Christmas Appeal

Can you spare five minutes?

Ellie, a gorgeous three-year-old Beagle, arrived at Ferne in one of the worst conditions we have ever seen.

She had been rescued from a Puppy Farm and was terrified of human touch and voices, confused and distraught by space that she could move around in, and even daylight.  Human interaction caused her to shut down, literally too paralysed with fear to move, often soiling herself where she lay.

Ellie came to us just in time, and with specialist around the clock care, she slowly started to recover.  However, there are many more defenceless animals like Ellie who, without our help, may not have such a happy ending.

Ellie is just one of the 300 abandoned, neglected or unwanted animals rescued and cared for at Ferne Animal Sanctuary, 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.  Every five minutes’ costs us £10 to care for the animals we rescue.

“We provide the essential food, warmth, care and protection they need,worse” said Elaine Hayes, CEO of Ferne, “along with any emergency medical treatment for extreme cases of neglect or cruelty or, long term care for some animals that are too old, traumatised or unsuitable to ever be re-homed”.

Christmas Day is just another day here at Ferne, but it is a really demanding time of year where our resources are stretched to the limit with a seasonal influx of unwanted animals.  That’s why we need your help, especially now.

With a gift of £10, you’ll help Ferne Animal Sanctuary carry on our vital work and save the lives of many more vulnerable animals like Ellie.  A donation that changes a life, not just for Christmas, but forever.

Thankfully,worst is now over for Ellie.  After nearly six months of rehabilitation, with many hours spent each day gently winning her trust, Ellie steadily recovered and learned to enjoy a new way of life.  She has been adopted by a wonderful family, so this Christmas will be a special one for her as she has a life ahead with people who love and care for her.

Ferne Animal Sanctuary receives not government funding and every day we rely on public donations to find £90,000 each month to cover our care and rescue costs. Ferne has been caring for unwanted and abandoned animals for over 75 years.

Summer Grand Draw 2016 – Winners

Our 2016 Summer Grand Draw received amazing support. Congratulations to all our winners and a big thank you to everyone who took part!

Summer Grand Draw 2016 – Winners

3 Day Camper Adventure                                   Phill Sandford, Yeovil  (Ticket number 1010)

£250                                                                           Paula Whitehead, Ilminster (Ticket number 0515)

6 Months’ supply of Cat or Dog Food               Anonymous (Ticket number 1846)

£50 Voucher from Co-operative Travel          Anita Barter, Holcome (Ticket number 1824)

Ferne Annual Visitor Pass                                 Heather Napier, Somerton (Ticket number 1842)

Ferne Annual Visitor Pass                                 Becky Chowles, Honiton (Ticket number 1720)

Dogs and heatstroke – Signs and Treatment

How to avoid it and how to treat it…

Did you know… that an animal left in a hot car could die in as little as 20 minutes from heatstroke?

How to avoid your pet getting heatstroke

  • Never leave pets in cars, conservatories or caravans, not even for a short time. This includes cloudy days with the windows open as temperature can rise quickly in a short time.
  • Avoid exercising your pets at the hottest time of the day. Early mornings or evenings are the best times to exercise your pets in summer.
  • Keep exercise of pets to a minimum and make sure they also have access to cool, indoor areas.
  • Owners of flat-faced breeds such as Pugs, Boxers and Bulldogs should be extra careful as these breeds have restricted airways and don’t cope well with heat.
  • A dog wearing a muzzle is at high risk because it may be unable to control its body temperature adequately by panting.
  • Stressed, over-excited or over-exercised dogs can be at risk even if the temperature and humidity is not excessive, particularly if they are in a poorly ventilated environment.

Some signs of heatstroke

Dogs often don’t show any warning signs of heatstroke.  However, as their body temperature increases you might notice:

  • Excessive panting or drooling
  • lethargy, drowsiness or poor coordination
  • Reddened gums
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle tremors or seizures

Any of these symptoms can lead them to quickly collapse or become unconscious.

