Willows Scottish Visitor Attraction - Admission Times and Charges
Willows Patrons
paul and cynthia
Paul Rodgers & Cynthia Kereluk Rodgers are patrons of Willows. Video: I've Been Loving You Too Long
Willows on Ebay
Donate to Willows
Willows on YouTube
tractor  Willows Wish List
Sponsor a Willows Animal
Animal Friends Insurance Great Ethical Insurance for Your Pet
YouTube - Miniature Shetland Foal born at Willows! Sandi
just text giving You can now donate to Willows by text message - it's simple, Text WILL38 and the amount you wish to donate to 70070 i.e. WILL38£10 to 70070.
All mobile operators will be passing on 100% of the text donation to the charity via JustGiving.
maggie Rory - left tied to a tree for two weeks . More >
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wilma Faramir, one of three abandonded and left to starve on Shetland. More >

dougal Clyde, saved from slaughter. More >

edward Prince needed a new home. More >

babe Tamara, booked for euthanasia. More >

ginger Simrnoff Ice - a domestic tragedy lead to him needing a new home. More >

If you sign on to become a 'Friend of Willows', at just £1 (2 US dollars) per week, by November 30, 2014 you are eligible to win:

 Autographed Bad Company Guitar
 Paul Rodgers Autographed Set List from The Royal Albert Hall Concert
 Deborah Bonham Autographed Set List (from the Concert)
 Paul Rodgers Autographed Royal Sessions LP or Cash Prizes

After careful thought and with the help of all our supporters (and it will only work with your help) we hope we have found a way to get Willows a regular income. What we are hoping is that for every 'Friend' that signs up for a minimum donation of £1 (2 US dollars) a week, that they ask two other people to sign up too. It would quickly make a chain of regular donators and with each 'Friend of Willows' donating a very small amount each month (the cost of a magazine or coffee).

Each new Friend would receive an email of thanks with a photo of the animal they were supporting, a certificate and quarterly newsletters as well as the knowledge that they are truly making a difference to our charity. It’s very easy to do, just a couple of clicks, please click the link below and follow the simple instructions. Your donation secures an animal’s future, so start making a difference today! Click the link below to be taken to Willows on PayPal.


"Having visited Willows Animal Sanctuary I am aware of the immense need for what they do. Not only do they employ vulnerable people, seven days a week they run an Animal Assisted Therapy Program pairing challenged individuals with animals to aid in their healing.If that weren't enough they provide a sanctuary before heaven to more than 300 unwanted, abused and old animals ranging from rabbits, cats, dogs, sheep to horses of all sizes and have been doing so with limited funding for 15 years.To help them continue please join Cynthia and I by signing on as a 'Friend of Willows'."

Paul Rodgers - Patron of Willows Animal Sanctuary

Lucky’s Memorial Appeal

cat We are making this memorial appeal for donations so that we can help other animals like Lucky. If his story touches your heart then please, please  make a donation. In June 1999 Willows received an urgent phone call asking if we could provide a home for Lucky, a part-bred Arab horse. Life had been fine for Lucky until his owner had placed him on loan with someone who subjected him to appalling neglect. Well known national charities were approached and simply suggested that he be put down.

When Lucky arrived here he was utterly emaciated and crawling with lice and suffering from a very heavy infestation of worms. Our vet estimated that Lucky had already lost half his normal body weight and without the right treatment he would only have a few days left to live. First we deloused him and then started to hand feed him tiny amounts of food every hour, which we gradually built up to 6 meals a day.  As he became stronger our vet devised a safe worming plan which initially made him lose more weight. However with lots of loving care Lucky did eventually make a full recovery. Lucky turned out to be one of the nicest horses that we have ever met. He was genuinely fond of people and of other horses and always neighed a greeting when he saw us! 

Lucky lived for another eight years and was eventually put to sleep at the age of 33. We know that he would approve of us making this appeal in his memory.

