Roo’s story

One year old whippet/border collie cross Roo was found on the streets of Romania, missing her two front legs, but has since found a much happier life in North East England.

Dog rescuer Nicki Dick adopted Roo, so called because her manner of walking on two legs resembled that of a kangaroo. While she seemed content with her unique walking style, it was putting excess strain on her spine, leaving her at risk of health problems including arthritis.

To combat this, Nicki organised several fundraisers, and was able to buy Roo a set of custom-made wheels, developed with the help of Roo over six months. She’s still getting used to life on wheels, but has recently managed to transition from three wheels to two.

While wheels have had a positive impact on Roo’s life, they may not be an appropriate solution for all doggy mobility problems, so be sure to check in with a vet for advice on the best mobility solutions for you and your pooch.

Companion animals

Research studies investigating the health benefits of pet ownership have shown that sustained, responsible interaction with companion animals can benefit us in a variety of ways including encouraging exercise, providing emotional support and even boosting our immune systems.

If you would like to know more about the benefits of interaction with companion animals on the elderly, children or people with diverse needs why not visit the following website:

If you are thinking of registering your own pet as a companion animal the Pets As Therapy Website can give you information on what is needed and how to apply.

Tellington Touch: Find out more

Tellington Touch (T.Touch) Training is a specialized approach to the care and training of companion animals that incorporates ground work with body work to help improve physical balance and promote a sense of calm and wellbeing.  It was developed in the USA over thirty years ago by Linda Tellington Jones and has been taught in the UK for two decades.

The bodywork comprises of specific movements on and with the animals body. They are known as TTouches and are divided into circles, slides and lifts. TTouches help to improve circulation, improve body awareness and release tension that may be contributing to poor posture and stress.

What the RSPCA says about Tellington Touch Training:

“It can help but will depend on the individual dog – it may not be appropriate for all of them e.g. if they’re not comfortable with being handled.

If owners are concerned they should speak to their vet for advice on the best way of helping their pet.

Many dogs find human company rewarding and human contact such as gentle stroking has been shown to help dogs cope with stressful situations. However, whilst owners may report an improvement in their dog’s behaviour after using TTouch to treat noise phobias, to our knowledge, there isn’t any scientific evidence to show that TTouch is useful in the long-term treatment of noise phobia in dogs.

Furthermore, all dogs are individuals and it may not be appropriate for every dog. Rather than remain with their owner, some dogs will choose to go and hide somewhere they feel safe when they hear loud noises, and in this case it may be best for them to be left alone unless they are likely to harm themselves.”

How else can you help your pet cope with loud noises?

In the long term, pets need to learn not to be afraid of loud noises and planning ahead can really help them cope. But there are many things owners can do now to help their pets cope with Bonfire night, such as:

•  Not punish or fuss over dogs when they are scared as this could make the problem worse in the long run. It is advised that owners should calmly and confidently interact with their dog as normal and ignore the firework noises themselves.

•  It’s really important to make sure your dog or cat always has somewhere to hide if they want to and has access to this place at all times. For example this could be under some furniture or in a cupboard. It is important that they have access to this ‘safe haven’ at all times, even when you’re not at home.

•  Walk dogs during daylight hours and keep cats and dogs indoors when fireworks are likely to be set off.

•  At nightfall, close windows and curtains and put on music to mask and muffle the sound of fireworks.

•  Make sure your cat or dog is always kept in a safe and secure environment and can’t escape if there’s a sudden noise. Have your pet microchipped in case they do escape.

•  If you know a dog that isn’t scared by noises and which gets on well with your dog, then keeping the two together during the evenings may help your dog to realise that there’s no need to be afraid.

And for small animals, such as rabbits and guinea pigs:

•  If your pets live outside, partly cover cages, pens and aviaries with blankets so that one area is well sound-proofed. Make sure that your pet is still able to look out.

•  Provide lots of extra bedding so your pet has something to burrow in.

Cani-Cross: Find out more

Cani-Cross is an off-road running event where owners are attached to their dogs via a harness. The event gives dog and owner an opportunity to combine bonding with exercise.

Dogs need exercise and plenty of opportunities to walk and run, but the amount of exercise a dog needs depends on factors like their age, breed and health, so it’s important to check that your dog is fit and healthy enough to take part first.

For example, it may not be a suitable activity for certain types of dogs, e.g. brachycephalic (with short, flat faces), elderly and young dogs.

Your vet can give advice on whether your dog is fit and healthy enough to take part, and it is also recommended that you keep the first run short and build up gradually.

This type of exercise can provide both dog and owner with health and welfare benefits. These can include extra opportunities for exercise and enrichment, and for you and your dog to spend more time together.

Cani-cross can be great fun and whilst many dogs will enjoy it, not all dogs will, so it’s important that they find the activity fun and enjoyable and are not forced to be involved if they are anxious or frightened.

