Young Boy Opens Up Home For Unwanted And Injured Animals Using Own Pocket Money

A 12-year-old boy has cared for more than 100 unwanted animals by opening up his own animal hospital for creatures who have been injured or abandoned.

Callum Underdown, from Suffolk, devotes all his free time and spends all his pocket money to give the animals a new lease of life.

He spends hours trawling Facebook groups and online classified sites to hunt down unwanted animals and birds and take them in – paying for their upkeep out of his own pocket money.


Eventually, mum Sarah Underdown, 32, felt the house got so overrun with Callum's animal arc, she bought him a small holding on a farm, where he now keeps his collection of goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, geese and chickens.

She said: "He's loved animals ever since he was little. He doesn't care about football or computer games or anything like that, he just wants to look after animals.

"We started off with a few chickens in the garden and it just grew from there.

"It was crazy before we got the small holding. The chickens used to get into the kitchen all the time. Every time I tried to make dinner, I'd be tripping over them!"

His mum estimates Callum, who tends to his "zoo" at 6am every morning before school, has spent around £3,600 on his mission to save unwanted animals.

Callum cycles to his miniature farm every day before and after school, and spends every weekend tending to his 19 chickens, two geese, nine rabbits, 26 guinea pigs, and two goats.

Over the past year, Callum has taken in more than 100 unwanted animals, and tries to find good homes for as many of his animals as possible. Many would not have survived had it not been for his help.

Several of his chickens were underfed and were missing feathers when they came to him, but with the right diet and veterinary care, they're back to full health.

Mrs Underdown said: "We keep the sick animals at home while they recover - we've started calling the kitchen 'Sarah's Hospital'!

"At the moment, we're taking care a baby rabbit with an eye infection. He came to us with his eye closed up and the person we got him from said they thought his eye may actually be missing.

"But Callum didn't want to give up on him. We got him medicine and cared for him at home, and very slowly his eye began to open up. He's on the mend now."

Each week, Callum spends every penny of his £10 weekly pocket money on caring for his animals and maintaining his small piece of land.

Callum with his mum and sister

Mrs Underdown said her son first began looking after abandoned animals last year, after his family were involved in a road accident.

She said: "We were in a collision and sadly a motorcyclist died at the scene. It was awful, and it really upset Callum. He wasn't himself for a while.

"A while later, he asked if he could adopt some chickens and keep them in the garden. Being outside and looking after them really cheered him up. We think this has helped him to deal with his feelings about the accident."

After adopting his first few chickens, Callum's mini menagerie quickly grew and he began checking Facebook 'Buy, Sell, Swap' pages and classified sites to find unwanted and abandoned animals.

She said: "People often sell animals cheap on Facebook, but there's no guarantee that they will go to good people. You never know who might take them, and you hear some terrible stories about animals being abused.

"Callum likes to buy these animals because then he knows that they're being taken care of."

The family's garden was soon full to bursting with Callum's animals, and Sarah and Lee knew something had to be done.

Underdown said: "We noticed a small piece of land about 10 minutes away from our house was available. We thought it would be perfect for Callum and decided we'd get it for him.

"When we got there, it was all overgrown and in a terrible state, but Callum dug it out and tidied it all up himself. Now we barely see him at weekends - he's there from 9am until dusk."

But Callum isn't left to do all the work on his own - the whole family tries to pitch in, with five-year-old sister Harmony also doing her best to help.

Callum hopes to work with animals in the future, and can't wait to start volunteering with the RSPCA when he turns fourteen.

His mum added: "I'm so proud of him. He works really hard and he's doing a really good job."

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