Rescued Animals...

These are just a very few of the thousands of animals, birds and reptiles that have been helped by Willows in the past. Please consider helping this important work to continue.



Early in 2012 Willows received a call about the plight of three miniature Shetland Ponies who had been abandoned on one of the Shetland Islands, Their owner had neglected the ponies and then simply moved away and they had been seized by the Shetland Island Council and were now subject to legal proceedings. We learned that one of the ponies was a young stallion (named Faramir) who had at an earlier date been rescued from being sold for slaughter. We were told that he was very badly behaved with other ponies and was about to be booked to be put down!



Another of the ponies was named Carly and she was expecting a foal which had been sired by Faramir.



The third pony (called Defiant) was also facing an uncertain future. We agreed to save all three ponies and they undertook a fourteen hour boat trip from Shetland to Aberdeen and then were picked up and transported to Willows. (There is a short film of their arrival on YouTube.) On arrival they were checked by our vet and were so riddled with worms that they were visible on the poor pony’s bottoms!! They have all settled in well and Defiant already has a new home. Faramir has been beautifully behaved and Carly is quietly awaiting a happy event!



Tor came to Willows because he suffers very badly from sweet itch (which is an allergic response to midge bites) His owners were desperate to find him a home where there are not too many midges. He is a lovely gentle horse but when he arrived and was inspected by our vet it was agreed that he was the most overweight horse that anyone of us had ever seen. He was immediately placed on a restricted diet as he was in imminent danger of developing laminitis. When he has been reduced to a more svelte outline Tor will be available for rehoming!


Humphrey the donkey came to Willows with a Shetland Pony companion called Dennis because he was no longer wanted. He had been bought with much enthusiasm (and little knowledge) as a children's pet and had ended up just being left out in a muddy field all winter. No proper attention had been paid to him and his neglected feet were just beginning to turn up and he was riddled with both worms and lice. Humphrey and his Shetland Pony friend Dennis will become permanent residents here at Willows and will be able to enjoy the happy life that they deserve.


Prince was the much loved pet of a lady who due to a change in her circumstances found herself unable to keep him. Prince travelled down from Shetland with the three rescued miniature ponies and has settled in well.


Clyde was the deeply loved pet of a young woman who sadly had been diagnosed with cancer. Her distraught mother was desperate to find a safe home for this much loved pony and rang Willows in desperation. She had rung a large horse charity and asked for their help - only to be told that she should have Clyde put down!!! She told Willows of her plight (whilst sobbing her heart out) and begged us to take him as we were her last hope!

We agreed (of course) and are happy to say that he has settled in well and is enjoying his time at Willows


McGill is a young horse that has been loaned out many times and each new home has made him more and more nervous. He is literally afraid of his own shadow! His owner rang and begged us to offer him a safe lifetime home as she was at her wits end as to what to do with him! McGill is a very large horse (18.3hh) and his owner couldn't find anywhere to stable him! He is now settling in at Willows and uses one of our internal stables in a barn so has plenty of head room! 


Libby We recently accepted Libby and her close companion Leea a black Shetland Pony. Their previous owner had to find a safe home for them as she had been made redundant and could no longer afford to keep them. She told Willows “Libby was rescued from France in October 2008 she was 2 days away from being slaughtered for meat. We paid the fare for her to travel from Normandy to us here in Crudie. It took her 3 days to get here. She was very thin and her head collar had marked her face. She was scared of everyone and it took us months to gain her trust.” Both are now settled at the sanctuary


Rory was rescued in the Summer of 2011 from a back garden where he had been kept tied to a tree for two weeks as his owner had lost her rented grazing. The garden was also used by dogs and he arrived smeared with dog excrement as he had had no choice but to lie down in it! He was gelded a few days later and needed lots of veterinary attention as there were post-operative complications. Rory arrived with quite bad behaviours (rearing and biting etc.) these are all responding to training and he is becoming a lovely pony.


King is an ex racehorse and had been on loan to someone who was unable to keep him any longer. He arrived in a rather neglected state with a damaged foot. He had torn off one of his shoes and pulled part of his hoof with it! His previous owner had just had a baby and simply could not deal with him anymore. He will need extensive remedial work on his feet and will be assessed as to his suitability for rehoming in the Spring.


Tamara In early July 2011 we were asked if we could help a pony who was about to be euthanized. Her owners had approached all the large national charities to no avail and then they heard about Willows. Tamara had been diagnosed as too arthritic to be ridden and it was felt that there was no future for her at all.

We have had her evaluated by our barefoot trimmer who thinks that with the right care she may recover completely.


Smirnoff Ice is a Highland X Pony aged 7 who arrived at Willows in the middle of September 2011. His owner had lost her husband in a tragic accident and finding herself the sole supporter of young children was unable to afford to keep him. She was utterly desperate to find somewhere safe for him and we agreed to accept him. Eventually after several months of appeals we managed to find him a good home where he is now happily settled.