About Willows Animal Sanctuary
Willows Animal Sanctuary is the largest sanctuary in Aberdeenshire and will try to help any animal in distress. We operate a strict no kill policy and only put an animal to sleep on veterinary advice. Prompted by the horror of the Horsemeat scandal, we have almost doubled the number of rescued horses, ponies, donkeys and mules that we have at the sanctuary or in foster homes. Many of these innocent equines would otherwise have faced slaughter. Willows now cares for almost 100 equines as well as over 60 cats and dogs, 100 farm animals and birds and many more small animals and reptiles. We particularly try to help horses and ponies who would otherwise face slaughter. We are totally dependent on donations, legacies and grants from benevolent organizations to keep the sanctuary running. Unlike larger charities we have no reserves of money and are always desperately short of funds. We specialise in helping elderly or more vulnerable animals that have already been refused help by well-known large national charities, but we can only continue to help needy animals with your support!
'Sanctuary before Heaven'
This photo is called ‘Dogs in Heaven’ and was taken when snow covered the peat land by the sanctuary. Our amazing patron Cynthia Kereluk Rodgers said “...I think that what you are doing at Willows is making a 'Sanctuary before Heaven' a reality for all your rescued animals...” This struck a chord with us because it absolutely sums up all that we are doing and wish to continue to do. If you would like to help support our work please consider one of the following ways to help us:
  • Make a donation
  • Sponsor an animal, either for yourself or as a gift
  • Become a 'Friend of Willows'
  • Leave a legacy to Willows
  • Set up a standing order
  • Buy your Christmas cards and gifts from our online shop

The Animal Assisted Therapy Unit at Willows

Willows helps many vulnerable people with its animal assisted therapy programme. The concept of allowing rescued animals to help vulnerable people on the road back to health is very innovative and has been independently evaluated and shown to be highly beneficial.

Cindy and Fern

At last she has been born!

Cindy, one of the group of six donkeys and a mule (two of which were in foal) we rescued last year from appalling conditions has just produced a beautiful filly foal we have named Fern.

The photo was taken when she was three days old. She is an absolute darling and we all love her dearly!

Robin - Baby Donkey Born at Willows ** Watch the Video **

We recently rescued six donkeys and a mule ( see story below). Two of these donkeys were in foal and we are delighted to say that one of them who is called Molly produced a beautiful colt foal and we have named him Robin.

6 Donkeys and a Mule Rescued!  ** Watch the Video **
We have just given urgent sanctuary to a group of six donkeys and a mule. They were the innocent victims of a marriage breakup and have been neglected for some time. They are infested with lice, have dangerously overgrown feet and one is about to have a foal and without our intervention the foal would have been born in a cold,muddy field where the donkeys had no access to food or shelter!

The plight of these donkeys touched our hearts and we felt that we had to help them. This rescue has used quite a lot of our resources so any donations towards their care would be fantastic!
Cats Rescued!
We have recently accepted many cats that would otherwise have been put to sleep. Some of the stories are quite heart-breaking! We accepted four fourteen year old cats whose owners had lost their home and jobs and were not allowed to take them to their new home. Then there have been several others whose owners have become allergic to them or the cats suddenly stop being clean in the house.

The photo is of a beautiful cat and her four kittens whose owner just appeared here and insisted that we take them all on the spot and were not at all pleased when asked if they could manage to make a donation!
Akita Rescued!
We were contacted in August and asked to take this poor dog by a woman who was going to move to Germany the very next day. She said she was leaving in 19 minutes to have the dog put to sleep and that she had tried everywhere else and Willows was her last hope. As we don’t currently have space here we have an arrangement with a local kennel who collected the dog for us and were very concerned about the condition he was in so our vet went up to check him out and the consensus is that he hasn’t been fed properly for some time and because of all the muscle wastage he had been mostly kept in a cage without being exercised. We are all very saddened to see a dog in such a state and will do all that we are able to make him well.

The poor Akita that was in such a sad state when he arrived has come on in leaps and bounds! After exhaustive tests our vet pronounced that his poor state of health was directly attributable to starvation and neglect. It has taken time, patience and lots of good food to improve his health. Many thanks are due to Bayview kennels who have been invaluable to the rehab of this fine pooch! Finding the right home has also been very difficult, but we are delighted to say that the right person came forward and so far it all seems to be working out splendidly! The pictures above show him before anad after Willows' TLC.

The total cost to Willows of kennel fees and vet cost (including castration) was around £1,000. No charity can function without regular financial input from its supporters so any contributions towards these costs would be very much appreciated!!
Domino and Magpie Rescued!
These two little ponies, now named Domino and Magpie have just arrived from the Shetland Islands. They belonged to a Shetland pony stud and their previous owner passed away earlier in the year. They were evaluated as to their suitability to be allowed to remain as stallions and they both failed to make the grade.

The future for these two little souls was looking particularly grim and then someone thought of Willows and we were contacted to see if we would save these two ponies from being put to sleep.

