RSPCA highlight plight of older animals left behind in its care

This ‘International Homeless Animals Day’ (17 August), the RSPCA is raising awareness of the forgotten animals left in its care.

11-year old Astrid has been in RSPCA care for a year.

Dogs, cats and horses aged over seven years all wait longer for their new home – according to new figures from the charity relating to adoption trends from 2018.

The RSPCA also has more older animals in its care than young animals, making it even harder to ensure they get noticed.

Dogs over the age of seven wait, on average, 50 days for a new home, whilst dogs under one were adopted within 11 days of reaching the charity.

For cats- the most rescued animals by the RSPCA – older felines were adopted within an average of 45 days and those under one year old were adopted in a quarter of the amount of time – just 12 days.

Equine takes the longest for the charity to rehome; horses under three years wait 225 days for a new home and those over seven wait for 307 days.

Pet welfare expert at the RSPCA, Dr Jane Tyson, said: “We would always urge anyone thinking of getting a pet to rescue than rehome an animal, Sadly, it is true that older animals are waiting longer for their forever home and may be seen as less than appealing than a younger pet.

“Owning an older pet has so many benefits for them and for you, young animals may need lots of attention and training whereas many older animals can already be toilet trained and used to being around people, travelling and living in a family home.

“Just last year we adopted our oldest dog ever – a 19-year old terrier – into a loving home to live out his days. By adopting an animal, you are saving two animals lives – as you are giving one animal a new home and a second animal a space in a rescue centre. Those of us who own animals know how amazing it is to have a pet as part of your family, but it is important to remember it is a privilege to look after an animal and it is a huge responsibility to make sure the relationship is successful.

“The RSPCA has lots of information about the welfare of all animals online as well as tips for keeping your animal happy and healthy.”

Seventeen-year old Prince

Here are just some of the amazing older animals currently in RSPCA care:

Storm is a 13-year old, affectionate, sweet-natured Staffy who is looking for a loving home to call her own. She can no longer hear but she still enjoys a playful dash around the field at Mount Noddy animal centre where she is currently being looked after.

Storm would prefer her family to be around for a good part of the day as she loves company and can struggle being on her own for long periods of time. She loves people but would struggle with another dog in the home.

Astrid is an 11-year old contented cat who has been with the RSPCA for a year. She has been in a foster home around children which has been great for her. She’s a lap cat who loves fuss and attention and will happily snooze for most of the day.

Astrid is neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and up to date with flea/worm treatment. She is currently at the RSPCA Essex South West branch.

Seventeen-year old Prince is the most wonderful gentle giant who stands at approximately 17hh and is a real gentleman. Prince is looking for a companion home where he can live out with other field companions. He will need to be rugged in the winter months and could also be stabbed part of the time. Prince is a wonderful gelding and is very good to handle, lead and groom and stands well for both the vet and the farrier. He has veen vaccinated for both flu and tetanus, his adoption fee is £200.

If you think you could offer any of the animals in RSPCA care a new home, you can visit – for more information.













Could it be fifth time lucky for ex-racing Greyhound?

Dogs Trust Merseyside are appealing for a home for an ex-racing Greyhound who has been ready to speed off to a new home four times, only to be let down.

Four-year old Sophie arrived at the Huyton-based rehoming centre just before Christmas last year. Since then she has seen 25 other Greyhounds head home with their forever families but despite being reserved four times, Sophie is still waiting to find her special someone – and the team can’t understand why.

Georgina Lowery, Manager at Dogs Trust Merseyside, says: “It does happen that a dog gets reserved and then the potential owners decide the dog isn’t the one for them. But for it to happen four times to one dog is very unusual and we can’t think of any reason why once you’ve met Sophie you wouldn’t want her to be part of your family. She is an absolutely gorgeous girl and we are really hoping that it’s a case of fifth time lucky for her.”

Having spent 250 days at the rehoming centre, although Sophie was a little shy at first the team have had the chance to find out exactly what she wants out of life.

She is a lively girl, loves playing with toys and even likes to chase a ball, which is quite unusual for Greyhounds.

She enjoys having a cuddle and a fuss and likes to play with other dogs of a similar size to herself, so she could potentially live with another Greyhound or Lurcher. She can also live with children aged twelve or over.

