The volunteers at Animals In Need (AIN) were delighted to get an update on three pups that they rescued at the start of the year.

Pups Chantelle, Charlene and Coco are Labrador/German Shepherd sisters that AIN took in when they were about 9 weeks old.

They were so riddled with roundworms when they arrived that two of the pups became seriously ill and ended up in intensive care at the vets and for a while it was feared that they would die.

The Assistance Pups' training is underway

But thankfully, against the odds, they pulled through and when they had recovered all three pups were reunited at their AIN foster home.

Being a Labrador/German Shepherd mix meant that they would be ideal for training as Assistance Dogs as they are highly intelligent and obedient, quickly learning commands in their foster home, and they were reserved early on to become Assistance Dogs.

The pups were transferred to the training centre and their schooling is now well underway. Training for Assistance Dogs is a fairly lengthy process and they have a long way to go yet until they qualify but all three are progressing well and it is a fantastic outcome for them.

It was a busy day for AIN's volunteers on Tuesday as eighteen rescued dogs who had received their Pet Passports set off early in the morning, destined for the Dogs Trust's rehoming centre where they will be found wonderful homes.

Four collies are also due to travel next week to the collie rescue in the UK that AIN works with, once the 21 days from their vaccinations is up and they can get their Pet Passports for travelling.

AIN would like to say a huge thank you to the Dogs Trust for helping them rescue so many dogs and also to the UK collie rescue who are always willing to help find loving homes for the unwanted collies of Donegal.

Meanwhile, kitten season is keeping the cat rescuers busy around the clock, with constant calls to the helpline regarding cats under sheds with kittens, kittens suddenly appearing alone, pregnant cats and kittens in difficulty.

Four orphaned feral kittens rescued on Monday

Sadly, as kitten season is progressing, the kittens being rescued are increasingly weak, sick or injured and their rescuers are dealing with a rise in the number of harrowing cases they have to deal with.

One of the latest rescues was in answer to a call about a litter of small kittens found by the roadside in Milford. Unfortunately, when AIN's volunteers got there only one kitten could initially be found. The kitten was extremely sick and was rushed to the vets but tragically she could not be saved and died during the night. A second sick kitten was caught there the next day and he is now in AIN's care. He has a bad case of cat flu but is getting the best treatment possible.

The next day another four kittens were found in Donegal Town. They are only 4-weeks old and were born to a feral mother who suddenly disappeared, which means they are probably orphaned.

On top of this one of the kittens rescued from Letterkenny last week, who was suffering from a severe eye infection, had to be rushed to the vets when one of his eyes ruptured. Unfortunately, the eye will have to be removed.

AIN are appealing for safe release spots for a number of semi-feral cats rescued from a housing estate in Buncrana. There are seven cats in total who would make ideal farm, factory or barn cats. If you could offer any of them a new home in exchange for excellent rodent control, please contact the cat helpline.

Finally, AIN are running a fundraising competition. To be in with a chance of winning afternoon tea for two at Dillons Hotel in Letterkenny, simply enter by texting a €2 donation. Check out Animals In Need's Facebook page to enter.

To help AIN’s animals, please donate €2 to AIN’s ‘Help Us To Help Them’ fundraising appeal via your phone by texting the word ‘KITTEN’ to 50300. Every last cent goes directly to the rescued animals for their food, bedding, vet bills, worming treatment and vaccinations.

For further information on adoption, fostering, volunteering etc, please contact the main helpline on 087 1356188. For cat/kitten enquiries please call 087 7644420. Animals In Need Donegal is also on Facebook and has a website at http://www.animalsinneeddonegal.com.

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Now editorial team. Between 9am and 5pm Monday to Sunday please call 074 9112712. Between 5pm and midnight please call or text 086 792 2103. Or you can email [email protected] at any time.