Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Foal with admirers

This morning the story about our foal is on the front page of the Welsh edition of the Daily Post, so far there is still no sign of a surrogate mum for him in spite of the appeal. See the video of him on the Daily Post website did think there might have been a suitable mare in Anglesey, however she was showing signs of aggression towards other foals and her owner and I agreed it was too much of a risk to take. He is getting stronger every day and it is a joy to see him having a little kick about in the stable, he is a real heartbreaker. When he is a little bigger, we need to introduce him to another pony and old Noddy has been nominated for the task.It is important he be socialised as soon as possible, at the moment the weather is too cold for him to go outside, we need to wait for a warm day.
A few volunteers have put themselves forward to help with the feeding though we still need more, especially with the evening and overnight feeds.
I have received the first call this year to take in kittens , they are in Aberystwyth so I need to find someone to collect them,we have some good volunteers at the shelter but are still short of people to drive and pick up pets.It takes quite a time to establish a new shelter and it is only really the past year we have begun to have regular volunteers who have now become part of the team.The photo above is of the children of one of our volunteers.They are so well behaved I commented that had I met children like them in the past I might have changed my mind about not having children!!!
The cats are being ultra fussy over their food, its so hard to find food they all like.They do all adore the sachets but they are so expensive I have to keep them for the old cats and those who need to be tempted to eat.Most turn up their noses at Whiskas, even the ferals are not keen. Like all good hotels, I have to provide a good menu and if the food is not to their satisfaction I am treated to looks of pure disdain and disgust as though they are thinking"does she really expect me to eat that rubbish". I amk struggling to find a good palatable tinned food for most of the shelter felines to enjoy.

Monday, 26 May 2008

A New baby arrives at the shelter

I had little time to mourn the passing of dear old Cassie yesterday as I received an urgent call froma welsh pony stud farmer/breeder about a newborn foal whose mother had died shortly after giving birth.There was an immediate flurry of activity here in order to prepare for the new arrival and the day was spent making up bottles for him in between exercising the dogs and admitting new cats.It seemed also that everyone in the village heard about him( the speed in which news gets around in a small village is amazing!)and wanted to see him.
For the immediate future he will need feeding regularly day and night so Meirwen and I have workled out a rota so one person will not have to do the overnight stay in the stable EVERY night.If anyone local reads this and can offer to do a stint with the bottle feeding please contact me immediately.It will be less exhausting if we have a team on the case.
He seems a strong little fellow but the first few weeks are crucial. Fortunately he was able to drink from his mother shortly after birth so he has the necessary colostrum in his system.That is vital for his survival.How tragic that his mother died , I asked about her and the farmer seemed indifferent, he just stated that the ponies were all out on the mountains and he had no idea how old she was!!!! This appalling attitude of indifference makes me sick to the stomach, I wonder if she would have survived had she been in a caring home.I asked if he could stop off on the way to buy some milk(until |I could get the correct formula)for the foal, needless to say that suggestion was met by a snort of derision whcih I took to be a definite NO. A very kind couple who were visiting the shelter at the time of this incident went out and purchased 10 pints of milk at their own expense - two extreme attitudes from two very different types of people.
He is registered with the national foaling bank, an organisation which attempts to match up orphaned foals with surrogate mothers, so far no suitable mare has been found.Today I was able to aquire the correct formula for him and he seems to be doing well and thriving.
I will keep everybody informed as to his progress.Pictured is Mei giving him the first bottle, when this photo was taken, he was just 3 hours old.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Cassie, a dachsund with attitude.