Georgina adds: “Since being with us she has spent some time with one of our wonderful foster carers who said she was the perfect house guest. She is happy to be left on her own for a snooze for a few hours too.

“She can live with older children, other dogs, loves to play, likes a cuddle. What’s not to love? If you want a canine companion, you couldn’t ask for more so we’ve all got out fingers crossed that very soon Sophie’s ideal family will walk through our gates, and she’ll finally head off to her forever home.”

To find out about Sophie, who can’t live with small dogs or other small furries, you can visit, call Dogs Trust Merseyside on 0151 318 1339 or visit them at Whiston Lane, Huyton, Liverpool L36 6HP.










Cats overlooked by potential adopters for two years

Two older cats, Posh and Kiki have been patiently waiting to be adopted for two years.

10-year old female moggie Posh

The due are available for rehoming from the RSCPA Kidderminster and District branch in Worcestershire where they have been waiting for a long time.

They were taken into RSPCA care because sadly their elderly owner could no longer care for them. Now they are looking for a second chance at happiness where they can spend their twilight years.

Posh is a female 10-year old long haired grey and white cat who loves attention and loves nothing more than lying in her warm bed and watching the world go by.

Kiki is a make 12-year old black and white cat who is very laid back and independent. He also loves lounging in his bed and curling up on a warm lap for a cuddle.

The pair are inseparable and would be best suited to a retired or semi-retired home so they could have a quieter pace of life and someone who is going to be around for a good part of the day.

Janis Borely, branch chair, said: “These two are both very friendly cats so we are really puzzled why it has taken so long to find them a home. All they need is a second chance at happiness but sadly they have been overlooked for a long time, having been cared for by the branch for almost two years.

12-year old Male, Kiki

“On average its takes cats over seven years old, 45 days to find a home but poor Posh and Kiki have been waiting so much longer than that.”

If you think you could give Posh and Kiki a loving home, you can contact RSPCA Kidderminster and District branch by email or complete the form on their website.



Battersea dog gets his very own emotional support pug

A big dog who was too scared to leave his kennel has grown in confidence thanks to the help of a tiny pug.

Being large in size with cropped ears and a docked tail, it’s not surprising that at first glance people may find one-year old Fraser intimidating.

Unnecessary tail and ear docking are illegal in the UK, and those found guilty of performing the procedure could be charged for animal cruelty offences.

But despite his looks, staff at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home soon found that the young dog was far from intimidating; he was so scared that he’d refuse to leave his kennel, even for a short walk.

That was until Fraser met Pancake: a six-month old Pug who had been adopted from Battersea by one of the charity’s Canine Behaviourists, Elizabeth Kidd. Trying everything they could to help, Battersea staff decided to introduce another dog to Fraser and little Pancake’s confident nature made him the perfect candidate.

Elizabeth Kidd, Canine Behaviourist at Battersea, said: “Although Pankcake and Fraser didn’t appear to be the most likely pairing, it was heart-warming to see how well they got along. Little Pancake really taught Fraser how to be a brave dog and be more confident in himself.”

Thanks to Pancake’s help, Fraser has grown in confidence so much that he is ready to go home by himself. Fraser is looking for a new family who will make sure that he will have plenty of canine friends to play with, as this is something he really benefits from.

Elizabeth added: “Fraser really thrived in his friendship with Pancake; helping him to come out of his shell. Some nervous dogs in a kennel environment may find a friend beneficial. Where appropriate we pair less confident dogs up with those who are more resilient and cope well with new environments, like our kennels. Alongside other tailored behavioural and training support this can be an additional way to help them feel comfortable whilst with us.”

If you think you could give Fraser a new home, you can visit

Eco-pet food brand embraces sustainable packaging

Eco pet food brand, Different Dog introduce plastic-free, compostable pots packed full of goodness.

Pet lovers are invariably a compassionate bunch that care about the future of the planet, as well as their pooches’ health and wellbeing.  

So, it’s no surprise that pioneering dog-food brand, Different Dog has launched plastic-free, compostable pots and recyclable packaging across its range of hand-cooked recipes.

