One of the hardest things for me to deal with is animal abuse and neglect. This is something I struggle with a lot. While I realise I’m not Wonder Woman, I still find it difficult that I can’t save all the animals. Anxiety shows itself in many forms and raises its ugly head for everyone in different ways. Animal cruelty and neglect is one of the things that triggers it for me. And one day, I’d love to run an animal rescue centre.
A few years ago, I spent time volunteering at the Cats Protection as a cat cuddler. This involved spending time with the cats and kittens, getting them used to human interaction and preparing them for adoption. But then life got in the way. Work was demanding, and not long after we ended up moving to a new house.
At the end of last year, I decided in 2018 I wanted to offer more support to causes close to my heart. I’m not rich. I don’t have tens of thousands of pounds sat in a savings account. I just knew I wanted to start making regular donations to animal rescue organisations.
At first, I thought about choosing one animal rescue centre and setting up a monthly direct debit. But with so many worthy causes out there, I couldn’t pick just one. In the end, I chose to scatter my donations to different organisations throughout the year.
And in a world where we’re obsessed with consumerism and buying things we don’t necessarily need, some of the donations either have or will be made on behalf of someone else as a gift, instead of buying mindless pieces of crap.
Animal Rescue Organisations
There are the obvious animal charities, like Cats Protection and RSPCA, who do amazing work and have shelters scattered up and down the country. In towns where they don’t have a shelter, they rely heavily on volunteers to foster animals until they can be rehomed.
Both charities are close to my heart. I spent 18-months as a volunteer at Cats Protection and my childhood cat, Tabby, came from the RSPCA. She’d already been returned twice because apparently, she was too feisty. Her previous adopters just couldn’t handle her. I had her until I was 22 and had many lovely years with her.
Yes, she could be bitey and temperamental. But, she was also loving and affectionate when the mood took her. She spent many years sleeping on my bed at night, and the worst thing she ever did, was wake me up by sucking my hair! She just needed a family who understood her personality.
Below are the charities I’ve either recently donated to or will be donating to at some point this year. Some are based in the UK, and some overseas, because unfortunately, animal abuse and neglect is a worldwide issue.
There are many animal rescue organisations out there, some of which you probably haven’t even heard of. But if you’re thinking of donating to a cause this year, please consider the following places.
Based in Norwich, Hillside was established over 20 years ago when Wendy Valentine realised the conditions that battery farmed hens were subjected to. She’s also well known for her work with horses, and Hillside is now home to over 3000 animals.
They’re always in need of bales of hay, and I regularly go onto their site to donate a couple of bales. This is what I did on Valentine’s Day for Ian, rather than partaking in Happy Hallmark Day.
They also have an online gift shop and the option of adopting some of the animals for a minimum yearly donation of £10.
Based in Ramsbottom in Lancashire, Bleakholt was started when Olive Lomas saved a single donkey from slaughter and is now home to over 450 animals.
I love Bleakholt. My dad took me and my brother when we were kids and I just remember wanting to take home all the cats! When Ian and I got our first cat together, this is where we adopted him from. It was about 2005/2006 and we were looking for an older cat who no-one wanted.
Back then, Bleakholt had an oldies room, where all the older cats and cats with special needs were kept. Tibby was approximately 14-years old and found himself at Bleakholt after his previous owner died. He was completely deaf with no teeth, and had been there for over a year. I fell in love with him immediately. We had him for 18-months, before he developed a tumor on his jaw and had to be put to sleep.
Bleakholt run a scheme where they help with vets bills for animals that have lifelong conditions. This makes sure that even animals that could be quite expensive to look after, still get a chance at having a loving home.
They have an onsite gift shop, a sponsorship scheme for £25 per year or the option to set up regular donations.
Please look on their website to see a selection of cats and dogs they currently have available for adoption.
I first discovered Tower Hill when I was searching online for vegan athletes. I found an article about a runner called Fiona Oakes, who had competed in over 50 marathons, had set 5 marathon records and had run a marathon on all seven continents – completing the fastest time for a female runner.
On top of running over 100 miles per week as her standard training, Fiona runs a sanctuary in Essex with her partner and her mum, where they care for over 400 animals. Talk about Wonder Woman! Tower Hill takes in unwanted farm animals such as pigs, sheep and cows, but is also home to horses, dogs and cats.
Apart from running to raise awareness of the work she does, she also does it to show that being vegan doesn’t hinder athletic performance in any way. In my Vegan Kind subscription box last October, I was super happy to discover that their charity of the month was Tower Hill Stables.
