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Help Needed for 23 Rescued Animals
£615 raised
77% of £800 goal
7 contributors
3 Years running
After rescuing animals for 17 years, I lost my job. Now, vet's bills and food costs are crippling me. Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you.

I'm appealing for help, please, to care for my 23 rescued animals. I was laid off at work and the massive food costs and increasing vet's bills are an uphill struggle.

I've been taking in unwanted animals since 1998.

Currently, I have five dogs, four cats, three guinea pigs, two degus, three 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.

Some of dogs have either medical problems or "difficult" temperaments, but I love them to bits, 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, as neither of us had been able to get permanent work. This helps in the summer months. I'm trying to get salaried work too, but without success at present.

At this time of year, there is little work on and it's really tough to ensure the animals' continued care.

Here are my rescues' details:

Blue the deaf collie cross:

I rescued Blue (now 11 years old) at six months after he was born at a puppy mill. Nobody wanted him because he was totally deaf. He had no health issues till he was eight years old, when he started having epileptic seizures, for no apparent reason.

My wonderful vet got them under control (as they were severe) and Blue must take 150mg of Phenobarb every day for the rest of his life. He is on monthly check-ups at the vet's.

Blue the collie cross

He remains a happy, vibrant and friendly dog, who loves walks, going for rides in the car and being outdoors, where he will spin round for hours with one of his many toys in his mouth (it's a collie thing!). His seizures do not affect his quality of life.

Recently, I noticed he was biting at his back and hind legs. The vet suspected an allergy and Blue was prescribed Trim 80 antibiotics, Prednisolone steroids and Chlorhex Scrub.

However, subsequently, a potentially more serious health issue was discovered.

An examination revealed inflammation under the base of his tail. The vet initially thought his anal glands needed emptying. But the vet then found a swelling, which he thought might be a mass.

Blue was due to have an operation under a general anaesthetic to remove the swelling. But at the 11th hour, the vet felt there was some improvement and postponed the surgery.

Due to the lengthy recovery period, long-term side effects (life-long bowel problems) and Blue's age and health, an operation of this nature would be very serious.

As long as the antibiotics and anti-inflammatories continue to show results, Blue will not need the surgery.

But we have no idea what the future holds and take each day at a time.

Millie the Shar Pei cross:

Millie, now ten years old, was an abused and neglected puppy whom I took in when she was only seven months old.

She weighed less than half of the correct weight for her breed and had malnutrition. She was riddled with fleas, had worms, fur loss and bald patches and even more serious, the end of her tail was deformed (it appeared to have been burned) and her tongue was split in two.

The vet had no idea how her injuries were caused, but she was also a nervous wreck.

Over the years, she blossomed into a beautiful, loving girl and the light of my life.

In the past year, she has suffered age-related problems, such as the odd sprain to her back legs (resolved with pain killers and anti-inflammatories) and a general stiffness in her legs, which the vet says may be the onset of arthritis due to her age.

Millie enjoying a walk

She may need permanent pain management in due course, but the vet says we will play it by ear.

She enjoys her walks (and runs in the fields in warmer weather, when her legs aren't as stiff).

Earlier this year, I noticed a lump had appeared between the toes of her right front paw. I was particularly scared because one of my other dogs, Roy, had something similar on his leg last year, which turned out to be cancer and he needed it removed under a general anaesthetic.

The lump between Millie's toes

But something miraculous happened ... after Millie had a sample drawn from the lump using a syringe, it bled a lot. Amazingly, over the next few days, the mass shrank of its own accord and had disappeared after a week! This felt nothing short of miraculous! Despite how bad it looked, it was completely harmless.

Roy the dog:

My crossbreed, Roy, is now eight and has had congenital dry skin problems since he was under a year old. I went to four different vet's over the years to try and cure it. At one time, it was very bad, covering his whole body, incuding his face, in angry, red, itchy patches, which bled. He has had two biopsies, but neither found the cause.

A dog warden once told me I should have him euthanised because "he can't have much quality of life"! On the contrary, he loves life.

Of course, I didn't ever consider this option ... I persevered.

My latest vet, who is a marvel, said Roy would most likely have the condition for his whole life. But he has got it under control with a combination of Prednisolone, Piriton and Chlorhex Scrub.


Roy has always enjoyed life to the full and is the happiest little soul you could ever meet.

He recovered from an operation last year to remove a suspicious mass from his hind leg. I was advised to keep a look-out for other similar lumps, but am hopeful he has made a full recovery. We take each day at a time.

He is on monthly vet's visits for his skin and to monitor his general health and weight to ensure the Prednisolone are not having any side effects. I'm delighted to say his skin today looks better than it has done his entire life and the vet is pleased we have got the mix of tablets correct!

Roy in the garden

Roy will have to take these meds for the rest of his life and will continue with the monthly check-ups to ensure his continued good health.

