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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 Animals 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 1st September 2021

We’re following a trail this week. It starts in central London where twenty seven life-sized lion sculptures are roaming round iconic landmarks, waiting to be spotted.

Each lion has been painted by a famous person. For example Ronnie Wood, from The Rolling Stones, has decorated a lion which is on the prowl at Piccadilly Circus.

Ronnie has, for thirty years, been an Ambassador for the charity, Tusk, which has organised the trail. Tusk are wanting to highlight the decreasing numbers of lions throughout the world. It’s estimated the lion population has declined by 50% over the last twenty five years.

Because the lion is at the top of the food chain, lions only face threats that stem from human actions. Unfortunately, humans are involved with plenty of those. For example, by contributing to habitat loss, human-lion conflict and poaching. To find out how we can help protect lions and to get a map so, until September 22, we can follow the Lion Trail ourselves, go to tuskliontrail.com.

Now to other trails we can follow, this time protecting wildlife nearer home. But, first, let me introduce you to Emily. Sometimes you meet someone who’s inspirational in their enthusiasm for the work they do. And that’s how it was when I met Emily, the London Project Manager for Froglife, a charity working to protect amphibians and reptiles such as frogs, toads and lizards.  

Similar to lions, these animals are in decline. For example, in the past thirty years, due to destruction of their habitat and other human-related factors, there has been a 68% reduction in the UK toad population.

As well as doing practical conservation work such as building ponds, Froglife have published a useful guide to reptiles and amphibians in urban areas. It highlights places where they may be found such as compost heaps, long grass and ponds.  When working in these areas, we need to be especially careful not to inadvertently harm them.

Allotments can be a particular haven for these animals as, potentially, they provide ideal places for them to hide, hunt and breed.  Froglife will facilitate workshops for allotment associations to speak with gardeners about these natural pest controllers. They will go into primary schools to lead sessions through drama and storytelling. They’ve also set out Nature Trails in parks across London such as Ealing’s Walpole Park and Horsenden Hill where we can follow trails and find toad-themed sculptures. For more information about their work or to book a workshop, see froglife.org or email Emily.Millhouse@froglife.org.

Column  8th September 2021

It’s not a good idea to be the world’s fastest bird and then misjudge your timings when you land. Fortunately after hitting the ground too hard, someone found the stunned Peregrine Falcon and contacted Chris Wicks Wildlife Rescue (CWWR).

Like the Peregrine, every patient at CWWR has a story to tell. There’s the young buzzard admitted after crashing into a tree while learning to fly on a windy night. He’s been with Chris nine weeks and will probably stay another three.

There’s two baby buzzards who were found in a nest after the tree they were in, blew over. Abandoned by their parents they have, subsequently, been hand-reared by CWWR and should be ready for release soon. Not forgetting the kestrel chick found soaking wet and hypothermic who had to be cared for in an incubator for several days.  

As well as these casualties, Chris currently has, in his care, baby birds of varying species including goldfinches, blackbirds and pigeons, ducks, adult and baby hedgehogs, owls, a swan and a fox.  CWWR take in all wildlife that needs help from slow worms to fallow deer.  As Chris says, it doesn’t matter if they’re furry or feathery, slimy or scaly, predator or prey, popular or disliked, CWWR will look after them with the aim of rehabilitating them and returning them to the wild.

All calls to CWWR for help are important but, due to the decline in numbers, Chris treats calls related to hedgehogs as an emergency.

Hedgehogs are the UK’s only spiny mammal. An adult has between 5000-7000 spines on its body.

But one of CWWR’s hedgehogs is missing some spikes. He’s been caught by a strimmer. One of the ways we can help hedgehogs is by looking out for them while gardening especially when, for example, tidying long grass or lighting bonfires. For more details of how to help these animals see britishhedgehogs.org.uk.

If you’re interested in becoming a CWWR volunteer, applications are welcome but applicants must be at least 16 years old and must be able to do a minimum of one three hour shift a week. The centre is based at Stockers Farm Road, Rickmansworth. For details see cwwildliferescue.com.

Finally, it’s important to remember that if we find injured wildlife, we shouldn’t attend the animal if we are not equipped or if it would put ourselves or others in danger. People we can call for advice include the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999, CWWR on 07508 010197 or Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital on 01844 292292.

