Last week the children and I join a few other home ed kids and went to the animal shelter down the road from us. We have been driving past this animal shelter for 2 years and always wondered what it was like. We often see sheep, goats, horse and chickens from the road and wondered what they were doing at an animal shelter. I was truly amazed by the size of this facility and how caring the staff seemed to be with every animal. They knew the names, stories and histories of every animal we came across. The facility was clean and every animal had a lovely little cozy home.
Every cat had a little cubby and they were quite cozy with cat beds, pillow, blankets and toys. Every cubby had an exit door to an outside area that the cats to could go to whenever they chose.
The outside area where the cats can explore. Again filled with toys, blankets, chairs, climbing apparatuses and other things to entertain the cats.
The staff brought out a cat for the kids to pet. This is a no kill shelter so above every animal cubby is a chart that gives the cats name, reason (if known) why it was rescued and how many days it had been in the shelter. We were told the average length of stay was 30 days. Also interesting the staff said that to adopt a cat you must agree to allow the cat outside as they felt keeping cats indoors was unfair to the cat. Now I understand why there are so many cats roaming our neighborhood:)
Next we were taken to a huge barn where farm animal were kept while looking for new homes. You don't see this in the States:)
These are Battery Hens--I am told these hens are shocked every day to lay eggs for farmers and UK law says after 18 months you can no longer shock the hens so most farmers get rid of them. Now that I know this I am thankful we as a family buy organic eggs!! I had to ask "Is there a demand for chickens as pets?" The answer was "Yes there is a waiting list". Who knew:)
The staff let the children feed the chickens which the kids enjoyed.
These sheep are new to the facility and were being kept indoors until the vet could examine them. There is an large out door pen just waiting for them.
Goats waiting for a home
Horses waiting for a home
Next we went to the Dog kennels and I was so happy to see the large individual pens the dogs had. Each one was made homely, with beds, pillows, curtains, dog toys and even pictures.
There was a small dog door at the back of every dog kennel and an outside area they could use. This is different from any dog shelter I have seen in the states, I must say. The staff said they have a large number of volunteers who come in every day and take dogs for walks. Every dog gets 2 walks a day as well as access to the outdoor pen attach to their kennel. I asked if I could volunteer with my two children but was told the kids would not be able to walk with me due to child safety rules. Such a shame we would have loved to do that.
This was one of the dog pens and notice all the dog toys and activities. Families who are thinking of adopting can spend time here playing with the dog. They had several areas with different types of surfaces.
Another dog pen but this time the surface was sand, stone and cement. Even the kids like the dog playground:)
Meeting one of the dogs. Marley only had three legs after being hit by a car. Every dog that I saw being walked outside was wearing their winter sweater or coat:)
Next the children were brought into the animal kitchen were they made some tasty treats for the dogs and put them in dog toys to give the dogs some stimulation.
Next was the rodent barn. Where we saw mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs and something called "degus". Once again I was impressed with the cage set up each was unique to every animal and we were told the staff clean the cages every week and change the toys in their house to make sure the animals did not get bored.
I liked that they recycle children's toys for some of the cages.
Meeting two of the rodents.
Just in case you want to consider getting a rat for your child:)
Rabbits looking for a new home.
And just in case you are wondering how much it cost to adopt an animal in the UK here was the price list in British sterling.
We spent over 3 hours at the animal shelter and had a very interesting experience. This facility receives no government money and gets all its money from donations. They also host many weekend events that we will have to check out. Usually I come away sad but in this case I felt the animals were really getting great care. Although we would love to take a cat or dog home it isn't in our lease. I may have to talk to the landlord about that and see if we can work something out.