Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Noddy enjoys the sunshine

Im feeling a bit brighter today, the loss of a pet leaves such an empty feeling and the fact I have so many other animals here makes absolutely no difference at all.
Its a bright sunny day today though freezing cold and the ground underfoot is quite treacherous and icy.Hay has had to be taken to all the fields as the ground is frozen and hard.
The bird feeders are emptying rapidly as birds flock to avail themselves of the free dinners.The cold weather is bringing all types of birds to the feeders, in the garden today I have seen a solitary blackbird and a solitary Thrush which I rarely see here.There are as usual dozens of chaffinches, some sparrows and starlings but there are new arrivals also - blue tits, great tits and a pair of wagtails.In the fields around there are flocks of crows and magpies with a few buzzards flying overhead. Lots of birds follow the horses about for the rich pickings amidst their droppings! Its a birds paradise,apart from the odd naughty cat spying upon them.Amazingly we have few bird casualties here, out of all the cats roaming free at the shelter there are only 2 hunters amongst them.
The photo above is of our oldest resident Noddy standing enjoying the sunshine, he is often seen on his own though his companion Maggie is never far away.She often
wanders up to the higher field and Noddys little old legs find the effort a little too much so he chooses to stay in the bottom field.This also means he is the first to come in at night and first to have his evening meal.Food is never far from his thoughts(I totally empathise with him!)
A home in Dorset has been offered to Christy one of the pound dogs so we are busy trying to organise the transport there.He should go this week sometime.Nicky the other dog has gone to a home in Cambridge to be a companion to a Border collie.The internet finds so many good homes for dogs, what we need is more people willing to help with transporting them to homes further afield.There are so few homes in this part of North Wales, too many animals, too few homes.
There are a few people coming to see cats this week so fingers crossed some of them will go soon.
Cariad our resident cat is in the vet undergoing tests to see what is wrong with her, her legs seem wobbly as though she has developed some sort of neurological problem.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Cindy passes away

One of the house dogs died this morning, I only have one of the Golden Girls left now.Cindy had developed dilated cardiomyopathy and this morning she passed away in her bed.Im so glad it happened this way, she hated strangers and was never the best tempered of dogs, vet trips were always a nightmare.I knew about this heart condition as my boyfriend Steve died of the same thing 10 years ago. Poor old Cindy, although she gave me the most grief of all my dogs, I cannot believe how much I miss her presence.Molly too seems lost without her though they were never the best of friends and merely tolerated one another.Its the first time Molly has not had a companion in the kitchen though Im thinking of adopting one of the outside dogs who is unlikely to find a suitable home due to her personality pecularities.I want to give it careful thought first and right now I cant bear to see another in her bed. Maybe in a few days I will make the decision.I wont leave it long , Molly needs a friend.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Both animals returned on Christmas day.

I cant believe it. Both animals rehomed yesterday were returned, Pip at 7.30am! the cat was returned some hours later.Pip had been attacked by the familys other dog so there was a real reason for their state of panic and subsequent journey back to Wales, however the cat was returned after giving the couple a "traumatic evening"( their words not mine) The trauma - she wanted to stay on the worktop!!!! As anyone who has ever brought a new cat into the house with other animals will know, they need to feel safe somewhere whilst they assess the new situation.They didnt even give her 24 hours to settle and adapt in spite of all that was said to them prior to taking her home. This makes me very angry and also very disheartened that I can be so wrong about people after all the years I have been doing this work.To add to my anger I was handed a letter to read about their "traumatic evening" which stated that it would be cruel to keep her to be shouted at and threatened every few minutes!!!! To say I saw red would be an understatement.
Oh well, Happy Christmas.
Other than that all is well at the shelter, as usual the staff came in earlier this morning and I had a full day off, the only one during the year though by afternoon I was bored and had to emerge from my TV and chocolate induced stupor to feed the cats.After such an early breakfast they were glad to see me and I was pleased to be doing something useful.
It has been a warm almost spring like day which has been nice for the animals.I am worried about Cariad our resident ginger and white fluffy cat, she seems a bit wobbly on her back legs, I need to keep an eye on her over the next few days.
The horses are eating hay like its going out of fashion, at this time of year there is little grass so we spend an exorbitant amount of money buying in hay and haylage but we have had some donations of food and even 24 bales of hay were donated which was very welcome.The main herd are pictured above round the ring feeder.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Its Christmas!

Well little Pip went to his new home today, he has a three hour journey ahead of him and he was very excited and wriggly, I only hope he settled down a little on the trip back to Wolverhampton, I will be waiting anxiously for news.
Another adult cat went today to a retired couple who had lost one of their beloved cats,Im sure they chose the right cat, Horlicks came in with several other cats and had lived with dogs also so she should settle quite easily.Of course its a worry until we hear that all is well.Cats can behave very differently in a cattery and many a time the new owner has been told what a quiet little cat they have chosen only for us to hear later that the cat is a bully and a hyperactive pyschotic menace! Well maybe not quite that bad but they certainly can come out of their shells when they arrive in a new home.
Whilst I was walking the dogs this morning I could hear the baying and howling of the pack of foxhounds kennelled in the village.We have 2 packs here, the other is directly at the back of the shelter.Other than the times they are taken out hunting(yes they still hunt here and no the police do nothing about it) these animals do not receive any form of exercise, they are kept in small pens. bored and frusrtated, what a poor quality of life that is for any dog.If they get out once a weeek they are lucky.
The pigs have had their fair share of treats lately, there is little they dont like but they do have a penchant for tomatoes and bananas, Im glad the weather is not too cold, Winter is a hard time for potbellied pigs,its hard to keep them warm. Believe it or not there is a website where pig coats can be made to measure but our two are not overly friendly and there would be no chance of getting a fitting, never mind putting a coat on.They will have to make do with lots of extra straw and hay for bedding.
The 2 pound dogs, now named Christy and Nicky are doing well, another dog was found wandering in Caernarfon, this time a lovely chocolate and white coloured lurcher type about 8 months of age. He is a nice amiable dog and he he should make a lovely family pet. heres hoping that after the holiday some good homes are offered to them.
Alfie, pictured above is an ex Freshfields dog now living in LIverpool with my friend Diane and her son Jake. He is truly one of the family and is dearly loved.Poor Alfie had a less than auspicious start to his life, he remains nervous of strangers but is one hundred percent better than he used to be thanks to the care and love given to him now.I love this photo of him by the Christmas tree, I wish all animals could find such a home - That would be my Christmas Wish. How wonderful it would be if there was no cruelty in the world, no wars, no violence and Peace on earth was a Fact not just a dream.
Happy Christmas to everyone who cares.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Where is the Christmas Spirit?

Sometimes people leave messages on my blog and I am ashamed to admit I have no idea how to reply to them so If you have left me a message please forgive me for not replying but I appreciate your comments and its nice to know people are actually taking the time to read this blog.
The staff at the Liverpool shelter are still trying to come to terms with the events last week and to top it all the police came to the shelter a few days ago searching for pitbull terriers, they had already been to another shelter and confiscated one of their dogs, presumably to destroy it.In my mind the police would be better employed visiting some of the gangs round merseyside and confiscating THEIR dogs to be placed into more caring homes, Most of us know that dogs are generally vicious when brought up badly or are treated as guard dogs to attack on command.I am not personally very fond of bull breeds but I have good experiences with many which have been of exemplary nature and those certainly did not deserve to be rounded up and destroyed.The problem is that many cross staffordshire bull terriers can have the appearance of a pitbull but this does not mean that it is a dangerous dog.
Thankfully no dogs were taken from our shelter.
Well amazingly we have found superb homes for some of our adult cats this past week, one has gone to live in Llandudno, another 2 went to someone who kindly donated us some catfood for the Christmas period, they fell in love with 2 little tabby brothers and returned later in the day to ask if they could take them and Harry our handsome but temperamental white and ginger took the eye of another catlover.On the other hand we have had some p[eople wanting xmas presents for relatives which of course have been refused, although they were all told they could reserve the animal of their choice, nobody did so which proved to me the homes were unsuitable.
We were forced to give shelter to Rollo a black 13 years old shetland pony who was rehomed in this area by a shelter in Sheffield, the new owners no longer wanted him and would not take him back to sheffield so we have helped out by fostering him until he can either be returned or found another more suitable home.I have been distressed at the number of calls and emails I have been receiving from people wanting to part with horses, I wish I had more land, more money and more staff to help these poor animals but the fact is I have limited resources so can only do the little I already do which seems such a drop in the ocean.
My dog foster homes are full of abandoned dogs, including two youngsters due for destruction at a dog pound in North Wales.One is just 6 months old, a cross labrador type and the other a very thin black and white collie aged around 9 months.Both have lovely natures, the collie hands you his paw- how could their owners leave them unclaimed in a dog pound? Will they give them a thought over Christmas? I doubt it very much.The Spirit of Christmas is somewhat lost with those sort of people.
Tammy the timid collie (pictured above)is still extremely shy but is starting to wag her tail, I hope after the holiday some nice people will come forward to offer them all homes.
There is someone coming all the way from Wolverhampton tomorrow to see Pip the little deaf Jack Russell.Barbara(our newest staff member) is fostering a little staff cross female pup which was taken into our Porthmadog shop today, I hope this is the end of it, we are struggling to find places for them all.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Tragedy strikes the Liverpool shelter

