Behind the scenes at RSPCA Westmorland
- Credit: Emily Rothery
Could you provide a loving forever home for a dog with a heart-rending story?
Founded in 1962 RSPCA Westmorland is an independent and mostly self-funding branch of the RSPCA, based in the historic town of Kendal.
The main aim is to take in neglected or abused animals and then nurse them back to health, rehabilitate them and find a loving permanent home for each and every one. The RSPCA is an essential service which relies heavily on the wonderful work carried out by the dedicated team of volunteers within the local community. Every penny raised is used by the branch specifically for the care of animals and the prevention of further cruelty or neglect. As part of the service veterinary treatment is provided for animals owned by people on means tested benefits. The animals are neutered, microchipped and vaccinated (where appropriate) before they are rehomed.
The rescued dogs and cats are cared for at the Milnthorpe Kennels and Cattery by Stella and Chris Norman and their team until they are adopted or fostered. The Westmorland branch manager Christine Lowe explained how one rescue dog found his happy ending. When Golden Retriever Troy first came to the kennels he was in a very sorry state but it soon became obvious he had found his forever home, winning the hearts of Stella and Chris Norman who nursed him back to health.
Troy had been found abandoned at home possibly two to three weeks after his owner had died. Stella picks up the story: ‘When the inspector found him, he was severely dehydrated and seriously ill, so he went straight to the vets,’ she said. ‘The little chap who came to us a day or so later was shaven with sore pads and was struggling with his back legs because of muscle wastage, so we took him into our house to give him as much support as possible. He’s done extremely well to survive at all, and he is such a happy playful boy considering everything he has been through.
‘After two weeks he was fully functional on his back legs and he was running around with our Great Dane. Our cat and parrot also happily accepted their new companion and he has been chilled and relaxed around them. It was such an easy transition for him to come to us and it seemed as if this was the place where he belonged, so we adopted him. He’s been incredible really. When we come down in the morning, he’s there offering us his toy and is just beaming joy.’
The branch also takes in dogs from Collie Rescue, often dogs who have failed as working dogs and would otherwise have been put to sleep. They vary in character, ability and socialisation but for new owners willing to commit to hard work initially, they can bring many rewards.
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The charity, which relies on fundraising and the generosity of the public, is facing hard times because of the pandemic but managed put a smile on peoples’ faces and generate some much-needed money during lockdown with a virtual cat and dog show.
Administrator Hayley Stalker said: ‘The show created a lot of interest and we had a lot of entrants and raised over £300. It was fun, with the cats divided according to colour/coat pattern and the dogs divided into various categories such as golden oldie, waggiest tail, rescue dog, best puppy and clever trick’.
Proud pet owners sent in digital images and videos and lively little Patterdale Winnie scooped a hat trick in the best puppy, waggiest tail and best trick categories.
The RSPCA Westmorland Branch is looking for charity shop assistants, dog walkers and fundraising volunteers who can organise events, rally the troops and generally be innovative in raising funds to support local animals and people.
DOGS LOOKING FOR HOMES
Flynn is a four-year-old German Shepherd whose owner can no longer look after him. He is nervous on first meeting people but once he trusts you, he is calm and friendly. He is well trained, travels well and is good with other cats and dogs. He does have some medical issues concerning his elbow joints and consequently doesn’t like vets! The condition will need attention for the rest of his life so a new owner would have to understand that it won’t be possible to get insurance on a pre-existing condition so there may be costs be considered.
Eric is a two-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier. He is a classic staffie: lots of fun, bouncy, friendly and talkative and he loves to play and be the centre of attention. He has lived with children but isn’t good with other dogs and has shown to be reactive in certain circumstances and therefore would benefit from receiving behaviour support from the branch when rehomed.
Daisy is an America Bulldog cross and is approximately six-years-old. She came to the kennels as a nervous girl but is gradually gaining confidence and now enjoys being around people. She enjoys her walks and toys but can get over excited but responds well to praise and treats in training. She will benefit from a home where someone with experience of dogs can build her training and fill her life with positive new experiences. The branch would love to see her settled in a new home as she is stressed in the kennels.
Jazz, a nine-year-old year old Labrador, is a lovely friendly boy whose owner could no longer look after him. He loves to play and is used to other dogs and children but doesn’t seem to have experience much of the outside world so would need to be introduced gradually to new things. Jazz is underweight and has a skin condition, but the kennel team have given him lots of TLC and he is now on the road to recovery. Jazz is currently having twice weekly baths and daily medication to help his recovery. Anyone wishing to foster/adopt him would need to continue with the treatments prescribed by the kennel’s vet. Jazz would enjoy lots of interaction but also some basic training and a stress-free environment would also be helpful for his skin condition. He is currently gaining confidence in his foster home.
To find out ways to support the branch, or to adopt any of these four dogs who need new homes, go online to rspca-westmorland.org.uk.