Short on ideas for activities this Easter break? Have no fear, Wild at Heart Foundation have put together an activity pack to keep your youngsters busy. And of course, all activities are dog themed! From a list of silly jokes, to encouraging kids to get outside and go on a walk – we’ve put together a simple pack that you can print off to keep your children entertained.
If you’d like to download are activity pack, it’s free, all we ask is a donation of your choice to help support the work we do.
There’s no denying 2020 has been a period of great uncertainty. With new and totally unpredicted challenges to face, charities across the globe have been fighting to keep raising funds for their mission at a time when aid for the vulnerable feels more urgent than ever.
Wild at Heart Foundation are no exception: we remain utterly committed to providing support from afar for as many dogs in need as we can. After all, the cycle of uncontrolled breeding is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, with many previously owned pets being dumped and abandoned, the rate of stray births is set only to increase, and our partner shelters are experiencing a significant increase in the number of owned dogs being dumped at their gates. Now more than ever, we owe it to the stray dogs of the world to continue to extend our support however and wherever we can.
And yet, without the support of our community, there would be so little we could do. In these times of uncertainty and difficulty, we need the help of our fundraisers more than ever before.
Scenes like this may feel like a distant memory, but there are still plenty of ways you can raise money for charity in 2020
Here at Wild at Heart Foundation, the cancellation of a number of large organised events (including the Hackney Half, and the Royal Parks marathon) have meant that a whole raft of people who were eagerly gearing up to raise money for dogs in need have been denied the opportunity for 2020. Whilst their places will be deferred to next year, how do we explain that we can’t provide immediate support to a dog, a project, a campaign that needs us urgently?
Short answer? We don’t! With your help, we can continue to raise money for the dog rescue causes that need our help the most – and we don’t need to let Covid stand in our way!
Social responsibility must remain the upmost priority for fundraising in 2020: with social distancing guidelines in place, it’s important that we’re all doing our bit to help control this unprecedented issue. But abiding by new guidelines, does not mean we can’t still raise money for causes that urgently need it. Far from it! This is a chance for all of us to get creative, champion compassion, and raise vital funds for rescue dogs in need…
This is a “live post” which means we’ll keep it updated as the Covid-19 situation progresses – please do check back for latest news and developments.
We know that in times of crisis, animals are the first to suffer, and we want to make sure that we’re doing everything in our power to continue our rescue work when it’s needed the most. We want to reassure our donors, adopters and supporters that our commitment remains, now more than ever, to the care, rescue and treatment of stray dogs around the world.
We cannot do this without the support and generosity of our community: we’d like to extend a huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone who has reached out and helped during this challenging time.
Please see details below of how Covid-19 is affecting our adoption and fostering process & international rescue work, as well as ways to help:
With thousands of people having to work from home in the past few days, many more people have been enjoying the chance to spend more time with your dogs. In these worrying times, having a dog by your side is incredibly reassuring and we know that dogs all over the world are enjoying the extra time spent with their very favourite people.
But simply being in the house isn’t enough to keep your dog entertained. The Wild at Heart Foundation team are no strangers to working from home (we work remotely to help keep the charity’s overheads to a minimum), and so have perfected some of the tricks of the trade that help to keep our dogs happily occupied whilst you’re focussing on your work:
There’s a wide number of toys you can buy which are all designed to challenge your dog to earn their treats by switching on their brains. Mental stimulation is not only good for keeping your dog busy, it’s also a proven way to tire them out, especially if you’re not able to exercise them as much as you usually would.
You can buy a range of weird and wonderful boredom-busting gizmos in pet shops and online, but our favourites are easy to make yourself (and are kinder on the bank balance too!)
Snuffle mats work by secreting treats within the folds of their torn up material, leaving your dog with the challenge of locating them. If you don’t own one, you can easily make one yourself from old scraps around the house. You will need:
Watch a video tutorial here.
