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The Ealing Animals Fair is organised by Thinking of Animals CIC
Although the information given here is, to the best of the organiser’s knowledge and belief,
correct, the organiser reserves the right to make alterations and amendments, as necessary.

As well as founding the Ealing Animal Charities Fair, Marion Garnett has also, since 2011, written a weekly Animal Rescue column which is published in the West London local newspaper, The Gazette. Columns published since January 2019 are now available online here.

If you would like to see any of the columns published before 2019, please contact Marion directly (see the Contacts page).


Column 2nd March 2020

It’s usually useful to think ahead. Hounslow Animal Welfare Society (HAWS) are experts in this.  For weeks now, they’ve been collecting items to sell at the Ealing Animal Charities Fair so that, on the day, their stall, is like a treasure trove. I’ve seen them, in previous years, before the Fair starts, looking at what they have brought to sell and thinking how are we going to fit all this on the stall. But they do.

Like many animal charities, HAWS are also experts in picking up the pieces from people who don’t think ahead. Often this takes the form of someone getting a pet without thinking what might happen in the future - and then contacting HAWS or another animal charity because they want to give it up.   

Sometimes a pet has to be given up because something unexpected has happened but sometimes it’s for a reason that was foreseeable in advance.

The animal rescue centre, Mayhew, (another brilliant charity who also has a stall at the Fair) has produced a list of questions for people to ask themselves before they get a pet. These include ‘Are you prepared to care for a pet for its whole life?’ When you adopt an animal, you’re committed to caring for it, for its entire life and, for a cat or dog, this could be for an average of 15 years. You need to think about what you might be doing over this time, such as moving house or changing work and, if so, how will you continue to care for your pet. Other questions to ask yourself include, can you afford a pet, have you time for a pet, do you live in suitable accommodation and, if you have a pet already, is it a good idea to introduce a new animal? These questions all have to be thought through carefully.

It was after a change in circumstances that the gorgeous Tia arrived into the care of HAWS. Tia is 10 months old, sweet and friendly but a little shy initially with people she doesn’t know. If you are interested in homing this beautiful girl, see haws-animals.org.uk or call 020  8560 5443.

Meanwhile, don’t forget both HAWS and Mayhew are among the societies at the Ealing Animal Charities Fair which takes place on Saturday, March 7 (10.30am to 4pm) at Hanwell Methodist Church, Church Road, W7 1DJ. There is a fantastic programme of speakers plus 40 animal charity stalls.  Admission is free.  Details from ealinganimalsfair.london.

Column 9th March 2020

The last time I went to my wonderful hairdresser, I felt such a mess, I said to him, please don’t even look at me until I’ve had my hair done. Always quick off the mark, “That’s not going to work”, he said.

But it does mean I can identify, to some extent, with Arlo, an Old English Sheepdog, who arrived at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home with fur so long and matted it covered his eyes, meaning he’d regularly walk into walls and doors as he couldn’t see where he was going. Fancy arriving at the famous Battersea for rehoming looking a mess – just when you want to look your best.

Arlo’s knots were so bad, Battersea staff had no choice but to clip all Arlo’s hair off to make him feel more comfortable. It took three people, two hours to clip the two year old from head to toe, removing 1.8 kilograms of hair while he was under sedation.

Battersea said they wouldn’t normally clip a dog with such long hair but as Arlo was in such discomfort, they thought it was best for his welfare.

Because Arlo’s mats were so severe, they pulled at his skin, leaving him feeling uncomfortable and anxious when he was being handled. This means he’s now having lots of positive training to help show him that grooming and handling can be enjoyable.

Grooming is vital for all dogs especially those with long hair. If a dog’s fur gets too matted or long, it can cause discomfort and lead to infections in their eyes and ears.

And, of course, Arlo now looks stunning. His coat will eventually grow back which means he is looking for new owners who will help him to stay the well-groomed boy he has become. He needs to be the only dog in his new home and would best suit a home without younger children. If you are interested, Arlo is waiting at the Battersea rehoming centre, Battersea Park Road or call 0800  001 4444.

Without a doubt, dogs taking part in this year’s Battersea Muddy Dog Challenge will need grooming afterwards. Taking place on Saturday June 6 and Sunday June 7 in the historic parkland of Windsor Great Park, humans and dogs can take part in a 2.5km or 5km obstacle run. Participants are asked to raise £100 for Battersea’s work plus there is a registration fee. This is a popular event and places are being snapped up fast. For details see battersea.org.uk.

Column 16th March 2020

The freezer’s empty, the fridge is bare. I feel like Old Mother Hubbard. I’d been storing food in the fridge for refreshments for yesterday’s Ealing Animal Charities Fair and now the Fair is over, the food has gone. Just when some people have a stockpile, I have empty shelves. But it was worth it. The Fair helped a wide range of animals either by raising funds to pay for their care or by raising awareness of their plight. Thank you to those who attended and readers who said hello. It was wonderful to meet you.

