Category Archives: Animal charities

Charities join forces to change the lives of homeless people and their pets

Crisis, the national charity for homeless people, and Mayhew, leading animal welfare charity for dogs, have launched a joint Christmas gift campaign that will help homeless people and their dogs access vital services, health and wellbeing checks, and warming food and supplies.

Crisis logoHomelessness is devastating, and a dog can be the only companion for someone who doesn’t have a place to call home. Crisis and Mayhew have been working together for 11 years to bring warmth and support to homeless people and their dogs. This year, the two charities have collaborated on an extra special initiative – a range of four virtual gifts designed to make a real difference to vulnerable owners and their pets.

Supporters can choose to donate £5, £10, £15 or £20 and, with proceeds split equally between Crisis and Mayhew, can help both charities fund much needed items and services for homeless people and their dogs. A few examples range from providing a cup of tea and a canine health check to a warm coat and help accessing a practical skills course.

Mayhew logoFunds raised could help provide homeless people with advice, food and warmth at Crisis at Christmas, and help them leave homelessness behind through Crisis’ year-round support with housing, employment and health. It could make a real difference to projects like Mayhew’s Pet Refuge programme, which provides shelter and care for the pets of people going through a crisis period. This is a lifeline for owners and enables them to access vital services, many of which are proffered through charities like Crisis who provide comprehensive support with housing, employment and health.

Through this new joint initiative, Mayhew and Crisis hope to help even more vulnerable owners and animals this Christmas and beyond, and make a real difference to the ongoing lives of homeless people and their dogs.

Richard Lee, director of fundraising at Crisis, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be partnering with Mayhew this Christmas to ensure our homeless guests and their dogs receive the support they need. Homelessness can be a devastating experience at any time of year, but it can be particularly hard at this time of year. That’s why Crisis at Christmas is so important – as well as food, warmth and vital services like those provided by Mayhew, our guests will be introduced to our year-round services that help thousands leave homelessness behind for good each year.”

Mayhew CEO Caroline Yates said: “Homelessness is devastating, and for many in such a situation, a dog is their best friend and the only source of comfort they have. The expense of food and vet care puts an extra burden on someone already in a vulnerable situation, so we are thrilled to have teamed up with Crisis to give people a way to help us both provide necessary items and services to those in need. Helping people and helping animals come hand in hand, especially at Christmas.”

To see the virtual gifts and to make a donation, click here.

Blue Cross pet charity welcomes new Chief Executive

Sally de la Bedoyere

Sally de la Bedoyere to join Blue Cross

Blue Cross, a leading pet charity, has announced that Sally de la Bedoyere, Chief Executive of the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association, will take on the role of Blue Cross Chief Executive later this year.

De la Bedoyere joined the charity sector in 2010 as Director of Income Generation at the RSPCA after a 25 year career in media, marketing and communications at Associated Newspapers and RAJAR.

She joins Blue Cross at a time when the charity, set up in 1897, will be investing significantly over the next ten years to upgrade and improve current sites and open new facilities in areas of some of the country’s highest welfare needs. With increasing demands on its services, Blue Cross wants to double the number of pets it cares for by 2021.

Zair Berry, Blue Cross Chairman, said: “I am thrilled that Sally has accepted the position of Chief Executive of Blue Cross.  She brings tried and tested skills in media, marketing and fundraising, has had Chief Executive roles in three different industries and experience in the animal welfare charity sector.  I believe that she is just the right person to steer Blue Cross to help more pets through broadening our reach, raising our profile and increasing our income.”

Sally commented: “I feel enormously privileged to have been offered the opportunity to be Chief Executive of Blue Cross. It is a fantastic charity with a legacy of helping to improve the health and happiness of thousands of pets for well over a century. The Trustees and teams are committed to expanding the reach of the charity and doubling the number of pets it helps over the next few years. I am very much looking forward to working with all the volunteers, teams and supporters to achieve that goal. Having previously worked in animal welfare and, as a lifelong pet owner, I am very excited to take up a role that is both personally and professionally important to me.”

Stephen Swift, formerly a Blue Cross Trustee for two years, has been acting as Blue Cross Interim Chief Executive following the resignation of the previous CEO in February.

Sally lives in Surrey with her family which includes two dogs, two cats, three ducks and three rescue chickens.

For more information, please visit


Emily Hopkin, 25, from Pontardawe, Swansea, will be attending the British Science Festival in September, having been selected as the Dr Hadwen Trust’s Geek4aWeek.

