As mentioned in my previous blog, we started supporting a number of new projects over the past 18 months, but sadly we were unable to visit them due to covid. Namely; Humane Society International’s project in Korea rescuing and rehoming dogs from the meat trade, assisting J.A.C.K primate sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo with the rescue and rehabilitation of primates caught up in the illegal trade of wildlife, and assisting PETA to rescue and provide sanctuary to working equines on the streets of Delhi. These projects continue to thrive and are changing the lives of so many animals in need.

During the same period, we also decided to supported some projects closer to home and, when travel restrictions were eased, we took the opportunity to visit them in person.

A bit of a long blog this time but hopefully you will enjoy the heartwarming photos and stories show. We love everything these projects stand for and feel privileged to be able to help them.

Secret World Wildlife Rescue

Last year we were approached by Secret World Wildlife Rescue, based in Highbridge, Somerset, who rescue and rehabilitate wildlife in the UK. They were looking for funding to expand their rehab facility and specifically to build a new state of the art hospital unit. As soon as travel restrictions were lifted we took a drive to Somerset and the rest, as they say, is history. On witnessing the passion and dedication of founder Pauline Kidner and her team, we agreed to support their expansion plans.  

Here are a selection of patients they have treated over the past year.

If you would like to contribute to Secret World Wildlife Rescue’s vital work please donate via the following link. Every little helps.

Click here to donate

Goodheart Animal Sanctuaries  

In August team OAT attended an open day at Goodheart’s farm animal sanctuary located in Worcestershire. Goodheart Animal Sanctuaries is owned and run by our close friends David Walker and his partner DJ. OAT is supporting the development of their new Pig Barn Project that will provide a cosy and spacious environment to house their pigs during the wetter, colder months. The barn will have spacious enclosures under cover, a hard-standing outdoor area, and a specific area for animals that may need to be brought in or separated from others temporarily due to illness. 

Not that they are suffering at all right now! They have wonderful paddocks with the option to take cover under natural vegetation and shelter in their own arks, but only the best is acceptable at Goodheart, so they will do anything they can to help further improve the quality of life for the pigs, and indeed all the animals in their care. After all, considering the start that most of the pigs had, i.e. neglected on factory farms, designer pets no longer wanted and petting farm animals no longer required, they deserve a second chance in life. If you would also like to contribute to Goodheart’s fundraising effort for the new pig facility, please click on the following link.  

Click here to donate

OAT have also sponsored one of Goodheart’s Hen Houses that enable rescued chickens to have round-the-clock access to both a cosy coop and a predator-safe outdoor area. During the day, the hens can enjoy a large grassland area complete with bushes and shrubs, plenty of interesting perching spaces, and ample space to exercise, scratch, and peck and forage for food. This means they can follow their natural instincts, which is incredibly beneficial for their mental wellbeing. Most of their hens have been rescued from the egg industry where they lived lives of suffering in cramped cages with no access to the outdoors. When they first arrive, many of the hens have severe feather loss, parasites such as mites and lice, and issues with their joints from being kept in cramped conditions. Sadly, these symptoms are common in ex-industry laying hens.  We think this is wrong, and believe that all animals deserve our respect and compassion. 

Welsh Dog Rescue

A few months ago, a friend of mine, Steph Jeavon’s, was riding her off road motorbike through the Welsh countryside (Snowdonia National Park) when she stumbled across 10 collie dogs who were being kept in horrendous conditions. They were living in cramped cages, which quite obviously hadn’t been cleaned out for months as they were steeped in their own faeces.

After a few sleepless nights worrying about these poor dogs, Steph called me and asked if OAT could help. We agreed and immediately began to formulate a plan. In most cases we try to implement or support a sustainable model but on this occasion, we simply had to rescue these dogs in whatever way we could. After a few difficult discussions with the owner of the dogs (sheep farmer) we discovered that he really only needed 4 of the 10 dogs to work his sheep.

Part of the rescue plan meant that we needed to rescue and find homes for 6 dogs including 3 puppies so I contacted DJ of Goodheart Animal Sanctuaries who is also a director of Wiccaways, a dog rescue and rehoming centre in Lincolnshire.

DJ agreed to help straight away and within a few weeks she, Steph and I were on site and we rescued and relocated six of the dogs. See below for before and after pics of the dogs, most of whom, thanks to DJ and her team, are already settled in their new and loving homes.

We love a happy ending and are so pleased for the lucky 6, but we all agreed at OAT that we simply couldn’t walk away from the 4 remaining working dogs. So, we decided to work with the farmer and come up with a plan to improve the living conditions and general welfare for the not so lucky 4. Within a month we managed to design and construct purpose built kennels and we will be forever grateful to friends like Terry McDermott, Steve Crijns and Kevin Bolleurs who gave up a week of their time, travelled to Wales with me and together we built these dogs a deserving home. We are also incredibly grateful to our friend Sam Trollope who designed the new kennels and provided the necessary drawings and specs. See videos and photos below for the finished project. 

That’s it for now! With a bit of luck my next blog will be from fields afar! My plan is to visit Zambia, DRC, Malawi and South Africa in 2022. Its going to be a busy year and I can’t wait!

Merry Christmas everyone! Another beautifully designed OAT Christmas card by our lovely Jocelyn Lawman.