Self-confessed rabbit lover Anna Lindley has been an animal care assistant at Leybourne Animal Centre for five years. Being part of the team at Leybourne means that Anna gets to work in all areas of the animal centre.
And, whilst she enjoys working in the kennels and cattery, Anna’s favourite area of the centre is the small animals section. She works there whenever she can and has become known as the ‘small animals guru’ to her colleagues.
I’m mad about rabbits and their welfare, and all the other small animals that come through the doors - except snakes! I’m terrified of them.
What comes into the care of the small animal area?
Small animals include every type of small pet from pet budgerigars and parakeets to ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats, mice and of course rabbits. Ducks, chickens and geese, as well as an array of wild animals, can also be cared for in the ‘smalls section’.
Basically anything that’s not a cat or a dog. I love the fact that you never know what you’re going to get!
The number of small animals that the centre is able to house varies according to the species that come in, the conditions the animals are in when they arrive and the sex of the animals. And there is never any shortage of small animals needing a place to stay.
Challenges and rewards
Caring for such a diverse range of animals provides an interesting challenge for Anna and a lot of work!
"When I’m working in the small animals section I spend most of my time cleaning, feeding and providing basic veterinary care and enrichment. It often feels like I’m chasing my tail.
"It breaks my heart to think that the small animals, like rabbits, often go unnoticed, sat in a three-foot hutch next to a bin in the back garden. I love working with these animals. The ones that get a little bit forgotten sometimes. I get to help make their lives better."
Small animals can make wonderful pets
Anna admits that the centre can only provide temporary accommodation to each and every small animal. The best thing for them is to find a permanent home with owners who can devote as much time to them as they need.
However Anna was quick to tell us that owning a small animal is more expensive than people think. "People need to do their research and make sure they can afford suitable accommodation, vet fees, etc. "
"They also need to consider their dietary requirements and think about their long-term future. They need a lot of environmental enrichment and many will have a similar lifespan to a cat or dog.
Small animals, rabbits especially, are often thought of as novelty pets. But they’re not really. They’re actually intelligent creatures who need lots of stimulation, enrichment and company. Owning a small animal can be very rewarding.
Anna herself has four rabbits Tia, Firdley, Einstein and Pickle. They all live in the third bedroom of Anna’s house which has been especially adapted for them.
My friends all think I’m mad! They come round and say I’m bonkers. Einstein looks like a mad professor - he’s got red eyes and he’s all fluffy and white.
Find out more
Anna is passionate about all the small animals that she cares for at Leybourne Animal Centre, but many of them desperately need to find new permanent homes.
Find out what rabbits, and other small animals, need to be healthy and happy in our pets pages.
If you think you can offer one of the many small animals in our care a loving home visit our pet search, to find your perfect pet.
Please remember that pet ownership takes time, money, commitment and patience - owning a pet is likely to change your life completely. Our pets pages can help you to understand the care that pets need.