By highlighting the importance of canine nutrition, The Different Dog team aims to change the world, one dog at a time. All whilst ensuring their business’ environmental impact is as minimal as possible.

The new packaging format introduces a fresh redesign for the brand, which has been spotted at numerous dog-friendly and family events throughout the summer.

Different Dog have been showcasing the first ever pop-up doggy café – with specially trained chefs delivering live demos and sampling their hand prepared dishes to new-found fan who love to tap it up.

Feeding the family in a way that is nutritionally balanced and friendly to the planet is a goal most of us aspire to. Different Dog has applied this ethos to how they feed out four-legged friends.

Every recipe is meticulously created by a vet and pet nutritionist before being prepared using high quality, fresh ingredients sourced from local suppliers including 100% British meat. Each recipe is lovingly cooked by hand, in the same traditional way as meals for other family members.

Commenting on the launch of the new packaging, Alex Thurston Co-founder of Different Dog, comments: “We exist to make dogs healthy and happy. However, it’s not just what our pets eat that affects their wellbeing; it’s also the state of the environment that we all have live in. We believe it is important to operate as ethically as possible, which is why we’re minimising our environmental impact.

“As the nation becomes more aware of how our choices affect the planet, we’re noticing a growing appetite for dog food that’s produced in a much more healthy, natural way. Having a regular intake of fresh food really matters, so even small changes in a dog’s daily diet can make a visible difference to health in as little as a few weeks.”

All Different Dog’s recipes are grain-free, nutritionally balanced, full of superfoods and vet approved for the complete food solution that every dog deserves.

To find out why Different Dog has tails and tongues wagging, you can visit



Is this Britain’s oldest dog?

A dog that was adopted from Dogs Trust at the grand old age of 14 is still going strong seven years on – and having the time of his life.

Now the Dogs Trust team are wondering if Taffy could be Britain’s oldest dog. Handsley and Michelle Townhill adopted Taffy in 2012 from Dogs Trust Shrewsbury.

Taffy (second-left) with his four-legged family (from-left) Josh, Harry and Deano

Fast forward seven years and Taffy, a Chihuahua, has just celebrated his 21st birthday with his two and four-legged forever family. But things could have been very different for the Old Age Pooch (OAP).

Handsley remembers: “When we arrived at Dogs Trust Shrewsbury, we saw him out on a walk and it was love at first sign for us, but not for Taffy. When we met him he was really scared. He’d been at Dogs Trust for six months but before that he definitely hadn’t been given the love he deserved, so it wasn’t surprising he was anxious when he met new people.

“He had built a fantastic bond with the canine carers, but we left without even stroking him, as we didn’t want to make him more stressed, but he’d stolen our hearts. Luckily for us, after long chats with the team about how we could build Taffy’s confidence, and once we had introduced him to our other dogs to make sure they all got along, Taffy was able to come and live with us and his new life began.”

Taffy took a while to settle in but soon proved that what he lacks in height he makes up for in personality.

He shares his home with even-year-olds Shih Tzu Josh and Yorkshire Terrier Harry, and 13-year-old Chihuahua Cross Deano and despite being a little hard of hearing he never fails to hear when a tasty treat is on offer and is still young at heart, enjoying two walks a day.

Louise Campbell, Dogs Trust Shrewsbury Manager, said: “Happy 21st Taffy. This is such a fantastic happy ending for Taffy. His age and the fact that he was so nervous meant he was with us quite some time. He was really in need of a patient, understanding family, which he definitely found with the Townhills. To know he has had seven years of love and happiness s wonderful and here’s hoping he has many more.”

Handsley added: “When we adopted Taffy, we didn’t know how long we’d have him, but we just wanted to give him whatever he needed however long he was part of our family. Seven years on, he’s wonderful. I’d encourage anyone thinking of rescuing a dog to never be put off by age. He has given us so much love and joy and hopefully he’ll continue to love his life with us for a long time to come.”

To find out more about all the dog at Dogs Trust waiting for their forever homes, you can visit
















RSPCA issues advice after giant tortoise is found wandering through a field

A woman had to push a giant tortoise home in a wheelbarrow after finding him strolling through a field in Hertfordshire.