Well I have been without internet access for quite some time unfortunately. Its amazing how isolated I felt,anyhow I have changed service provifert(due to aol being so unhelpful) though it seems i still have aol email, well for the time being at least.
So much has happened the past few weeks and of course as it is almost Christmas many animals are being discarded, so much for the Christmas spirit, seems this is not extended to animals!In the past week I have been ORDERED to go and collect a f....g cat, a f....g puppy, both of which were dirtying in the house.The pup was 8 weeks old and was being fed on adult dog food, no wonder it wasnt clean , the poor little fellow couldnt cope with this rich diet.The cat was 5 months old and was being hassled by a brood of pre school children. not to mention the other animals in the house. 3 Half grown kittencats were taken to our Caernarfon shop by a woman who threatened to dump them if the shop staff refused to take them.2 shetland ponies have been abandoned by their owners who left them at a rented property telling the landlords that they could dispose of them however they wanted!!
We gave shelter to a young deaf dalmation which we were told was a stray, we found out later that the person who brought the dog here was in fact the father of the owner! No donation given to us of course.Dotty or Jasmine as she was originally called has gone to a loving home with 2 other dogs and the local newspaper has done a wonderful article on the shelter and Dottys supposed abandonment.It has resulted in some donations of petfood and other offers of help so its not all been bad news.However, just when I was starting to feel more positive, I had a telephone call telling me of a fire in the puppy block at the Liverpool shelter shelter which had resulted in the death of one of the dogs from smoke inhalation.Everyone is reeling from this devastating tragedy and as well as the distress caused by the loss of one of our dogs there is also the the loss of an entire block of kennels at a time of year it is needed most.Thankfully the other dogs were saved by the quick actions of the staff coming on duty that morning.There will be an enquiry into the cause of the fire though it is thought that it was an electrical fault.As can be imagined the morale of the staff is at an all time low, I feel for them, there is nothing worse than losing an animal which has been cared for over a period of months only to have this awful tragedy claim its life.
Our staff are all dedicated to their charges and this will affect everyone badly but life at a shelter has to carry on regardless which is not always easy after such a traumatic incident.It makes me think of how people often say to me that they couldnt do what I do as they are "not hard enough"!!! Believe me neither I nor the rest of the Freshfields staff are "hard".We all weep many tears over animals in and out of our care.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Cats in the Conservatory

Oh my god its freezing this morning.Everywhere is covered in a layer of frost, the ground was crunching and crackling as I walked the dogs up the fields. They seem to love this type of weather and seem friskier, cant say I feel the same!
Some of the feral cats have moved into the heated conservatory(see photo) with the elderly residents.They know where the best spots are though most prefer to keep out of the way in Kitty Kottage or the other heated shed.
Pip the deaf Jack Russell is still not homed but I have had a few enquiries so I am keeping my fingers crossed for him that someone suitable turns up.Someone caught a dog which had been wandering for about a week, he waas emaciated and extremely scared of everything that moved.His eyes were completely dead of emotion, his body rigid with fear and when anyone tried to pat him he cowered in fear.This is his 4th day and there is a remarkable change already in his demeanour. We have named him Freddy and he has brightened up a great deal and even wagged his tail this morning- his eyes look less dull and fearful which is a wonderful sight.Its a dreadful thing for any creature to feel so scared of people that they are frightened to move or respond to overtures of friendship.I have been reading about the police officer and his police officer partner who have just been in court for cruelty to their two dogs.Having watched the video footage taken by their neighbour,I feel full of anger, what on earth is wrong with society that there is so much violence and cruelty about.If the police are capable of it what hope is there for the rest of society, hardly role models are they?
Grandad one of our elderly shetland ponies has started having fits, the vet has been out before to him when it happened but we thought it was a one off incident. It is quite scary seeing him unable to control his shaking, his legs wobble and he becomes disoriented. He has had two episodes in the past couple of weeks and the vet thinks they will keep occurring so we have to keep a very careful eye on him.Poor old Grandad, he is such a loveable old pony - he was rescued from a horse sale by someone in Liverpool and has lived here happily for several years.Of course its to be expected when we have so many old animals at the shelter but seeing them getting older and developing age related problems or other serious health issues is still upsetting.Grandad is a great favourite of Meirwen though like all of the animals here he is loved by all the staff.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Rusty and Romana settle in their foster home

This week saw the arrival of Rusty and Romana from South Wales.These 2 horses belonged to a lady with MS, her condition was worsening and she was unable to care for them any longer.Rusty the little one is 25 years of age and Romana 20 years.We have been fortunate to find a fosterer who has a wealth of experience with horses, in fact her late husband wrote many books on Equines.Mary has offered to care for them over the winter months until we have space here at the shelter.They are both very friendly animals who have obviously been well loved by their previous owner,Romana the larger of the two has a tendency to become laminitic unless her grazing is restricted which of course is often a problem when we try to rehome.Other than that the pair of them would make wonderful pets.
We were given a tank of African Snails a few days ago but they were not here long as staff members Vanessa and Cariad took them home for their children to care for.These rather strange animals were given to a child to take home from school at the end of term.Unfortunately they breed and lay eggs prolifically so the original 2 turned very rapidly into 8! Mum then panicked and brought them here.Knowing nothing at all about them I rang Lynn in the Wildlife section of the Liverpool shelter, she gave me some good information and I downloaded some more info from the internet.What did we all do before the internet?
A litter of collie/spaniel pups were brought in and there are only 2 left as I write this.They need to go as quickly as possible being so close to the forthcoming holiday period. I dont want them going as Christmas presents but I would like to think that they will have a comfortable Christmas lying in front of a warm fire so hopefully the adverts I have put up everywhere will bring some success.
After a good spell of cats going to homes, this weekend has been another quiet one, maybe next week will be better.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Molly an ardent Everton supporter.

We have had torrential rain this weekend and it has become very cold and icy feeling.
The weather notwithstanding, we have had some cats rehomed!!! Thank goodness they are starting to move at last. 3 of the teenagers went today and they have been here since they were about 7 weeks old and are now almost 5 months. I am so pleased for them.Another adult cat has been reserved and will be going in a few days.All in all it has been a successful weekend.
Yesterday I collected an unwanted cat from Anglesey where he was being fostered for me by Ann Cragg who runs a boarding cattery but also takes in a small number of injured wildlife.It was the first time I had been there and it was heartwarming to see all the birds enjoying their recovery, many are free to fly away but choose to stay and who could blame them, after all there is constant supply of free food. Her pet LLamas looked on curiously as we parked the car and when William jumped out they were totally agog at this strange creature with a PLASTIC BUCKET ROUND HIS HEAD!
The cat is a handsome grey about 8 months old, I doubt he will be here for long.
William is much brighter this weekend, he is eating normally again and more his usual self and is managing extremely well with his collar.
Molly is pictured above with her beloved football.She is originally from Liverpool and is more than likely an Everton supporter, after all she did come from a home in Everton close to the football ground! She is 7 years old now whic h is quite a good age for a Great Dane but she is as playful as a puppy and very fit and active.The only health problem she has had is when her wagging tail would split against the furniture, eventually she had so many problems with it that she had to have several inches amputated and now everything is fine and no more injuries.That does bring me to the issue of tail docking, a barbaric practice which thankfully is now against the law though I continue to see breeds with docked tails.Its hard to believe that this was accepted practice for so many years.I love to see |Dobermans, Jack russells and similar running round with lovely long wagging tails - thats what dogs are supposed to look like, tails are there for a reason and are not there for humans to mutilate!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

