Sanctuary Life

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

Kestrel touch and go

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Manni, the injured kestrel, had us in suspense most of yesterday.  In spite of us tempting him with mice and chicks, he refused to eat.   Getting used to his new surroundings was part of the problem, birds are very sensitive and he was obviously stressed.   He was warm and quiet but the chopped up meat stayed untouched.   Hand feeding was not something this little hawk would contemplate and we didn’t want to upset him.  If kbirds don’t feed they soon die.  We tried again with parts of a chick cut up into really tiny pieces.   That did the trick, he must be a dainty feeder and he ate it all up.   He looks much better this morning and has tucked into another chick cut up into little morsels.  It’s puzzling because he won’t have seen chicks before and mice, which are his natural prey, he doesn’t seem to like.  Depends on what his mother fed him I suppose.

While we were getting his food ready this morning, one of the sanctuary cats, an elderly resident called Bing, sneaked in, snaffled a mouse and ran off with it!   She obviously knows all about natural food!   Catch them for yourself next time please Bing!

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Young Hawk is latest arrival

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This young hawk was found in a garden at Mansfield and brought in to us before dark.   We were relieved because it was unlikely he would have survived overnight.  Can you come and fetch him was the first question when the concerned people who found the bird rang up?    Unfortunately we can’t do this at present, we don’t have the rescources unfortunately – one day perhaps.

How to pick this fierce, injured and stressed bird up and get him in the a travelling container?      It’s not so difficult though, don’t be afraid of him, he is terrified of you.  The first thing to do get a cardboard box, not too big, if he can flap about he might injure himself more.  It needs to be just right for the bird and his long wings to fit in.  Punch some holes in the sides.  If you do this before putting the bird in you will cause less stress.  This is the biggest killer of a wild bird.   A cat basket will do if you can’t find a box.

We put a few layers of newspaper in the bottom and then a towel on top of the paper.   This give his talons something to grip.  Now you need to get a large towel or soft blanket, a fleece is ideal.  Approach the bird quietly and cover him with the fleece then scoop him up.   He will be in the dark and not likely to struggle.   Watch out for his talons and beak, they need to be completely covered.   He won’t deliberately set out to hurt you but even a baby raptor (bird of prey) has strong and sharp beak and feet.

Pop him into the box, remove the fleece and close the box up.  If you can’t get him in to us straight away, put a few large leaves in a corner of the box and give him some food.   Ideal is a cut up dead chick but ~I guess not many people have those in the fridge!   A small dead mouse would do but some strips of raw meat or a bit of raw mince would do in an emergency.   Place the food on the leaves.    Why leaves?   Wild birds are suspicious of plastic and anything man-made.  Keep it all as natural  as possible.

Food with fur and bones and inners are what the bird needs and will like.   You don’t need to give water and definitely not milk.   The hawk will get all the moisture he needs from meat.   Put him in a warm, quiet place overnight.   If he’s eaten the meat when you look at him in the morning that is a very good sign.   If he hasn’t eaten then he will have to be hand fed to get him going ……. that’s for the experts only!

Our latest arrival has survived the night and is alert.  It looks as though wings and tail feathers are injured.  He ate last night’s mouse so we are hopeful of his recovery.   We’ve called him Manni – a bit feisty (a good sign) and he came from Mansfield!

Little Billy doing better

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It’s early days but there is already an improvement in Little Billy’s condition.  He isn’t howling or shaking or looking so doped.  Being off the medication will help his system to heal and him to recover.   He’s beginning to be a happy little chap, we’ve had smiles and fuss from him, he loves attention and although he is still sleeping a lot, when he’s awake, he’s a sweetie.   Little Billy likes food and has ate everything we’ve put him front of him, so appetite isn’t a problem.  We’re feeding him natural food only and with lots of herbs.

His eyes were pits of blood when he first came in, now the inflammation is going and they are beginning to heal.   This little dog is as good as gold to treat, he lets us put his Aloe Vera gel on the sore places, without a murmur.   It’s soothing and will feel good.

We’ve even been for several small walks today and he’s enjoyed the fresh air and sun – not too far though.   Most of all he likes the love and attention we’re giving him.   And when he’s ready for a nap he puts himself to bed!

Where’s Billy?   When it’s bedtime this is all you can see!

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A poorly little dog

dogs - little billy 4In dogs, as well as humans, health is everything.  We take it for granted until it breaks down.   This is Little Billy, an elderly and poorly Jack Russell, who has been brought in to us because his owners, who have their own health problems, can’t cope with him any more.   He’s been unwell for a long time and has been treated with tranquilizers (diazapam) and steroids.   He’s been getting worse and becoming more distressed, he’s started to howl for long periods and has become incontinent.

