Saving the super furry animals

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Mar 8, 2012 in Rat News | Subscribe

Saving the super furry animals

By Chloe Chapman

Bunny girl – Niki Parsons, 20, a trustee of charity with Sox, a lop-eared rabbit

MOST people squirm at the sight of a rat, but not this group of volunteers.

The band of six give up their time, money, and even space in their own homes, to care for and find new homes for abandoned pet rats, guinea pigs and rabbits.

The Essex Guinea Pig, Rat and Rabbit Rescue Centre became a registered charity in 2001 and has gone from strength-to-strength, mainly thanks to a team who are dedicated to helping dumped pets.

The six volunteers all have full time jobs, but visit the centre in the evening to ensure the rabbits, rats and guinea pigs are happy, clean and fed.

The animals are all housed in a purpose built out-building at the rear of founder Lesley Morgan’s home, in Church Road, Hadleigh.

Ambulance controller Niki Parsons, 20, a key member of the team, said: “We take in any unwanted or unloved animals, for whatever reason.

“Some people are moving house or they might be pregnant. Whatever the reason, we won’t ask any questions really, and we’ll take the animals in.

“We’ll even travel to the homes and collect the animals or drop them off after they have been adopted.”

Niki said she was aware some do not share her love for small animals, in particular the rats which she is in charge of re-homing.

She said: “All the animals we have at the centre we highly recommend because they are very social and so loving, especially the rats.

“People see their tails and get scared, but they’re lovely and don’t feel slimy – which is what people think.”

As well as caring for more than 60 rats in the rescue centre, Niki has adopted 20 of her own, which she cares for from home.

Niki, from Eastwood, became involved with the centre four years ago.

She said: “I wanted to get some voluntary work for a possible job in the future, but I have been there ever since because I love it so much.

“There is no other rescue centre in the area that cares for these kinds of animals, so we’re quite specialised.”

The rescue centre does not charge for adoption, but the team asks for donations of £5 for rats and £12 for guinea pigs, to keep the charity going.

The volunteers are currently hoping to expand the centre and build another facility but are struggling due to a lack of funding.

Niki added: “At the moment we work through any donations we do get given and then use our own money to keep going.”

Anyone interested in adopting one of the animals should call Niki on 07525 172045 or e-mail nikiparsons91@google for more information.

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