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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 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 4th March 2019

I’ve been to a wake today. There were only two of us there – just me and my friend but we sat drinking coffee in a restaurant overlooking a lake while the cremation took place. The wake was for a cat we had taken to the vet the day before only to be told he didn’t have long to live.

This was not entirely unexpected as we knew he was ill and could see for ourselves his deterioration in the past few days. Together we faced the decision pet owners face when their beloved pet becomes ill and you sense the time to let go is drawing near.

When an animal is ill and the vet says they don’t have long to live, it’s often difficult knowing when is the right time to have them put to sleep. It’s a very personal decision but, for me, I need to weigh up the diagnosis and the quality of life of the animal concerned with any treatment or interventions proposed and the effect they are likely to have. These are all underpinned by the importance of the relief of suffering, pain and other distressing symptoms.

On this occasion, my friend and I were fortunate to be with an understanding vet who didn’t rush any decision-making. The beloved cat, who had borne his illness with such dignity, fell asleep peacefully later that day surrounded by people who loved him.

It is in recognition of the grief experienced by people whose pets die that Rachel Fuller (wife of The Who guitarist Pete Townshend) wrote Animal Requiem. Readers may remember I went to the world premiere of this fantastic work last month.  From 8 March, Animal Requiem is released on CD.  It features the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Alfie Boe and Paul McCartney and has the potential to comfort those who grieve for their pets.

It is to be hoped all animals will be loved and missed after they have passed on. But, before then, that they have a full and happy life. And that is certainly hoped for Poppy. After being abandoned, Poppy is waiting in a foster home until a new home is found for her. Her foster carer says when Poppy arrived she was withdrawn but, with time, has come out of her shell. She likes sitting beside her foster carer on the sofa. Poppy would prefer a home which isn’t hectic. If this could be with you, call Mayhew on 020  8962 8000.

Column 11th March 2019

It’s early morning and I’m still in bed, trying not to be think about the chaos downstairs. The house definitely has a “morning after the night before” feel. But “the night before” wasn’t a party, it was the Ealing Animal Charities Fair the previous day and the success of the event is definitely worth the disarray. Speakers got standing ovations, stunning home-made cakes were eaten and hundreds of people attended.  Many readers introduced themselves to me - it was lovely to meet you all.

But, for me, the most poignant moment was when an older gentleman approached me clutching a newspaper article about the benefits of having a pet and handwritten underneath he explained how sad he felt that he had lived in Ealing for 25 years but he could never experience these benefits because, in the rented accommodation in which he lived, he wasn’t allowed to keep a dog or cat. And, how upset this made him, especially when he passed a dog on the street knowing he would never have the joy of living with one.

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home are amongst the animal rescue charities working towards encouraging housing providers to allow pets into their properties.  In their Pet Friendly Properties campaign, they outline the benefits of pet ownership such as pets can help lift depression and reduce loneliness.

They say that each year more than 200 dogs pass through Battersea’s gates because of landlords not allowing pets. Their report highlights that by 2025, it’s anticipated that 60% of all London households will rent their homes so it’s important to address this issue.

Battersea’s recommendations include that Local Authorities and Housing Associations should implement more flexible policies on keeping dogs and cats with a presumption in favour of allowing a pet. If they want support, they should enlist the help of a recognised animal welfare organisation such as Battersea who have developed schemes and ideas to help ensure the keeping of pets in rented accommodation is successful for both landlord and tenant. More details at battersea.org.uk.

Battersea expect German Shepherd Dog, Pam to bring her new owner a lot of joy. This beautiful girl is suitable for a home looking for their first larger dog – as long as her new family is confident taking on a larger dog. Any new owner will need to speak to the vet before rehoming.  If this could be you, Pam’s waiting at Battersea’s rehoming centre on Battersea Park Road.

Column 18th March 2019

I’m busy texting but my cat has other ideas. He’s just jumped on my lap so close to my face that texting is impossible. This big brave boy clearly wants my attention. I’m tempted to move him off so I can carry on but then I remember when he first came to live with us, there was no way he would jump on my lap or want any fuss at all.  Sometimes how an animal behaves when we first meet them, can bear little resemblance to how they behave after they have lived in a loving home for a while.

I’m reminded of this when I visited Alfie at the RSPCA Southall Cat Adoption Centre. I’ve rarely seen a cat eat so fast – gobbling his food up. Coming into RSPCA care as a battle-scarred stray, it was clear he knew what it was like to be hungry and not know where his next meal was coming from.

Although Alfie welcomed me into his pen, he also likes his own space and needs approaching carefully when food is around – he’s determined to make sure he doesn’t miss out. But, with the right care, who knows what he will be like when living in a loving home, with regular meals. If you are interested in homing Alfie, he’s waiting at the RSPCA Cat Adoption Centre, Burket Close, Southall.  

On March 25, the RSPCA clinic (address above) is holding a free cat neutering day for those who are eligible. 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.

The Southall RSPCA centre is holding an Easter celebration – an Egg-Cellent Adventure on Saturday April 13 (11.30am – 2.30pm). Entry £2 adult, £1 child including activities such as face painting, egg/spoon racing and hoopla. Refreshments available.

At a national level, the RSPCA, has teamed up with Keep Britain Tidy, to take part in the Great British Spring Clean during March 22 – April 23.  Litter is unsightly and can seriously harm wildlife. It is also prolific. By 2050, there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish. The RSPCA is asking for volunteers to help safely collect and dispose of litter (including by recycling), collected at specific events across the UK. For details see rspca.org.uk.

Column 25th March 2019

I spent yesterday at the Natural History Museum (more of that next week) surrounded by zillions of small children on school trips. The entrance hall, under the whale skeleton, echoed with excited voices as teachers channelled the children’s exuberant energy into the learning tasks in hand (hopefully).

Similarly, anyone thinking of rehoming this small four months old puppy must be prepared to channel the puppy’s energy in the right direction. Raised in the correct way, a puppy can make a wonderful companion but the new owner will have to put the time and effort in.

Young as she is, Rosie, a Jack Russell Terrier cross, already finds herself in the intake section of a rehoming centre, in this case, the National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT) where she is devoting her time to livening the kennels up (not that they need it). She’s demonstrating that anyone thinking of taking on a puppy such as Rosie must be prepared for the hard work involved.

This includes making sure the puppy is well socialised and trained. Training should start straight away to avoid the puppy developing bad habits. It’s important the training methods used are based on principles of kindness and fairness. Puppies need to be socialised so they can live happily among people, other dogs and animals.  Socialisation also entails helping a puppy become used to a wide range of events, environments and experiences.

Play is essential and provides an opportunity to build a good relationship with the puppy. It also helps the owner find out about the puppy’s personality.  New puppy owners will also have to make sure the environment for the puppy is safe. Anything that mustn’t be chewed should be removed and garden fences and gates secured. Other aspects that need addressing include toilet training, healthcare including vaccinations, nutrition and exercise. If you’re interested in offering Rosie a home for the whole of her life, call the NAWT on 020  8950 0177.

Hoping, like the Natural History Museum, to attract zillions of visiting children, the NAWT rehoming centre is holding a daily Easter event from April 8 – April 22 (11am-3pm).  There will be an Easter Egg Hunt and you can book in for a petting session with some of the animals including Percy the Pig. You can also meet the dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs who need a home. The rehoming centre, which has a café (lunches available), is at Tylers Way, Watford by Pass WD25 8WT.

March 2019

Weekly column Subject Index
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.