Hello friends of Holly Hedge! 

The weather has been lovely this month (the last few days aside!), and our rescues have been relishing the weather - as you can see, newbie Grayson has been loving the daffodils in the North Meadow!

Most of our little team hasn't yet been vaccinated, so we are still closed to the public, but if you are interested in adopting one of our rescues you can now book an appointment following a chat with our rehoming team to determine suitability. We are hopeful that this will help some of our dogs or cats who might not shine so brightly online find their forever homes quickly, they are all so deserving of the happy ending that waits for them around the corner. 

In wonderful news for animals everywhere in the UK, we're delighted to announce that the bill to increase maximum sentences for animal cruelty from six months to five years has finally passed through parliament! This law will now send a message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated. 

Four Paws and Animal Protection Services have launched an online reporting system called Stop Puppy Traders. If you have seen suspicious activity regarding unlicensed breeding or illegally imported puppies, you can fill out the form here. 

Thank you all, for helping us continue our vital mission. 

Holly Hedge 

A black cat lays in a veterinary suite. His fur has been shaved around where his left leg once was, and there is a large surgery scar from his operation. Robin is being given a fuss around his cheek, and though the wound is large, he looks calm as he leans into the hand.

Can you help Robin find his balance again?

It was a normal day for Robin, Spring was starting to warm the world and feeling confident he would make the trip over the road he darted across, but the car didn't see him in time to miss him, and disaster struck.

Robin was injured but fortunately alive, and his owners rushed him to Vale Vets where they found his bone was so badly broken he had two options. They could attempt to rebuild his mangled leg, but with no guarantee it would work, and with a 6 - 12 week recovery period in a crate. The other was to amputate the leg with a good recovery on three legs within four weeks.

Without insurance, Robin's owner was unable to afford either of these options, and our Vets did what they always do when faced with an animal who has an expensive bill, but an otherwise long and happy life ahead of them, they called us and asked if we could help. And of course, without hesitation we said, "yes". 

After speaking to the Vet at length and with much deliberation it was decided that amputation was the better option for this poor cat. To keep him in a crate for months with a slim chance his leg would be functional, where he may need future surgeries or in an extreme case may need amputation would be a living nightmare for this young and active boy. The odds were not high enough to gamble that this delicate operation would work and with our experience of seeing many cats living full lives with three legs, we made a judgement call. 

Robin was signed over by his owners and we were able to get him the surgery he needed quickly. The simple truth is that if we hadn't said yes to covering his surgery, Robin would have been put to sleep. This is the sad reality for so many cats and dogs, as people believe that their pets are too young to need insurance, or lose their income and no longer have any savings for a tragic accident like this one. During the last year this has been an issue we have seen time and again, and those are the lucky ones, because we have been able to step in and help. Though he so easily could have lost his life in the accident, once it was clear he would survive, the second threat to Robin's life quickly became the cost of his surgery. Though it is a major operation, cats are incredibly resilient and many live long and happy lives managing on just three legs, so we knew we had to give him the chance at a long future he deserves.

Though Robin initially seemed to convalesce quickly, when he came to the Sanctuary to recover he stopped eating. We took him back to the vets, concerned there was something going on, but the vets determined there was nothing wrong with him aside from shock from the trauma he had endured and the new space he was in. They placed a feeding tube in him to see if it could give him the energy he needed to once again fight to survive. Thankfully, after a few days Robin started to eat independently and his feeding tube was removed.
Since then it has only been up from there, and thankfully Robin is happily eating and playing, and slowly getting used to having just three legs! He is now also looking for his forever home with great excitement and anticipation! His foster mum, Sara told us "He needs a home that can give him lots of love, he's definitely not an independent fellow he needs affection, he meows every time you come home and comes to greet you straight away. In terms of his character, he's friendly, playful, loving, affectionate and loud! He's honestly just a lovely friendly boy looking for someone to stroke, cuddle and play with him."

As this chap now has three legs he will find it difficult to jump away from anything he doesn't like, so we are looking for a home where he is the only pet. He is confident enough that he could live with children who understand that he might need some space now and then. 

Robin is a truly special and deserving boy with a heart full of love! If you are interested in giving Robin his forever home please email us on or call us on 01275 474 719

We hope to never be in a position where we have to say no to an animal in need, but we need your help with our rising vet bills. If you are able to donate, please visit Robin's fundraising page here. Thank you xx

A black lurcher with a white chin and copper-coloured eyes looks out of a window.

