Animal Friends Wins Three Consumer Moneyfacts Awards

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Last night Animal Friends staff members attended the Consumer Moneyfacts Awards at the London Marriott in Grosvenor Square.

These awards celebrate the very best financial sector products available to the public. The Consumer Moneyfacts Awards, as the name suggests, gives a voice to the consumers, offering them the opportunity to have their say on the quality of their financial service providers.

Moneyfacts research the market, assessing each provider and product on technical merit to form their shortlist of 10 providers in each category. To even be nominated means that a company is considered to be one of the top ten in that class.

Consumers are then invited to respond to a survey giving honest, personal feedback about their experience. This means that the winners of these awards will be able to prove that they combine technical merit, customer satisfaction and service excellence.

We were delighted to receive not one, not two, but three awards. Not only were we Highly Commended in the Best Pet Insurance Provider of the Year, we were also Highly Commended Best Customer Service for the second year running.

The highlight of the night was receiving the award for Best Claims Service. This was particularly special for us, as this category pitted us against insurance companies across the sector, not just other pet insurers. To have our claims team be named the best in the UK is extremely rewarding, especially in the knowledge that this award is voted for by our customers.

Our Founder and Managing Director said, “We are absolutely thrilled to receive these awards. 2014 was a big year for Animal Friends, and we collected a number of awards which all meant a lot to us. But to receive three awards that are based on both our technical quality and customer feedback makes this evening all the more rewarding. We do everything we can to ensure that we are giving our customers the very best service from every department, so to have our claims team recognised as the best in the insurance sector, and to be Highly Commended for our customer service for the second year running, shows that we are delivering that quality.”

We’d also like to extend our thanks to the customers who voted for us. To receive this vote of confidence from our consumers makes the award mean so much to us.

Buddy the Horse: Guest Blog from HorseWorld

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In January 2011, staff at equine rescue centre, HorseWorld, worked around the clock to save the life of a young cob who arrived at the charity’s welfare department weighing just a third of his ideal body weight. Now, four years later, he is fully recovered, fully grown and has finally found a family and a home to call his own.

HorseWorld Groom, Kayleigh Macleod, helped to give Buddy the care and medication he needed when he was so emaciated and ill. “He looked ready to die and was so weak that his head had to be supported by grooms. It took a drip and six blood transfusions to give Buddy the strength to support his own weight. He had to be lifted to his feet every two hours day and night for the first two weeks.

“If he laid down, he was unable to get himself back up again and became distressed that he couldn’t get to his food. He couldn’t be left laying down for too long. In his efforts to get up, he would rub sores on his shoulders, hips and head where his bones protruded through his fragile skin. Buddy’s bed had to be very deep while we were lifting him.”

On arrival at HorseWorld Buddy weighed just 108kg. He should have weighed around 280-300kg. He was suffering from severe diarrhoea that was full of redworm.

Now, four years on, Buddy is fighting fit and giving no clues to his traumatic start in life. HorseWorld’s team of specialist trainers worked with the young pony to train him to be ridden so he could find a new home on the charity’s loan scheme where he will receive all the love and one-to-one attention he deserves.

Buddy’s new loaner, Harriet Champion, said, “I’m so excited to give Buddy a new home. He will be ridden by my 2 nephews and niece, they can all grow up together and learn together as a team. I’m looking forward to being able to give all the team at HorseWorld updates on how he’s doing after the bad start in life he had.”

Buddy’s medical care cost over £2,600 in the first three weeks alone. Vet fees and feed costs continued to accumulate throughout his rehabilitation. Manager, Jerry Watkins, commented “This is one of the worst cases of neglect HorseWorld has seen in a long time, the fact that Buddy kept fighting was enough inspiration for us to fight just as hard to save his young life. Now, seeing him start his new life as a riding pony with a family that love him makes it all worthwhile.

“Buddy is now fully recovered but is one of many rescue cases that HorseWorld helps. The winter is our busiest time - the cold weather and lack of grazing means that horses that are abandoned or neglected become emaciated and ill very quickly. We rely completely on the generous support of the public to be able to rescue these animals.”

To help other horses like Buddy please visit HorseWorld Trust’s website or call 01275 893020

Insuring your horse gives you the peace of mind that you will be covered if anything were to happen. Animal Friends offer a range of policies for horses, and we also insure donkeys.

10 Famous Adoption Stories

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Every rescue animal deserves to be adopted into a home that will provide them with the love and security they need. These amazing stories illustrate how important rehoming is, and why adopted animals can prove to be the most amazing additions to any family.

