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Thank goodness we made it!
We hope you all are well and have just about made it through January, we are so delighted to have the coldest (and usually most expensive!) month behind us. 
The latest government restrictions have left us with our hands tied, and though we are glad that they have seemed to recognise the animal welfare sector, we are still waiting on any news of emergency funding. We have been asked to continue taking in emergency cases (though please be reassured this was never in question, and we will always be here for those that need us most), but we are currently not allowed members of the public on site. This means that our dogs can't currently meet their new potential owners, so adoptions for them are paused. We have also restricted volunteer access once again, which puts more strain on our little team, but with rates rising this was the only way we could keep everyone safe. 

We are starting to see the inevitable fallout from the demand for "pandemic puppies".  You can read about Daisy, a sweet little French Bulldog we have given critical care to here.  We are still hoping to raise funds for the further surgeries she will need, and awareness about the health issues these puppies are often victim to. The BBC reported that searches for "buy a puppy" in the UK quadrupled in the middle of March last year, before doubling again in early May. In many cases irresponsible breeders raised their prices by thousands of pounds as demand for puppies shot up. 

We are seeing more and more frequently adolescent and older puppies are being sold on pet listings sites with captions explaining that the animals were recently bought, but weren't a good fit. The majority of these dogs are listed for more than £1,500, with many £2,500 or higher! Some of these listings explicitly state that the owners hope to make back the thousands they initially paid for the puppy. We ask that if you see anyone advertising their pet online, that you encourage them to approach a shelter who can do the appropriate checks for new potential owners, and ensure a suitable match is made. We have seen so many dogs be sold on to new owners who are lovely people. and would by all means be a wonderful home for an easygoing dog, but they aren't equipped to deal with dogs with behavioural issues or anxiety. If you see a listing in Bristol where an animal is offered "free to a good home", or where an owner is genuinely looking to give their dog the best chance at happiness, please alert us immediately and gather as much information as possible, so we can try to reach out to the owner and offer a space here. You can call us on 01275 474 719, send us a direct message on facebook or email us on

We are still rehoming our cats, and matchmaking people with them - all our home checks are virtual. Our cattery manager and reception team are always looking for the perfect forever homes for our cats, we'd go as far to say we've had more successful matches than Tinder! If you are looking for a new furry family member to join your home, please take a look at the cats on our website here. 

Our rescues are wonderfully oblivious to all the politics and lockdowns, and many of our dogs had snow days with their furry friends! Here are some photos of everyone enjoying a snow day! 

Everyone at the Sanctuary will be nice and toasty today, we have coats for all the dogs who will wear them, and our kennels are kept warm and homely with our underfloor heating panels! Our cats each have a radiator panel too and for everyone who wants them we like to put the heated pads under their blankets. Warm bottoms all around! 

This comfort does come at a cost, one we would never spare for our rescues. Between December - February our heating and electric bills each month reach up to £6,000 each month. You, our amazing supporters allow us to give our rescues the Sanctuary that they deserve. These are dogs and cats who deserve to have no comfort spared. In this newsletter you'll read about Davina, a cat who lived outside for 5 years at Cribbs Causeway, and below you'll read about Precious, a dog whose newfound love for life has warmed our hearts. 

Precious finds confidence and friends!

If you keep an eye on our facebook you may have seen this gorgeous girl pop up occasionally in group posts. Precious is one of the dogs another charity in Romania asked us to take back in September. 
When she first arrived, Precious was so shut down, it was heartbreaking to watch. If she felt you watching her she would slip out into the outer part of her kennel, or hunker down and make herself as small as possible, her eyes darting back and forth between you and the floor until you left her alone. As her travel companions discovered the joys of sanctuary life, walks in the woods, running in the field and being showered with love, it was all too much for her. Precious remained gripped by terror, and the trauma she had experienced whilst living on the streets and the long journey here. 

If there's one thing we know, it's that time, patience, love (and treats!) are the way to every dog's heart. We have an incredible team who dedicated themselves to showing Precious that she didn't need to be afraid anymore. Day by day, her trust grew, and her whole body language has changed in the most wonderful way. When she walks, her tail is held high, and she has started to want to explore further. She has found confidence in her friendship with other dogs, so she has frequent playdates with our other rescues, and loves saying hello to them every time she leaves her kennel!

This amazing girl has come so far from being the dog who could walk no further than 10 yards out of her kennel, and to see her find joy in being loved by our team, and slowly expand the spaces she feels confident in, is miraculous. Our behaviourist has done this by creating an environment of encouragement where Precious leads her progress, new spaces she encounters are calm and positive, and she is told she is a good, brave girl every step of the way. 

She still isn't quite ready to find her forever home - though government guidelines mean she couldn't meet potential adopters yet regardless! But we wanted you, our amazing supporters to meet one of our residents who is so grateful for this wonderful community who have given her a space for her to find her feet. 

Precious thanks you all for giving her a bright future to look forward to, and for a space where she has learnt what true happiness is.

So many Black & White Cats looking for their forever homes!

We have so many gorgeous cats looking for their forever homes at Holly Hedge, and some of them have been with us for many months. Statistically, black and white cats are more likely to become strays and they make up the majority of the world’s feral and semi-feral cat population. Black and White cats also spend longer in our care than their tortie, tabby or ginger friends, and we wanted to take the opportunity to talk about them, loud and proud! 

With white black and white cats, the predominant colour is usually black. While the tuxedo is usually associated for being fancy clothes for a gentleman, black and white cats can be either male or female, and any black and white combination is considered a tuxedo cat. The most common pattern you will see is cats with a black body and white chest and paws - they're always dressed up ready for dinner!

Unlike orange tabbies or tortoiseshells, they can easily be male or female so there are an equal number of male and female black and white cats.