Happy Buster the dog:

My other boy, Happy Buster, has no physical health issues at the moment, but is emotionally scarred due to a bad experience when he was young.

He is timid, which makes him people-aggressive. He is ok with some other dogs and surprisingly, he loves cats, kittens and all my small animals.

Happy Buster and Harley

Happy Buster and Harley playing (pictured above)

He is very hyperactive and loves to play with his favourite space-hopper squeaky toy.

He is a loving dog towards me and people he gets to know, but due to his temperament issues, he was a dog who was impossible to rehome due to aggression. I would never rehome him regardless, of course, as I love him dearly.

I do sometimes worry a lot about what would happen if I could no longer care for him. I think he would fail any temperament test, unfortunately, even though I have done my best to re-socialise him, as he remains nervous.

I want him to continue to have a lovely life in a home where he is loved dearly.

Squeaker the dog:

My youngest baby, Squeaker, has no health issues at present, nor temperament issues. She is a beautiful crossbreed and the most loving dog in the world.


I call her 'little mum' because she tries to mother the small animals, especially the guinea pigs!

In December 2013, she ruptured her cruciate ligament in her hind leg during a simple playtime with Millie. She could not walk at all and needed an operation costing several hundred pounds to put steel pins in her leg.

This was when I first became aware of Fundrazr, as I was unable to cover the cost. I was thrilled at the generosity of strangers, who enabled my girl to get back on her feet again.

The vet said the operation may not be a complete success and only time would tell, as it had been a complicated surgery. To date (fingers crossed) she is running round like a puppy again and loves her walks. So I will keep hoping that she does not have any more problems. She is the most adorable dog.

My cats:

All my cats are speyed/neutered and have regular health checks to ensure their continued well-being.

Pepper, my oldest cat, is now nine years old. He was abandoned as a kitten and living rough under bushes in a garden when a friend told me about him.

Pepper, on the right, with my second oldest cat, Joseph

Pepper is pictured on the right here, with my second oldest cat, Joseph.

Pepper settled into a house with dogs right away and always ruled the roost from the outset, giving any of the dogs who annoyed him a swipe with an outstretched claw, soon putting them in their place!

He welcomes any new kittens to the household with love and guidance, even letting them eat from his food bowl and drink his milk! Pepper had a special bond with Roy the dog from the outset and they often slept together when young. They are still pals today.

Roy and Pepper

These photos, above, show Roy and Pepper sleeping and hanging out together, both when they were young and as adults. Below is a video of Pepper, who likes to go 'walkies' with Roy!

My second oldest cat, Joseph (now about five years and otherwise known as 'grumpy cat'!) was unwanted. I saw he was 'free to a good home' on a notice board in the vet's. So I took him in.

Joseph relaxing on the settee with Happy Buster and Millie

Joseph is pictured (above) with Happy Buster and Millie.

It took him four years to brave going outdoors! He was very nervous. He has only recently started venturing out and about more, but always stays close to home. He is good pals with Happy Buster, though.

He has had intermittent allergies and skin problems, but at present is okay.

My third cat, Harley, was from an unwanted litter. I do think black cats find it harder to find homes. Some people wrongly think they are bad luck! He is quite an adventurous cat and enjoys being outdoors. One of his favourite spots is on the back fence (pictured below).

Harley surveying his kingdom

Harley is good pals with Pepper and more recently has got to know Joseph and sometimes hangs out with him.

The video shows Harley hanging out with Roy and Squeaker in the back garden. He is friendly with all the dogs.

My fourth cat is Salt, who is about 18 months old now. I found out she was unwanted and about to be taken to the RSPCA animal shelter. I felt sorry for her and brought her home here, even though I had enough animals already! I called her Salt because she looked like a mini version of Pepper!

Salt the cat relaxing in bed

She has gradually gained more confidence and is friends with all the other cats and all the dogs. She is more of a house cat, although does venture outside sometimes, but never goes far.

The video, below, shows Salt, Pepper, Millie, Roy and Squeaker hanging out together in the front garden:

The rest of the gang:

My other rescued animals are as follows:

George the guinea pig is about four years old now. He was from the Pets At Home animal rescue centre, having been dumped there by his previous owner, who could no longer care for him:

George the guinea pig eating - his favourite pastime

Pinky and Perky the guinea pigs are about two years old. I took them in when their previous owner was no longer able to keep them. They weren't used to being handled before they came here, but are gradually becoming more confident:

The photo (below) shows them in a cat carrier box, where I put them while I cleaned out their cage. They are quite hard to photograph, being timid, as they run off into their bed!

Pinky and Perky

Chocolate and Goo the degus were rescued from Pets At Home Rescue Centre after they had been returned by their owner, who was no longer able to care for them. They require a very large cage to run around in, a dust-bath to clean their fur, lots of stuff to chew and a special sugar-free diet, as they are prone to diabetes:

Chocolate and Goo the degus

Peaches the hamster is about one year old. She was from a pet shop - I saw her there every time i went in for animal feed. She hadn't been bought as a baby and now nobody wanted her because she was an adult! I cannot understand why, as she is so friendly and loving. She is interested in the dogs and what is going on around her.