Hide & Treat
Encourage your dog to think for their dinner by creating a simple puzzle. Place a row of halved toilet rolls or upturned match box cartons in a shoe box, with treats hidden under one of them and let them work out where it is. You can also twist treats into a scrunched up roll or plait of newspaper, or knot them into an old tea-towel to keep them busy while they work out how to get to the goodies!
Christmas Come Early
A simple but wonderfully effective game – simply wrap up their favourite toys in paper and watch them relive the joy of the very first time they discovered it! In fact, you’ll probably find that they’re more interested in the paper than what’s inside it…
Teaching your dog new tricks is not only a great way to keep them mentally stimulated, it also helps to build the bond between you, and gives you both a rush of oxytocin – just what we all need at the moment! “Little and often” is the best approach for teaching your dog new skills, so it’s the perfect activity while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil (or perhaps while you’re stuck on a particularly dull conference call – just don’t forget to mute first!)
We believe that the most fundamental skills to teach dogs are those which help them learn how to live a happy and safe life within the home – that’s why we recommend focussing on commands like “sit”, “wait”, “settle”, “gently”, and “leave it” as a priority. That said, we’re suckers for a good party trick, so now’s a great time to teach your dog something a little more jazzy than usual!
Impressive though this trick is, it’s actually very easy to teach – so perfect if you’re looking for optimum “show off” points! Here’s how to teach it:
Another crowd-pleaser, this is a great trick for dogs who love a belly rub as it’s easier to teach to those who naturally like to show their belly!
However you’re managing to keep your dog entertained at the moment, we hope they’re helping you stay healthy, safe and happy. We’re loving seeing your photos and videos “live from the office” – keep tagging us on Instagram!
If you have any questions or concerns during the coming months that you think we might be able to help with, we’re always happy to talk to our community – drop us a line and we’ll be in touch.
If you’re a Wild at Heart Foundation adopter and you’d like to make the most of the amazing support offered by our adopter’s community (especially at times such as this) you can join our private Facebook group and join in the conversation.
Here at Wild at Heart Foundation, we’re no strangers to dogs with more unusual needs than most. Familiar as we are with the brutal conditions in which millions of strays the world over live in, it’s sadly ceased to be surprising for us when we hear of dogs who’ve suffered horrendous wounds at the hands of humans. Limbs lost in traps or car accidents. Ears cut off. Eyes shot or stabbed. Bodies peppered with air-rifle pellets. Noses gouged out.
It was this last kind of abhorrent abuse that led us to Peggy. In December 2018, just as Christmas fever was beginning to set in, we were contacted about a sorry tale that we just knew we had to help with. A puppy had been discovered in a field, abandoned in a box with her ears and tail slashed to ribbons, and – most disturbing of all – her entire nose gouged out. That this was the work of human hands was immediately obvious, though the reasons for committing such a horrendous act of mindless cruelty are, as always, near-impossible to fathom. What we did know was that this was a dog who would be overlooked by most, written off as “too damaged” and therefore not worthy of saving.
In spite of everything that had happened to her, Peggy remained a sweet, loving and happy dog. In January 2019, Peggy flew to the UK where she was treated at an expert facility, and found the perfect family to give her the love she so sorely deserved. With her amputated ears and tail, and her tailor-made nose, Peggy certainly is a one-of-a-kind dog. So it was a truly amazing moment when we learned that Peggy would be appearing on the first ever print cover of Wunderdog Magazine – talk about rags to riches! And thank goodness she did, because her story inspired the most remarkable chain of events…
Months after the magazine was first published, a copy found its way to Russia where it was read by Ksenia. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing! For just weeks before, Ksenia had come across a puppy whose nose, tail and ears had been cut off. Worried he wouldn’t be able to live a normal life, Mitya had visited a number of vets and even had surgery to insert false nostrils attempted; but to no success. So when she saw Peggy’s photo she knew that Wild at Heart Foundation would be able to help!
And Mitya was not alone. After reading Peggy’s success story, Wild at Heart Foundation superhero Kasey (Maggie‘s owner) began to see more stories of dogs who’d suffered similar injuries. She’d come across Millie, an innocent soul who’d suffered horrific injuries to the face. Millie was shot at close range, just like Maggie, and when Kasey saw her adorable face she knew she’d have to help.