Column  15th September 2021

Column  22nd September  2021

Rachel had hardly got outside the studio before her phone rang. The caller had just seen Rachel on ITV’s This Morning and although the caller was meant to be having her dog put to sleep that day, Rachel’s appearance on the programme had given her hope this wouldn’t be necessary.

It all began four years ago when Rachel’s Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Winston, was diagnosed with a tumour on his spine. Within a short time, Winston had lost the use of his hind legs. Fortunately for Winston, Rachel was able to borrow a pet wheelchair from someone who didn’t need it anymore for their dog.

The wheelchair was a harness clipped to a frame attached to wheels. Wearing this enabled Winston to move more freely as the wheels replaced the function of his rear legs.

Winston used a wheelchair for three years, until he died last June.  During this time, Rachel realised many people had dogs with mobility problems who could benefit from either a pet wheelchair or a stroller. So she founded the charity Winston’s Wheels which lends pet wheelchairs and strollers, free of charge, to dogs who need them.  

So far Winston’s Wheels have bought 95 sets of wheels and 51 strollers, They’ve helped over 300 dogs around the UK.

The dogs I met last weekend loved their wheels. Firstly, Ziggy, a three year old Coton de Tulear (small dog, in case you’re wondering), who was born with no back feet, was enthusiastically rolling up to everyone he met. His owner spent the first year carrying him round in a bag until she met Rachel and realised wheels were a realistic option. Indoors he walks on his front legs but, outside, he wears his wheels.

Then there’s Lizzie, A Bulgarian street dog who has all four legs supported in a quad wheelchair as she has neurological problems with her back legs and arthritis in her front legs.  Her owner said when she first put the wheels on, Lizzie was taken out for a walk and when her owner turned to take her home, Lizzie looked at her as if to say “I’m not going home yet” and went on for another 45 minutes. Lizzie has recently completed a 17 mile walk along the Thames.  

So far, Winston’s Wheels have spent over £31,000 on wheelchairs and £3,500 on strollers. In order to pay for this, they hold raffles and competitions.

If you want to know more contact Rachel on 07557 022254 or find Winston’s Wheels on Facebook.

Column  29th September  2021

This is important news for readers struggling to register their pet with a vet. A new veterinary practice is opening in Ealing on October 1. Called Paws in the City, facilities include two consultation rooms, two operating theatres and a grooming area. Based at Unit 7, Longfield Avenue, Dickens Yard, the practice is inviting pet owners to tour the premises when they open. See pawsinthecityx.com for details.

It’s a significant time for a new vet practice to be opening. The British Veterinary Association report that some practices have recently been overwhelmed by new registrations and have stopped taking new clients.

They say this is due to a combination of freedom of movement ending between the UK and the EU, shortages from Covid and increasing pet ownership during the pandemic.

As we welcome the new vet practice, it seems a good time to think about aspects to consider when choosing a vet practice. Whichever practice we use, we obviously expect staff to have up-to-date knowledge of animal illnesses plus the practical skills to deal with these. We also want staff to be caring. Any impatient word spoken at a difficult time such as when a beloved pet is very ill can be remembered by the owner for ever.  

Opening hours are important. The longer the opening hours, the less chance of needing out of hours care, which can be expensive. Cost is a major factor particularly how prices compare to other vets.  As long as the relationship is good, we also want consistency in who we see. We want to be able to trust that our pet is in safe hands.  And then there are aspects such as transport and parking.

Of course, in return, the vet team will have expectations of clients, for example that advice is followed, once it has been explained and agreed.  For the sake of the sick animal, the client’s relationship with the vet practice is important and needs to be nurtured, on both sides, as much as possible.

Hoping not to need the vet anytime soon, is greyhound Pesto who, together with her favourite toy, is currently in the care of the National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT) while she waits for a home. If this could be with you, see details at nawt.org.uk or visit her at the NAWT rehoming centre, Tylers Way, Watford by Pass.

Finally, there is to be an Animal Blessing Service at St Martins, Kensal Green on Saturday October 2. For details email animalblessinguk@gmail.com or call 07778 453578.

September 2021

Weekly column Subject Index