2022 Winter/Spring Newsletter

Hello Supporter

Welcome to our 2022 Winter/Spring newsletter. The last two years have shown us how resilient we can be when things get difficult. Our staff team, volunteers and supporters have all been magnificent in going the extra mile to help us continue to care for many animals needing help to find new homes. We would like to say a big thank you to everyone.

As we start to emerge from the pandemic we have an exciting year ahead of us.  We recognise the importance of keeping our members and supporters up to date with our stories and plans for the charity and, for this reason, we will be issuing regular newsletters going forward to help keep you informed.

Latest news includes:

  • Building work starts on our new kennels w/c 21 February 2022 and Finlaysons Contractors Ltd of Galashiels are the appointed contractor.
  • Aitken Turnbull Architects have been appointed to prepare a Masterplan for the development of the entire Rescue Centre.
  • In December 2021 we welcomed Lizzie Heatley to our staff team as Business Administration Manager. Lizzie will be supporting our Rescue Centre and Shop Teams.

Looking forward to meeting many of you over the coming months.
Ann Southwood
Chair, Borders Pet Rescue

Please click here to visit our website

Animal Numbers: 1st Jan to 31st Dec 2021

Dogs admitted – 25
Cats admitted – 102
Small Animals admitted -16
Exotic Animals admitted – 2
Hedgehogs admitted -12

Dogs rehomed – 29
Cats rehomed – 108
Small Animals rehomed – 17
Exotic Animals rehomed – 1
Hedgehogs released – 8

Kennel Plans

After years of planning, we are delighted to say that preparatory building work started on our new kennels in February with main project work due to commence 4 April 2022!

Converting our unused stables will provide us with 10 new kennels, allowing us to help more dogs in the future, whilst also providing the dogs in our care with better accommodation!

BPR Chair Ann Southwood, Rescue Centre Manager Lee-Ann Motion and Business Admin Manager Lizzie Heatley having an onsite meeting with contractors Finlaysons and James Broderick from Aitken Turnbull Architects.

New kennel build – day 1: Before & after

VIP’s (Very Important Pets)

Elusive Hawick cat is finally caught!

Turn the clocks back to summer 2018. A member of the public phoned the Centre reporting sightings of a bunch of small kittens seen roaming around a derelict old factory near the riverside in Hawick. Plans were put in place to try and catch these kittens and find their mother who was reported to be an elusive figure, possibly dark grey in colour. We managed to catch a beautiful group of kittens, approximately 8 weeks old, but alas no signs of their mother. These terrified, slightly feral chaps were soon snapped up and found amazing homes.

Roll forward another year – after a dormant winter (most cats do not have seasons when the daylight is shorter so therefore there are less kittens born), another phone call came in this time via Hawick vets. Members of the public had reported seeing tiny little kittens roaming around in the Morrison’s of Hawick car park! They were clearly far too small to be outside and absolutely terrified. Over the course of a few weeks we managed to successfully trap these four beautiful kittens (one ultimately ended up INSIDE the Morrison’s supermarket helping herself to leftovers in the warehouse as she was clearly starving – BIG thank you to the Morrison’s staff who were extremely helpful in these guys capture). There were 3 tortoiseshell kittens and a ginger tom kitten in this litter. What was most fascinating about this was that one of the torties, was in fact, a male.

DID YOU KNOW only about 1 in 3,000 tortoiseshell cats are male, making them very rare. This is because two X chromosomes are needed to produce the trademark tortoiseshell colouring of black, orange, and yellow/gold, while male cats only have one X and one Y chromosome.

Alas, there was still no sign of the mother and our efforts failed again. Another winter came and went which brings us to 2020. There were reported sightings, this time of the elusive mother, who we now believed was a tortieshell in another new location near some local garages. A member of the public contacted us when she was concerned a very small black kitten was surviving on bird seed she had left out in the garden. “It did not take long to entice this little one into capture with some decent cat food! I continued to set up one of our humane cat traps to try and catch mother but, despite topping the food up religiously, she managed to avoid getting trapped. I only hoped she was enjoying this food I laid out for her – either that or the hedgehogs of Hawick were very well fed that year.”

Fast forward to 2021, mother cat had upped her game. By now, after countless litters each year (which may I add, she has done a fantastic job of bringing up – they all seemed very healthy apart from the occasional small matching umbilical hernia which was easily fixed!), she was obviously tired and chose her next location very carefully. She found a lovely cosy shed belonging to an extremely kind lady, who kept her warm and dry and well fed whilst she raised her latest litter of kittens. She obviously had a new posh boyfriend as not only did we have a ginger, black and tortoiseshell but we also had a little grey kitten who looked part Ragdoll perhaps!