Peaches with her cheeks full of food!

She looks so cute and funny (pictured above) when she has filled her cheeks full of food!

My dwarf hamster is called Titch the Second and is from the Pets at Home rescue centre, where he had been taken by his previous owner because he was "too lively", apparently.

He was called Sugar but I changed his name to Titch the Second because he reminded me of my old hamster, the late Titch (RIP) who died of old age last year.

Like my old Titch, he loves running in his wheel all night and stuffing his cheeks full of food, as you can see in the video, below:

My terrapins, Ter, Roar, Pin and Redneck, were all abandoned - three were left in my house by the previous owner when I moved in. No idea how they had survived in a filthy tank, with no food. Redneck was found on a frozen park lake by my friend, a parks gardener. Someone had dumped him in the middle of winter.

My terrapins in their tank

They are all doing well here and live in a massive tank where they can swim about, sit on rocks and logs and behave in a normal manner.

The video shows them swimming round the bath while I was cleaning out their tank.

I have three wild mice, all in separate mouse dens so they won't breed. They were brought in, alive, by my cats. I rescued them and nursed them back to health, as their injuries weren't life threatening. But they became too friendly and domesticated to go back to the wild.

Squeaker and Roy looking for one of the mice

Teeny Tiny the mouse - the smallest oneThey are difficult to photograph, as they are totally nocturnal and burrow into the hay a lot.

They are all healthy and I try to keep their environment as natural as possible so they can make their own burrows and tunnels in plenty of hay.

My fish include Plecostomus (catfish), Silver Dollars, butterkoferi and smaller tropical fish. I have three tanks inherited from a friend who was no longer able to care for them.

I am not a fish specialist, but I am doing ok with them:

small tropical fish and angel fish

Butter the butterkoferi

Pleco fish (catfish) and large angel fish

silver dollars and parrot fish tank

That is all the details of the animals I have rescued. Unfortunately, due to financial reasons, I have been unable to take in any more recently, except for Pinky and Perky the guinea pigs, whose owner gave me plenty of food, hay etc and a donation to help towards their upkeep. I took them in rather than see them go to a shelter.

My priority now is making sure my 23 animals are properly cared for and can continue to live the happy, safe life they have here.

When I ran a fundraiser previously, when Squeaker and Roy needed their operatons, I received some abuse on Facebook, with critics saying people shouldn't have animals if they can't afford them.

I agree with this sentiment, of course. But people's situations change, as mine did. Sometimes, you are left looking after multiple animals with much less funding than when you set out.

When I went into animal rescue in the late 1990s, I had a good job and had no problem taking in many animals (including eight dogs at one time).

During the day, when I was at work, some of my dogs went to a lovely dog-sitter and they had a great time. My mum used to come to my house each day and look after the remaining dogs, cats and other animals.

All were spayed/neutered, inoculated and lived a very nice life. They all had pet insurance.

However, after I got laid off, unexpectedly, at work, I found myself plunged into alien territory for me - suddenly very short of money and not enough to pay my way. The money I had left was soon swallowed up in animal expenses.

I could no longer afford a dog sitter, as the employment I found afterwards was mainly temporary and low pay.

My pet insurance (expensive due to multiple animals) lapsed, as I couldn't afford the direct debit instalments any more. I was struggling to keep up with immediate needs like food bills, so the insurance was cancelled by the insurer for non-payment, which was unavoidable.

This was why a friend and I decided to set up our own gardening and landscaping business - we had the skills and the tools and initially it went well. Neither of us wanted to remain in low-paid employment where every day was a struggle and we both had animals to care for.

Also it enabled me to fit in work with animal care after my mother (now in her 80s) became too elderly and frail to dog-sit for me any more. So any work I do now must fit in around my animals.
Without the generosity of those who had helped me through Fundrazr, I genuinely would not have been able to continue.

So yes, it does hurt my pride to "beg" for money. I yearn to be self-sufficient again. But circumstances dictate I must swallow my pride and keep on asking for help.

Finally, here are some of my vet's bills and animals' meds. (I have 'blanked out' my personal address details on them, since you get some odd people on the internet and I don't feel comfortable with my home details on display. But you can see my animals' details on them). My bills are astronomical including the vet's bills and regular food, bedding, etc.

Please help if you can - if you are unable to donate, I would really appreciate you sharing this campaign on social media sites. Thank you.

A selection of recent meds for Blue, Roy and Joseph, plus ear drops when a couple of the dogs got an ear infection

Roy and Blue vet's bills

Blue's tablets for his epileptic seizures

Various meds and vet's bills

Joseph's meds for a skin condition

Millie's meds when she recently sprained her hind leg

Medicated shampoo for Joseph the cat when he suffered a skin allergy

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