AN ANIMAL-LOVING Halesowen family turned adversity into something positive - starting their very own pet rescue when they took time off work while their son recovered from emergency brain surgery.

Sophie and Andrew Pepper, who are both nurses, were at home while when their three-year-old son Toby recovered from surgery to a cyst on his brain.

Despite having an incredible 22 pets of their own and two children - Toby, now four and Lucy, aged seven - they decided to use their time to set up a not-for-profit centre called Pepper's Pet Rescue.

Based at their home on the Lodgefield estate, the family has five purpose-built pens built by Andrew, 43, to house an array of rescued animals alongside their own pets - five dogs, four cats, four snakes, a lizard, a rat, a tortoise, four birds, two ferrets and two fish tanks.

They are appealing for anyone who can give an animal a home to get in touch and have nine cats and six rabbits looking for homes.

Sophie, aged 31, said: "Our house is like a petting zoo!

"As a family, we have fostered ten dogs over the past few years and have always had many pets of our own.

"We always wanted to start something ourselves to help more but with working and two children it seemed like a big task.

"Unfortunately, last July, our son, who was three-years-old at the time, had to have emergency brain surgery.

"This meant that we were both at home for a period of time whilst he recovered.

"We used this chance to get set up as a non-profit rescue as there were so many ‘free to good homes’ adverts on various selling platforms and you can never guarantee they are going to good homes.

"Unfortunately, a lot are still used as dog bate, breeding machines or simply sold on again for profit.

"As animal lovers, this really upset us so we set ourselves up to be able to take cats and smaller animals, including reptiles and Pepper’s Pet Rescue was born!

"Since then we have successfully rehomed 51 animals - a mix of cats, kittens, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats and even a gecko!"

Toby, who was born with a brain defect which meant part of his brain didn't develop, has now recovered from his operation.

The family are backed by a team of volunteers who help with fundraising, animal care and administration.

All animals are vet checked and cats are vaccinated, microchipped, neutered, de flead and wormed. Home checks are carried out and new owners sign an adoption agreement that states should the animal need rehoming again, they come back to Peppers.

Pepper's Pet Rescue has a Facebook page and can be e mailed at