Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Murphy and ex racehorse Jimmy

we have had a few enquiries about our bigger horses and a homevisit was done today for Jimmy the ex racehorse(His previous loan home turned out to be unsuitable)I hope this time he will stay out for good.He is a lovely horse with many good years ahead of him. There is someone coming on Sunday to see Murphy our 17 hands bay gelding. Both horses are real favourites of the staff but at the end of the day if the younger, fitter horses can be rehomed it makes room for others in need of our help. Murphy is a truly handsome horse with a gentle nature but several months ago someone came to see him and believe it or not, he took one look at him and said "I dont like him"!!!!! Now, he may not have been suitable for that particular person but how could anyone not like this beautiful creature? Needless to say my opinion of someone with that attitude is not high and he was rather quickly shown off the shelter. A great deal can be told by a persons general reaction to an animal.Lack of compassion is immediately apparent to anyone with any experience of rescue work. With horses there is always the chance someone is after them for the wrong reasons and in that instance I am sure this was the case.People often think they can obtain a cheap riding/working animal at a rescue centre. What they fail to realise is that no reputable charity would even consider a prospective owner with such an attitude.We want people who genuinely want to give a home to a rescued horse.
Today I have heard that a lady I know with ill health is planning to have her 4 ponies destroyed sooner than worry about their future without her. She has promised to come and talk to me before she does anything, I am hoping that she will reconsider and let me give them a home here for the rest of their lives.having seen the ponies, the idea of their destruction has upset me greatly. All 4 are over 20 years of age and that being the case they would live their lives out here, and could join the other oldies.
I know many people will be horrified at the decision this lady is considering but part of me understands.Nobody wants to think that their animals will end up being neglected or worse, but in this case a permanent home is available so this has to be the moral and compassionate course of action..Although I believe she is misguided I know she loves her ponies and is simply trying to make the right decision before anything happens to her. the plan is for her to visit on Tuesday so we can discuss the matter.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

A handyman at last!

Another horrible day weather wise.Its cold, rainy and misty, not pleasant at all. The best news of the weekend is that the 2 sick cats are now both back to normal and are most definitely out of the woods.With their sweet friendly personalities, I have little doubt that they will not be here very long, someone is sure to snap them up.
I have had a few calls offering homes to our ponies so with a bit of luck at least one, maybe more will be suitable. There are so many on the waitng list for a place at the shelter but at the moment I cannot consider taking in another, the fields need to dry out first and then I will have to prioritise the most urgent cases for admittance
At last we have a handyman here, a local man John turned up here some weeks ago offering to help and he has been invaluable , so far he has painted the field shelters with wood preserver, put a new door on the cattery, fixed new bolts on some of the stable doors,generally tidied up and is about to start tidying up/repairing the old dog kennels which are in a dreadful state.Without a doubt he has made a big difference and is so pleasant and easy to get on with. I hope he doesnt lose interest, its so hard to keep a place like this in good repair, the horse staff, Rosie, Vanessa and Meirwen are all quite practical and do their best but that takes them away from the animals and the repairs are never ending
I was shocked to read of the pups with rabies which were diagnosed in Quarantine kennels - they were being brought over for a new life, by SOS Sri Lanka, an animal rescue set up to help those unfortunate animals in that country.I had planned to travel there with them this month and had collected some vet supplies for use over there.After much consideration I made the decision not to go this time but wished Kim and Lizzie well in their trip and promised I would go with them on another visit.
Kim was one of 3 people bitten by the pups but all 3 are well(shows the importance of having the injection!) and there was never any problem with the disease being contained.I know, however that the girls will be devastated at the loss of these pups after their efforts to bring them to a better life here.My heart goes out to them.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

