Sanctuary Life

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

Ponies enjoying their hay

ponies eating hayWe’re putting hay out for the ponies twice a day now and they’re munching away at it, enjoying every mouthful.  It’s Little Dorritt in the foreground with Holly (one of t he Golden Oldies) behind her on the left and Bridget the Fidget and Chloe in the middle.  Sundance has just edged in to the picture – he’s the chestnut gelding on the left.   Any help you can give us with feeding the ponies will be much appreciated – you can buy a bale of hay for them online in our Sanctuary Shop – we’ll do the rest.  If you’d like to come and meet some of the ponies you are very welcome to call at the sanctuary on Saturdays and Sundays between 11.0 and 3.0.  Please press the bell on Reception (blue cabin on right) to let us know you’re here.   Carrots and apples much appreciated!

Hay and straw appeal Please help us feed the ponies

ponies - hay appeal 2

The ponies have had a good summer but now the grass is dying down and has little nutrition.   We’re feeding hay already and it’s more expensive than ever this year.  We have taken two more ponies in this year and both are doing well amd have put weight on   We give our horses and ponies a home for life and it’s all natural.  Ponies are herd animals and become attached to their companions (and us).

As soon as the weather worsens we’ll be fetching them in at night and we’ll need several tons of hay and straw to keep them going through the winter.  Most of our horses and ponies have come to us because of health problems and lameness so they need to have shelter and keep warm and dry.    Holly is elderly, Rhogan has arthiritis, Bridget is disabled, Chloe also is an old lady pony.  They will all stay with us all their lives.

Can you help us feed them?  Please check out our shop pages where you can buy them a bale of hay or straw – pay online and we’ll do the rest. It would be a tremendous help.  If you can sponsor a pony

If you’d like to sponsor a pony please get in touch – here’s a selection we have lots to choose from!


1. CHLOE -  an elderly bay mare and what a character

2. BRIDGET – a disabled youngster, pretty brown and white – very sweet

3. GRACE – a chestnut mare – lovely placid temperament

4.  PIXIE – a tiny tot – only 28 inches high!

5.  DAYDREAM – red and white with a beautiful long mane

6.  RUBY – a chestnut mare, the boss of the herd

A donation for a year’s adoption is much appreciated (online or if by cheque payable to Pet Samaritans) We’ll be happy to send you a photo, ‘your’ pony’s story and an adoption certificate – makes a great gift.

All these ponies are at the sanctuary and you can come and meet them at weekends between 11.0am and 3.0pm Saturday and Sunday.


Your name:   ………………………………………

Addres:          ……………………………………..

Pony’s name and number:  ……………………………………

Donationn:   ……………………………………………..

If for a gift – Name:   …………………………………

Address to post to: …………………………………..

ponies - sundance 2

Thank you  xxx

Sad news

baby owl 10

The baby barn owl went to sleep yesterday and never woke up.   He was just too weak when he came in and although we tried our best he couldn’t recover.   He was warm though and had fed and was comfortable.  He wasn’t out  in the cold on his own ……he was beautiful and precious and he knew we loved him.  We’ve buried him under a tree …. so sad.

Baby barn owl rescue

Barn owl - 1

T his baby barn owl was close to the end when he was brought in to the sanctuary yesterday.  Staff at Hardwick Hall had seen him on a roof, another older owl with him had already died.  When he was  brought in to us he waslying on his back with his feet in the air.  He was cold and emaciated.  Without his mother to feed him he had no chance.

We thought at first that it was already too late but amazingly, there was a spark of life.  We’d been alerted to his arrival and had a heat pad already on.  We’ve reared several abandoned owl chicks this year and all successfully.  This was this year’s first baby barn owl though.  It’s late in the season and he is probably a chick from a second hatching.  We don’t know what happened to his parents.

He’s been lethargic so far and is frail and only just clinging on but where there is life there is hope.   He is taking food, although he has to be persuaded to open his beak.  When I hold him he feels very light.  He has a few slivers of meat at a time;  I gently open his beak and pop a morsel in.   He thinks about it for a while then gulps it down.  As soon as he’s had enough he goes to sleep.  He isn’t able to stand yet but hopefully he’ll be stronger tomorrow.  We’ve had baby owls as weak as this one pull round before ……. he is an exquisitively beautiful creature, magical and otherworldly …… hopes and prayers please.

barn owl 2

A Ferret in the garden

ferret - sundayWe’ve had a busy weekend with cats, dogs being brought in and then our last rescue was a ferret.  He’s a handsome youngster  (or a she, we’re not on such familiar terms that we can find out as yet!) past the baby stage but not grown up yet.   He has a lovely coat with peach, pearl gray and white patches and the lovely inquisitive ferret face – they always seem to be asking questions – where’s my tea, can I come out, will you pick me up ……. etc. etc.

