Hello friends of Holly Hedge! 

We hope you're all having a wonderful Bank Holiday. This newsletter is packed full of animal stories, advice and news, but first we have a wonderful announcement to make...We are extremely proud to announce that our inimitable Volunteer and Trustee, Nicky Leeson has won the Petplan volunteer of the year award!

As many of you kNicky holds her award whilst stroking her lovely cat,, Nicky tirelessly dedicates her time volunteering for us. She carries out an array of roles from dog walking, cat cuddling, homechecks, responding to all queries on facebook, raising funds for us at events – she makes an enormous contribution to our vital work, and always does it with a smile! We are incredibly proud and honoured to be working alongside Nicky, and grateful for the years she has devoted to animals in need of a second chance at happiness. 

Her award was presentA black cat and a tabby cat both pose in front of Nicky's certificate. ed to her at the Pet Plan Awards virtual ceremony, and her trophy has since been celebrated by many of her furry friends. The award saw her win a £750 cheque for our rescues, and she is due to receive £500 for herself, which in her selflessness she has pledged to Ebony and Benny's appeal which you'll read below. 

We know all our supporters will join us in congratulating Nicky on this special achievement. Thank you Nicky for everything you do, we are in awe of you. 

Holly Hedge 

Ebony and Benny's Story

In the years we have been in animal welfare we have seen some truly horrendous things, and it takes a lot to shock us. These two sweet dogs were being taken care of by kind neighbours whilst their owner was in hospital, but as the neighbours couldn’t take them into their own home, they were spending most of their time in the house alone. Their owner passed away, and without family or anyone to look after them, Ebony and Benny were brought into us, and seeing their condition we rushed them to the vets straight away.

There is no dressing this up, these dogs have been neglected for years. At 16 years old, just seeing Ebony makes you flinch, knowing the state of pain that had become her normal. She was placed on pain medication immediately, and the catalogue of ailments between them seemed to grow with every hour. Thankfully Benny is seven, and even at 46kg he has true ‘Border Collie joy’ and a longing to play and explore. In the last few days he has thrived here, loving all the walks and enrichment we provide.
If Ebony and Benny's story has moved you and you would like to donate, please click here. 
They are both morbidly obese at almost twice the weight they should be, and whilst Benny is desperate to be a fit and active dog, Ebony could not get up unassisted. She had clearly spent most of her days splayed out on the floor, her eyes nervously darting around, though she only had vision in one of them.
It is clear their conditions have been worsening for years, and most of their health issues are a direct result of their obesity. They have calluses from bearing the pressure of their weight whilst lying down, both have masses that need looking into, skin issues, pain in all their joints and overgrown nails.
On top of this, both dogs’ teeth and gums are in such an awful state and fetid with decay that it makes you wince. Ebony’s teeth were brown and some had already rotted and splintered, most of them reduced to brown stubs. Benny is likely to lose some of his back teeth, but thankfully his front teeth may only need a clean.

What is so desperately sad about these dogs is how long they had been suffering like this. From the vet history we have been able to obtain, both dogs have been taken to the vets semi-regularly, where the vet advised the owner multiple times that they urgently needed to lose weight. This is a desperately sad story to tell and we can only assume that due to grief from losing his wife and his own waning health, their owner did not realise he was killing them with kindness. We share Ebony and Benny’s story not only to help raise critical funds towards their medical treatment (which we anticipate to be thousands of pounds), but also to raise awareness that seeing a dog in this state should concern you. Although it doesn’t look like suffering in the way we so often see it, these two dogs are in chronic pain due to their overfeeding and inactivity, and recovery and rehabilitation is a long and uncertain road ahead.

When Ebony first arrived we knew that her condition was so awful that she might not make it, but we did what we always do, and gave her the chance she deserved. We hoped that she might improve on pain medication, but sadly, after two days here our worst fears were confirmed, that she had no quality of life to look forward to. She wasn’t able to move her body and so would toilet where she lay and sit in her urine and faeces until she could be cleaned. She had a grade six heart murmur and a mass around her heart, spending time with her you couldn’t help but break down in teaAn elderly border collie, Ebony looks into the camera. Her fur on her face that once was white has been whitened with age, and her expression is We made sure her last hours were as comfortable as they could be, and she was given chicken and sausages; only soft and delicious treats for her sore mouth.

She was held as she passed, she was told she was a good girl and she was put to sleep here at the Sanctuary. Afterwards Benny was brought in to see her, so he would understand and say goodbye. We hope she knew that we tried, and that we wish things had been different for her. Rest in peace, sweet girl. We promise you that Benny will have the life that you both should have had.

Please give whatever you can to help us give the very best care we can to our rescues and wish Benny the best of luck on this long road ahead. We will keep you updated on this lovely boy's progress.
Thank you xx
Susie, a beautiful brindle Boxer X gazes up at the camera. The sun shines through a canopy of leaves above, so her face is dappled with light. She looks directly into the camera, a stoic look on her face.

Could you give Susie her Forever Home? 

Sweet Susie is looking for someone to break her string of bad luck. Now 2 years old, she came into the Sanctuary at just a few weeks old as her owner was concerned she wasn't eating. Susie was very ill, and too young to have been taken from her mother. Fortunately her mum, Lucy had recently been brought in with two of Susie's siblings, so we were able to reunite them, and Susie made a fast recovery.

We watched Susie grow big and strong after her sad start to life, a bouncy puppy with so much promise and excitement ahead of her. She has sadly been returned to us twice. We have told Susie her luck is going to change, and that her next home will truly be her forever home. 