A long day in Anglesey

I spent Friday driving around Anglesey trying to find an address where 2 of our ponies had been rehomed. After nearly 3 hours I found it!! I could have done with the satellite navigation I bought last year but it was stolen from my car(whilst parked on the property) some months ago. It was good to see Simon and Poppy again and they looked well and content. Simon, the palomino shetland came to us as an entire male but he always had a sweet nature (unlike some stallions) and Poppy a black shetland mare came in with a pet sheep Sam, who is one of our resident sheep at the shelter.
The photo is of dear little Simon, Poppy and friends taken some 4 years ago not long after Simon was castrated.I think this might have been the first time he was allowed to mingle with the other ponies.
On the way home I popped in to check on the welfare of some feral cats we rehomed and was pleased to know that they are fine and the owners may consider taking a couple more from Freshfields.I hope they do as we have so many feral cats here and unless i find homes for these I cannot help any others. I have been asked to help with the trapping and removal of a small colony of ferals at a local tip which is closing down soon.Unfortunately there have been men with terriers and guns up there and the bodies of 2 cats have been found.We need to get them away before any more suffer at the hands of these Vile people.
The sister cats who have been ill seem to be on the road to recovery now, both are eating and looking much better.It will be a great relief when they are completely well and able to be put up for adoption.
It is still very quiet for cat rehoming , only 2 gone this past week, I wonder if people are waiting for kittens to arrive?I imagine that in the next couple of weeks we will be inundated with them though it is quite late in the year for them.I seem to remember last year we had kittens around easter.Our own kittens which were born here and are now in a foster home must be coming up to 7 weeks now.
I have been thinking about the problems of writing my thoughts in my blog and after some soul searching I have decided that I will continue to do so and if anyone has a problem with it they can stop reading it.My intentions are not to hurt anyone but to simply say what has been happening to me at the shelter.That seems to be the object of a diary surely?

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Is Toby a cross Akita?

The strange dog was claimed, he belonged to a well known local actor/singer and his wife was delighted to have him back.I suggested the dog be neutered to try and curb his wanderlust.
The 2 pregnant cats both tested negative for Fiv and Leukaemia but both now have lost their kittens and been spayed.they are not out the woods yet and the vet is very worried about them, they seem to be unable to bounce back unlike most young cats in this situation.It is a matter of giving them as much care and attention as possible and keeping an eye on them. heres hoping they recover from their ordeal.
Toby is still proving difficult to make friends with but I am determined, so watch this space! he is a funny little dog, he almost looks like a miniature Japanese Akita or an Akita crossed with a jack Russell(would this be possible?) Funnily enough the only dog I have ever been afraid of was an Akita at the Liverpool shelter.He was a very dominant dog and once had me pinned up against a wall, growling just inches away from my face.A truly scary experience, fortunately I was rescued by Alan who was working in the kennels and a potentially serious incident was averted. I do not anticipate the same problem with Toby, he is just afraid.
It seems that the comments I made about the trustee/staff meeting have caused a mini furore! Was it bad judgement on my part by mentioning it or should I not be honest when writing my blog? A difficult one! I write as I feel.I need to think this one over.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Its been very quiet for rehoming this weekend, only one cat reserved.maybe the awful weather is putting people off visiting. Visitors to the shelter often comment on the difference in temperature from the next village to the shelter.It is so much colder here.Today is very cold and the heavy winds and rain mean the animals are all in hiding .There is not a cat to be seen!
Chloes blood test results showed that she does not have Cushings which is what we thought could be the reason for her condition, however she does have a high red blood cell count so there is a possibility of Leukaemia. There is no treatment other than increasing her iron supplements.
One of the pregnant cats lost her kittens yesterday and is still at the vet surgery.In a way it is a relief that there will not be more kittens born but I am worried about her general condition.The other cat is going in tomorrow to be spayed if she is not too far advanced in her pregnancy.If she can be spayed, once they recover they can be found a home together, they are such nice little cats.
We have been asked to help with the rehoming of some dogs seized by the Trading Standards from a Breeding establishment in North Wales. Amongst the dogs are 2 chocolate labradors, 2 norfolk(or border) terrier bitches who must stay together and at least one german shepherd.There may be some white GSds but at the moment it seems that their temperament is in question and they are being assessed for rehoming. I can 0nly hope that the person doing the assessment is someone who does not jump quickly to conclusion and will give these dogs a fair chance to find loving homes.So many dogs react badly in a kennel environment.So many dogs I have had dealings with have been aggressive when first arriving at the shelter but are now well balanced animals in homes.
That brings to mind one particular dog , a cross collie called Snowy . He was admitted to the Liverpool shelter after running blinded with panic along a busy road .He was so terrified he had to be cornered and sedated to get hold of him. For months he was aggressive to everyone who approached him and quite frighteningly he would jump high and attack.For some reason he came to like and trust me after I spent some time sitting alongside him and talking gently to him.Nevertheless he would not allow anyone else to do the same so it was a big problem.Eventually he mellowed and he now lives with a member of staff though I believe he can still be wary of strangers. It may not be easy to home such dogs but it is not an impossibility and when a dog has been abused it often takes time for trust to be restored, it is not an overnight job.
At the moment I have a little cross terrier here, his name is Toby and he is no more than a year old.He was found wandering and brought here.he likes everyone but me! I can see I will have to do a "Snowy" job on him .
As I am writing this, I have just looked out the window and spotted Meirwen trying to entice a strange brown dog into the yard?
Well we have the dog, he looks like a boxer cross, he is wearing a collar but no ID on it. There is no point a dog wearing a collar without a tag. This is a very small village and everybody knows everybody else and neither of us have seen this dog before. I hope he gets claimed and has not been abandoned here.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Chloe has a blood test