Symphony had spent much of her life in a riding school and was rehomed to someone who ended up neglecting her so badly that she broke out of her field in a desperate attempt to find food. Symphony found herself rescued by police because she was on a road and endangering both herself and passing motorists. Willows then received yet another desperate call because all the large agencies had refused to help her. She will now spend her retirement safely at Willows.


Boris is a very sweet natured and loving horse whose previous owner gave him to Willows after family changes meant that he needed a new home. Although Boris has recently belonged to kind and considerate people his early life was very traumatic as he lost an eye after he was attacked by a gang of teenagers. He now has a permanent retirement home at Willows where he has become a valued part of our Animal – Assisted Therapy programme.


dixie Willows Patron, Michael Romeling, made an emergency trip up from Wales to bring a badly neglected collie dog to the sanctuary. Michael had been unable to find help for Dixie anywhere else and when we learned of his plight we agreed to take him in. He is at present under veterinary assessment as he has various health issues but we hope to soon be able to find him a loving new home. Update 14th August we have a wonderful new home for Dixie!

Mary had been abandoned when a leg injury prevented her from loading onto a lorry with the rest of her flock. Her callous owner simply left her alone in the snow to fend for herself. Luckily some kind people became aware of her plight and gave her food and water and eventually brought her out to Willows to join our flock of rescued sheep.


Toots (aged 15) is one of a pair of elderly cats we accepted recently. Her owner had just died
and his family said that they were unable to look after them and the keys to their home were
due to be handed in! The national charities had been approached but they had been unable to
help. Toots and Tiggy were brought to the sanctuary and have quickly adapted to their new life at Willows.
Jim is a 6 year old collie whose owner said that as he was no longer useful as a sheepdog he would be destroyed unless we took him in. How could we refuse? Even though he had spent most of his life chained up he quickly learned to cope with all the new experiences at Willows and we were soon able to find him a loving, permanent new home
  Dougal is a young Shetland pony who has had a very traumatic start to his life. He was rejected by his mother and later collapsed and almost died because he was not receiving adequate nutrition. As a result he is very small for his age.

His previous owner contacted Willows and asked if we would take in Dougal and his half-brother Zebedee as she was recently diagnosed with a serious illness and was now too ill to look after them properly.
Toby is a beautiful Highland x Arab Pony who was diagnosed with the degenerative eye disease uveitis and was found to be virtually blind. This diagnosis meant that Toby could not stay at his current home at a riding school and his owners launched an appeal to find him a new home. A friend of the owner approached Willows and we were delighted to be able to offer him a permanent home - and he quickly settled in.
Neville is a gentle and loving black cat who found himself very down on his luck. He had been rescued by another charity and re-homed with people who promised to look after him. However his new owners abandoned him and Neville finding himself homeless took shelter in a hole in the wall of a local police station. Luckily some kind people rescued him and brought him to Willows.
This is a photo of an elderly cat (aged 20) named Cheeky who although a much loved pet was booked into the vets to be put to sleep as his elderly owner could no longer cope with Cheeky failing to be housetrained. Willows received an urgent call to the effect that unless we could take him he had a final appointment with the vet in 20 minutes time. Of course we agreed to take him and can now report that he is happily settled at the sanctuary and has made friends with the other residents and rushes to greet visitors.
In June 1999 Willows received an urgent phone call asking if we could provide a home for Lucky. Life had been fine for Lucky until his owner had agreed to place him on loan with someone who failed to take proper care of him. When his owner became aware of Lucky’s plight she took urgent action to take him back and find somewhere safe for him to live.
When Lucky arrived here he was in a very poor state. He was utterly emaciated and crawling with lice, which had caused all his hair to fall out. Our vet said that without prompt action he would only have a few days to live. First we deloused him and then started him on tiny amounts of food every hour, which we gradually built up to 6 meals a day. As he became stronger we decided to worm him. The vet had estimated that Lucky had already lost half his normal body weight and when we did worm him he became even thinner. However with lots of loving care Lucky did eventually make a full recovery. He lived for eight more happy years!
Willows recently received a frantic call from a girl who had found a tiny newly born kitten. The kitten was soaking wet and very cold. Our manager went out to collect the little soul and set about the very difficult task of hand rearing him. New born kittens have to be bottle fed with special milk every two hours at first. They must also be helped to urinate by gentle wiping of their abdomen with moist cotton wool. Luckily the kitten survived and has now been adopted into a very loving home.
Sid arrived at Willows in 2006. He had been a riding school horse and when he began to buck riders off it was discovered that he had a broken pelvis. Sid had then been left out in a field over winter without a rug or any hard feed. His feet were overgrown and causing him pain. We called our vet and farrier out as soon as he arrived and they were both shocked to see a horse in such a condition Sid is a lovely gentle boy and is really enjoying his well deserved retirement here at Willows.
Poppy arrived one Sunday afternoon with people who claimed that she had been abandoned in their garden. As they were flying to England they had been trying to find someone to take her in. She was about three months old and very unsure about what was happening. Willows checked locally and discovered that she had been passed around by several people and already had had five homes. We decided that Poppy should be adopted by the Sanctuary and be given a permanent home with the two other rescued dogs here. She quickly made herself at home and is particularly keen on spending her winter evenings lying in front of the fire!
This is Arthur a young cat who had been left in a box inside a black bag with his sister in the middle of a wood. Although they had managed to dig their way out they didn’t know where to go so they just lived off the rest of the rubbish around. Luckily a woman walking her dog found them and alerted us to their plight. We managed to trap them and they are both in the process of getting rehabilitated. Already they are learning that some humans can be trusted. Willows will ensure that no harm will come to these sweet little cats again.
Ginger Pompom. In August 2010 we noticed that a desperately thin and injured ginger cat had been dumped at the sanctuary. He was in a truly horrendous state — emaciated, filthy and had a broken tail and several ticks and was absolutely terrified!

