Meet the Team – Emily

EmilyHello, I’m Emily and I am the Rehoming Centre & VIP Coordinator for both Support Adoption For Pets and Pets at Home. Being 23 I’m the baby of the team and do like to remind the team of this every once in a while. I moved over to Manchester in the summer of 2013 after spending 4 years in Huddersfield for university but I’m originally from Llandudno, North Wales which I’m very proud to say – my desk is decorated in an array of Welsh memorabilia! Being Welsh, naturally I’m an avid rugby fan but I also have a passion for athletics and skiing – the team will tell you I’m a little competitive.

Before moving to work in the Support Office I used to work for Pets at Home as a store colleague for just over 5 years and have been working within the Charity Team for nearly 12 months and I love it!

My job has two sides to it, a green and a pink one! The green side of me (the Pets at Home side) looks after the charities that are on the Pets at Home VIP club and make sure that all the charities get their Lifelines to spend in store each quarter. The pink side of me (the Support Adoption For Pets side) manages the grant applications that rescues submit for funding from the charity. Rescues can apply for grants for various purposes including help towards vet bills, kennel fees, towards the purchase of a vehicle and capital projects – we’ve recently given away our largest grant ever!

We’ve seen a huge increase in the number of grant applications that we are receiving every week, especially since rescues can now easily apply on our website – whilst this keeps me very busy it just shows much help all the rescue and rehoming centres out there still need!

I love going out to visit all the different rescues that apply for funding, I think it really helps me develop my role and have a better understand of the rescues and what their needs are. Without a doubt, the best bit has got to be calling the rescues that have been granted funding by the Trustees and telling them the good news!

As well as this I love our team and how we’ll give pretty much give anything a go to and we are not afraid to get our hands dirty! This includes me organising a team of 100+ colleagues to run in the BUPA Manchester 10k in aid of Support Adoption For Pets in May – I’ll keep you posted with how the training is going!

I’m the odd one out in this team as I actually don’t have any pets! This isn’t because I don’t want one, I’ve always wanted a dog but I live in a rented flat and it just wouldn’t be fair – this is a huge part of why I enjoy visiting rescue centres so much. Whilst I don’t have a pet I do have a boyfriend who goes out running with me as part of our training for the 10k so I’d say that’s pretty close! He’ll kill me for saying that…

For anyone who is looking to get a pet I would definitely recommend adopting from a rescue as there are so many fantastic pets that are looking for their forever home and just need to be given the chance. Having been to a small number of rescue centres I was amazed by the number of such beautiful and varied pets and breeds that just want someone to take them home and show them a little bit of love and attention. Taking on a new pet is a massive responsibility and every aspect of it should be thought through before bringing home your new family member but I would always pay a visit to your local rescue and rehoming centre as you never know who you’ll meet and fall in love with!

Meet the Team – Diane

Support Adoption For Pets Charity Administrator

Diane and Autumn

Hi, my name is Diane and I am a Charity Administrator for Support Adoption For Pets! I’m married to John (we have been married for 27 years!!!) and we have a son Harry, who is currently studying for his A Levels. We live in Cheshire with our lovely rescue dog Penny, two chickens (Margo and Jet) and my horse Tomos (a very beautiful, but sometimes very bolshy, 5 year old gelding!).

Pretty much all of my spare time is taken up down at the stables mucking out and riding regardless of weather conditions. When I am not doing that I am walking my dog, catching up with friends, painting or reading (yes I do have some sit down hobbies!)

Easily, the best thing about my job is helping the wonderful animal charities that we support. The most rewarding thing about this job is when we hear about the “happy ending” stories of animal rescue, or receive a lovely thank-you letter; it makes the job so worthwhile.

Penny, our adopted dog, came from Manchester Dog’s Home when she was a rather shy and skinny 8 month old puppy. It was love at first sight (for her and us) and we have had her for 13 years.