Its been hectic few days,I have been to Liverpool to attend a trustee /staff meeting. There is so much worry at the moment about the future of the Liverpool shelter due to its financial problems. The situation is looking a bit more hopeful due to some decisions taken by the trustees.the meeting however was extremely stressful and I was not really in the best frame of mind for the inevitable confrontation with certain members of staff.This is never good but when you have just suffered a bereavem ent of any kind it is the last thing you want to do.When I started the charity , in my naivity I thought I would just be helping animals, I failed to realise that as it grew so did the amount of paperwork,administration and Human Resource issues.(when did personnel turn into HR?) maybe its just as well I did not know, I doubt if I would have wanted to carry on! I realise that it is necessary but it so often seems to take me away from what seems more important- the animals themselves.Unfortunately the two things have become inseperable so there is no getting away from it.
last night at 8pm I took in a young ginger cat whose owner was moving abroad this morning! Why oh why do people leave it this late? the same old story is given, "a friend said he would have the cat but he changed his mind" What - at the last minute!!! Then to make matters worse, whilst I was putting the cat in a pen, he stole back the £10 donation he had left on the desk! I wondered why he was leaving so quickly.I dont really know why I was surprised, I should be up to these sort of tricks by now,.I suppose I always hope that people ARE genuine but this positivity becomes sorely tested. Not to worry, as my old nan used to say "worse things happen at sea"!
One of our old ponies Chloe is becoming quite frail nowadays so we are awaiting the results of a blood test, I hope she does not have anything seriously wrong with her other than old age, she is one of the surviving ponies from Prestatyn which came in 3or was it 4 years ago- the years fly by so quickly and they seem to have been here forever.There are just Chloe and Titch the shetland left now.(they are on the right of the picture)
2 heavily pregant young cats were brought in after appearing in someons garden, these pretty little cats are very anaemic so have been tested for the various cat disceases.I hope their results will be negative.There are still no kittens about though our mother cat in a foster home with Mion(who also helps in our Porthmadog shop) has 4 babies just 5 weeks old now.I hope that is clear, its the cat which has babies and not Mion! When I am tired I dont always write the best grammar in the world.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Trixie Loses the fight.

My lovely Trixie lost her fight for life today.She had recovered so well from the operation to remove a massive tumour and just a week ago was racing round the fields with the other Golden Girls.Then she started to cough and a course of antibiotics failed to clear it.Over the weekend she grew very quiet and was clearly having a struggle to breathe normally. Today she had an x-ray which showed she had tumours spreading throughout her lungs and I had to make the decision to let her go.She had only lived with me for two years from the age of 10 x, prior to that she had spent life chained but the day her owner took her to my Vet to be destroyed was the best thing that could have happened to Trixie.From being scared of her own shadow and terrified of people, she became a happy natured affectionate animal who adored Molly the Great dane and was always following her gazing at her with adoration and sleeping next to her in a giant basket. We will all miss her gentle presence very much.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

A national disgrace.

