The Ark on the Edge is an Animal Sanctuary in Woodland, County Durham – not to be confused with Rainbow Ark in Willington, County Durham, which was recently closed down and all the animals sent to other Rescue Shelters all over the country. More about that Ark at a later date.
Pat Kingsnorth, who along with her volunteers, is dedicated to the animals in her care. This is quite obvious when she says:
‘ I didn’t come into rescue to make money or be a business, I came to do whatever I could to help save and rehome those poor animals left and not wanted’
I asked her some questions for PoC and I’m sure if anyone has any more she will be willing to answer them too.
1. How long have you owned your Sanctuary? ‘6 years as Ark on the Edge but some 24 years from moving to County Durham and 30 years prior to that rescuing animals, mainly cats’
2. How many species of animals do you have? ‘Cats, dogs, rabbits, owls, kestrels, hawks, geese, ducks, deer, foxes, guinea pigs, degu, goats, horses, donkeys, hamsters, gerbils etc, the list goes on’
3. Because this is an interview for a cat web site we’d love to know how many cats you care for? ‘I personally had 21 cats in my own care just over a year ago but lost 5 in short space of time due to old age. Now just have 16 all of who are well over 12 years. In the last year over 170 cats have been successfully rehomed but only after full vet checks, neutering, vaccinations, worming, defleaing, microchipping and of course house checks’
4. What excuses do people make for relinquishing a pet cat to you and your thoughts on those reasons?
- “We are moving to a rented property and not allowed to take pets” – ‘so why if you love your pet don’t you find somewhere else?’
- “My child has an allergy” – ‘so why not try to sort it rather than rehome the pet?’
- “Can’t afford it” – ‘so give up some fags, drink, nights out as a tin of cat food and some water costs very little. Put some money away for any vet bills.’
- “I’m pregnant and my doctor has told me to get rid of the cat” – ‘why if you plan and work things out prior to baby arriving there’s no problems. Sheep faeces have some affect i.e. aborting but how many farmers give up their flocks because their wives are pregnant. NONE!’
- “I took my friends cat(s) on when they moved until they got settled but now they don’t want them” – ‘difficult one this, but if they have had the cats sometime then why give them up now. Just had someone’s cat come in who has a child already and a baby and the mother in law insisted the cat went as she thought it was going to sit on the baby. Good one that and a new one to us!’
5. Living and working at the Ark, do you ever have any leisure time? ‘A couple of years ago I went to South Africa to where they filmed Wild at Heart. It was home from home some sight-seeing, also a lot of volunteering with the wildlife, awesome. I’d dearly like to go back and just work with the wildlife out there, no change from being here but so rewarding, just the cats are a bit bigger and I can’t pick them up. But unless Ark on the Edge is entirely covered I won’t go anywhere. The Ark is never left unattended and no animals big or small are left out, all are securely locked away every night. There’s no rest at Christmas either it’s just another day at the office!’
6. It must be a constant struggle to raise funds especially now when money is very short for most people, have you had a drop in donations? ‘With bills ever increasing and the way of the world today donations have been declining for some time while ‘unwanted’ pets have increased and times are hard not only for animal rescues but all charities, we are all struggling. So with bills on average, totalling in excess of £1500 a month + the rent we are always fund raising and trying to stay afloat.’
‘At Ark on the Edge we pride ourselves in the way we look after the animals in our care whilst they are here. Providing them with full veterinary care and a house check ensuring that they go to the best possible place, hopefully for life.’
So Pat, as you see, remains positive and cheerful and along with her volunteers, plods on caring for the creatures she loves, whilst also trying to make this world a better place for all of them.