There are many ways to help support Fiona and the sanctuary, including adopting an animal, making a donation, or buying items off their Amazon Wishlist. You can find a list of other ways to help here.
Based in New Jersey, Rancho Relaxo is home to a mix of goats, cows, cats, horses, chickens, turkeys, dogs and pigs. I love the work that founder Caitlin and her team do. It’s one of my favourite accounts to follow on Instagram and I’m in awe at the passion and drive they have.
Even though Caitlin is highly allergic to animals, it doesn’t stop her from answering her calling.
While they have a vast selection of animals on their ranch, they sometimes work with other sanctuaries, helping to find the best home for the animals they’ve saved. They regularly perform rescues for animals stuck in kill-pens about to be shipped off to slaughter, and also attend farmers markets and auctions.
They do everything within their power to save as many animals as possible.
Because of the work they do, and the condition some of the animals are in, their bills are high. Caitlin isn’t afraid to show how hard they work and how traumatic their work is, she wears her heart on her sleeve and often posts videos of her crying and broken. I’m in complete awe at the selfless work they do and have nothing but admiration for them.
I’ve donated to a few of their different saves this year. I just wish I could do more.
Based in Galicia, Northern Spain, their mission statement is simple: Rescue. Rehabilitate. Educate.
Farm animals are victims of abuse. The aim at Mino Valley Farm Sanctuary is to provide a loving environment where animals can live free of pain and suffering.
Originally from the UK, Abigail and her boyfriend or husband (there isn’t really any info on the owners) have been running the sanctuary since January 2013.
They aren’t open to visitors, but they do welcome volunteers. They’ll happily accept help with daily duties, like mucking out the animal houses, building fences and spending time with the animals.
You can sponsor an animal, make a donation and as mentioned above, volunteer.
Hannah Shaw is a professional kitten rescuer. What more can I say? I LOVE the work she does, and her Instagram account is definitely one of my favourites.
She rescues kittens, and spends her time educating people on the importance of getting their cats spayed/neutered, to help with the problem of unwanted cat pregnancies.
It sounds so simple. But like with any kind of animal rescue organisation, there’s a lot more to it. She does an amazing job and if you don’t already follow her – I suggest you head over to her Instagram account right now.
Her YouTube channel is full of tutorials, explaining how to care for kittens. She also talks about the work she does in more detail.
She has an online shop and a donation page where you can help support her work.
Not necessarily a rescue organisation, but a cause that needs attention.
Lori Shepler is a woman on a mission and my heart goes out to the way she is treated. I have no idea how she finds the strength to keep going.
She educates people on the inhumane practice of declawing cats and has been fighting for it to be made illegal in America since 2014. Constantly coming up against resistance from vet practices, she’s recently been silenced from speaking out about her cause. If she breaks this silence, she could face a prison sentence.
In 2006, declawing animals was banned in the UK. Regarded as animal abuse, anyone convicted of the act can expect to face a prison sentence and possibly a £20,000 fine as well. And rightly so.
But did you know that in parts of America and Canada it’s still legal to declaw your cat? Claws that are there to help a cat protect themselves if attacked and climb up trees to escape predators, are routinely amputated.
Vets who still carry out declawing argue it’s a safe and humane procedure. They say it’s the only way to stop cats clawing at furniture and attacking humans. There’s further widespread horror when these vets and their staff pose for photos with the cats whilst under anaesthetic. They even mock them in their plaster casts afterwards and boldly post the images to social media.
Not only is it unnecessary, it’s painful and traumatic. Many cats are unable to live a normal life afterwards. They are left in constant pain unable to walk properly, let alone defend themselves. All for what? So, your new sofa doesn’t get scratched? How about you don’t get a cat in the first place. Or do what we do here in the UK. Trim your cat’s claws on a regular basis and provide your feline friend with a scratch post.
I donated to Lori’s Kickstarter project a couple of years ago. You can help her cause by spreading awareness, donating or buying from her online shop.
Google declawing cats, you’ll be horrified.
Based in West Grove, Pennsylvania, Twist of Fate was started in 2012 after owner, Ashley DiFelice rescued 2 draft horses from slaughter.
A family run sanctuary, Twist of Fate saves senior horses and other farm animals from a life of neglect and abuse. Their monthly bill for hay alone, can cost up to $4000. They also need regular donations to help with the high vet bills that occur from the condition of the horses they save.
This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means. These are just some of the animal rescue organisations that have caught my attention over the years.
I realise there are many other organisations out there that do wonderful work. Feel free to leave a comment below, with the name of other animal causes that you think deserve some attention.