Then I have Tomos. After owning my first horse Autumn for 27 years (she lived until she was 39!), I decided to get another!  (The advice of ‘you-should-be-going-for-the-easy-life-at-your-age’ got the thumbs down vote!).

Finally, there is Margo & Jet! Definitely a light bulb moment (‘let’s get some chickens’) but seriously I’m hooked.

When asked what advice I would give to someone who is looking to adopt a pet, my first thoughts are; you must be fully committed to any animal you home. Make sure your new pet is suitable for your present and future lifestyle and you’re suitable for them. A pet should be for life and be part of your family. Give them love, care, and devotion and they will pay you back ten-fold. I couldn’t imagine my life without them.

My other favourite animals are orangutans and penguins! However, we just don’t get a lot of requests into the charity to support rehomed penguins!

Love that Crossed an Ocean

Support Adoption For Pets partnered charity Brighton & Hove Retired Greyhound TrustSome may know that long distance relationships can be tough and it’s just a case of whether absence truly does make the heart grow fonder or if it’s more like out of sight out of mind!

As the week grows to an end and with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the perfect story for this week has just fallen on my desk from one of Support Adoption For Pets‘s partnered charities and I couldn’t help but share it with you!

Beautiful Dezzie, a Brighton & Hove Retired Greyhound Trust dog met Lisa when Lisa was visiting the UK and he was in his racing kennels. Even the Atlantic Ocean didn’t wash away the happenstance and with Lisa living on the sun-drenched island of Bermuda, she would be forgiven for putting the fleeting meeting down as just a holiday memory.

Luckily for Dezzie it was obviously a chance encounter that Lisa never forgot so when she heard that Dezzie had retired and had been placed with the fantastic Brighton & Hove RGT for rehoming she contacted the rescue and gave him a forever home that we would all dream of – all the way over in paradise!

Last week, now jetsetter Dezzie boarded his flight at Gatwick and arrived safely at his new home!

Paws down, this has to be the luckiest rehomed greyhound we’ve ever heard of and we obviously wish him and Lisa, a long, happy and sun kissed life together!

Meet the Team – Justine

photo (24)Hello, my name is Justine and I work for Support Adoption For Pets as their Fundraising & Communications Coordinator. I live with Dom (some would say my “better half”), rescue dog Roxie, Monty (our newest edition) and six rescue rabbits! My passion has always been pets, talking and trips to Florida so it’s great that I am now able to combine two of these into my role – I’m still working on the third!

I’ve been with the charity since August 2012 and in that time the charity and my job has grown so much – sometimes I look back at a week and think “where did that go!?”

In addition to the role being phenomenally busy, there are very rarely two days the same! We go from record-breaking fundraising events, to grant awarding meetings, food donations and rehoming centre promoting and back again in one day and once that’s done it’s normally time to start the next!

Working with pet rescues to promote the amazing work that they do is an absolute pleasure and it’s lovely to hear that the support that we have offered has been, quite literally, a life saver!

With all the positives the job entails, comes the odd “character builders” – I don’t see them as negatives – and I have to say that, you do have to steal your heart occasionally.

In an ideal world, there wouldn’t be a need for rehoming centres and my role wouldn’t exist however we aren’t there yet so there are always going to be those occasions when the job is heartbreaking and I have definitely taken a couple of those to heart. Follow my “mate” Max on Twitter for one or Heidi’s story below for another! But for every sad story we come across there are several happy ending stories to shout about too! So I can deal with that!

As I mentioned above (I told you I liked to talk!), I have my own little sanctuary at home! Roxie came from the RSPCA as did Norman my eldest rabbit who is 7+ years, next came Seve, Bubba, Sergio, Ernie and Peaches – all rescues and finally our newest edition Monty. I couldn’t choose between dogs or rabbits for my favourite but I do whole-heartedly believe in the Josh Billings quote “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself”. I love getting home and being greeted like I’ve been away for years!

