Number of items: Total price: (price is inclusive of shipping & p&p - contact us for bundled p&p)
Each Sponsor Package costs £20.00. Willows Animal Sanctuary will send you a sponsorship package which will include a photo, a soft toy, a certificate, information about my chosen animal and an update letter during the course of the year.
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Ginger - an ex-racehorse




I started out life as a racehorse. Although I was well cared for, I was subjected to great cruelty by my trainer. He decided to teach me a hard lesson when I didn’t understand what I was being asked to do one day. Instead of showing me in a gentle way what he was wanting of me, he got immensely angry and beat me until I was black and blue and I felt as if my spirit was broken. The day came for my first big race and I galloped as hard as I could whilst being lashed with a whip. I gave it my all but I didn’t win. The racing world is a hard and cruel industry and horses that don’t win (or even the ones who do) either go straight to the knackers yard, a sale or the lucky ones go to a rehab charity. Many horses are bought up and sent abroad for slaughter. I was very frightened that this cruel fate would be mine but I was incredibly lucky and I was saved by a very kind lady. She took me home and loved me and I actually started to like people again! But, sadly it wasn’t to last. She became unwell and she said she had found me a kind loaner to care for me and I would be better off. So I was loaded up again and sent away to a new livery yard. When I arrived, I didn’t like it there. I wasn’t allowed in with the other horses and they all looked ill. There was rubbish all over the fields and no stables or shelters. To start with, my new human came up every day to care for me but as the weather got colder her visits started to drop off. My feet became painful as I hadn’t seen a farrier in months and there was no food to speak of. She just seemed to have lost interest in me and I was very lonely and hungry. My rugs were torn and wet and I felt myself becoming weaker. I heard that I was being put up for sale, but I felt so low I no longer cared. A woman came up to view me and I heard her telling my loaner “You will never sell a horse in this kind of state! I’m going to talk to his owner!” A few days later when the wind was howling and the rain was beating down hard and I was standing alone in the field shivering, I saw a horse box pull up. I was taken over to it and the driver insisted that I should have an appropriate rug put on (My loaner thought my torn and soaked rain sheet was okay for me to travel in!). When I was ready I was loaded up and we set off! Six hours later, we came to a stop and the doors were opened and I stepped out into this wonderful new world! I was led into a nice warm stable with lots of hay and I looked around at all my new friends and I saw lots of contented horses, ponies and donkeys happily munching at their hay with shiny coats and peaceful expressions. A sense of calm came over me as I thought to myself “I’m home now”. After I’d had something to eat, I was groomed, given new rugs and the vet came out to examine me. She said that I needed to gain a lot of weight and left a gentle wormer for me and treated me for lice. The Farrier then came out and made my feet much more comfortable. People were constantly popping in and giving me pats and reassurance and telling me that the worst was now over and the best of it is, I believe them! A few weeks later, I felt strong enough to have a good gallop across the field! As I tore across the field with the wind in my mane and my new friends by side I felt something mend that had long been broken - my spirit!

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Angel



 

My name is Angel and this is my story. I was orphaned as a lamb and my owners bottle fed me. Things weren’t too bad, it was summer and I had lots of friends. When winter came, my owners placed me and my friend out in a field and pretty much forgot about us. We had little water or food and the grass wasn’t up to much. One day when I was looking for food, I punctured my eye on an old piece of wire that had been left lying around. The pain was so bad and I felt so ill. I waited for help but weeks passed and none came. My eye was now very badly infected and the infection had started to track down my face. Christmas came and went and I was feeling so terribly ill and with battling the cold winter I had started to give up on life. My friend disappeared, I didn’t know where she went and I was all alone. Then suddenly, this lady leapt over the fence and scooped me up! I was so weak I didn’t put up much of a fight. She carried me into her shed and put me on a warm bed of shavings and put a heat lamp on me. She told me that she had seen how unwell I looked and that she couldn’t leave me where I was. She’d asked my owners if she could take me and they’d said yes! She called out a vet that night who said my eye had gone past the point of being saved and I would have to have it removed. I was also dehydrated and I had chronic pneumonia. He gave me lots of injections and left lots medicine for me to have. The next day, the lady who rescued me took me to Willows Animal Sanctuary and I was given a lovely stable bedded with golden straw and there were friends in the stall next to me. A few weeks later, when I was stronger, I had the operation to remove my eye. I felt a lot better after it was removed as it was causing me great pain. I am all recovered now! I just love the people who look after me, I get lots of fuss and scratches on a daily basis and my tummy is always full! I know now that I am loved and safe forever and I will never be forgotten or neglected again. Love Angel XXX.

