Local animal charities from across the UK have recently benefited from £56,000 in veterinary care and treatments.
The money was donated through the Pets at Home Group’s VIP Lifelines initiative, which generates funds every time a member of the VIP Club swipes their card after a purchase in store, in one of the Vets4Pets or Companion Care practices or one of the group’s Groom Rooms.
Each of the national veterinary group’s practices are then allocated vouchers to gift to a local charity of its choice, which are then converted to veterinary care and treatments in practice.
The charity can spend the voucher on whatever they need for animals in their care, from products, routine check-ups and annual vaccinations, to more serious surgeries or treatments.
This was the case for Vets4Pets Stockport, which donated £300 worth of its vouchers to its local cat charity, Heatons, which visits the practice clinic on a daily basis with cats and kittens in its care.
Jack Ferrario, co-owner and vet at Vets4Pets Stockport said: “Heatons has been using our practice as its primary vets for all the sanctuary cats since June 2017.
“The team at Heatons are great and we see cats from the sanctuary every day for everything from booster vaccinations and microchipping, to regular health check-ups, which is why we believed they deserved to be our top choice for our Lifelines money.
“The money that we gifted to the sanctuary was used to save the life of Ziggy, a five-year-old cat that had recently arrived at the charity with abnormal breathing and upper respiratory tract disease.
“This condition can cause sneezing, coughing, fever, reduced appetite, rapid breathing and nasal and oral discharge and ulcers. If it had gone untreated Ziggy’s quality of life would have diminished and would’ve eventually required for him to be put to sleep.
“The Lifelines money we gave to Heatons was used to give Ziggy chest X-rays, a course of steroids and the inhaler he is now on to help his breathing.
“As the charity relies on donations, they might not have had the funds to spend £300 on a single cat, so we are thrilled to know that our money helped the wonderful team at Heatons and helped to save Ziggy’s life.”
Heatons, which is based in Heaton Chapel, was first founded 20 years ago, and looks after a wide range of kittens and cats.
Last year the charity processed and rehomed around 200 cats, and the team relies solely on donations and income from its charity shop to look after the cats in its care.
Alison Wright from the charity said: “We’ve been taking our cats to Vets4Pets Stockport for two years following a recommendation, as we needed a practice with the expert care and equipment to help us with the complicated problems we often see in the cats we rehome.
“It was a perfect fit straight away and now we visit the practice every day for a whole host of services, including neutering and dental treatments.
“Ziggy came into our sanctuary after his elderly owner had to go into hospital, and when he arrived we instantly noticed his breathing was strange and he was making wheezing noises.
“We took him in to see Jack and the team at Vets4Pets Stockport, who instantly treated him using the Lifelines money we received from the practice as a donation.
“It is hard to get donations and raise money for our cats that need a lot of care and further treatments, and unfortunately our income is down year on year.
“We do a lot of fundraising bake sales and rely a lot on our charity shop, but it can be hard to raise the kind of money that Ziggy needed for his treatment.
“The donation from Vets4Pets Stockport really was a lifeline for him, and it definitely helped to take the pressure off us.
“The more money we get like this, the more we can do for the cats in our care. We are really grateful for the team at Vets4Pets Stockport and are thrilled that Ziggy is now back with his owner and they are both doing well.”
Dr Huw Stacey, director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, said: “Lifelines is a great way to not only get our practices involved with their local communities, but of course to help the hundreds of incredibly worthy animal charities throughout the UK, that need that extra bit of support.
“All of these charities are doing amazing work to help animals throughout the UK, and our vet practices have picked some fantastic charities from within their local communities to donate their vouchers to.
"This money has then provided veterinary care for hundreds of animals in need, and even saved some lives.
“Caring about pets is at the heart of what we do as a company, so we are grateful that we are lucky enough to be in a position where we can help, and it’s important to us that we do so.
“Looking ahead to our next Lifelines drive, we hope all our VIP animal charities benefit from the Lifelines vouchers, whether that’s for food from Pets at Home stores or for veterinary care for practice teams, who are always willing to help ensure these animals are as happy and healthy as possible.”