Animal Sanctuary Poem Week: Day 4

Hillside Animal Sanctuary

Frettenham, Norfolk

Wendy Valentine’s amazing

Her firey compassion don’t stop blazing.

Her sanct’ry is home to many a horse,

It goes without saying, she’s vegan of course!

There’s chickens and ducks and budgies and turkeys,

And sheep and cows and llamas and donkeys.

There’s rabbits and emus, alpacas and deer,

There’s even some chipmunks and goats live here.

But rescuing’s not all that Hillside does,

They also investigate farms because

They need to make public the horror that’s hidden

Behind the farm gates of those animal prisons.

❤ 🙂 ❤

Hillside is now home to over 3000 animals and is one of the UK’s most successful campaigning organisations for the animals’ cause.  They have always known that one of the main reasons animals are left to suffer in factory farms is because people have little or no idea about the immense cruelty involved in their food production.

Muddy face

The story continues from yesterday:

He wondered what on Earth he’d done to deserve such a reception as he stood, with muddy face, muddy hands, muddy knees and muddy shoes, at the end of the trail of muddy footprints on the tiled floor.

Being considerate in all things, Luke complied with Mum’s vehement suggestion that he wash more than just his hands, and came to the table in clean clothes.  Jared, his older brother, looked at him curiously as if wondering what he’d been doing and Luke returned the look without enlightening him.  Mum served up their tea but, as usual, didn’t sit down with them.  She would wait for Dad to get home and eat with him.

Luke was dismayed to see bacon on his plate again.  He had recently discovered what bacon really was: not food at all but slices of dead piglet.  He was horrified.  The fact that his parents, who had always told him to be good and kind, would choose to eat it was very confusing.  He thought at first that they must not be aware of what it actually was, but when he explained it to them they were not surprised.  They told him that people need to eat meat but that he shouldn’t worry because the animals were killed humanely (which they said meant ‘gently’ ).  Luke was unconvinced.

“Killed gently! So they don’t mind you killin’ ’em then, is that what you’re sayin’?  They like it do they? They look forward to it I suppose because their murderers are so gentle!”

After some lengthy discussion in this vein, during which Luke’s parents failed to persuade him to see reason, his mum effected his silence by sternly insisting that she knew best and Luke must eat his meat. Luke said no more at that time but was determined not to.

 Again faced with the need to be rid of his bacon, Luke discreetly took a rasher and held it below the table for Dudley.  Dudley, his dog, very obligingly took it from him.  At that moment Mum reappeared in the doorway.

“What did you just do?” she demanded angrily.

“Whaaat?  Nothin’.  I dint do nothin’.”


“I was on’y feedin’ someone what was hungry,” Luke explained innocently, “jus’ bein’ generous, that’s all.”

“You know very well that Dudley has already had his dinner and if you keep giving him yours he’s going to get fat!”

Dudley ate fast.  Mum went on.

“Don’t ever do that again! You’re a growing boy Luke, you need to eat your meat!”

Luke stuck to his guns.

“I don’t want it!  I’ve got Prince Pauls!”

He’d heard the vicar talking about living by one’s  principles in the school assembly that morning.  It meant having values and putting them into practice; it meant actions speak louder than words; it meant if you love animals you don’t eat them.  Luke had never heard of Prince Paul before but knew he must have been a good bloke.

 “Prince who? What on Earth are you on about?”

Mum had obviously never heard of him either.

“I’ve got veggietarian Prince Pauls.”

Mum was not impressed.

“Oh give me strength!” she said, “well, you can explain that one to your Dad.”

“But he won’t be home ’til after bedtime right?” asked Luke, hopeful that he wouldn’t have to have that conversation tonight.

“He’s already home.  I just saw him walking down the garden. Checking on his lettuces no doubt.”

Luke, suddenly not so confident that he’d thought  of everything, became pale as it dawned on him that Dad might not understand that it was a good idea for the damsons to live in the veg patch.  He felt sure that, in time, his new friends would be welcome additions to the family, but knew that his dad was not one to take to something right away and it would be better for everyone if they did not meet just yet.

“LUKE!” His dad’s booming voice reached the house before he did.

“How did he know it was me?” Luke wondered.


You can read the whole chapter here.

Stay in touch for Chapter 2, coming to this site sometime, or buy the first eight chapters in paperback if you can’t wait that long 😉

“I’m savin’ ya”

The story continues from yesterday:

He crawled across the lawn feeling like Robin Hood or one of his band of outlaws, risking everything to save the innocent.

