Parts of the sanctuary, lakes area and aviaries will be closed to the public until further notice
The Government introduced an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across the whole UK at 5pm on Wednesday 3 November. We do NOT have this virus at Raystede but we are required to put in place a range of measures to protect our birds. We are still open and welcome visitors to the rest of the site – please book your ticket. Our animal rehoming services remain unaffected and will continue as normal; our bird rehoming service will be limited
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Can you give a gift of care and love to an animal in need this Christmas?

Raystede will be a sanctuary for dogs, cats, horses and many other animals this festive season. With your help, we can give them the care and love they need and deserve

Over the last couple of months, it’s become clear that we have really big challenges on two fronts. Firstly, we are being asked to help the highest number of animals that we’ve ever experienced. Our rehoming service is in full swing once more, and we’re successfully rehoming many dogs and cats each month. That’s great, but it’s still a lot for us to take on when we’re still recovering financially as a charity – the hard truth is we’re still spending more than we bring in, almost every day.

The second new challenge is the intensive and longer-lasting care animals are needing. As we expected (sadly) we are receiving cats and dogs from people who took them on during lockdown – but who are now struggling once school and work have restarted. The worry is that many of these animals we’re seeing have behavioural problems, often caused by a lack of socialisation and training.

Docker

Docker came to us a very scared little black terrier who had absolutely no confidence. Physically he was OK – but so nervous that it would have been impossible to go to a new home straightaway– he would have just bounced back to us. So, our team spent three months working with him, to find his confidence again. We taught him to “Step” when he felt worried – onto a tree trunk, a box or a friendly lap – because being higher gave him a feeling of control.

We taught him ‘cue words’ so he could look back and check we were still with him, or to move away from a difficult situation. And we taught him a game (now his favourite) where we would hide treats for him to find – which we would use to distract and calm him when he became worried. His new adopters were wonderful and worked with us over many weeks, learning these techniques for themselves. Now, little Docker is settled and content with his new family and loving his new life – and he’s even enjoyed going to the gym with them. It’s been a brilliant transformation.

We’re seeing more and more dogs like Docker – those who need a lot of behavioural care and training before we can even start to look for a new home. Your Christmas gift could pay for a day’s behavioural
therapy for a nervous dog like him, getting them ready for rehoming in the new year.

Donate to help more dogs like Docker this christmas

Docker

Docker came to us a very scared little black terrier who had absolutely no confidence. Physically he was OK – but so nervous that it would have been impossible to go to a new home straightaway– he would have just bounced back to us. So, our team spent three months working with him, to find his confidence again. We taught him to “Step” when he felt worried – onto a tree trunk, a box or a friendly lap – because being higher gave him a feeling of control.

We taught him ‘cue words’ so he could look back and check we were still with him, or to move away from a difficult situation. And we taught him a game (now his favourite) where we would hide treats for him to find – which we would use to distract and calm him when he became worried. His new adopters were wonderful and worked with us over many weeks, learning these techniques for themselves. Now, little Docker is settled and content with his new family and loving his new life – and he’s even enjoyed going to the gym with them. It’s been a brilliant transformation.

We’re seeing more and more dogs like Docker – those who need a lot of behavioural care and training before we can even start to look for a new home. Your Christmas gift could pay for a day’s behavioural
therapy for a nervous dog like him, getting them ready for rehoming in the new year.

Donate to help more dogs like Docker this christmas

We’re having to spend a lot more time building back their shattered confidence, getting terrified animals to a happy place before we help them find a new forever home. Before the pandemic we expected roughly 2 out of every 10 dogs we saw to need extra care like this – the rest we could start to rehome pretty much immediately. Now, 8 out of every 10 dogs we are receiving need extensive extra care and support.

There simply isn’t a shortcut to solving this. If we try to rehome a cat or dog before they’re ready, they’ll just come bouncing back to us within a few weeks, which is really distressing for the animal. It takes time to care for them properly, to make them well both physically and mentally – so that we can find them a forever home that will work. And the need is so great right now, we’ve just had to add three full days per week of intensive support time in our animal care team; an extra cost we really didn’t have the money for.
But we’ve invested this money because we believe the health and welfare of the animals is the most important thing, it’s why Raystede has been here, caring for animals for nearly 70 years. We hope you agree.

Mario

Mario is a beautiful long-haired tomcat – but he was in an awful state when he came to us. He was a stray and his hair had become so dirty and matted we had to shave him almost completely down to his skin after he arrived. We also found a nasty wound on his neck; we think he’d been caught in a snare. The wound was stitched up once or twice but it was just so severe that in the end it had to be stapled closed.

He was terrified of everyone and everything when he arrived. We gave him his own cat pen with a bed,
somewhere small and safe to hide when he was scared – but he soon learned tickles and cuddles were
available if he came to us. After a few weeks, he relaxed, lost his fear and loved nothing more than curling
up on our laps. The transformation was remarkable, and after two months with us, we successfully found him a newhome. Mario still had his old ‘street cat’ skills though – he managed to wriggle free and escape on his very
first day at home! But his adopter patiently tracked him down again – and he’s still there now.

We’ll rescue more cats like Mario this Christmas – and they will need expert, patient care just as he did.
Your Christmas gift could help a cat like him find their new home.

Donate to help more cats like Mario this Christmas

Every day we have many hungry mouths to feed. Over Christmas, we’ll need to find two meals a day for the cats and dogs and extra feed for the ponies and donkeys (and Bob!). Typically, we’ll spend around £120 on food each day (with a treat on Christmas Day if we can manage it – don’t we all love to spoil our animal friends a bit at Christmas?!).

Your Christmas gift will help deliver the care, warmth and feeding Raystede’s animals will need this winter. Please, just give whatever you feel is generous but affordable for you.

Bob

Bob is our handsome chocolate brown alpaca and he was one of four that have lived here at Raystede for many years. But over the past few years, his three friends have all become so ill or aged that eventually Bob was left on his own. Alpacas are social animals and it was clear Bob was pining and really not doing well.

He made friends with our two female sheep, but he really needed the company of other alpacas – and so we began to search. At the start of this year, we heard of a small alpaca farm that was sadly having to close – and they had two elderly alpacas who needed a new home! Of course, we immediately said “Yes!” and they moved in a few days later – much to Bob’s obvious delight.

He bonded with them instantly and is now thriving in his enclosure once more – where we hope he’ll be happy for many years to come. There are several larger animals like Bob at Raystede – including equines, alpacas and goats – who can’t be rehomed and who will need care here for the rest of their lives.

Your Christmas gift could feed them and help to keep them warm over the winter.

Bob

Bob is our handsome chocolate brown alpaca and he was one of four that have lived here at Raystede for many years. But over the past few years, his three friends have all become so ill or aged that eventually Bob was left on his own. Alpacas are social animals and it was clear Bob was pining and really not doing well.

He made friends with our two female sheep, but he really needed the company of other alpacas – and so we began to search. At the start of this year, we heard of a small alpaca farm that was sadly having to close – and they had two elderly alpacas who needed a new home! Of course, we immediately said “Yes!” and they moved in a few days later – much to Bob’s obvious delight.

He bonded with them instantly and is now thriving in his enclosure once more – where we hope he’ll be happy for many years to come. There are several larger animals like Bob at Raystede – including equines, alpacas and goats – who can’t be rehomed and who will need care here for the rest of their lives.

Your Christmas gift could feed them and help to keep them warm over the winter.

Thank you – and we send you every good wish for a happy Christmas with your loved ones.

Your kind donation helps us to rescue and care for more animals in need.

We rely on your support to save animal's lives & do the work we do.

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