Finally, with the help of the neighbours (after several false alerts) we managed to catch her. Apart from being a little tired Mum cat was in pretty good nick. Alas the story was not quite over – on a trip to the vets to get her neutered it was realised she was pregnant once again and, as she was so far along, it was safest to allow this pregnancy to continue.

We aptly named her Freya and off she went to a wonderful foster home where she was able to give birth to another set of beautiful kittens (once again including a posh grey one) but this time in 5* luxury accommodation compared to her previous maternity suites.
Freya did a fantastic job of raising this last litter and it wasn’t long before we were able to get her spayed and put this chapter of her life behind her. She was soon snapped up and I am pleased to report she found her forever home and is very much enjoying her new home comforts – her street life being very much a distant memory


Nell & Lloyd

Nell and Lloyd came into us in November. We were contacted when they sadly faced an uncertain future. 4yr old Nell and 7yr old Lloyd were working sheepdogs. They were very friendly dogs and had been cared for.
They were taken to our vets where they were given a health check and were both neutered. Nell was in good health although a little underweight. Lloyd had some arthritis so he started medication straight away and also had a dental whilst he was there.

Once they had recovered from their operations they were put up for adoption. They both seemed to really love being around people but weren’t best of friends. It was, therefore, decided that they would prefer to retire and look for domestic homes separately.

Nell found a home first and has gone to live with a family with lots of collie experience. Lloyd was later adopted and is now living with another collie who was also adopted from us.

As you can see, they have both settled into home life well:


Lloyd and his new sister Luna


Bobby arrived in our care in July 2021 at the age of 12yrs old. He was missing his tail and had a clubbed foot which had been caused by an accident years ago. He was a super friendly boy who loved a tummy rub and became a firm favourite with the staff and volunteers at the Centre.

It was soon discovered that Bobby had an infection in his clubbed foot. He was given a course of antibiotics and painkillers with his foot being cleaned daily. It did heal but sadly kept being reinfected.

After a couple of months of treatment, it was decided to take a biopsy of the lump. It was discovered that he had an aggressive cancer. Due to where the lump was in his paw, the vets felt they wouldn’t be able to remove the lump so it was decided that the best option was to have his leg removed. Bobby took the operation in his stride and adapted well to having 3 legs!

Bobby went off to his forever home and settled well but later developed an ulcer in his eye which didn’t respond to treatment meaning he had to have his eye removed! However, he’s taken it all in his stride and continues to do well!


Mr Tiggywinkles

Mr Tiggywinkles or “Mr T” as we call him, arrived in March 2021. He was 15yrs old and was a super friendly boy who, like Bobby, became a firm favourite with the staff and volunteers.

After a while, Mr T developed a swelling in his leg. He was taken to the vet and a sample of the liquid was taken, he had a clear liquid removed from the swelling. The sample was sent off to the lab, but nothing was found – the vets were stumped!
Bobby was given some medication and access to wander outside around the chalets at the Centre to see if that would help with the swelling. It didn’t really improve so he had his leg x-rayed and it was discovered he had arthritis and fluid leaking from his joint. The vet drained 25mls of fluid from his leg.
He is now on Loxicom daily for arthritis and his leg is drained every 2-3 months and is continuing to do well in his new home.

Mr T

Bobby & Mr T spending time out exploring our “Cat Village” while in our care


In April 2021, a veterinary practice in the southern Scottish Borders received a distressing case of an elderly female stray cat in extremely poor condition with multiple medical conditions. They completed an initial examination and cleaned up the cat as far as possible, including an overall clipping of her badly matted fur and cleaning of her skin which was split in several places. The skin condition was complicated by a cluster of cysts on her side above the rear right leg and by various lumps and crusty areas on her neck and back paws. She was clearly extremely neglected and had very little body weight at just 2.5kg. She had no type of identification so there was very little chance of finding any medical history or owner details. The vets gave her the name April as that was when she had arrived at the surgery.

They transferred the cat to Borders Pet Rescue where the Centre staff started routine medication with flea and worm treatment and a first vaccination. She was then placed with foster carers as she clearly needed a great deal of individual care and ongoing veterinary assessment.

The initial report from our regular veterinary team at Galedin in Galashiels in early May 2021 did not make easy reading. April had dilated pupils not responding to light and her eyesight was very limited. Her overall poor body condition suggested both neglect and probable loss of kidney function. She had a very high heart rate and her teeth were causing some concern with irritation and inflammation around her gums. Unusually for an elderly cat in this condition, her thyroid level test came back as within normal range but showed raised urea levels again indicating kidney issues. Her skin condition had slightly improved with the multiple skin breaks beginning to heal. However, the vets recommended that any surgery to remove the cysts and lumps or any dental procedure would be inadvisable as April would not be strong enough to cope with the anaesthetic.

