Ho ho ho - Christmas comes early for lucky dogs and cats at Hickling animal charity

PUBLISHED: 14:24 02 December 2017 | UPDATED: 15:17 02 December 2017

Matthew Ward with centre staff and founder Judith Simmance and friend Jamie Podgers.
Picture: Anthony Carroll

Matthew Ward with centre staff and founder Judith Simmance and friend Jamie Podgers. Picture: Anthony Carroll


Christmas has come early for dogs and cats at an animal rescue charity after a social media appeal led to 200 gift boxes arriving at the centre.

Matthew Ward with Lola the bulldog and Oib the beagle at Faith Animal Rescue.
Picture: Anthony CarrollMatthew Ward with Lola the bulldog and Oib the beagle at Faith Animal Rescue. Picture: Anthony Carroll

There were barks of excitement as the gifts arrived at Faith Animal Rescue at Hickling as Matthew played Santa as he turned up with a van and car full of presents, including toys, food and scratchers.

Mr Ward, a printer from Acle, had launched a social media campaign to get all manner of presents for dogs and cats at the charity, but he never imagined he would be able to fill 200 boxes of gifts for the animals.

But thanks to generous donors, including people in Canada and America and Norfolk and Suffolk pet shop owners, Mr Ward was able to deliver the haul of gifts on Saturday morning, much to the delight of the dozens of dogs and cats there.

Among the first to receive gifts was six-year-old Mary and her litter of six puppies.

Mary was raised in a puppy farm and before arriving at the centre had never played with a toy before.

Also enjoying the presents were Lola the bulldog and Obi the beagle who were dressed up for the occasion by delighted staff.

Mr Ward said: “It is great to see the dogs enjoy the presents.

“When I launched my appeal on social media I thought I would just get a few tins of food sent in.

“In the end I had donations from across the country and other countries. It has been a brilliant response. The support has been fantastic. One pet shop in Norwich donated £600 of items.”

Mr Ward was given a certificate of thanks from the rehoming charity and he was helped in delivering the mountain of gifts by friend Jamie Podgers.

Judith Simmance, founder of Faith Animal Rescue, said: “It is brilliant that Matthew cared enough to set up his appeal. We do give gifts at Christmas to the animals here, but now we have so much more thanks to Matthew.

“It is a wonderful thing he has done.”

Also among the dogs to get a present was 11-month-old puppy Choice, the collie cross German shepherd and who the centre would love to end up in a loving home.

Anyone who is interested in rehoming Choice and any of the other dogs and cats at the Hickling centre can view a gallery on its facebook page F.A.I.T.H. Animal Rescue.

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