I wouldn’t be anywhere without my furry adopted family so when asked for my advice on pets, I would always advocate pet adoption! Some may scoff but I do believe that an adopted pet knows that you have given it that second chance at happiness! Regardless of whether a person chooses to adopt or not, I would always plead with them to think before they commit – pets don’t understand that you are too busy or that money is a little tight this month. They just want to be loved, kept safe and fed and for many, many years to come too!

If you would like to find out more about Support Adoption For Pets visit: http://www.supportadoptionforpets.co.uk

Meet the Team – Amy

Amy and Mackie-72-dpiHi – I’m Amy and I’m the Charitable a Foundation Manager for Support Adoption For a Pets.

Having worked for the Charity for the last 5 years I still love the challenge of the job – a desire to do more of everything from fundraising to awarding funding as the demand for our help is constantly on the increase.

Every day is different and a request for help from a rescue centre – or a pet in need – can turn the day upside down as all plans and things on the job list go out of the window as the team work together to find a way to help. I know it sounds corny but we do make a difference – it is true that we get the nicest post in the office as we get notes telling us of the happy endings stories and how our support has made a difference.

Many days in the office I am joined by my pet Labrador – Mackie, who is a rescue dog who came to live with us over 6 years ago. Having never really been loved, she just wanted loads of affection and gives it back in bucket loads, except when someone decides to eat something when her natural lab instincts kick in and she stares – pleading with you to share…. And all loyalty disappears – unless you are the one with the food. She comes to meetings, sleeps in her bed next to my desk and is a great companion – although her rather loud snoring can be a mild distraction.

Taking on a rescue dog is a big commitment – probably more so than getting a puppy. Chances are they may have been let down already so it’s even more important that you are ready for the time and commitment that any pet needs – making allowances for behavioural issues that hopefully can be overcome with time and a lot of patience – but they are so worth it!

I love all dogs, to be honest there are very few animals I don’t like – spiders and snakes are about it. My favourite – and always has been elephants – but unless we move to considerably bigger offices and have seriously big lunches – I don’t think that I’ll be bringing in one of those to join in with the team.

Meet the Team – Lynn

Lynn StoddardHello, my name is Lynn, I am the Charity Administrator at Support Adoption For Pets and this is my first ever ‘blog’ entry! So let me introduce myself, I am married and live with my hubby, teenage daughter, Rosie our dog and numerous fish close to the Support office in Cheshire.

Outside of work I enjoy long walks with Rosie and have recently enrolled at the local gym, which for anyone that knows me would find this suprising!! To relax I enjoy reading or watching a movie (with popcorn and wine of course).

As much as working within the Charity team has its serious and sometimes distressing side it is also fun and fulfilling. To be able to support the 100’s of rescue and rehoming centres to continue with their great work is very rewarding – amazingly, in the charity’s history it has supported nearly 1,000 rehoming centre, now that is something to be very proud of and I am very lucky to be able to say I enjoy the job I do.

My love for giving pets a second chance at happiness also translates at home. Rosie is our rehomed working cocker spaniel who came to us to enjoy her retirement and she certainly is doing just that! She’s definitely landed on her paws coming to us!

We also have an outside pond with 6 Kio fish, the hubby’s hobby, I simply admire them in the summer months from the comfort of my sun lounger (when it’s not raining in Manchester) whilst sipping a chilled wine! He also has a marine salt water tank which contain a variety of fish, corals, shrimps and snails !!! These I sit and admire from the comfort of my sofa!

In my role I frequently get asked what advice would I give to someone who is looking to adopt a pet? My advice is always, after thinking very carefully about the commitment needed to rehome an animal, I would absolutely say ‘go for it’, its such a great feeling to know that you have given your pet a forever home and they will love you unconditionally, there is no doubt that a new pet will bring lots of love into a family but along with this is also a lot of work.

It’s a Wrap! – Day 2

Rabbit in Support Adoption For Pets adoption centre

Gary the Lionhead Lop looking for a forever home

Whilst our aim for the brand new DVD was to show where the money we have raised and donated has gone and the good it has done, we also felt it was important to recognise those friends that fundraise for us, allowing us to make such generous and much needed donations in the first place, so our second and final day of filming took us to a local Pets at Home store in Manchester.

