Sunday, 9 December 2007

Would you like to drink from this?

Im finally starting to come out of the blackness caused by Lucys death.I should by now be used to these type of traumas but somehow even after all these years it takes it out of me.The fact I am overdue for my B12 injection has not helped, I wish I was not so cowardly, however I WILL go for it this week!I had better telephone first to warn the medical staff of my impending arrival, that will give them time to put in for time off!Once again it will take ALL HANDS ON DECK TO SUBDUE ME! hAPPY DAYS!
Well its been a very hectic time, hundreds of calls coming through to take unwanted pets and several calls reporting neglected horses.At this time of year I often receive calls from the public concerned at the conditions some horses are kept in.Sometimes it is not as bad as it sounds, other times the concern is completely justifiable. mei and I found 3 ponies in the worst field I have seen in a while, it was a bog, we have had so much rainfall all fields are in poor condition at the moment but this was dreadful.There was nothing for them to do, no grass or hay to eat and the only water was in a filthy bath(see photo)I traced the owner who told me where to go in no uncertain terms and whose daughter when I asked if she would like to drink out of such filth said "Im not an animal am I?" Seems she thought it fine that her animals had no clean water. I have passed the case on to the International League for Protection of Horses.
Another call was from someone who is about to lose her home, she has 6 horses, some goats, chickens and several dogs.I am trying to arrange transport here for the horses but the other animals are a real problem, I have to hope another shelter will step forward to offer them a home.
Today we rehomed 3 kittens and Ben the collie. I received a letter from the prisoners solicitor requesting he be found another home so he will be going next week to a new family.
Did I mention Jack the jack Russell has gone to a home? He wentabout a week ago and yesterday he came back to see me, with his new Mum of course. He was overjoyed to see me again b ut then was happy to leave with his new owner, they both seem well suited and happy together.I am so relieved he has found somneone nice to give him all the attention he needs. Have a happy life Jack.

Sunday, 2 December 2007


Had a very sad weekend, Little lucy, one of my elderly yorkshire terriers fell off the back of the sofa and broke her leg.Lucy is 14 and not long ago had an operation for pyrometra whcih she recovered from.She need a pin put in her leg to join it together and I worried all day, she is so tiny and frail. Lucy had her operation on Friday, recovered but died in my arms yesterday. I have no heart to write more at this moment.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

A pony returned and more collies!

We have been asked to take back William, an elderly pony who was rehomed around 4 months ago to a lady who runs a boarding kennels in Abergele.He had gone to be a companion to another pony and the woman seemed very nice, the facilities there were wonderful.I had arranged transport to move him back to the shelter and I have had a phone call saying the woman has gone out!There was nobody at home!The collection of the pony had been arranged for today! Even those who appear to be good owners need checking on regularly, this appeared to be a wonderful permanent home, now she says that she is moving and cant take the ponies with her! I despair of people! William is n ow on his way back to the shelter, I wont rehome him again, he can stay with the oldies here for the rest of his life.
A call from an industrial estate informed us that a cat was wandering around aimlessly following people and crying pitifully, Roy rushed out to collect him, the catis now warm and dry in the cattery but is a very smelly male whose"bits' are still very much in place.Another one for the vet!
It is very very quiet for homes so I have sent an article to two local newspapers in the hope that they will publish it next week and some homes will be found.As it getting closer to Christmas I have little time to do this, the shelter will have a cut off date for rehoming animals in order to prevent pets being given as Christmas presents.Apart from that it is not a good time to introduce a new pet into the household, there is too much activity and if there are children in the house, they tend to becomne overexcited, there is always a chance with vistors arriving that the front door will be left open and the animal will make a bolt for freedom.All in all it is not conducive to the welfarE of any pet.
Another ex farm dog is here,Lassie belonged to an elderly farmer who was retiring.Like so many farm dogs, she is nervous and shy.Ben another collie is in our care because his owner is awaiting a prison sentence in Liverpool.At the moment I dont know if I am able to find him another home, I am waiting to hear the result of the owners court appearance. Sam a stray kelpie is being fostered by Rosie who cares for our horses, he is probably also a farm dog, this breed is used a lot by farmers in this area.He too is shy and nervous but loves the company of other dogs and will make someone a nice family pet.
I am feeling overwhelmed by the number of dogs I am being asked to take, Im struggling with feelings of inadequacy as I cannot help many with my current situation of having no kennels.The liverpool shelter is unable to help, sometimes they have been able to take one for me but they have so many requests at this time of year they are in an impossible situation themselves. I wish something could be done in this area to help the many unwanted and abandoned dogs, there is simply nowhere for them to go, it is a heartbreaking task answering telephone calls all day long about these poor dogs and have no way of helping most of them.
Luckily I am able to help most of the people who ring about cats although I could do with about 20 more cat pens!At least the waiting list is not that long and I generally can make room within a few weeks.
The Big horses are now able to come in to warm stables and I am so pleased, I dont like it when the weather is horrendous.When the rain is torrential and hurricane like winds mean that I am warm indoors and the 4 big horses are outside trying to squeeze into the field shelters (only big enough for 2 large horses)I find it hard to sleep.Picture is of Rocky just after we moved the pigs, he has a look of total amazement at the sudden arrival of these non equine neighbours!

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Will Bud appeal to people?

Ross is truly back to his old self now, whaT A RELIEF! There is something odd going on at an animal shelter near Lampeter where we have our shop.Ty Agored was run for many years by a lovely lady called Barbara, when she retired she sold to people who intended to continue the rescue work.Since then there have been many disenchanted supporters unhappy with the way it is now being run. I personally know nothing either good or bad, having had no dealings at all with the new people, that is until yesterday when I was contacted by a young woman with a newborn baby wanting to get rid of a greyhound.It appears she was sold this dog by the shelter in lampeter when she was heavily pregnant (how irresponsible is that?)and now 16 weeks later she no longer wants it.When she contacted the shelter they refused to take it back and told her to take it to Freshfields!!! All the shelters I know take back their own animals, in fact it is part of the adoption agreement, I have never heard of one reneging on this and sending an animal to another charity. I hope this is not shades of things to come because all shelters have enough to cope with when we have our pets returned. In the meantime I will sit on the fence, and hope this was a one off ! All charities can have bad press and there are always people ready to badmouth for one reason or another, sometimes simply because they have quite legitimately and reasonably been refused an animal. The greyhound who is quite elderly has been fostered by a nice lady who kindly collected him from the young woman.(when she arrived at the house she saw that he was being kept in a coal shed)
I am inundated with requests to take unwanted dogs, its the same old scenario, Xmas is getting closer and closer! I am trying to get as many as I can in foster homes but have now run out of places to put any. Its a bad situation here as there Is no dog Shelter in this area.Paws, a local dog rescue group try their best but have no kennels, they rely on boarding kennels so have limited space available. Some of these dogs have either been chained for long periods of time on farms or have had no training which makes them hard to home, even in a temporary situation. Currently I am desperately trying to place a young cross jack russell/collie who in 9 months of life has had several homes, now he is showing signs of distress(chewing) he is unwanted once more.There is a staffordshire bull terrier/collie who has not had any exercise for a long time and now he is hyperactive the owners want rid of him!!! Poor BUd just needs to get out and run off his pent up energy.Why oh why do some people get dogs? As I have no kennels I request that the owners send me a photo and I then advertise them in our charity shops, this is reasonably successful but sadly not for the plainer looking animals. Will it help Bud? I am not a fan of staffy types but this dog has an appealing look so maybe, just maybe he will appeal to someone nice.
Yippee - our new double mobile stable has finally arrived, we had been expecting it every weekend but its finally here, it just needs the rubber matting put down inside and then we can get the big horses in from the fields.Not before time, the evenings are getting very cold and I hate seeing them watching the others coming in at night to warm stables. Your turn now big boys!
Last week as I was driving down the track on my way out , I spotted a small flock of birds with yellow breasts but could not find my binoculars to have a closer look, yesterday in almost the same spot another flock of birds flew onto a fence near me and to my delight I realised these were yellow hammers of which I have only previously seen photographs. Only another bird enthusiast would understand my excitement,it can be very boring to the uninitiated. Last weeks birds remain unidentifiied but I THINK they were siskins.I must buy a light pair of binoculars which I can carry round with me, and with that little message to myself I will end my birdwatching tale and make yet another attempt at cooking myself a meal without burning it! Wish me luck.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Update on Ross and William has a fright!