1. Oscar

Oscar became famous for travelling around the world with his owner, Joanne Lefson. Photos of him against backdrops of scenes from various countries received an enormous online response, and Lefson also published her own book in 2010 about their journey titled Ahound the World: My Travels with Oscar. Lefson rescued Oscar from a shelter in Cape Town the day before he was meant to be euthanised, and used their mammoth journey to raise awareness about the importance of rehoming animals. They visited over 20,000 animal shelters over five continents, and Oscar remains the only dog ever to have travelled over 200,000 kilometres. They were scheduled to climb to Mount Everest Base Camp to campaign for providing stray dogs with a home. Sadly, Oscar died before making it to Everest when he was hit by a car in California in 2013. His legacy continues through Lefson’s new society ‘Oscars Arc’, which was established to raise awareness about animal adoption, and to campaign against euthanasia in shelters.

2. Haatchi

The story of Haatchi and Owen Howkins is astounding. Haatchi the Anatolian Shepherd was left for dead when he was tied to a railway track after being beaten over the head. His tail and one of his legs were severely injured after being hit by a train and had to be amputated. Haatchi was rescued and then rehomed after Owen’s father’s fiancée read Haatchi’s story on Facebook. The boy and his new dog immediately bonded and became inseparable. Owen, aged seven at the time, suffers from Schwartz-Jampel syndrome, a rare genetic condition that causes his muscles to constantly seize up. He became withdrawn and anxious as a result, struggling to make friends at school and socialise, and was nervous about leaving the house. Haatchi’s arrival transformed Owen’s life, giving him the confidence to speak to strangers and go outside. The pair have won numerous awards, and Haatchi and Owen’s story has inspired two short films and a book.

3. Nala

Nala the cat was given up to a rescue shelter aged just four months old when her owners could no longer afford to look after her. Shortly after, she began to develop respiratory problems. Nala was eventually adopted and nursed back to health by Varisiri Mathachittiphan, and became an internet sensation after her new owner posted photos of her on Instagram. Nala is now considered to be one of the most famous cats online with over 1.7 million followers on the social media site, and her owner now uses her Instagram account to promote animal welfare and the benefits of spaying and neutering for reducing over-population at shelters.

4. Maddie

Maddie the Coonhound rose to fame as a result of the images and videos her owner posted online of her balancing on various objects. She was rescued by Theron Humphrey from a shelter in Georgia, and the two embarked on a year-long journey across 50 American states to tell ordinary people’s life stories after Humphrey discovered his dog’s unusual ability. He would then take a photo of Maddie on location to use as an accompaniment to each story. Humphrey has used the success of ‘This Wild Idea’ to create ‘Why We Rescue’, a project showcasing success stories about rehoming. Maddie even has a book by Humphrey to her name called Maddie on Things: A Super Serious Project About Dogs and Physics. Currently, thiswildidea’s Instagram page has over 778,000 followers.

5. Reese

The story of Reese the Maltese dog that emerged in early 2014 is unbelievable. Reese went missing from his Texas home in 2007 and seven years later was discovered by the side of a road in Washington. He had escaped from the Davis family home, who had rescued the dog from a shelter in Texas and renamed him Harley. Reese’s microchip identified his original owner as Dinah Miller, and he was flown back to Texas.

6. Peanut

The dog that played Baxter in the film Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy endured abuse and neglect before he became famous. He was discovered in a Los Angeles shelter by a trainer, and became instantly recognisable to fans of the popular film. Peanut died in 2010, and Quince, his successor in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, had also been rescued after being discovered in a car park. As a result, Anchorman 2 and Nutrish launched ‘Baxter Burgudy’s Scholarship for Classy Dogs’ in 2013, with Nutrish vowing to donate a dollar to the San Diego Humane Society for every Facebook like the page received.

7. Stormy

A retriever-terrier mix puppy, along with his parents and siblings, was rescued by the Dallas Animal Services shelter with the help of Dallas Fire-Rescue and Watershed Management after getting stuck in a storm drain. The animals’ rescue was followed on the shelter’s Facebook page, and they decided to hold a raffle after they were inundated with requests to adopt the dogs. Stormy was the first one to be adopted, and found a new home with the Carruther family.

