While most people are opening up Christmas presents and preparing for their festive dinner, staff and volunteers at the RSPCA will give up their time on December 25 to continue to help rescued animals in their care.
Thousands of dogs, cats and small furry animals are currently being cared for by the animal welfare charity at one of the two national rehoming centres and 11 branches across Wales – with RSPCA Llys Nini Branch also running an animal centre in Swansea.
RSPCA inspectors and animal rescue officers will also be working across Wales dealing with animal welfare calls during the Christmas period.
Some of the pets will have been rescued from horrendous conditions and are now being given another chance at life thanks to the RSPCA’s rescue work.
Others may have been given up by owners who, for various reasons, felt they were unable to cope with their pets’ needs – which sadly due to the cost of living crisis is becoming a continuous issue.
But now they are all safely in the hands of dedicated staff and volunteers who are providing them with love and care until they can find their much-needed forever homes.
RSPCA Newport Animal Centre manager Nikki Tutton said she has worked many Christmases over the last 26 years.
“As a centre manager it is part of my responsibility alongside the deputy manager to provide the 24 hour cover required,” she said.
“Christmas Day is always joyful. We often have extra volunteers ready to help to do all the cleaning and to ensure every dog gets a little walk and play time. The dogs and cats even get their own turkey cooked by the staff!
“Presents are given out by the Animal Care Team – these are suitable toys and treats donated by our wonderful supporters. The dogs especially have a great time tearing off the wrapping paper!
“The team starts their working day an hour early and are then able to get home in time to have some Christmas dinner and time with their family and own pets.
“The duty manager remains on site in case of an emergency. This can be a little lonely but I enjoy watching all the Christmas TV films and sometimes my husband and my dogs are able to come up and spend the day with me!”
RSPCA deputy chief inspector Gemma Black and animal rescue officer Sian Burton are both working this Christmas Day.
Sian – who has worked for the RSPCA for 17 years – has clocked up around 10 Christmas Day shifts over the years.
Gemma, who has worked for the animal welfare charity for 15 years, said: “I’ve been very lucky as this is only my third Christmas Day to work
“I am hoping it’ll be quiet and that all the animals out there will stay safe, but it’s reassuring to know that we will be there to help anything that becomes sick or injured or any animal welfare emergencies that might come on that day.
“I do remember one Christmas a while ago when I dealt with an abandoned dog who had been left in a stable. He had no food, water, was thin and cold and the stable was very dirty.
“It was a very sad case to deal with on such a celebratory day, but the dog went on to be rehomed so it was a happy ending afterwards.”
If you believe that animals deserve love and care during this Christmas period, please take action now. Together, we can rescue suffering animals who are bearing the brunt of these terrible financial hardships – and give them the chance of a better future.
Please don’t let animals pay the price of the cost-of-living crisis this Christmas. To Join the Winter Rescue and help RSPCA rescuers be there for the animals in need, please visit the charity’s web page here
You can see all the animals looking for their forever homes at RSPCA Newport Animal Centre here https://www.rspca.org.uk/local/findapet/-/rspca/newport-animal-centre