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.