The RSPCA is preparing for another busy Christmas as staff on the frontline will continue to help animals while most people will still be opening their presents.

The RSPCA is preparing for another busy Christmas as staff on the frontline will continue to help animals while most people will still be opening their presents.

Last year the RSPCA took more than 4,300 calls from the public between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. This year is expected to be just as busy for the staff and volunteers in animal centres, vets and nurses in animal hospitals and inspectors out on the road.

Robin. Image courtesy RSPCA.In this month’s festive “All About Animals” podcast, inspector Tony Woodley explains that while Christmas is a special time for everyone, animal welfare remains the RSPCA’s top priority just as much as it does every other day of the year.

He said: “Christmas is a very busy time for the RSPCA, for its officers on the frontline and in fact for our animal hospitals and wildlife centres. But it is only busy because we are busy every day of the year. Our officers are out there 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. Our animal hospitals and staff in our wildlife centres are the same, so Christmas is pretty much like any other day for the RSPCA.

“We provide the same service for animals across the country, around the clock, be it July, August, January or in fact Christmas Day. It is special for lots of people, but it is not special for the animals and we need to be there for them.”

Christmas Day is also business as usual for staff at the RSPCA’s National Control Centre where they take emergency calls from members of the public. Incidents reported to them last year included everything from a stray parrot to horses that had escaped onto a school field.

Officers from Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service pull Ghillie, an eight-year-old thoroughbred mare, out of the frozen water.Also among the incidents last Christmas Day was a dramatic rescue by inspector Jackie Hickman, who joined officers from Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service to save a horse from a frozen lake in Pattingham, near Wolverhampton, in sub-zero conditions.

The rescue team spent more than two hours painstakingly chipping away the ice with an axe in order to pull Ghillie, an eight-year-old thoroughbred mare, out of the frozen water. Jackie then spent a further two hours stabilising the horse’s condition following the traumatic experience.

Staff and volunteers will also be getting into the spirit at the RSPCA’s animal centres, where thousands of animals still need feeding and exercising as usual.

Mike Puddy, an animal care assistant at the RSPCA South Godstone Animal Centre, said: “The Christmas spirit, particularly on Christmas Day, does help the day go a lot easier. But you come to work with a smile on your face anyway, because this is a brilliant job.

“All the dogs will get their Christmas treats. We give them toys stuffed with meat, so they get a present as well. It just makes you enjoy your Christmas a bit more because you’ve helped out. You’ve done that extra bit.”

 

  • For more festive advice and ideas from the RSPCA, click here.
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