After a bit of a setback yesterday where Ross refused to eat his food and the vet paid another visit , he now appears to be on the mend. He is having a hot bran mash every morning and evening and he is enjoying it, his throat must be very sore after having so many tubes stuck down there when the attempts were being made to flush out the obstruction so his meals have to be easy to digest at the moment.
Last night I had a terrible fright, I found William collapsed on the floor of my bedroom with his head tightly wedged in a small (Whiskas ) empty cat biscuit bag. He was asphyxiating, I tore the bag off his head just in time, the poor dog was in a terrible state and in a state of extreme shock.I cant believe this happened and it worries me that this could happen with fatal results to other animals- not just domestic pets but wild animals scavenging on landfill sites and in waste bins.I will write to the company but in the meantime if you know anyone who uses these bags of cat bisquits(they have a re-sealable top) please warn them of the danger of leaving them around and also ask them to cut them up instead of disposing of them whole. William was lucky, another few minutes and I would have lost him for good.
The new reception is almost ready, Roy has not been in today, he has developed a worrying chest infection and is going to see a doctor. Apart from running the Caernarfon charity shop he is our handyman extraordinaire!! He also has a true love of animals and is one of those wonderful people who will always help when asked, if there is a stray dog or an injured bird reported he will stop whatever he is doing and rush to the aid of the animal concerned.He is an invaluable help and a great friend of the shelter.Roy is pictured above flagging an area for Kitty Kottage, the new feral cat shed, just one of the many jobs he has undertaken to improve the facilities here for our rescued animals.
PS I have been asked about the health of the old collies Monty and Tara , Im pleased to say that they are still pottering about, old and frail but I think they will make it through the next few months unless there is a noticeable deterioration in their health. The new heart tablets seem to be keeping them on an even keel.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Ross not yet out the woods.

Just a quick entry today.We have had a horrendous 48hrs with old Ross. This morning, on his 5th visit, the vet Geraint managed to eventually dislodge the obstruction the old pony had in his oesophogus. As he said if it didnt work today, he was going to die so it was a desperate situation.Now there is a high chance he may develop pneumonia or there is permanent damage to his insides.It is just a matter now of waiting and watching over him. Mei spent the first night with him in the stable and last night I got up several times during the night to check on him so we are both very tired, hence the short blog. Please join me in wishing him a full recovery, we are all so fond of this old man.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Emergency Vet called out

Yesterday was spent in Powys where supporters have opened 3 shops to raise money for Freshfields.The shops are all a distance from each other, one in Machynlleth, another in a small village called LLandidloes and the third in Lampeter. It takes 3 hours to get to Lampeter so it was a long day, however the funding from these shops is making a big difference to the shelter and is also a great morale boost.There was a time last year when I doubted the wisdom of starting an animal shelter in this area.I felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall, newspaper articles in the local papers brought no help and I seriously considered moving . This new support has been just what we needed to give us a little more financial stability. Volunteers are also now turning up to help at the shelter, all in all I am really hopeful our luck is turning and we are becoming more recognised as an organisation which is helping the community as well as giving shelter and care to abandoned and unwanted animals.Now all we need are people to fundraise for us, Freshfields in Liverpool has a small group of animal lers who call themselves Friends of Frteshfields.These lovely people have meetings regularly to discuss fundraising events and have coffee mornings, junble sales, antique auctions, quiz nights etc and over the years have raised a tremendous amount of money for the charity.I wish we could find some people like thatin Wales - maybe we will this coming year.
I have had correspondence from a prisoner in a lIverpool concerned about his dog which is here in North Wales.Ben is now with us, he gets on great with my big dogs and has been enjoying himself chasing them all round the fields. We are unable to rehome him until we know the situation with the prisoner who is in court at the end of this month. A nice family who have taken several cats from us have given a home to elderly Rosie, I was almost ready to adopt her myself so it was with some relief I handed her over to her new owners.I didnt want another cat as I have several already which along with William and Ruby the old cavalier leave me little room in my bed! I never intended to have an indoor cat when I moved here, I felt the dogs were hard work enough, however when the house was so warm in the summer 2 years ago (certainly NOT this so called summer) I left my bedroom window open and over the next week 6 cats decided to move in!!!!!No matter how often I evict them, they simply wait for the first opportunity to sneak in again.I have now resigned myself to the fact that they know where they are best off and no amount of persuasion will change their cunning feline minds.( I love them really)So I REALLY didnt want another cat ,It was just that I was feeling so sorry for the old girl shut in the cattery when she should have been lying in front of a warm fire.Now I can sleep easy tonight knowing this is exactly what she will be experiencing.
Whilst I was doing the last exercise for the dogs before the darkness came down completely, Meirwen called me over to the stables where she was feeding the oldponies.Ross (aged 32 years) appeared to be choking and was clearly distressed.He had taken only a few mouthfuls of food and this old pony loves his food.Something was badly wrong,the vet was called and he arrived 30 minutes later. There was definitely an obstruction and he gave Ross a muscle relaxant in the hope he would be able to bring up whatever had caused the blockage. He will need checking last thing tonight and if he has still not brought up anything we will have to call out the vet again. He assured us that Ross will be fine.
Ross pictured above

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Ospreys in New York and a tame sparrow.

Another weekend almost over,I have really been at my wits end with poor William and his terror of the fireworks. When will it end? I have decided to leaflet the neighbours in the village to beg them to have some consideration for the animals in this rural area and next year to simply have one bonfire night and not 2 weeks of it.Mei said her chihuaua nearly had a stroke with the fear.It really is unfair.
Well a few more cats have gone out to homes, all the jack russell pups have gone, 2 have found a home with Mark, our new volunteer and his house mate Claire.How wonderful it would be if all our animals were so popular!
The wild birds have been foraging desperately for food so I have been busy putting out nuts and bird seed on my new deluxe bird table. Unfortunately after filling all the containers and liberally scattering seed and fruit on the table, I lost my balance and fell, taking with me in my arms(no idea how that happened!)the entire bird table and its contents. Thank heavens nobody was around to witness my humiliation! I have always been clumsy so it will be of no great surprise to anyone who knows me. Speaking of birds, when my partner Steve was alive and working with me in Liverpool, he successfully hand reared a tiny bald sparrow chick. I feared it would never survive and warned him to be realistic and not bank on the tiny creature surviving. Happily I was proved wrong and it became a common sight to see Steve working with a tiny sparrow perched on his head or on his shoulder.He grew all his feathers (the bird, not Steve)and eventually left the confines of the shelter but soon returned with a mate which he brought into the wildlife unit for food.This happened every morning, the two sparrows would perch on one of the cages waiting for Steve to feed them, have their breakfast and would fly off into the surrounding bushes. To this day I wish I had taken a photograph, it was an amazing sight.Now I try never to have a camera far away from me.
Well I dont have a photo of that little bird so am including a photo I took of Ospreys on a beach on Long Island, New York when I stayed with a friend.Not quite a hand reared sparrow but still pretty amazing.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

