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A festive "thank you" from RATS

Christmas is the season of giving, so today, we would like to thank you for your amazing support this year. As you no doubt already know, RATS has been rescuing and rehoming unwanted and abandoned animals in the local area for the past 38 years. We’re entirely volunteer-led and we rely solely on the kindness and generosity of our community to continue to do what we do.

By supporting us over the years, the RATS Family has contributed massively towards keeping us running. The donations which we receive always go straight towards the care of our animals and we wanted to tell you about three animals whose lives you have been able to change this year through your support for us.

Firstly if you follow us on social media, you should already be very familiar with Andy, our King of the Kennels. This beautiful boy has been with us throughout the majority of his life. Andy has a deep fear of strangers, which came from a traumatic incident when he was just a youngster. We made the decision a few years ago to provide permanent sanctuary to Andy at the kennels for the rest of his life. He sees the kennels as his home, and the kennel volunteers as his family and he has even found himself a girlfriend, Twiggy, who we expect will also live with us for the rest of her life due to her own issues. Although we would love for every single animal in our care to find a home, we are Andy and Twiggy’s furever home, and we will look after them both, thanks to your love and support, for the rest of their lives

Again, if you follow us on social media, you may be familiar with the story of Swampy, a 15 and a half year old Jack Russell. A few weeks ago, we received an SOS call on a Sunday evening regarding this adorable little man. His elderly owner had passed away and as their family members couldn’t look after him, Swampy was alone in the house, with just a couple of visits a day to feed him and let him out for the toilet. We were also informed that Swampy appeared to be very poorly, with advanced cancer all over his body, and that he sadly didn’t have long left. In just 14 hours (and we did sleep in that time!) we had coordinated his rescue. Jo and Debra went to collect him on Monday morning and we ran an appeal online at the crack of dawn to find him a fosterer. A very kind lady called Jennifer came forward to offer him a palliative home and by the afternoon, he was curled up in her living room in a warm, cosy basket.

Helen took him to the vets on Tuesday morning, and our fears were sadly confirmed. Swampy had very advanced cancer and the only thing we could do was to keep him comfortable and pain free. Just a few days later, he deteriorated quickly and we knew it was time for him to join his owner in heaven. Adam and Sarah went with him and held his paw whilst he crossed the rainbow bridge and found peace. Although Swampy was only with us for a few days, his story shows just how unbelievably wonderful our volunteers are, particularly Adam and Sarah, who were heart broken but found the strength to put him first and make sure that he was loved, and felt that love, right until the end. We would like to thank every single person involved in allowing Swampy’s final few days to be happy, comfortable and filled with love. Swampy isn’t the only dog who we have offered palliative care to, it’s definitely the hardest part of what we do, it’s heart breaking, but we will continue to offer help to those animals, again thanks to your support.

Finally, we would like to tell you about Marshal, who is one of what we call our special dogs with unique needs. Marshal is a two year old Dalmatian whose owner did not want him anymore due to his fear of the outside world. A lockdown dog, he was never socialised and his anxieties have caused him to react negatively to people he doesn’t know and to other dogs. This type of behaviour is sadly something that we see on a constant basis now and with our kennels at capacity, we were not able to offer Marshal a space immediately. Marshal’s owner therefore booked an appointment at the vets for him to be euthanised and gave us just a few days to find a solution to save him.

At RATS, our ethos is simple. We never give up on an animal and despite having limited means and resources, we do absolutely everything in our power to ensure that they find the happy furever afters that they all deserve more than anything.

One of our volunteers, who is a trainer, went to assess Marshal a few days ago and he responded brilliantly to him. Like so many other dogs in similar situations Marshal had been let down by humans. His behaviour isn’t his fault, and he is far from beyond help.

Fortunately, we managed to make space for him at the kennels and arrived two weeks ago. It’s going to be very hard work, and a long journey to rehabilitation, but we are confident that we will be able to help Marshal to find his furever home.

Those are just three dogs (well four including Twiggy) whose lives we have been able to change for the better, however there are so many more. We make a difference to the lives of hundreds of animals each year and when things get a bit tough emotionally, we love to look at our Happy Ever After gallery on our web site. It reminds us that we ARE making a difference, and without your love and support, we just wouldn’t be able to do what we do. So thank you for helping us to help them.

From all of us at RATS, we wish you all a “Pawsome Christmas” and a Happy New Year!

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