The annual British Science Festival is the British Science Association’s premier event and one of
Europe’s largest celebrations of science, engineering and technology, attracting thousands of visitors from across the UK and Europe. The Dr Hadwen Trust (DHT) is the UK’s leading non-animal medical research charity.

The DHT invited students to apply for the free bursary to attend the Festival from 6-
11 September in Birmingham as their geek for a week. The bursary pays for the student’s registration, attendance, meals and accommodationfor seven nights, plus travel expenses.

Said Dr Kay Miller, Group Head of Operations at the DHT, “We received dozens of applications but Emily was the stand out candidate. Her enthusiasm and energy were exactly what we were looking for.”

She continued, “We want to embed the importance of animal replacement technology into the
minds of scientists at every stage of their education and career. Emily will act as our ambassador during the week, to help raise awareness of the DHT.

She will wear our t-shirt, mix with scientists and other students, attend workshops, lectures and exhibitions, and chat about the merits of non-animal medical research.”
Emily is studying Chemistry with the Open University and attended Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Secondary School in Pontardawe.

She said, “I applied for the bursary because I am a huge animal lover. I am studying Chemistry and want a career in genetics – but only working for a company which does not experiment on animals.”

She added, “This is a fantastic opportunity. I hope I can influence people, get everything I can out of the week and maybe even influence my career. When I found out that I had won I couldn’t help myself.

I screamed OMG! OMG! Mum, I’ve won!”

For further information about the Dr Hadwen Trust and details of how to donate please visit

RSPCA says ‘Do not disturb baby birds’

Today is the first day of spring and the RSPCA is reminding people not to disturb any birds’ nests or baby birds as they attempt to spread their wings and leave their nests for the first time.

The RSPCA says many fledglings discovered by members of the public are mistakenly thought to be injured or abandoned, and subsequently moved from their natural habitat.

The charity says that, depending on the age of the bird, human interference could be causing more harm than good.

Adam Grogan, senior scientific officer at the RSPCA, said: “Unless a baby bird is clearly a nestling, or is a fledgling that is injured or in immediate danger it is best to leave them alone.

“Our wildlife centres care for more than a thousand ‘orphaned’ fledglings each year, picked up by well-meaning people. Most of these birds are not orphans and would have had a better life in the wild.

“Our advice would be to leave a fledgling alone and watch from a distance. It’s likely that the parents are still around to take care of the bird.

“As well meaning as it is no one should try to return a bird to the nest. You may have the wrong nest, it may disturb the other young birds and may be illegal. If a fledgling is in immediate danger, place it in a sheltered spot a short distance away.”

The RSPCA is aiming to prevent thousands of baby birds such as blackbirds, housemartins, blue tits and wood pigeons from being handled unnecessarily by concerned members of the public.

Fruit remedy may have saved rabbit

Photo of rabbit

Fruit remedy may have saved rabbit

A bunny on the brink of death has been saved after vets at an animal charity used pineapple juice as a last resort to remove a giant fur ball in his stomach.

Finbar the rabbit was rushed to the PDSA’s PetAid hospital in Glasgow by his owners James and Christina McNeil after he stopped eating and drinking and appeared lethargic.

Vets examined Finbar and suspected something might be wrong with his intestines so prescribed drugs and liquid feeding at home to try and help him. When Finbar did not make a marked improvement, the vet X-rayed the rabbit’s intestines, showing he had the biggest hairball staff at the hospital had ever seen, filling his entire stomach.

Realising the two-year-old rabbit was close to death, PDSA vet Susie Hermit drew upon her knowledge about the possible benefits of pineapple juice in helping to break down hairballs.

Susie said: “An enzyme contained in pineapple juice is claimed to break down the material which holds fur balls together. “However, the juice could just work because it provides rehydration and energy.

“We could see from Finbar’s x-ray that it was a huge fur ball – the biggest I’ve ever seen in a rabbit, and unfortunately Finbar was so ill that an operation to remove the hairball was too risky.

“I had heard before about using pineapple juice to treat this condition and there was nothing else we could do – it was an all or nothing situation. Thankfully Finbar started to improve after a combination of pineapple juice and drugs to get his bowels moving. Whether this was solely due to the pineapple juice, I’m not sure, but it seemed to make a difference.”

His owners were delighted to have Finbar back at home.

Christina, who was given Finbar as a present from her two daughters, said: “I couldn’t believe it when the vet told me to bring along a carton of freshly squeezed pineapple juice to the PetAid hospital as I’d never heard of it being able to help with fur balls.

“After the vet showed us how to administer the juice by a syringe we did it at home every day and after two weeks he started to get better. We’re just so thankful to PDSA for everything they’ve done as we were really worried at one stage whether he would have to be put to sleep.

