Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
Hannah Russell
Features Writer
9:00 PM 27th February 2017

What It Takes To Look After Little Alf + 12 Pets!

Hannah and Little Alf
Hannah and Little Alf
This week's article sprung to mind this morning when I was attempting to eat breakfast, muck out the horses, feed the rabbits and control the dogs at the same time, not to mention give the guinea pigs their cucumber as they continued to squeak at me until I had done so!

I love pets and animals. I've always been an animal person and have been lucky enough to have been around them my whole life.

Living in the Yorkshire Dales and having a large family farming background, I've grown up around animals. My favourite time of the year has always been feeding the pet lambs in spring.

My guinea pigs
My guinea pigs
So a day in my life can be a little crazy.

I currently have four horses -Paddy, Badger, Pepper and Little Alf, 2 dogs - Sasha and Maggie, 4 guinea pigs - Candy, Floss, Hamish and Holly, 2 rabbits - Malibu & Muffles and also a Roborovski Hamster called - Twinkle.

Most of my animals are rescues. I have always felt the need to look after animals and take care of them back to health. I once desperately wanted to be a vet but I faint at the sight of blood so it was obvious that was never going to work.

Last week I was asked how I managed several companies, wrote books, looked after Alf and 12 pets, and I must admit sometimes it is a little busy. But I love it and if you have a passion for something you are able to balance your life around work and pleasure.

Looking after pets isn't easy and I always recommend getting knowledge before you decide to re-home or buy a pet from a pet store.

You need to understand their needs, feeding requirements, exercise, grooming, natural habitat for the environment you're bringing them into and lots of other factors to keep your pets happy and healthy.

Luckily if you're considering bringing a new pet into your life there are lots of advice out there in the world, from books, to online forums and advice from others.

Taking on a new pet is a lot of responsibility as you need time to be able to give them lots of love and attention... So how do I manage?

One of my rabbits
One of my rabbits
My rabbits are indoor house bunnies or in my case office bunnies, so they spend most days with me when I'm at work. I sometimes even take them in the car with me when I'm popping to the shops.

The guinea pigs love playing together and get groomed every morning and have a huge run to play in all day.

The horses spend their days in the paddocks with each other, but get a daily groom every night. I usually spend afternoons with Alf in the paddock.

My dogs are either roaming around the land or in the house. They get constant attention from my whole family! So that just leaves Twinkle my hamster who sleeps all day until 8:10pm every night. I then get him out into his ball for exercise.

I'm in a routine which works really well and all my pets seem happy and are really healthy! I couldn't imagine life without them as all their different personalities keep me on the go.

My advice for anyone wanting to welcome a new pet into their life would be -
'Research, evaluate your time, the cost of looking after a new pet and how it would affect your current lifestyle.'