Sunday, 29 June 2008

Some kittens find homes

I was walking the dogs early this morning and it was so peaceful and quiet that I had time to really look around me, sometimes I am rushing so much and concentrating on throwing balls for the dogs and watching where they are that I dont really see much.The fields look so pretty with patches of buttercups and clover and other wild flowers that I am ashamed to realise I have no idea what many of the species are called so my personal mission for this week is to identify them and then I will know exactly what I am looking at!The docks although killed off in the lower fields are unsightly and so difficult to pull up by the roots, I tried but gave up after a while though I managed to pull up some of the dreaded ragwort which is springing up everywhere.This is probably the job we all hate the most, it is back breaking but absolutely necessary as it is so poisonous to horses.This causes longterm liver dmage so the effects are not always apparent immediately which is perhaps why some people do not attach enough importance to the removal of it from fields where horses graze.
Tanya seems more content in her stable today, she is nibbling at her hay and seems in less pain thanks to the pain relief she has had. The anglesey ponies finish their antibiotics today but are still on pain relief, at least until their feet have been seen by the farrier.After that hopefully we may be able to use an alternative and natural pain killer in their feeds.(Devils Claw)
A couple more kittens are reserved and we have had high jinx tring to catch an escaped feral youngster, he is still in the room but is evading all attempts at capture, naughty little man.A trap has been set for him, baited with the tastiest strongest smelling catfood we have.This must do the trick today.
We have taken in 2 Aylesbury ducks which the owner wanted to get rid of immediately(this attitude puts so much pressure on us), I need to find someone with a nice pond for them, I would love to keep them here but there are no facilities where they will be safe from my badly behaved Great Dane Molly.At the moment they are in temporary accommodation at the back of the old dog kennels and seem ok but its far from ideal.
Its pouring with rain today, a very dull June day, whatever happened to Blazing June?
A nice couple in Criccieth are holding an open garden day for the shelter on August
16th. normally I would think it will be great weather then but will it? I hope so for their sakes and ours.There will be plants, cakes, and the usual bits and bobs for sale.>Its a real morale booster when people offer to fundraise.After 6 years in this area, I feel we are only just starting to make an impression so its a good feeling.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

The Vet is called out again

Another kitten was rehomed this morning but 2 more were brought in by a farmer who Im delighted to say had just had the mother cat spayed.Music to my ears.We now have 35 kittens here, there is no more room at the inn!
The vet had to be called out to Tanya (photos above)the old horse who is not eating , her teeth are in a bad state and she is having difficulty eating her food, she is also in pain with her feet so she is put on pain relief for the time being.We will have to see what the farrier says and the dentist is coming out on Tuesday so he can look to see what work needs doing.It looks like her owner had trimmed her feet himself but he has done a terrible job and has not helped her at all.The prognosis on her longterm health may be poor.As with the Anglesey ponies, she is to have box rest for the time being at least.
A reservation has been made for Flossie the collie who was found on the bypass last month, she is one of those dogs that you cant find anything wrong with, her personality is sweet and gentle, she is good natured with everything that moves and the only reason she is still here is that her age(7) is too old for most people.I much prefer dogs this age than the manic youngsters which are admittedly full of fun but hard work also.Her new people are retired and they are a match made in heaven.

Friday, 27 June 2008

We receive a grant for the cattery.

I have heard from the new foals temporary owner and sadly he has not shown any interest in his new mum although she is desperate for him to bond with her.Still, they are both providing each other with comfort so he will stay there for the time being at least.We have called him Shamrock and eventually he and the other foal will meet and share a field, they are only weeks apart in age so it will be company for each other.We expect them back at the shelter around November .
The new ponies seem a little more more comfortable today and the Farrier had phoned to say he will be here next week to begin work on their poor crippled feet.There will be an extra one too as yesterday we took in a 35 years old mare Tanya whose owner had died.her feet are also in need of work, It appears she too is suffering from laminitis. I cannot understand why owners do not recognise this in their animals and why they do not address the problem before the animals start to suffer.It does not come on overnight and yet even when the animals become lame their obvious discomfort is ignored,Of course there are very good horse and pony owners who instantly recognise the symptoms and act on it but there are too many inexperienced people who own horses and who fail to learn about this most common of problems.
Today 8 cats were taken to the vet for spaying and neutering and another feral cat was trapped at the Cilgwyn tip - he will join the others in the feral enclosure who are awaiting farm or stable homes. since the last blog, 4 kittens have been rehomed and a possible home for an adult is in the offing, heres hoping it is starting to get busier now.3 more tiny kittens (alll black)were brought in today, having been thrown over someones fence, they are clearly domestic which is always a bonus, feral kittens require a lot of time and patience and right now with so many kittens we simply could not spend the necessary hours handling and domesticating them.
Today I went to have my yellow fever injection ready for the sponsored trek in 8weeks and as usual I was a complete baby and burst into tears as soon as the nurse produced the needle(dont even like writing that word!)and to think I have to face my 3 monthly B12 one next week as well.Im such a coward.
I am trying to type this with one of the resident cats Fatticat pushing her head against my hand, she is one of the cats who often sleeps in the filing tray and no matter how many times I put her out the office she sneaks in as soon as the door is opened. For an old girl she is extremely quick and agile.
well there has been some very good news, we have been given a grant to refurbish the old cattery, I am so thrilled, now it is a matter of waiting to hear from the council who have our planning application to revamp the place.It is doubtful it will be done before winter but at least now I can start making plans for the newlook cattery and its something good to look forward to.There are so many sad moments in a shelter that when something good like this happens it is a real morale booster and can make us all feel revitalised.The cats deserve better facilities and now it will become a reality and not just a dream.