If not treated as an emergency, this can be fatal !­

If you suspect your pet has heatstroke

The most important thing to remember is that they urgently need to have their body temperature lowered gradually:

  • Move your dog to a shaded or cool area
  • Pour small amounts of room temperature (not cold) water onto your dog’s body.
  • Do not use cold water or ice to cool them down – it may send them into shock.
  • If possible, wrap your dog in wet towels or place your dog in the breeze of a fan.
  • Allow your dog to drink small amounts of cool water.
  • Continue to pour small amounts of room temperature water onto your dog until their breathing starts to settle but never so much that they begin to shiver.
  • Once the dog is cool, take them to the nearest vet immediately, even if you feel they have made a full recovery.

Please help Poppy!

Poppy is no ordinary dog.

She has an extraordinary zest for life which is really quite inexplicable given the pain she has been putting up with for quite some time now.  In addition to this, poor Poppy has also been passed from pillar to post by a series of owners in her three years’ of life, allowing her illnesses to go untreated and the severity of her pain to go undetected, until now on her arrival at Ferne.

“Poppy really stands out as one of the most adorable, friendly and loving dogs we have ever cared for at Ferne” commented Animal Care Manager, Tara.  “She has never had a permanent home or family, has lived with excruciating pain and yet she just doesn’t have a bad side to her.  It’s as though she’s put her total trust in us to make her better, wagging her tail even as we give her medicine or take her to the Vets.  Without a doubt, she has won all of our hearts here.”

Soon after her arrival, it turned out that finding a home for Poppy was the least of her problems as our early suspicions about ligament problems in her hind legs were confirmed.  It also transpired that these were very serious, not least as one ligament had already ruptured, causing much pain for quite some time. Additionally, she also has problems in both knees, her hips and her spine. Without treatment, there is no doubt the only option would be euthanasia, as she could not live a life of any comfort or longevity as she is currently. Thankfully however, all her conditions are treatable, allowing Poppy to have a pain free, happy and long life, but at a cost.

“Poppy has multiple orthopaedic injuries but is a happy and loving dog considering the amount of pain she must be in. She has had multiple homes in her short life and although we are unable to get her veterinary history, I believe that her orthopaedic disease is the reason she has had so many homes Samantha Lane, Veterinary Surgeon BVSc BSAVA PGCert(SAS) MRCVS.

Ferne has undertaken to fund Poppy’s first operation this week, to relieve some of Poppy’s immediate pain.  However, after that she will still require subsequent operations, medication for inflammation and pain, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy to strengthen her muscles and joints, which will cost approximately £4,000.  To urgently raise the money for this, we are asking for your help by donating to ‘Poppy’s Appeal

Whatever you can donate will help towards giving Poppy a whole new life ahead which can be a long, happy and comfortable one, which this top dog undoubtedly deserves.

Surge in abandoned kittens and pregnant cats

Due to a surge of abandoned kittens and pregnant cats, Ferne is desperately needing help to expand its services to provide a Special Care Cat Unit to cope with the high volume of cats needing help.

In the last month alone, over 20 abandoned kittens have been taken into the care of Ferne Animal Sanctuary.

Every year the problem becomes more severe, and with kitten season in full flow, sadly this year has already reached a critical level and Ferne is struggling to accommodate the ever increasing numbers. This also includes kittens from heavily pregnant mothers, also dumped with less than days to go until they gave birth.

It has become so bad now that they are quite literally bursting at the seams. Both catteries are full and extreme measures have been required in the form of using the Sanctuary’s animal surgery area, which is far from ideal.

Tara Nirula, Rehoming Manager is appealing to anyone considering adopting a feline into their family: ‘We are urgently looking for loving homes with people who can give these kittens a second chance in life. The owners must have patience and commitment but most of all, lots of love to give.’

If you can help with either a donation of money or the offer of a good home, we’d love to hear from you.

Anyone wishing to adopt kittens is asked to call the Sanctuary on 01460 65214 to discuss suitability and to arrange a viewing appointment. A pre-home check will be conducted before any animals are released into the adopter’s care.

If you are unable to adopt a kitten from Ferne but you would like to help, you can donate towards their Special Care Cat Unit appeal. Steph Sterndale-Bennett, Fundraising Manager explains more: ‘We are currently undertaking a 12-month appeal for funds to help us build a special care unit which will enable us to accommodate more cats and kittens in need of extra TLC in the years to come. This is becoming increasingly important as we are finding ourselves at maximum capacity more and more frequently.’

The Special Care Cat Unit will cost £195,000 to build and will complement the top class care that Ferne Animal Sanctuary provides to the animals 365 days of the year. To donate please visit the ‘Donate Now’ page of our website.

