Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_0475 copy.jpg Views:	1 Size:	65.9 KB ID:	45019

We've long enjoyed and cursed the Ceva Welfare Awards as they now enter their 9th year. This is a fantastic event which recognises a number of unsung heroes, many of whom dedicate their lives to the betterment of animal welfare through charitable work and acts that really do make a difference to the lives of wild, farmed and pet species.

(Why the cursing? Oh that's just down to my inability to pace myself at the sparkly awards function, the night before the real work of BSAVA Congress begins! Call it a character flaw, if you will! )

This next Ceva Welfare Awards is in April 2018 and even more exciting as I've just made my first ever nomination! Having re-homed a tortoise earlier this year we were all blown away by the support and dedication of a certain lady called Kay Robinson, who has set and up and runs the Tortoise Protection Group This is who I've nominated for 'Charitable Contribution of the Year'. Here is my nomination so you can see why:

Tortoises have complex welfare requirements and they can live to over 100 years of age. There is a lot of mis-information online, through pet suppliers and pet shops and sometimes even vets, about how to properly look after chelonians. These factors contribute to a high number of tortoise owners neglecting their pets, often through ignorance, and many being abandoned or put up for adoption.

One woman, Kay Robinson, works tirelessly for these animals, rehoming dozens of animals each year (during this October and November alone she has already been involved in the rehoming of 35 tortoises). She also does everything she can to improve tortoise husbandry through education and support networks.

Kay runs the Tortoise Protection Group which has a website dedicated to providing the information that owners and would-be owners need to meet the welfare requirements of pet tortoises. All of the information is free and available through downloadable fact sheets. Tortoises are also re-homed via the TPG every week.

Kay has also established a tortoise rehoming group on Facebook with 14,500 members where she posts pictures of unwanted animals and their details as they are put up for adoption. But it is not easy to re-home a TPG animal.....

The reason is that Kay 'vets' each would-be owner, as I had to be 'vetted' earlier this year, when I had to prove I knew what I was doing and had all the correct equipment in place plus enough outdoor space to house our adopted pet. This involved us building a large pen with secure, insulated housing, including heat lamp and so on. Kay even gave me advice over the phone to help me make the right decisions and I had to photograph our set-up before she would let me adopt our newest family member, Enzo! Kay's re-homes, many of which have suffered neglect in the past, only go to good homes/owners!

Kay has also set up and moderates a TPG forum on Facebook where owners and would-be owners can ask questions, share problems and give one another support and advice. This group is very active and has a staggering 21,000+ members! She is also involved in discussion groups concerned with hibernation and weed identification!

With a family and her own life to run I don't know where Kay finds the time! She is dedicated, passionate, hard-working and from what I can see she avoids the limelight - the tortoises are her complete focus and her drive.

So I would love this 'animal welfare angel' to be recognised for all the help and support she has given us as a family as we've gone through the adoption process, for the continuing support she gives tortoise owners UK-wide, but most of all for championing the welfare of tortoises wherever they are. The animal world would be a sadder place without people like Kay. Having the spotlight on TPG would also help swell their limited funds as their website is run on a shoe-string.

Whilst I would love Kay to win or at least be recognised for her valuable work and unpaid toil it would also be nice to see a few more of the "Kay's" in this world recognised for the utterly amazing work they do too. So do you know someone or some organisation worthy of recognition in the field of animal welfare? If so, why not click on the link and nominate them now......