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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
||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.
(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
were soon able to find him a loving, permanent
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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
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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