In mid-May, April was in real distress when her back legs collapsed. She was taken into the vets as an emergency. The veterinary team at Galedin quickly confirmed that the collapse was caused by a spinal clot. This was treated with a strong anti-inflammatory injection and over the next few days April regained control of her back legs. She was able to have her second vaccination on 24th May.

In July 2021, April started to show symptoms of impaired kidney function, with loss of appetite and intolerance of her usual foods. She was treated with an anti-sickness injection and what turned out to be a “magic” pill which rapidly improved her situation. This was just one eighth of a tiny Mirtazapine tablet, but the effect was dramatic, and April was eating normally within a few hours.
This drug is used to treat depression and anxiety in people but tiny doses can be used as an appetite stimulant in cats with kidney or liver deficiencies. Since July, April has had three such doses which have helped to suppress any nausea and to keep her enthusiastic for her food.

Another issue became apparent in November when we noticed an unpleasant smell from the area on her lower back around the cluster of cysts. Although this is bathed frequently in hibiscus scrub to keep it clean, the largest cyst had split and was quite raw. The split was weeping with a discharge which was infected and was congealing in the fur around the cysts. Again the vet team at Galedin identified the infection and gave April a long acting antibiotic injection and carefully clipped away the worst of the congealed area of her fur. With a few more days of frequent bathing, the cysts healed over and reduced in size.

Overall April is quite happy and contented, always pleased to get individual attention, enjoys her warmth and comfort and loves her food (but it had better be the right food!) She is still very spritely and enthusiastic after nine months in foster care, despite all of her medical conditions. She manages well with her very limited eyesight but her eyes need bathing regularly and she cannot cope with direct sunlight or any bright lights. She is extremely dependent and needs constant monitoring, but her spirit is strong and there is a real spark about her despite her vulnerability. We are very grateful for the support of the veterinary team at Galedin, their skill and experience has given April many extra months of life which didn’t seem likely when she came into our care in April 2021.


We currently have 3 hedgehogs in our care. Two of them arrived in October 2021 and were too underweight to survive hibernation so we kept them warm and well fed at the Centre. They have now put on sufficient weight to be released once the weather improves.

Another, smaller hedgehog, arrived in January. It will need to put on more weight before it can be released but is currently enjoying a little holiday with us!

Rocco (aka “Paddy”)

Rocco came into us as a 12 week old pup who had already had 2 homes! Rocco had some challenging behaviours, including being very nippy/snappy (more than your average puppy!). He was possibly taken away from his mum and littermates too young, however, he had lots of potential and was willing to learn. Once he was ready for adoption, we had to make sure that he went to a home where his needs were understood and he was taught boundaries.

It took a bit of patience, but we found him a great home where he will get the time and training, he needs. He has been renamed “Paddy” and has grown into a very handsome boy.

Paddy when he arrived at 12weeks old

Paddy in his new home, at 9months old

And last but by no means least, we recently received the following email: 

“Hello, my name is Xena and I am former resident at the Borders Pet Rescue Centre.

I have been almost 1 human year with my human and life is better than I had ever thought it could be.  I am so thankful to the Centre for finding me and giving me the opportunity of having my forever home.

I spent I long time at the Centre probably ‘cos I wasn’t the friendliest of cats.  Every time someone came too close, I would run and hide – basically I feared everything and everyone.  Most humans don’t want a cat like me and I kinda get that.

Even so, I thought things, after I had been rescued and brought to the Centre, were good after the human at the Centre found me, as now I had somewhere warm that I could call my own and I no longer had to worry about where my next meal was coming from.  I thought how lucky I was…….

Then one day this human, who would become my human, came into my enclosure and I did what I also did – I hid and cowered at the back of the box trying to make myself as small as possible.  When I was presented with a hand to sniff, I froze, but then when the hand came closer – too close – I did what I always did, I lashed out because of fear.

Then my human did something I never expected – she adopted me.

For the first while in my new home I hid in the safe place my human had created for me.   My human knew I was afraid and every time she spoke to me it was always softly and my food was there at the front of my safe place.

At first, I only came out at night when all was quiet and I knew my human was asleep, but slowly I became braver and slowly I was given more of my home to explore, and I did – even when the human was around.

My human worked and still works with me each day to help me feel safer, secure, and more confident.  There was so much pride in my human’s eyes the first time I took a treat from her hand, or the first time I allowed myself to be touched.  Come to think of it, I see that look of pride every time my human is around me.

I have come a long way from that scared cat, I no longer bolt away when my human comes close.  If she does get too close, I now walk away.