The dentist visits and 4 pups arrive

Fireworks are still going off though thankfully not as frequently, there are so many chained dogs in this area, it must be hell for them.
Had quite a few calls from people wholost dogs on bonfire night, I hope they were found.I have just heard that the shetland foal rescued from the shetland Islands has settled in well in his new home, also the mare Crystal rescued from Cheshire has settled in at a stables near the shelter in Liverpool.Kirsty and Lyn from the shelter are sharing the care of her.I have had a few calls this week to take in horses but I have to think of the stabling for them, this is such a cold place in the winter, I need to know the animals are all stabled and comfortable and there is only enough for the ones we have already. I think I have managed to find a home for one young filly who has from all accounts had a pretty bad start to her life, she is an emergency as the owner is not interested in keeping her and plans to send her to a horse sale.Poor Mary Jane has some problems due to past treatment, so there e would be little chance of her finding a pet home.I will know tomorrow if the home is suitable for her.Keeping my fingers crossed.
4 little jack russell puppies were brought to the shelter yesterday and already 2 have been reserved. They are such bright lively little dogs but not my cup of tea, I prefer them old and doddery and content to sleep for hours by the fireside! nevertheless they are charming little pups and I can see the appeal of them, they are real characters.By the way , Jack the 6 years old Jack Russell has been returned because their cat would not accept him. They did not give it long enough, 3 days is no time at all to settle animals together.No matter what you tell people this happens way too many times.It is so unfair on the animals. There have been a A few more cats reserved too , so all in all it has been quite a good week for rehoming.The equine Dentist has been here this week and has checked and treated 20 of the horses, that cost nearly £500!!! Old Noddy had to be sedated to have a couple of teeth out as did Connie.(pictured above having her dental treatment)Connie has hardly any teeth but has to be sedated for treatment because she is so naughty and hates the dentist.! I have much sympathy for her as I am exactly the same!! I once climbed out of a dental surgery window and ran away when the dentist turned his back to get the dreaded needle, another embarassing occasion I actually hit the dentist in my terror and anxiety to stop him getting any nearer with the needle!!Needless to say I was banned from THAT surgery.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Not a very busy weekend though managed to find a good home for one longterm cat Zara, only one kitten rehomed but 12 more arrived. Pictured is one of the litters which came in this weekend.They are so pretty that Im hopeful they will find homes quite quickly.Roy(from our caernarfon shop)_has been working hard to get our new reception ready for occupation, he has been busy insulating it , ready for the wall covering to go on.When it is finished there will finally be somewhere to take people to do all the form filling in etc. It has been such a problem without one, we have had to use the small cattery and there is hardly space to swing a cat(pardon the rather inappropriate pun!)
There are already fireworks going off around here and the loud bangs are distressing some of the animals. Mei has brought all the horses in tonight, we dont want them in the fields with so many people starting early, this bonfire night madness is out of control.When I first moved here I was never aware of any fireworks but last year and this one has been almost as bad as the city.I dont know what other people think but I believe it should be banned. Why are we celebrating the burning of an effigy of a human being in todays oh so politically correct climate? The fireworks themselves cause distress annually to many pets, horrific accidents happen to children and yet it not only continues but the one night of celebration has now been extended to several weeks of this nightmare!!!! William the lurcher has spent the past few nights in terror, shaking uncontrollably at every bang and I know Mei has the same problem with one of her Chihuahuas Ella. If it cant be stopped then it should be restricted to organised displays in public places. I am going to now raise the volume on my TV so the noise outside will be less noticeable. Thats it folks, rant of the day over!

Friday, 2 November 2007

Xmas is coming!

This is the time of year animal shelters become busier than ever. The prospect of Christmas looming closer and closer seems to make people make decisions other than what presents to buy.Its the time when more people than ever get rid of their unwanted pets.I have often wondered exactly why this phenomena occurs every november and continues remorselessly usually until a few days before the 25th December . I have to assume it is because these owners are planning their holiday time and pets are not part of the festivities.This is the time to get rid of their pets, pets which have lost their appeal and become a nuisance rather than a joy to have around. We live in an easy come, easy go society and due to this attitude many defenceless animals will suffer.Such people have totally lost sight of what Christmas is really about, I am not a deeply religous person but it appalls me that this holiday actually seems to be the catalyst for large numbers of pets being abandoned, not to mention the millions of poor creatures intensively farmed en masse for this FESTIVE time!
One of my own family pets was a tiny puppy found in the snow one Christmas Day, Scamp was adopted by my sister Sandra and lived to a great age , he was one of the lucky ones who found a home. I was once woken from my sleep late on Christmas Eve by a man with a spaniel puppy, I got dressed to open up the shelter to take the pup in, he signed it over, saying he had made a big mistake buying it for his young children.The pup had nipped them (in play) He made no apology for the lateness of the hour. Christmas Day he turned up again demanding it back!!!!! Even with all the publicity about not buying pets for Xmas, we still receive many many calls from those wanting to buy a pet for a present. I find it hard to believe the mnessage has not got through.
Winter also brings loads of calls about the welfare of horses,I have been today to see some horses which were reported as neglected and I expect to receive many more such calls. Topday we have been asked to find homes for 2 pigs, 2 Pygmy goats and 3 horses, not to mention the dozens of stray and unwanted cats and dogs awaiting homes. We took in 2 cats via the social services and are expecting another from the same home on Monday.Jack the jack Russell has been rehomed thanks to his photo displayed in our Porthmadog shop window and 2 adult cats have gone out to new owners.There is a possible home for 2 of our shetland ponies and one pony Crystal which was to come in to the shelter has been fostered by Kirsty and Lyn from the Liverpool shelter .Another pony, a shetland foal from the Shetland Isles has been rescued with the help Of Stef a freshfields volunteer and is now in a loan home in Derbyshire(photos of both these ponies to be published in futre blog)Another horse waiting to come in has possibly been rehomed, I am waiting to hear if the home visit has been successful.
William the lurcher is now barking to tell me its time for bed so I must go before he gets upset! Its not a good night for him, there are fireworks in the distance and his keen ears have picked up on it, he is terrified of the sound and I have to comfort him as best I can.None of the others show any concern but William shakes from head to foot, it could be that he associates the sound with gunshot, he has arthritis in his back and hips caused by the retention of leadshot in his body.The vet told me that he had at some time been shot with a 12 bore shotgun !! Poor old William.His favourite place to sleep is either in my car or with the old cats in the conservatory , he comes in the house just before I go to bed but tonight he couldnt wait to get inside away from the noise. Pictured above in his favourite place.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

3 happy Dogs

Honey the foxhound gets on extremely well with my own dogs and has started to share Molly and Trixies basket(not a lot of room)I have discovered Honey needs a lot more attention than I can give her and that she will be best in a home with other dogs with which to play.Pictured above at play the three friends in one of the fields here. 5 years ago, when I was making arrangements and packing up to move to North Wales, I was a little worried at the very rural location and as my own dogs were all elderly and small , decided to rescue a large dog for added security. I had planned to have a Rottweiller or similar but none were available at that time and just a week before I moved, a young Great Dane was taken to the Liverpool shelter.After introducing her to my dogs and finding they all got on well, I decided she was the one I would bring with me. I was sure Molly would be marvellous protection. The first week I was here, a strange man turned up(no, it was nobody I knew!!)at the shelter.Molly was in the yard and I could see her looking alert and staring at the gate being opened by the visitor. Yes , I thought this is where she will show her guarding powers! Next minute I was nearly knocked over as she flew back into the house and hid behind the table!!!! That , I am afraid is a regular occurrence, Molly it seems is a great big COWARD. I receive more protection from the cats!
Trixie the retriever you may remember was taken about a year ago at the age of 10 years to be destroyed at the local vet surgery, she was terrified of her own shadow and I later discovered she had been kept on a chain most of her life with no socialisation.I had hoped to rehoME her but she was so scared of people forso long and became so attached to Molly I decided it would not be fair to part them.Trixie gets so much confidence from Molly and just adores her, following her everywhere.
I have just heard that old Ben the labrador I rehomed a few weeks ago has settled in well and the family are delighted with him.I am glad he found someone, I was beginning to think he was another who would be with me for life.He was such a friendly dog, he deserved a home of his own .
Its been a quiet day today, no cats gone at all.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Waiting for Dinner!

