The RSPCA rescued and collected more than 102,900 animals in 2018 - and were able to rehome 40,738.
The charity fears many of the pets are being left beind beause they’re too ugly. GoodToKnow spoke to the owners of a few beastly beauties, proving looks aren’t everything…
‘She was bald, almost blind…and perfect’
Rio Maye, 28, lives in Bedford
Walking into the Danaher Animal Home, in Essex, I wasn’t sure quite what I was looking for. Ever since my springer spaniel, Holly, had passed away, I’d wanted a friend for Pea, my 14-year-old chihuahua. I didn’t have a specific breed in mind, but then I saw hairless Chinese crested Morissa and she was impossible to ignore.
She was 13, though no bigger than a puppy, bald apart from tufts of white fur, and with bulging eyes and a grey beard, she wasn’t the prettiest of pooches But as she wagged her tail and ran over, my decision was made. ‘She’s perfect!’ I said to my mum Claire.
The RSPCA staff were thrilled, as they’d had trouble finding her a home because of the way she looked. I couldn’t understand it, I thought she was gorgeous. On 31 May 2019, I brought Morissa home, renaming her Morticia to suit her unusual style, and she soon settled in well, becoming best friends with Pea.
Morticia is almost blind, and sometimes she’ll stare at the wall, but whenever I walk through the door, she’s waiting for a cuddle. When I think about other so-called ‘ugly pups’, my heart aches. Dogs love us no matter how we look, we should do the same for them.
The two ‘ugly sisters’
Faye Sewell lives in London
As I waited by the phone for hours, I was also constantly refreshing my emails, desperate for an update.
Would I be the one? The one to bring brother and sister Maia and Mosi, then seven months, back home. Furless sphinx cats Maia and Mosi weren’t like your usual domestic mogs.
They’d had a rough start in life – born with only one functional eye, cat flu and also heart murmurs, they’d needed extra care, so were brought to the RSPCA in July 2019.
For several months, they’d been under the care of the veterinary team at Putney Animal Hospital, but despite all their problems, their cheeky personalities shone through, and when I met them at the Wimbledon, Wandsworth & Sutton RSPCA centre, I’d fallen in love.
One worker explained how they liked to stay inside, to be kept warm and cosy. ‘Just like me,’ I said. They may not have had fluffy coats, and just one eye each, but they were adorable – only, I wasn’t the only one who’d fallen for these two little minxes.
Lots of people were interested and the rescuers weren’t sure how to pick a new owner.
Then, in August 2019, that call finally arrived – Maia and Mosi were mine!
Bringing them home was magical, they loved their toy fish on a string, spent hours snoozing in their banana-shaped bed, and now I can’t imagine life without them.
Mosi is obsessed with the washing machine, gazing at it whirling around, while Maia is more of a terror who’ll destroy a cardboard box in seconds and is fascinated by the recycling bins.
They may look pretty similar, but they’ve each got an adorable personality, and that’s more important than looks, any day.
‘I wanted to adopt two skinny pigs,’
Leanne Tarry, 29, lives in Borehamwood.
From the biggest beasts in the zoo to the tiniest creepy crawlies, I’d always been an animal lover, and I was especially drawn to the ‘ugly’ animals – the ones left behind.
But what I’d always really wanted was a skinny pig – they’re just like guinea pigs, minus the fur. Though they’re not pretty and would need extra care due to their sensitive skin,
I was fascinated by them and had always wanted to adopt one as a family pet.
In October 2019, that day finally came. I’d been reading online that the RSPCA had just rescued 10 skinny pigs, and it turned out their previous owner had been struggling to cope and decided to put them up for adoption.
‘I’d like to adopt two skinny pigs,’ I told the RSPCA operator over the phone. I didn’t mind what colour or sex they were, I just wanted to give them a fresh start.
Soon after, it was approved that I’d be bringing home Clanger, a pink pig, and Moomin, a black one, so I bought them a cage and bedding and counted down the hours until they were with me.
Now, I can’t remember a time they weren’t part of our home, and my kids simply adore them. While our bill for veggies has gone through the roof, I wouldn’t change a thing. All animals deserve to be loved, no matter what they look like.