Sunday, 19 December 2010

Wood Green Animal Shelter

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.

Guinea pigs

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.


  1. It's wonderful seeing a no kill animal shelter like this taking such good care of animals. I was taken back by the shocking of the hens. I had no idea this happened. Poor hens! I've always bought fresh organic eggs from local people and I'm very glad that I have.
    What a great learning experience for your kids!

  2. Wow, this looks amazing. We used to live near there and passed it all the time, but never had a chance to go in... Interesting that they insist you allow cats to go out - in the States, it is the opposite...

  3. Hi Anna-Marie-
    This was yet another great and interesting post. I am not an animal person (in fact, I've never had a cat or dog growing up or now)and I have not been to any shelters ever, but it was good to see this blog tour you gave and to know that so many different animals are cared for so well. It looked like a great trip and educational. Thanks for sharing and I wonder if there is a nice facility like this near where I live? I had no idea about the shocking of hens??? :(
    Clicked a vote for you today! :)

  4. HI Marissa,
    This was the nicest shelter I have ever seen, not that I have been to that many, but I really felt that the animals were getting great care. We have had guinea pigs and I am afraid we didn't give them as much space to run around in as this shelter did. Sort of feel guilty about that now:(

  5. HI Kim,
    Thanks for stopping by. We have passed this shelter by so often that when the opportunity came up we jump on it as I had been told it was a good one. I am going to support it more by going to their fund raising events.

  6. Hi Tracy,
    My kids would love to have a dog or cat:) I just spoke to the rental office to see if the land lord will agree to let us have a small dog. Say a prayer for us as I think it would be great for the kids. We have always had a cat but it died just before we moved here. My husband is not a dog person at all, he would much rather have a cat. He disagrees about the cat must be allowed to roam outside tho. He thinks that shortens a cat's life. Guess that is a difference between US and UK animal cat care:)

  7. That is an incredible shelter. My daughter volunteers for various rescue shelters, but I've never seen one that nice. I wonder how they are able to get so much funding. It's also amazing that the average stay for cats is only 30 days. Maybe there are fewer abandoned in England???

  8. I really enjoyed this post, Anna-Marie. Thank you for sharing your experience there and everything you learned about the shelter. They put some of our shelters here in the US to shame. I voted for you. Have a great day.

  9. Hi Maureen,
    There is a joke that is often said even by our British friends that they love their animals more than people:) There were some long term animal most were very old cats with medical issues. I forgot to mention that dogs average stay is 45 days:)

  10. Hi Linda,
    Yes this one bet the two I have seen in the states but a long shot. What is amazing is that is is all run by volunteers and donations. I asked the staff and they said they have several regular big donators to help keep the place running. They are planning an expansion for next year.

  11. It looks like a wonderful shelter. I'm sure it was hard to leave without a new 'baby'. We've adopted two dogs this year!
    Janet W

  12. Hi Wdworkman
    It was very hard not to come home with a new pet, but I am working with the new landlord to see what we can work out. I would really like a dog for the kids to play with:)

  13. Hi Anna-Marie!
    Stopping in to say Hi! I like your email subscribe button :) I will have to get one of those on my blog soon :) Clicked a vote for you! I'm busy trying to get ready for Christmas and company on Christmas Day! :) I hope all your preparations are going well!

  14. HI Tracy,
    I am done shopping but still need to wrap. We have a busy week with lots of activities plus my Martin is working late all week. It is always busy this time of year but in the end it always gets done somehow! Hope you are able to get it all done too.

  15. Sounds like a wonderful place. Love all the photos. We went to a similar shelter a few weeks ago with some homeschool pals. Very impressive place, much like the one you describe. Oh, and we wound up with one of their dogs a week later. Yeah, I really should not go to such places too often. He's the sweetest thing, though. Anyway, I am enjoying exploring your blog, Anna-Marie. Thanks for stopping by mine. ~Julie

  16. Hi Julie,
    I checked with the landlord and we can't have a pet. The kids so want a dog:) Thanks for visiting:)