Help needed for rescue animals' vet's bills please
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Ended Feb 15, 2015
I desperately need some help for my 24 rescued animals, including dogs and cats, please. I have been hit with a sudden influx of vet's bills and as money was very scarce anyway, I am really struggling at the moment. More ...

I desperately need some help for my 24 rescued animals, please. I have been hit with a sudden flurry of vet's bills and money was very scarce anyway. It's such a desperate situation now, I don't know where to turn.

I have been taking in unwanted animals since 1998.

Currently, I have 24 animals, including five dogs, four cats, three guinea pigs, two degus, four mice, two hamsters and four terrapins. I also have four tanks of fish, some of whom were abandoned at my house by the previous resident.

Four of the five dogs have either medical problems or "difficult" temperaments, but I love them to bits and they love me and they could never go to anyone else.

I'd never struggled for money until I got laid off at work and after this did a string of 'temping' jobs to make ends meet. A friend and I then started a small gardening and landscaping business last year, as neither of us had been able to get permanent employment. But work isn't good at the moment and I feel in despair.

I have two dogs on regular medication - one (Roy) has a bad skin condition which is kept under control with a monthly prescription (steroids, antibiotics and a medicated bath). The other (Blue) has epileptic seizures and also needs a monthly prescription. They will both be on meds for the rest of their lives.

Roy then got an ear infection and was put on other meds for that. Also, he suddenly started limping badly and I took him to the emergency vet, thinking he had done something serious. Thankfully, he is over that now (just a sprain) but it all adds up in vet's costs.

During this summer, I spotted a lump on Roy's hind leg, which grew quite rapidly. The vet performed a biopsy and unfortunately it had abnormal cells, which needed removing under a general anaesthetic. Thankfully, he survived the surgery and the mass has not showed any signs of returning so far. So I hope that we have caught it in time and saved his life.

Then one of my cats (Joseph) started with a skin allergy, which the vet thought was fleas initially, although none were found. Now, however, through scratching his face, he has an abcess on his cheek, which is not responding to antibiotics at present and he may need to have it removed/drained if this continues. He has been up to the vet's twice in one week.

The animals are my family and I love them. Re-homing them isn't an option. I would rather feed and care for them than feed myself. I used to take in any unwanted animals with no problem, but now am struggling to care for the ones I have already.

I had run a Fundrazr before after another of my dogs (Squeaker) suffered a ruptured cruciate ligament (December 2013) which required surgery costing £600. Thanks to kind donations, I survived this hurdle. She is now fully recovered.

I had hoped not to have to ask for help again. But my circumstances don't seem to improve at present and I have to admit times have never been so bad. I'd expected the gardening/landscaping to pick up (as it was quite good at this time in 2013) but work is very thin on the ground at present. I don't know why ... we are good!!!

I've had to spend all spare money on my ever-increasing vet's bills and have nothing left 'in reserve' at all. I've even spent the money I was supposed to use to repair my fence after part of it blew down in the gales over the winter, so it's currently patched up and propped up with wheelie bins and bags of cement. Not good, as it's 6ft high and keeps the dogs safe when they go outdoors.

I'm having sleepless nights just worrying about all the animals and living from day-to-day, never knowing where my next money will come from. But giving up on them isn't an option. They will continue to be well cared for and I will never let them down, but everything is an uphill battle at present.

If anyone can please help, even a very small amount, this will be very much appreciated. Here are some photos and videos of my lot. Thank you.

Millie, a Sharpei cross, abused as a puppy, rescued personally by ourselves from the abuser - now a healthy, happy, bouncy girl. She will always be nervous, but she totally adores the cats and enjoys crazy playtimes: 

  Millie

This video (below) shows Millie playing like a maniac with Squeaker and Roy last year. Ironically, this was the day Squeaker's leg injury (ruptured cruciate ligament) became apparent, leading to her subsequent surgery:

 

This is my deaf collie, Blue, who I took in (he came from a puppy breeder) because nobody wanted him. He was deaf from birth. He started having epileptic seizures at about seven years old, but he is bright as a button and really has a vigour for life:

Blue my collie

This is Roy, who has a dry skin condition which I have been told is incurable, but can be kept under control. He has had it for all his adult life, but it does not affect him and he is the happiest little soul you could ever meet:

Roy

 

Pictured below is my boy Happy Buster, who is a very nervous dog because of a bad experience with a dog catcher as a young dog. He was trapped in a garden and two male dog catchers wrestled him to the floor with a metal collar on a pole, cutting his neck open while doing so. He was extremely traumatised afterwards. He is very loving towards us, but nervous of men and people in general:

Happy Buster

 

Squeaker, pictured below, with Millie, is a lovely girl. She is eight years old now and thankfully has completely recovered from her surgery for a ruptured cruciate ligament last year, when she had a steel pin inserted in her back left leg. She has a great temperament and is a 'little mum' to all the others:

Squeaker and Millie

  Squeaker just wants to be loved, as you can see from the video below:

 

Pepper, pictured below (with Harley the kitten) is my oldest cat. He is nine years old. He was abandoned at about six months old and we found him living under a tarpaulin in a garden in all weathers. A neighbour was feeding him, but couldn't take him in, so he came to live here. He gets on with all the dogs and other cats and always welcomes new cats by licking and grooming them. He also comes on walks with me and the dogs, trotting down the street with us!

Pepper and Harley

Joseph is my second oldest cat. He was from an unwanted, accidental litter. He gets on well with Happy Buster the dog and is an indoor cat - he doesn't like it outside at all. His mystery skin condition and abcess are therefore all the more baffling, because he doesn't go outdoors or come into contact with other cats or potentially hazardous substances:

Joseph being cute

Harley, my black cat (below) was another from an unwanted, accidental litter. Once he was a year old and was allowed to start going out, he quickly got into the swing of things and is probably my most out-going cat! He is always off somewhere on an adventure, but comes back for food and to sleep:

 Harley

Salt (pictured below) is my youngest cat. I called her Salt because she is the spitting image of Pepper, although they are not related. She was yet another unwanted kitten - accidental litter. She does not go outdoors yet, but she is very friendly with the dogs and enjoys spending time with them - more so than she does the other cats!

 Salt

 

 Pictured (below) is George the guinea pig, whom I rescued from the Pets At Home Adoption Centre. He was an owner surrender. They "didn't have time" for him! He is no trouble at all and is so funny and cute. He also gets on great with my boy Happy Buster (who watches him adoringly) and they spend a lot of time together. George is a little eating machine - he loves his greens:

George and Happy Buster

 

Here are my two most recent additions to the family, Pinky and Perky the guinea pigs (pictured below). They were owner surrender - the kids had lost interest and weren't feeding, cleaning or caring for them. They didn't even have names, which was sad! They are nervous but becoming more friendly:

Pinky the guinea pig

Perky the guinea pig

Here is my dwarf hamster, Titch (pictured below). He was from the Pets At Home Adoption Centre. He was for sale in the pet store as a baby, but nobody had bought him and now he was an adult, no-one wanted him. He was all alone in a horrible glass display tank. So I gave him a home here. His whole life is running on his little red wheel, which he adores! He is the friendliest little soul imaginable:

Titch the dwarf hamster

Titch running in his wheel:

My two degus (pictured below) are called Chocolate and Goo - both female. I would say they are middle-aged now, in degu terms. One was a rescue, but we bought the other as a companion, as degus are community animals and don't like to live alone. They have a massive cage, as they need a lot of space and exercise. They are always 'on the go'. They also need a special, low-sugar diet, as degus are prone to diabetes. It is a genetic thing. So they need special food and treats to ensure they are kept in good health. They also need regular 'dust baths' and have a large, metal 'bath' in their pen in which they can roll around in the 'dust'. Not any old dust, mind! It is bought from a pet store:

Chocolate and Goo the degus

Chocolate the degu

My Syrian hamster, Peaches, pictured below, is a young adult and is absolutely gorgeous. She was from a pet shop, where she was full-grown and cramped in a small cage. She hadn't been bought because she was an adult and nobody wanted her now. Of course, all the kids seemed to want a little one. So I came home with her, as I thought what a miserable life she was leading. She is now in a luxurious, three-storey home with her much-loved wheel and various 'dens', beds and other toys. My dog, Squeaker, is fascinated by her. I'm sure she thinks Peaches is a little puppy! Here they are together:

Squeaker and Peaches

 

