Many furry friends had to be rescued from perilous situations in Leicestershire and Rutland this year.
Affected residents called more than 4,800 incidents to the RSPCA emergency hotline from January 1 to November 30, 2021.
In April, firefighters rescued 10 little ducklings from a storm sewer in Oakham, Rutland, while mother duck watched.
READ MORE: Click here for the latest from Leicestershire
There was another grateful animal reunion in December, when Ruth Armstrong, Hinckley fitness instructor, tracked down her cat, Elsa, who went missing in 2007.
She was picked up by RSPCA rescue workers after affected staff at a factory in Nutts Lane, town, encountered the desperate feline.
In the West Midlands, 13,752 incidents have been reported to the charity, and the group has selected some of the region’s funniest and bizarre stories, from 2021.
An elderly woman was fortunate enough to escape after a swan crashed through a double-glazed window – moments after leaving the bathroom.
The bird was flying when it hit the window of Barton’s cottage in Fabis, Nottinghamshire, in January.
The woman went to investigate the crashing noise and found the bloodied bird sitting dazed and confused on her bathroom floor.
A neighbor who heard the commotion and went to help, then called the RSPCA, with Inspector Keith Ellis sent to retrieve the bird.
Get updates from LeicestershireLive straight to your inbox – click here to sign up for our newsletter.
You can also add your email address in the black registration box at the top of this page. It is so easy!
He said: “I think the swan was looking and flying towards the nearby Trent River and must have misjudged the direction.
“It was also very windy at the time, which may have made it deviate from its course.
“I saw them crash into busy roads thinking they were rivers – but nothing like that – it’s so weird.”
She was taken to a vet and needed surgery and stitches before being transferred to the charity’s Stapeley Grange Wildlife Center in Cheshire for rehabilitation.
Construction workers called the RSPCA after finding a badger taking a nap under one of their machines.
Animal rescue officer Cara Gibbon visited a job site in Dudley, West Midlands, in March after the morning call.
She said: “Workers arrived at the site after a relaxing weekend to find the badger curled up sleeping under an electric float machine.
“He had climbed through a hole in the top of the machine and fell into it before curling up and enjoying a nap.
“It was covered with a tarp, so it was probably nice and warm and cozy in there.”
She examined him and could see that he was not injured, so the workers helped lift the heavy piece of equipment so that he could rush forward.
In the sink
Ella the hamster caused a stir after getting stuck in a sink pipe for two days.
The RSPCA and firefighters were called twice to a family home in Tamworth, Staffordshire, in March after the hamster disappeared into a space around a cold water supply hose under the sink.
Leanne Hinton and her daughter, Lily, tried to tempt her with food and, when that didn’t work, they called for help.
When the hamster did not come out overnight, rescuers returned the next day and RSPCA Inspector Herchy Boal pushed a waste hose into the space and they left it there hoping that she would come out.
Eventually she did and returned to her open cage.
Leanne said: “We couldn’t believe it – after all the commotion she had caused with the RSPCA and the firefighters trying to save her, then she pushes her way and sits in the cage as if from nothing was.
“Lily was delighted to find her – she cried with joy and Ella’s hamster friend Teddy was happy too, rubbing his nose with her.”
A squirrel needed a helping hand after getting into a lot of trouble.
Inspector Elizabeth Boyd was called to a garden in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, in April.
She said: “The little squirrel made its way through a hole in the ground, presumably in search of food, but then got stuck under a wooden pole.
“The post supports an exterior structure, but they were happy that I sawed the post to create some extra space so it could break free and soar.”
The gray squirrel is considered an invasive alien species and cannot be legally released into the wild if it is taken care of for rehabilitation or treatment.
They can only be legally released on the spot – as was the case here.
A hedgehog got stung a bit after getting stuck between the bars of a metal door in Nottingham.
The chubby guy was discovered in September and a concerned member of the public called on the RSPCA for help.
Rescuer Teresa Potter said: “The poor pig had managed to get stuck between the bars of the metal door and there was no way he could get out on his own.
