You will be right in thinking that Russ looks larger than your average bunny...He is a Continental Giant Rabbit. These are quite a lot larger than your average bunny. In fact, the Giant breed is generally about 5x larger in both weight and length than your average pet rabbit. On average, they weigh around 25 lbs and are approximately 3 feet in length. To give you some perspective, a Continental giant rabbit will grow to about the same size as a full-grown French bulldog. His previous owner didn't have the amount of time needed for a big character like Russ, but misses him terribly so we send lots of updates on how he is doing.
We have had a few new arrivals...
Gorgeous Basil moved in to HQ in July with Jabba. He is a Gambian Pouched Rat which are quite rare here in the UK. Their name comes from the large, hamster-like pouches in its cheeks. It is not a true rat but part of an African group of rodents. Like many exotics and parrots Pouched Rats will normally bond to one person and in many cases this seems to be the female of the household. Gambian Pouched Rats usually do not adapt to change and so homing Basil was a big decision for us as we know he will not be the easiest of rescues, but so far so good with him and Mark bonding well.
We are really sad to say goodbye to Sam who has been helping us for the past few years. He has finished his studies and is starting a new exciting career and we wish him all the luck he deserves! We both know he will be a AMAZING wherever his journey takes him!
We will miss you Sam!
It is September which means...
IT'S OUR 6th BIRTHDAY!
IRIS & MAISIE
This beautiful mother & daughter came to live at HQ when their owner was in the midst of a medical condition that would mean hospitalisation and long term rehabilitation. They are absolutely wonderful and have both successfully been integrated into our existing herd of now 8 rabbits. Maisie (brown) is more confident than her mum however Iris is the more affectionate.
Thank you for reading our newsletter - we hope you have enjoyed it and look forward to hearing from you via our various Social Media posts.
Mark & Jerry
Well how could we say no to this little face with a huge personality?!
Alvin was looking for a new forever home after his owners needed to move during a divorce. Sadly neither could take him with them and so we decided to offer him a home here. He integrated into the group very easily and immediately bonded with Maisie, who he cuddles up with most of the time.
Can it really be 6 years?! We cannot quite believe it to be honest! When we started this little journey of ours in 2015 it was only ever meant to be a well being project for Mark to assist him in his mental health recovery and 6 years on it has grown into a full on animal sanctuary and family business.
How did it all begin?
We have always had rescue animals over the years and shared a passion for the unloved & unwanted. When we met Mark had 2 dogs while Jerry had 3 cats and 6 rabbits.
Jerry enjoyed a successful career as a Teacher specialising in Special Needs and Mark had worked as an Art Director for most of his life meaning he spent a lot of time at home with the animals.
We faced a big change in our lives when Mark suffered a complete breakdown after many years of being a workaholic sat behind a computer with no life/work balance. This left him in a position of needing to reevaluate everything due to now being plagued with anxiety and panic attacks.
We were invited to an Animal Party by a friend and we were really excited to meet a fellow animal lover and learn about their animals. We have always loved seeing animals and spend a lot of free time in the various zoos around the country. We were so excited but honestly we couldn't have been more disappointed! The person running the encounter was rude, abrupt and had no interest in either us or the children. There was no interaction with the animals and the age-inappropriate information was delivered in an emotionless, robotic manor leaving everyone flat and disappointed.
The parents who knew us at the party felt we should start offering encounters with our own rescue animals, which we initially laughed off. As months passed by the idea did start to grow and with some large vet bills needing paying we decided that it could be fun to give it a go. Looking back neither of us thought it would be much more than a fun activity to pursue together with our beloved animals and certainly not a life changing escapade.
We held our first Animal Encounter at a birthday party in November 2015 and it was so much fun!Mark had always been stuck behind a computer so being in front of large groups was rather daunting but Jerry's teaching stood him in great stead for being able to create a warm and entertaining way of talking about the animals in an educational fun way. We were hooked! Over time, via word-of-mouth and social media, bookings began to trickle in until we were starting to get booked up almost every weekend.
Mark reduced his Graphic Design workload considerably finding a real happiness and fulfilment working more and more with animals. Bookings continued to grow and now branching into Schools, Care Homes and Holiday Clubs and before long Mark enrolled his sister Kate to keep up with the increasing popularity of our unique encounters.
In 2018 things shifted up a whole new gear and our fun hobby morphed into an all consuming project that was engulfing every minute of every day. We moved to a new location and Jerry decided to take a break from teaching and focus full time on building the business side to support Mark's passion which had now veered heavily into the sanctuary. Jerry loved the human interaction side and felt happier being out meeting children with the animals, which really suited his strengths and teaching background.
Since 2018 we have grown from strength to strength. The sanctuary now has over 100+ residents and the business successfully supports this. We like to see ourselves as 2 stings on the same bow with a happy animal sanctuary and then an animal handling business to make the sanctuary financially possible. Only about 20% of the animals who live in the sanctuary come out to meet people and we only ever let those that love the attention take part.
Obviously Covid has played a huge part in everyone's lives over the past 18 months and we were no different with finances and anxiety stretched to the absolute limit but we are still here (after some pretty hefty loans)...still saving animals and educating in a healthy, fun and safe way.
Thank you for being a part of our journey!
Handsome Joey is a Chinchilla who was rescued around 6 years ago by his previous owner. She found him looking crestfallen in a Pets At Home after his cage mate had died leaving him sad and lonely. She gave him a brilliant home for many years, but with the arrival of their first child she felt Joey needed some Chinchilla company and so asked us if he could join our male group.
Joey was probably the easiest Chinchilla we have ever integrated and took to the group almost immediately. He seems so happy and relaxed and is cuddled up with Charlie, Clarence and Chester all the time which is just brilliant to see. His previous owner was terribly upset rehoming him but knew it was the right thing for him and she is thrilled seeing the updates of his new life.
This handsome boy moved in to HQ in July when his owner was downsizing his animals and needed a new forever home for him. African bullfrogs are the largest frogs in Africa, with some reaching dinner-plate size! They are very greedy animals and will eat anything they can fit in their large mouths!