Well, today was wet, windy, misty and miserable but in spite of the awful weather , we had several visitors and 4 adult cats were rehomed, 2 of which were Cocoa and Poppy. These were lovely dark tortoishells which as I have mentioned before are NOT a popular colour in cats , they are also 7 years old which did not add to their appeal. I am so pleased for them. It occurs to me that if human beings were put up for adoption in shelters and were chosen for their looks, youth and temperament, just how many of us would be placed in homes? I suspect very few would ever leave the confines of the institution.I, for one would definitely be on the unhomeable List!!!!
We had a new volunteer today, Mark was a great help and promises to come again tomorrow. Sunday would be a very hard day without our voluntary staff.They are worth their weight in gold. The horses were glad to come in from the fields today, they do not like this weather at all and are always waiting at the gates for Mei to take them in for their evening meals.It is so satisfying to see them enjoying their food and a nice warm stable.We love to hear them munching away contentedly, it makes all the hard work worthwhile.
Tara, the old collie who shares her room with Monty is coughing a lot and needs to go again to see the vet, whereas Monty has had a new lease of life with his new heart tablets, Tara is not enjoying the same quality of life at the moment. Another old dog Poppy is becoming very frail, she also will have to see the vet. Most of the resident dogs ARE elderly and It is a fact that when you take on old animals you also have to face the inevitable loss. Nevertheless I would still always recommend giving an elderly animal a home, they give so much pleasure and satisfaction, it is very rewarding.The shelters in both Wales and Liverpool have many such animals and we are lucky enough to find good homes for many of them.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

The Old Timers(no I am NOT included)

This week I have been busy organising repairs and improvements to the horses shelters ready for the cold winter months which are sure to arrive soon, even as I write there is a definite chill in the air .Most of the horses and ponies are now wearing their outdoor rugs, only a few hardier ones are without, they will have theirs later as it gets colder.I dont like to rug them up too soon as they will not feel the benefit when they really need to have protection against the cold. A small hardstanding is being put around the nearest field shelter which will be fenced off and gates put on the front of the double shelter.This can then double as a stable and small yard in case we need to accommodate an extra horse in the event of an emergency. The 3 Field shelters are being painted with wood preserver to prevent the wood rotting and warm, comfortable rubber matting is being put in the last stable erected, this type of floor covering is ideal for the older and laminitic ponies, it helps those with arthritic joints as it provideds thick cushioning for their aged bodies.

The oldest equines we have at the shelter now are little Noddy the shetland with malformed legs who has been with me since he was eight years of age and is now well into his thirties, and Callie an ex riding horse who has also been in our care for many years.Callie is around the same age as Noddy. Noddy is everyones favourite and is so sweet and friendly, however when he first arrived all those years ago he was entire(a stallion) and was far from sweet natured, in fact he terrorised us all!! Many a time as I was pushing the wheelbarrow across his field he would chase me and a game of hide and seek round the wheelbarrow would ensue. Eventually I would make a break for freedom followed closely by Noddy galloping as fast as his little legs would allow and sometimes I would get lucky and reach the safety of the fence.Other times he would corner me in the field with gnashing teeth and show me how well he could kick with his back legs!! Oh what fun we had!

When I tell this story to the staff here they look at me with total disbelief, nobody believes Noddy was ever capable of that kind of behaviour but he truly was a terror in his younger days(perhaps thats why I relate to him so well now!!)
Dear Callie has never been any trouble part from being a dominant herd leader but then that is just typical of mares, she is bossy and stands no nonsense from the rest of her field companions.Now I do not want any man who reads this making a sexist comment so be warned.That will not go down well! Pictured are Callie and Noddy our two old timers.

One of the old neglected cats was tested positive for FIV and has gone to the Livgerpool shelter to join other FIV cats awaiting homes. The others tested negative and after dental treatment all are gaining weight and doing well. Great news - Tammy the shy collie has gone to a new home where she will receive the love and attention she deserves, no mnore abuse and living in a shed for Tammy, we are all so plkeased for her.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Morris,Trevor and Fred

Had a very busy day today, thanks to an article in the Bangor Chronicle we had lots of visitors and homed 6 cats.That is always a morale booster and puts us all in a good mood. Over the past few days we have taken in some VERY neglected cats, I see a lot more of these than I did in Liverpool.I think it is maybe becasue there are so many rural and isolated properties, there is nowhere for a stray cat to scavenge so they deteriorate quite rapidly. Pictured are 3 of the worst cases. Morris,Trevor, and Fred. They were starving, Morris is covered in some type of oil which we have tried to wash off today with little success. Fred pictured in the basket is in a terrible condition which is difficult to see as he is hunched down in his bed, his teeth are in an appalling state, Trevor also needs his teeth sorting out though he is far too frail at the moment. so he needs to have a dental once he is strong enough. All will be going to the vet on Monday for a thorough check up.They all look quite elderly and could have underlying problems but we cannot be sure until Monday, in the meantime they seem grateful for a warm bed and plentiful food.(a true sign of a genuine stray, they are so glad to be cared for)
Apologies for lack of humour in todays posting,Sometimes it deserts me, I promise it will return soon!

Friday, 19 October 2007

Farm dog, horses and a guinea pig called Lesley

Another farmer has turned up with yet another unwanted farm dog.This one is adorable, she is 3 years old and small for a collie, like most of the other farm dogs I see she is timid, very submissive and nervous, it makes my blood boil.Tammy has had several litters of pups and is in season now so we need to have her spayed asd soon as possible.All the staff have fallen in love with her.The home situation appears to be picking up so I dont think she will be homeless for too long.Honey the foxhound/beagle has been offered a foster home though Jack(jack russell) is still with me. We have homed 9 kittens in the last few days and there are people coming to see adult cats tomorrow.What a relief when they start moving again, I admit to panicking amore than a little lately as it has been so quiet.
I am still in talks re the french horses, I feel in a moral dilemma as I dont like the idea of supporting the horses for meat industry but on the other hand seeing amongst others pregnant horses in the prime of their lives facing that dreadful 3 day journey to Italy, really does get to me.I think if the rescue can be used to draw attention to their plight and do something to make people sit up and protest at what is going on it would be of more use longterm than simply rescuing one or two of the poor creatures, I will keep you posted.
Have just heard from the lady who recently gave a home to two of our kittens and a guinea pig , the guinea pig has been called lESLEY after me.!!!!! A dubious compliment but Im sure was well intentioned!! Guinea pigs ARE rather shapeless and plump, a visit to the gym has to be on my agenda tomorrow.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Live export of horses

I have been greatly disturbed by receiving details of horses and donkeys waiting to be exported from France to Italy for the Dinner table !I have sent details to the Donkey sanctuary re the donkeys. There has been no live export of horses in the Uk for many years although there is talk that it will be reintroduced(god forbid!)In the meantime an organisation has set up to try and save as many of these poor horses as possible,Many are young, some mares and foals, even pedigree horses including a rare breed of which there are only 300 in the world!Many are obviously heavy horses which are worth more in terms of their value for meat. I am hoping to be able to help save a few but there is the cost of purchase(very little compared to this country) transportation, vets fees/passports etc.There are people who may think the money should be used for horses in this country but bear in mind these animals will suffer a 3 day journey without stopping, no food or water, packed into lorries.EVEN A FEW PRECIOUS LIVES SAVED WILL BE WORTH IT. Check out the website
having seen the photos of those waiting transportation I cannot ignore their plight and hope others will join me in in an attemt to rescue a couple.There is a programme in place to do this, over 100 have already been rescued and are in good homes in the Uk.
I am in talks with the organisers, there is grazing available locally(free of charge)but the money needs to be raised to put a rescue in place.If you know any horse lovers please make them aware of the plight of these animals and maybe we can successfully rescue one or two.I will be opening a separate account but in the meantime donations can be made to Freshfields via the website and paypal, please mark it.Live export appeal. Type in Freshfields animal rescue Wales and the site will come up(title too complicated for me to remember!!!)

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Beagle or Foxhound?

The last person who made a comment on my blog made a very true statement.I totally agree with you Pamela/ People can find their local animal shelter very quickly when they want to get rid of an animal but when it comes to gaining support its a different matter. Starting up a shelter is harder than I remembered, though when I concentrate and think back I do remember the frustrations and despair involved. For years I dreamt of having a real shelter where animals would not have a set time limit on finding a home, a sanctuary for the animals other shelters would turn away, the problem pets, the elderly animals whose owners had died or had been abandoned because they cost too much momey to care for.It took years and years before Freshfields became known on Merseyside and now the struggle begins again here in North Wales.As I write this another person has turned up with an unwanted cat.I will have to take the cat, she looks in a bad way, very neglected but we really are full to capacity now. I am just about to email the local newspapers to try and get an article in one , or all of them highlighting the urgency of the situation.Yesterday I was asked to take a 7 months cross collie/rottweiller which was too lively for its owner! I was lucky that I found a foster home for him, but I have just received an urgent call requesting I take in a dog purchased only 2 days ago!!! The owner says she cannot cope, the dog is too lively, she must go today, the dog is a 6 months old Beagle, what do people expect, if you get a puppy then you get puppy behaviour.I will try and find somewhere for this dog to go so I must go to make some calls.
PS Woman turned up with "Beagle" which looks more like a foxhound to me but equally as loveable.Im trying her in the house with Molly the Great dane and her pals and hope that they get on well! If not I will need a foster home for her. Pictured above is Honey the Foxhound.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Caspar has another Operation