Of course, we were only too happy to lend our support and embark upon what has now become our first rescue mission of a new decade!
And so we learned the stories of these two remarkable dogs:
Love is in the air this week, and what better way than to get in the compassionate spirit than by helping dogs in need?! We’re delighted to say that we’ve teamed up with our wonderful friends at Wild at Heart to offer our supporters an incredible opportunity to spread the love even further this Valentine’s Day. Simply donate £10 or more via our website and you’ll be in with a chance of winning a truly stunning Valentine’s bouquet:
It really is that simple – one lucky donor will be picked at random on Thursday morning, and contacted to arrange delivery of a stunning hand-tied bouquet. The only question is: will you give it to someone you love, or keep it for yourself?! Whatever you choose, you can enjoy a warm glow this Valentine’s Day knowing that your love for dogs has helped save the life of a stray overseas – and there really is no love more powerful than that.
Whilst a quick browse on Instagram shows you that there are more brands than ever vying for your precious festive pound, we wanted to draw your attention to a selection of gifts with a heart of gold. All of the items featured in our 2019 ethical Christmas gift guide donate some or all of their profits to Wild at Heart Foundation, allowing us to continue our international mission, rescuing stray dogs from overseas.
From stocking fillers to all-out decadence (for the goodest girls and boys!), there’s something for every budget and taste. Please consider supporting a brand whose commitment to giving back sits at the core of what they do.
100% of profits donated to Wild at Heart Foundation
It’s no surprise that the very first item on our list is from our very own shop! We have an excellent range of T-shirts, sweatshirts and kids clothing that’s perfect for the Christmas season, but we felt our newest addition to the WAHF collection deserved a special mention.
Available in four styles, each designed by our incredible artist friend Simeon Farrar, these porcelain mugs fit snugly in your hand, and are amply big enough for a proper cup of whatever mulled beverage most takes your fancy this Christmas.
£5 from every sale donated to Wild at Heart Foundation
As if your dog didn’t spend enough time on the sofa already, there’s now away to crown their place as “ruler of the couch” that also gives back to dogs in need. These stunning, utterly bespoke creations from our friends at Hoop n Loop feature a beautiful hand-embroidered portrait of your pet at the heart of a sumptuous velvet cushion in the colour of your choice.
£2 from every sale donated to Wild at Heart Foundation
After adopting Irma, a Cyprus stray from Wild at Heart Foundation, wonderful adopter Holly (@deathbytea) was inspired to create a range of adorable pin badges. Not only do these pins look good, they also do good! They also make the perfect stocking filler for dog-lovers of all ages.
75% off for our supporters, £20 donated to Wild at Heart Foundation
Because, as for as we’re concerned, Christmas is ALL about the dogs! Treat your beloved furry companion to the a delicious treat this Christmas and they’ll thank you later. Butternut Box food is freshly cooked using human-grade ingredients and is known to convert even the fussiest eaters to “lick-the-bowl-clean” foodies.
Why not take out a trial subscription and enjoy 75% off for you, and 2 weeks worth of food for your dog? What’s more, you can feel warm and fuzzy in the knowledge that by doing so – whether you remain a Butternutter or not (and if your dog has their way, you will!) – you’ll have donated £20 to help dogs in need.
10% donated to Wild at Heart Foundation
Created just in time for Christmas, this stunning gift set is the perfect treat for that special someone in your life. In collaboration with our founder Nikki’s floristry company, Wild At Heart, Astley Clarke present a bouquet inspired by the signature Gold Cosmos Kula Bracelet. And if that’s not enough, 10% from every sale are donated back to the Foundation, ensuring that this stunning gifting combination not only looks good, it does good too.
£4 from every sale donated to Wild at Heart Foundation
If your budget is a little more modest this Christmas, you can still treat your loved-ones to a beautiful piece of hand-crafted jewellery that gives back to dogs in need. Noah Fay created this gorgeous bracelet for the Foundation in its early days of founding, and we’ve been grateful for her support ever since.