“I don’t care if Mrs Tebbut don’t think I’m Robin Hood material, that jus’ means I’m doin’ a good job foolin’ ’em,” he rationalized as his knees slid through the mud. “It’s good that I’m goin’ to be Sheriff of Nottin’am’s Guard Number two – then no one will guess that I am actually an outlaw in real life.”

When he reached the hutch he glanced towards the house to make sure he wasn’t being watched.  The windows looked dark so it was impossible to tell.  He’d have to be quick and hope for the best. He opened the hutch and reached for the rabbit.

“Shh shhh, it’s ok, I’m not gonna hurt ya,” he whispered reassuringly, “I’m savin’ ya, like Robin Hood savin’ damsons in distress from the Sheriff’s dungeon.” 

vegan children's story

He tucked her safely into his shirt and hurried back to the hedge.  The rabbit wriggled and squirmed uncomfortably, her heart beating hard and fast.

“Ow! Stop scratchin’ me!” hissed Luke before regretfully adding “I’m sorry to tell you off, but it’s for your own good.  I’m bein’ firm but fair,” and he crouched down to exit the way he’d come in.  

As his left foot followed the rest of his body out of the Butler garden it knocked over a rake, which struck a gnome, which fell from its pedestal and broke with a crash.  Mrs Butler opened the back door.

“Who’s there?” she shouted.

But no one was.

In his own back garden, Luke headed for Dad’s vegetable patch.

“Here you go Scratcher,” he said to the white rabbit as he closed the gate, “this is your new home.”

He placed her gently among the lettuces.

“There’s plenty to eat ‘ere see, we don’t mind sharin’.  Dad’s always tellin’ me to share.”

vegan children's story

Scratcher hungrily and gratefully tucked in.  Nearby, between the carrots and the peas, a reddish brown rabbit and a grey rabbit watched with moderate interest as they nibbled and chewed.  Luke made introductions.

“And there’s friends for you to play with.  I rescued Rusty yes’dy but Ash just come today like you. They’re quiet but I think you’ll get on alright with ’em.”

It transpired that Luke, though quite new to outlawdom, was not one to procrastinate.  As someone who hated being confined to his room, he sympathised with anyone imprisoned alone and was determined to help them.  Ash and Rusty had been housed similarly to Scratcher in two different back gardens adjacent to the playing field.  Spotting them during ball retrieval operations, Luke had decided that those damsons needed rescuing and was certain he was the outlaw for the job.

Luke kept his new friends company for the next ninety-eight minutes until the sound of his mum’s voice calling from the house reminded him that it was nearly tea time.

“I’ve got to go in for me tea now,” he explained, “but I’ll see you tomorrow,” and he showed Scratcher where she could sleep when she got tired.

Ash and Rusty didn’t need to be shown, being already aware of the small hole in the side of Dad’s shed made by Luke with Dad’s hammer.  He had been very considerate in making the hole, ensuring that it was at the back so as not to look untidy to the casual observer; and making it just rabbit-sized.  He was confident he’d thought of everything.

“Dad on’y uses it at weekends,” he concluded, “so you won’t be in nobody’s way in there at night.”

Feeling very satisfied with his first week of outlawing, he said goodnight and went inside.  Mum had her back to him when he stepped into the kitchen.

“Is tea ready?”

“Yes, just about.  You’d better go and wash your hands,” she said as she turned to face him.  “Luke!” she gasped.

“Whaaat?” said Luke, frowning at his frowning parent.


To be continued ….

Click here for the whole chapter

Name the Bunny!

rescue rabbit

Rescue rabbits

Rescue rabbits

Lovely rabbits

With natural habits

Need spacious homes

With other rabbits.

If you’ve got love

And space for rabbits,

Don’t pay breeders

Hell no!  Dagnabbit!

So many need homes,

Save rescue rabbits!

At Raystede Animal Welfare Centre in East Sussex they take in around 1500 animals every year who need to be found new homes.  They work hard to make sure that each animal is matched up with the right family to give them the best new chance in life and they provide advice on how to take the best care of the animals.

This is undoubtedly the case for so many animal rescue organisations which is why it’s so important, if we are able to provide a happy home for a companion animal, that we rehome abandoned, neglected, rescued animals rather than buy from breeders and perpetuate the problem.

The chap pictured at the top of this post is, like other rabbits rescued by Raystede, looking for a new home.

He is such a sweetheart and anyone from the UK wishing to adopt him should comment on this post suggesting a name for him.  Then, on Friday, we will put all the suggested names in a box and draw out a winner.  The rescued bunny will be trusted to the loving care of the lucky prize winner to whom he will be promptly delivered 😀