Monday, 23 June 2008

The new foal finds a possible mum.

This has been a very stressful and upsetting day.The Vet came early this morning and checked all the ponies over.As I feared, the black gelding could not be saved and he had to be put down.He also put down our dear old Chloe whose weight loss recently was indicative of organ failure.Just one of those Prestatyn ponies now survives, little Titch, he will be greatly saddened by the loss of Chloe but he has another friend in Ross so will not be alone.
The remaining 7 ponies from the home in Anglesey have all got badly overgrown and infected hooves, all need remedial treatment and will be on pain killers until this is sorted out, some are on antibiotics, one has abscesses on his back, most need to be on box rest for at least a month and all in all they are in a very poor state.The little grey mare, however should make a good recovery so although crippled at the moment her prognosis is good.All of them have lovely temperaments which makes it easy to handle them so at least we do not have to struggle with half wild ponies.
The new foal arrived late last night, today I contacted the National Foaling bank and by three pm. a possible surrogate mother was found.A shetland mare in Ormskirk lost her foal this morning so Roy(the manager of our Caernarfon shop)and his daughter are taking our boy to the distressed mum. We are all keeping our fingers crossed it will work out.It is not always successful so it has to be very carefully done.Little Celt, our last foal was lucky, his new mum took to him very quickly but sometimes the mare continues to search for her own familiar offspring.
The National Foaling Bank has been uniting orphans and bereaved mares for many years and it is wonderful to have this to turn to but I must say that I have been horrified at the number of mares dying after giving birth and coupled with the knowledge that so many ponies are surplus to requirements and face an untimely end I feel that the situation is way out of control,it seems like everyone who owns a mare is compelled to breed from her. I wish they could think about the sheer numbers of unwanted foals/ponies/horses sold for meat every week in the Uk alone.

There has been so much going on with the horse side of things that I have not mentioned the cats so much but at the moment all is ok on that side with the exception of the lack of good homes being offered.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

They arrive and we take another orphaned foal

The ponies arrived this afternoon, they had all been given pain killers to make them more comfortable throughout the journey, however it was a slow process moving them from the transporter into the stables.Our Vet will come out to see them tomorrow, I am still worried about a couple of them in particular the small grey mare and the black gelding, both of which have swollen joints and are barely able to walk.They are all settled together in our barn and seem to be unpeturbed by their move to unfamiliar surroundings.The black and white gelding Dylan is obese, I have never seen such an unfit pony, he is not yet as lame as the others so we may have caught him in time but he desperately needs to be on a diet for the sake of his health.
The cows and sheep will be moving to their new home at Lesley Coopers sanctuary in West wales, this Thursday.The driver of the horse transporter today could not understand why the cows and sheep were going to a sanctuary, to put it his way they were so fat I could have got hundreds of pounds for them at slaughter!!!!!Their owner did not rescue them for them to be slaughtered but farmers and rescue shelters have different attitudes towards animals and that will never change.In his favour he was very kind to the ponies loading them on and off his vehicle and was not in any way harsh in his treatment of them.
This morning I received a call from my sister who in turn had spoken to someone about an orphaned foal in this area. Another mountain pony has died giving birth to her foal so we are waiting for the 3 weeks old foal to arrive.It upsets me greatly to think so many of these ponies are dying with no veterinary attention.There seems little or nothing can be done as they give birth on the mountains and nobody is around to help! I must speak to the RSPCA about this situation though have little hope that anyhting can be done to resolve the problem.So - More sleepless nights ahead.
One kitten rehomed today, one down 25 to go!!