We were delighted to be able to help and are happy to say that they are settling in and will eventually join our Animal Assisted Therapy programme.
Gryffin Rescued!
This is Gryffin and he is a 13.2 Registered British Riding Pony. His distraught owner contacted us to see if we could provide a home for him when in addition to her long term disability she was diagnosed with another illness. In addition to this she is also caring for her disabled child. This new illness meant she could no longer give her much loved pony the care that he needed. When we heard of her plight we felt we had to help her. Gryffin has Cushing’s disease which has led to laminitis. Griffin was in a very poor state when his owner took him on and she carefully nursed him back from the brink of death. She messaged us to say ”Gryffy did more for me than anyone can imagine and it would kill me if I couldn’t give him the high level of care he needs in the long-term. With my latest health bombshell knowing he will now need constant higher level care and management which is why I went searching and found Willows, I know charities are struggling more than ever and I have tried to find him somewhere myself which didn’t turn out well and he was back within 48hrs so I can’t take the chance of him going through that again and need to know he will be safe, cared for and happy.”
Saved in the Nick of Time!
Early in August we received an urgent call at 6-45 am! After a relationship breakdown a beautiful horse called Rooney had become homeless and as he is aged 24 his future was not looking particularly bright! As this was a very local horse we felt that we had to help and agreed to accept him. During the course of our conversation it transpired that a pony who was only 13 and lived with Rooney was being euthanized that day. Further questioning revealed that the pony suffers from sweet itch (summer seasonal recurrent dermatitis) and his owner felt she had done all that she could to treat it and that she had run out of options. We gently persuaded her to allow us to take him as our vets are clear that he can be helped.
Rooney was ridden here on Tuesday and Benjamin arrived by horse box on Wednesday. When we saw him we were so very glad that we had been able to save him – he is so full of life and promise and after checking him over our vet was astounded that he had been so close to being put down!! Today, both new arrivals have been put out to graze and they were so delighted to be reunited – it looked as if they were joined at the hip. The sight of their joy at being together again has brought a lump to the throats of all who have seen them.
Ex Racehorse Rescue - Kiddo
Here is our beautiful new arrival! His name is Kiddo and he was a racehorse until 6 months ago.

Yesterday we received a frantic call from his previous owner who was about to leave Britain. Kiddo had been sold subject to satisfactory vetting and having failed this he urgently needed a safe home.

Kiddo was living at Millpond Livery yard near Aberdeen and the owner, Mike, was very helpful about the situation and transported him to Willows for us. (Thanks Mike!!) Kiddo will now be fully assessed as to his suitability for rehoming and meanwhile is enjoying some well-deserved rest and recreation!.
Penny Has a Beautiful Colt Foal!
Update! Penny the Shetland mare, rescued from a very uncertain fate earlier in the year, has given birth to a beautiful colt foal!

Here is Penny's story. We were contacted recently by a very desperate lady who urgently needed help with two Shetland pony mares and a filly foal. The lady suffers from an auto immune disease and has become allergic to daylight which had made looking after her ponies very difficult. She also expressed concern that the paddock they were in, which had looked good in summer, was now so wet that the ponies were sometimes up to their hocks in mud and she feared that two of the ponies were again in foal. Her only other option had been to put the ponies into a market which would risk a very uncertain future for them. The ponies were quite a way from Willows on the border between Perth and Angus, but Animal Health were extremely helpful with facilitating the move to Willows. It was also some time since their feet had been trimmed and all in all Animal Health felt that the sooner they could be removed the better. They all arrived safely and have been checked and blood tested by our vets. The filly foal has been named Daisy and the two mares are called Ruby and Penny.
Amber Comes to Willows
We were recently contacted by a lady who had accepted this pony (a 16 yr. old 13.2 Arab cross Welsh) in good faith in December 2012 as 'free to a good home'. She arrived in a very poor state and hasn’t managed to gain weight over the last few months.

Her owner felt that she had done everything possible to help this pony but unfortunately she could no longer keep her and reluctantly had to consider sending her to the abattoir.

When we heard this sad story we agreed to accept Amber and she arrived here in early May. She has been checked by our vets and placed on a special diet and we will do all that we are able to make her well!

Three Shetland Mares Rescued
We have just (24 April) given urgent sanctuary to three Shetland mares. They had been rescued from the mart by a family who saved them from going to be slaughtered, despite the fact one may be in foal. When the family saw where the ponies were destined to end up, they pointed out to the meat trader that one looked pregnant and he responded with “Oh, they’ll soon hoik that out of her when she’s killed” The family felt they had no choice but to intervene and rescue them from this terrible fate. Unfortunately they were unable to keep them permanently so they brought them to Willows. The poor ponies are in terrible condition. They are matted with manure, crawling with lice and their overgrown feet need urgent attention. They are very frightened and one of them is very thin.They are currently receiving veterinary treatment.