How to foster a dog

The RSPCA rely on fosterers to provide temporary homes for the animals in their care. When you foster a dog or cat, you’ll be freeing up space in animal centres so that it is possible to rescue more animals in desperate need.

Animal fostering is an important role. It helps to play a vital part in the rehabilitation of animals and helps improve their chance of finding a new home. Many animals have either suffered or are not used to the care and affection that they deserve. Living with a foster family helps to provide them with one-to-one care. Allowing them to build up confidence and get used to a normal lifestyle.

Other animals don’t cope well in an animal centre environment. This is where the RSPCA need people to take them in to provide them with a real home, even if it is only on a temporary basis.

Fostering animals can be a pleasurable experience. It’s rewarding to know that you played a key part in the rehoming process and it gives an alternative to people who would normally be unable to take in an animal long term due to other commitments.

There are three types of animal fostering role:

Fosterers for animals ready to be rehomed.

Fosterers for case animals whilst the legal proceedings take place.

Fosterers for the PetRetreat scheme that helps families who are suffering from domestic abuse.

To find out more about fostering, please visit

Volunteering for the RSPCA

Anyone from all walks of life can volunteer for the RSPCA. It is a highly rewarding way of helping animal welfare and putting something back into the community.

There are many ways you can help make a difference, no matter how much time you have available or the level of commitment you can afford to give.

As a volunteer, you can gain important transferable skills in fundraising, campaigning, finance, team building, management, computers, administration – the list is endless.

Unfortunately, there are limited opportunities for anyone under 16 and some restrictions apply in relation to opportunities for under 18’s. If you can’t find a volunteering opportunity why not consider having some fun fundraising for the RSPCA instead.

If you’d like to find out more, please contact your local RSPCA branch or centre and find out more about getting involved by visiting

Rehome an animal in need

The RSPCA find new homes for approximately 17,000 dogs each year. If you adopt a dog from the RSPCA where possible they will have been vaccinated, spayed or snipped and microchipped.

As many of the dogs have been victims of cruelty they often require a period of rehabilitation before they are ready to be rehomed. When staff believe they are ready they will observe their behaviour and give them a health check – this helps to match their needs to a suitable person or family.

That’s why the RSPCA ask anyone who’s thinking of adopting to fill in an application form before being interviewed by animal centre staff. This is the best way to help you to choose the right pet.

If you’re thinking of rehoming a dog they might be brought out of the kennels to meet you. This helps minimise stress to the dogs, and gives you the chance to get to know them a bit better.

The RSPCA carry out a home-visit for certain animals and in some cases suggest minor changes that help ensure your home is as pet friendly as possible. They will also call or visit afterwards to make sure you and your new pet are adjusting well to your new life together.

To find out more about rehoming a dog, please visit

Useful contacts

The Death Penalty Project

The Death Penalty Project (DPP) is a London-based charity providing free legal representation, advice and assistance to those facing the death penalty worldwide.

The DPP works to promote and protect the human rights of those facing execution, as well as vulnerable prisoners, including juveniles, prisoners who are serving long term sentences and those who suffer from mental health issues.

For over 20 years, the DPP has acted in a number of landmark cases in Belize playing a critical role in identifying a significant number of miscarriages of justice, promoting minimum fair trial  guarantees in capital cases, and establishing violations of domestic and international law. In 2014, the DPP published a report, ‘Behind the Prison Gates’, which focused on mentally ill prisoners, young offenders and those serving life sentences in Belize Central Prison. The report also highlighted the case of Glenford Baptist, who was then the last prisoner on death row in Belize.

For more information about the work of The Death Penalty Project, please visit their website:

The Death Penalty Project is registered with the UK Charities Commission under the registered charity number 1115035.


Useful contacts

Homeless at Christmas

Crisis at Christmas are safe, warm and lively places run by caring volunteers, offering hot food and fun activities. This year we have centres in Birmingham, Coventry, Edinburgh, London and Newcastle. You can find more info at or to volunteer visit

Shelter – 0808 800 4444

Streetlink: If you see someone sleeping rough, visit, download the free mobile app, or call 0300 500 0914.

Homeless UK: Search for homelessness support services near you.

Gov UK site:

Lonely at Christmas
Older people and their families can get in touch with Age UK to see how the Charity could help someone who may be feeling lonely by calling Age UK Advice for free on 0800 169 65 65 or visiting

Lines are open 365 days a year from 8am – 7pm.

Friends of the Elderly –

Community Christmas – People can go to the community Christmas website and find details of Christmas lunches and events in their area.

Samaritans – Please call the helpline free on 116 123, (number will not appear on phone bills) or visit to find details of the nearest branch.

Get Connected – or 0808 808 4994