Most people profess a fondness for animals and I’m no exception. I regularly stop people on the street and ask to play with their dogs, or offer my services as a pet sitter.
I’ve had my own furry companions, which have always been rescued animals and – whatever their troubles – are the best company you could hope for. As I write, a young pigeon is sat on my lap, sleeping. We picked him up from the road two weeks ago, and despite all expectations, he’s growing stronger by the day.
There’s a certain irony here because I have a very specific flavour of ornithophobia, specifically a fear of pigeons! Seriously. Still, fears are there to be overcome.
I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to volunteer at Shepreth Wildlife Park for many years, and after leaving Eden I had the pleasure of helping with their recent Tiger Day event.
Shepreth is a zoo, yes, but they’ve evolved from being a nature reserve to a wildlife park, and now the focus is on conservation. They’ve always had a fantastic ethic when it comes to enriching the lives of animals, and they do a great deal for other organisations in parts of the world that fight animal trafficking.
Any humane person should have a healthy appreciation for nature and its beauty, but if we are to keep and care for animals then we should have the means to look after them. Dogs need walking often and cats need space, and for this reason, I’m currently without a pet. I can’t offer the security to ensure an animal will have a wonderful life, so, for the time being, I will continue to help out with friends’ dogs, cats, (and terrifying birds!) with the hope that soon I’ll be able to rescue another little tearaway or two.
I’ll be helping out at Shepreth Wildlife Park’s Hedgehog Day on 28 August so please do come along and join in if you can. Now in its 6th year, Hedgehog Day has helped to raise nearly £130,000 to help save wild hedgehogs through the SWCC Hedgehog Hospital programme, and is once again hosting a fabulous party to raise awareness about the plight of the hedgehog in Britain.