8. Marnie

A rescued Shih-Tzu with a unique appearance, Marnie was adopted by MTV producer Shirley Braha after she was discovered by Animal Control in a terrible condition on the streets of Connecticut. She had to have fourteen teeth removed and was found to be blind in one eye. She became one of the most popular dogs on Instagram with over 943,000 followers to date, after her tilted head and distinguishable long tongue got her noticed. Her head tilt is thought to be the result of Vestibular Syndrome, which Marnie may have previously suffered from. Fortunately, Braha’s love and devotion means that she can now see out of both eyes.

9. Rudy

Six of the twenty-two Labradors used for the title role in the 2008 film Marley and Me were rescue dogs. One of the dogs, Rudy, was adopted by shelter volunteer Susan Woolley the day before he was going to be euthanised due to a leg injury. Although the shelter tried to find Rudy a home it seemed nobody wanted him, so Woolley adopted the dog after realising what was going to happen. She was then contacted by Larry Madrid, the on-set trainer for Marley and Me, who was searching for a rescue Labrador to portray ‘Marley’ in the film.

10. Lil Bub

Lil Bub was the runt of a feral litter that was taken in by an Indiana shelter when it was discovered she would require a lot of special care. The cat was born with numerous conditions including dwarfism, and she is a ‘perma-kitten’, a cat that will look like a kitten for the rest of her life. She is also a polydactyl cat, born with twenty two toes as opposed to the usual eighteen, and her teeth have never grown. She is also the only cat in recorded history ever to have been born with osteopetrosis, meaning her bones grow denser the older she gets. Far from setting her back, Lil Bub gained fame when her owner Mike Bridavsky photographed her with artists that came to visit his music studio and posted them on the studio’s blog. The photos attracted attention, catapulting Lil Bub into internet stardom with over 642,000 followers to date on Instagram. The cat has her own range of merchandise including clothing, soft toys and phone cases, the proceeds of which go towards helping animal rescue organisations. In February 2014, Lil Bub’s Big Fund was created with the ASPCA, which is a national fund established to provide donations to shelters housing animals with special needs. $200,000 has been raised from meet and greets at shelters and the online store, whilst awareness of the importance of adopting and spaying and neutering animals has been spread.

Find out more animal-related information on our blog, article and guide pages. Insuring your pet gives you peace of mind that you and your pet will be covered if anything were to happen. Animal Friends offer a range of policies for dogs, cats and horses, and we also insure older pets.

This is a sponsored post for the Love Rehoming campaign.

Happy New Year!

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Christmas is over for another year, and many of us will be getting ready to pack up the decorations and see what 2015 has to offer. Here at Animal Friends, many of us have made New Year’s Resolutions in the hope of having a better year than ever, and we thought we should get our pets in on the action! To help you start the year as you mean to go on we’ve got lots of content coming your way all about exercise and health, as well as some handy tips for being a benevolent pet owner in 2015. (more…)

2 Super Social Networking Pages

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More and more we are starting to rely on technology to network, learn and entertain ourselves. Social networking pages have become hubs for interacting with people who share your interests, asking questions and sharing images and videos. We’ve compiled a little list of our favourite dog and cat pages on Twitter and Facebook! (more…)

3 Thrifty Gift Ideas

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One of the best things about Christmas is seeing the look on a loved one’s face when you give them a thoughtful present. Sometimes, though, our Christmas gift budget doesn’t stretch quite as far as our desire to give requires. Never fear, if you have a sewing kit, some old clothes, and a little bit of time it’s really easy to put together some really special gifts that you can on a budget. We’ve got one for cats, one for dogs and one for the animal lover in your life. (more…)

4 Games to Play on Rainy Days

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As the days get darker, colder and wetter it becomes less and less appealing to play with our pets for long periods outdoors. While it is still essential to take dogs for daily walks and make sure cats are remaining active, it’s always helpful to have some extra tricks up your sleeve to keep them busy and engaged without getting completely waterlogged. Here are our 4 favourite games for rainy days. (more…)

5 Stories that touched our hearts

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Every year there are stories in the news about heroic animals and pet-lovers all around the world who do incredible things. Here are just a handful of news stories that we felt were especially moving this year. (more…)

6 Reasons to Love Christmas with Pets

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We love our pets 365 days a year, but there’s something magical about Christmas time that makes us want to be with those who are special to us. Here are our top six reasons we love Christmas with pets. (more…)

7 Awesome Animal Videos

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We all like to spend a little time watching animal videos on YouTube. Here are some of our favourites (click on the titles of the videos to visit them on YouTube). (more…)