This morning I had to take the trip to the vet which all animal lovers dread - Cassie my ancient dachsund had deteriorated overnight and I knew this was her time.She was between 17 and 19 years of age and had been diabetic and blind for many years, this however did not stop her amazing ability to smell out even the tiniest morsel of food in a radius of several yards! never the sweetest natured dog, she was nevertheless the one with the greatest character.I first met Cssie at the Liverpool shelter where she was admitted at the age of 9 years(approximately).Her owner had died and there was nowhere else for Cassie to go, no relative wanted to take her on and the reason for that became apparent when a member of staff came to me saying that nobody could get near the new dog and would I come and try to calm her down.My first sight of Cassie was of a whirling , growling dervish type dog who was determined nobody was going to get within a mile of her without receiving a nasty bite from those gnashing teeth! I bent down to talk to her, the next minute she was cuddled up to me, she never changed her opinion of other people and was always bad tempered around strangers but tolerated my other dogs and never bothered the cats.
I had to learn how to administer her insulin which was no mean feat for me who has a needle phobia! I did it when I had to, when there was nobody else I could call upon
but would feel faint immediately during and after the injection(god I hate that word).Since living in Wales, Meirwen has taken over that dreaded job and cassie has developed a liking for her also- strange though it may seem as she is the one administering the insulin daily.Personally that would be enough to make me hate anyone.
Today will seem strange without her presence in the living room, for all her fesity ways, she has been a part of my life for many years and I will miss her very very much.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Felix brings joy to a visitor.

Felix, one of our resident cats brought a moment of sheer happiness to a wheelchair bound visitor to the shelter. Felix, who never misses a chance for extra affection ,leapt onto the knee of an elderly visitor and made her day! Marjorie was brought here by a carer and was thrilled to see all the animals, she took a particular liking to Rocky our beautiful coloured horse and was just about to leave when Felix saw his opportunity for a cuddle.I had to capture the moment. Good old Felix!
It is pouring with rain today but with the combination of this and the recent sun, the grass is really starting to grow again, its still warm enough for the horses to want to stay out and they are happier like this.I always feel desperately sorry for horses who stand in stables for most of the day, and in fact some are stabled all day which in my view is totally alien to the nature of a herd animal born to graze all day long. What really makes me mad is when I see contraptions put across the opening of a stable, to prevent the animal inside weaving his head from side to side, considered to be a real bad habit. Weaving is caused by sheer boredom, its a human created habit so why penalise the horse even more by restricting even his head movement? Let him out to do what horses do naturally!
A young collie was brought to the shelter today, thankfully he gets on with my dogs so can stay until we find him a home, Rosie is still fostering the black and tan bitch, it does not look like an owner is going to claim Tasha (our name for her)now so she will be spayed as soon as I can arrange an appointment.
The last rabbbit has gone today to a home with people who have 2 of our ponies, they have just lost one of their own rabbits so I am really pleased that Bank Holiday Bunny is going to live with them.He will have a good home there.
Yesterday was another trustee meeting in Liverpool, with the travelling backwards and forwards it is a long day and I feel very tired today so my plan to climb Snowdon has been postponed until next week.Not to worry, I will still get some training in tomorrow at martial arts class. I whave been watching a documentary on a group of disabled people climbing the Andes, it was truly amazing and inspirational. I am spurred on to train as much as possible for the big trek in spetember.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Arnie (Schwarzeneggar)leaves us today

Today we had to take back 2 ponies which were being fostered by a supporter. Unfortunately sam, one of the ponies had become very laminitic and the fosterer was unable to cope with the problem. We will have to put the pony on a programme of diet/pain killers for the time being and monitor his situation.This can be a very painful condidtion and whilst he was with us he suffered only very mildly so clearly his condition has deteriorated in the past 12 months which is of great concern.
The stray terrier has found a home today, also Arnie one of our middle aged cats. For the past 2 years holidaymakers Lynette and Bob from the Midlands have visited the shelter and brought us gifts of catfood and bedding and items for sale in our charity shop. They now have a family of 4 cats, 3 of which are from the shelter.Being great cat lovers they are always falling in love and today it was Arnies turn to endear himnself to them.Arnie, a great bruiser of a cat has a lovely nature but is not the daintiest and prettiest of animals,so it was with real pleasure we saw him off to his new home.I must point out that is not because we were not fond of him, rather that we were all very fond of him and so delighted he now has a home of his own.
Walking the dogs this morning , amongst the masses of buttercups growing freely in some of the fields, I came across a tiny clump of bluebells.There are no other bluebells here so I hope they pollinate and spread to other parts of the shelter.I used to love seeing them springing up amongst the trees(in the animal cemetery) at the Liverpool shelter and was disappointed to see none here.
The feral cat home checked out well and 4 ferals have been taken today to their new home.Nobody yet has claimed the black and tan female dog whiuch Rosie is fostering.Its always hard to understand but when the dog is so well behaved and in good condition it is a mystery!.Somebody did leave a message saying a black and tan sheepdog was missing but I have been unable to get through to the number.She is not a sheepdog but people sometimes describe their pets rather badly so it is a possibility.Time will tell though every day which passes makes me think she will not be claimed now.

