Take a read on what our dedicated teams will be up to this Christmas.
We all work as normal over the festive period up until Christmas Eve. Christmas Day and Boxing Day are usually a bit quieter with no scheduled surgeries but we have a Vet and two nurses on duty for urgent checks, administering treatments and to carry out any emergency operations. We know that pets can fall ill, and abandoned strays can be brought in any day of the year, so our dedicated team needs to be there to provide pain relief and urgent treatment over Christmas too.
Where possible, the smaller animals – mainly rodents and rabbits – go out into foster care, to enjoy some one-on-one attention. For those on site, we make up special enrichment boxes, or give an extra treat or two. Every day is normal for us, other than Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day. We split these days between us and all work at least one of them. If any animals need medication, one of us will stay late, but otherwise we aim to head off around 4.30pm on Christmas Day to see our families, knowing our Protection and Welfare Services (PaWS) team will be keeping a watchful eye on all our furry friends.
We always have a large number of pets in foster care, and over Christmas we try to send as many as possible off site and into loving homes. Many go with staff members who may have time off over Christmas. Most of our fosterers buy toys and gifts for their foster pets – treating them exactly like their own. We have coverage for fostering, seven days a week, 365 days a year, so we’ll be working throughout the Christmas and New Year period to support all of our fosterers and pets. For example, we’ll be making sure any Vet checks are kept and that everyone has food, toys, equipment and any help they need.
As long as it isn’t disruptive to a dog’s routine, we try to get as many out to foster homes as possible over Christmas. We receive donated wrapped gifts for the dogs who stay with us, which we give them on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. There are fewer staff on site – we all agree to work one out of the three main Christmas bank holidays – but as we aren’t open to the public, we can focus our energy on spoiling the dogs with extra care as well as presents.
Every member of staff takes responsibility for covering a shift over the Christmas period, so we all get some time with the cats and some time with our families. We tend to receive a lot of small gifts in the run up to Christmas, so our cats get a present and a little treat on Christmas morning – cooked chicken or turkey breast and Dreamies seem to go down well with those that are allowed them. We usually do some basic cleaning then spend our time interacting with the cats, playing or giving them lots of affection. We also receive chocolates and biscuits that staff and volunteers share, to keep us going!
We look after the staff, animals and buildings here at Wood Green and are on-site 24/7, 365 days a year.
We support the animal welfare teams overnight with any pet care requests, for example feeding and monitoring poorly animals and contacting the veterinary team if there’s ever an emergency. We also take in strays out of hours, making them comfortable for their stay on site and contacting the Vet if we need to.
Over Christmas, we will carry on as normal with patrols and monitoring the site and all its residents. The maintenance team are on call over Christmas and we will be responsible for contacting them should there be an emergency, like a burst pipe or heating failure. Basically, we are here to support our Wood Green colleagues over Christmas just like any other day.
We usually get very busy in the month leading up to Christmas. Some people are worried about their pet and need advice; others have financial worries and can’t afford essential vet care or to both feed their pets and buy presents for their children. In this case, we may be able to supply them with pet food through our Outreach team or signpost them to a local food bank. We also supply some food banks ourselves. It tends to quieten down between Christmas and New Year as people presume we are closed, but we do get people calling to say, ‘Happy Christmas’. We only close on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, when we have a recorded message stating what to do in an emergency. The rest of the time we are there seven days a week to help with everyone’s questions.
Or by calling 0300 303 9876