Nottingham’s RSPCA staff and volunteers rescue unwanted cats, dogs, and strays. SARAH BRYAN spent a day at the centre in Radcliffe to find out what goes on behind the scenes.
THE RSPCA centre in Radcliffe is passed thousands of times a day by drivers heading in and out of Nottingham. It may only be a small, humble looking building from the busy road – but the work carried out there sees hundreds of animals given a second chance every year.
A typical day for the volunteers and staff varies wildly depending on the animals they are looking after, but it can include blow-drying a dog one minute to taking care of a rabbit the next.
For those who work in the kennels, they take the dogs out for a walk, feed them, give them a bath and dry their coats, play with toys or go on the agility area and then let them relax, keeping the animals out of their cages as much as possible.
The staff like to keep the animals out of their cages as much as possible. The centre has helped more than 75,000 animals since it was set up 51 years ago, all with the help and support of the local community donating money, gifts, and unwanted goods.
Afternoons at the centre consist of adopting sessions, where hopeful families come along from 3pm to visit the animals and set up an adoption plan.
It can take a while for some, especially for those who have been neglected or abused, to join in the activity.
Amber Wesseon, 25, recalls one of the worst cases of neglect she has dealt with in her time at the centre. The animal care assistant, said: “There’s one that always stands out to me, he was a young pup that came in and was about six months old. He had just been left in a home.
“He was skinny, under-weight, and had skin lesions. He would just sit in his bed and all you had to do was look at him and he would urinate himself because he was so scared.
“The best feeling is nursing them back to full health and seeing them leave with a loving family, it is an amazing.”
Not all dogs and cats at the centre waiting to be adopted come from abusive or neglected backgrounds.
The number of animals being looked after on any day can vary, but there are more than 100 on average per day. During our visit, there were 96. Centre manager, Ella Carpenter said the job can take its toll.
The 42-year-old said: “In another month as the nights get lighter and the weather warmer, cats start wandering more and we inevitably end up with more pregnant ones and endless litters of kittens.
“It is one of those jobs the work comes home with us – it doesn’t leave as soon as we open our front door. My staff go above and beyond in their roles and they make the place what it is.”
A typical day for a cat at the centre is a simpler one. They are fed and their litter is changed, but spend most of the day sleeping. When they do decide they want some attention, there is a newly designated room to climb toys and play with rubber mice at their disposal.
Miss Brown said cats take up more time to look after than the dogs.
She said: “Cats come in with more injuries, one came in with a badly fractured pelvis, another needed its jaw wiring — a lot seem to be being hit by cars and just left, or are strays fighting with other cats in the streets.”
Black cats appear to be overlooked when it comes to adoption. Some see them as unlucky, other families just prefer a pet with a less common colour coat with ginger and tabby especially popular.
Miss Brown added: “When the cats have a litter and there is a black one, all the others in that litter get adopted apart from the black one, it’s awful to see.
“Their faces say it all, we have one black cat who has come back three times through no fault of his own. You can tell by their faces – they know they are back again. It is heart breaking.”
“We have a guy called Little Dude who is a young ginger cat full of life, is a poser, and loves attention. Despite his journey he is still full of spirit.”