Could you give Charlie his Forever Home? 

16 month old Charlie finds the world around him quite overwhelming, and needs someone to understand him and make him feel safe. 

In his previous home Charlie loved being on the sofa and having a cuddle with his owners. He has developed relationships and trust with some of our team here, even managing a few cuddles in his basket with his regular caregiver, Josie.  

Charlie can be reactive out of fear, and if he sees something that makes him scared he can misplace this fear onto his handler, so whenever Charlie goes out he wears a muzzle. With most people Charlie is fine, but he is wary of strangers, and this fear can manifest in him being boisterous. The lockdown has only compounded these issues for Charlie, and his owners were no longer able to cope with him. 

We are working with Charlie on his reactivity, but know he would be so much happier continuing his progress in a home. His ideal owners will have experience with a dog who has anxiety, and have bags of patience and understanding. If you would like more information about Charlie, please click here. 

Poppy & Daisy long for a home

Some of our eagle-eyed long term supporters might recognise this stunning duo, a few years ago these two little ladies were named Biffa and Veolia, as they had been dumped at Holly Hedge in a cat carrier on top of our bins. A beautiful black and white cat looks out from her cat tree

Sadly no one came forward with any information on the two ladies, and they were quite unwell with exposure to toxoplasmosis. Both were nurtured back to health and spayed, and Poppy(was Biffa) made a full recovery. As a result of the exposure to toxoplasmosis Daisy (Veolia) has some neurological issues and can be a little wobbly on her feet. Due to this we looked for a special understanding home for them and were delighted when they were rehomed in 2018. Unfortunately they have been returned to us due to their owners' marriage breaking down, and so are once again looking for their forever home. 

They are both incredibly friendly girls and want lots of attention so they need someone that is home a lot of the time. Although 90% of the time they are happiest having a snooze and a snuggle, they do enjoy catching a sunbeam outside and nibbling grass. We would love for them to have access to a secure outdoor space.

Diasy has some bad teeth which need cleaning, and a few may need to be removed, which we will take care of, but this never dampens her spirits, she has so much joy and loves being alive! 
A black and white cat stretches her paw out to the camera
They are both incredibly affectionate and want lots of attention so would need someone that is home a lot of the time. We would also request that they have access to a secure outdoor space. These two little loves deserve safety and security, and we would love to find their forever home soon. Please do share their story and help us find these little ladies the happy ending they so richly deserve. 
If you'd like more information about Poppy and Daisy please click here. 

Cat owners, when did you last change your litter tray?

Here’s how to determine when and how frequently you should be replacing your cat’s litter tray. Generally, if you have a cat who prefers to use a tray rather than the bushes, you should replace a plastic litter tray annually. Your cat’s plastic litter box might need replacing sooner than that depending on how often you clean the litter box. Cat urine that sits in the box is acidic, and if it sits too long, it can start to erode the plastic, or you might find there are brown scaly stains that even vinegar and bleach won't budge. It will also make your cat’s litter box smell, even if you do a deep clean of it. Cats have more than 200 million odor sensors in their noses; humans have just 5 million. Their sense of smell is 14 times better than that of humans, so even if you think it smells as fresh as a daisy, your cat may not agree.
If you have more than one cat in the household using plastic litter trays (remember that each cat should have at least one tray each), chances are you will have to replace the trays sooner. If your cat’s plastic litter tray is already stinky, stained, or scuffed, it’s time to get a new one.

Have a scratched up litter box? 
A little wear-and-tear with your cat’s litter box is to be expected as many like to bury their business, so potential predators can't find them. However, if you start to see lots of scratch marks from your cat when you clean out the litter box, it’s time to replace it. Why? Because these scratches can be really difficult to clean — and the perfect place for urine or feces to get trapped. This may seem excessive to some, but at Holly Hedge we like to put ourselves in the position of our rescues when we consider how to keep them happy. If they were in the outside world, they would choose a new spot every time. Inside the home, they do not have that luxury and will be much happier if you are conscientious about cleaning their litter box. 
If after reading this you are inspired to buy a new litter box, remember that cats are creatures of habit, so it is always best to replace like-for-like when it comes to the depth and whether it is covered. 

A Malamute German Shephard Cross dog sniffs tenderly at a flower.


