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.