I have four terrapins, Terr, Roar, Pin and Redneck. Three of them I found abandoned at my house by the previous residents when I moved in. They were in a small, filthy tank. God knows what they had been living on. So I got them a massive 6ft tank and provided rocks for them to sit on and nice food. They have grown lots. The fourth, Redneck (so called because of his unusual colouring) was abandoned as a baby on a frozen park lake in the middle of winter - terrible. A guy who worked there for the parks department found him, thank goodness, and asked me to take him in. He fitted in very well with the others:

Some of my terrapins

 

I also have four mice - all brought in by my cats at some point and rescued by me from the 'jaws of death'. I intended keeping them only a couple of nights, to make sure they weren't badly injured. I have rescued dozens of mice from my cats over the years and released most back to the wild. But I decided to keep these (in different enclosures) due to their injuries and the fact they became 'tame' much too quickly. They are no trouble, but hard to photograph, as they are so tiny and only come out at night. Squeaker, of course, loves them and sits watching for them for hours:

One of the mice takes a drink of water

The photo (above) shows one of them in the 'mouse den' taking a drink of water, while the picture (below) shows my girl Squeaker 'telling' me that one of the mice has been out and patiently waiting to see him again:

Squeaker watches the mouse den for activity

Pictured below is my butterkoferi, Butter, a tropical fish. I took him in after his owner said he no longer wanted to keep him. He is very friendly. He needs a tank of his own as he can be aggressive towards other fish:

Butter the butterkoferi

Pictured below are some more of my fish. I have four tanks in total. Some were abandoned at my house (as were the terrapins) when I moved in. I have no idea why people do that! I also took in another lot of fish from a lady who said she couldn't look after them. They are no trouble!

Parrot fish and silver dollar fish

 Pleco and angel fish

 Some of the smaller fish

There are also the puffer fish - I don't have a decent picture of them, as they sit in their 'diving helmet' and 'sunken boat' tank accessories a lot, although they are in the video with Joseph the cat (above).

 

Other rescue work carried out by myself

In addition to the permanent residents here, I have also helped out any other animals in need to the best of my abilities, with my limited resources. Here are the details of some of them:

 

Bubble the crossbreed dog:

Pictured below is Bubble the dog. She is Squeaker's sister. They were both from an accidental, unplanned litter and it was my original intention to rehome both of them ... but then I fell in love with them both and decided to keep them.

Bubble the dog

However, over time, it became apparent Bubble was not happy living in a household with multiple dogs. She became destructive and aggressive towards some of the other dogs. One day, she chewed her way through a solid wood door after I left her in my bedroom while I went out! I actually didn't care about the damage - property will repair - but I didn't think it was healthy or happy for Bubble and the other dogs living in a stressful situation. I did persevere with her for a year and would never have rehomed her to anyone without being 100% certain it was for the best, as she was very loving towards people, but just had problems with the other dogs.

The problem was solved when a married couple - friends of mine who were big animal lovers - sadly lost their German Shepherd at 17 years of age. They were looking for another dog some months later, so I asked them to meet Bubble. They fell in love with her (as I knew they would) and she moved in with them a couple of days later. She has turned into a 'model dog' with one-on-one attention and she lives next door to a park, where her dad works, so she has plenty of exercise and fun and has a lovely life. I always think if I can rehome them to a better life than I can provide, i will, even though it's a wrench to let them go.

The beautiful finches:

Pictured, below, are a beautiful pair of finches whom I took in after their owner said their chirping drove her crazy. I couldn't understand this ... I loved their chirping and thought they sounded like a squeaky dog toy! They were male and female - a bonded pair.

The finches I fostered

I had considered giving them a permanent home, but this wasn't possible, due to my having to leave them shut in a bedroom all day to ensure their safety from my cats. Also, they were unhappy when the dogs barked and were very nervous. I looked after them for about six months until I managed to rehome them to a lady who ran a bird sanctuary. She had a huge aviary for finches and put them in with their own nesting box. They remained together and were able to fly about to their heart's content in a spacious aviary, rather than being trapped in their cage due to my dogs and cats, so I know I did the right thing in rehoming them. This is their permanent home now.