10% donated to Wild at Heart Foundation
The statement piece for 2019 packs heart as well as fashion, with 1o% from their ‘Wild at Heart’ studded camo jacket going to support our dog rescue efforts. Stylish and compassionate – our favourite!
Our friends at Wunderdog have been incredible supporters of the charity from Day One of the magazine’s inception – so much so that our very own Nikki Tibbles (and the GORGEOUS Peggy from Romania!) featured on the first ever front cover. Not only is this magazine a gorgeous, must-have staple for any stylish coffee table, it also highlights the work of a whole host of wonderful individuals and organisations around the world who are working towards giving dogs (especially rescue dogs!) a better life.
Treat a loved one to an annual subscription of this beautiful creation and we know they’ll thank you for it as soon as that first un-put-downable issue lands on their doormat.
10% donated to Wild at Heart Foundation
Car, vois-tu, chaque jour je t’aime davantage, Aujourd’hui plus qu’hier et bien moins que demain. This pendant is inspired by an extract taken from the poem “The Eternal Song” by 19thcentury French poet Rosemonde Gerard; and it’s certainly got love at it’s heart. 10% of sales from both the gold and diamond editions of the beautiful gift are donated to help stray dogs in need.
£5 from every sale donated to Wild at Heart Foundation
For those that want to wear their love of dogs for all to see, these adorable sterling silver drop earrings are the perfect way to show your appreciation. Handmade with love in the UK and beautifully gift-wrapped, they’ll make the perfect present this Christmas.
25% donated to Wild at Heart Foundation
Whilst we know that these would likely be the ultimate splurge this Christmas (is there someone in your life who’s been really really good?!), we can’t get over the incredible support shown to us by Anabela Chan. These iconic rings are not only the ultimate in style and luxury, they also sport a generous soul: each and every puppy or kitten ring sold sees a huge donation of 25% made to the Foundation.
For each and every person who invests in a piece of jewellery that both last a lifetime and change a life, we are so very grateful!
If you’d like to collaborate with us in 2020 by donating a portion of your sales to our international dog rescue mission, we’d love to hear from you! Drop us an email to let us know a little more about who you are and what you do, and we’ll be in touch soon.
This November, our team returned to Puerto Rico once again to commence our sixth high-volume sterilisation clinic to date. Sterilising over 3,000 animals in just six days was an incredible achievement, and we’re so proud as always to play a role in what has now become such a vast and record-breaking operation – we’ve come a long way from those early days when we first established a makeshift clinic, that’s for sure!
But it’s not a Wild at Heart project trip unless we’re rolling up our sleeves and getting to know the locals! And when we came across a family of “community dogs” living in our neighbourhood, and met the people who are caring for them, we knew we had to help. Community dogs is the term given to stray dogs who live on a particular patch / area. They’re known (and often well-loved!) by locals, and are usually fed by residents and business owners in the area.
Compared to the vast majority of dogs around the world who suffer a life of cruelty and starvation on the streets, we must remind ourselves of the relative good fortune of community dogs. Whilst we may wish to see them all tucked up in a warm bed under a safe roof, it’s thanks to the kindness and generosity of the people they cohabit with in their neighbourhood that they’re able to survive and experience a level of human kindness and love that is sadly a luxury on the streets.
Take the man in the neighbourhood we stayed in who looks out for a family of loveable overgrown pups; they’ve been relying on his generosity since they were tiny. Now over a year old, they’re well-fed, playful, and enjoying a quality of life on the street that few are lucky enough to know. That’s thanks to his compassion.
To help support these local efforts, we wanted to provide a service that they would otherwise be unable to offer these community dogs: we took the opportunity to sterilise and vaccinate them, ensuring that no more puppies are born into the pack (which means fewer mouths to feed!) and giving the dogs they’ve grown to love a better chance at living a happy, healthy life.
