Sanctuary Life

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

Hello to Polly the pig


When we hard that Polly the pig  was destined for the meat market if she couldn’t find a new home, we didn’t hesitate, we’ll take her.   She’s a Kuni Kuni and around 4 years old.  It’s hard to know what to do with a pig if you don’t have room to keep her, having the right compound and shed is what counts and it has to be sturdy because pigs are very strong.

They are also prone to getting cold and need a cosy den to get out of the weather and sleep at night.  In the wild they would make a home in the roots of trees and make it cosy with leaves and bracken.   Polly had been attacked by another pig who was a fighter, some pigs are gentle but there are one or two aggressive ones.  Polly lost half one of her ears so it was a bad attack and she had to find somewhere else to stay as a matter of urgency.

Polly was a bit shy when she first arrived but has soon settled down, she’s a gentle girl who is friendly when she gets to know you.  An apple is her favourite titbit – they say that if a pig doesn’t want to eat an apple it must be dead.


Tiny tot kitten


Some kittens don’t grow, we’ve had these tiny tots before and they are weeks behind in size from their brothers and sisters.   Snowball was tiny when he was born and was lucky to survive.  Perhaps it’s because mum was a stray and didn’t have enough resources for all her babies.

We’ve fed him separately and topped his meals up with especially good things.  He likes a saucer of ‘rescue’ milk too – but he doesn’t seem to get any bigger.   His sister is Snowbaby Princess who has found a lovely home – she was twice as big as her little brother when she went.

Snowball is still with mum although she isn’t feeding him now but does give him lots of love and fuss and cleaning.  He is the sweetest little chap, a bit fluffy and spotlessly white, he loves to be cuddled and have a play.  Snowball is quite a character and pretends he is a fierce hunter sometimes, toy mice have no chance!

When he’s up to weight we can take him to be vaccinated but so far it’s wait and see.




Can you teach your horse to talk?


Horses are smarter than you think!  Talking as we understand it might be impossible but according to research done recently in Norway your horse can easily be taught to communicate with you. A recent study done by Norwegian Veterinary Institute showed that horses can learn to understand symbols in just 15 minutes of daily training. By touching the symbols in response they can tell us what they think.

“Would you like your blanket on?” was one of the questions and a surprising number of horses declined.  When it became really cold though, they answered the same question in the affirmative.  They chose to have their blanket taken off when it was warm and put back on when it was chilly.   We always knew that horses were clever but didn’t realise that we could communicate with them once they had learned to recognise what certain shapes meant.

The research went on for over a year and the horses gave one hundred per cent accurate answers to questions.  There were twenty two horses in the experiment and it was mainly related to whether the horses wanted their blankets on or off.  I wonder what will happen if we ask them if they want to be ridden – or not?


Homeless Russian Blue safe at last


This is Ringo Starr, the handsome Russian Blue cat brought in earlier today.  Isn’t he a beauty.  His rescuer called him Star and we thought Ringo so his name has become a mix of the two.  His coat is short and dense and such a lovely colour, even his nose is blue.

Ringostarr has been living paw to mouth for the last 18 months.  He hasn’t had a home but has been surviving under a portacabin on a worksite.  The workmen have been feeding him and when our Pet Samaritans rescuer saw Ringo he realised that he wouldn’t last much longer without shelter and t.l.c. and the winter coming.

Ringo was taken to the vet to be checked over and vaccinated.  He’s been neutered at some stage in his past life but not microchipped so we have no idea where he came from originally.  He’s a lovely, friendly cat and very grateful to be fed and cared for.

A big thank you to our wonderful Pet Samaritan volunteer who is always bringing us rescued birds, hedgehogs and waifs and strays of every kind – a real animal lover and our HERO!


Safe at last

Hectic morning


It’s 10.30am and already we’ve found a cat and three kittens in a box dumped on the drive, we’ve had a four year old pig brought in end and an adult cat who was abandoned and living as a stray.   The poor cat is sitting on a soaking wet blanket and she’s in shock, the pig is relieved she’s not gone to the butcher and she’s exploring and the boycat has his priorities right, he’s tucking in to a dish of food.   Updates and photos coming soon – just an ordinary day at Pet Samaritans!

Autumn and winter feed worries


The days are shortening, we’ve had the Autumn equinox and it won’t be long before winter is with us.  We love the crisp clear days but feeding the animals and keeping them warm is a major problem.   We’ve not been able to make hay this year because of the unpredictably wet weather.  You need a week at least of dry and hot conditions to get the grass to ‘cure’ and turn into hay.   We are having to buy hay and are feeding it already.   Our fear is that the price will go sky high when the bad weather comes, no one has been able to make enough hay.  Without it, in winter the horses would starve.

We also have the sheep and goats to feed and they eat hay ad lib.   Our rescued sheep are doing well and are lovely friends, all with their own personalities.  The cheeky lambs are growing up fast, they are quite different to farmed sheep and follow us around and stay to have a chat!

Thank you for all your help with cat and dog food – what would we do without all our wonderful Pet Samaritans – please keep those cans and pouches coming.   Chappie is excellent and, because it is made from fish scraps, isn’t so damaging for either pets or the environment.   Cats love their pouches and we give them biscuits ad lab – Go Cat, Purina and Iams are favourites.  We feed Natures Menu to both cats and dogs (raw meat and natural) whenever we can afford.  You can buy Natures Menu from us – frozen or in pouches – it’s real meat, no additives and lightly steamed.  So if you want to indulge our golden oldies or recent rescues  just come and get some.