The incident – one of 952 incidents involving tortoises reported to the RSPCA each year – has sparked a reminder to all tortoise owners to ensure their pet is microchipped and kept in a secure enclosure.

RSPCA animal collection officer Kate Wright was called to help after the giant Sulcata tortoise was found wandering around a field near Hemel Hempstead on 16 July.

Kate said: “The woman was out walking her dog across the fields when she came across this rather large tortoise strolling down the side of a farmer’s crop field. He was obviously a long way from home.

“He is very heavy, so she had to go home to get a wheelbarrow and ask her son to lift him into it before wheeling him back home.”

The lady who found the tortoise called the RSPCA and Kate attended but, unfortunately, the tortoise wasn’t microchipped.

“We’d always encourage tortoise owners to get their pets microchipped and to ensure they are kept in a secure enclosure. While many people think of tortoises as being slow, they’re actually quite active and can move at quite a pace when they want to.

“Tortoises also climb, dig and can push their way through barriers so can be good escape artists. We receive almost 1,000 calls every year about tortoises, many of which have escaped from their homes and gone on the run.”

The Sulcata tortoise, which can grow to be up to 80cm long and weigh more than 100kg – was finally reunited with his owner who was advised to get him microchipped.

Hermann’s tortoise Rocky was rescued by the RSPCA after being found by a member of the public wandering down a road in Hendon, London on 30 May.

He was taken to the charity’s Putney Animal Hospital where staff found he was microchipped and managed to trace his owners who felt they could no longer care for him. He was signed over before being adopted by a member of RSPCA staff from West Sussex.

RSPCA senior scientific officer in exotics and wildlife trade, Dr Stephane Jayson said: “We hear stories like these all too often and our officers are regularly called to collect stray tortoises and escaped pets.

“Tortoise owners often let their pets out in the garden during the summer weather and tortoises can become very active in the warm temperatures and sunshine. It’s really important that owners keep a close eye on their pets when outside or have a secure run to keep them in to keep them safe from other animals, and to ensure they can’t escape.”

Stephanie added: “We would urge anyone thinking of getting a pet – whether it’s a hamster, dog, snake or tortoise – to properly research that animal and its needs before bringing one home.

“Tortoises can live for 100 years so it takes a lot of commitment and we urge any potential owners to thoroughly research what is required in the care of the particular species before taking one on. They will need to make sure they can give them the environment they need and that they have the facilities, time, financial means and the long-term commitment to maintain a good standard of care.”

For more information about keeping exotic animals as pets, you can visit










PDSA advice on spotting kidney disease in cats

Chronic kidney disease is a common illness seen in older cats that’s often mistaken for old age.

In their PDSA Pet Care Column, vet charity, PDSA offer advice on spotting the warning signs of kidney disease in cats.

PDSA advise that regular veterinary checks can mean that vets can detect illnesses such as CKD at an earlier stage. While CKD can’t be cured, it can be managed and, if diagnosed early enough, there is a good chance of extending a cat’s life expectancy.

PDSA Vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan said: “CKD develops gradually. Generally, cats won’t show any symptoms until three quarters of their kidney function is lost. Changes to diet and medication can’t help to keep your cat well for longer, so it’s really important to get advice from your vet if you notice your cat displaying any symptoms.”

Early signs of CKD include:

  • Gradual weight loss
  • Drinking and urinating more frequently
  • Reduced appetite
  • Sleeping more

More advanced signs can include:

  • A poor coat
  • Being off their food completely
  • A lack of energy
  • Bad breath, especially with a ‘urine-like’ ammonia smell
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Sudden blindness

Because the kidneys aren’t working well, toxins can build up in the cat’s body. This makes them feel unwell and causes many of the other symptoms listed above.

Olivia added: “CKD can be successfully managed if diagnosed early enough. There are diets and treatments that can slow the development of the disease, as well as improve a cat’s quality of life. It’s possible to predict exactly how long each cat with kidney disease cat will live, but the sooner treatment is started the better the outlook for your cat.”

The PDSA advise that if you notice any of the symptoms listed above, then make sure a vet appointment as soon as possible.

If your pet is diagnosed with CKD, your vet may recommend medication and a special diet, which helps reduce the amount of work the kidneys have to do.