William has emergency surgery

My lovely William came in with a sore eye yesterday, I took him to the vet and had to leave him there for an operation.He had suffered some sort of trauma to the eye and it had ulcerated.He is a very unhappy boy today and like all animals hates wearing the collar round his head.He is not eating and is generally looking very sorry for himself. I am just so thankful his eye was saved.Like all lurchersand greyhounds he has a very low threshold of pain, I can totally empathise.When I collected him from the surgery I took one look at him, my legs turned to jelly and I almost passed out! I had to avert my eyes from him all evening(though cuddling him at the same time)as it made me feel quite nauseous.In 30 years I have never been able to overcome my squeamishness over all things medical.Anyhow today he is a little brighter and will be on antibiotics and pain killers for a week.Poor old William.
We are besieged with requests to take animals, its a nightmare.Some people simply do not or will not understand that we are not miracle workers and we only have so much space. nevertheless it is still upsetting, i hate to turn anyone away, I worry what will happen to that animal.A woman contacted the vet yesterday with 2 8 months old cats she could not keep, she was returning to liverpool today so we felt obliged to take them
Did she give a donation? NO.Not a penny towards them.I despair sometimes .Just a few pounds would have helped buy a few tins of food.
I have heard today via email that our little shy dog Pepe is settling in his new home, I couldnt be more pleased to hear that news.It seems he has found the right people who have experience of timid dogs and have a lot of common sense in dealing with the problems which accompany such an animal.if only there were more people like that.So many want a perfectly behaved,perfect pet and sadly manyanimals in rescues are traumatised by past events in their lives requiring much patience and commitment.
I have a new friend Janette who runs a pot bellied pig sanctuary in Canada (hearts n Noses)She has just sent me information on another much larger pig shelter which has been the subject of much media coverage in the Us. Humane society officials went in to find 5oo pigs in poor condition, many dead and dying from starvation! What goes through peoples minds who do this, why do they not ask for help if finaces are a problem? It happens time and time again, one wonders how it ever gets to this dreadful point without action being taken.Freshfields has had a continuous struggle over the years but when times are hard we put out appeals for help, no animal would ever suffer in this way, neither I nor anybody who works for me here in Wales or at the |LIverpool shelter would allow such a terrible situation to develop.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

More Mice and a head banging jack russell

Another 30 mice arrived today from the same home where we rescued the 900, these have been given a home in South Wales so Barbara has taklen them today.
We have been offered free grazing and a stable just 15 minutes away from the shelter and it seems ideal for the miniature ponies.One of our part time staff Cariad has offered to care for them as she lives close by .Its just a matter now of making the arrangements for their arrival and ensuring their passports are in order.
The Jack Russell is very quickly driving me mad, he is in the house with me and my own dogs and he spent the entire evening leaping from the floor to the sofa to my head and back down again, from the floor to the sofa to my head, over and over again!!! He clearly thought it was great fun and unfortunately the poor little chap is deaf so he was unable to hear my pleas of STOP NOW, GET OFF, NO, DONT, GIVE IT A REST AND OTHER THINGS I CANT PRINT FOR FEAR MY BLOG WILL BE TAKEN OFFLINE!
He is a dear little dog and its not his fault his previous powner did not spend any time training him.At least he is young enough to alter his head banging ways.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Pepe finds a home

I have been busy printing posters of our animals to make a display board for the Liverpool Christmas fair on December 6th.As I printed out photos of animals rehomed I wasted a lot of time looking at them and remembering their individual stories, cats, dogs, rabbits, ponies etc. They all had a story to tell, if only animals could speak. Like everyone who has read the recent horror story about the little boy murdered by his mothers boyfriend I was not surprised to read that he had previous convictions of animal cruelty. I wish this country would adopt the same severe stance which the Us have on animal abusers.For many years they have seen the link between animal cruelty and those who abuse their fellow human beings which so often leads to murder. I fear this country is way too lenient on such people. What use is a fine and 8 weeks custodial sentence to someone who has starved an animal to death.It would be laughable if it were not so tragic.
What struck me about the photos of dogs rescued is their happy expressions, many of ours have been abused farm dogs and known nothing but life on a chain and harsh words.To see their happy smiling faces is a wonderful feeling.
A young Jack Russell was brought in today, he will be in the house with my little dogs, he should be easy to rehome, he is a cheery happy little dog.His owner had too many dogs and was in a dispute with the local council.
The best news this weekend is that Pepe the timid red and white collie has found a home.I can scarcely believe it , his new owners have experience of such a nervous dog so I hope it will be another success story.
I have been asked to take 5 miniature ponies just 32 inches tall! I am trying to find a foster home for them over the winter as we are have too many here to cope with this many more albeit tiny ones.
Just one cat was homed today - Lola a lovely black female was homed via the catchat website- so many people come to us from that site, it has been a real godsend to us.
We have a few cats starting to sneeze so we are not admitting any more until this is cleared.I have always found November to be a bad month for any type of virus, heres hoping it wont take a strong hold and will clear soon.Unfortunately it also means we have to put a stop on rehoming this week at least.Well see how it goes.I am a great believer in the properties of colloidal silver to keep it in check, it works as a preventative as well as a natural antibiotic and has worked well in the past.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Mary, Aimee and Sparky.

The photo is of 3 cats which are part of the group of 12 which came in when their owner died. They are all such sweet natured animals, Id love them to go in pairs if possible but at the moment it is so quiet for cats, I dont hold out much hope for that , perhaps after Christmas things will improve on the rehoming front.
The 2 horses which are going to a foster home will be arriving on Saturday so I look forward to seeing them next weekend.Their fosterer Mary is a person with years of expertise with horses, her late husband wrote many books on equine care including "The Anatomy of the Horse" so we are very lucky to find her.
Nothing came of the homeless Boa Constrictor so perhaps they found him a home, I did manage to speak to Gary of the North Wales Reptile rescue, an organisation which does its best for unwanted and neglected snakes, lizards etc. He told me that it is very hard to place a Boa as they often carry a disease which if undetected can wipe out someones entire collection.People are wary of taking them on and most of the rescues are so under pressure they cannot find room for such a big reptile.If only there was a strict procedure for the ownership of such creatures, so many must fall into inexpert hands and as I mentioned before in my blog.these animals should not be allowed as family pets.My conversation with Gary , who told me of some of the cases he deals with simply helped reinforce this view.
The three colts are getting very cheeky, Merlin is starting to feel a little more confident around people and staff can now approach without him showing such extreme fear.Its a slow process but there is no quick fix to gain the confidence of a nervous animal.Patience is the key.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Gismo goes again.

Well, Gismo (pictured)was returned and 2 days later he has gone to another home, this time I hope for good.He will be a friend for another collie.Poor old Siobhan is still with me and there is a problem now because Pepe the abandoned red and white collie has formed a deep attachment to her.He is still such a very shy nervous little dog and he follows Siobhan everywhere.If she comes for a fuss, he will also though hides behinds her hoping we cant see him!! He is not house trained and I suspect this is why he was abandoned but he has such a nice nature if only we could overcome this and he was to gain more confidence round people.Of course we dont know what has happened to him priuor to his arrival at the shelter and he has obviously a fear of human beings so it could be a long job. He wags his tail when he sees me and others he knows but he is too scared to stay close, very occasionally he will allow me to fuss him but them he darts away as though he thinks I will chastise him, poor little man.
I had a call today about a Boa Constrictor meeding a home!!Trisha from our Porthmadog shop has had a request about finding a home for one whose owner is moving house and cant take the snake with him. I most certainly will not be rushing to collect HIM.(or the owner) I will try to find a suitable place for him with specialists, so many are kept cooped up in tiny tanks and far from ideal. I wish someone would explain the appeal of these, in my view they are NOt pets and should never be kept as such.I wonder if I will have loads of emails from people protesting that they are beautiful(I would agree with that)and make wonderful family pets!(I would Not agree with that)

