The Ark Rescue & Rehoming Centre, Ashbourne, Derbyshire
Spring chickens will be coming out of their cages and into people’s back gardens in Derbyshire this month. After three months of restrictions due to avian flu, hen re-homing in Ashbourne will get into full swing again on Saturday, 25 March.
Ashbourne Animal Welfare, at The Ark on Wyaston Road, will once again be the centre of activity as hundreds of ex-caged hens find new homes with families in the area. The local charity acts as a pick-up point for the British Hen Welfare Trust (BHWT), the leading national charity committed to improving the welfare of hens in the UK.
“It will certainly be a day to celebrate”, said local BHWT Co-ordinator and Ark Volunteer, Jane Wain. “We have been extremely saddened by the restrictions over recent months, as we have been unable to rehome any hens. So this will be an ‘eggstra’ special day as we hand over hundreds of happy hens to their new owners.”
The BHWT has so far ensured that over 554,000 hens have been offered a new life once their commercial egg-laying days were over. But the precautions that were imposed due to avian flu at the end of last year meant hens had to be kept inside. This has meant around 12,000 hens which were due to be re-homed by the charity in December, January and February had to go to slaughter.
Jane Howorth MBE, charity founder, said: “The decision to postpone our re-homings was not taken lightly, but it was vital we adhered to the restrictions set by DEFRA. Everything we do as a charity comes back to hen welfare so of course we were extremely saddened that we lost so many hens. However, in the last few weeks the restrictions have been lifted and thousands of hens across the country will once again be coming out of their cages and able to bathe in the spring sun for the first time.”
All the hens being rehomed on 25 March need to be booked in advanced. If you could provide a home for some ex-caged hens, or would like to find out more about the work of BHWT, visit www.bhwt.org.uk or call 01884 860084.
Once again Alex and Erik of Alex Clark Art have sent an amazing donation of £5000 to help our work. Each year they pledge a percentage of their Christmas card sales to us, as well as making a personal contribution, and we really are grateful for their encouragement and support for the work we do. They are both great animal lovers and share their home with Elsie the Golden Retreiver and Betty the Black Labrador, both of whom appear on Alex's range of cards. The company continually grow their range of products and we always look forward to seeing Alex's new designs and are usually spoilt for choice....we would like to stock everything! We have just received our first delivery of the year with some super new items including key rings, sticky notepads and lovely new notebooks, so do have a look when you next come to an Open Day.
We have mentioned before the wonderful support we receive from Support Adoption for Pets and once again they have helped us with a £2500 grant from their Wish List Award Grant Scheme. This has enabled us to buy quite a few items from our shopping list of things we really need. Just delivered is a Dog Adventure Centre for use in our outdoor training compound. It is made of maintenance free recycled plastics and is a bit like the sort of activity centre found in a childrens playground, with ramps, a platform and cubes to sit and hide in. We know that our dogs are going to enjoy playing with it! We have also purchased a much needed vaccine fridge for storage of medications such as insulin and eye drops, as well as vaccines. In addition, we now have a further two cat traps to use when going out working with feral or stray cats. We have also purchased a set of scales for accurate weighing of kittens and small cats, particularly useful when weight is an issue, such as when hand rearing kittens. Other items of equipment obtained with the grant funding include five replacement high stand feeding bowls and another roll of special vet bedding - immediately put into use for nursing little Candy, the Chihuahua X, who is on cage rest after being hit by a car and sustaining a fractured pelvis. Her previous owners could not afford the treatment she needed and were about to have her put to sleep. Fortunately, the vet contacted us for help and she came into our care, where she is making an excellent recovery.
If this wasn't enough we have also just been informed that the Santa Paws Appeal run by Support Adoption for Pets in their Pets at Home Stores has raised £1224 for our charity via the generosity of customers of the Meteor Centre Store in Derby. Thank you to the staff in store for nominating us as their partnered charity and to all those who supported the appeal.
As you may have seen in the media, Battersea Cats & Dogs Home have launched a major new campaign looking at the unacceptably low punishments handed out to people who abuse animals. Ashbourne Animal Welfare fully support this campaign and we hope that you will do so as well. Click HERE to access the campaign page on the Battersea website.