_Poor Caspar our unruly grey pony (pictured ) had to undergo another operation to remove another part of the testicle growing inside him.A blood test showed there was still some tissue which remained and needed removing.I have just been to check on him and he is still a little shaky but is tucking into his food which is a good sign.Thank goodness its all over now and the stallion bits are finally gone forever!!! Caspar was rescued from a horse sale and was in a very poor state on arrival, he is a fairly young pony and once he gets over this op I need to find another home for him and his pal Pepsi(also rescued from local horse sale) They deserve a home of their own where they will receive more individual attention, I dont like to keep the young, healthier animals when there are many urgent cases requiring assistance but they will stay until the right home comes along, as it surely will.
The Farrier has been today and as usual he had to sedate Maggie(Noddys friend) otherwise he would not have managed to do any work on her box feet. When she arrived she had these very oddly shaped hooves which gave the appearance of her standing on 4 little boxes!They have required a lot of work as it was too big a job to do all at once.Now she has almost perfect feet, not that Noddy would care, he thinks she is adorable anyway!
We are still seeking a home for Mik, the emaciated Collie(who has put on weight since his arrival)but it has gone very quiet on the home finding front.For the first time in 5 years I am having to turn cats away and put them on a waiting list. I start to panic when this happens and no adult cats are finding homes but it does tend to happen in phases so hopefully we will have a rush on cats this coming week! One lives in hope.
There is a new monthly newspaper out called North Wales People and the first issue featured an article on how I started the Freshfields Charity. It was an excellent full page article with an appalling photo of me but more importantly a very good one of lovely Rocky our coloured Irish Cob. They have asked me to do a monthly article and the second edition came out yesterday(I have yet to see it)so it should up our profile in the locality and may even help some of the animals to find new homes.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

The Pigs new home

First of all Id like to thank those who make supportive comments on the blog, I appreciate it and thanks to Jan whose comments on the loss of Sara Ann touched me immensely.Her epitaph to our lovely girl "Run free" brought tears to my eyes.
On a cheerier note, the pigs have now been moved to their newly made paddock- I had anticipated high jinks and a great deal of squealing and noise from the pigs.There was certainly a lot of squealing though it came mainly from the staff, not all of whom are used to being around pigs (well not the animal sort anyway!)and although they happily helped out with the move, were more than a little apprehensive.Still, they were moved with as little stress as was possible for such nervous animals and they are now comfortably esconced in Piggy Penthouse (the pigs not the staff)! I remember years ago changing the living accommodation of our pigs in Liverpool and they refused to go inside ..As that was winter it was extremely worrying. No amount of persuasion would entice them into their new shed and in protest at the enforced change (albeit a better one)in their quarters they all snuggled up to sleep outside in freezing conditions.We had to cover them with bales of straw, horse rugs and a massive tarpaulin to prevent them freezing to death. 3 days later they walked into the shed with no concern whatsoever!! Pigs loathe change, they are nervous animals who like familiarity,it distresses me immensely to think of those who are in the food chain, what they suffer on their last journey. Our pigs are real characters and I know Joe who cares for the pigs at Freshfields Liverpool would agree with that.They all have individual personalities, just like domestic animals. Enjoy your new home pigwigs.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

The Loss of Sara-Ann.

Awful weekend, we lost one of our ponies on Saturday evening.Sara-ann has been very quiet for the past week but was eating normally and otherwise seemed fine, she is a very old pony so her demeanour was not particularly worrying. By Saturday evening, however, she was walking in circles and staggering, froth was coming from her mouth and she did not seem to know where she was.The vet was called and to our dismay he diagnosed that she had more than likely had a stroke which had affected her brain.There was no choice, she was suffering and the decision was made to let her go.
We had only had her at the shelter since last winter. Her owner brought her in after the farmer on whose land she was grazing, gave him an eviction orderbecause he was not caring for her.All winter she went without shelter or even a rug to cover her frail body so I was more than happy to take her in.Sara-Ann was the daintiest pony I have ever seen, such a pretty feminine little soul, Meirwen was particularly fond of her and would give her cuddles every night when she came in for her evening meal. We will all miss her.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

2 more ponies find a home

Its a beautiful sunny day today and the animals are really enjoying their time in the sun,There are cats sunning themselves all over the property and the horses are enjoying a lie down in the dry grass.I have just been checking my emails and as usual there are several from animal welfare organisations informing me of the latest atrocities against our sentient friends. One wonders when , if ever it will all stop and why human beings are capable of such evil.There is a great deal to be said for the Buddhist philosophy of living life without causing harm directly or indirectly to any other living being.If only a magic wand could be waved over the whole of society to render everyone incapable of a cruel word or deed!!!!!! If only!!
Back to reality- cats are coming in thick and fast, so many different reasons given, today we have a cat brought in because the owner cant get rid of the fleas, I could have given advice but with a new baby in the house, it was obvious the cat was not a priority anymore so its better to find him a new home.2 other cats arrive due to their owner moving house and a farmer has rung asking if he can bring in 7 kittens.I am pleased when he asks me about neutering the three adult females on the farm! I am more than pleased to be able to offer him help to do so and wish more of the farming community would show the same kind of responsibility.
By the way old Monty Collie appears to have a new lease of life now his tablets have been increased, he and Tara even managed a short walk with me this morning.
Today part of the new fencing has gone up in what is going to be the new pig paddock and it should be finished tomorrow so we may be able to move the pigs very soon.
Sam and Murphy, two of the shetland ponies are going to their new home on Monday, their new carer is now our new Sunday volunteer and we know they will be spoiled by her, Sam is very shy and Murphy is a very odd looking little chap, at one point we wondered if he could be crossed with a donkey, they are both sweet little ponies and we will miss them.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Jack needs a home - QUICKLY!

Ive just taken in a 6 years old Jack Russell by the highly imaginative name of - JACK! He had not been too happy with his owners young children and I was able to take him because he is good with cats and other dogs so he can come into the house with my menagerie.He really is a nice little dog but oh he is driving me mad with his hyperactivity! I sit down at the end of the day to relax and have a saliva covered plastic ball dropped in my lap, if that fails to attract my attention he walks along the back of the sofa and tries again by pushing the aforementioned ball in my face!!!Having said that he will make a great pal for somebody(just not me!!)as his nature is so appealing. I think Im getting too old to have lively dogs around me, my own are all getting on in years and as I too am facing the fact that my youth is now way way behind me it suits me to have more sedate pets around me which are less demanding.Now dont get me wrong I am not yet applying for a bus pass nor am I ready for a zimmer frame or walking stick,I just want a little more peace in my life.After 30 years caring for animals I am more than ready for a little ME time.I hope that doesnt make me sound too selfish!
Our pigs(we have 4 vietnamese potbellied porkers) will soon be moving into their new des res, a brand new pig house close to the main yard which means they will have more company and be seen by visitors.Currently they are in a back field out of sight so it will be exciting though more than a little difficult to move them into their new home in the next week or so.That should be an interesting day, pigs are notoriously resistant to change and will not be at all pleased with being herded out of their familiar field into a strange new area.
7 new cats have been admitted over the past few days, some beautiful longhaired stunners and we have rehomed 5 cats and kittens including Cindy who had a badly deformed back leg which will need amputating in the near future.Its great when someone takes on a special needs animal, it makes it all worthwhile.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Lucky to be alive!

