Animal Centre came into being almost 14 years ago to widen the remit of an
equine charity and take in misused, abused, neglected and unwanted farm
animals and pets as well as horses and ponies. The only animals we do not
rescue are dogs, cats and donkeys because they all have their own
excellent charities looking after them. We did not set out to cater for
wildlife either, but the need of sanctuary for injured wildlife was so
great that it was not long before they too were incorporated into our
general plan of things. ‘Plan’ is maybe too grand a word, planning is
difficult when you have no idea what the next day will bring!
what makes someone like me start a charity to rescue animals especially
when there are already charities out there addressing the question of
animal welfare? Need I suppose is the quick answer to that. I did not
intentionally set out to do what I am doing now, it just happened and
evolved. People got into difficulties with their horses and ponies, I
helped them out and inevitably the first sick pony was delivered to my
doorstep and so began what we have here today.
Animal welfare charities differ greatly in
their remit, and, in my opinion, some have forgotten what their remit is
supposed to be. Charitable organisations have become big business paying
out large sums of money to Chief Executives and professional fundraisers.
Here at Mossburn, we have one paid employee whose position was originally
funded by the National Lottery Charities Board. Now their support has run
its term and keeping her on is getting increasingly difficult. We are
small and low profile so we do not attract large, or even small, legacies.
We do however know what we are here to do and no matter what the time, day
or night, if we get a call of a creature in distress we respond. So let me
tell you the very latest story from Mossburn as an example of the everyday
working life of an animal sanctuary ...
An elderly lady fell ill and was having to
be admitted to hospital. Because her two dogs were not up to date with
their injections no boarding kennel would take them in. I know the lady so
when the call for help came I had to respond and the dogs came here. (Yes
I know I said we don’t rescue dogs but this was supposed to be short
term!) The lady is not very well at all, she has been in hospital now for
four weeks and there is no sign yet of her coming out. One of the dogs is
an Alsatian Collie cross, 5 years old, and two weeks ago I was asked if I
could possibly rehome her as she was too much for her now frail owner.
Kizzy is a lovely girl though undisciplined and Etty, our employee,
decided that if her two cats accepted her she would give Kizzy a home.
Cats being agreeable Etty booked up for local dog training classes and our
yard volunteer Vicki decided to take her dog along as well. Last Monday
evening they set off for the second of their classes and on the way they
discovered a swan by the side of the road. They stopped and picked it up,
a swan has to be very sick indeed to let you pick it up. Someone appeared
from a house nearby and informed the girls that the swan had been there
all day, she had rung the SSPCA and the local wildlife hospital but nobody
had appeared. By now it was after surgery hours but Etty rang the vet and
took the swan into him: diagnosis lead poisoning. Because the swan failed
to do well in our care I rang the SSPCA’s wildlife hospital a couple of
days later and they agreed to take it if I delivered, a two-hour drive
from here. The swan is now doing well.
as an animal charity, you are offering care or sanctuary then your day is
24 hours long, it is 7 days a week and 52 weeks a year and it does not
matter if it’s a thoroughbred horse or a crow that needs your help, if
your undertaking has been to care then that is what you have to do.
You can meet the animals at Mossburn and
find out about our Foster-an-Animal scheme by visiting our web site at www.mossburn.org.
Fosterers receive letters and updates from their chosen animal, including
the animals very own signature … which took some doing!