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Seal on beach

Photo is of the stranded seal pup from last week, shown with Barry and a few passers by looking on.Barry has followed up his progress and it appears he is doing well.It has taken sometime to upload a photo as the ones Barry took were wonderful, well at least they were wonderful of the blue tarpaulin they used to carry him in!! He sent me several different views of the tarpaulin with no sign of the seal.
This one was taken by Barbara our new volunteer and there is not a tarpaulin in sight.A much better photo I think you will agree.
I spoke to Merlins last owner today, seems our new colt is a gypsy cob and will make around 13 hands.I was surprised to hear his mother and father were that size, I was sure he would grow into a bigger pony.He is so much bigger than Celt and Shamrock the welsh pony colts. He certainly looks like a typical Gypsy animal, lots of feathering round his legs and a sturdy body with small ears, a very different shape to the others. I know very little about the breeding of horses and ponies, my only interest is their welfare but I have to admit to a sneaking admiration of this type of pony.I love the appearance of them, they remind me of an old horse I remember from my childhood. An old grey shire cross called Terence used to pull the rag and bone mans cart and my mother used to always rush out to the gate and as he passed by would give him a treat, an apple or a carrot.My mother was always quite scared of horses although she loved all animals and she made the mistake of curling her fingers round the apple instead of holding it flat on her palm.Needless to say the horse munched down and almost crushed my mums fingers.After that she made me give Terence his weekly treat. Mum and i felt so sorry for this old horse plodding miserably round the busy streets of Liverpool, blinkered and weary in all sorts of weather. When he died we were quite glad not to see him anymore but then another took his place and once again our hearts went out to him, this time a small bay pony was used. As he grew older I begged the owner to let me retire him but he would not hear of it and I often wonder what became of him, he always looked so dispirited, no green fields for him to enjoy, just days of pulling a heavy cart.
Im so glad I didnt live in the days where working horses were a daily sight, I heard enough sad tales from my mother and grandmother.
On a lighter note I have found a home for the 4 rabbits, a collie waiting to come in and several kittens. A friend from the midlands has found homes for all of these and is collecting them Sunday.
I have been asked to take 2 pygmy goats and am trying to work out a safe area for them, goats need a very secure paddock and I am not a fan of tethering.I will try advertising them locally, there are so many people with land round here, maybe someone is out there just waiting for a pair of goats called Ding and Dong!
The weather is so cold and wet, its hard to believe we have so many cats, theres not a one in view anywhere, they are all keeping warm and dry in their respective houses.
The forecast is bad for this weekend so there is little hope of a nice dry day at the moment. The horses are all ready and waiting to come in by 4pm.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Meet Merlin

Today Merlin has really started to settle and is following the other youngsters wherever they go.Now its a case of handling him as often as possible. he has not had a headcollar on before and is unused to being on the end of a lead rope so we should have plenty of fun with him! He needs our farrier to trim his feet, then we can see exactly what is going on with him.He has clearly not been seen by a farrier before so that is another obstacle he needs to overcome. The trouble with the type of person who bred him, is that no time is spent on the foals, no getting them used to human contact, just bred and turned out with the rest of the herd.This is the worst thing they can do, foals need to be handled well right from the start otherwise you end up with very troublesome and potentially dangerous animals through no fault of their own.Ponies like this are evrey farriers nightmare.can you imagine having to try to pick up a horses feet to trim and the animal has never had someone do that before so is scared and resistant.Sometimes we have had to call in a vet to sedate a pony in order that his feet can be trimmed.Even then they can rear on their hind legs which is no joke, even the smallest shetland can manage a very hefty kick and I speak as one who knows!
We are having one of the field shelters extended so more ponies can take shelter during the day if the weather turns nasty, it will only be a three sided affair joined on to the existing shelter but it will afford more protection against the elements

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

A new foal arrives.

The new foal arrived unexpectedly from South Wales,Although I knew he was coming at end of the month no arrangements had been made so they took a chance arriving without even a phone call.I do wish people would not do this.It isnt like fitting in a dog or a cat which in itself can be hard but with horses much more has to be sorted out.
Anyhow he is here now and I am pretty sure he has not been weaned correctly, he was extremely traumatised and seemed to be in a frenzy searching for his mother, it was upsetting to witness.Today he is calmer and has settled down with the two other youngsters.We have called him Merlin, he is a coloured Welsh cob colt and is about 5 months, the same age as Celt and Shamrock though quite a bit larger.It is clear that he has not been handled much and is very headshy and skittish so will need quite a bit of work to make him as easy to handle as this companions.Although I had bveen told he had suffered a leg injury through barging through a wire fence, the driver of the horsebox told me a different story, that the colt had been born with a deformed front leg. We have called the vet out next week.At the moment he is too hard to handle and we need him to settle more before upsetting him again.Merlin has a very strange gait and at the moment I do not know exactly what the problem is or if it can be rectified.
More mice arrived and have gone to the LIverpool shelter for rehoming, I think we have taken the majority now as they are only being caught in smaller numbers now.Thank goodness for that, I was dreaming about mice every night!
Disappointingly the lovely cross collie/gsd Gismo which was rehomed days ago has been returned, seems a member of the family developed an allergy to him.What a shame, this is the one of the nicest best behaved dogs ever. Soemone will have a cracker in him. hopefully he will go again soon.
I must go in as fireworks are going off everywhere, my neighbour is having a bonfire party for her grandchildren, she thoughtfully always let me know so I can ensure the animals are kept in.All the horses are in their stables, cats shut away(except the ferals which I cant round up)dogs are comfortable in their beds, house dogs have the TV on loud as William is terrified of loud noises and is the one I always have problems with each year.The tv driowns out the noise of the bangs outside. For a rural area this past two years has seen an increase in fireworks due to the many young families who have moved closeby. I ache for the farm dogs and others chained up with no way to escape the noise. Roll on the end of the week.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Reunited with her owner

Well, the little old dog was claimed this morning, she was 16 years old and her owner was very pleased to have her back, as was Sandy who was overjoyed to be reunited with her owner. I have cautioned her that she must take her to seek veterinary treatment immediately, the poor little dog has a very sore mouth which looks very infected and I suspect there is something more serious underlying with her weight loss.The owner was worried if she took her to the vet she would have to have her put down so had delayed doing so to the detriment of her pet.I had no doubt she was dearly loved but there is more than one way to be cruel to a pet and withholding veterinary treatment is certainly one.I will check that she has done as I requested. In the meantime I may get a good nights sleep tonight, little Sandy howled all night and in the end she had to join the gang in my bed where she settled straight away! (I hasten to add that the gang are comprised of several cats and a dog and not the entire cast of the Chippendales!) I should be so lucky!!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

A little old dog arrives and horse neglect reported.

I had 2 cases of possible horse neglect reported to me this weekend, one involved several horses being kept in poor conditions in a muddy field.Most were underweight, one particularly so. They had been eating the bark off the trees(a sign of vitamin deficiency and starvation)This is no way to keep horses and is very upsetting to see.
The other was a pony with overgrown feet , he was clearly in a great deal of pain when he walked though there were signs someone was caring for him as there were feed and water bowls in the field.
Photos of both have been sent to the ILPH for action to be taken.All I can do in cases of reported neglect is to visit, take photographic evidence and forward this on to organisations which have the power and resources to take action.As many cases which are reported can be simply a case of a dispute between neighbours and no cruelty or neglect is evident I am happy to check it out before calling in already overworked inspectors.
A little old dog was brought in today, she is emaciated and has the most terrible teeth which must prevent her from eating properly, she was found wandering along a busy road and was in danger of being killed.She will have to visit the vet tomorrow.Currently she is curled up in a basket in my living room and seems glad to be warm and comfortable.Who knows if anyone will claim her.I am doubtful but stranger things have happened.She seems oblivious to the presence of the resident dogs and cats which is a bonus - after agreeing to take her I worried about the possibility she would be a cat hater but as soon as I saw her, it was clear that she is far too frail to be a threat to the cats.

Friday, 31 October 2008

More mice arrive and 2 old cats rehomed.

We have now rescued 800 of the pet mice!! I am so grateful that they will be going on saturday, not that I dont like them but the staff caravan has had to become a mouse haven and it needs to be reclaimed though not before a thorough cleaning/airing - mice have a very strong smell.This has been our biggest small animal rescue yet.It is far from over but at least now we have contacts who are willing to help.
Fudge, the pregnant farm dog has about one week to go before the pups are due and Paws rescue are helping us out by placing her at the kennels they use locally.We have another dog looking for a home, a beautiful collie cross GSD, 12 months old, his owner has moved in with a new partner whose child hates dogs!Gismo is a joy to care for, he gets on well with everything and everybody, he is such an amiable happy animal.
Mei had a day off today and because her house overlooks the shelter fields she was able to see that one of the ponies was lying down and looked uncomfortable so she rang the shelter immediately.The vet had to be called, old William had a bout of colic, we are checking on him at regular intervals as colic can be potentially fatal.So far he seems much improved.If you are reading this Mei, thank you for your observation but try and have a day off and stop spying on us!!!!"Only joking, well done for spotting it.
Roy, manager of the Caernarfon shop has spent all day here doing odd jobs round the shelter and Barbara when not caring for the mice has been doing a general tidy up - she has extended her stay until saturday so she can organise the mouse hand over to Furry Friends Rescue.What a difference a few extra pair of hands can make.
Yesterday we had visitors from the Midlands, Lynette and Bob are regular helpers and they brought with them a friend who took Inca and Caspar mother and son cats who have been with us for ages.Inca is 14 years old and this put a lot of people off .Had she been young her beautiful grey coat would have meant she would have been snapped up, personally I love the old cats and would always take them as first chooice but I suppose people do not want to face the loss of a pet especially when they have just lost one.Its understandeable but I am so thrilled these two have gone.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Homes for the MIce