Our birds and hedgehogs need to be fed – we get through mountains of peanuts, mealworms and sunflower seeds as well as bird food.  If you can help us by bringing food in or making a donation to help us, especially with heating bills, we will be very grateful.   Keeping our animal family well fed, safe and warm is the main thing.  Many thanks.




Good dog golden oldies


All our resident seniors are doing well and enjoying life.  We call them our ‘golden oldies’ and it’s surprising how well they and how long they go on.  We like to think it’s because they have such a good life, pottering about when they feel like it, so they are getting as much exercise as they can cope with. Jack Spratt, shown above, can’t do much  because of his disabilities but he does like to wander about on soft ground and see if he can find something to chase – he can speed up when he wants to!

Daisy has heart problems and is frail, she was a good age already when she was brought in -her owner has passed away.  Daisy loves her meals and likes a gentle walk so long as the weather is fine, she likes to be cosy and back to home comforts  at the first sign of rain.

Miss Nolene is doing well and is as feisty as ever.  She’s a survivor and had to have a massive and complex operation shortly after she came in.  Nolene was paralysed but then made a miraculous recovery after surgery.   She is good with her friends and a hopeless cross-patch with people she doesn’t know.  She loves Jack to bits and frets if they are separated for any reason.

Cristo is a fragile little Chines Crested who is adorable.  He was in a terrible state when he first came in and it took months to get him right, he was emaciated and terribly neglected.  He’s like a little pudding now, plump and soft and loving, he never wants to leave us, he’s a real sweetie and curls up in the baskets with the cats.   He does have heart problems so we make sure he has a quiet life and he’s fine with that.

When pets are brought in who are not suitable for re-homing they can stay here for the rest of their life – any help you can give us  towards their care is much appreciated.   More wagging tales from our many other golden oldies’ coming soon …..




Miss Nolene


Mr. & Mrs. Jack and Nolene




Beautiful black cats for adoption

We’ve found them a wonderful home -thanks Ann.  These two young cats came in a few weeks ago and they have settled down well.  They are a beautiful pair, a brother and sister and very much alike.    The boy cat is called Teko and he is completely black, the girl is May and she has a white flash on her chest – makes it a bit easier to differentiate them.

They are a well behaved, gentle and affectionate pair who have been well cared for and socialised.  Mya and Teko are not used to going outside but would like the opportunity if it was a safe environment for them.

Mya and Teko are fully vaccinated and have been spayed and neutered, they are fully litter trained and have sweet personalities.  If you’d like to come and meet them please get in touch.




Sonic the hedgehog in school playground

hedgehog-poolsbrook-1-1Well done to the children of Poolsbrook School who, earlier today,  rescued a small hedgehog they found wandering about in the playground.  It was hot and he wasn’t looking well – for any hedgehog to be sitting out during daytime means something is wrong.

He’s still a hoglet (baby hedgehog) although he has all his spines he is quite whiskery and fluffy too.  The first thing we did was to offer him a drink.  He was very thirsty and even dunked his head in the dish to slurp more water up.   We’ll give him some rescue milk later on.  Don’t give hedgehogs cow’s milk though as it doesn’t suit them.

We’ve called this little one Sonic, he has a cheeky little face and bright eyes.  He was very hungry and had some mealworms and sunflower seeds and a bit of cat food.   We’ll give him another larger feed later on tonight.   Once we had him rehydrated and fed we checked him over.  This can be difficult if they are determined to curl up but Sonic is already a trusting fella and stayed uncurled while we checked him for cuts and bruises – none found – and also ticks which are blood sucking parasites and have to be removed as soon as ;possible.

Ticks look like grey blobs and range in size – when they are big and easy to see it’s because they’ve had a good feed and swelled up with blood – they are like little vampires and feast on blood.  Fortunately Sonic doesn’t have any ticks but we always check carefully anyway.   The vet will remove them or you can buy a tick-twister – and get them off yourself.  Never try to pull ticks off hedgehogs or other pets, it can cause a lot of damage.

Sonic is cuddled up for the night now, we’ve put him a towel and blanket in as we find that these little creatures like to go under the covers before they settle down for a good sleep.  Hopefully all thas wrong with Sonic is that he’s hungry and thirsty but we’ll have to make sure he gets his weight up before hibernation.



Injured pigeons on the mend


We’ve had several bruised and battered pigeons brought in recently, some have been in traffic accidents, pigeons do like to walk across the roads.  Others have been caught by cats or shot at by people with airguns.  We patch them up and after the first days of medication it often just takes time.   Pigeons like a quiet area to recover and usually eat well which helps them to mend.  Our recent casualties are doing well and hopefully we’ll release them soon.

If the pigeon has a ring on his  leg life is more complicated.   The owners of a racing pigeon often won’t want the bird back if it’s ‘failed’ in it’s flight and not made it home in double quick time. We have to make discreet enquiries because we don’t want the bird to be ‘necked’ as soon as he’s back.

Pigeons are the most intelligent of all birds, they are gentle and kind and good to have around.  Some people see them as a pest, there are pigeons in the town centre and then another day they are all gone.  Alright, they might be a bit messy, but it’s nothing like the damage than humans cause.