There are many animal rescue centres in the UK where unwanted, lost and neglected animals wait for new homes. But Jayne Owen asks: do we rescue the animals or do they rescue us? 

This blog post is adapted from an article in our quarterly magazine, the Be Well Bugle. You can see more of the Bugle in the archive, here.

Rescued animals can thrive with a bit of time and TLC

My first ‘rescues’ were chickens. When my children left home I suffered from “empty nest syndrome”. I needed something to look after, and for me that turned out to be chickens.


After buying two hens from a neighbour, I rescued four ex-battery chickens through the auspices of the British Hen Welfare Trust. These were young hens kept in factory conditions whose “real life” only began with me – seeing the sky, chasing butterflies, dust bathing and sunbathing for the first time. Over the following 11 years, 33 chickens have come and gone, roughly 50% of them ex-battery hens.


Some years later, I learnt about Dogs4Rescue. This organisation, based in Irlam, rescued 3000 chickens from the M62 when a lorry carrying birds to slaughter overturned on the motorway behind their farm. Friends told me about these hens in need and though I offered to take some, I didn’t get any as they were rehomed too quickly. But I did get a dog!


In January 2015, I had lost my Labrador, Daisy, which left our Springer Spaniel, Lily, an only dog; and me heart-broken. So I rescued Buster, an ex-street dog from Cyprus who had already ‘failed’ in two British homes. I saw his photo and fell in love. He came “on trial” but was never going back!  Two years later he was joined by another Dogs4Rescue graduate, Honey.


But who rescued whom?  I gave these beautiful souls a loving home and they mended my broken heart; made me a carer again; gave me a purpose, a reason to get up and get outside; and someone to talk to. It’s difficult to get a word in edgewise with a group of chatty chickens, but I manage it; not so hard with dogs, they are excellent listeners!


We all need rescuing at points in our lives. I say, let a “rescue” rescue you.


Dogs4Rescue is an independent dog rescue where the dogs live together in a kennel free environment. Working with partners in dog pounds in the UK, Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria and even Afghanistan to rescue unwanted and unloved street dogs, they are funded by the profits from their Daycare 4 Dogs dog crèche and from fundraising. They can be found online or by ringing 07412361769.

The British Hen Welfare Trust rescues battery hens from slaughter and rehomes 60,000 UK birds as pets per year. Visit their website or call them on 01884 860084

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