Monday, 19 May 2008

At last Pal finds a home.

Yesterday my friend Barry and I went on the Wirral Coastal walk, a trip of 15 miles.It was a lovely day, good training for the Peru trip and we met some nice people on the way including some from other animal rescues.I only heard about this walk at the last minute but next year I must get some people doing if to raise funds for |Freshfields.
The news of the week has to be the rehoming of Pal our longterm Collie cross (pictured above)who has been with us for over a year.He was living with Sally who was homed a few weeks ago also. I cant believe someone has finally taken to him.He has gone on a 3 week trial so we are all keeping our fingers crossed it will work out.I think the main reason he was here so long is his liveliness - after 10 months of being tied up in his original home,Pal was hyperactive and as he is quite a big dog, he could be hard to handle.His good points were that he was very affectionate, always clean in his kennel and good with the other resident animals. Lets hope!
Mei told me that Chloe one of the old ponies collapsed yesterday, albeit briefly. She got up almost immediately but she is very frail nowadays and each week that goes by I fear that she will not be with us much longer.If this reoccurs it may be that we may have to call in the vet to euthanase.This morning she has gone out happily with the others and seems fine, it is a case of monitoring her closely.
So many calls are coming through about unwanted dogs, in a space of 4 days, 3 dogs were picked up from the bypass.None wearing collars - one was extremely underweight(a collie of course!)He was lucky to find a home quickly, the other two are a terrier cross about a year old and a black and tan medium sized female with a lovely nature.This morning alone I have received 4 calls from people wanting homes for dogs and it so hard in this area to find good homes, if they chase sheep there is no chance at all.
Big Ginge has settled back in as though he has never been away, I do wonder where he has been, Im sure he must have been shut in somewheree as he has lost so much weight.He is eating us out of house and home at the moment.
We are in negotiation to open a charity shop in Llandudno, the shelter needs to bring in more money to keep our heads above water and other than increasing our standing orders this seems the only way to do this.
The horse photo was taken a few days ago of Melba, marigold and Minnie having a rest in their field. Melba(in the front) is the pony we took in 2 winters ago, she had belonged to an elderly couple who had her kept in a tiny stable all over the winter in spite of having a field she could have exerecised in. They didnt want her to get dirty!!! When she arrived she galloped round and round the field, kicking up her legs and thoroughly enjoying herself.She remains a little shy of people but is improving all the time.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Big Ginge returns!

