May 172012

With thanks to Suzanne Kelly.

Kate at Willows Animal Sanctuary has updated Aberdeen Voice with the latest news, including an open day and some dramatic equine rescues.

An open day will be held on 26th May at Willows Animal Sanctuary from 11:30 to 5pm.

You are invited to come and meet the staff and residents of Willows and enjoy:

  •    LIVE MUSIC!
  •    GIFT SHOP!

Come along and meet all your favourite furry friends!

While animals all over the UK are experiencing problems, here are some tales of equine work that Willows has been doing locally:

Early in 2012 Willows received a call about the plight of three miniature Shetland Ponies that had been abandoned on one of the Shetland Islands.  Their owner had neglected the ponies and then simply moved away, with the result that they had been seized by Shetland Island Council and were 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 around other ponies and arrangements were about to be made to have him 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 where they were picked up and transported to Willows. They were checked by our vet and were so riddled with worms that the worms were visible on the poor ponies’ bottoms!

Here is a short film of their arrival at Willows.

They all settled in well, and Defiant already has a new home, while Faramir has been beautifully behaved and Carly is quietly awaiting her 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 were 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 any of us had ever seen.

He was immediately placed on a restricted diet as he was in imminent danger of developing laminitis, a disease which affects horses’ feet, and is linked to over-feeding.  When he has been reduced to a more svelte outline Tor will be available for rehoming!

 Humphrey’s neglected feet were beginning to turn up and he was riddled with both worms and lice.

Humphrey the donkey came to Willows with a Shetland pony companion called Dennis because they were no longer wanted.   He had been bought – with much enthusiasm but 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 – his neglected feet were 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 Shetland ponies and has settled in well.

Clyde was the deeply loved pet of a young woman who had, sadly, 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 report that Clyde has settled in well and is enjoying his time at Willows.

As a registered charity, Willows relies on your donations to continue its ever-increasing work supporting rescued wild, domestic and farm animals, and all contributions will be welcomed.

See how you can donate by visiting our website at

Willows Animal Sanctuary is situated on the B9093 between New Pitsligo and Strichen.