Still thinking about the Amnersham horse case. Seems that even though 30 dead horses were found on the property of these disgusting people, and the RSPCA removed over 100 animals,many of which were in a state of starvation/emaciation, the Judge has decreed that 29 donkeys and all shetland ponies are returned to them!!!!!His reasoning - the Dealer owners told him that these were family pets!!! The remainder of the horses, unbelievably are not to be signed over to the animal welfare organisations caring for them but now they have been brought back to health are to be sold at Auction!!!!!This of course what was they were destined for originally but to do so now after all they have been through is of great concern to me and to all other people who care about injustice. If you want to add your voice to those trying to prevent this occurrence this is the address of the online petition.
On to more pleasant things- its been a good weekend for dogs, homed Teddy and Ruby, small terrier types, I have so many calls for dogs, both wanting them and of course wanting to get rid of them, I wish I still had kennels here and was able to help without having to resort to foster homes.Nevertheless I am still managing to rehome a fair few unwanted canines so I have to be content with these limitations set on me.
Last night an oiled Guillemot was brought here ,he was found on Criccieth beach, unable to fly. I managed to get most of the oil off the feathers but either he had already ingested to much or the shock was too much for him and he was gone this morning.Its never easy but with this kind of problem I always half expect it not to be successful.At least he wasnt worried to death by a dog or other predator.
I have had a good week for cooking, I have managed to cook myself 2 meals without totally incinerating them, Im hoping for a third tonight! At the end of a long day the last thing I want to do is to spend time slaving over the cooker but I am perpetually hungry so needs must.My mother was such an amazing cook so I certainly dont take after her.Over the years I have burnt hundreds of meals and burnt a kitchen down twice!! cant wait to be old enough to have meals on wheels! Thank goodness the animals dont need me to cook theirs, they would never get fed.

Friday, 11 April 2008

rambam and friends

Rambam the sick ram we rescued a few months ago is now in the peak of condition and has made friends with our other 3 sheep, Sam, Bertie and Chloe. He looks so well now, nothing like the pathetic creature which arrived here covered in sores and so very nervous.What a difference some tender loving care does for these animals.He is quite a character and has quickly learned to respond to his name.
I have just heard some terrible news, the Amersham Horses rescued from a farm where dozens of horses lay dead or dying from starvation are to be returned to these dreadful people!!!!!!It is beyond belief that a Judge feels this is the correct course of action in spite of damning evidence that these people neglected their animals over a long period of time.If anyone would like to sign the online petition to appeal against this appalling decision, email me on freshfieldswales@aol.com and I will forward it. wHAT IS WRONG WITH OUR JUDICIAL SYSTEM? This is a real blow to all the organisations involved in the rescue and rehabilitation of these poor horses.
As far as I can make out the owners are dealers so the horses and donkeys which have been so lovingly cared for recently will face a very uncertain future if the decision to return them goes ahead.
This has upset me so much I dont feel like writing my blog, I will write a letter instead to my MP and email everyone I know to sign the petition. This cant be allowed to happen.Surely common sense will prevail!!!!

Sunday, 6 April 2008

A real Winters day

When I threw back the curtains this morning, everywhere was covered in snow, the dogs took great delight racing about leaving their pawmarks dotted all over the white fields, they seem to enjoy it as much as children, Im sure that if they could throw snowballs at each other , they would do so.Their delight was so evident in their eyes and wagging tails. Not so however the cats who preferred the warmth of their beds to cold damp feet.
I took the photo from one of the top fields whilst exercising Buddy, a rather plain but endearing dog whose owners never exercised him and eventually discarded him.At first Buddy was overbearing, there was little eye contact with him, he was just too interested in the wide open spaces here. Now he knows he will receive regular exercise and freedom he has calmed down tremendously.
You can just about make out the house and office, with the stables beyond, it a wonderful view from the higher fields, the Irish Sea can be seen and quite often the ferry is also visible.I have been told that on a clear day the mountains in Ireland can be seen though I have not yet been able to pinpoint them and Im not sure which mountains they would be?
Great news about Sally, she is doing well in her new home,it doesnt seem the same without her but she has a good home and that is what the shelter is all about, she needed the one to one attention she so craved for and I could not be happier for her.
I was invited to be a guest speaker yesterday, at the Quaker Concern for Animals in Bangor.I was not sure what to expect and I always dread speaking about my work, however it was very enjoyable and it was a treat to meet so many caring and compassionate people.Sometimes it seems that compassion and sensitivity are characteristics which have become almost obsolete in todays society and when nice people cross my path, it awakens my faith in human nature (WELL FOR A SHORT TIME ANYWAY) Unfortunately I was late to the meeting because on the way I witnessed a cat being run over and had to stop and try to find his owner,After knocking on several doors I finally found an elderly lady who had been feeding him(he was a stray) for a year, she was inconsolable which made me tearful too.I brought him back to bury here.poor old chap.
The snow is clearing rapidly and now the clouds are darkening and rain is drizzling down, the horses are waiting to come in and Meirwen is doing their evening feeds, I need to go and feed the cats , walk the dogs again and then set about burning my own meal. Perhaps tonight I will be more successful and produce something edible!