When I am on top of my cat tree, I know that I will get stroked, my chin rubbed, etc and I have discovered that I really like it and when my human is stroking me, I close my eyes and lean into it – I now even purr.  I have even trained my human to follow me to the cat tree for me to get my head rubs, etc.

I have lots of lovely toys to play with, some I like more than others.  I also have lots of warm places where I can sleep, and I no longer need to be so afraid.  Things still do scare me, but now I get over it a lot faster as I know I am safe.

I still don’t allow myself to be picked up, but I have no doubt there will be a time I will allow that too. 

I believe that my human is finding it rewarding helping me to become more confident.

I am very grateful to my human for taking a chance on me.  Of course, that could never have happened if the humans at the Borders Rescue Centre hadn’t found me and given me that chance of a much better life.

On behalf of all us animals that you at the Centre have and will save in the future, I would like to say a heartfelt THANK YOU.

Yours forever grateful


Please click here to see the animals in our care who are currently looking for their forever homes

Winter Guide for Hedgehogs

Hibernation Facts:

  • Not all hedgehogs hibernate, and most don’t all the way through winter.
  • If, and when they do, it’s a combination of the outside temperatures, daylight hours and the hedgehog that determines if and how long.
  • As a gauge, night time temperatures generally need to drop to 5 degrees or lower for a sustained period to bring on hibernation
  • Healthy juveniles gain weight extremely quickly and, with support feeding, can put on as much as 100g per week
  • If out during the day, it’s not ok so please pick up and take to a rescue (wear gloves and place the hedgehog in a high sided box with a towel. It’s best not to feed it but you can give it water)
  • When in doubt please call your local animal rescue or vet in order to discuss the circumstances and follow their advice
  • Obviously, please look out for any injuries, ticks and small hogs in the evening, they need to weigh around 600g or more if they are to survive hibernation.

Helping out

  • Feed them all year: Complete Kitten biscuits with the main ingredients as meat/protein, they are small and easy to eat (they can eat wet food, but this can attract flies). Good quality hog food, look at the ingredients as this food isn’t licensed.
  • Leave fresh water out all year
  • Build or buy a feeding station: This keeps food dry, stops it freezing and prevents the food from being eaten by cats or foxes. Line it with newspaper as they are not housetrained!
  • Build or buy hibernation or nest boxes for them, position them out of direct sunlight and in a quite part of your garden, with the entrance tunnel facing a fence or wall. Dry leaves and barley straw is perfect bedding materials. Newspaper and hay can get damp.
  • Ask for a trail camera or outside video camera and put it in the feeding station, its great to see them, you can spot injuries and great fun watching the hogs.

Please DO NOT:

  • Feed them mealworms, calci-worms, peanuts, sunflower hearts, biscuits, cat treats, bread or milk etc these are all not good for them and cause them serious illnesses.
  • Treat them yourself: They are not the same as a pet and even removing ticks yourself can be dangerous for the hogs. Also no worm or flea treatments, please.
  • It is against the law for you to “keep a hog as a pet” – they are wildlife.
  • If they are in your garden, please keep your dog away from them as dogs can injure hogs and disturb their nests
  • Gardening: Please do not use slug pellets, don’t have bonfires (or move and make them on the day), don’t leave sacks around as they may well see that as a good place to sleep. Don’t fork your compost heap.
  • Don’t move a hedgehog that is sleeping or hibernating in your garden. Ask your local animal rescue for advice.

For more information on hedgehogs, please visit the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, Hedgehog Street or St Tiggywinkles websites as they have lots of useful facts.

Plexus – charity of the year

We were delighted when Plexus in Kelso nominated us as one of their charities to fundraise for throughout 2020. This was then extended into 2021!

Kelso charity shop Manager, Mo and Assistant Manager, Lorna went to meet some of the team at Plexus and gave a presentation before accepting the cheque for a staggering £6,370.68. Thank you to everyone at Plexus for your support and generosity!

If you would like to support us, there are many ways to get involved! Check out our website or get in touch for more information

Borders Pet Rescue Charity Shops

Our 4 Charity Shops play a vital part in the work we do by being the main source of income for the Charity.

Whether you are just in for a browse, or looking for a present, or something for yourself, or have something to donate that we may be able to sell on, our friendly Charity Shop staff and volunteers will be delighted to welcome you!

3 South Street
TD11 3AJ
01361 883908

82 Channel Street
01896 668260

19b High Street
01450 376916

3 The Square
01573 224430

You can find the shops opening times, and times for donating goods by clicking here

Our Charity Shops also have a dedicated Facebook Page where you can see some of the items we have for sale, you can see this by clicking here

Dates For Your Diary

Please keep an eye on our facebook page and website for more information about our events

We would like to thank you all for your continued support and we hope to see you all soon!

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