Little Billy has Lupus which is a disease of the immune system.  His body has broken down and the skin around his eyes is raw and looks horrific.  When he first came in he looked very miserable.  Lupus can cause the nose and skin in other areas to be raw too.   Little Billly’s condition is challenging but he is such a sweet little chap and we have seen other dogs improve dramatically with a holistic approach.  The other option was for his owners to have him put to sleep, the howling especially was a big difficulty and a sign of extreme unhappiness.   They have another dog and the two of them do not get on.  This may have been making Little Billy worse.  Feeling unhappy can be a cause of ill health.   We’ll make him comfortable (one of our specially cosy duvet beds) and put him on an organic diet.  We’ve stopped the tranquilizers, they aren’t doing him any good anyway.  He’s having lots of love and holistic treatment – it may not work but we’ll give it a try.dogs - little billy 2

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Get well Little Billy ……..recovery prayers please …….

Engagement thank you

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A big thank you to Lisa Pilmore and her fiancee for helping all our animals.  They had the brilliant idea of asking guests at their recent engagement party (Congratulations!) to make donations to Pet Samaritans in lieu of gifts.  It raised a super £90 which they donated to help keep us going.  Many, many thanks, it came at just the right time as we are really struggling at present – cats, kittens, dogs, ponies, wildlife….. and winter coming on.

Congratulations and wishing long life and happiness  to both of you


To help find your own luck and happiness, come along and stroke our ‘Lucky’ Calico cat – she’s called Princess Tortie and she loves a fuss!

Laddie is doing well

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Laddie was nervous when he first came in – what a difference now!   He’s not put a paw wrong and is loving it here.  A calm routine and lots of exercise, fuss and good food is obviously suiting him.   He is a well behaved dog who is friends with everyone he meets now.   Laddie is a large handsome boy and rapidly becoming a laid back character who is enjoying life.   Good boy!


Injured Sparrowhawk is brought to us


This beautiful bird was brought in to us yesterday.   She is a sparrowhawk and has an injured wing so she can’t fly.   We think she is a youngster and a female (they are larger than the males) – a sparrowhawk is a challenge to rear and care for.  They are very nervous birds have to be kept quiet and not stressed in any way.   So far she hasn’t taken any chick but has had a sliver of raw meat overnight so that is something.   They are used to eating small birds or mice so we’ll try a ‘pinkie’ (baby mouse) later on today.

Sparrowhawks are quick, agile birds and fierce hunters.  They live in woodlands and also hunt in gardens.  Some years ago their numbers declined because of being poisoned through chemicals in farming but they are on the rise again now and are no longer endangered.  To watch a sparrowhawk soaring in the sky is a wonderful experience.   It’s amazing to see this lovely bird up so close.   We are hoping to get her eating well which is the first step, and then flying and then we can release her.  That’s the plan anyway and to disturb her by our presence as little as possible.

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Mandarin ducks come to stay

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We’ve had some beautiful young ducklings brought in this week.  Two male Mandarins and a speckled orange tipped Teal.   They are about fourteen weeks old  and have had to be separated from their siblings as they are related.  Inbred ducks are not wanted.   The Teal is only half the size of the Mandarins but they all get on well.  The colouring of the male Mandarins is stunning – the females, if we had any, would be a drab brown.

We’ve given them a hay nest and a big pool of water.   If you are keeping ducks always make sure they have a way of getting out of their paddling pool – a few bricks and stones make a safe way out for them.   Ducks can’t be let out round here because there are too many foxes, they would be a tasty snack for a hungry predator.

Wouldn’t they fly away and be safe?   Sadly no, these ducklings have already been pinioned.   The bones in their wing tips have been broken so they can never fly.   It’s illegal for anyone other than a vet to do this and quite right too, it’s a cruel thing to do.    It’s done because humans want the birds to be kept captive, this is the cheaper option because no fences are needed, it’s impossible for the ducks to fly away.   Imagine how dreadful it is for the poor little things, they see the sky and the wide open spaces, they flap their wings and want to soar up in to the sky – but they can’t.  They have broken bones and mutilation that can’t be reversed.

This is done routinely to  other captive birds.  It’s a painful procedure and one of the ‘hidden’ cruelties, few people know when they are feeding the ducks in the park that they have been pinioned.

So our little ducklings are grounded and have been denied a natural life.

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Jack Russell for Adoption

dogs - sparky 14Sparky is a handsome little fella who came in to us because of his elderly owner’s ill health.  He’s a handsome dog, smooth coated and a well marked tan and white.  He might even be a Parson Jack Russell as his legs are a bit longer than the traditional J.R.  He’s still not very big though.  He’s neat and sweet and very affectionate.   Sparky is an enthusiastic chap, ready for anything, he loves walks and fuss and treats, going out in the car and meeting people.  He’s a sociable dog who walks nicely on the lead and is well mannered.

Sparky is fully vaccinated and will have a health check at the vet’s before he packs his bags and goes off to his new home.  If you would like to come and meet him please get in touch.  We’re open between 11.0am and 3.0pm every day.

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Laddie is settling well

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Laddie is gaining confidence, he enjoys his walks and as you can see – he’s good with cats.  He’s a clean, well behaved dog and affectionate and friendly when he gets to know you.  He’s still wary of strangers though.  It will take a while for him to gain confidence I think.   Sometimes it just happens overnight – I do hope so.

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He loves a big fuss!