Marvellous news, Big Ginge is back, he turned up yesterday morning to feed along with the other feral cats but he has lost a great deal of weight.He surely has been shut in somewhere, he has never been away from here even for one night and he has been missing well over a week. We are all so pleased to see him and he appears glad to be back with his friends.PHOTO ABOVE RIGHT
Millie, the springer spaniel has gone to a home already, it would be wonderful if all animals went out so quickly.Also one of the bank Holiday bunnies has been homed, the little brown one has gone to live with another rabbit(neutered, of course) so the remaining bun now has the pen to himself.He has more freedom now because they had to be kept apart being both males and only very recently neutered.The chances were high of them not getting on and indeed, they were always glaring at each other through the mesh!(Do rabbits glare?)Maybe it was something else entirely but I did not want a Bun fight on my hands!
The photo is of some of the permanent cats enjoying the lovely weather, crossing the yard at the moment is like negotiating an obstacle course.
Today we lost our dear old Tramp, pictured (he is the one on left)guarding the conservatory with his old pal Monty(also gone now)Tramp was a real character, a bruiser cat who looked as though he had fought for survival for most of his life, his ears were torn and he looked the archetypal stray.from the moment he arrived here 4 years ago, he loved it and never roamed further than the stables.Over the past weeks his condition deteriorated, his organs had started to fail, so today we decided it was time to say goodbye to the old boy. His presence will be sorely missed.
Two Feral cats have been trapped at a local tipping site which has become dangerous for the colony living there - men have been seen there with dogs and guns and the bodies of 2 cats have been found. Due to local publicity a home has been offered to four of them.there are another 7 to catch.
I have had a few calls asking me to take ponies,but with the 4 oldies coming in this month its doubtful we can cope with any more just yet.This always worries me to death, wondering what will happen to those I am unable to take.Depending on veterinary tests, Big Murphy our lovely big bay horse may have a good home awaiting.If the results are good he may be goung soon. we will know tomorrow.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

I adopt a baby elephant

Sam the cat we were trying to trap, finally was enticed inside, he is now settled in one of the cat pens and seems happy to be here.His deceased owner was very fond of him but the family wanted no responsibility for Sam - same old story.Only for a friend of the gentleman, we might not have heard of Sams plight.Its good some people are caring and who think of how the owner would feel knowing nobody was taking care of a beloved pet.As soon as Sam came out the trap, he was purring away and pushing his head against my hand, you could tell immediately he was relieved to be somwhere safe.
A man turned up today with a young Welsh Springer spaniel, he had only owned her for 2 days but he could not keep her contained in his garden and of course we are surrounded by sheep in this area so a wandering dog has little chance of survival.Millie was one of a litter bred locally, why people do this is beyond me, there are so many unwanted and homeless dogs round here and so few good homes. Rosie has promised to foster her until we can find her a home, she is a sweet natured dog, good with cats, dogs, children, horses even but she needs a home with a secure fence.This poses a problem as so many gardens here have stonewalls which are easy for most dogs to leap over.
The telephone is out of order today so it has been peaceful but of course it is not conducive to finding homes and we have homed nothing at all today which is very disheartening.maybe tomorrow will be better.
Today a friend gave me the gift of adopting a baby elephantin my name at the elephant orphanage in kenya.I was thrilled to bits as I adore elephants and the highlight of my holiday last year was a trip to this same orphanage.My foster baby is called lempaute and is a 2 years old female who lost her family at the asge of 2 weeks, maybe one day I will be able to return and pay her a visit.The photo is of me with an orphaned baby, she was so adorable but its so sad she had no family to care for her.I find it heartwarming that all over the world there are good people who do their best to help the needy animals in their countries.Overseas animal abuse can be overwhelming and I am glad in one way that I am involved in the Uk though there is such a shortage of animal welfare workers in many countries. I think I am too cowardly to do such work, I admire those who work overseas fighting against appalling ignorance and lack of education, they have a very difficult job to do.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Waiting to be filed?