But although Covid-19 might be causing some people to stockpile goods, I got an insight at the Fair into some of the concerns the virus may cause those responsible for animal rescue centres. Concerns such as how will they cope if staff become ill and, is there likely to be a shortage of supplies for the animals. Many of the societies at the Fair are in the process of organising Open Days and are having to cope with the uncertainty of not knowing if the event will go ahead. I know from my experience of organising the Fair that, often as the event date approaches, a crisis of some sort emerges relating to bad weather or transport problems but this year, it’s a new issue, infection risk. And if these Open Days don’t go ahead, the charities will lose much-needed income.

If you have a pet and are worried about their care during this virus outbreak, the RSPCA has produced advice relating to what to do if you’re ill or have to self-isolate (rspca.org.uk). Animals must, of course, never be abandoned.

It’s difficult to believe that this beautiful Shar-Pei, Tye, was abandoned. He came into the care of Dogs Trust after he was dropped off at the groomers in June 2018 and his owners never returned to collect him. Dogs Trust think that, in the past, he was subjected to punishment-based training which has led him to be quite anxious but, once you get to  know him, they say he is a joy. Tye loves playing with toys and, when people enter his kennel, he always picks one up, with excitement. He knows plenty of tricks. Tye’s new owners must be patient and gentle with his handling and continue his reward-based training. He must be the only pet in an adult-only home. For more details see dogstrust.org.uk or you can meet him at Dogs Trust, Harvil Road, Uxbridge.

Column 23rd March 2020

For a cat who never left the house, Ollie was loved by a lot of people. Fans of Ricky Gervais and his partner, best-selling author, Jane Fallon, will know that Ricky and Jane’s cat, Ollie, died last week and has been mourned by thousands of people. Ollie had over 64,000 Twitter followers. Her feisty, funny, self-centred but also compassionate personality drew people to her like a magnet. But she never went outside.

Ollie shows that, just because at this time of crisis, many people can’t leave the house, doesn’t mean our ability to interact with others has to stop. Innovative ways of doing this are rapidly evolving so that our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs are met. And, it’s not just people’s needs that have to be met. It’s also the needs of animals.

The RSPCA (rspca.org.uk) and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home (battersea.org.uk) continue to offer advice on how to care for our pets if we are ill with coronavirus or have to self-isolate but, for example, have a dog to keep occupied.

The virus is also having financial implications for animal rescue centres. Visitors to the recent Ealing Animal Charities Fair who enjoyed Alison Cronin’s talk may be interested to know the world-famous ape rescue centre, Monkey World, closed to the public yesterday for the foreseeable future. This will obviously have a negative effect on their income. And other charities are feeling the effects too. But innovative ways of raising money are emerging.  For example, Greyhound Compassion are involved with organising a Stay at home fun dog show which will take place over 3 weeks starting on 22 March. Entrants have to submit photos or videos of their dog in categories such as Best at snoring, Best dog biscuit catcher. It will be judged by the television vet, Marc Abraham. For details, go to @greyCompassion (on Twitter) or 3 shelters (on facebook).

For a completely different reason to Ollie, another cat who doesn’t go outside is Melvin. This beautiful boy was brought into a local vet after being found hiding in a garage with two others after a storm. He is a shy boy who has a very sweet side. He has feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and needs an indoor home. For details see rspca.org.uk or meet him at the RSPCA Cat Adoption Centre, Burket Close, Southall. But, please note that during this crisis, visits to view are by appointment only so call 0300  123 0746 first.

Column 30th March 2020

That was a busy day. I’ve just spoken to Jackie De Friez, Manager of the National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT) rehoming centre near Watford and she tells me that, yesterday, they took 22 animals to their new homes. These were all animals whose new owners had started the rehoming process before the coronavirus crisis escalated and rather than keep the animals at the rehoming centre for the duration of the crisis, they speeded up the process and got them into their new homes yesterday. That must have been a mammoth effort and all credit to the staff who carried this out. By all accounts, it was an emotional evacuation as throughout the day, 22 animals were loaded into NAWT vans and delivered to their new homes.

But this does not mean the centre is empty. There are still 30 dogs, 30 cats as well as rabbits, guinea pigs, degus, chickens, a pig and a tortoise at the centre waiting for a home. No new rehoming is taking place at present so dogs like Jimmy, a Terrier, who is one of those left behind, needs to settle in for the long haul. If, when restrictions are lifted, you are interested in homing Jimmy, you can see details at nawt.org.uk.

This crisis does focus our minds on the need to prepare ourselves, at all times (and not just now), for what may happen in the future not only for ourselves but also our pets. In order to help with this, several years ago, NAWT prepared a care pack called Tails of the Unexpected which is a step-by-step guide on how to make arrangements for our pets in case we can’t look after them anymore. They outline some of the care options we could consider and highlight questions we should ask ourselves when planning for their future care. For example, exactly which family or friends would we want to ask to look after them. Some of these decisions are difficult and we may feel there is not a perfect answer but we owe it to our pets to make the best arrangements for them, in advance, that we can. Forms are included in the pack so we can record what pets we have and what care they need. To access the pack, see nawt.org.uk or call 020  8950 0177.

Finally, remember the RSPCA (rspca.org.uk) and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home (battersea.org.uk) have advice on how to care for your pets if you are self-isolating.

March 2020

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