For those of you out there that don’t know our history, back in 2006 Pets at Home established us, Support Adoption For Pets, and even though we are an independent registered charity in our own right, Pets at Home continue to support us every year! Not only do they fundraise for us and allow us to hold three major fundraising events ever year in their stores but they also look after the pets that we have in our adoption centres in stores too.

Support Adoption For Pets Charity Team

Support Adoption For Pets Charity Champions

For this reason we thought that the best people to talk about the importance of fundraising and our adoption centres, were our Charity Champions – surprisingly they took to life in front of the camera like the proverbial duck to water – and each came with their own stories about pets that they have been able to rehome or rehoming centres that they have been able to support!

We did threaten to keep the bloopers from all the stumbled words or the forgotten lines but we found that because the team was so passionate about the charity and the support that we have given, the presentation to camera was natural and there were no bloopers to talk about – even the pets and children nailed it in one take! And you know what they say about working with that group! As the day drew to a close we felt comfortable that we had managed to get enough content over the past two days to film the promotional film many times over and we are so pleased with our finished product and we hope you do too!

You can view our finished film by clicking here

It’s a wrap! Day 1

In a world where social media and positive PR can significantly assist with pet adoption and rehoming, Support Adoption For Pets has started taking a tentative step into this previously untapped (for us!) arena in a bid to promote the work that we do but also the fantastic work the rehoming centres we support do too!

One way identified for promoting the work that Support Adoption For Pets does was by updating and completely rebranding our very old promotional DVD. The last time this was filmed, we were thrilled to be raising £650,000 per year for animal rehoming centres across the UK; now a few years on we are raising over £2m per year thus the requirement for a new DVD. We hoped that by filming a more up-to-date version, our fantastic supporters can see how we are growing and how the money they donate or help us raise is being used.

Our aim for the DVD was three-fold:-

1. Promote the benefits of rehoming pets and the increasing need of rehoming centres

2. Show where the money we have already raised is going and how it has truly helped!

3. Hopefully canvas new supporters

Picking two of the 650 rehoming centres we support was tricky as, not to sound too self-praising, there are so many that would have gladly taken part in the filming! Ultimately it came down to finding two in a geographical location that was easily commutable and within an hour of each other!

Yorkshire Cat Rescue and Support Adoption For Pets presentation Yorkshire Cat Rescue based in Keighley was recently awarded just over £20,000 from our Grant Award Scheme to put towards an ambitious scheme to build a new cattery block. Their intake of cats and kittens has unfortunately spiraled over the past 12 months, so the demand and need was evident and Sara was very thorough in here application and therefore an absolute must for the filming day!

 

Hannah at the Mayflower SanctuaryHaving covered cat rehoming, we then needed to look for a dog rehoming centre that had also benefited from a grant from us! Luckily we didn’t need to look too far as the fabulous people at Mayflower Sanctuary based in Doncaster are long-time “friends” of Support Adoption For Pets. They recently received a donation from us too and Jenni was thrilled for the sanctuary to take part in the day! The hardest part was for Hannah, the kennel manager, to choose one dog to take part in the filming. There were so many gorgeous four-legged friends to choose from…

As day one came to a close, the days filming had done two things – met the above aims for the filming which was great but it had also concreted in my heart that Support Adoption For Pets are making a difference and we do truly help pets in their time of need, through a network of fabulous rehoming centres!

 

It’s the little donations that count!

Whilst we, in the charity team, are always thrilled to make the phone call to rehoming centres to let them know that their grant application has been successful, it has come as a very pleasant surprise that even the small, little donations we make on an adhoc basis, still make a difference.

Support Adoption For Pets recently received a donation of over 5,000 collars and leads from Pets at Home and we were more than happy to offer these out to active dog rehoming centres who could use them for either the dogs currently in their care or to help with their own fundraising efforts.

