Debbie is the founder of Henry’s Haven. She is a highly experienced cat rescuer, as well as mum to three grown up children who all share her love of animals. Debbie runs the rescue in her spare time, and works full time too. We chatted to her to find out more about how the Rescue started, and what motivates her.
What made you decide to set up a Rescue?
I’ve been involved in cat rescue for a long time. I started as a fosterer, and ended up running the rescue I fostered for. In the 18 months I ran the rescue, we re-homed over 400 cats and kittens. Unfortunately I had to take a step back for personal reasons, which was really saddening for me, but the rescue continues to operate.
After 6 months out of rescue I got a call asking for help with a mum and four kittens who had been abandoned. No one else could help, so I set off to try and trap them, and eventually got them into a rescue. I kept being asked for help, so began fostering for Angus Cat Rescue.
Then I got the call that changed everything. A cat had been found just five minutes away from my home in a sorry state, dragging his back legs and with a nasty head wound. After five days and much needed help from two lovely ladies he was trapped. We decided to name him Henry.
Henry really changed my thinking, and I realised there was a huge need for another cat rescue in the Wakefield area. I thought long and hard about setting up on my own as I knew it was a lot of work. Hard work has never put me off though, so I though ‘in for a penny in for a pound’ and decided to set up Henry’s Haven.
Sadly Henry’s prognosis isn’t good as he has a rare disease. He’s now living with me as a long term foster, and is receiving palliative care.
What’s the hardest part of Rescue for you?
I think the hardest part for me is the cats that don’t survive. I cry at every one that we have lost, whether I’ve known them for an hour or a month. It’s hard knowing that they may have to be put to sleep or might pass away in rescue. But it never deters me or the team, we give every cat a fighting chance no matter what condition they arrive in.
What do you enjoy the most about Rescue?
The thing I enjoy the most is seeing a terrified cat or kitten who came in not trusting humans, go out to a lovely home. The foster team work so hard with their foster cats, and without them the rescue just couldn’t exist. Our volunteers are the heart of Henry’s Haven.
What do you do for fun outside of Rescue?
I enjoy the odd game of bingo, and as most people know, I’m partial to a nice glass of wine! Rescue takes up a lot of any spare time I have but I ensure I do have some ‘me time’ – that’s so important as it helps keep me happy and healthy so I can keep on helping more cats.
Thanks to Debbie for taking the time to answer our questions! If you’d like to know more about Henry’s Haven and our team, we will be posting more interviews and blog posts in the coming months. Follow the blog to get notifications when we post.