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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 paper, 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 Contacts page).


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Column 1st July 2019


It was impossible to make a decision who to feature this week, so I spent time with them both. In one cat cabin was a stunning tabby cat and in the cabin next door was the gorgeous Sven, who didn’t stop talking to me for the whole of my visit. Mind you, that was useful because he had a lot of details to tell me about. But, in the end, the decision was made for me as the tabby is now reserved but Sven is still waiting.  


Someone should tell Sven, it’s rude to look in visitors’ handbags to see if there’s a present for you but, after living life as a stray, he can be forgiven – he must be used to rifling through belongings looking for food. Sven is very friendly and loves company.  I can imagine him being glued to the side of anyone who homes him. If you would like to meet Sven, he’s waiting to talk to you at the RSPCA Cat Adoption Centre, Burket Close, Southall.


In order to encourage us to get our cats neutered and avoid unwanted kittens, the RSPCA Clinic (address above) is offering free neutering of male

cats on Friday July 5 and free neutering of female cats on Thursday July 11. No appointment is needed. The cat must be starved from 8pm the night before. Owners need to arrive no later than 8.45am-9.00am (first come, first seen). Cats should be ready for collection at 3.30pm More details from 0300  123 0746 option 3.


A key decision most children have to make is what to do when they grow up.  On the inside cover of a recent edition of the RSPCA children’s magazine, Animal Action, is a picture of a very young-looking RSPCA Inspector who describes how much she loves her job and has kept all her copies of the magazine from when she was growing up. If your child likes animals and is thinking of eventually working with them, Animal Action is a vibrant child-friendly magazine – the sort whose arrival could be eagerly awaited by children.  It’s full of fascinating facts, exciting rescue stories and competitions. The magazine is £7.50 for four issues, see details at rspca.org.uk/subscribe.


If you’re still deciding what to do on Sunday July 14 (11am-4pm), the animal charity, Mayhew, is organising their Summer event, Hounds on Heath, on the cricket pitch at Hampstead Heath. There will be a celebrity judged dog show, Temptation Alley and stalls. For details see themayhew.org.


Column 8th July 2019


The speed of acceleration is an important aspect of the thrill of a theme park. Visiting Thorpe Park yesterday on the hottest day of the year (34°C) wasn’t the most comfortable of days but, with advance tickets bought, it had to be done. One of Thorpe Park’s key attractions, Stealth, is the UK’s fastest roller coaster which accelerates from 0-80mph in under two seconds, firing riders 205 feet into the air.


But Stealth wasn’t the only thing to accelerate quickly at Thorpe Park that day. Returning to the car for a forgotten item, shortly after parking, it was already as hot as another ride, Nemesis Inferno.


According to the RSPCA, if it’s 22°C outside a car, the temperature inside the car can soar quickly to an unbearable 47°C within sixty minutes. Already this year there have been reports of distressed dogs having to be rescued from hot cars. The clear message is “Dogs die

in hot cars” and this can happen in less than twenty minutes.


If we see a distressed dog in a hot car, the RSPCA advise us to call 999. If the dog is outside a shop we could ask the shop to make an announcement for the car owner. If the situation becomes critical and the police are too far away, many people’s instinct will be to break into the car to free the dog. If we decide to do this, we need to be aware that, without proper justification this could be classed as criminal damage and we may need to defend our actions in court. We must make sure we tell the police what we intend to do, why and take images of the dog and the names and numbers of witnesses.


The speed of acceleration by Budweiser when he spotted the cool pond in the water garden at Dogs Trust was rapid, instantly propelling himself three feet into the air, like a Stealth aircraft, to clear the fence surrounding it. Budweiser loves people and knows several commands. He’s looking for experienced owners who are confident socialising him. If you are interested in homing this gorgeous energetic boy who enjoys a cuddle, see dogstrust.org.uk or meet him at Dogs Trust, Harvil Road, Uxbridge.


If you’re quick, you’ve still got time to go to the National Animal Welfare Trust’s Family Fun Dog Show and BBQ this Saturday, July 13 (11am-3pm) at their rehoming Centre, Tylers Way, Watford By Pass. You can also look round the animals. Details from nawt.org.uk.