He was found in a garden.  The lady of the house picked him up in a towel and popped him in a cat basket and brought him in to us.  He’s a bit shy and wondering where he is so we’re letting him settle.   We made him a home in a cage in the lunch room where he can see everything that’s going on and get to know us.

So far we haven’t any idea where he’s come from.  It’s only rarely that ferrets are claimed, usually they have been abandoned but we’ll give it a few days and see if anyone comes forward.  We’ve called him PEPPER  and if you’d like to come and meet  him please get in touch.ferret - sunday 1


cats - jester 19

He went missing  from Newbold Road last week – he’s a friendly cat with a lovely nature, recently been neutered and vaccinated.  He is about a year old – please help find him as he will be cold and frightened.  Please contact the sanctuary if you find him or see him in the area – 01246 455777 or email.

Six kittens for Sophie

kittens - new born sale day

Yard sale days are always busy and exciting but last weeks was even more – one of the stray cats we had taken in gave birth to six kittens just before the sale started.   She seem to be an experienced mom who knows what it’s all about.  She is fine after the birth and is nursing her babies with devotion.   They are pretty kits and all about the same size.  Only one is a lot bigger – the black and white one has to be a boy!   Some of them are definitely girls, there are some callicos calicos and a tortie.

We’re desperate for cat food, another stray had four kits the week before.   These are late births but again, mother and babies are doing well.   If you can bring us any pouches or cans we would be very grateful.   Our Reception is open every day – cloes at 4.0pm.  Please leave donations of pet food in Reception – we would be grateful for any help in feeding these hungry cats and kittens.

kittens - new borns & mom

Friendly Kitten for Adoption

kittens - donny 2Donovan came in as a stray, he’s about 14 weeks old and is one of the most handsome kittens ever.  He has tabby markings on a pristine white background and big, expressive golden eyes.  His temperament is just as attractive, he is very friendly and fussy – he wants to be picked up and told he’s beautiful and to be cuddled and have a play. All cats have diffeerent personalaities, even as kittens – you get the shy ones, the extroverts, the adventurers, the kits who lack confidence – Donny is a people pleaser – he wants  your love!   Donny has been to the vet for a health check (fine) and has been vaccinated – he’s ready to pack his little bags and go to his new forever home.

If you can offer Donovan a permanent loving home please get in touch.   You can come and see the kittens every Saturday and Sunday between 11.0am and 3.0pm.   Other times please give us a call – we’re open most days.

kittens - donny 7

Donovan is a cuddly kitten ….

kittens - donny 5

Thanks for your support

cat - thank you

The animals loved meeting everyone yesterday, the weather was beautiufl, the coffee and cakes went down well, there were lots of bargains, a fantastic tombola and we all had a great day, thank you for all your support and donations.   Now we’ve begun with yard sales again we’re going to go on.  We’re having a Christmas Fair on 2nd November, same time, same place and why not come and see us at weekends in between.  We’re open Saturday and Sunday between 11.0am and 3.0pm – we’ll have our usual  bric-a-brac to browse through, lots of books and gifts – even a Freecycle corner where you can pick up items that haven’t sold for free.  Lots of good stuff to rummage through.

It’s a chance to say hello to the animals, see how the kittens have grown – one of our stray cats had six new babies yesterday just before the yard sale started!   Mum and babies are all doing well – six is a lot for her to cope with though.  The maternity unit is busy this week and another little cat has had a litter of four.  We don’t disturb them at the start but these all look very pretty – two ginger tabbies, a torite and can’t tell what colour the fourth is.   She’s nursing them well and they are getting her full attention, licking, fussing and feeding.

We need – cat and kitten food, more blankets, clothes, shoes, handbags and teddy bears please.   Hope to see you soon.

Stray dogs the reality

dogs - savvy 2

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 …..