The mice have now been split into groups, males and females though it is likely that most if not all the females will be pregnant! The boys are all huddled together in the photo, the other photo is of the first group of females to be put into a anew tank, they are all glad to be in clean surroundings and are starting to wash themselves. My appeal has brought some help, I am so grateful to everyone who responded.Furry Friends In Surrey are taking a few hundred and we are currently trying to sort out transport.A rescue in Lincolnshire has offered to take 50 adn we are still receiving offers of help.The transport is always the pronblem as we have so few helpers here but we will do our best.There may be a glimmer of hope as I have just heard that a rescue in south wales travels to the South every Sunday and may help us. Heres hoping! The power of the internet is truly amazing, as soon as I sent out the appeal(thank you South West animal protection for this)help came flooding in. Kelly who runs a website www.allaboutmice.co.uk put out a cry for help on this too.
The seal pup spent the evening at the vets and has now gone to the rehab centre at Colwyn Bay. Barry and his friend managed very well to gather him up in a tarpaulin without being bitten, even at a young age seal pups can give a nasty nip. They may look angelic but they ARE wild.This is the second seal pup found stranded in one week so I hear. The sea has been very wild and perhaps the babies have become seperated from their mothers.
We have a new helper here for a few days, Barbara has come from Gwent and is staying at Barrys caravan for the time she is here.She had only just arrived when the seal crisis occurred, what a welcome! The following day she spent sorting out the accommodation for the mice, Mei and I were delighted as neither of us are good at handling small animals,Barbaras presence was very very welcome.The donated tanks arrived, courtesy of Elinor and Gareth at Machynlleth and Coleen and Roger delivered them here and made mice proof lids for them. It really helps to have animal minded friends in all areas of the country and Wales in particular.I am so grateful to everyone who pulled together to help with these new arrivals.
We are bringing the horses in early at the moment, the weather has been so bad and the old ones cant wait to get into their warm stables.Even the youngsters arent anxious to stay out and are usually whinnying over the gates as though to say dont forget us, we want to come in too.
2 of the horses on my waiting list have been found a foster home for the winter.Rusty a chestnut pony aged 25 years and Romana another chestnut aged 20 belong to a lady who is very ill with MS and can no longer care for her animals. There is no space here at the shelter but I felt she deserved help.As luck would have it, a nice lady who lives not too far from the shelter and who has had years of experience with her own horses has offered to have them at least over the winter months. They should be going to their home in the next week.

Friday, 24 October 2008

A very big arrival of mice and a stranded seal pup.

The pregnant bitch is too far ahead with her pregnancy to have spayed, she only has around 2 weeks to go, so much for the farmer saying that she was only caught by another dog 3 or 4 weeks ago! I need a foster home for her, someone who doesnt have cats is a must as I wouldnt trust her at all.She is great with people and other dogs but would definitely have a go at a cat.
Problem of the week is the arrival of 100 pet mice, the owner has let the situation get completely out of control and now has literally hundreds of mice in his house running riot.Sandra, a friend in Anglesey has also taken some, she has 30 but there are probably a few hundred more so I have had to send out an appeal to other shelters for help.Our 100 have been split into 2 groups, males and females, it is a horrendous problem,they are prettily marked little things but have been kept in appalling conditions and were very hungry and thirsty.
Tonight Barry (the friend who was to join me on the Peru Trek) has taken a seal pup to the vet, he was stranded on a local beach and needs to be checked over, then we have to find a specialist sanctuary to help with him.More of this tomorrow.
There is never a dull moment here!

Sunday, 19 October 2008

2 old cats arrive and more farm dogs

The 2 old cats are in. Pwt is a beautiful tortoishell and white catPictured here)Royston (a female and not keen on having her photo taken) is a very striking black cat with stunning orange eyes.Both are 12 years old so are a little overwhelmed at their sudden change od surroundings but they dont seem too nervous which is a good sign.
A farmer turned up today with 2 unwanted farm dogs, one of them - a handsome 2 years old collie has already been spoken for, the other a 7 years old cross collie/kelpie (also pictured)is pregnant!! He reckoned a stray dog got at her about a month ago but both Rhian and I feel she may be further along than that, she needs to go to the vet as soon as possible and spayed if she is only in early stages.
Her name is Fudge and she seems happy to be off her chain, which the farmer said I could keep! I dont think so. What a terrible life some dogs have. This must seem like paradise to them. I asked him for a donation and his reply was "If I must". They dont care how I find the money to care for them as long as the problem is taken away from them.Still I prefer they bring them here than shoot them or abandon them.
A little more work was done on the new path and yard but then the rain began and as I write this, it is raining very heavily and the wind is getting up so work has had to be abandoned for today.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

The final shelter yard is under construction.

The pup has found a home already, lucky little man.The ducks too will be going shortly to a lovely new home with a big pond for them to swim in. I am glad they are leaving soon,I was becoming too attached to them and the facilities here are not good enough to keep them permanently.
I have been spending time at the new Barmouth charity shop, we hope to have it open next week. As luck would have it(for us, not for them Im afraid) a shop close by was closing down and we have been able to buy good second hand shop fittings.Next week will be taken up sorting that out.The shops are our only regular income but setting them up can take up a lot of valuable time, which I feel would be best spent doing other things.Nevertheless it is an important job and has to be done. Already we have some volunteers ready to help there and usually when a shop opens, other people come forward to offer help.Well, thats the theory anyway!
Today, Gronwey our friendly neighbourhood builder/hay supplier is doing the groundwork for a path and a small yard round the stable in the field next to the house.This is the first dry day for the past week so he is taking advantage of it.
The horse field near to the house has always been a very wet field, it is at the bottom of the hill and rainwater collects there making it muddy for the horses when they come down to drink.The much used area round the shelter has turned to a muddy mess so we are making a small yard around it, the same as those in the other fields, one of which is pictured above.The horses then will have somewhere dry to stand when they come down from the top fields. This will be the last shelter to be done.It has made such a difference having these yards, they are handy too for keeping in those horses on restricted grazing, they dont have to be brought in to stables and can still be next to their field companions. If the weather stays dry (some hope) it will be finished by next weekend. The horses have already been to inspect the work done so far, they are so nosy and love to investigate anything new.
There are 2 cats aged 12 years coming in this weekend, its such a shame that cats this age end up in shelters, they are from different homes, one owner has died, the other works away most of the time now and there is nobody to care for the old cat.Surprisingly many of the oldies settle remarably well but every now and again there will be one which will fret and stop eating for a while.Heres hoping these two will not be the fretting types.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Smut poses for his picture

ThIs is Smut, the pup who was supposed to be food aggressive! He is just four and a half months old, a real livewire.Unlike many young dogs who will not stay still for a "photo shoot" he actually seemed to like his photo being taken and as you can see posed beautifully.
A home has been offered today for our ducks so I hope the homecheck will prove successful, even though I have just bought a new shed for them! This often seems to happen, whenever I start to think that an animal(s) is here to stay, a home suddenly turns up, perhaps I should do that more often.I am sure the shed will come in handy for something else.I never know what is going to turn up from one day to the next.
I have just heard that Sally collie, the dog whose owner was found dead in suspicious circumstances and who was with us for a long time is doing well but still has some issues which need to be addressed.Her main problem is that she distrusts strangers and in particular men.The new owner is having a behaviourist in to try and help her get over this.I am not sure if anythng can help a dog overcome a bad memory.Sally was great with some men, she was very fond of Roy who is the
manager of our Caernarfon shop so it seems to be a case of her needing to learn to trust someone and that may be something which will always be needed in her dealings with strangers.
I popped in our Porthmadog shop today,this has to be the best of our shops due to its location on the high street in Port, it is popular with both holidaymakers and locals.Trisha, the manageress has been with us since the shop first opened and always has the shop looking good, she has been up to see our shop premises in Barmouth and had some valid suggestions on improvements to be made prior to opening.
There have already been a few offers of people willing to help out in it so I need to organise the shop fittings to go in this week.There never seem to be enough days in the week to do everything and dealing with the charity shops is not my forte, I have always preferred working with the animals at the shelter.
The vanished Manageress of Lampteer has not reappeared and its anyones guess where she is now but the staff there seem competent enough to keep the shop open. We will have to see how it goes but certainly for now it does not seem to be a major problem.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Animals get bullied too

