Cockatiel Levi, pictured above, enjoying a cuddle.
Today's blog is about keeping and breeding animals. We seem to have a myth that those in the western world are kind to animals but I am not sure this is the case. You only have to pick up the Herald and look in the classified to see tons of unwanted animals and copious amounts of breeders selling off their 'goods' at overinflated prices. To add to the problem we seem to go through spates of designers dogs with chiuahahas and French bulldogs being the fashion of the moment, for many owners their dogs will quickly go out of fashion and will soon become unwanted. Often owners do not stop to think about the time involved in caring for animals or the cost.
I have to chuckle slightly at the current trend for cross breed pedigrees such as labradoodles and cockapoos, if you want a good strong dog then choose a lovely mongrel from a local rescue centre rather than funding greedy breeders. You may wonder why I am so passionate about this subject and for those of you who don't know I am someone who rescues animals from local charity Woodside Sanctuary in Plympton; Woodside, like most rescue centres, is full to the brim with animals that need homes and the centres have limited funds to look after these animals leaving much of the job to volunteers such
as myself. To date I have 34 cockatiels, 2 Kakarikis, 2 Golden Mantel Rosellas, 2 Coturnix Quail, 1 Hahns Macaw and 1 cat most of which have come direct from Woodside. If I had more room I would take more rescues but at the moment the inn is full and I have to be realistic about funding these creatures, a 20kg bag of cockatiel food has risen from £13.00 to £21.75 in just a couple of years.
A male coturnix quail pictured left inspecting the house I made for him.
Yesterday I was reminded of the issue of animal welfare when I visited Porfell Animal Park near Looe, the owners have just rescued 2 De Brazzo monkeys just days before they were due to be put to sleep, these beautiful monkeys now have a new home but many will not be so lucky.
In the last few months my husband and I have spent time visiting many of the local rescue centres and sanctuaries all of which tell the same tale, they are all struggling financially, they all rely heavily on volunteers and they are still being inundated with animals that need rehoming.
So please do one or both of the following:
1.Think twice before getting any sort of animal.
Too many people see rescue centres as an easy place to dump animals rather than them being a last resort for those with genuine change in circumstances. I have no problems picking up a cockatiel from someone who has been diagnosed with cancer and can't look after the animal anymore, those individuals are heartbroken to see their animals leave and I am honoured to be able to assure that individual that their pets will be well loved.
Cockatiel's Charles and Camilla, pictured right, enjoying some peppermint.
I have less sympathy with those who, for example, have bought a parrot from a large, commercial pet centre, had the bird for a couple of years, neglected it and then decide they don't want it anymore because it bites and screeches. To add insult to injury these people are usually the ones who not only want me to re-home the animal but would also like me to reimburse them for the cost of the animal.
Think not about what an animal can bring to you but what you can bring to the animal, if you start with a less selfish approach perhaps you will have more success with the animal.
Cockatiel Quagmire, pictured below, untying my shoelaces.
2. Support your local rescue centres.
There are lots of ways you can support local sanctuaries and rescue centres. You can give money as most are registered as charities. You may have time to volunteer e.g. at Woodside they are always on the lookout for dog walkers. You may be able to donate goods, some businesses have waste products such as spare building materials that they may be able to donate or your business might be able to sponsor an animal.
Here are some local centres that I highly recommend you visit. Remember that by doing so you are supporting the local economy as well as having a great day out :)
Tamar Valley Donkey Park.
Porfell Animal Park.
Notter Bridge Animal Park.
Dartmoor Zoo Park*.
*Dartmoor Zoo is currently enjoying a more comfortable financial ride but is still a must see at some point.