AN old lady sent me a tenner recently.

She did indeed. A crisp ten pound note arrived in a card with a mismatched envelope and scrawled spindly writing on the front.

Her message inside wished me well, thanked me for the way in which I put her old dog to sleep ten years ago to the day and apologised that she could not afford more.

The money was put into our stray dog fund and I wrote to thank her for it. Ten pounds doesn’t go far nowadays but it all helps and someday soon an animal will suffer less because of her.

Last weekend, a couple brought a cat to us that they had run over. It wasn’t their fault. Indeed they really could not have missed it no matter how good their driving or their reflexes.

They scooped it up, wrapped it in an expensive coat, which will probably never be worn again, and phoned us to warn us of their imminent arrival. Luckily, the cat responded well to treatment and her owner was found.

This still didn’t stop the pair from insisting on paying the veterinary bill, despite there really being no need for them to do so.

Both situations warmed my heart and made up for the other side of veterinary life.

We are supposed to be a nation of animal lovers but sometimes I am not so sure. It seems that violence towards pets is becoming more common.

Perhaps it is a sign of current domestic stress. And we have known two things for a long time: Firstly abusive partners often abuse pets as well as humans and, secondly, every serial killer in the world has a history of cruelty to animals.

Maybe people reckon the penalty for abusing someone’s animal will be less than if they abuse the person. Whatever the reason, we are seeing more intentionally injured animals than before.

Often, these injuries are obvious; the stabbed and the slashed, after all, don’t happen by accident, but there are others that are frequently not recognised by owners.

Take Charlie, a wee black cat who disappeared for a day and then returned home dull, lethargic and tired. His owners understandably thought he had been chased and would recover quickly. Until, that is, the swelling in his abdomen appeared. Charlie had a large hernia.

The abdominal muscle had been torn from his side, allowing his bowel and spleen to herniate. Only his skin was holding them in. I strongly suspect that a kick to the guts was the cause.

This is made more likely when you take into account the other injuries Charlie has suffered over the years. His back is scarred where boiling fluid, presumably water, was once poured. I say this because he had previously been doused in petrol and this failed to finish him off.

The burnt area took weeks to heal.

Charlie also walks around carrying two air gun pellets with him. One is deep in his hind leg and the other somewhere around his kidneys.

He’s a nice wee cat is Charlie, all purrs and head rubs. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?