Whilst my passion and love for all animals means that choosing the charities for this piece was incredibly hard, I decided to go a little bit off the beaten path and not opt for obvious choices that already have huge worldwide organisations and adverts all over the television. Instead, I went with a few independent rescuers and animal lovers that are close to my heart.
The Pug Queen
Ex Playmate Izabella St. James holds a special place in my heart. Being a pug lover and pug mother myself, every single post she makes brings tears to my eyes. Not just a pretty face, this blonde beauty runs her home as a pug sanctuary, travelling all over the USA to collect and rescue neglected, abandoned and abused pugs. She then brings them home, feeds, cleans and treats them, takes them to the vets and spends thousands upon thousands on operations and treatments, nurses them in her home along with her own five pugs and however many rescues she is fostering at the time. Each pug is treated to new beds and toys, the best food possible and endless love. Once she has nursed them back to health she seeks to find them their perfect forever home. Vetting each applicant to make sure they are perfect and keeping in touch with all of the families that take her pugs.
Isabella calls herself ‘The Pug Queen’ and a fitting name it is. She does all of this out of sheer love for these dogs, so much so that it has become her life now. She receives income from the rescues, but the huge medical bills and everything the dogs need come out of her own pocket with the help of strangers. She has a PayPal page that you can donate to. The Queen posts every single vet bill on her Instagram and updates of what the dogs need, along with heart wrenching stories and photos.
She is at the top of my list, mainly because my own Pug, Fang, who has been my baby for eight years and is the dearest thing to me. I could not imagine my life without him.
I stumbled across this page completely by chance. I have always been fascinated by deer, especially fawns. This one-woman-operation is run by ‘Fuzzy’ (not her real name) a New Yorker licensed to rescue and rehabilitate wildlife. Six years ago, a fawn that had been struck by a car found it’s way into her yard. It took nearly four hours for her to find help for the suffering animal and she swore this would never happen again. She set about starting her own rehabilitation centre for these beautiful creatures. She nurses the babies back to health and returns them to the wild, if fit.
Her Instagram page is one of my favourite things to look at if I’m ever feeling sad. She tags all her posts with #bestnonpayingjobever as she runs her operation off donations made by her followers, she also sells fawn related merchandise on her etsy page, including a now sold out 2018 calendar with photos she has taken of her rescues.
You can also check out her linktree page.
Black Jaguar-White Tiger
Started by Eduardo Serio—a Mexican business man who packed up his whole life to rescue a big cat back in 2013—the Black Jaguar White Tiger Foundation has now become one of the largest big cat sanctuaries in the world. They work as a non-profit organisation, rescuing felines from lives of abuse at the hands circuses, zoos and breeders.
Eduardo has amassed millions of Instagram followers with his incredible videos with his ‘children’ as he calls them. In addition to the upwards of 295 tigers, lions, leopards, pumas, lynxes and servals, the foundation has also taken in around 60 street dogs.
They nurture, care for and rehabilitate these amazing animals. They do not breed them. Eduardo and his board of directors do not receive a salary for their incredible work. Their financial records are all public. Help them continue to do incredible things by donating to the Black Jaguar White Tiger Foundation.
Rushton Dog Rescue
When I visited China with my partner for work last year, I was horrified by their treatment of animals. I'm not naive—all over the world animals are tortured unnecessarily for the meat trade. Although I don't personally eat meat, I do understand that many, many people enjoy meat and will continue to do so. However, there is a difference between eating meat and allowing the horrific torture of animals.
Being a 'mama' to two beautiful dogs, the thought that anyone would want to eat them is bizarre to me. Moreover, the fact that anyone could think it is acceptable to torture these loving, loyal creatures is one of the saddest things I have ever encountered. I hold my babies close as I write this.
In Guangzhou, an area we visited, the Yulin Dog Meat festival, that is notorious world wide, promotes torture, abuse and harrowing treatment. We were told that a delicacy is to keep the fur on and cook the dogs alive! They listen to the dogs scream in pain as they burn. A video went viral this year of a man hitting a terrified dog with a stick to keep it in the wok as he laughed. That video will never leave my mind. This year, Chinese activists fronted by Dr. Peter Li, rescued 1,300 stolen dogs and cats (some stolen from families in other parts of China that were loved and cherished pets) from wire cages that were being driven to their fate at the festival. Although the festival went ahead anyway, this had a huge impact on the new movement in China to stop this horrifying cruelty.
Ruston Dog Rescue's 'Darkness to Light' Project is a long process of getting the rescued dogs from China to a vet to be nursed to health. Then, these dogs are brought to the UK to be re-situated with loving families who can help them enjoy the lives they deserve. The project needs a lot of funding as you can imagine, please contribute to this cause by donating to Rushton Dog Rescue.