I couldnt resist taking this photo of Fatticat and Felix, 2 of our resident cats who have sneaked into the office for an afternoon nap!One was in the Letters to reply, the other in the Letters to post!
There is still no sign of Big Ginge aand no luck as yet trapping Sam the cat in Bangor. Some cats are impossible to trap, they can be so knowing and wily.I will not be able to rest until he is safe here, he must be feeling distressed by now, his owner has been gone several days and the house is locked up.
Everybody seems to be enjoying this wonderful weather, this morning I heard the first cuckoo.I love that sound almost as much as that of migrating geese.The name of the road leading to the shelter is Lon Pant-y-gog which in English means Cuckoo Dip Lane. Cuckoos nest here every year and it looks like swallows are nesting in one of the horse field shelters.They are swooping in and out all day.I hope they will be safe from the cats though they seldom use that field, mostly the cats stay round the yard and their feeding/sleeping area with a few spending time round the horses stables.
In the evening there are always bats flying about, some little pipistrelles and also the larger Lesser horshoe bats of which there is a large colony locally.Thankfully the cats seem disinterested in them, I would hate to find little corpses everywhere.
Yesterday was taken up driving backwards and forwards to the vet with animals to be treated or neutered.We could do with some volunteer drivers, it is time consuming and there is so much to do in the office and back at the shelter.On the way back I stopped briefly at the beach to let William have a run, he travels with me almost everywhere,he hates to be left behind but in this weather it really is too hot for him so he enjoyed a brief dip in the sea before we headed back home.The journey to our vet surgery in Pwlhelli is amazing, you have the sea on one side , fields on the other and mountains ahead.Stunning!

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Finlay in his new home

It has been very quiet the last few days, which is good in one way because we can get on with work and there are no interruptions, however it means that fewer animals are homed which is always disappointing.
The good news is that the lady with the 4 ponies has been to see me and after a long discussion she has decided to bring her ponies to the shelter and not have them destroyed as originally planned.I am so relieved that she has changed her mind. I know she was worried about their future otherwise she would not have contemplated such an extreme solution to her problems , she has loved and cared for these animals for over 20 years and now her health is failing , she has been terrified that the ponies will end up being neglected or passed on from home to home. I have been able to reassure her that they will have a home here for the rest of their lives and she can visit whenever she wants. They will join the other elderly ponies who are permanent residents.They will be arriving at the end of the month,
I am still receiving calls about Finlay the white GSD rescued from a dog pound, he was adopted by Rhian who often brings him to work with her, he is completely devoted to her..Nobody who meets him can believe he was not only unwanted but due to be destroyed! he is such a handsome dog and so good natured. Pictured above in his new home with Louis another of Rhians dogs.This photo is so good, I am wondering if I could make use of it for a charity card.Rhian has taken some excellent photos, I wish mine were as good.
A very neglected, poorly cat was brought in yesterday, poor old girl looked terrible and I was not hopeful about her prognosis.Sure enough the vet today diagnosed mouth cancer and she had to be put to sleep. At least she spent the night in comfort.
Today, I took a cat trap to Bangor, where a Freshfields cat is on the loose, his owner died a few days ago and nobody can catch Sam, a middle aged black cat who is very shy and obviously distressed at the loss of his carer. Fortunately there are people willing to feed him and watch the trap, Sam needs to be caught soon so we can bring him to safety.I hope it doesnt take too long.
The sun has been shining here all day, so off with the jeans and on with the shorts -only problem is that they are no protection against boisterous dogs jumping up, I am covered in scratches and bruises already and look as though I have gone 5 rounds with Mike Tyson.
One of our permanent cats Big Ginge has gone missing, nobody has seen him for a week now, he was always around with the other feral cats and I fear the worst.Ginge was one of the last surving cats we took from a home in Anglesey, he never missed a meal so it soes not look good.It is a mystery, there is no traffic here, it is unlikely that a fox has taken him so where can he be? He was old but not on his last legs by any means < I hope he has not fallen foul of a human predator?

Sunday, 4 May 2008

bank Holiday Bunnies.

