Alexia Nicholls is Animal Manager at the Danaher Animal Home in Essex – an organisation that works closely with the RSPCA. For more information visit RSPCA Essex.
How is the current economic climate affecting pets?
It’s having a pinch effect. Because more people can’t afford pets or are working longer hours, we are getting more pets in. Then fewer people are considering re-homing animals due to the uncertainties of being in a recession.
Do you get different pets at different times of year?
Spring time is when we get in more wild life, with juvenile birds, orphan ducklings and baby bunnies. Spring is also definitely kitten time. Our first litter arrived in March this year. Every year, levels of abandoned and unwanted kittens seem to climb. We re-homed about 50 last year.
Are there any trends in the type of dogs that need re-homing?
We see a lot of Staffordshire Bull Terriers, or cross bred Staffies. People seem to buy them on a whim and then can’t manage them properly. They can be great pets though and are incredibly loyal when handled properly. We’re seeing more Huskies as well at the moment.
What do you like about your job?
It is very varied, with lots of challenges that mean you have to think fast. We never know what the next call might bring – what type of pet, in what circumstances. We take in birds, small animals cats and dogs, so you never know what the next call will bring.
What type of animals are easiest or most challenging to rehome?
We find the smaller dogs are more popular, along with younger animals. Rabbits are interesting, they are attractive to children, but then live a long time. People are often bringing in pets because their kids have grown up a bit and lost interest in their pets. People forget how long rabbits live.