Help needed for Pig enclosure refurbishment!

Have you got any spare paving slabs, off cuts of turf or willow? If you have, we’d love them for our new enclosure which we currently sprucing up to make it shaded, dry and comfortable for them. If you can help, please give the Sanctuary a call, on 01460 65214 thank you!

Sunflower Challenge is on!

Ferne Animal Sanctuary has thrown down the gauntlet to Primary School children within a 40-mile radius of Chard to see just how green their fingers are by growing the tallest sunflower.

To help them on their way, Otter Nurseries are generously providing Ferne with free packets of sunflower seeds to give away to schools who’d like to take part.

“All you have to do to get started is get in touch with the Sanctuary and arrange to collect your free seed packets” said Elaine Hayes, Chief Executive of Ferne. “After that, it’s over to you to sow your sunflower seeds and nurture them through until the end of the summer term.  Hopefully by then you will have towering plants!”

When you’ve got the tallest plant in your class or school, we’d like you to photograph and measure it and send in the winning photo and measurements to Ferne by the 1st of August.  The winner will receive a free annual family pass for Ferne, so they can come along anytime and enjoy our walks, wildlife and delicious treats in the café.

As an added bonus, no matter how tall or small your plant is, if you bring it along in person to the Sanctuary, you can see for yourself how it encourages the birds to forage for food in the aviary as they would in their natural habitat.

Otter Nurseries Marketing Manager, Sabine Taylor said: “We are always keen to encourage the younger generation to start growing, and sunflowers are such a favourite with even the youngest gardeners, as they can give such spectacular results.

“We are delighted to support Ferne Animal Sanctuary in this way, and hope the animals enjoy all the sunflower seeds later in the year.”

Although sunflowers aren’t native to the UK, they’ve become quite an iconic vision of summer thanks to their flamboyant appearance.  They are also a firm favourite for our aviary residents as they provide a very tasty snack!

Top tips to help you on your way…

  • Sunflowers need full sun and are heavy feeders
  • Big pots are good as they have long taproots
  • Water and feed regularly, but don’t pour directly onto roots
  • Tell them your best jokes and sing them your favourite songs

If you’d like to take part and get your free seed packets, phone Ferne on 01460 65214 or email us on

New Trail at Ferne

A new plaque rubbing trail at Ferne Animal Sanctuary, provided by Bovis Homes, has just been launched and put to the test by pupils of Buckland St Mary C of E Primary School.

The accessible trail meanders throughout the Sanctuary from the grassed play area of the Gazebo, through the woodland with the Lily and Dragonfly ponds and past the play equipment area, finishing outside the café.

Jenny Wheadon, Head of External Funding for Ferne said, “The plaque rubbing trail at Ferne will be a welcome new addition to our many visiting families. It’s a lovely accessible walk in all weathers and will now also provide a great opportunity to create a memory of Ferne’s wildlife to take home. We are grateful to Bovis Homes for kindly providing these plaques and delighted that the students of Buckland St Mary had so much fun giving them a trial run.”

The engraved plaques were designed by local wildlife artist Patrick Moran and include pictures of a frog, toadstool, ferns, kingfisher, deer, oak and acorn.

The plaque rubbings were kindly provided by Bovis Homes as an added attraction to for the many visitors from the local community and beyond to enjoy whilst visiting Ferne…..

Puppies Helped By Local Companies

Image: Puppy Molly

Photo credit: Ferne Animal Sanctuary

An influx of hungry puppies just before Christmas to Ferne Animal Sanctuary in Wambrook, near Chard, Somerset saw companies in Chard, Taunton, Axminster, Tiverton and Yeovil jumping to the rescue to help with additional supplies.

Jenny Wheadon, Head of External Funding said: “Twelve little cherubs were brought into Ferne in the two weeks leading up to Christmas. As they were with us over the festive period, we used up our puppy food very quickly, so had to send out an appeal for help. The response we received was amazing.

“On behalf of Ferne Animal Sanctuary, I would like to sincerely thank Pets at Home in Taunton and Tiverton, Crown Pet Foods Castle Cary, Mole Avon Axminster and also express our appreciation for the general donation of goods for the animals at Christmas to Prenax Ltd of Yeovil and Numatic International of Chard.”