Waking up before dawn a few days into the clinic in order to allow time to catch the dogs without causing them undue stress, we headed down to the area where they sleep. Their community have helped show them that humans can be trusted so they came trotting up to greet us with wagging tails, and – after a few minutes of tentative caution – were more than happy to be stroked and fussed.
The best way to a dog’s heart is through it’s stomach, so we spent time feeding them a tasty breakfast before easing them into slip leads – easier said than done! Whilst they’re not fearful of basic human interaction, these dogs have grown up on the streets, alert to danger. As soon as they feel an alien sensation round their neck, most stray dogs inevitably start to panic, so we were sure to remain calm, soothing and relaxed, allowing them plenty of time to read the situation and eventually trust us enough to coax them into the car.
From here, we were able to take them to be treated on the island – something that we’re only able to do thanks to the generosity of our donors who support funding efforts to care for strays both in and out of our clinic. Once they’d been operated on, vaccinated, and treated against fleas, ticks and worms, they were ready to go home.
It’s always a good feeling to give a street dog the kind of treatment usually only reserved for owned dogs, but one of the most heart warming part of the experience was taking them back to their “patch”, and seeing their excitement as they realised they were home. Still a little groggy from their surgery, they perked up as soon as they realised where they were and it was wagging tails and happy dances all round!
You can read more about “Trap, Neuter, Release” method of sterilisation here.
We’ve visited the family every day since to donate food (and get our daily dose of cuddles!) and we were delighted to meet with the man who showed them how to trust. As a business owner on the backstreet where they’ve settled, he sees them every day and takes a vested interest in their health and their future. We were honoured to be able to give something small back to this community patch, but the survival of dogs like these is thanks to the day-to-day kindness of strangers.
There are hundreds of people here in Puerto Rico who give freely, even when they may not have a lot themselves, to help the strays in their area. From caring individuals to organisations large and small, this island of dog-lovers need our help. Not because they don’t have the will. Not because they don’t have the knowledge. But simply because they have been dealt a problem too great to manage alone.
Wild at Heart Foundation believe whole-heartedly in collaboration, and supporting local efforts wherever and however we can. We’re proud to be working alongside our incredible operations partners in Puerto Rico (Vidas, The Puerto Rico Dog Fund, and Humane Society US) to offer a free service that would otherwise be unavailable to local dog owners. We’re humbled to be a part of a huge movement towards lasting change. But most of all, we’re in awe of the people who share their knowledge and allow us to support their incredible rescue efforts.
We cannot help local rescue efforts without public funding – it is only thanks to your donations that we have been able to find homes for hundreds of Puerto Rican strays to date. Your generosity will allow us to support the dog-loving community here still further; please, give what you can.
In 2019, the Wild at Heart Foundation adoption team were delighted to pay another visit to one of our very first partner shelter, the incredible venture set up by an individual rescuer on the island of Lesvos. This is one of our longest standing and best loved overseas shelter partnerships. Meghan shares an insight into the visit.
We began working with in Vassilia and her shelter in 2015 to help control the ever-increasing street dog population and we are pleased to have successfully rehomed 86 dogs to date, with the number growing rapidly!
On this latest occasion, Olivia and Meghan were fortunate enough to visit Vassilia’s shelter in Lesvos. Not only was it incredible to meet the gorgeous pups we had heard so much about and were working hard to find homes for, but it was a wonderful opportunity to catch up with Vassilia who solely runs the shelter day in day out, all year round.
Vassilia pours her heart, soul and every day of her life into caring and rehabilitating dogs, ensuring that these dogs experience the love and safety they truly deserve. Her doors are always open, and the dogs are given the chance to play and socialise in a far more stress-free environment than public and overcrowded shelters. Vassilia is the reason that so many dogs in Lesvos have a second chance at life.
We were first greeted by the adorable quad of pups termed the little women; Amy, Beth, Jojo and Meg, along with Xena and Lola. Soon after we returned from this trip to Lesvos, every single one of these dogs was swiftly adopted as we had so many amazing things to report about them! In another area of the shelter we met Silke, Velvet, Nero, Pimento, Pepper and Darcy who have also now been adopted into loving homes.
