Meet the real-life Dr Dolittles who keep a small zoo of 46 PETS including guinea pigs, dogs, horses and budgies.
Animal-loving Bella Wyllie encouraged her young daughters Poppy, aged seven, and Holly,12, to take responsibility for the ‘small zoo’ they keep at home.
The menagerie includes an astonishing 24 rabbits – with most recent acquisitions Sylvester and Spud, who arrived just before Christmas.
And 11 guinea pigs live at the home in Mauchline, East Ayrshire, as well as five horses, three budgies, two dogs and a gecko.
Proud mum Bella, 41, said: “I was verging on embarrassment at how many we’ve got, but we’re in pet shops a lot and I’m a huge animal lover so I encourage it.
“Horses are definitely the most expensive.
“We are up at the yard first thing to exercise them before anything else.
“We have to plan trips or holidays very carefully around the animals needs and days out revolve around the horses, they have to be dealt if we have any weekend plans – which is rare.
“The animals are a huge amount of work, especially as I work too, but they are all worth it.
“As for my hubby, he thinks we are all crazy.”
Little Poppy said: “I love looking after them because every night I know my animals are all cared for.
“I love them all very much.”
And her older sister, Holly, added: “They’re all a big extension of the family, and every day involves changing waters, feeding and haying them.
“They get green treats like kale or cabbage twice a week and they are all cleaned out twice a week too.
“It’s a lot of work but it’s all worth it to know our animals are happy and healthy.”
Every morning the sisters get up early before school to tend to the bunnies and guinea pigs, which takes about 30 minutes.
Twice a week, Holly and Poppy clean out the pets’ cages and feed the rabbits and guinea pigs green vegetables, also twice a week.
Bella said: “The horses are on something called full livery so they are cleaned out for us and looked after by our fabulous yard manager when we are at school and work.”
“We spend roughly two to three hours on a Thursday and Friday after school grooming and exercising the horses, and are there most Saturday mornings and all day Sunday.
“Twice a week we clean out all the small animals,which takes about two to three hours per clean.”
Compassionate Poppy was so moved when she heard about a pet rabbit which was cruelly kept in a drawer, that she was inspired to make a hand-drawn poster urging owners to take proper care of their pets.
The hand-drawn poster was so successful that it appeared in pet shops.
Poppy’s handmade poster showed a rabbit with a speech bubble telling the public: “To make me have a better life I need…”
“A big spaced cage, hay, fresh water daily, food, love and attention. cared for and cleaned.
“Don’t just make my life a good Christmas, make it a good life – forever.”
Pharmacist Bella added: “Poppy’s always been around animal’s as I’ve always kept them.
“Holly is also very involved and does the most of the cleaning out the cages – she loves the animals as much as Poppy.
“It teaches the children a lot about responsibility, especially when they have to get up early to tend to them and feed them in all weathers.
“The animals definitely come first in our lifestyle.”