Christy, a tabby point siamese was being bullied by the other cats in her home, I brought her back from Lampeter with me last week. Unlike most of this breed, she is not at all vociferous and she is a gentle sweet natured animal. I will try to find her a home where she is the only cat.
We have homed a couple of timid ginger teenage cats this weekend and 2 other kittens but we remain full to overflowing.Where are all these cats coming from? With so much help available to neuter pets, there should be a decrease in the numbers of animals abandoned and unwanted so why does the situation not seem improved? 2 black cats brought in as strays were claimed by their owners whcih was not only welcome but unusual, very few are ever claimed. In fact we have a cat here which had been brought in as a stray.Her owner was contacted as the cat had a microchip implant- 6 weeks later we are still awaiting the owner. nobody has turned up, 3 calls have been made to the shelter, each time it was arranged they would collect her and each time they failed to turn up!This is the second microchipped cat in the past few months which was left unclaimed. It is very hard to understand why anyone would go to the trouble of microchipping their pet and then abandon it .
I went out to get more cat and kitten food today and wore a tshirt i bought in Machu Picchu.I was approached by a woman asking me if I had actually been to Peru.She said all her life she had wanted to visit Machu Pichu, it had long been a dream of hers.She wanted to know if it was as awe inspiring as everyone says. I assured her that it certainly was.I know what she meant, sometimes you hear glowing tales of a place and then when you vist, there is a sense of disappointment. I doubt anyone could fail to be impressed by that particular wonder of the world.It really is an amazing sight to behold.
I think I have a place for the 2 horses belonging to the lady who has MS. A lady in Powys has offered to foster emergency cases for the charity.Once I have been to see her and if it suitable I will arrange for them to be moved as soon as possible.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

The two foals become friends.

The two foals are now firm friends, Shamrock has really brightened up since his arrival, he is now parasite free and is clearly feeling a great deal better.He is no longer dull and listless and is becoming as mischievous as his pal.They will have another companion in the next few weeks, the foal which was due to be destroyed due to its malformed leg(rendering him useless as a future riding animal) will be brought here soon.
It has been a very busy week at the shelter, the dentist has been out and checked or treated over 20 of the horses,some had to be anaesthetised for treatment which meant the vet also had to be in attendance.
Perro, the black and white collie was claimed but Pepe the ginger and white collie remains with us, he has been joined by Smut a collie pup aged about 4 months.He is an attrcative little dog so may not be homeless for very longt.His owner said he was food aggressive and with a young child this was unacceptable.He is NOT food aggressive, food can be taken from him without any fear of being bitten, he just wags his tail, in fact he is simply a normal puppy.
We had a visit from someone who has several of our cats, their oldest cat had died aged 21 years( a marvellous age)He has given a home to another of ours, Vincent a lovely little ginger and white cat one of the 12 cats brought in recently when their owner died.It was lovely to see the photos of their other cats especially Granny White who was a great favourite of the staff here, she was one of 12 white cats which came in from a farm home, friendly cats but not in the best condition,Granny was so frail and shabby in appearance it was hard to recognise her as she is now.It was great to see her looking plump, healthy and happy.Vincent really is a very lucky cat, he is going to a wonderful home.
There have been some problems with the opening of our charity shop in Barmouth.The ex manager of our Lampeter shop has disappeared and we now have to find someone else to run this new shop.I never fail to be amazed at the behaviour of some people, how they let others down and fail to face up to reality. If everyone was open and honest how much easier life would be!Oh well just another problem to deal with.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Perro and Pepe

The 2 collies have still not been claimed, as each day goes by, the possibility becomes more remote.Pepe the smaller of the two looks a bit like a cross sheltie, he really is a very very shy boy, unless the other dogs are around he is very hard to get hold of.He is a very pretty dainty little dog.Once again I wonder why he is lso nervous of people. He seems to be gaining confidence with me slowly, a few more days and it could make all the difference.I have named them Perro(Peruvian for dog) and Pepe(after a Peruvian guide I met)
Shamrock was allowed out today, we put him next to the field where Celt is grazing, so that they could see each other and tomorrow they will meet properly for the first time.That should be fun to watch.
I had visitors from Liverpool today,Margaret and Les have been supporters of Freshfields for more years than I care to admit so it was lovely to see them both.They brought a welcome donation of petfood, the pigs enjoyed their biscuit treats too.
Just one kitten was reserved today and one rehomed yesterday was returned because someone in the household developed an allergic reaction when the cat arrived home.
Its a lovely sunny day today and all the animals have enjoyed the break from the rain.
We have taken in 12 cats from a home where the owner has died, it makes a change to receive this number of cats which are all neutered and spayed.They are all very friendly cats so that makes it easier for us to find them new homes.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Siobhan poses for her photograph.

I love this photo of Siobhan, I will use this on posters to try and find her a good home.Rosie our dog foster mum will have a housefull after this weekend - another 2 stray collieshave been brought in, one from a member of the public, the other arrived in a police car! Both dogs are in good condition though the one which arrived today is very nervous of people which concerns me, young dogs generally are happy and friendly.I always want to know why a dog cowers when approached,its not normal behaviour.When they are like this I always hope the owners do not turn up though there is always the possibility the dog is a rescued dog and it may not be the fault of the current owner.Then again neither dog has any form of ID on them so thats not a good sign.
When I was in Liverpool, several years ago we had a rough collie brought in with no identification on him. He was a middle aged dog, pedigree , shy but nice natured and as expected it was not long before his owner turned up. I will never forget what happened next, The collie followed me to the front door, when he saw his owner and the family, he changed personality immediately, his tail went between his legs, he hid behind me and was clearly terrified of him, refusing to even look at him let alone go out to greet them. After talking to him I gathered he did not really want him anymore anyway but the "kids" did so I asked if he would go away and think about letting me keep him which he did.The following day he agreed to sign him over.I was so thankful, there was no way on earth that dog was going back to that family. I discovered later that the owner regularly battered the dog and people had heard him screaming regularly(why didnt they report him?)So I never forgot that incident and now whenever a stray dog turns up and it is nervous or shy I am apprehensive about the kind of home it has escaped from.I am always pleased if the dog greets its owner like a long lost friend, thats what I want to see and thats how a lost dog should react.
Little Shamrock the foal is perking up today, he is halfway through his worming programme and he is eating well, altogether he is looking brighter .He will be much happier once he can join the other foal and they can start their bonding process(hopefully)At the moment he is stabled next to old Tangy and he really needs to be with someone his own age.
It is a horrendous day today, it is extremely windy and the rain has been torrential, non stop all day.In spite of this we have had several visitors and I am delighted to say that 4 kittens have found homes. Weekends can be very busy and now the horses are coming in at night,Mei will be busy with them so it looks as though I may have to take on someone else to help with cats at weekends.The wages bill is a big expense but the care of the animals can not be compromised and volunteers , welcome though they are, cannot be expected to drop everything and turn up whenever we need them.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Celt settles back in but Shamrock has to be isolated.

Well, nobody claimed the puppy but he already has been found a home, lucky little man.Jacko our lovely blind dog has also been reserved.I view this with mixed feelings, I want all the animals to have their own homes but some I become closer to and there is always part of me wanting to keep the animal safe here at the shelter.Irrational I know but thats the way it is sometimes. Jacko is such a nice amiable dog that he has always been a good candidate for a home, his blindness is the only thing which stopped others taking him. For a blind dog he is extremely active and independent and I know he will be happy in his new home though we will all miss him dearly.
Copper is a lot better, the vet thinks she had an abscess in her foot so she is on a course of antibiotics.If we can get her right she will make a wonderful pony for someone.
The foals are back, Celt is looking great, he is a typical 5 months old colt, full of mischief .Ann who has been caring for him in Anglesey has done a wonderful job and we are very grateful to her for this and for supplying Celt with a lovely foster mum. Shamrock on the other hand is dull and listless, and to our horror full of lice, worms and fleas!! We are all very upset at his poor condition.We had hoped the two foals could meet straight away but due to his heavy parasite infestation Shamrock has had to be kept on his own until this problem is rectified. I have contacted the National Foaling Bank who put us in touch with this foster home and reported her as being totally unsuitable to care for anybodys animal.I rue the day he went to this temporary home, all seemed ok on the surface but clearly he has not been well cared for over the past few months .Thank goodness it was only a temporary situation . It is easy to be taken in by people, this is why our ponies on loan are now checked every three months, we have been lucky with nearly all our loan homes over the years and those out at the moment are all in tip top condition.It is imperative to check regularly.If we had kept him here, he may not have had a foster mum but he would have been in better condition, hindsight is a wonderful thing! It seemed to be the best solution for him at the time, and indeed it would have been , had he been in an establishment similar to the one in Anglesey where Celt spent his early days.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Stray dogs and Bonnie goes AWOL.

