DSC_0008RSPCA Cymru’s very own cuddly bear has helped out at the Merthyr veterinary clinic, as part of celebrations marking Build-a-Bear Workshop’s 20th birthday.

The bear has been travelling to RSPCA centres and clinics across England and Wales meeting some special animals along the way, as a thank you to the toy company for their on-going support.

A visit to the RSPCA’s Merthyr Clinic was included on the bear’s tour, where she donned a Wales football jersey and helped staff check the heart-rate of a cat. The RSPCA have released a special video which documents the bear’s journey.

Build-a-Bear have donated more than £36,000 to the animal welfare charity since the partnership began in May last year.

Funds from the Build-a-Bear Foundation has helped to support the RSPCA’s education work which sees volunteers visiting schools to encourage children to learn about the welfare needs of animals.

The chain’s store in the St. David’s Shopping Centre in Cardiff helped raise the generous funds through its collections at the tills.

Kat Litchfield, senior partnerships manager at the RSPCA said: “Build-a-Bear not only puts hearts into their bears but also puts heart into everything they do and this shows with their continuing support of the RSPCA.

“To celebrate 20 years of these brilliant bears we sent our lovely, brightly-coloured bear travelling up and down England and Wales spreading some love to some very special animals in our centres and hospitals. From blending in with the bunnies, to assisting surgeries, and even helping muck out the horses, this bear has been on a whirlwind tour of the RSPCA.

“We are delighted to work with Build-a-Bear and have been amazed with their ongoing support. In May last year they donated the sales of their purple hearts raising £6,000 and they later asked guests in store to donate at the tills which raised a massive £18,400.

“The Foundation also donated a further £12,000 to help with our education projects as well as 30 Promise Pets, complete with bowls of food, collars, leads and beds for us to take on school visits to help educate children.”

All the money raised from the Build-a-Bear Foundation has been earmarked for the Volunteers Ambassadors for Schools programme which sends volunteers into schools to teach primary aged children the key principles of the five animal welfare needs.

Dave Allen, head of education at the RSPCA, said: “Education is a vital part of our work and the volunteer speaker scheme aims to influence the next generation of animal owners, helping them to become responsible and caring citizens of the future.

“That is why the support from Build-a-Bear is so important in helping to teach children the basic needs of animals and give them important life skills such as kindness and compassion, which we hope will in turn reduce animal cruelty.”

More information on the partnership with Build-a-Bear is available online.