We have just had some great news...once again Support Adoption for Pets has done just 'what it says on the tin' and provided support where and when it's needed. This time they have given a £2500 grant for the purchase of a Dog Adventure Area for our outdoor training compound as well as a vaccine fridge for our veterinary treatment clinic, vet bedding, small animal scales and two cat traps to help with our work with feral cat colonies. All these items were on our 'what we would like for Christmas list' so we are thrilled to get so many of our Christmas wishes granted.
Thank you and a Happy Christmas to all at Support Adoption for Pets.
This striking looking young Lurcher came to The Ark in 2014, after being found as a stray wandering around a local town. She quickly settled in here and it was soon realised that Amber’s desire to chase anything that moved quickly was probably what had led to her being found wandering! The staff here worked closely with Amber, improving her patience and manners and we are now delighted to say that Amber has finally found a new home with a couple who have owned various breeds in the past, including Lurchers. They understand the needs of a dog like Amber and will be able to offer the safe environment and experienced handling which Amber will need.
We are delighted to say that Maisie the Staffie who has been at The Ark for so long and was one of our Sponsor dogs has gone off to a super new home.
Maisie originally came into our care as a stray from Derby City in 2010. She became a real favourite of many of our volunteers and was eventually adopted by one of our dog walkers. Maisie proved herself to be a loving and loyal companion, even earning her Bronze and Silver Kennel Club Good Citizen awards! Unfortunately, in 2012 Maisie had to be returned into our care due to illness in her owner’s family. She settled back in to kennel life very well – loving to snuggle down under her blanket after a nice walk, waiting patiently for someone to give her a home of her own again. Happily for Maisie, her second chance has come in the form of one of our long term supporters who, until recently, fostered another of our long stay ex-sponsor dogs, Dena, who has sadly recently died at the age of 12. Although Maisie has only recently moved in with her fosterer, she has settled into her new home very well and we have heard that she seems to spend her days snoozing on her fosterer’s bed and her evenings visiting the local pub!
Maisie is no longer available for sponsorship and all her sponsors will be contacted and sent a new certificate of either Tasha, Amber or new dog on the scheme Cassie. Cassie's details can be seen on our Sponsor a Long Stay Dog page. If you did sponsor Maisie and would like to choose your own replacement dog please contact us.
Maisie sends a big thank you to everyone who generously sponsored her whilst at The Ark.
We had a lovely day for our Sponsored Walk..not too hot..not too cold or wet and over 35 walkers turned out to support us raising over £1000 so far! Thank you to everyone who came along on the day and of course to all those who sponsored our walkers and their dogs. Several of our current residents had a super day out and enjoyed the walk including Odie and Sam our little Jack Russells, Angel and Skye our beautiful Huskies, Marley and Buddy our Staffies, Ollie the Akita X and Hope our beautiful Lurcher. Several ex Ark dogs also went on the walk including little Ruby the Chihuahua X JR who raised over £400!
Our thanks to the National Trust for allowing us to walk through their beautiful country park at Ilam.
We hope you will have been successful in getting some sponsorship, but we realise that this is more difficult for some people and that others will not be able to join in the walk for various reasons. If so, you could always sponsor one of The Ark volunteers who will do the walk for you. Of course, you can always just join in the walk on the day by making a donation of £5. We will have a stall and delicious homemade lunches and teas are available at the National Trust tearoom.
To download a Sponsorship form click on the button below or email [email protected] or call 01335 300494.
A big thank you to everyone who supported our Grand Raffle and we are delighted to say you have raised £3070 with another £1107 in extra donations to help our cats and dogs! Another big thank you to all those who donated the prizes. All winners have been contacted.
You will all have heard the saying...'won by a whisker'...well we certainly won ourselves a fantastic donation courtesy of The Pedigree and Whiskas Feeding Brighter Futures Fund. This is the first year that Whiskas has awarded grants, although the Fund has generously supported several projects here at The Ark to improve the life of our dogs, including our super, fully renovated Dog House and garden, our outdoor training compound and some of our quiet kennels. The grant from Whiskas is to fund the upgrade of an older part of our cattery, providing a safer, more hygienic and relaxed environment for some of our older and less able cats whilst they wait for their forever home. The project includes carrying out some much needed soundproofing work, as this part of the cattery overlooks one of the dog exercise areas and our cats do not always appreciate the doggie conversations they can overhear! Andrew Winfrow, National Charities Manager for Mars Petcare, came along to The Ark to present us with our cheque and, as you can see, this was gratefully accepted by everyone, including Freddie and Charlie two of our Ark cats, although Charlie cat was much more interested in the tins of Whiskas!