We have had a very quiet weekend, few visitors and even fewer homes! Just one kitten went to a home this weekend.Even Murphy our beautiful big Irish draft cross did not go to his new home.The home had been checked, the gentleman did not want to see him, he just wanted a companion for his horse but when he arrived he took one look at our beautiful boy and said he didnt like him!! We were all shocked but at the end of the day I would rather keep him here than him go to a home where he would not be loved or appreciated.
It seems like there is a second wave of kittens around.We still had a few small kittens left at the shelter but were receiving no calls to take in more , however it appears to be the calm before the storm!
Today we admitted a ginger and white kitten lucky to be alive, he almost ran into the jaws of a greyhound being exercised by his owner..The kitten heard a human voice and ran crying to her, in the nick of time she controlled her dog which would otherwise have made short work of such a tiny animal.Shortly after we made him comfortable and fed him(he was starving) our volunteer driver Jeff arrived from Anglesey with a collection of young cats taken from a woman in Holyhead.We were expecting with them a nursing mother cat but instead we received her 4 weeks kittens and a dead mother, mauled by a dog.Sadly we buried her and quickly made up some lactol for the 3 hungry babies .they appear fit and healthy so lets hope they continue to do well.
Yesterday I also took in a 6 years Jack Russell who is staying with me in the house as he gets along with other dogs and cats.He really is a lovely dog and will make someone a great companion.He has been well loved but when the children came along, he could not be bothered with them(typical terrier)and it became a worry to the owners. From my experience of Jack Russells, they hate to be disturbed when asleep and as they get older want to play when it suits them, not the other way around. Jack is no exception but his nature is very good and I feel sure he will fit in most homes without small children.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Caspars operation day

Todays the day Caspar loses his hidden testicle!! I will be nowhere near when the vet arrives to perform the operation which will take place in one of the stables.Even after 30 years of doing this work and visiting veterinary sugeries, I still am unable to witness anything remotely gory and if a needle appears I am quite likely to pass out!Unfortunately for me I have pernicious anaemia which means I have to have an injection of B12 every 12 weeks. I feel sorry for the very patient and understanding medical staff at my local surgery who have to put up with my terror and histrionics, if any of them read this my apologies for my behaviour and gratitude for their kindness. I read yesterday a patch is being developed to be used instead of injections for those who need regular injections for various problems so maybe thats something to look forward to.
Jimmy the ex racehorse has gone to a new home and Murphy our big beautiful cross Irish Draft is going in the next week to be a companion to an even bigger Shire horse.I have been asked today to take a horse with a back problem but I need to find homes for the 2 pairs of Shetland ponies Walter and William and Sam and Murphy, before I will have room to take him.Walter and William were due to go to a home but the people have changed their minds - better they do so now than later when the ponies had arrived. Its a worry when I receive requests to take horses that I cant accommodate, my concern is always what will happen to them if I say no. So many Horse welfare societies deal mainly with cruelty cases so do not have room or resources for others which are unwanted.Understandably what room there is at shelters SHOULD be reserved for those animals most in need. The trouble is this throw away society we live in means so many equines end up at market at the end of their riding days and of course who will buy them, nobody wants a lame horse or one with a back problem.There is only one place for them- the meat lorry!!! What an end for these beautiful creatures which give their all to their owners to be discarded at the end of their usefulness. I make no apology for getting on my high horse every now and again (forgive the pun) about this issue.Its one which distresses me and angers me intensely. Look at the photo above of big Murphy , he is just 8 years old and on the scrapheap! If Freshfields had not taken him he would be dead now. Unbelievable isnt it. He is such a wonderful animal, so gentle.Im sure he will be appreciated in his new home.

Monday, 17 September 2007

In defence of Torties!

Im pleased that my blog on the unpopular dark tortoishell cats led to some people leaping to their defence.Its good to know that there are people who care more about the personality and circumstances of the animal than the colour. I often wonder how many of we humans would find homes easily if we were put up for adoption!!!!!! I am quite sure that I would definitely be one of the long termers!! Just as well we will never find out isnt it. Could be quite a blow to the ego! So to compound the fact that I and some others actually LIKE torties I am posting a photo of Cocoa a beautiful tortie who arrived yesterday.She was brought in by an owner who is emigrating.heres hoping she and the others will soon find a home.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Well its been a weekend of new cats arriving but nothing going out! One of the new cats Bobby is 12 years old and is very distressed at finding himself in such a change of circumstances.Poppy a 7 years old brought in by an owner emigrating is also upset This is quite normal for cats from homes, the strays which come in are totally different, they are so pleased to have warmth and comfort and plenty of food, they settle in immediately. It will take about a week for the more pampered pets to relax though occasionally there may be one which will never be content until a home is found.Fortunately most do settle fairly quickly, cats are very adaptable creatures.
This is the first weekend that Nia and her mother have not been in to help.Nia has just started Liverpool University where she will be studying to become a vet, we will miss her help on sunday.Nia has been the first Freshfields Volunteer to visit our twin shelter in Mumbai, India and she had a wonderful experience there visiting their spaying clinic and accompanying them feeding the street dogs.Freshfields In India was started by a lady called Renu whise compassion for the neglected and abandoned animals in her area of Mumbai inspired her to start an animal welfare society which she named Freshfields after our charity. They spay the strays and release them(there are few homes for them) and feed nightly over 250 dogs on the streets. What a task! I hope to visit them one day to witness their work first hand.
the photo above is of Renu feeding just a few of Mumbais stray dog population.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Caspars remaining testicle!

We have had 2 ponies returned through no fault of the new owners. They were having some problems with one who was behaving in a particularly unruly and stallion like way so we agreed to take them back to assess the naughty pony. We had not previously experienced a problem with him but then he had been in a field where there were no mares nearby!!! They were both down in our records as geldings and we had no reason to think otherwise, there were certainly no"bits" on view! On return we had a mare in season in a nearby field and what a difference we noticed in him this time! No wonder he was unmaneagable, we arranged for him to have a blood test to check if he was what we expected - and the results came back that Caspar was in fact a "Rig". This is when only one testicle has been removed and the other is still inside him causing raging hormones. We were all shocked and dismayed at this turn of events, although he is infertile he needs to have an operation to rectify this problem and a problem it surely is. Anyone who has not seen an entire horse or pony has no idea how difficult they can be Caspar will be having his operation next thursday, though like all neutered animals the effects will not be instantaneous.Until his hormones calkm down he will stay with us!
Fortunately the nice people who had given them a home will be taking a couple of other rescued ponies so we have not lost this excellent home.
Today a 12 years old cat has been brought in, I hope he wont be here too long. several of the new kittens have been found homes, its good they have gone so quickly. Roy the manager of our Caernarfon charity shop has been working at the shelter the past week.He has been erecting an enclosure for our semi feral cats who have been in their pens too long awaiting suitable homes.Thanks to the Holyhead Cat Action , who have paid for this, they will now have much more space in which to exercise and play.Thanks to ROy also without whose help, the enclosure would still be unassembled!

Monday, 10 September 2007

photo of kittens

sorry forgot to add the photo of the kittens whuich arrived today

More kittens arrive

Well , just as we were all congratulating ourselves on homing so many kittens(for the first time in ages there are empty pens) along came someone with 2 adult cats and 9 kittens!!! Some of the kittens are pictured above. The reason given was that the ownerwas moving to a flat and was unable to take animals with her.Although the babies are very prettily marked, the arrival of young, 7 weeks old kittens means less chance now of the "teenagers" finding a home.Its always the same- if the babies are not rehomed fairly quickly they become gangly and less appealing and we have around 12 such kitten cats. Sometimes they are here until they are adults and only then after neutering do they find homes. I was really hoping this lull in youngsters would mean we would be able to move some of the teenagers. These things are sent to try us as my mother used to say!
Looks like Jimmy the ex racehorse may be going to friends in the village which will be nice as I can pop round to see him without even getting into the car and driving.He has a swelling on his back at the moment which is being treated by the vet so as soon as that clears he will be leaving us.
I have been asked to take a 5 months old shetland colt, however the problem is transporting him from the Shetland Isles to North Wales!!! An interested part has offered to pay for him from the shetlands to Aberdeen but from there on we are stuck.Any ideas anyone? He can be transported in a van as he will not be very big but it is qquite a long journey. If anyone has any ideas how this can be managed please contact me straight away as his owner wants rid pretty quickly.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

2 horses successfully rehomed

Strange thing Ive noticed - when I write about cats or horses there are no comments made.When I write about dogs there are always comments posted!!!!Dogs appear to inspire more emotion and passion in people, yet cats are the most popular pet in the Uk(according to a recent poll). On the other hand , a friend of mine wrote in her blog about the dog fighting activities of Michael Vick the american football player. Her blog is mainly read by people in the dog show world and yet she was surpriused to receive no comments on this appalling news story. She told the same story on the George Michael fanclub blog and was inundated with replies from outraged animal lovers! So much for those who profess to care about dogs, presumably they only care about their own.
To those who kindly showed concern on Monty collies deteriorating health, you may like to know his new heart/water tablets seem to be working so we may have him a bit longer than first expected.I will keep you informed.
Went to check on 2 horses rehomed a few months ago. Buster is a very large horse whose twisted foot made him unsuitable for riding and Abby is a highly strung mare who had been with us for several years after being deemed too dangerous to ride. The two friends looked very well and happy in their new home and I came away feeling happy that they appeared so content.Of course I managed to take a few photos of them, my camera is never very far away from me nowadays much to the discomfort of colleagues who are always on edge in case I snap them in undignified poses! They need not worry, I prefer taking photos of animals.
walter and William the two shetland ponies are going to a home tomorrow, I hope it will be an equally caring home. Pictured are Abby and Buster in their new home.

