Mr B and I drove down to Poole this weekend to visit the Dorset Wildlife Rescue team. This is not a huge purpose-built centre with a team of staff – DWR consists of a lovely couple, Nick and Sandi Ridge, who’ve devoted themselves to caring for injured and abandoned wildlife and birds of prey in their back garden in Dorset. They’re certified by the RSPCA to take in rescued creatures and we were really moved by their commitment to a job that can’t be easy.
They have years of experience and have rescued and cared for many different animals including foxes, badgers, otters, deer, hedgehogs and many birds of prey. The aim is always to rehabilitate the animals back into the wild wherever possible. When we visited they had four foxcubs in the specially converted shed which houses the pens and incubators. All four were female and unrelated – they’d been brought in throughout the spring as abandoned or orphaned cubs who would have died if they hadn’t been rescued. Nick has been asking me to visit for ages and I wish I’d seen the cubs when they were tiny, but I’ve been very busy writing books!
Nick had warned me if we didn’t come soon, the cubs would be released back into the wild as they’ve grown so well and are almost ready. They were utterly adorable – the two we held and cuddled were very tame and very friendly. They seemed to enjoy the contact although they were restless and curious, like toddlers, and their claws were sharp! They smelt lovely – a bit like puppies – and their fur was so very soft.
We spent a wonderful afternoon there and Nick and Sandi told us all about their rescue work, which relies solely on donations from the public. When these don’t come in, the couple fund the centre entirely from their own pockets. If anyone reading this feels moved to make a donation they’d be really grateful, however small it is. The link to their site is on the front page of this website and you can donate using Paypal if you like. Stonewylde is sponsoring them and I’m really honoured to have been invited to be a patron. This means I’ll get to visit them regularly and see all their animals, so I’ll be blogging about them every so often and showing you new photos.
Do take a look at their website, which has lovely photos and some video too. They also have a wishlist of things they need. It would be lovely if Stonewylders, especially anyone living in Dorset, could help them out. Maybe a Dorset school could sponsor them and arrange video links? One of the problems with rescued wildlife is that the creatures are either very young and unable to fend for themselves, or they’re injured. Either way, they’re not like domesticated animals that can be taken on visits to raise funds, or have lots of people coming to see them. The aim is always to release them back to the wild and not tame them, so this makes fund-raising even harder. I hope at Stonewylde we can all help Nick and Sandi in their fantastic work in caring for creatures that would otherwise not survive.
I can’t wait till our next visit – I wonder what we’ll see next?