Most dogs and cats will fortunately never eye up your rhododendron bush as a potential snack, but we would always prefer to be safe rather than sorry. As many are beautifying their gardens, we wanted to send out a reminder that some plants although beautiful can be harmful to our furry family members. Please note that this is not an extensive list, there are over 700 plants that are poisonous to pets, with varying degrees of severity. These are some common plants we frequently see in an English garden.

  • Angel Wings
  • Crocuses
  • Azaleas
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Caladium
  • Choke Cherry: The leaves, seeds (pits), stems, and bark are all considered very toxic. Seek professional help immediately.
  • Clematis: The stems and leaves of this vine are toxic to dogs. 
  • Daffodils: The bulbs are toxic. 
  • Delphinium: This plant is also known as Larkspur. All parts of the plant are toxic.
  • Elderberry
  • English Ivy: The leaves and berries are both considered very toxic. 
  • Foxglove: The flower's leaves and seeds are poisonous to both humans and animals. 
  • Heliotrope: The plant looks nice in a pot on your patio, but beware if you have a dog. Even tiny bites can cause liver damage. 
  • Hydrangea: The leaves and buds will both cause irritation and inflammation of the digestive tract. 
  • Iris: The rhizomes and rootstock are poisonous. Since the rhizomes grow above the ground, they are easy to access. 
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Lilies
  • Monkshood: This plant is also known as Aconite and Wolfsbane.
  • Morning Glory
  • Oleander
  • Onions and Garlic: If you've got these growing in the garden, keep the dogs away. These two plants contain thiosulfate. 
  • Potato Plant: The entire plant is toxic.
  • Rhododendron
  • Rhubarb: The stems are edible, but the leaves are toxic.
  • Star of Bethlehem
  • Sweet Peas
  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family. Whilst dogs can enjoy small quantities of ripe fruit, the leaves and unripe tomatoes are high in toxins.  
  • Tulips
  • Yellow Oleander
  • Yew
The Dog's Trust have a long list of potentially harmful plants, you can find their list here. 

How to Tell If Your Dog Has Eaten Something Poisonous

If your dog is salivating heavily, vomiting, coughing, has diarrhea, appears lethargic or lacks appetite, these are signs they may have injested something toxic. Call your vet immediately if you suspect he/she has consumed anything dangerous. 

A poster shows a picture of a young dog on the grass, his name was Oscar. The poster describes how much Oscar enjoyed life and his inquisitive nature. Oscar ate a discarded face mask in a park, and though he had an operation and blood transfusions, the wire in the mask punctured his stomach and the infection gave him sepsis, which he sadly passed away from.

A sad tale and warning to dog owners

Face masks have become part of daily life for us all, and with this we've all come to recognise them amongst littered roads and parks. Most of us have seen reports of birds, hedgehogs and turtles who have died as a result of being tangled with masks. But these masks also pose a whole new risk to dogs too. There have been many close call stories about dogs and masks, where fortunately the dogs have survived, but little Oscar wasn't so lucky. In his memory his owners are trying to spread awareness, so no other dog befalls the same fate. 

Have you ever noticed your dog trying to smell your mouth, especially after you’ve eaten? Well think about how you’re breathing mouth-smells into your mask all day. The smell of a discarded mask might appeal to an animal who can swallow it, so they must be stored out of reach and disposed of properly. 
Helen Bird, WRAP (the Waste and Resources Action Programme) plastics expert, said: ‘Disposable PPE, such as face masks, should never be placed with your household recycling. It should go straight into your “black bag” waste bin. Using a reusable mask, which can be popped in with your washing after each use, is safe and better for the planet.’

You can also prevent wildlife from getting entangled in the masks by cutting the ear loops before disposal. 

We do a PHENOMENAL amount of washing at the Sanctuary. 
Each kennel has to be cleaned every day, and fresh bedding put into each one.
Every time a cat chalet is vacated all bedding, blankets and toys are washed. Toys need regular cleaning, and muddy paws after walks, and regular baths create yet more washing!
We have industrial washing machines to handle all these things, which are fabulous and enable us to wash larger loads, yet we still average around 15-20 wash loads a day.
If you were able to pop some washing liquid (it is easier for us to manage) into your weekly shop, that would be a huge help, please. Ideally we would love cruelty-free, sensitive (non-bio) products if possible as they are gentle on delicate noses.
The donation box is available for socially distanced safe donation at any time outside reception, alternatively if you are one of our supporters who lives a little further away, you can find our amazon wishlist here.  

Thank you for making a difference to us, and our animals xx
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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