One kitten went today, it has been exceptionally quiet here today.. Someone brought an adorable puppy in, he had been wandering about f0r a few days but he looks so well, he must belong to someone! Of course he has no collar and we checked him for a microchip but without either, how on earth can his owner be traced.Mind you I have thought this before and animals are not claimed,its 50/50 whether an owner will turn up.He is a strange mix, large feet, black shaggy coat,around 4 months of age ,I have named him Jumble after a similar dog I had many years ago. If nobody turns up for him I doubt it will be long before he is homed, he is gorgeous(I will take a photo of him later)
Someone else has found a Jack Russell female wandering in Porthmadog area, Rosie is going to foster her until an owner or home can be found. There is a very real problem in this area as there are no kennels taking in stray dogs,I wish one of the National organisations would open a rescue kennels in North Wales.There is simply nowhere for them to go.Paws rescue do their best but they are limited as they have to use boarding kennels so have limited spaces available.The dogs also have to be vaccinated which immediately cuts out the strays which are generally the most needy.Its a poor situation for dogs in this area.
The vet has been out to Copper, she has an infection in her foot which may be an abscess so she is on antibiotics.It is a never ending problem with these Anglesey ponies.
I had a bit of a panic this morning, Bonnie our loveable but scavenging Foxhound went missing, We searched all over the property , Mei went off on the quad bike and I took off in the car, we covered most of the surrounding areas but no sign.On the way I spotted a gathering of farmers (Im sure there must be a more appropriate name for them?)taking off with hounds and guns, off on another hunt.No amount of calls to Police seem to help, they just do their own thing regardless of the law.It is very disheartening. Anyway I returned to the shelter, feeling extremely worried for Bonnies safety as she is terrified of strangers and away from her comfort zone(the shelter) she panics and runs blindly away from anything she perceives as danger.
By the time I got back she had been found, where was she? In the cattery demolishing every scrap of catfood she could find.She had a look on her face as though to say "Whats all the fuss about, Ive been here all along!" My sense of relief was overwhelming. Dear old Bonnie, she is a great character and I made a decision today not to rehome her, she is so happy here and her great terror of strangers could lead to an accident if she were to be taken away from here.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Our foals return soon.

Our 2 orphaned foals Celt and Shamrock will be returning to the shelter in the next week or so, we are trying to arrange it so that both arrive back on the same day so that they will have the company of each other.Celt is with a foster mare in Anglesey and Shamrock with one on merseyside, both are weaned and ready to return.I am looking forward to seeing them both again.The photo of Celt (above right) was sent to me a few weeks ago, how beautiful he looks, he has grown into a very handsome young man.How quickly they grow from such tiny frail creatiures(pic left)
They may have another friend arriving in November. A friend of mine overheard a conversation between two farmers discussing a foal which had an injury to his leg and was rendered useless as a future riding pony.The breeder was having him shot but was complaining at the cost of this and the disposal of the body! I rang the farmer who has agreed to let the foal come here when he is weaned at the age of 5 months, I hope he keeps his promise.
One of the remaining Anglesey ponies, Copper is lame today, looks like another call out to the vet,its never ending, Copper has been the bonniest of these ponies so Im hopeful it is nothing serious.We have been sent a lovely photo of Dylan, the one who was rehomed, he looks great and the lady who adopted him is delighted with his progress.
Yesterday I received 4 calls from people wanting to part with horses and we are already full, it is a great problem,most horse shelters are full to capacity and have a long waiitng list.Rosie has managed to sort 2 of them out with a friend who keeps horses, she will be taking on 2 whose owner has died.There are another 2 oldish ponies whose owner is seriously ill and can no longer care for them, another is an ex dressage horse aged 6 years which is unsuitable for riding. all so needy but there is only so much one can do with limited resources.
Well the weekend is here, perhaps we will home lots of cats, the weather is lovely, bright and sunny so I am keeping my fingers crossed many people will come to visit.
Mick the collie has been reserved already! We will have him neutered next week and then he can go to his new home.I wish all animals were adopted as quickly as this.

Friday, 26 September 2008

So many kittens and a new collie.

So many kittens and all growing into the leggy stage now.I am beginning to panic,(actually I have been in this frame of mind for some months!) will they ever find homes? Once they reach this stage people rarely want them, its the in between stage, not a tiny kitten but not adult either.I think I need to do some serious advertising to try and move them.We have around 100 cats and kittens looking for homes and of course the 40 residents to feed as well so we are getting through cat food at an alarming rate.
A young collie was taken into the vet to be destroyed yesterday, Mick is a friendly happy dog who showed no interest in sheep and that of course is the death knell for a working dog.He does have a tendency to bark at the cats and is possessive over food so we need to work with him over that problem but many dogs which have not been fed well show this tendency at first.
When I returned from the Andes trek, I discovered a new dog in the house, Siobhan is 10 years old, a beautiful natured collie cross labrador female .Her owner had health problems and had to give his dogs up, the Chinese crested which came in with her has since been rehomed but of course Siobhans age is against her.Personally I prefer the older ones and this one is a truly fabulous dog, she is good with cats, other dogs, people and hasnt a nasty bone in her body.My kind of dog but although I could keep her, I feel she is too nice and amiable and would settle anywhere.It is bestI keep the more difficult dogs or the very elderly which nobody else wants, like the two ancient Yorkies Maggie and Martha, who incidentally are doing very well and have settled with me as though they have never lived anywhere else.
We are hoping to open a couple more charity shops in North Wales, we need to boost our income so we are looking at shops in Barmouth and LLandudno.so if anyone lives in either area and has time on their hands we will be needing volunteers, please get in touch.
Christine came up today to see her 4 beautiful ponies she was forced to part with due to ill health, as always she was both pleased and upset to see them.It is very hard for people who genuinely love their animals but are forced to relocate and give them up and in Christines case she had cared for these ponies since they were foals and they are now in their twenties.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Trek photos.

I have managed to upload some trek photos. It was a tremendous experience, though not without its difficulties.The nights were very very cold, dropping to sub zero temperatures and even thermals, clothes and a very warm sleeping bag made little difference.Trekking uphill with the altitude(12,000 feet)was not always easy but I was fortunate and had no symptoms of the altitude sickness everyone dreads.Many had severe headaches, nausea, vomiting and one girl had to be taken back down to base camp. I am not fond of camping so for me that aspect of it was the worst though a pleasant surprise was the hot cup of tea brought to the tent every morning after wake up call at 6.30 am.The porters and kitchen staff did a marvellous job preparing good food in such adverse conditions, a meal without dairy and meat seemed to afford themm no problem ( I was the only non meat eater on the trek)Quinoa was used a lot to make porridge and savoury sauces,its a high protein grain very popular in Peru.I was also pleased to see that the pack horses were in good condition and were limited to the weight they carried, they were turned loose to graze at every camp and if we stopped for a rest, they did also. A stray village dog accompanied us the whole trek and he was fed scraps by myself and another girl , our guide said he often accompanies the trips and at the finish he went back with the horses to his village, no doubt to wait for the next group of trekkers! He certainly was well fed and seemed to be happy with his lot in life. On the last day at the last village we passed through, gifts of pens and small toys were presented to the children who live very simple lives in the mountains and only see such things when visitors arrive.It was quite an emotional moment.
The stray dog problem in Cusco was quite horrendous but again most were well fed, nevertheless I wished there was an organisation neutering and spaying them.there are groups in other parts of Peru but nothing in Cusco as far as I could make out.
All in all I was pleased with my achievement but glad to be sleeping in my own bed again.So far I have raised £2,100 for Freshfields but there is some money yet to come in and there should be another £200 to put in the kitty.
I would just like to make a comment about this type of fundraising, it seems some people think it is a way of having an exotic holiday paid for by a charity.This is not the case,the trip does have to be paid for but I paid more than half the costs out of my own pocket in order that more of the money went directly to Freshfields.The sum i mentioned is the total raised, with the trip cost deducted so its a fair sum and one I personally would have been unable to raise any other way. Another thing is that this was most definitely NOT my idea of a holiday! Make no mistake it was hard going and at times very difficult.
On my return, I of course was given the news that Muffin had died which was very distressing, then I had to make a decisiuon, a very hard decision to have another of the horses put to sleep, she was in such pain, I felt it wrong to keep her going any longer. I always question myself but in my heart I know that it was the right thing to do. Poor old Tanya.Its been a bad year for losing horses this year.
A new little dog was here when I arrived back, a chinese crested powder puff- for those who dont know this breed they are hairless with just tufts of hair and many people think are very ugly.I love them and have had 2 in the past. This one, however was fluffy coated, I was told many years ago (not sure if its true)that in every litter of Chinese Crested pups, there is one with hair. Andy came in with a lovely 10 years old cross lab called Sinead, both are lovely amiable animals and the little one has gone to a home today.I am not surprised, he is a dear little dog.Heres hoping his pal will find someone nice too.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Im back!