Susie is easy to fall in love with, she's gorgeous, loves people and is lightning fast when a treat is involved! But we want potential adopters to know that Susie is a big, strong Boxer X, and like Boxers, knows her own mind! Due to her strength and size she will need someone strong, as when she sees something she likes (squirrels!) she will take off, happily with you in tow! 

She can be reactive with other dogs, though we are working on this using positive training. Her ideal home will be with confident and experienced people who are able to continue this training and provide her with the mental stimulation she needs. 
If you think you could offer this lovely girl the home she needs, please find her profile here.
A black dog with a white shaggy muzzle has her mouth open, eyes bright. She is in a field, and happy. Above her some text reads "Vote for us, please!"

Please vote to help us win £1,000!

Church Matters with Ecclesiastical have launched their fabulous Movement for Good campaign, and we would love it if you would please nominate us!
To nominate us please click the link below and enter our charity number is 294606. It will then ask for a few details, but you do not need to sign up to receive emails from Ecclesiastical.

We were very lucky last year and because of your nominations, we received a £1,000 donation from the Movement for Good.
We would love it if we could win and be one of the 500 charities that will receive a £1,000 donation, it would be immensely helpful as we recover from the last 14 months.
Thank you. 

Could you give Tom his forever home?

Some of you might recognise Tom from our January newsletter, this dear chap came to our care when his owner sadly passed away, and has struggled to cope with this loss, we're hoping his calm and patient forever home is around the corner.A beautiful black and white cat looks out from her cat tree

During his time with us, Tom has flourished and is feeling like a new cat. Initially Tom was so nervous he hid all day, making himself as small as possible, and trying to look fierce so he would be left alone in his misery and fear. He was clearly traumatised from losing his owner and being in a new environment, and just needed some time and patience.

Today Tom is happiest when perched in his bed, and though he may initially hiss at anyone coming into his space, he craves a fuss under his chin and on his big beautiful cheeks. 

If you could give Tom the happy ending he so deserves, please call us on 01275 474 719 or email us on
A yellow field of rapeseed is in flower, with a text warning above it that says "Oil seed rape fields - danger to dogs"

Warning to all dog owners

Many fields look beautiful at the moment, a sea of yellow where farmers are growing rapeseed. Rapeseed (Brassica napus) is listed by Dogs Trust as a poisonous plant and symptoms include haemolytic anaemia, blindness, damage to the nervous system, digestive disorders and breathing problems. Thankfully, most of these rather alarming conditions are only of concern if your dog has eaten these agricultural plants in some quantities, which doesn’t happen too often. 

There have also been reports of skin lesions having been caused by some very sensitive dogs, affecting their eyes and paws after they have been running through fields of flowering rape. Although it might make a beautiful photograph, it isn't worth the potential risk Washing with a mild shampoo might be helpful after a walk if contact has been made and if in doubt, consult your vet if skin reactions occur. 

Help Holly Hedge Animal Sanctuary - for free!
Holly Hedge Animal Sanctuary
Holly Hedge Animal Sanctuary
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An infograph shows the different coloured leads with their meaning.
Have you seen these colour coded collars?

We’d like to raise awareness for a visual communication system for dog walkers, created by Jon Saville: COLOUR-CODED COLLARS!
The idea was originally founded due to Jon noticing people avoiding him and his dog in public. (*He believed that this could have been due to people feeling uncomfortable.*) His dog was a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, a negatively stereotyped breed; paired with him being a body builder, it could have seemed intimidating.

In order to try and increase their socialisation on walks and make others more comfortable, he created a GREEN: collar, harness and lead (sometimes found on bandanas, vests or lead attachments also), labelled “FRIENDLY”. 
After time, more colours were created, communicating different statements:

This clever system can aid in making walks calmer and more positive. It allows for owners to proactively warn or encourage socialisation accordingly, encouraging responsible ownership. Respecting the boundaries and information provided can reduce the amount of negative incidences that can occur, when out and about.

Colour-coded collars are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, but originated in Australia, so are not as widely used yet. However over 100,000 dogs in the UK are being presented in this way.
Please be aware that spoken communication should also be used, regardless of the advanced warning given by these accessories, before approaching!

Want to buy one and support our rescues at the same time? We have a small selection of these leads and collars for sale in our reception, they are £7 each. 
Huge thanks to our friend, Kim Ingeby! 

Kim is a hugely talented human who has supported Holly Hedge over and over, and as well as being a life and body coach and having adopted two dogs from us, she is also an author. We were immensely grateful to benefit from Kim's kindness once again and receive a surprise cheque for £100 from Kondi Gifts. 
Kim works tirelessly raising money to support charities close to her heart and this lovely surprise was 10% of the proceeds from the book, which is on sale in Kondi Gifts in Henleaze.

To outdo herself, Kim has recently gifted Kondi Gifts more copies of The Hound of Happiness & Dog Author and 100% of sales of these will be given to us! It's a great little book full of ideas to help you feel good, the perfect gift for loved ones, or yourself!
Thank you Kim, for being an ambassador for rescues and kindness.
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To contact us please email: Call us on: 01275 474 719
Holly Hedge Animal Sanctuary, Barrow Gurney, Wild Country Lane BS48 3SE 
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Holly Hedge Animal Sanctuary · Wild Country Lane · Barrow Gurney · Bristol, BS48 3SE · United Kingdom