3 Little Pigs went wee wee wee all the way home to Willows!

These pigs were at a petting farm in Norfolk that was closed down. The owners sold off the 'exotic' animals (lamas etc.) on Gumtree and then shot the farm animals himself. However, apparently no-one wanted the pigs. The owner was in a pub and was overheard to say he was going to shoot them too, and the person who heard this alerted an animal rescue network who say they tried every sanctuary in England and no one was able to help them. The animal rescue network raised enough money for the piggie’s transport to Willows and they arrived at Willows at the end of March 2013.

Rescued Shetland Ponies - Ruby, Penny & Daisy
We were contacted recently by a very desperate lady who urgently needed help with two Shetland pony mares and a filly foal. The lady suffers from an auto immune disease and has become allergic to daylight which had made looking after her ponies very difficult. She also expressed concern that the paddock they were in, which had looked good in summer, was now so wet that the ponies were sometimes up to their hocks in mud and she feared that two of the ponies were again in foal. Her only other option had been to put the ponies into a market which would risk a very uncertain future for them. The ponies were quite a way from Willows on the border between Perth and Angus, but Animal Health were extremely helpful with facilitating the move to Willows. It was also some time since their feet had been trimmed and all in all Animal Health felt that the sooner they could be removed the better. They all arrived safely and have been checked and blood tested by our vets and we await the results of their pregnancy tests with interest! The filly foal has been named Daisy and the two mares are called Ruby and Penny. If anyone would like to make a donation to help with their care we would be very grateful! We can only continue to help animals like these with your support and we are eternally grateful for all the help we receive.

Rescued Thoroughbred Mare - Star
We rescued a Thoroughbred mare who was actually booked to be slaughtered by a knackery. We were utterly horrified at this news and were desperate to help the poor horse. We were initially told that she was to be slaughtered because she wouldn’t go into a stable but she actually has quite a lot more behavioural problems and her previous owners (who are in their sixties) felt unable to cope with her any more.

As she was a Christmas rescue we have decided to rename her Star. Star will stay here, at least until her behaviour has improved and we will use the gentle, reward based system of clicker training to help retrain her. If anyone would like to make a donation to help with the cost of saving Star then please contact us.

Alex Salmond - Scotland's First Minister - Says...

alex and jenny

'I am delighted to support Willows Animal Sanctuary once again in their fundraising campaign.

I am a regular visitor to the Sanctuary and I am very impressed by both the work that they do, and the dedication of their staff.

In addition to caring for the animals, Willows provides an extremely valuable therapeutic facility for the more vulnerable members of our community.'

£6.99 £10.99      £6.50      £9.99 £3.99

Some of the things you can buy from our online shop or from Willows on Ebay

The Story of Willows Animal Sanctuary

Willows Animal Sanctuary has been rescuing animals from distressing situations since 1989. It all began with an Arab horse called Willow (we named our sanctuary after her) who we learned had been left tethered in the wind and rain and suffering from mud fever for a long time. One day she became entangled in her tether and was slowly choking until a vigilant passer-by intervened and called out the RSPCA. Her owner was prosecuted and eventually Willow came to us. Hearing about what had happened to Willow made us aware of the enormous suffering that can befall animals and we set about making a safe place for unwanted or abused animals to live out the rest of their lives. In 1999 Willows became a recognised Scottish Charity and began to specialise in accepting animals that had been rejected by other charities as being unsuitable for re-homing. Willows now provides a “last chance sanctuary” and most of the animals here would not be around today if Willows did not exist. We at Willows act as a lifeline for needy animals and offer them safety, rehabilitation and re-home those that are suitable. Willows offers dedicated care to abandoned and ill-treated domestic and farm animals.


catIn Spring 2008 Willows was informed by a kind lady who walked her dog in nearby woodland that she had seen a pair of young cats living under a battered tin can. They had evidently initially been abandoned in a black bag from which they had managed to escape – though, without food or water things were looking very bleak for them. We lent our cat trap to her and she caught the cats and brought them to Willows. They were understandably very nervous and aggressive at first but eventually began to trust humans again. One of these cats we named Arthur and he has had a very happy time here at Willows! Unfortunately he began to show signs of skin cancer and our vets decided that it would be sensible to remove his ears. He coped well with the operation and continues to enjoy a peaceful life here at the sanctuary.



Humphrey came to Willows with a Shetland Pony companion called Dennis because he was no longer wanted.

He had been bought with much enthusiasm (and little knowledge) as a children's pet and had ended up just being left out in a muddy field all winter. No proper attention had been paid to him and his neglected feet were just beginning to turn up and he was riddled with both worms and lice.

Humphrey and his Shetland Pony friend Dennis will become permanent residents here at Willows and will be able to enjoy the happy life that they deserve. More >

Willows Animal Sanctuary - Registered Charity No: SCO29625 this site is designed and maintained free of charge by Willows Trustee Nick Robinson