Saturday, June 26, 2010


Nurturing the Odd Waif & Stray

who has become a surrogate mother for the 50th time

Happy family: Pictured from left to right are Toby, a stray Lakeland dog; Bramble, an orphaned roe deer; Buster, a stray Jack Russell; a dumped rabbit; Sky, an injured barn owl, and Jasmine...

When Jasmine the abandoned greyhound arrived at the Nuneaton Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary  shivering and desperate for food, she needed all the love in the world to nurse her back to full health.

Now it appears the kindness and patience shown to her has rubbed off — for the rescue dog has become a surrogate mother for the 50th time.


Perfect mum: Jasmine the greyhound with Bramble, the roe deer that she is currently caring for...  

Tiny Bramble, 11 weeks old, was found semi-conscious in a field. Upon arrival at the sanctuary, Jasmine cuddled up to her to keep her warm, and then went into the full foster-mum role. Jasmine the greyhound showers Bramble the roe deer with affection, and makes sure nothing is matted in her fur.
Jasmine was first brought to the Nuneaton Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary by the police in 2003, having been found whimpering in a garden shed. She was cold, filthy and malnourished. It took a few weeks for her to fully trust staff at the centre but with tender loving care she was nursed back to full fitness. 
Geoff Grewcock, who runs the sanctuary, said: 'She was very nervous around us, she was caked in mud and dust and very thin. It took a while but gradually she got used to us and has been at the centre ever since.'
They started to think about finding her an adoptive home. Jasmine, however, had other ideas. No one quite remembers how it came about, but Jasmine started welcoming all animal arrivals at the sanctuary. It would not matter if it were a puppy, a fox cub, a rabbit or, any other lost or hurting animal. Jasmine would just peer into the box or cage and, when and where possible, deliver a welcoming lick.
Five years on, Jasmine is now the one looking after stray waifs. Geoff says: 'She simply dotes on the animals as if they were her own, it's incredible to see. She takes all the stress out of them and it helps them to not only feel close to her but to settle into their new surroundings.'
'As soon as an animal is brought in, she walks over takes a sniff or two and then licks and cuddles them. It is quite amazing, particularly as she is a greyhound breed and they are usually quite aggressive, That is why they are used for racing.'

Jasmine with another one of her 'babies'.
She has cared for 15 rabbits in total

'Having been neglected herself, it's a real surprise to see her show so much warmth and affection to other creatures. It's not just animals, she is great which children too — Jasmine is such a gentle, big-hearted dog.'

'I remember we had two puppies that had been abandoned by a nearby railway line, one was a Lakeland Terrier cross and another was a Jack Russell Doberman cross. They were tiny when they arrived at the centre and Jasmine approached them and grabbed one by the scruff of the neck in her mouth and put him on the settee. Then she fetched the other one and sat down with them, cuddling them.'

But Jasmine is like that with all of our animals, even the rabbits which greyhounds usually chase down the track.  She takes all the stress out of them, and it helps them to not only feel close to her, but to settle into their new surroundings. She has done the same with the fox and badger cubs, she licks the rabbits and guinea pigs, and even lets the birds perch on the bridge of her nose.

Jasmine, the timid, abused, deserted waif, became the animal sanctuary's resident surrogate mother, a role for which she might have been born. The list of orphaned and abandoned youngsters she has cared for comprises five fox cubs, four badger cubs, fifteen chicks, eight guinea pigs, two stray puppies and fifteen rabbits — and one roe deer fawn.

Until Bramble the fawn is old enough to be released back into the wild, she will continue to be cared for by Jasmine.

Geoff added: 'They are inseparable at the moment, Bramble walks between her legs and they keep kissing each other. They walk together round the sanctuary. It's absolutely marvelous. It's a real treat to see them.'

When Bramble is returned to woodland life, Jasmine will not be lonely. She will be too busy showering love and affection on the next orphan or victim of abuse.  'It's very touching. Her maternal instincts take over all the time.' said Geoff.

And, just in case you're wondering, has verified the truth of this wonderful story and the reality of the photographs that accompany the article:

... We contacted the Nuneaton Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary and were assured by assistant manager/trustee Stacey Clark that "the story is 100% true, Jasmine is still with us and is still looking after the odd waif and stray."

As to the question of whether some of the photographs displayed above might have involved some use of digital manipulation, Stacey told us that all the pictures were real, and that "The only 'work' that has been done is that the Barn Owl was sat on a towel so that he didn't hurt Jasmine with his claws, but we took the towel away so you could see the full beauty of Jasmine, as after all the story is about her."




(Contributed by Jim who lives in Galena, Illinois)

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