Sadly, Lizzie and Mormo are two of the longest residents of the shelters:
Lizzie was rescued along with her litter of puppies nearly two years ago now. All of Lizzie’s puppies have been adopted and she has been a surrogate mother to many other litters, including my own dog, Caramel, and her siblings. She has seen many a dog be rescued and rehomed yet Lizzie still longs for her own quiet home, free of puppy duties, where she will be spoiled and loved just like all the other dogs that have left the shelter before her.
Mormo was saved from near death after being found roaming a village in Lesvos and being accused of harassing the locals. Mormo is a very excitable and intelligent dog, she loves performing tricks and catching treats, chasing after her ball and being fussed over.
After many well used years, we witnessed first-hand the state of disrepair Vassilia’s shelter now finds itself in. In order to continue providing safe refuge for these dogs, the shelter desperately needs rebuilding to allow for more enclosures so that Vassilia can rescue more dogs, as well as build a new, sterile quarantine area to help prevent the spread of disease that sadly many puppies are subject to before receiving their vaccinations, something that struck the island extremely hard last year.
Once the inevitable belly rubbing and face licking from the shelter dog’s was done, Olivia and myself got stuck in helping Vassilia with the daily tasks and soon realised how difficult the extent of the operation was to run the shelter as an individual and in the current state the shelter was in.
Vassilia continues to work tirelessly for the sake of providing a better life for her dogs. Her house is taken over by puppies to ensure they aren’t at risk of catching anything before being vaccinated. For most people this would be the dream but when you can’t take a day away from the shelter, this is a lot to cope with.
Vassilia relies on a small and close group of foster carers around the island in order to keep saving as many dogs as possible. Along with the feeding, cleaning and running various medical trips daily, she also attempts to improve the shelter through minor repair works where she can. But this is not enough.
Wild at Heart Foundation are proud to now be supporting the rebuild of the Lesvos shelter along with the kind donations and help from Matthew Lauder, another resident and keen supporter of the Foundation who lives on the island of Lesvos, and his wonderful event ‘Reigning Cats and Dogs’.
Matthew approached the Foundation about holding an art exhibition to help raise funds for a rebuild. Many years ago, Matthew found his dog, Nellie, in a desperate state, abandoned and chained to a tree, living in her own excrement. Matthew called every shelter around the island for help but it wasn’t until he found Vassilia and she immediately offered to help.
We have a lot to thank Matthew for; his ties to the island and finding Vassilia meant that we were able to forge an amazing and successful relationship, consistently helping save hundreds of dogs from a life of misery. We look forward to the future of this relationship and helping visit and rebuild the shelter within the coming months!
With rescue dogs and their many weird and wonderful quirks sitting right at the core of who we are and what we do, we’ve been on the look out for an insurance provider that tailors its policies to each individual dog, including rescues of all different sizes, breed mixes and backgrounds. Too often we’d hear stories from our adopters about insurance provides who were charging higher premiums for dogs from overseas, or who’d have issues insuring a dog with no identifiable breed.
Enter Waggel, the company who built itself around one bold statement: “pet insurance sucked…so we changed it.” Waggel are committed to giving rescue dogs – no matter their background – a fair and transparent insurance policy that will protect them against any accident or illness, without hidden costs or unexplained extra charges. Giving back is at the heart of what they do; in fact, Waggel have created an exclusive offer for Wild at Heart Foundation supporters and adopters…
Waggel will now offer two month’s free insurance for all our supporters, an incredible offer to help get you started on your journey to responsible dog ownership. But that’s not all: if you commit to a Waggel policy, they’ll donate £50 on your behalf directly to Wild at Heart Foundation! That’s a free month for you, and £50 for dogs in need – a win-win!
To find out more about Waggel’s no-nonsense approach to pet insurance, and to take out your policy, visit: http://www.waggel.co.uk/wildatheart
Thank you so much to the team at Waggel, and all of our community who help to make a difference.