Page 59 - Phonebox Magazine December 2016
P. 59

Animals in Need
PLittle Irchester
honebox recently had the pleasure to catch up with Annie over at Animals In Need in Little Irchester to learn about the shelter. We learnt about their work, the animals they cared for and then we were taken on a guided tour. We cuddled the
cats, talked to a turkey and even petted the pigs!
Animals In Need, a voluntary organisation set up in 1990, is family run along with a great team of volunteers that are dedicated to rescuing sick, injured or trapped animals both wild and domestic. Read on to  nd out more about the fantastic work they do.
Having started small the company has really grown and it has certainly made its mark with the public and has become a  rst point of call for distressed animals, meaning constant calls and Facebook messages and tweets alerting Annie and her team to all the animals that need their help. They rescue all animals from horses to hamsters, badgers to buzzards (pretty much any animal you can think of really!) you name it, they look after it!
So there’s no rest for you then? ‘No’ Annie replied, laughing, ‘but we are very blessed with great staff and well over one hundred volunteers!’ Volunteers, in fact, predominantly run the charity. They do everything from running reception and the little on-site café to mucking out the animals and walking the dogs. Animals in Need obtain many of their volunteers through Moulton College, as their students are required to do work experience alongside their theory. They are able to be assessed and complete their course and the charity gets a lot of help. Despite the manpower that the students provide, there are times in which working with the charity can be incredibly stressful. There are always animals that need help and right now, it’s a tight squeeze. ‘The kennels are absolutely gridlocked! I have a couple of dogs desperate to come in from Social Services and two dogs waiting to go to new homes. As soon as they have gone the other two will come in! Rehoming can be quite slow as well but the volunteers are very supportive!’
Even though the work can be stressful Annie stills adores what she does. It’s clear to see from the minute she starts talking the passion that she has. As she walked us around the sanctuary and introduced us to all the animals we were captivated by her enthusiasm and couldn’t help but also fall a little bit in love with the animals. ‘I tend to greet the animals before the people’ Annie said ‘but that’s what it’s all about really, making the animals feel loved and wanted. I totally live for it and so does my husband!’ Of course this love does make it dif cult to say goodbye to the long-term residents at the sanctuary when they are rehomed. ‘I do get quite emotional,’ Annie said when we asked her if she missed the animals when they left ‘but it’s mainly tears of happiness because I know that they will have a life outside of kennels and catteries.’
In knowing how much Annie loves the animals we cheekily asked her if she had a favourite, ‘I really shouldn’t!’ she said with a grin, ‘but I would have to say that my absolute favourite is Jess the little Staffy. She came in from the forest pound after being taken there as a stray. She had basically been used as a breeding machine and came to us in a poor state. Once the life had been pretty much bred out of her she was chucked out. Every time I see her she is so excited to say hello!’ Jess, we found out, is a brindle Staffy and they are very hard to rehome because of the reputation that they have been given, but Annie told us that they are nothing like that. ‘They have amazing personalities! Especially Jess, she is such a sweetheart.’ If you don’t believe Annie you can check out the wonderful video that the sanctuary has put together in an effort to get the public to have a better understanding of the breed on their Facebook page. It’s incredibly enlightening to hear and
see a breed that is so feared being so playful and caring. We certainly changed our minds!
With Christmas being an incredibly busy time we were keen to know if Animals in Need were doing anything over the festive period. ‘We have a Christmas Fayre in which the public bring in presents for the animals. We have shoeboxes of treats and toys for the cats, dogs and rabbits and the horses get a boomer ball to play with. We try and do it so that all the animals get a present.’ The Fayre is a great opportunity for the public to get involved with the animals but that’s not the only thing they can do. The shelter are always calling for more volunteers so if you fancy cuddling a few cats or rabbits or walking some dogs then go on down to Little Irchester and lend a hand. Other than volunteering and donations is there anything else the public can do to help out and get involved? ‘The biggest thing that the public can do is spread the word. It doesn’t cost them anything apart from a tiny bit of time.’ So go on Facebook and Twitter, grab your foghorn and climb on your roof to shout about Animals in Need and the work they do. The more people that know about the organisation the more animals will be adopted and the more animals will be rescued and given the care that they desperately need. Animals in need do stop rehoming the animals throughout December as Christmas is an unsettled and busy time for animals, but the sanctuary is still open and animals can still be reserved for the new year.
Fact File:
• The Sanctuary is open to the public Tuesdays to Sundays 12pm to 3pm.
• It’s 24 hours. Annie lives on site with her husband as do another couple, Stewart and Emma, so there is always someone to call day or night.
• They rescue around 2500 to 3000 animals every year.
• In wintertime that means a lot of hedgehogs.
• They don’t rehome the farm animals, except the hens and
• There are four hundred animals at the sanctuary and around
one hundred and  fty of them are wildlife.
• Annie has ten dogs living with her in her house!
• All the staff at the sanctuary are vegan or vegetarian and
they ask volunteers to bring in a vegetarian packed lunch.
The animals eat meat though!
• You can donate through just giving or give as you live.
Facebook: @AnimalsInNeedMaxicare Twitter: @AnimalsInNeedUK
Phone: 01933 278080
December 2016 | Phonebox Magazine 59

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