We are delighted to say that after lots of TLC and intensive vet care (including amputation of his tail) he is fully recovered and restored to health although still rather timid. He has been named Ginger Pompom because the amputation site has now sprouted long silky hair and resembles a pompom!!
William, a young Labrador dog had been badly abused. He had actually been thrown through a window and was locked in a house and left to live in his own excrement for nearly a year! Willows managed to get his owner to sign him over to the charity and began the difficult task of rehabilitating a very nervous and aggressive dog. We are now happy to report that we have found a wonderful home for William where he will be loved and looked after properly.
Romeo. In early February 2009 Willows was approached by a lady who was extremely concerned about the plight of two horses who had been abandoned at a livery yard and whose owners were being sued for the outstanding livery bill. As the court hearings continued the two innocent horses were left neglected and starving in a field.

A national welfare charity was called and declared that the horses would take too many resources to return to full health and decided that they should both be put down. The concerned lady was appalled at this pronouncement and approached Willows. We immediately agreed to offer them a permanent home. When they arrived the Willows vet evaluated them and although they had lost muscle and condition he felt that they would fully recover in just a few months.

Both horses have recovered fully and settled in well and are thoroughly enjoying their life here at Willows.
Archimedes is an Orange Winged Amazon Parrot who arrived at the sanctuary in a very disturbed state. He had been badly abused for 12 years. He was confined to a filthy cage which was too small for him to spread his wings and he had been constantly teased with the result that he screamed whenever he saw people. After 18 months rehabilitation we are happy to say that he is now a very different bird who has a very loving home with other birds and he has learned to fly and enjoy his freedom!
Dusky is a pony who came to Willows because he was diagnosed as having an allergy to grass and his owners were unable to keep him.
This is Mrs Cat (MC) a very sweet cat who had been kept at a cat rescue centre in a cage for two years. She arrived at Willows in a very traumatised state but after lots of TLC she recovered from her long ordeal and now is able to enjoy a life of freedom at the sanctuary.
On Saturday 25.9.10 we accepted a lamb, subsequently named Maggie, who had been rescued by a vet student. The poor little lamb had been found collapsed by a roadside. Her callous owner had removed both her ear tags (so that she could not be identified) and because she had flystrike (she was being eaten alive by maggots) she had been dumped to suffer an agonising death. Luckily her rescuer knew how to treat her and nursed her for three weeks before bringing her to Willows. As you can see from the photo, her back is still quite sore but we are confident that she will make a full recovery and live happily with our other rescued sheep.
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 Babe 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.
Perdita is a young Springer Spaniel who had been terribly neglected. She was left locked in filth for days at a time and fed and watered only sporadically. She was rescued by a kind lady who was unable to offer her a permanent home. When she came to Willows she was matted, starving and covered in excrement. She is however a beautiful and loving dog and she was quickly given a permanent home by one of our staff and will live happily and safely from now on.
Willows received an urgent phone call from the school secretary at Banff Academy. She had retrieved a newly born kitten from the middle of the road outside the school. The kitten had narrowly missed being run over by a bus and urgently needed to be helped. Willows agreed to take her and she arrived cold, hungry and smelling of diesel and petrol. One of sanctuary volunteers quickly prepared warm milk and the kitten sucked hungrily.

The kitten was named Wilma after her kind rescuer. Wilma was quickly found a loving home far away from busy roads.
Edward is a lovely black and white cat. He had spent the first 18 months of his life confined to a cat basket. The SSPCA rescued him and prosecuted his owners but unfortunately no permanent home could be found for him as he was so psychologically traumatised. Just as he was about to be put to sleep someone suggested that Willows might be able to help him.

When he arrived at Willows he was absolutely terrified! Initially he was placed in an empty, covered aviary. However he soon gained confidence and was able to place a paw into the outside world. He gradually learned to jump and climb and do all the things cats do. He made friends with all the other cats and grew used to all the animals at Willows.

After about three months at Willows, Edward was able to live a much more normal life and although he is still a little unpredictable he is now a happy and affectionate sanctuary cat.

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