Well I am back from the fundraising trek through the Andes and what an experience it turned out to be.It was quite gruelling with the altitude and extreme changes of temperature.As I am feeling a little unwell today I will make this short but I will write full report tomorrow.
Sadly came back to news that one of my"golden girls" my lovely Muffin the mastiff had died tragically of twisted gut. I was devastated and so sorry Mei had to cope with it, we all loved Muffin, she was a truly adorable dog and Molly looks lost without her.
Im having problems getting my photos downloaded so will attempt again tomorrow and if successful include in tomorrows blog.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

A family of Guinea pigs arrive

Six sorry looking little guinea pigs arrived yesterday, they had been found cuddled up to each other on a grass verge.One gave birth to babies soon after rescue but all died, and all 6 young adults are in very poor condition. Gail, who works with the cats here, telephoned her sister who has agreed to foster them until they are healthy enough to rehome.
Charlie the terrier has also found a home, I do hope he behaves himself in his new home.he is a real character but seems to have a nervousness and dislike of young boys so he needs to be kept in control around children.The new owners appear to appreciate that this facet of his personality needs to be monitored carefully.When dogs are brought in as strays we rarely find out information about their background, he may have been tormented by youngsters in the past leaving him with this fear.
I am off very soon for Peru leaving Meirwen in charge, helped by the rest of the staff here. I know they will rally round when needed. So there will be no blog for a few weeks though Im sure I will find plenty to write about on my return.It is always difficult leaving my animals and for the first week I know I will worry constantly, probably into the second week too!Still, I have managed to raise almost £2,000 for the charity so it will all be worth it though I have never been a fan of camping and have feelings of trepidation about that aspect of it.
Signing off for a while.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Homes for kittens at last.

Hallelujah - 3 kittens have been rehomed, what a relief that people are starting to show interest again.Its great to think that these three will be spending this weekend in a real home with lots of attention and love.3 down 47 to go! Oh and one is on its way in so that takes it up to 48 . This kitten is coming in because the children of the family are terrified of animals and thinking a kitten would help get rid of their fear the parents brought one into the household.Unfortunately it not only failed to allay their fear, they have stayed in their bedrooms for most of the time, too scared to be in the same room as the kitten. How sad that children like this will never know the joy a pet can bring, I wonder why they are like this, apparently neither parent has such a phobia.
One of the Freshfields trustees, Sean is giving a home to the 6 young rabbits we have so that means there will be just the adults to rehome. One of the young Lionhead buns has had some teeth removed but is managing well with her food and one of the others is still being treated for Glaucoma but is too frail for an operation at the moment.I cant help wonder if they will be here for life.Its hard to rehome rabbits but those with problems make it that bit harder to find people willing to take them on.
Kia,(pictured above) the dog Rosie is fostering is a lovely natured animal, half collie and half german shepherd, she has the attributes of both, she loves to play with a ball and with other dogs but is loyal and devoted to the person who cares for her.Hopefully she will not be long at her foster home.Little Charlie the terrier is still needing a home, he almost had one yesterday with a very nice family until he showed signs of aggression towards their grandson.Now we know he is not suitable to be around children it limits his suitability for many homes which could be offered.Its such a shame because we are all very fond of him, he is a lovely little dog, lots of character and very affectionate and loving.Of course we have no knowledge of his background and often dogs are tormented by youngsters leaving them with a dislike of anyone who may remind them of unhappier times.
The Peru trip is getting closer and closer, only 6 days before I leave, I havent made my target which is disappointing but its time now to concentrate on getting organised to go. I am not sleeping much, worried about leaving the animals, worried about what Im going to see out there in such a poor country, worried that I wont be fit enough for the trek, in fact worried about just about everything.I would love to be the sort of person who can go to bed, hit the pillow and fall into a deep sleep.I cant remember the last time I had a full nights sleep and woke feeling refreshed.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

The little ponies enjoy their new stable

This incessant rain has caused the trickle of water which snakes its way through our side fields to become a rushing river.Thank heavens we had some ditches dug last year or our yard would be flooded - on the way out to buy catfood this morning I drove past a field and idly thought to myself that I had not noticed there was a lake there! Then suddenly realised it was a field completely under water, I hope any grazing animals had been moved.
The papers today are full of the local farmer charged with neglecting his livestock, he received a 16 months sentence but as far as I can make out the sentence was for attacking an rspca inspector and for jumping bail on his last court date.So much for the animal welfare issue!At least he has been banned from keeping animals though when that ever stopped anyone Id like to know.In his defence it was said he had never had any problems for 40 years, well, when I moved here 6 years ago I was told about him, seems he is well known for his bad husbandry and 3 of my staff have seen dead animals lying in his fields.At least now he has paid a price for his neglect though i dont know why people like him get away with it for so long.I know several people who have made complaints about him over the years and yet only now does he get his day in court.
Yippee, my passport has finally arived though I must say I didnt feel quite so cheerful when I looked at the photo within!!! Not a pretty sight.
Im having an early night tonight as tomorrow means a journey to Liverpool for our monthly Trustee meeting, at least the day will be spent warm and dry.The only creatures here enjoying this vile weather are Donald and Dennis the Aylesbury ducks who seem destined to stay.Maybe I willhave to build them something suitable, I thought they would only be here a short time so it was not necessary but everybody who enquires after them has female ducks and are adamant they will not take on males.I cant blame them, they can be a nuisance where females are concerned.
Most of the horses are now rugged and coming in at night except the hardier ones who use the field shelters(as good as stables)The littlest shetlands are thrilled with their new stable , for the first time ever they can see over their stable door.Pictured above from left to right, Maggie,Noddy and Connie.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

An update on Celt , our orphaned foal.

I Have just received the above photo of Celt our orphaned foal, I cant believe how much he has grown.He is still with his foster mum in Anglesey and will be until he is weaned around November.He will then be returned to the shelter as will our other foal Shamrock.The two will keep each other company until they are found homes.
It has been raining incessantly all day today, none of the animals have enjoyed being out,Molly the Great Dane takes one look at this kind of weather and I can almost hear her thinking "you surely dont expect ME to go outside in this!"She gets as far as the door . sees the rain and rushes back to the warmth of her bed.The little dogs have more sense of adventure, at least they venture outdoors albeit for a short time.I cant say I blame Moll, its pretty grim at the moment, is this the onset of winter?
Just one little adult cat went today, a pretty little tortoishell with a sweet nature, we have some lovely cats at the moment, all we need are the visitors.The kittens are growing rapidly,it wont be long before they lose their kitten appeal, each year we end up with some reaching adulthood here, then we have them spayed and they move into the main cattery for rehoming.Sometimes it takes that long to find them homes and I hate to think of them spending their kittenhood here at the shelter when they could be in a lovely home.
Today was the day of the open day at Criccieth, I hope it was successful, not the nicest of days unfortunately.It is so disheartening for people when they put so much effort into helping their chosen charity and in this case Freshfields.I really appreciate such support, this past year there have been some very nice people offering to help the shelter, it takes a few years for word to get around that there is a new animal shelter in the area but we finally seem to be getting the word act
I think the Yorkies will have to stay,I have had their ages confirmed.Maggie is 20ys old and Martha 21 Years.Incredible ages but they are too old to have another move,it would not be fair to them at this stage of their lives so unless I am offered a suitable home for them very quickly they will settle and it would be unkind to uproot them again.I really did not want to take on any more permanent dogs, especially as I am soon going away for 2 weeks but Mei will be here to look after them and the other animals.My passport is to be delivered by courier on Tuesday so that is a great relief.