Your cat will also need regular check-ups and monitoring but, with careful management, cats with CKD can still have a good quality of life.






Medical alert dog wins Pet Hero of the Year 2019

The Pet Health Club has crowned, Clive, a qualified medical alert dog as the winner of its national Pet Hero of the Year competition.

Clive and his owner Michelle

Clive helps his owner, Michelle Rust, manage a complex health problem. Michelle has Addison’s disease which Clive can detect through smell when her blood pressure or steroid levels drop.

When this happens, Clive alerts her by jumping up and down and fetches her life saving medication. Before Clive, Michelle regularly called an ambulance for assistance, but she hasn’t had to for three years.

Michelle thought Clive would have to retire from his medical alert dog duties when he had to undergo surgery for a popped disc in his back. The operation took over five hours and he had part of his pelvis removed. But ever the helper, he was keen to start alerting again just eight days post-surgery.

Clive beat more than 200 cats, dogs and rabbits to be awarded the title of the UK’s Pet hero of the Year. Despite the fierce competition, his story captivated the attention of the judges who were impressed by his caring attitude and commitment to helping his owner.

Clive’s owner, Michelle Rust, said: “I can’t imagine my life without Clive; he has spent the last six years by my side. He is such a wonderful companion and saves my life daily. When Clive had an operation, I slept with him on the floor for seven weeks while he recovered.

“I did expect him to retire from his duties, but he was so keen to start helping me again just a week after his surgery. He is my knight in shining armour. I am so proud that Clive has been voted as The Pet Health Club’s Pet Hero of the Year.”

TV Vet, Rory Cowlam, said: “Pets love and support us through our lives and they hold a special place within our families. Clive is clearly a dog that goes the extra mile to help his owner. His friendly personality, keen intuition and determination to help make him the perfect pet for Michelle. Clive definitely deserves the title Pet hero of the Year.”

The Pet Hero of the Year competition was ran by The Pet Health Club, a national healthcare plan available at over 500 vet practices in the UK.











Man convicted of eight offences after investigation into Kent puppy farm

RSPCA officers found dogs at a puppy farm in Kent with untreated health problems living in unsuitable conditions.

A puppy farmer has been convicted of eight animal welfare offences after RSPCA officers found ‘depressed’ dogs living in dark, dirty condition in Kent.

The animal welfare charity’s Special Operations Unit launched an investigation after four members of the public made complaints having bought puppies from a property between December 2017 and February 2018. They became suspicious after their puppies became ill and all the pups died.

On Monday (12 August), Mark Burgess of Old Ashford Road in Brenzett was convicted of eight offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. He appeared at Canterbury Magistrates’ Court to hear the judge’s verdict after the case was adjourned following his trial in June.

RSPCA officers joined police to execute a warrant at the Benzett property on 21 February. Twenty dogs were found living in unsuitable conditions and were seized by police and placed into RSPCA care – 12 adults and eight puppies.

RSPCA Inspector Carroll Lamport, lead investigator, said: “We found a mix of different breeds at the site including beagles, Dalmatians, Spaniels and Dachshund crosses. Some were pregnant, others had litters of tiny puppies while some had clear signs that they’d been used for breeding previously.”

Many of the dogs were being kept in wholly inadequate and unsuitable conditions, some in dark, cold kennels and others in filthy makeshift runs.

An elderly German Shepherd was found living outside, tethered to an old wooden kennel. A vet said she was showing signs of skin disease – her shaggy coat was patchy and bald in places – and had muscles wastage and weak back legs.

Inspector Lamport added: “Some of the dogs were extremely frightened and shut down. Some were living in almost complete darkness and others were huddled at the back of their runs. One beagle was sitting uncomfortably in a filthy, wet kennel. She looked so depressed.

“When we searched a freezer on site, we made a horrifying discovery; a small, four-week old puppy. The body was frozen rigid and dumped in the bottom of a bloody-soaked freezer.”

Two cats and three kittens suffering from cat flu were also seized and later signed over. The German Shepherd was sadly put to sleep, but the remaining dogs were all signed over into RSPCA care and rehomed.

Mark Burgess is due back for sentencing on 23 September.