“Finbar is such a character and we are so pleased he is still with us. As PDSA have advised us, we’ll make sure we groom Finbar’s coat daily to reduce the chances of him developing a hairball in the future and make sure he gets plenty of fibre in his diet to make sure any hair moves quickly through his intestines.”

PDSA advises pet owners not to administer pineapple juice unless recommended by a vet. If an owner suspects their rabbit has a hairball, they should contact their vet for advice.

Picture credit: Nick McGowan-Lowe Photography.

Vegan wins North Pole marathon

A vegan amateur athlete battled temperatures of -28C to win the women’s race in the North Pole Marathon.

Fiona Oakes, 43, from Asheldham, in Essex, broke the course record for women by 44 minutes, completing the race in 4 hours 53 minutes, despite conditions described as the worst in the marathon’s eight-year history.

She ran the northernmost marathon on earth to raise money for the Vegan Society and to support the 400 animals she personally cares for every day at her Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary.

Fiona was beaten by only two male runners and the second placed woman was 55 minutes behind Fiona’s time.

On her Facebook page after the race Fiona wrote: “Back in Spitsbergen. Job done! It is so cold and brutal in the Arctic I cannot explain. Marathon + Arctic conditions = TOUGH!”

She added: “I knew it was going to be bad but just how bad I couldn’t possibly have prepared for. Not just the consequences of running at -30 with a wind chill but for half the course through deep snow.

“I haven’t got the longest legs in the world and kept falling it was so deep as when you put your foot on it you didn’t know if it was frozen enough to take your weight.

“On one occasion I sank up to my groin, on another I fell on my hand and now have a suspected fractured thumb.

“Never mind, job done, win in the women’s race, new course record and third overall. Can’t ask for any more.”

Fiona, an honorary patron of the Vegan Society, has competed in more than 26 marathons.

She aims to be the first vegan to run a marathon on all seven continents plus the polar ice cap. In November she will take on the Volcano Marathon in the Atacama Desert the week before tackling the Antarctic Marathon, all in aid of the same charities.

Vegan Society chief executive officer, Jasmijn de Boo, said: “I believe that Fiona is a true inspiration to anyone, including runners, women, vegans and non-vegans, and above all, humanity. She shows what the values of dedication, commitment, discipline and staying cheerful in the face of hardship really mean.”

To sponsor Fiona in aid of the Vegan Society visit or to help Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary go to

Wildlife photo competition launched

Keen photographers are urged to enter an annual wildlife photo competition run by a conservation charity.

The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust is searching for the best images of wildlife and wild places within the two counties.

This year’s contest includes several new categories such as reptiles and amphibians and will separate images featuring Hampshire and Isle of Wight landscapes.

Entry to the competition is free and winners from each of the 12 categories will get their picture featured in the charity’s calendar. The overall winner will receive a £150 prize.

Competition organiser Stephanie Watson said: “This competition is all about showing off the fabulous wildlife and landscapes of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

“We can’t wait to see what images people enter. This year we have a new category for more artistic shots and that one is going to be particularly interesting to keep an eye on.”

The deadline for entries is July 31. To find out how to enter and for competition rules visit

RSPCA opens shop in Manchester

Manchester’s fashionable Northern Quarter recently saw the opening of a RSPCA charity shop. Venturing into new territory, the RSPCA Manchester and Salford Branch have opened their 4th charity shop, located on Oak Street, opposite Manchester Craft Centre.

Photo of dog in RSPCA shop

Sally welcomes you to the new RSPCA store in Manchester

The shop opened to the public on 14th January and was an instant hit amongst the thriving community with its unique take on charity shopping; decked out in a boutique style but without the fancy prices.

Local residents, shoppers and retailers have been truly welcoming and supportive, with many bringing in their pooches as well as donations to help the charity raise vital funds. The shop can generate income out of almost any donated item, although they do not accept electrical items.

Shop manager Stephanie, who runs the shop with her dog Sally says: “What we need more than anything is for people to know that we are here. We’d love people to come by and say ‘hello’, so when you are next in the area please drop by.”

The shop is currently open Monday to Saturday and in the warmer months will open Sundays too. To learn more about the branch please visit:

With the support of shoppers it is hoped that the shop will make a significant contribution towards the cost of running the branch, which is over £300k a year. The branch is dedicated to rehabilitating and rehoming animals rescued by RSPCA inspectors. Last year 469 animals benefitted from its help despite the branch not having its own animal centre.

A list of all four branches in the area can be found here: