Blue Monday (today – January 15) is reportedly the most depressing day of the year – but in a bid to banish the blues, the RSPCA is revealing some of the most uplifting stories of animal rescue.
For 200 years, the RSPCA has been there for animals in need of a helping hand. Every day the country’s oldest animal welfare charity rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes hundreds of animals with very special backgrounds and stories of triumph over adversity – and in the last ten years, has found new homes for 111 pets every single day.
Dermot Murphy, RSPCA inspectorate commissioner from the animal charity’s frontline rescuers, said: “We know that many believe Blue Monday to be one of the days people find most difficult. But we hope showcase how animal lovers have helped us help so many animals over the last year and beyond will put a smile on people’s faces this Blue Monday.
“For 200 years, the RSPCA has been working tirelessly to bring animals to safety and give them the expert treatment and compassion they deserve – but we can’t do that without the support of fellow animal lovers. We’re asking animal lovers to join the winter rescue by donating to help rescue teams reach the thousands of animals who desperately need them.”
Here, the RSPCA shares some of its most heartwarming tales from 2023 to distract you from the gloom of Blue Monday…
Here is the RSPCA round-up of some of the top rescues from 2023:
Missing cat rescued from 30-metre mine shaft in Cornwall
RSPCA animal rescue officer Stephen Findlow attended a large mine shaft in Callington, Cornwall, where it was discovered that a cat called Mowgli had fallen 30 metres down to the bottom.
Stephen said: “The owner had been missing the cat for four days and was constantly brought to the location by her dog, as it sniffed the cat out! This is when the owner heard the calls from Mowgli and alerted us.”
After a tricky rescue, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service made it to the bottom of the mine to help Mowgli back to the surface.
After a quick visit at the local vets who examined Mowgli, he was given the all clear from injuries despite losing 2kg (4.4lb). He was reunited with his sibling and was very happy to see his owner.
Oh nuts! Stuck squirrel rescued from bus shelter
The RSPCA and firefighters rescued a trapped squirrel from inside the panel of a bus shelter in Plymouth in October.
The charity was called to Paradise Road where a grey squirrel’s tail could be seen poking out of the bottom of the metal panel of the bus shelter.
RSPCA inspector Ellie Burt attended the bus stop near Stoke Damerel Church to try and free the poor stuck squirrel.
She said: “All I could see was his tail hanging out of the bottom of the bus shelter. The poor squirrel had got himself well and truly stuck inside the metal panel and was really lucky that someone spotted him and phoned us.
“I tried to carefully release him but the gap was too narrow to get him back out so I contacted the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Services for help. I was very grateful that they could arrive and open the side panel of the bus shelter which was enough to dislodge the squirrel and bring him to safety – it’s a great reminder what we can achieve together for animal welfare.
“I checked him over but he thankfully didn’t have any injuries and he scurried straight off and into the trees.”
The grey squirrel – which is considered an invasive alien species – cannot legally be released back into the wild if taken into care for rehabilitation or treatment. They can only be legally released in situ – as was the case here.
Two-metre long boa constrictor found in Plymouth car park
A boa constrictor was helped to safety by an RSPCA volunteer after being found in a car park in Plymouth in September. The two-metre long snake was collected by animal rescue volunteer Dawn Lapthorn and taken to a specialist reptile centre after being found in a car park.
RSPCA volunteer coordinator, chief inspector John Atkinson, said: “We’re so grateful to all our volunteers for everything they do to help animals. Dawn is a shining light of animal welfare and has helped rescue all sorts of animals. She has great experience with snakes so knew just what to do after getting the call about the boa constrictor.
“We’re always keen to welcome more volunteers to help our charity help as many animals as possible, but don’t worry, you don’t have to know how to handle snakes!
“From dog walking to van driving, from data entry to campaigning on animal welfare issues – the RSPCA offers a tremendous variety of roles for aspiring volunteers to get stuck into.”
Two beavers arrived at a specialist RSPCA wildlife centre after being saved from drowning in an overflow drain. The beavers were brought into RSPCA West Hatch centre by Secret World Rescue who had responded to a phone call about an animal trapped in Frome, Somerset. The caller thought it might have been an otter.
Upon arrival, the rescue team discovered not one but two beavers trapped in around a metre’s worth of dirty water and at risk of drowning.
The very unusual guests arrived at RSPCA West Hatch wildlife centre near Taunton in October where they were given supportive care as they regained strength. After careful transportation from the wildlife centre, the beavers were released back into the wild.
Dr David Couper, who has been a specialist wildlife vet at RSPCA West Hatch for around 20 years, added: “Around 18,000 animals are admitted at our four wildlife centres annually, rescued by members of the public, the RSPCA inspectorate and other animal welfare charities. We deal with around 200 different species, from pygmy shrews, to grey seals. While all of these animals are interesting in their own right, there is an added buzz to dealing with a rare species. We’ll certainly never forget welcoming the beavers. It was an honour to be able to lend a helping hand at a time of need.”
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