Tweety and Chirpy the starlings:

Pictured, below, are two wild starlings, whom I named Tweety and Chirpy. A mean householder had removed their nest (from his gutter) when they were one day old because their chirping awoke him too early in the morning, He had left it in the middle of his lawn and their parents eventually appeared to have flown away after 12 hours. My friend brought them back here - there were seven in total - and we hand-reared them. Tweety and Chirpy the starlings

They were on hourly feeds for the first week, living in their nest in the bedroom under a heat lamp. Sadly, the other five passed away during the first few days, but these two survived to adulthood. We taught them how to forage for worms (by putting live worms in a tub of earth in the bedroom, where they lived) and eventually we were able to release them back to the wild.

Picasso the pigeon:

Pictured, below, is a pigeon called Picasso. I found him on a supermarket carpark and saw straight away he was injured, as he was standing in a corner looking sorry for himself and made no effort to fly away when I approached him.

Picasso the pigeon

I felt it was only a matter of time before he was knocked down. I got an empty cardboard box from the supermarket, captured him easily and brought him home. A quick check revealed he had a broken wing. It turned out he was a racing pigeon (he had a tag on his leg with a number printed on) and finally, through this, I managed to trace his owner, an elderly gent and his wife. They were thrilled that Picasso, as he was called, was safe and sound. They jumped straight in their car and came on the 20-minute drive to collect him. I did check what would happen to him now he could no longer fly and said I'd keep him if there was any danger he'd be euthanized. But they obviously loved their bird and said they had an aviary for elderly or injured birds, with food, water and nesting boxes on the floor. So Picasso returned home after his accident.

Bailey the Great Dane cross:

Pictured, below, is a dog called Bailey, whom I spotted trudging round the busy town centre alone on a boiling hot summer day. He looked elderly and lost. Although people were stopping to stroke him, nobody tried to catch him. So I followed him in my car for some time and eventually managed to coax him into my car.

Bailey

I was determined he wouldn't go to the dog pound, where he would be put in a tiny pen and possibly euthanized if not claimed in seven days, so I took him home with me and began the search for his owner. He was so well cared for, I knew he wasn't a stray. Eventually I managed to trace his family, a hotelier. Bailey, a Great Dane cross, had never been out on his own before. He wasn't a young dog and had wandered off when the door was accidentally left open. So a happy reunion with his human followed and they were so pleased I had taken him in and looked after him until they could be traced.

 

Lenny the Shar Pei

Pictured, below, is a gorgeous 11 month old Shar Pei, who was spotted by my postman wandering the streets. He took the trouble to ask if I'd lost one of my dogs. Even though he wasn't mine, i couldn't leave a lost dog alone in the streets, so I went to find him and managed to catch him, after some time. He was very nervous and kept running away.

Lenny the Shar Pei and George the Guinea Pig

Again, I did not want him to go to the dog pound, so after reporting to various authorities that I had found him, he came home with me till his family could be traced. I was lucky that he got on with my guinea pig, George, and stayed in the bedroom with him. My dogs were not too sure about this addition to the household! Thanks to a campaign on Facebook, Lenny the Shar Pei's owners were traced. This proved quite hard as he wasn't microchipped nor wearing a name and address tag. But thanks to public-spirited people who cared, his owner eventually found out where he was and contacted me. He had escaped from their house when the front door had been opened and he had run out. A happy reunion followed with his family, including their other dog.

My vet bills

Finally, I would like to share with you just a small selection of my regular vet's bills and meds for those animals in my care who need vet care. At time of writing, my next round of vet's bills are due and I honestly don't know how I am going to carry on.

vet bills

vet bills

dogs' meds

Joseph medicated bath

Joseph meds

Blue's anti-epilepsy drugs Dog vet bills

It is a never-ending round of vet's trips, especially now some of the dogs are getting older and now the added expense of poor Joseph's mystery ailment. If anyone can help with a donation, no matter how small, I would be very grateful. Thank you so much.

Incidentally, this is my garden (pictured below) and the fence that got battered by the gales during the winter. It is so ancient and needs replacing. It will not survive another winter. It is vital due to keeping all my dogs safe. But I have spent all my money on animal care and have nothing in the budget now to replace the damaged panels. (This is the least of my worries at the moment as it's summer, but if any gale force winds and storms spring up again, it is all just going to fall to pieces):

damaged fence

damaged fence

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