Friday, 7 September 2007

What is it about the colour of cats? Why is one colour more appealing and more popular than others? I cannot get to the bottom of it, has anyone any ideas? I have always found dark tortoishell cats hard to home. For example Astra and Venus , young sister cats have been here since they were 6 weeks old and have ben completely overlooked by people visiting.Now 5 months old I worry they will never find a home.Gingers seem to be THE most popular, also grey and pretty tortie and whites and tabbys - Black and white next, then black(another unpopular colour) and finally the poor old tortoishell!!!
The strange fact is that brindle dogs which are similarly marked, are also hard to home!!!Perhaps people think they look fierce, could this be the reason? I rem,ember when I was in the Liverpool shelter and someone would telephone to get rid of a brindle dog, my heart would sink as I knew he/she would face the possibility of a long stay in kennels.I feel the same way now when Tortie cats arrive.No matter how sweet natured they are, they very rarely go quickly, such a shame that appearance maters so much to so many people. Many years ago , when I first moved to East Lodge farm in Liverpool, a retired couple turned up for a grey and white cat. As luck would have it, we did have just one in with those markings. I introduced the couple to this lovely friendly and attractive cat and left them alone for a few minutes.On my return I found them with a tape measure, measuring the white on his legs!!!!!!
Needless to say they did not get the cat!
Today I am going to concentrate on publicising Astra and Venus and Tiggs another tortie and try my best to move them out the shelter and into new homes which is what they deserve.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Mik the collie is already enjoying his new life, his face smiles now, though he is still very nervous and submissive.He has seen the vet who thinks he is simply starved.Time will tell, he is eating well, several small meals daily to try and build him up slowly. I have taken another photo of his lovely expressive face. How can people neglect these animals?
He is one of many farm dogs I see in this condition.Most farmers have been brought up to have the attitude that working dogs are tools for them to use in their work and therefore require no understanding, compassion or special care. This extremely old fashioned , incorrect and unkind attitude belongs in days gone by, however it still persists in farming communities everywhere. I am fortunate that the farms on either side of the shelter have a more enlightened outlook towards their sheepodogs but the lives of most working dogs remain harsh and bleak.It has always been beyond my comprehension that these dogs who work so hard for their owners are rewarded by a great lack of consideration for their wellbeing and comfort. Surely they deserve this. It doesnt make them less of a good worker, just a more contented part of the farm menagerie.
I was listening to breakfast television the other day and there was a discussion about the lawlessnes of todays society and the search for the killer(s) of the poor little boy in Liverpool. In the United States it has long been a known and accepted fact that the perpetrators of acts of cruelty towards animals will almost certainly go on to harm their own species. If our judicial system took animal cruelty more seriously there may be fewer youths growing up to be violent, cold uncaring adults.Our legal system has never adequately protected animals, the sentences handed down are too lenient(as with many other crimes!)When will they learn?

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Yesterday a farmer brought in a very thin and nervous collie which he said "was not up to standard!!) I grieve for the fate of so many farm dogs which are discarded, without exception all that I have dealt with since I have lived in Wales, have been of excellent temperament and have made wonderful family pets. When I ran the Liverpool shelter I was always a little wary of collies, many seemed to have temperament problems but certainly I have experienced exactly the opposite in this area.
Mik is so very thin I need to see if he gains weight in the next ten days, there is always the concern there is an underlying problem , however the Vet could not find anything wrong on his visit this morning so it is just a matter of waiting to see how he improves. He will be fostered out until a home is found. I dont know what we would do without our foster homes, so many more dogs would be put down.
We had to call out the Vet as Jimmy the ex racehorse hads a large lump on his rear, He thinks it is the result of a kick and should go down by tomorrow! If not I will call the vet back out.I am surprised as all the horses seem to be getting on remarkably well.Looks like someone has bullied him so he may have to be moved to another field and join a different group.

Monday, 27 August 2007

The hooligans meet up!

Bank Holiday weekend is almost over, it has been fairly quiet, there is a big music festival on locally which attracts both locals and holidaymakers so it was to be expected. 4 kittens have been rehomed, thankfully some of the larger, half grown ones have gone.These are so hard to home, that in between stage is not generally appealing to people so we are delighted. Im worried about a mother and kittens we have, none are doing well, I have taken them to the vet and had them tested for Leukaemia and Fiv and they have tested negative but I want another more detailed test to be done, I remain unconvinced they are Ok.
Today we have integrated the 2 pairs of shetland ponies, so we can rest the two fields they have been in, rotation is necessary to give fields a rest from being overgrazed.There have been high jinks, 4 lively youngsters meeting for the first time!!!! Oh what fun they've had! One of them Murphy is still a little shy so had to be lured into the field with aid of food - always works a treat! Pictured is Vanessa beating a quick retreat from 4 greedy shetlands, they will not be happy if they catch up and find her brandishing an empty bucket!

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Mare and Foal have arrived.

Monty is holding his own at the momenmt, there is still some quality of life there so I think he has a few more weeks, will keep everyone informed.As I type this he is out in the front lying in the sun, Tara will not be far away from him.
This morning I went to try and catch a cat and kitten who have made an amazing home in the recess of a wall above a garage! The mum is most likely feral and her secret home would not have been discovered had one of the babies not sadly fallen out of the"nest" to be discovered by the home owner. Unfortunately there was no sign of her, but I have alerted the neighbours and hope someone will spot them so we can set up a trap and have the mum spayed.
The last of the ponies have arrived from Cheshire.Heather and her 3 weeks old foal Paddy are now in a foster home locally.Yesterday went to see them and was happy to see that they seem content and unfazed by their journey from Cheshire to Gwynedd, and their new surroundings. We seem to be inundated with shetland ponies at the moment,I really need to try and find some homes for them.Fortunately there are quite a few homes for equines in this area but not everybody wants shetlands.They can be prone to laminitis and often need restricted grazing to keep them healthy. many calls I receive are from people who want riding horses but most of our animals are not suitable to be worked in any way.
There are so many jobs to do here, I wish we had a handyman, someone who could do some fencing etc. the girls here do their best but I will have to try another advert in the local paper, I dont want these jobs to go into the winter, they need to be done now whilst we have some decent weather.
Had a cat in today in very poor condition, a lovely black and white with a happy nature but so very thin, will need to take her to vet tomorrow, try and find out of she has an underlying problem

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Montys Last Days.