Collars and Leads

The donation – A small mountain of collars and leads

When the seven pallets filled with collars and leads rolled in, it was easy to wonder what we had let ourselves in for, as each individual donation needed to be de-tagged and cleaned in order for them to be sent out to the 220 dog charities who applied. However we all adopted a “roll your sleeves up and get stuck in” attitude in order to get the donations out and with our minds set on the dogs that would benefit, we started to wade through the donations.

Some of the rehoming centres purely applied for collars for the dogs they were attempting to rehome as most of those dogs came to their shelter with nothing, others quite rightly saw it as a way to raise much needed funds to help them carry on the vital work they do in the local community and as always, Support Adoption For Pets was more than happy to help them.

Six weeks later we are coming to the end of the list of donations and we are amazed at the number of thank you cards and emails that we’re receiving already from the rehoming centres that asked for and received the collars.

One such personal email from Animal Connexions, a rehoming centre that we support regularly mentioned how “very smart” their “little unwanted ones” looked! A real tear-jerking moment!

It just shows that such a small token donation can be so greatly received and it has confirmed the saying that it truly is the small things in life that count!

Welcome to the Support Adoption For Pets Blog

Today marks our first ever Support Adoption For Pets blog… cue drum-roll!

Not knowing where to start and what to talk about for our inaugural steps into the blogging stratosphere has been running through my mind over the past couple of weeks so when arriving at my desk this Monday morning, I thought I would just “wing it”! Then up pops an email which encompasses perfectly why Support Adoption For Pets does what it does, why it’s so important and why my role here as the Fundraising and Communication Coordinator is harrowing but at the same time can bring immense amounts of joy!

Let me take you back a few months to a routine grant application form received from a dog rehoming centre called Pro Dogs Direct, based in London, applying to the charity for support with their vet bills. Requests for help with vet bills and boarding kennel costs is something that we are seeing on a more and more frequent basis especially as rescues struggle to keep up with demand from pets that are abandoned or given up for adoption.

So criteria was checked and the visits were made and we took the request for £10k to our trustees like any other. Given the work that Pro Dogs Direct do and the tireless giving of time, love and energy ploughed into the charity and the dogs in their care; our trustees, thankfully, were more than happy to support their application and it was with huge pleasure that we were able to send the charity a cheque for the £10k applied for

Now part of our process is to keep in touch with the rehoming centres that we support on a semi-regular basis so that we can try to proactively help them in the future. So we see (or hear) the good and the bad stories; some that could break the coldest of hearts but others that can lighten a miserable day!

HeidiCue Heidi! Pro Dogs Direct emailed us to let us know about a lovely 10-week-old Labradoodle pup that was born with a heart defect and was in urgent need of an operation. The charity was looking after her as the people that originally had her no longer wanted her. The operation would run into thousands but should the money be found to allow them to give her that chance, the vet was cautiously optimistic that Heidi would go on to live a normal life.

Thanks to the generous donations received from the public and the help of another local charity they were in a position to pay for the first stage of Heidi’s fight for survival. Pro Dogs Direct were keen to show us that this was a routine day for them and that thanks to their Support Adoption For Pets donation, dogs like Heidi were getting the vet care that they need and deserve.

Heidi’s operation was a success although she’s not quite out of the woods yet! She may still need to go through another operation in the future but to see her safe and at least trying to play with her other doggy friends is heart-warming to see! She just has no comprehension of “taking it easy” apparently. We all sit with paws firmly crossed whilst willing this little trooper to fight on.

Without a doubt Heidi is alive thanks to the dedication of an animal rehoming centre, who strives for the very best for the dogs in their care and whilst this is a very specialist case, we are thrilled to be supporting Pro Dogs Direct with their general vet fees allowing them to concentrate other funds on cases such as this.

For more information on ways that we support rehoming centres or to make a donation to Support Adoption For Pets to allow us to continue helping charities such as Pro Dogs Direct, please see our website