Column 15th July 2019


Often when stories are serialised, there are six episodes. This is the sixth episode of Kaleb’s Adventures At The Rehoming Centre but we’ll have to wait to see if it’s the last. Let’s recap on the story so far.  

Readers first met the lovely Lurcher, Kaleb, three years ago during June 2016. In Episode 1 (Gazette June 3 2016), he’d just arrived at the National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT) rehoming centre from a dog pound in Wales.   He was settling into the centre well and had arrived just in time to attend a party to celebrate the Queen’s ninetieth birthday. He’d never been to a party before but he knew he’d got to be on his best behaviour – if only he knew what that was.


Eight months later, in Episode 2, readers met Kaleb again (Gazette Feb 24 2017). It was a cold February and Kaleb was modelling his new Winter coat - a gorgeous
multi-coloured affair which he adored because it kept him warm.


Then a year after he first arrived, in Episode 3, readers heard how, because he was now considered a longstay dog, he had been given a single bed to enjoy in his pen
(Gazette June 30 2017). To test it out, Kaleb and I had spent an afternoon sitting on the bed together playing tug of war with his toys.


By Episode 4 (Gazette April 27 2018), Kaleb had been at the centre nearly two years. He’d now been given one of the largest pens and was adored by staff and volunteers. Later that year, a café was opened

next to his pen and in Episode 5 (Gazette October 12 2018), we saw how he enjoyed watching people visit the caféwhere, he noticed, they could buy a mug with his photo on.


This brings us to today, Episode 6. Kaleb is now four years old with most of his life so far having been spent at the Rehoming Centre. He’s developed a liking for long walks and has been seen stuffing four tennis balls into his mouth at once. He also enjoys company. His carer said that, after a walk, when he returns to his pen and his harness is removed, he doesn’t want you to leave so pushes the door closed to keep you with him longer. Kaleb is looking for a loving home with an owner experienced with large breeds. If this could be you, see nawt.org.uk or meet him at the NAWT Centre, Watford-by-Pass.


Column 22nd July 2019


“Dance like no-one is watching” may be a well-known saying but the message I received from a recent evening spent with the animal protection group Animal Aid in which they talked about Undercover Investigations was “Treat animals like the whole world is watching”. And they are experts in Undercover Investigations. For example, in their  undercover investigations in fifteen British slaughterhouses, they found evidence of lawbreaking in fourteen of them with animals being deliberately beaten, burnt with cigarettes and ill-treated. As a result of such courageous work and the suffering which emerged, last year the government made it mandatory for all abattoirs in England to have CCTV to monitor animal treatment – (not that we should assume this means that all problems have now gone away).


Living as though someone is watching you could make the world a kinder place for both animals and humans. If people thought their treatment of others was being recorded and they would have to account for what they’ve done, they may think twice before committing acts of unkindness or cruelty, such as abandoning or neglecting animals.  


It would be interesting to know how many people watched this skinny stray, Aaron, struggling to move himself around before some kind person took him to the RSPCA Animal Hospital. When he arrived he was found to have an old injury to one of his back legs which was so bad it needed to be amputated. He is recovering well and, with his poorly leg now gone, he’s scooting around s pen as though he’s feeling the best he’s felt for ages.

Aaron is so friendly and such good company I had to drag myself away from him.  If you can offer Aaron a loving home, he’s waiting at the RSPCA Cat Adoption Centre, Burket Close, Southall.


Talking of recordings, it’s worth noting that included in the rules for this year’s fantastic RSPCA Young Photographer Awards competition, is that photos of animals that are suffering or wounded are amongst those not allowed. The competition includes a wide range of categories such as Picture Perfect Pets and The Human Impact on Animals. There are also tips on how to take photos. The competition closes on August 16 at 12pm. For details, see young.rspca.org.uk.


Don’t forget the RSPCA Southall Cat Adoption Centre and Clinic Summer Fete is taking place (address above) on Saturday August 10 (11am-3pm). There will be arts, crafts, face painting, games and a BBQ. Admission is £1 plus a donation of cat food.




July 2019

Weekly column Subject Index