As many of our visitors are aware, there some resident collies at the shelter.The 2 oldest Monty and Tara have been with us for the past 3 years and are as much part of the shelter as William the lurcher. sadly both have developed heart problems recently and Monty is not responding well to treatment. That awful decision has to be made in the forthcoming week..I will not allow an animal to suffer but oh, it is so very difficult.
In my heart I know that his time is near so I need to summon the courage to decide when but then one is always worried that the decision is made too soon.I worry also that Tara will miss his company, she does not like many other dogs and the two have always been compatible.
On a more positive note, William is now staying at home, he appears to have lost interest in his new friend(thank heavens)One worry less to deal with! Also Jimmy, the ex racehorse has settled so well in just one week, he and Murphy have taken to one another and there has been none of the usual meet and greet shenanigans! No kicking, squealing or biting, just total calmness and acceptance of one another

Thursday, 16 August 2007

William has a midlife crisis

There are another 3 horses at the shelter. I responded to a call a few weeks ago which was an urgent plea for help from a lady whose daughter had died tragically . The family were unable to cope with her animals so we decided to take them.With 2 of ours going out on loan last week, there was space for a few more.
They arrived on Tuesday, Jimmy is a chestnut ex racehorse,the 2 ponies Sam and Murphy were both originally rescued from a life of neglect, there are still 2 more to arrive - Heather ,another shetland pony and her 3 weeks old foal.Fortunately we have a foster home for them until we can complete another stable and paddock area(The work has begun) The three new arrivals have settled in extremely well.The big horse Jimmy has joined Big Murphy and his friends and all seem to be getting on very well together.The 2 ponies are in a field on their own for the time being but will probably mix with another group in the near future.
We are doing well with the cats at the moment, the marvellous catchat website brings us so many good homes and yesterday we rehomed 4 cats to a family of cat lovers in Prestatyn. I think around 60 percent of our cats are now being rehomed via that website, it has been a great help.If you are a cat lover, check it I would love to have such an interesting and well designed website.Perhaps I need to find out who their web designer is?
Im having a bit of a problem with William my resident lurcher dog and close companion! William is a real character and is the mascot of this shelter, he even appears on the Freshfields Tshirts.Usually he is never very far away from me or my car but in spite of being neutered he has lately taken to visiting a female dog in the village! I am not at all happy about this because although I encourage William to have friends of his own species I do not want him wandering off the property! He muist be around 12 years of age now, he was middle aged when he came to me 5 years ago and of course he has been neutered so I have no idea why this is happening, perhaps he is having a mid life crisis! Luckily this is a very rural area and everybody knows William so he will not come to any harm from local farmers but there is always concern that he could have an accident. I am trying my best to contain him for the time being.I do have an enclosed garden here but William does not get on with all the other dogs who have constant access to that, which is why he spends his time with us following people around the fields and yard. This is most unlike him, i can only hope he will lose interest in his new found friend and quickly!!

Sunday, 12 August 2007

First day of life for foal Jasmine.

Its almost the end of the weekend, only 2 cats were found homes but one of them "Evie" had been here for a long time - since she was trapped along with other feral kittens..Now six months old, she is still quite timid but is really coming along, allowing herself to be fussed over and even picked up. I had been hoping to find her a pet home and not a farm home so thank you Amanda for being kind enough to offer a home to her after all this time. Amanda also took an older black kitten so it was a good result.
Popped round to see new foal at friends in the village, these friends have several rescued horses and took on a pregnant mare a few months ago. Jasmine was born this morning!!!! I had to include this photo even though she is not a freshfields rescue! How adorable is she!

Friday, 10 August 2007

Lots of new arrivals and the Farrier pays a visit.

Today was a very busy day, the farrier arrived to check the feet of the equines at the shelter.We were particularly anxious about maggie, an elderly shetland pony with a real attitude! Maggie has a problem with her feet, they are called box feet so called because when she is due for a trim, it appears she is walking on tiny boxes!They are a peculiar shape. The problem is that Maggie does not like being messed about with so with this in mind she was sedated prior to the farriers arrival.Did this work? NO! It took 3 people to keep hold of this tiny pony , her feet HAD to be trimmed so there was a sense of determination and finally relief when Frazer the farrier was able to do his job.No mean feat, he looked exhausted after struggling with her for a good ten minutes. there is no doubt that the little shetlands are most definitely the most difficult to handle when it comes to this.
16 horses were seen today, so all hooves are nice and trim once again.
2 new cats arrived today, Laurel(My name for her\) a black female had been hanging around a local restaurant, she is a bonny cat and to be honest appears more like a much loved pet than a stray. I will look in the Lost and found book in case someone is searching for her. The other a pretty and heavily pregnant stray tabby cat had been around for 4- 5 months according to the finders. These nice people kindly made a donation to the shelter which Im sorry to say is a rare occurrence.If more people would help in this way when they bring an animal here, it would be a great help.
On the downside, a sick kitten brought which was brought in this morning , died this afteronon, always a sad time for the staff who have to deal with it.
Also brought in was a young cross staffordshire bull terrier female(sacha)She will have to be fostered until a home is found. Her owner had her locked in a shed all day until a visiting tradesman heard her crying and offered to take her away with him.Thankfully he agreed and now she has a chance of a decent life. Pictured above with a photo of Maggie the shetland pony finally nodding off after sedation starts to work.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Kittens galore

At last some of the kittens are moving, we have found homes for 5 over the past few days and amazingly some of the black ones which are not the most popular for some unfathomable reason. What a relief when they start to move, although each summer it is like this, there is always a bit of a panicky feeling July and August, the numbers of kittens rise and there are very few homes around.Now people are starting to return from holidays, we are becoming busier each day.The little terrier Maisie has gone to a new home, they were known to one of the staff, Rosie so we know ishe has gone to a good caring home.
We have taken in a number of cats recently including Forest and Seren shy grey and white cats whose owner has died.Unfortunately they were not neutered so they have had to pay a visit to the vet to get that little problem sorted out! Poor chaps!
Had a visit today from 2 friends from Liverpool who have been helping at the Liverpool shelter since they were schoolgirls. It was nice to see them, it can be quite isolated here and it is always nice to see old friends and have a good old gossip.

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Home found for 2 ponies.

Although I was extremely upset at the unpleasant comments made by Paul Dalton, I am not wasting any more of my time or thoughts on such a person. I have better things to do with my time and my mind!
It is always good to find a home for the younger horses. Pepsi and Caspar 4 year old geldings are off to a new home in the next couple of weeks. This makes room for others waiting for places at the shelter.It is always hard to prioritise, there are so many equines in desperate need of shelter. The decision has been made so once these two have left us, we will be taking in an ex racehorse and his shetland pony companion.
It is still very quiet in the cattery, so few homes are being found for kittens, we have 40 and they are going very slowly.Hopefully the local paper will publish a feature about the appalling situation with stray and unwanted cats in this area(it seems to be the same everywhere at the moment)
Photo of the two ponies lucky to find a new home.

Abergele Dog Pound criticise charity

Well, not entirely unexpectedly I received a comment from Paul Dalton from the Abergele dog kennels. It seems he is extremely annoyed that this charity has tried to save the dogs condemned there last week.He seems to think that Freshfields had no right to make the appeal as we only save a couple of dogs a year!!!!!! WEhat difference this would make is beyond me, anybody out there able to understand his logic? For his information Freshfields saves literally hundreds of dogs and many other animals annually.What exactly is his problem? Surely he should be happy more people know about the unwanted dogs in this area. At the end of the day if I receive information that dogs are due to be killed, I will do everything I can to prevent this happening, as would any other dog lover or charity involved in the welfare of dogs. Michelle(his wife?) told me that the dogs were due to be killed last Friday, if they didnt want that information to be passed on to others why did she tell me? Was it to pressurise me into taking some of the dogs, if so that was a cruel thing to do. I felt it was a race against time, as did others involved in trying to rehome the animals.
I dont want or expect gratitude from the Abergele kennel owners, however to make nasty comments on my blog seems a little extreme to say the least.The actions of a guilty person dont you think?
Photo of Maisie the little cross terrier also from pound.She is around 10 months of age, is good with cats/other dogs/children, a really nice little dog.Homes needed for both her and Finlay the white GSD.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Race to save dogs.

This past few days has been taken up trying to find homes for 25 condemned dogs at Abergele Dog Pound. I emailed Michelle Chalk who runs a lost and found pet regester and within hours I was receiving offers of help from all over the UK. This was a fine example of the power of the internet.Thanks Michelle for sending out my urgent appeal and thanks to everyone who kindly responded with asistance. Thanks to this, to the best of my knowledge all dogs were saved.Unfortunately the person who rus the dog pound is no longer answering her phone so I am unable to find out if there are any dogs left, however the person who collected two of the dogs for Freshfields, did not seem to think there were many, if any left there.
The two dogs we have are a white German Shepherd, a very handsome, good natured animal and a dear little jack russell/kelpie cross female we have called Maisie.It is devastating to think how near these two lovely dogs were to losing their lives.How did they end up there in the first place? The Gsd had an owner who did not care enough to collect his dog when informed he was in the pound!!!!Maisie was an unclaimed stray. As all dog lovers know this scenario is occurring all over the country, and we are supposed to be a nation of animal lovers!
So the urgency is over, for now - until the next time. Look out for pictures of Maisie and the GSD tomotrrow (when my camera battery is charged"!)