Although difficult to know for sure exactly when the first black & white cats appeared, they can be traced all the way back to the Ancient Egyptians. In fact, the majority of cats depicted in Egyptian tombs were black & white cats, so we've been worshipping them a lot longer than you may think! 

Tuxedo cats develop incredibly quickly—and are sometimes thought of as the geniuses of the kitty world... (especially by their humans). 
Here's why... It takes most cats one to two weeks to open their eyes after birth. But newborn B&W cats? They open their eyes a whole 24 hours before any other kind of cat. 

William Shakespeare, Beethoven, and Sir Isaac Newton all had pet tuxedo cats...which we think allows us to confidently assume they have inspired some of the genius and greatness we still revere today! 

So we'll end this piece with a little about some of the beautiful black & white cats pictured above, in the hopes it might help them get seen. Tom 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. Joey came into us with a big wound on his neck, having lived as a stray but has put all of that behind him and loves nothing more than to be on your lap, leaning against you for fuss! Pogo is very talkative and chirps away to you with a loud purrr, and she loves a cuddle! 

If you would like to know more about any of our black and white beauties, please go to our rehoming page here. 

Meet Davina, the cat who lived at Cribbs Causeway for 5 years

On the 5th December last year, a concerned person posted in the Lost and Found Pets in Bristol/South Glos facebook group about a cat behind the bins at Cribbs Causeway, scavenging through them for food. Diligently looking back through the group, the admins found posts about the same cat from February 2019 and March 2020 where people expressed concern for her wellbeing. Previous attempts to catch her had been unsuccessful, though one had been incredibly close and they had managed to get her into their car, but she had escaped. Knowing the cold weather was coming, a little team of volunteers including our Fundraiser banded together and worked out a plan to bring her out of the cold, and hopefully reunite her with her owners.

Davina was not keen on the idea of being taken anywhere however, and she would bolt when approached! Undeterred, a feeding routine was set up so she would be well fed, and some trust would be built so she would be easier to trap. She was taking shelter every night between some chairs put out for her by a local garage, who confirmed she had been there for at least several years, and that they had been feeding her on and off. Between the team effort, Davina was soon happily tucking into a nutritious meal every day. 
It took many cold evenings and several wet mornings sitting in a car park rustling packets of dreamies to finally trap Davina, but the third time was the charm! She smelled dreadful, and she was terrified, but she was finally safe.
Once she arrived, she was immediately scanned for a microchip, and to our shock the chip revealed that she had owners, and had been lost for five years! Her family were so relieved to hear that Davina had been found and was safe. Five years is a long time however, and their circumstances had changed. They were heartbroken, but they wanted what was best for Davina, and recognising she was now in her twilight years, and that they had two male cats who were territorial, signed her over to us, knowing that we would find her a forever home to be queen of. 

Though initially petrified, Davina quickly settled in, and now greets our team happily and confidently. It is as if the memories of being loved have come flooding back to her, and she will be soon ready to find her forever home. 
Cats are wonderfully resilient, and they are survivors. For Davina to have survived for so long, in such an uninhabitable area is nothing less than incredible. It is heartbreaking to think she had lived for so long outside, her memory of a loving home and a family slowly fading as she lived off scraps. Unfortunately as cats are so resilient and so quickly adapt, the people at the garage assumed she was happy there, and they hadn’t thought that she might be lost, or missing home comforts. 
Please, if you see or hear about a cat living as a stray, take photos and post them on facebook to a local group, or knock on neighbour's doors to see if they know who the cat belongs to. It may be that the cat is just nervous and likes to wander, so unless the cat is in an immediately dangerous area or needs urgent medical help, please don't take the cat. You can always call us for advice if you need it, we are here to help.  

Davina's great adventure has almost come to an end, and soon she will be ready to find her forever home.

Unwanted Gifts? Yes please! 

We cannot wait to be able to see you all once more at our events, which we hope will be soon! We are always looking for items we can use in tombolas, raffles and auctions at our events, so if you have anything you would prefer not to keep, please consider donating it so we can raise funds for our rescues! 

We want everyone to stay safe, so if you are able to hold onto these prizes until the lockdown is lifted that would be a huge help. Alternatively if you are struggling for space you can drop items at our Sanctuary, please do label them as "prize" and keep them bagged if possible. 

Items we'd particularly love: 

  • Bottles of plonk 
  • Smellies and bath bits
  • Chocolate/sweets
  • Jams, chutneys, teas
  • Beanie babies
If you were popular over Christmas and received lots of cards, we can take your used stamps too, and turn them into cash! Old mobile phones are also welcome - these can be recycled by us too! 

Thank you! 

Ways to support us from home! 

There are many ways to help our rescues from afar! If you have ever donated to us, have you filled in a Gift Aid form? We can collect Gift Aid on donations made as far back as four years ago - and for every £1, we receive an extra 25p! You can fill this in online here.  

If you are shopping online, did you know you'll be able to support our rescues at the same time, at no extra cost to you! Easyfundraising is easy to sign up to, and collects donations for us which we receive every few months. This goes for hundreds of shops, for anything from new clothes to furniture, to DIY equipment, and the pennies really do quickly add up to pounds! You can sign up here.

Do you shop on Amazon regularly? Did you know you can donate to us whilst shopping there? Just sign up to Amazon Smile here Choose Holly Hedge as your charity, then shop, and 0.5% of each purchase will be donated by Amazon to our animals! 

Are you on facebook? If so did you know that you can raise funds for us with a birthday fundraiser? Near to your birthday you will receive a notification from facebook that will guide you on how to set this up. Facebook take no fee and send us the funds raised each month.
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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 
*Thank you for your ongoing support*

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Holly Hedge Animal Sanctuary · Wild Country Lane · Barrow Gurney · Bristol, BS48 3SE · United Kingdom