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These animals are just a very few of the 1000s that Willows has rescued over more than 21 years in Scotland.

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My name is Angel and this is my story. I was orphaned as a lamb and my owners bottle fed me. Things weren't too bad, it was summer and I had lots of friends. When winter came, my owners placed me and my friend out in a field and pretty much forgot about us. We had little water or food and the grass wasn't up to much. One day when I was looking for food, I punctured my eye on an old piece of wire that had been left lying around. The pain was so bad and I felt so ill. I waited for help but weeks passed and none came.

My eye was now very badly infected and the infection had started to track down my face. Christmas came and went and I was feeling so terribly ill and with battling the cold winter I had started to give up on life. My friend disappeared, I didn't know where she went and I was all alone. Then suddenly, this lady leapt over the fence and scooped me up! I was so weak I didn't put up much of a fight. She carried me into her shed and put me on a warm bed of shavings and put a heat lamp on me. She told me that she had seen how unwell I looked and that she couldn't leave me where I was. She'd asked my owners if she could take me and they'd said yes! She called out a vet that night who said my eye had gone past the point of being saved and I would have to have it removed.

I was dehydrated and I had chronic pneumonia. The vet gave me lots of injections and left lots medicine for me to have. The next day, the lady who rescued me took me to Willows Animal Sanctuary and I was given a lovely stable bedded with golden straw and there were friends in the stall next to me. A few weeks later, when I was stronger, I had the operation to remove my eye. I felt a lot better after it was removed as it was causing me great pain. I am all recovered now! I just love the people who look after me, I get lots of fuss and scratches on a daily basis and my tummy is always full! I know now that I am loved and safe forever and I will never be forgotten or neglected again.

Janet and Poppy: we were contacted in August 2015 by a lady who had been left to take care of these poor animals (12 sheep and 5 goats) which had been heartlessly abandoned by their owner. Animal health advised that they be fattened up and sent to market! Many of the sheep were found with fly strike (when a bluebottle fly lays eggs on a live animal and they hatch into maggots and starting eating the flesh) and the goats had rotting feet. They were immediately seen by our vet and received medical attention.

The sheep began producing lambs in February and are all doing well. They are all happily settled in the sanctuary and will stay here in safety for the rest of their lives. One of the Jacob ewes who we named Janet had a very difficult birth and needed an assisted delivery. When her little lamb, Poppy, was born, Janet tried and failed to feed her. Our vet discovered that her udder was full of scar tissue and recommended that Poppy be taken away and given artificial colostrum and milk. Heartbroken by the situation, we removed Poppy and poor Janet cried and cried for her. The heartbreak this sheep was feeling was one of the saddest things we'd ever witnessed but Poppy needed urgent nutrition as she was becoming weaker by the moment. Next day, Poppy was looking much better and although we knew Janet couldn't feed her she could do all the other things like cuddle her and love her. If Janet would accept her back, we could bottle feed her and hopefully the two could be reunited. We made Janet a pen among her fellow sheep and brought Poppy into the stable and carefully introduced them. To say Janet was thrilled to have her baby back is an understatement! We worked out a careful rota and took it in turns to feed little Poppy. She's now grown into a strong sheep and they are both doing really well!

Toto: this little soul has suffered unimaginable neglect in his time. He was found by some kind people on their way home. They were driving along when they saw this matted tiny dog running up and down the road in terrible distress and a few cars had to swerve to avoid him. They pulled over and managed to catch him and they were so upset by the state of him as he was so matted, he couldn't even see. They immediately cut the mats away from his eyes and drove him straight up Willows. We examined him on arrival and we were absolutely appalled by his condition and we had a vet examine him immediately. He was completed matted, all of his teeth were completely rotten and he was extremely thin and absolutely petrified. After observing all the correct protocols with the dog warden and he had gained some strength, the vets gave him a much needed dental. Sadly no teeth could be saved and they all had to be removed as they were just so rotten.

This was an immense ordeal for such a tiny dog and we had to provide him with a huge amount of TLC to get him through. He also has arthritis in his back legs and requires on going treatment to manage it. We are glad to say that he has gained a lot of weight and he's becoming a very happy and loving little chap! We don't know where he came from but it's clear that he was denied a lot of much needed veterinary attention, food and love.

Ginger: I started out life as a racehorse. Although I was well cared for, I was subjected to great cruelty by my trainer. He decided to teach me a hard lesson when I didn’t understand what I was being asked to do one day. Instead of showing me in a gentle way what he was wanting of me, he got immensely angry and beat me until I was black and blue and I felt as if my spirit was broken. The day came for my first big race and I galloped as hard as I could whilst being lashed with a whip. I gave it my all but I didn’t win. The racing world is a hard and cruel industry and horses that don’t win (or even the ones who do) either go straight to the knackers yard, a sale or the lucky ones go to a rehab charity. Many horses are bought up and sent abroad for slaughter. I was very frightened that this cruel fate would be mine but I was incredibly lucky and I was saved by a very kind lady. She took me home and loved me and I actually started to like people again! But, sadly it wasn’t to last. She became unwell and she said she had found me a kind loaner to care for me and I would be better off. So I was loaded up again and sent away to a new livery yard. When I arrived, I didn’t like it there. I wasn’t allowed in with the other horses and they all looked ill. There was rubbish all over the fields and no stables or shelters.

To start with, my new human came up every day to care for me but as the weather got colder her visits started to drop off. My feet became painful as I hadn’t seen a farrier in months and there was no food to speak of. She just seemed to have lost interest in me and I was very lonely and hungry. My rugs were torn and wet and I felt myself becoming weaker. I heard that I was being put up for sale, but I felt so low I no longer cared. A woman came up to view me and I heard her telling my loaner “You will never sell a horse in this kind of state! I’m going to talk to his owner!” A few days later when the wind was howling and the rain was beating down hard and I was standing alone in the field shivering, I saw a horse box pull up. I was taken over to it and the driver insisted that I should have an appropriate rug put on (My loaner thought my torn and soaked rain sheet was okay for me to travel in!). When I was ready I was loaded up and we set off!

Six hours later, we came to a stop and the doors were opened and I stepped out into this wonderful new world! I was led into a nice warm stable with lots of hay and I looked around at all my new friends and I saw lots of contented horses, ponies and donkeys happily munching at their hay with shiny coats and peaceful expressions. A sense of calm came over me as I thought to myself “I’m home now”. After I’d had something to eat, I was groomed, given new rugs and the vet came out to examine me. She said that I needed to gain a lot of weight and left a gentle wormer for me and treated me for lice. The Farrier then came out and made my feet much more comfortable. People were constantly popping in and giving me pats and reassurance and telling me that the worst was now over and the best of it is, I believe them! A few weeks later, I felt strong enough to have a good gallop across the field! As I tore across the field with the wind in my mane and my new friends by side I felt something mend that had long been broken - my spirit!