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Daphne



 

Hi, my name is Daphne. I am a Shetland pony and I only have one eye! I was rescued by Willows a few years ago. Me and my friends had been subjected to extreme neglect by our owner. The place we lived in was knee deep in mud and rats had eaten all the food meant for us. Our owner couldn’t replace it so we were left to starve. A kind person offered support and after contacting lots of the bigger charities (who weren’t willing to help), they finally hit upon Willows who immediately agreed to take us. I shudder to think what would have happened to us otherwise. The vast majority of the animals in Willows care have been abused, abandoned or had become surplus to requirement once they became old or unwell. I love it here and enjoy greeting visitors and being with my friends!

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Jack



 

Jack came to Willows aged 6 in 2013 when his owner desperately needed somewhere for him to go. His owners had tried to break him for riding but Jack had become dangerous and started throwing off his riders. It was decided that he was too dangerous and things looked very uncertain for him but fortunately we had a space and we took him in. As soon as he settled in, we had our Vet and Physio check him over and it turned out that Jack had a kissing spine (horses with this condition feel constant pain because sections of bone attached to the vertebrae are too close together and impinge on each other) and this is what would have been causing his dangerous behaviour. He was in terrific pain and he wasn’t able to express it in any other way. We were advised that the best path for him was to be retired and he’s been very happy ever since. Jack is an absolute sweetheart and loves being around people and is now part of the animal - assisted therapy unit.

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Molly and Lady



 

In 2013 Willows rescued a group of six donkeys, (two of which were pregnant) and a beautiful mule! This was quite a dramatic rescue for us and also very costly. As a result of a marriage breakup the donkeys had been placed in an inaccessible field and were left without shelter or food and one donkey (Lady) had already lost her foal and had untreated mastitis. Hearing that another donkey was about to produce a foal which would be born into a muddy field the plight of these innocent animals touched our hearts and we felt we had to help them. When they arrived we could see that they all had neglected feet and were covered in lice. We immediately called our vet and barefoot trimmer and quickly made them as comfortable as possible. We are delighted to say that Molly produced a beautiful colt foal (we have named him Robin) and she and Lady share the task of looking after him!

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Emily



 

Emily had been a popular horse at a local riding school. She’s worked very hard in her life and has given confidence to lots of riders and she even did some show jumping! She was also used in the RDA (Riding for the disabled) and her splendid temperament was invaluable to them. The riding school closed down as Emily was getting older, they felt she deserved a good long retirement as she wasn’t up to much work anymore. When her owners asked if she could retire to Willows, we fortunately had a space and we were delighted to accept her! Emily has a beautiful, gentle temperament and she has been fantastic addition to the AAT unit. She loves being groomed and all the attention she receives from everyone and she will spend her last years here, grazing happily with her close friends.

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Arthur



 

In 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 have now begun 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.

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Babe



 

Early one morning a passing motorist alerted the Willows staff to the plight of an injured piglet which was on the road just outside the sanctuary. It appeared that the little piglet had fallen from a lorry and been hit by a passing car. We managed to catch her and establish that she needed urgent veterinary attention. Babe needed many stitches in the wounds on her back but quickly recovered and soon began to adapt to her new life. Everyone has been amazed that Babe managed to arrive just outside an animal sanctuary – all by herself. She has aroused much attention from newspapers, radio and TV and loves all the fuss she receives from visitors. Babe is very lucky and will be able to live out a long and happy life at Willows and avoid the fate of other less fortunate pigs.