Pembrokeshire Hogspital rescue centre was set up in my back garden and garage in 2006 with a couple of Critter cages indoors for the more seriously ill hedgehogs.
After having joined the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, I alerted local Vets and put posters in the Library and other strategic places and hedgehogs started to arrive - slowly at first.
I was not a complete beginner as I had looked after a couple a year for three years before but I still needed to learn a lot. To my surprise, I found I appeared to be the only carer in four counties so it was not long before hogs were arriving in substantial numbers and with various problems, creating a very fast learning curve. Luckily I had and still have a brilliant Vet and a friend who used to care for hedgehogs and was able to advise me.
I soon needed to expand and, with the help of a friend's husband, donated kitchen units were converted into cages in the garage and outside rabbit hutches were gleaned through the Freecycle website.
Volunteers were taken on to help me with the cleaning in the mornings and feeding at night.
Early this year (2009) I asked Murco for help with buying hutches and pens for the lawn and, thankfully, they provided four plus four hedgehog houses to go into existing runs. They also gave us air time on Radio Pembrokeshire, to promote the Hogspital and explain the work done here.
It is now 2012 and we are still growing, not from choice but from necessity. This year 111 hedgehogs have passed through our centre and around 80% have been or will be released back into the wild. I have taken on a lot of foster carers as I do not have the time or space to cope with so many hogs. There are around 70 in care at Christmas 2012. The idea is that sick hedgehogs come to the Hogspital, they are treated and, once they are out of danger, they go to a foster carer to continue their recovery until they are ready for release. Two of the carers, who can take at least 10 each, do take local hogs in and treat them, referring them to the Hogspital if their condition is too complicated or does not respond to treatment. In time, all the carers should be able to do this. I hope that this will mean that Pembrokeshire Hogspital will be my legacy to Pembrokeshire when I can no longer do the work
Support is also being given by Pets at Home in Haverfordwest. We have done a lot of fund raising and awareness weekends there and hope to do more during the year. They have a scheme whereby a member of staff can be released to help at a rescue centre for a day and I have been able to take advantage of that as well. We also sold their raffle tickets for them and received a very generous £400. This support has now grown as the raffle tickets are sold twice a year, I have had a Christmas bonus and a pallet of slightly damaged food tins.
If you would like to help us without it costing you a penny, join Easy Fundraising and do your internet shopping through their site. You simply enrol, tick our name as being the organisation you support then you go on to any of the big suppliers who are signed up to it and they will give us a tiny percentage donation for each sale. It is so easy and all the biggest retailers are on there. The only catch is, Tesco do not give any donations on weekly/monthly shopping, only on things bought through Tesco Direct.
Our intensive care unit showing new high quality incubators bought with a grant from PAVS in 2010 and the new tables made by the Pembrokeshire Youth Offending Team in July 2010
Just recently we were lucky enough to receive a large, anonymous donation, which allowed us to have a purpose built shed to house the summer cages during the winter to prevent them rotting. It is big enough to also house some newly donated, large hutches for the hedgehogs to hibernate in. I hope it will overcome the problem of food and water freezing during the winter.
As time has gone on, more people and firms have got to hear about me so finding grants and donations has become a little easier. It was VERY hard to start with. Basically it is essential to get out into the community, teach people and children about the work of the Hogspital and environmental problems, take youngsters in as volunteers and help with Duke of Edinburgh Awards or youngsters hoping to become Vets.
JOP have sent me £100 each year for several years now
Fenton Vets donated around 30 Profender treatments for Fluke. This new arrival to the area is going to prove costly so this is a big help. They are very kind with their fees too.
The Port Authority have given me £100 toward having lighting installed in the shed (or Bluebell Ward to be posh about it)
There are also a few very kind people who have contacted me through the web site and either donated one off or are making annual contributions.
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