Saturday, November 5, 2011

Christmas is coming!

These are the pics from the Burleigh Street shop today.

Many thanks to Ben for providing superb publicity for our new Christmas display: all the children (and the grown-ups!) loved the dalmatian costume and it was a fantastic attraction to draw people in.

Ben will be visiting us again for the Mill Road Winter Fair on 3rd December, probably in a Border Collie costume this time—look out for him at our shop at 188 Mill Road.

These photos are a bit dark because I was taking them from inside the shop; I hope to get some better ones on the 3rd.

Christmas cards, Advent Calendars and 2012 calendars are now on sale at our shops, also lots of items that would make wonderful and unique presents.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Look out on Burleigh Street tomorrow!

Ben Pettit, who kindly collected for us at our dog show, is supporting us again this Saturday at our Burleigh Street charity shop. The picture below was taken at our dog show - those costumes are VERY HOT!

He'll probably be bringing the dalmatian costume this time and, depending on the weather, will either be in the shop welcoming customers inside, or walking up and down Burleigh street to drum up trade.

Watch out for Ben again at our Mill Road bookshop for the Winter Fair on 3rd December. Winter Fair collecting is usually very chilly, so Ben may be glad of his dog costume then.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Welfare assistance

The Wirral News reports that RSPCA Wirral and Chester branch is having to cut staff at its animal centre.
"THE RSPCA’s Animal Centre in Wallasey is making further cuts and asking staff to volunteer for redundancy as its financial struggles continue. 
Last November the charity’s Wirral and Chester branch closed its clinic in Birkenhead – which was running at a loss of £20,000 a year – after trustees decided to focus resources on its centre in Cross Lane. At the time the branch, which has been in existence for around 120 years, was said to have just a year’s worth of running costs in reserve. 
Now trustees have decided their only option is to reduce staffing costs and an animal welfare assistance scheme. From this week the scheme, which gives treatment for pets owned by people on low incomes, will be replaced by an emergency vet consultation. ... read more..."
Clearly the "newsworthy" aspect of this is the possible closing of the animal shelter and the effect on the branch welfare assistance scheme is glossed over in a way that suggests the reporter didn't understand that the branch previously offered help with the cost of treatment for pets of low income owners and now can only cover the cost of a consultation (meaning the owner must find the whole cost of the actual treatment). 

In many parts of the country RSPCA branches are the ONLY source of help available to people who can't afford to pay a private vet. In Cambridgeshire, our animal clinic is the only low-cost veterinary treatment centre for an area of 125 square miles, but in most cases a branch will support access to treatment by providing financial help for owners to use private vets. This is much more low-profile than having a facility of your own and something that's harder to publicise and fundraise for when times are tough.

Very few people allow their animals to starve—but I'm afraid quite large numbers of them simply do nothing about sick animals and justify it to themselves by saying they're not neglectful because they would take their animal to a vet if there was one whose charges they could afford.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Phone call yesterday evening from someone concerned that a neighbourhood cat seemed to be unable to stand. She very helpfully offered to transport him to a vet herself, rather than wait until an RSPCA driver could get there. Then, about an hour later, there was another call, this time from the vet's surgery, to say they had the cat and also a stray kitten who'd been handed in.

Sadly the adult cat didn't survive, but the kitten improved over night although she's very snuffly still and anaemic because she had so many fleas feeding on her blood.

Then began what you might think was a straightforward process of moving her for further treatment. Being so small, kittens can improve or go downhill very fast. Yesterday evening, the vets were doubtful whether she'd survive the night, but by mid-morning she was perky enough not to be really in need of inpatient care. Because of the snuffles, there was the added complication that vets don't really want a potential source of cross-infection to other ill patients unless it's absolutely unavoidable.

We don't usually end up calling round our foster homes while an animal is actually in a volunteer's car wondering where to go, but I'm afraid our new volunteer driver had some anxious moments wondering whether he was stuck permanently in transit with a sniffling kitten.

Thank you VERY much to our domestic bird fosterer for stepping in at about 5 minutes notice to provide a safe place with no animals likely to be susceptible to cat germs, and thank you to our wonderful volunteer driver for coping with something we don't normally land on new volunteers!

It does show how essential our volunteers are to making it possible to save animals, and also the importance of having as many individual foster homes as possible to minimise the risks of cross-infection.

If you might be interested in fostering animals for the branch, please email or