Sanctuary Life

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

Bereaved terrier left home alone

dogs - suzie - 1When her owner passed away suddenly, Little Suzie was left bereaved and home alone..  It’s difficult for any pet when their companion and carer is no longer there…. and then moving home, new people …. and moving on again …. and everything and everyone who is familiar has suddenly gone.

We were alerted to Little Suzie’s plight by Social Services.  There were no relatives in the area but a kind neighbour took Suzie in although this was a temporary arrangement only.   We get calls every day asking us to take unwanted pets in and wish we had room to take more.  Priority is given to pets who are left on their own because of sudden illness, hospitalisation and bereavement and Little Suzie arrived yesterday.

You can register your pet with us for Lifetime Care.   We have an Emergency Pet Care Card and it’s free so get in touch, we’ll send one out to you and be able to help in time of need.

As you can see from Little Suzie’s face, she was sad and in need of comfort.   She is a sweet girl, around six or seven years old we think and very loving.  She was just in time for lunch which she enjoyed and then lots of cuddles and a nice walk, she’s met everyone and had a big fuss made, she’s settling down well already.

None of us can know what the future holds, if we have pets the best we can do for them is to make provision fir them being left alone.   We offer lifetime care and dogs and cats love it here with us.   Sometimes younger pets can be found new homes but often the older ones or those that are shy and timid like to stay here with us – they love it here and don’t want to be re-homed!

They have a good life with freedom when they have become accustomed to life here.  We never put any healthy pet to sleep and we’ve had many go on in to their twenties.   Lillie and Frankie are two late teenage Llhasos, who are doing well in spite of their advanced age.  Cristo, the Chinese Crested dog is a darling, he will stay here for the rest of his days – he freaks out at the merest suggestion of re-homing.

Hopefully, Little Suzie will soon get her confidence and tail wagging back.  She is quite young still and is a very loving dog who will make a perfect companion.   She’ll be going for a vet check and update on her vaccinations next week and hopefully there’ll be a good home waiting for her soon after.

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Pretty and Purrfect young cat

cats - trixie 5 - 1This young lady cat was brought in because of a domestic emergency – she’s pretty and ‘purrrfect’ but she could no longer be kept and there was no one to take her.  When cats come in we don’t know at first what sort of temperament they have, some are shy, others can be feisty because they are afraid.  This little girl has been perfect from day one.  She is an adorable cat and maybe you can tell her good nature from her expression. 

We’ve called her Wispa, she is about a year old, friendly and sweet and loves to be picked up and cuddled.  Wispa is clean and litter trained, she has a laid back and quiet temperament and likes other cats.  She’s met Mr. Big and thinks he’s wonderful!   This giant tabby was shy when he first came in to stay with us but has turned into a social boy and is a meeter and greeter now and shows everyone the ropes.

Wispa is a dainty cat, she doesn’t look much more than a kitten herself and as she is fully grown now will not get any larger.   Her lovely face and eyes are the best things about her, she has such a loving look.

Wispa will be going for a vet check and update on her vaccination next week , she will be up  for adoption when that’s sorted.

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Injured baby hedgehog hanging on

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The injured baby hedgehog is still with us.  She’s a fighter and in spite of her wounds she is eating and trying to stand up. She’s breathing better and has her colour back.  Her mouth was very pale yesterday.  Her injuries are old ones and full of maggots, we flushed most of them out with salt water but have had to pick the rest out with tweezers.  You might think that when maggots are eating away at an animal it would be all over but we’ve known them recover even with such a bad infestation.

Where have the maggots come from?  It’s when flies lay their eggs in open flesh, then they hatch out.  Another half hour though and it would have been all over for her.  We’ve called her Kizzy, she’s a feisty little girl with a will to live.  She knows we’re helping her and wants us to go on.  When we had a pause in the maggot removal she began wriggling as if to stay ‘don’t stop’.

It’s still touch and go but she is drinking, from the syringe and licking up some solid food.  If we keep her going till her injuries start healing we think she will survive.  Kizzy is only a baby still and her spines are not so sharp as those of adults, this made it easier for a predator to attack her.  Not many will attack an adult hedgehog who has sharp hard spines.

About 20per cent of young hedgehogs don’t survive more than four weeks once they have left the nest.  First they have to get food and this depends largely on the weather.  If it’s too dry or cold then their won’t be so many beetles, caterpillars, worms, eggs, dead birds and anything they can scavenge.  This is all natural food for hedgehogs and the reason they like gardens so much is that their instincts tell them they’ll find food there.  In a  nice, not too neat garden, there’ll be plenty of shelter and places to call home – under sheds, in piles of logs, heaps of dead leaves.  Please remember the hedgehogs, leave gaps in the hedges (so they can go walkabout) and don’t tidy up too much.

Wildlife Casualties



hedgehogs - casualty 1 - 1We’ve had a busy week with a lot of wildlife casualties brought in, many injured and orphaned birds and some very poorly hedgehogs.   Most of the birds have pulled through, if we get them soon enough and get them feeding there is a good chance for them.   We need one of the special cabinets –  intensive care incubators (on our wish list) to give them a controlled and warm environment, it would give them all these little casualties a much better chance.  Can anyone help?

Hedgehogs are generally in more difficulty.   If they have eaten slug pellets they don’t make it no matter how big and strong they are.  There are plenty of simple ways to deter slugs without using toxic pellets that kill all wildlife – it’s a slow agonising death for them and distressing for us.  They don’t eat the pellets, it’s the poisoned slugs that get them.

We’ve had some baby hedgehogs brought in this week, they were found lying out in the hot sun.  One died straight away, the others are hanging on and look as though they will make it now they are eating.  Getting fluids down them is the first thing, again a ‘recovery’ cabinet would make all the difference.   Using the ‘wish list’ is easy – go to Pet Samaritans Wish List and click on whatever you can get for us, Amazon does the rest.   It’s a direct way to save lives and help us to keep going.

We have several adult hedgehogs who are now doing well, they are eating and as soon as they’re back up to weight we’ll release.  It’s always in ‘wild’  and uncultivated land with plenty of natural hedgehog food.  Roads are death to hedgehogs and injuries from gardening are common – apart from poisoning we see hedgehogs with missing limbs – caused by strimmers perhaps.

Some of the hedgehogs we release stay around which is lovely, we put feed out for our ‘wild’ friends every day and eventually they manage to forage for themselves.   Hedgehogs love gardens and the food they find but it’s only safe when the neighbours love hedgehogs too and take care to protect them. Our spiny friends like to roam over a big area every night so gaps in hedges are essential and to be sure, if you can, that  all the adjacent gardens are safe for them.

The little girl shown above was hanging by a thread when she came in yesterday.  She was dehydrated, barely alive and with several bad injuries on her head.  They look like bite marks so could have been done by a dog or by a sharp beak – magpies will go after hedgehogs if they can get to them.

We managed to get some water and then our recovery milk down her but when we had a closer look at the wounds we discovered that they were full of maggots.  Flies had laid eggs in the flesh and these had hatched out.  They all had to be picked out with tweezers, it was grisly to do but the little one survived it.   We have flushed the wounds with salt water and given medication.   The hoglet has the will to  live and is picking up.   It’s not over yet though, she was found lying out in the hot sun, she’s not been able to eat and it will still take a miracle for her to survive.   Prayers please ………

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Saving a little lamb

lambs - lucinda - 1When Lucinda was born her mother was too ill to care for her.  She is an older ewe and giving birth again was too much for her.  She was worn out.  Lottie has survived, we gabber here time for rest and recover and will make sure she never breeds again.  She had no milk for her little lamb this time and was too poorly to be worried about her.   Lottie is alright now but it took a few weeks for her to get back on her feet and we were worried about her. In a farming life she would be culled as no longer being productive but  instead she’s going to have a happy retirement here.

Lucinda was tiny to begin with but although she was frail she had a good spirit to live.  We gave her colostrum from one of the ewes who gave birth at the same time.  It’s essential for all young animals to have colostrum and makes sure their immune system can cope.  Lucinda took to her baby bottle straight away and when we put her on to formula milk she began to thrive.

Lucinda had four bottles a day to begin with but is now down to three.  She nibbles grass and lamb feed but try missing her lunch time bottle – it’s baa!  baa!  baa!- she goes ballistic!

Lucinda is now what’s called a ‘cade’ lamb – she’s a pet and tame and follows us around.  She still knows who her real mother is and goes to see her every day.  She plays with the other lambs and is well socialised with the flock but the minute the others start suckling from their mothers it reminds her that it’s feeding time and is ‘where’s my bottle?’ she dashes to find us and be hand fed.

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Beautiful Snowshoe Cats


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The Snowshoe cats who were brought in recently have settled well and we never tire of telling how beautiful they are.  Both Lola and Rooney love being admired and praised.   Lola has lovely china blue eyes which contrast with the dark markings on her face  The rest of her body is a champagne colour and of course, she has spotlessly clean white socks.

Rooney is  just about the same, his eyes are not quite as blue as his sister’s though.  They are both similar in temperament, placid and affectionate, a bit shy until they get to know you.   Lola and Rooney aren’t used to being outside, they have always been indoor cats.  However they love being out in their run and spend a lot of time watching all the activity, other cats walking by and especially the birds who fascinate them.

Snowshoe cats are a ‘made up’ breed originating in America in the last century.   They all have blue eyes and the distinctive white socks.  There must be some Siamese or Birman in there to account for the colouring surely?  These are the first Snowshoe’s we’ve had brought in – these two are not vocal and we haven’t heard a miaow yet.  They may have inherited some of the Siamese colouring but not their voice.

Lola and Rooney are sensitive and gentle cats who need an especially quiet and loving home.  If you’d like to come and meet them please get in touch.

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Beautiful Calico Kitten ready now

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All kittens are beautiful but Jussi is exceptional. She is a well marked calico kitten with a lovely round face, big eyes and wide apart ears – a real chocolate box sweetie!   Her temperament is to match and she is gentle and loving.   Jussie is well behaved and is clean and litter trained.

Jussi is multi-coloured kitten with black, white and ginger fur in a random pattern.  Cats of this colour always female, it’s all down to their genes.  Calico cats are thought to be especially lucky and petting them is said to bring good fortune.  We think, like the ancient Egyptians, that all cats are very special but there is one special calico cat in Japan who attracts visitors from all over the world.  She lives at a railway station and it’s now not just the passengers who come to see her.  She has a fan club and lives in a special house where everyone can see her through a large window.

If you’d like to come and meet Jussi please get in touch.   She’s fully weaned and eating well – kitten pouches, kitten milk and good quality kitten biscuits are put down all the time for her to snack on whenever she pleases.  Our tiny kits start off with baby cat biscuits then move on to regular biscuits, it’s junior from six months up to a year old.  Then they’re grown up and go on to adult biscuits.   We prefer Hill’s Science Diet or Royal Canin or Iams – they don’t get tummy upsets then and grown on really well.

We also like to feed fresh meat. minced lamb or beef, chicken and fish which must be cooked.  It only takes a minute or two to poach it, let it cool and watch them wuffle it down.

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Topcat kitten for adoption


kittens - topcat - 1This sweet little boy kitten was born at the sanctuary, his mother was brought in as a stray and was heavily pregnant when she arrived.   He is the only boy in the litter and Topcat (as we’ve named him)  is used to being fussed over by his sisters who are mostly bigger than him.   

Topcat is black and white, with a slightly fluffy coat and is very well marked.  He has the most handsome features, beautiful eyes and a wide round head.   Look at the size of his paws though – he is going to make up for being the baby and make a big cat for sure.   He’s weaned now and eating well, kitten pouches and kitten biscuits.  They all have a saucer of kitten milk every day too.

Topcat has been vaccinated (at nine weeks old) and has had a vet health check which he passed fine.   He’s fully litter trained and is a clean and well behaved kitten who loves to be cuddled and fussed.

When you take a new kitten home he or she will feel lost and lonely at first, they miss their mom and siblings.  You need to have plenty of time to keep the new ‘baby’ with you and carry them around and keep them close until they adjust.   A cardboard box makes the best bed and needs to be filled with woollen blankets and fleeces so the kitten has a cosy place to sleep.  A soft toy is good so that it feels as though there is another little body up close.

All the kittens belongings need to be kept spotlessly clean so a fresh saucer for every meal time is recommended.  Feed whatever they will eat at one go and then take it away unless you think they’ll lick the plate clean in another few minutes.  Stale food can cause tummy upsets.

A dish of kitten biscuits can be left down though, make sure all the feeding dishes are shallow so they don’t catch their whiskers on the sides.   When the kitten has emptied the biscuit saucer is the time to replace with a clean one, every couple of days is usually fine.

Buy several litter trays so that there is always a clean one to put out when soiled.  The used litter tray should be scraped out and then soaked in disinfectant (pet friendly) and then washed and rinsed well before being left to dry outside in the sun (hopefully!).

If you’d like to come and meet Topcat please get in touch, we’re open every day between 11 and 3.0pm.

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Happy ending for rescued ferret

ferrets - rolo 2 - 1When this young ferret was brought in she was scared and thin.  She’d been abandoned and hadn’t been fed or handled.   She’s a lovely light ginger colour and looked very sweet – but try and pick her up – no way was she going to let us.  Ferrets can become tame but need regular and confident handling until they learn to trust their owner.

When Pet Samaritans volunteer, Georgia saw the ferret she resolved to tame her.   Georgia was confident and gentle and was soon able to pick Rolo up.   It was a gradual process but Georgia’s expert handling soon had the little ferret’s trust.   When she asked if she could adopt her we were delighted.

Ferrets make rewarding pets but they are not for everyone.  They have sharp teeth and can bite when they feel threatened.  Lots of ferrets make excellent pets however and when they are tame they wouldn’t bite their handler.  They are intelligent and quick to learn.
 Rolo has bonded with her new friend and now has a large hutch and run and a loving home to go to – thanks Georgia, another happy ending

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Pretty Tabby & White Kitten ready now

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She’s ten weeks old and called Della, a pretty kitten who is ready for adoption now.  She’s beautifully marked with tiger stripes and a bit of ginger on her head.  Della has been vaccinated and vet health checked and passed fine.   Her flea and worm treatments are up to date and she’s clean and litter trained.

Della has been well socialised from birth and has a sweet and friendly nature.  Leaving her mommy and brother and sisters is always traumatic for a little kitten so it’s best to adopt when you have time to spare to get your new addition to the family settled in.

Having time for cuddles and carrying the kitten around with you is important, you want her to feel safe and get to know her new surroundings.  It isn’t necessary to go out and spend a whole lot buying baskets and toys – you can set a cat or a kitten up quite inexpensively.  There’s nothing cats like better than a cardboard box and the best of it is that you can throw it away and get another when it’s grubby.   Pet beds have to be washed which uses up a lot of energy and is a high cost.

Saucers are best for feed dishes, cats don’t like the deep dishes that are so often sold for cats.  They catch their whiskers on the edges. Plastic is best avoided, it’s not the environmentally friendly option and often comes from the other side of the world.  When plastic is scratched it harbours germs too.

Stone water dishes are best or stainless steel will do as well.  Change the water frequently and always put the dish in a shady area.  If the sunlight gets on water it can cause algae and this is toxic.   Don’t let any pet drink blue/green stagnant water – it can be fatal.

Cut old jumpers and fleeces up for bedding or buy offcuts from the markets. Pure wool is liked by cats and is very cosy but fleece is possibly better because it can be washed and dried so easily.   Plenty of cosy squares and cushions make a cosy bed for a kitten.  A teddy is liked too and helps to fill the gap where the other kits used to be.

What to feed your new arrival?   The kitten will be used to kitten pouches, fed in small amounts four times a day.  Always on a clean dish and just as much as she will eat in one go.  We put kitten biscuits down for ad lib feeding – our preferred brands are Royal Canin kitten biscuits, Hills Science Diet or Iams kitten biscuits.   A water dish nearby please.

Our kittens are used to all different kinds of cat litter and will all use a litter tray.  Our preferred cat litter is straw or wood based because it smells nice and is biodegradable.

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