Family-run animal rescue appeals for loving homes

Loving homes for animals from all walks of life are being sought by an animal sanctuary which was recognised with a community award for its care to pets and wildlife .

Holbrook Animal Rescue, which offers a safe haven for animals ranging from cats and dogs to hedgehogs and seagulls, is now trying to raise awareness of their plight to find companions for some of the unwanted pets in its care.

JPCT 040313 S13100515x Holbrook Animal Rescue  -photo by Steve Cobb

JPCT 040313 S13100515x Holbrook Animal Rescue -photo by Steve Cobb

“What we’re looking for are a few more country homes for the dogs who need extra exercise, preferably with other dogs as company and with good sized gardens,” explained Laura Santini-Bradbury who founded the rescue centre with her mother Sylvia Watson-Bradbury.

“I know it’s a lot to ask for, but we get a few dogs in here that are so energetic that a normal home would struggle with them.”

The Horsham-based sanctuary in Old Holbrook has been family-run since its founding around 20 years ago and was nominated for the County Times Community Award by one of its many helpers.

“I nominated Laura because of all her hard work here and what she does for the animals,” explained Rosemary Lane who has been volunteering since last July.

“She never turns them away even if it’s pretty crowded here. They get so well looked after, loved and cared for and hopefully re-homed which is the main aim.”

Rosemary also picked up the award in November on behalf of Laura and her family who were away on business with their small removals company which gives 25 per cent of its profits to the rescue centre.

Laura described her delight at being nominated: “I didn’t even know. We were working and none of the family could go but a few of the helpers turned up and it was lovely to win. We were really chuffed and didn’t expect it at all.”

Holbrook Animal Rescue is currently caring for around 18 dogs, three horses, six cats, pigeons, ten rabbits, a seagull and a hedgehog and have had more unusual animals pass their doors including a goose, a deer and a hairless pony.

“We also do a lot of work in Greece,” added Laura. “Over the years we’ve helped four or five organisations as so many need help.

“At the moment we’re concentrating on anti-strays in Zakynthos. Around nine or ten of the dogs get rehomed in Holland and Germany. So if we’re on a trip to Greece we’ll often deliver them to those countries, but we often bring black dogs or old dogs back as they aren’t keen on them for some reason.”

Rupert, a Newfoundland/labrador cross, came from Zakynthos and had to have his leg amputated when a simple infection was not treated in his foot.

“The most important home we’re looking for at the moment is the one for Rupert. He is an unusual dog that needs a confident owner maybe in the countryside,” explained Laura.

“He’s been through a lot, he’s about five or six now and just needs a loving home.”

The sanctuary is mostly self-funded with Laura’s husband Cliff helping out and her 78-year-old mum Sylvia, who rescued animals even before becoming a sanctuary, still having an active hand.

Laura said: “It’s a little bit of everyone doing a little bit and that’s what I always say to people. Some say they’ve only got an hour a week but an hour a week just washing or something is great.

“It’s not so much ‘why do we do it?’, it’s more ‘how can we not?’. When you see a dog go to a new home and it’s happy, or a baby bird you’ve released that you’ve brought up it makes all the hard work worthwhile.”

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