Dear Animal Lover,
My name is Mike Blatch, and I'm the Managing Director of the Oldingham Hall Cats and Dogs Home. If you have a moment I'd like to tell you about Snoopy, a lively, 3-year-old Welsh Terrier who was brought to us six months ago.
He's the sort of dog you might see frolicking in the park in any town around Britain. A dog loved and cared for by devoted owners – a well-groomed pet, bright-eyed and mischievous. Inquisitive, energetic and full of fun.
But let me tell you, Snoopy's story is so utterly different from the norm it will shock you.
For when Snoopy first came to us (and of course we said 'yes' when the RSPCA asked us to help him) he was bruised and malnourished. His fur was matted and caked with excrement.
Lonely, beaten and starved
One of our vets examined him and discovered he had a broken leg. His face was swollen where it looked like it had been trapped in a door. He was also starving, thin, fearful, and understandably terrified of anyone who approached him.
You see, it turns out Snoopy's owners weren't at all loving or thoughtful. In fact they were cruel, selfish and uncaring.
And they were angry people – at least that's what we conclude from the horrible injuries he suffered.
That he was found at all was a near miracle. A dog walker had chanced upon the shed he was locked in. It was at the bottom of a garden next to a footpath - his own dog had gone off sniffing around the shed door and wouldn't answer his calls to come back. When he went to retrieve it he heard Snoopy's pitiful whimpers coming from inside. He immediately called the RSPCA, which resulted in a prompt visit from the police and Snoopy's subsequent rescue.
Oldingham Hall – a dog(or cat)'s best friend
At Oldingham Hall we unconditionally accept every animal that is brought to us, whether by the Police, the public or the RSPCA. Once admitted here they are assessed, given appropriate medical attention, and their health and recovery monitored regularly. And we try to find them new owners when they get well.
Sometimes we aren't successful and an animal will need to be put down, in which case it is done with due and proper consideration. We thought that would be the case with Snoopy. In fact, the RSPCA officer who found her said it was one of the worst cases of abuse he'd seen in 16 years of service. Of course it would have been easy just to keep Snoopy comfortable, make his last days better than the rest of his life had been.
Instead we decided to help him.
First we cleaned him up, which took a while, because despite his weakness he had a lot of fight in him. Then he had surgery to fix the leg and a broken jaw. Yet still, because he was so weak and the operation so involved, it was touch and go whether he could recover from it. Or be strong enough to undergo a long period of rehabilitation and physiotherapy.
After the surgery we made him comfortable. All we could do then was wait.
The real costs of animal welfare
You may think Snoopy's story is a one off. Regrettably I can tell you it's not. Every year hundreds of cats and dogs arrive at Oldingham Hall, often bedraggled, malnourished, ill or abused. But care costs money, and although we are a registered charity, funds are short.
We need money for wages, medicine, food, shelter, insurance and transport, and many other administrative costs.
And as well as vets and assistants who are paid for their time we have a large staff of volunteers who give their time to help the animals. We also have to pay for rates, buildings maintenance, heat and light.
We don't receive any money from Government or the National Lottery Fund
Two easy ways you can help us
Become a Friend of Oldingham Hall
In return for a small donation every month:
- you will receive our monthly newsletter
- the opportunity to visit us on an open day and see how the Hall operates
- meet our animals and the dedicated staff your donation is helping
Sponsor one of our long stay cats or dogs, and make a new best friend today
In addition to the same benefits as a Friend of the Hall, Our Sponsors receive a welcome pack featuring
- a canine or feline ID card,
- a certificate of sponsorship,
- a fridge magnet and car sticker with the photo of your sponsored animal on it,
- three SPECIAL updates a year on the progress of your cat or dog.
Sponsorship also includes the Hall's tri-annual magazine Wag, to keep you abreast of what's happening at Oldingham Hall.
Every little helps
If you don't feel you can help that's fine, and I'd like to thank you for your time reading this letter.
If you do choose to help animals like Snoopy that's great. And thank you so much. Even a small regular donation of £5 every month is going to help tremendously.
That's about the price of a bottle of Shiraz
Or 8 lettuces
Either way, I'm not going to ask you to decide straight away. Just return the Prepaid form enclosed with your name, address and phone number, and one of our staff will contact you to answer your questions and help you choose one of our two options.
A happy ending
And as for Snoopy, well, he was stronger than we all thought. Gradually he got better. He was being looked after by our team of volunteer animal workers, and after only a few days the brightness began to return to his eyes. One day he barked happily for the first time in months.
His tail wagged then, and hasn't stopped wagging since – he's become one of the favourites here at the Hall.
So Snoopy's story ended well. That's not always the case. But despite the set backs, the tears and heartache when we lose one of our animals, we are dedicated to helping each and every one of them.
We do it because we love animals, and we know that you do too.
MD, Oldingham Hall
P.S As an added bonus, I will be inviting the first 10 sponsors from this campaign to Oldingham Hall to join me for a guided tour.
Lunch will be provided
And you will get a personal introduction to your sponsored dog or cat.
I look forward to meeting you here,