Mummy’s Dr Dolittle
My boy rescues all creatures great and small
My son Hadley, 1, crawled across the carpet and patted our pug Dave on the back.
Dave gave him an affectionate lick, then plodded off. Bless! I thought. Hadley was only a baby but I could tell how much he loved animals.
We had two cats – Bear and Tazz – and he loved stroking them, as well.
Me and his dad were animal lovers, so Hadley was a chip off the old block.
As Hadley got older, he was forever out in the garden.
He’d watch the birds in the trees and squirrels frolicking on the lawn.
It wasn’t just cute creatures that Hadley adored, though.
He loved finding creepy crawlies, too.
But Hadley never disturbed them.
‘Mummy, look!’ he’d say, pointing to a snail at the end of the garden.
He didn’t want to hurt the bugs by picking them up.
He was happy just admiring them.
Then, one day when he was 3, we were out walking when Hadley suddenly screamed.
‘STOP!’ he shouted to a woman walking in front of us with a pushchair.
Then he rushed ahead, crouched by a snail on the path.
‘You were about to crush the snail,’ Hadley told the woman politely.
My heart melted as he picked up the little creature and moved it out of harm’s way.
My little tot was passionate about caring for animals.
I was vegan, and I’d brought up Hadley as vegan, too.
And, as he got older, he understood why it was important to us.
I started explaining to him what was in certain food.
‘Nuggets are made from chickens,’ I told him honestly. Hadley frowned. ‘Poor chickens! That’s mean,’ he said.
He loved all animals, and it upset him to know that they were killed for meat. Then, in early 2016, I decided to take Hadley to a local animal sanctuary called Goatacre Farm.
They rescue all sorts of animals, including pigs, goats, chickens, sheep…
Hadley couldn’t contain his excitement as we wandered around.
‘Mummy, I want to cuddle them all,’ Hadley beamed, pointing to the fluffy lambs.
He got to bottle-feed them and also hand-fed the chickens. He was in his element. I continued taking Hadley to the sanctuary whenever I could.
He loved it, but whenever we came home he seemed a bit upset. ‘What’s up?’ I’d ask. ‘I’m scared bad people will hurt the animals when I’m not there,’ he cried.
Bless him, he just wanted to protect them all.
‘They’re safe at the sanctuary. They’ve been rescued,’ I told him.
But it didn’t stop him from worrying.
Then, last October, I thought about raising money for the sanctuary. Hadley loved the idea. ‘I really want to help the
He picked up the snail and moved it out of harm’s way
animals,’ he beamed.
The next day, he came to find me in the living room, clutching a piece of paper.
‘I’ve drawn a picture,’ he said, handing it to me.
It was a doodle of a monster in differentcoloured crayons.
‘Do you think people will buy my drawings so that I can give the money to the animals?’ he asked.
It was such a sweet gesture, my heart was bursting.
‘I think that’s a wonderful idea,’ I told him.
I wanted to encourage him, so I set up an online fundraising page.
And I advertised Hadley’s drawings, explained what a good cause we were raising money for.
Slowly but surely, people began donating and buying Hadley’s pictures.
‘It’s a Hadley original,’ I winked to friends who purchased them. Hadley was so proud. And chuffed to bits when we raised over £300. Hadley is 4 now and his love for animals just grows by the day. He’s always asking me to take him to Goatacre Farm. He even had his birthday party there last April. His compassion for creatures never ceases to amaze me. Recently, when he found a dead worm on the pavement, he was so upset. ‘Mummy, we need to move him so nobody else treads on him,’ he cried. And when they found a spider at nursery, his teacher told me all the other kids were screaming... Except Hadley. ‘Don’t be scared! Little things still matter!’ he’d told them. He tells me he wants to open his own sanctuary when he’s older. But not just for fluffy bunnies and chickens. ‘Snakes and crocodiles need rescuing, too,’ he told me. I’m beyond proud of my boy. He’s a mini David Attenborough in the making!
It upset him to know that animals are killed for meat