So much for the lovely weather we started to enjoy! Today we are experiencing torrential rain.It didnt seem to put visitors off as we were busy all day today. The kittens which had been fostered came in and were adopted out almost immediately.The pretty tortie mum will be spayed next week, she is a lovely cat and will probably find a home very quickly.Another cat, Archie ,was found a home via the catchat website, Archie was everybodys favourite from the day he arrived, such a scared cat who spent all his time hiding under a blanket, every day he seemed to gain confidence, at first only his head could be seen, we would place his food near to him and he would lean out to eat, retreating as soon as the bowl was clean.After a month he started to creep out to eat whilst we were present and now he is such an affectionate cat, he does not seem the same animal.His new family have promised photos when he settles in.I will look forward to seeing them.
The second adult cat to go this weekend is Caine a handsome middle aged fellow with a thick fluffy coat.he came in with 2 others when their owner passed away, all were so friendly unlike many cats who have been with elderly owners and have had little or no contact with others.As I am writing this I receive a phone call to tell me that he has already made himself at home. That news is always so good to hear, homing animals can be a great worry, we try to do our best but with the best will in the world mistakes can be made and to hear that all is well brings a sense of relief to all of us.
Well Ive cracked it with Toby, the dog who liked everyone but me,seems now I am his favourite person! I have tried all weekend to get a photo of us, the two new best friends but he is so squirmy, he wouldnt stay still long enough, I will keep trying if only to prove that Toby and I REALLY have made friends now.
We have admitted 2 rabbits today, the children have lost interest etc etc. I am first to admit that I have no experience whatsoever of parenting , however, when I was a child, I too lost interest in my rabbits. My mother would not consider giving them away, instead she appealed to my better nature to continue caring for them. My concern is that when children lose interest and parents readily help them by giving the pets away, does this not then instil in them a sense of irresponsibility? Is it then a case of dont worry mum and dad will sort it out? Surely it would be better to explain that animal shelters are already full of unwanted pets and force them to take responsibility, if they wanted a pet so much it HAS to be cared for, not just for a few months but for the rest of its life.|As I said before I am no expert so maybe this is impossible with some children but surely the removal of privileges would do the trick? All I know is that NONE of our family pets were ever given away.
The rabbits are both male so will have to be kept seperate and I will get them neutered as soon as possible.Ralphie and Chester your dominant male days will soon be over.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Recovered and well again

Pictured are the 2 sister cats who came in pregnant and lost their babies. After being very poorly they are both recovering so well and apart from some bruising are almost ready for a new home- together of course, they are devoted to one another.Rhian who helps care for the cats here, has named them Mel and Kim(I presume after the 80s pop stars?)It is hard to keep thinking of good names for the animals and in this case I think she failed! Sorry Rhian.
Our fostered kittens are coming in tomorrow, already 2 of them are spoken for, I dont think they will even be here for the whole weekend.They are the first of the season so will be snapped up,however within weeks we will be inundated with them and as usual homes will dry up and there will be the inevitable older, plainer kittens left behind.Quite often they are here until old enough to spay at 6 months and then often they will appeal to people who want older cats.With so many people working full time nowadays cats this age and older are more popular, though there will always be those who demand a kitten in spite of working long hours and having to leave the animal on its own all day.
A real camera opportunity was lost today- Rhian brought in one of her German Shepherds and he was in a travelling cage in her car, with the back door open.She had put in a bowl of food for him and Tomas one of the elderly resident cats had jumped into the car and was spooning out the food through the bars! This big impressive looking dog was huddled at the back terrified of the bold and determined old feline.Why is the camera never handy at times like this?
Bonny the foxhound went back to the vet today for an injection to help her skin condition, she is still itching so has to be bathed later today and again next week. her condition otherwise has improved, she is gaining weight slowly and I think when she is one hundred per cent healthy, she will make someone a gentle, quiet household pet.All she is interested in is food, she is good with cats and other dogs but will need to be fed seperately as she doesnt want anything to come near HER food. Animals which have been starved never seem to overcome the fear that they will never receive another meal again.My ancient Cavalier Ruby was skeletal when she was brought here 4 years ago, she is now bordering on overweight because , like Bonny she is constantly looking for food and will steal the cats food and will even take a bisquit out my hand if I am not careful! I have put Ruby on a low calorie diet but she seems to find extra food somewhere! Actually it could be a case of dog taking after owner!
Finally some spring grass is bursting through, there are patches of green appearing all over the fields, please let the rain stay off for a while and if we have some more sun it should make a big difference to the fields.