“The member of the public tried to free him and called for help.
“He was a pretty tall boy, so I had to get him out carefully and slowly.
“I examined him and although he had no injuries he was breathing fast, so I took him to a nearby vet as a precaution.
“Fortunately, he was given the green light – so I was able to release him into the wild – where he could return home.”
Skunk on the run
A missing skunk which had been on the run for a week has been rescued and found with its owner after shocking staff at a DIY store in Nottinghamshire.
Lifeguard Dan Bradshaw was called to B&Q Worksop in October after staff discovered him eating bird seed outside.
They were able to corner him and contain him before calling the RSPCA for help and Dan was able to track down his owner.
He said: “It was nice to be able to reunite Tilikum with his owner.
“I advised them to microchip him so they can be reunited more quickly in the future if he escapes again.”
A swan that got stuck in the girders of a disused railway bridge was spotted by passers-by who saw it hanging upside down below.
Rescue worker Rebecca Frost was called in over the swan stricken in Northampton in October.
She said: “It was stuck between the metal beams under the bridge and hung upside down about 8 feet high.
“I think he had crashed into the disused railroad tracks above his head, then slipped through a gap, getting stuck between the beams that held the bridge over the trail and the canal in below.
“He had struggled to get out of the gap so he tried to push himself down and out instead, but got stuck quickly.
“It was very strange.”
Network Rail and Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service helped free the bird.
Rebecca went to the track above his head and released him. She took him for rehabilitation because he was underweight and weak.
In the niche
A frightened dog got stuck behind a water tank in her home after being frightened by a loud noise.
Her owner, June Coates, tried to coax her but enlisted the help of the RSPCA.
Lifeguard David McAdam went to help nine-year-old Suzie after she got stuck in the ventilation cabinet in Nottingham in October.
He said: “Poor Suzie heard a loud noise at a nearby construction site and it terrified her and she rushed into the ventilation closet.
“She then stuck her left rear leg under a pipe clamped to her hip.
“I took a good look but it was impossible for me to free her because removing her could have wounded her eventually.”
A plumber emptied the tank and cut the hose so that her rescuers could carefully extricate her.
June said, “I’m just grateful to everyone who worked to help her free her. She burned under her stomach so I took her to the vet for treatment. I’m so glad she was released – it was a worrying time.
Ferret in Matalan
Matalan staff were shocked when they saw a ferret running through the store.
Inspector Dave Hollinshead was called to the Windmill Shopping Center in Smethwick, West Midlands.
Dave said, “She’s really nice, so the store staff managed to grab her, put her in a box, and give her food and water.
“They kept her in a secure room in the store overnight and I went to pick her up on Halloween.”
The ferret was thought to be an escaped pet and was nicknamed Chanel. She was therefore taken in by the RSPCA Birmingham Animal Center while agents attempted to locate her owners.
A cat needed help after getting stuck in a small three-inch gap between two walls.
Bella is believed to have gotten stuck after chasing something into space.
Rescue worker Deborah Scotcher rushed home in Lincolnshire in November to help firefighters free the stricken cat.
She said: “After several attempts we managed to coax poor Bella backwards and she was returned to her very grateful owner.
“We gave her one more time and other than being a little disheveled and a missing claw, she was fine. I’m so glad it’s a happy ending for everyone involved.
The squirrel goes crazy
A greedy squirrel in search of Christmas nuts needed a helping hand after getting his fat body stuck in a bird feeder – like Santa Claus stuck in a chimney.
Rescuer Claire Mitchell was called to Scunthopre, Lincolnshire, in December when the resident spotted the affected squirrel.
Claire said: “His legs were barely hanging from the manger, which reminded me of Santa Claus stuck in a fireplace.
“Fortunately, his situation was spotted by the residents who alerted us, otherwise he could have endured prolonged suffering.
He was obviously scared, but otherwise he appeared unscathed from his ordeal, but he probably needs to let go for a while.
Keep up to date with the endst news with our email alerts straight to your inbox. register here