properly (because of his elderly owner’s dementia) has caused him long term ill-health   We hope that fresh air and sunshine will be a big help.   Rufus has minerals and vitamins but only by boosting his immune system will he make a full recovery.

The abscess looks set to burst, he’ll feel better when it does.  We’ve brought Sundance in to give him some companionship and sympathy.  Getting him out on the grass would be best but we can’t do that until his paddock is fenced.  (Thanks to everyone who is helping us fund raise for this)   When he has another pony with him it motivates Rufus to walk about, he follows his friend and that is good exercise for him.  All the herd would be too much!

ponies - sundance 4

Grace and Bridget are live wires1!  Rufus would love to run round with them but isn’t up to it yet.


Mr. Tom a character cat who needs a home

cats - mrtom 7

With one ear up and the other down, Mr. Tom looks a real character.  It’s not roguish or naughty though, he has a lovely personality and is as good and gentle as can be.  No, he isn’t a proper ‘tom’ either – he’s neutered and vaccinated too.  Mr. Tom was brought in when his owner had to go away suddenly, the cat was left all alone in the house.   Mr. Tom is middle aged and is sedate and used to a laid back lifestyle.

He likes fuss and to sit on your knee, some tasty meals, pouches and a few biscuits hit the spot.  Mr. Tom isn’t used to going out much, he’s accustomed to home comforts.   If you’d like an easy to care for and friendly companion, this is the cat for you.  He’s had a health check from the vet also.  If you’d like to come and meet him please get in touch.  We’re open for adoption viewing between 11.0 and 3.0pm.

Oh, what happened to his ear?  An attack when he was a youngster we were told – although the ear was saved the damage was permanent.  It doesn’t bother him at all..

cats - mrtom 6

cats - mrtom

Mother is back with her kittens

cats - with kits 8

She’s exhausted but she’s very happy – this little cat was found last night by our neighbours at J.J.’s Cattery (thanks Steve).  We’d told him that she was missing, he heard a rustling in some bushes as he was locking up and there she was, frightened and hungry and desperate for her babies.  They hadn’t been feeding well although we kept trying – they wanted their mommy!  When we reunited the little family, they were all wildly happy.  The kits went to suckle straight away and she washed them all in turn, purring loudly.

We’d left a basket in the yard with her blankets in, hoping the scent of her kits would make her stay around.  Perhaps she was too exhausted to go far anyway.  She’s a lovely friendly tabby/tortie girl, only looks like a kitten herself.  She’s had some fish and now it’s time for a sleep.  Then she’ll feel better.   A miraculous happy ending, don’t think these kits would have survived without her.

A sad day for little kittens

kittens - lost

Sometimes the best of intentions go wrong.  Yesterday a couple turned up at the sanctuary with a cardboard box containing a mummy cat and her three babies.  They told us they’d found her in a shed.   Unfortunately the box wasn’t secure and as they took the box out of their car, the mother cat jumped out and darted off.  She was obviously frightened.   We’ve searched for her but she is nowhere to be seen.  She doesn’t know the area and the people had brought this little family from a long way off.

The kits are wanting their mum.  They are tiny and frail, about two weeks old and don’t have their eyes open.  They also have fleas but we can deal with that quite easily.  What’s more difficult is getting them to feed.   We have special emergency kitten milk formula but they don’t like the dolly-feeding bottle - I want my mommy! is all they are saying at present.

If you find cats/kittens/orphans please leave them where they are (so long as they are safe) and ring us for advice first.  Transporting frightened animals needs to be in a secure carrier.  We’ve left the box in the yard, it will smell of kittens and might lure the mother back soon.  She will be full of milk and wanting her babies.  We’ve reared lots of orphan kits over the years, sometimes they take to bottle feeding quite easily.  Others can be very resistant and we don’t have another cat with kits of the right age to take to them.   Hoping for good news soon.  We don’t want to lose these beautiful kittens.