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Friday, 20 June 2008

59 Animals to be rescued.

This week has been mainly involved with the need to find room and other shelters to help with many animals on a property on Anglesey.Their owner has been very ill and has had to leave to live with relatives.The animals were left with nobody to care for them after Monday at which time the relatives staying in the house had to go home to the London area to resume their own lives. Today a vet is going out to check the 8 ponies which much to my horror were in a very poor state, two were so crippled with laminitis they were barely able to walk!It was very distressing to see them struggling. I am hoping that the vet will think there is hope for them if they are given the right care but I fear at least 2 are too far advanced with the discease.There are also 8 cows and 38 sheep! All of these are rescued animals and after their TB tests they will be going to live at a shelter in West Wales who have the facilities to take them on.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Jessie finds a home and we find a new homechecker.

Little Jessie has gone to a new home and I know she will give loads of pleasure to Cheryl and her family and Cheryl who lives in Anglesey has also agreed to be a horse homechecker for the charity(well actually I somewhat coerced her into it but I THINK she was happy about it?)We need people with experience of horses to do this all over North Wales and Anglesey is a place where we home many of our equines.
A scary moment occurred today when new dog Flossie did a runner! Fortunately I caught up with her before she left the property.We are not really geared up for taking in dogs here which is why Rosie fosters most of them, however she is away this weekend doing her agility shows with her collies so there was nowhere for Flossie to go until she returns. Poor Floss is very scared, she is such a sweet natured dog, very gentle and quiet, she is brightenening up but is still very nervous.From now on she will have to be kept on a lead - even though the yard gate was closed a determined animal can always manage to find an escape route and she was clearly determined.
One kitten has gone, the tortoishell female, hopefully the others will find homes soon, when they grow into the lanky stage nobody seems to want them.A feisty young tabby was admitted, like so many cats, he is affectionate when it suits him and strikes out when it doesnt! He will not be an easy one to rehome.He is called Jordan after the people who found him and not after the well endowed female of celebrity status! When he is neutered it is possible his temperament improve.
Volunteers came up today and helped with the grooming of some of the ponies but overall it was quiet, too quiet, we need to find some cat homes, we are almost full and so many calls are coming through about stray and unwanted cats.Tomorrow I am picking up a mum and 4 kittens which have been born in the grounds of a local hotel.I hope mum is domestic and not feral which will cause a problem. I cannot contain a feral cat for the next few weeks until her babies are old enough to be weaned.They go beserk cooped up in catpens.Our policy is to wait until the babies are weaned and then take them and trap mum to get her spayed and release back to her home territory.Of course not everyone is willing to take the cats back, even once they are spayed and unable to produce more offspring.Our feral cat enclosure is full to capacity and homes for them thin on the ground even in this rural area.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Anybody for a cat who talks?

Some cats come in and go out to homes almost immediately, others seem to stick.There seems to be no particular pattern to it.Obviously the older ones dont find homes easily but nobody has looked at Simba, a handsome cross Bengal cat and I really thought he would go straight away.Perhaps the fact he is quite vocal has put prospective owners off him? Orientals or even crosses can be quite attention seeking and not everyones cup of tea.It is quiet at the moment, not many vistors at all, perhaps people are planning their summer holidays and waiting until they return to look for new pets.
Big Murphys homecheck passed and he too has gone off to a new home. Now all the big horses have been rehomed and it seems very strange without them.
Kittens are beginning to come in to the shelter, a pregnant mum cat admitted just days ago, has given birth to five yesterday and we have another 2 litters of youngsters arriving today.A lady rang this morning to report her cat missing, her 5 years old cat is an unneutered male!How many unwanted kittens has this cat fathered!
It takes me all my time to remain calm when I speak to irresponsible people.I find it hard to understand why cats are not neutered when nowadays there are organisations which provide financial assistance to spay/neuter.Sometimes people say they did not know this, but all it takes is picking up the telephone , ring a vet or rescue centre to find out! Its not difficult. When every rescue centre is overloaded each year with hundreds of kittens, it can be very frustrating taking calls like the one I mentioned.Unfortunately this happens all the time, with other animals also.If I ever won the lottery I would open a neutering clinic in North Wales. Oh well, I can but dream!
Had a call from the lady who has taken Murphy, he has settled in well and is following her around the stable yard, this is what Murphy enjoyed, the individual attention, I have a feeling he will be just fine.
My fellow trekker to Peru, and advisor to Freshfields, Barry has been in hospital with a suspected stroke, and although now at home, is still not back to normal so this a very worrying time.He chairs the Trustee meetings and does innumerable things to help the shelter. Like so many of us he does too much and forgets to take care of himself. So it looks like I will be trekking on my own, not to worry there are others raising money for their own charities and one woman is raising funds for another animal charity so at least she and I will have something in common to chat about on the long walks! I hope Barry will take this time to rest and be back to his usual self before too long though he will be very disappointed about the trek,it has long been his ambition to see the Inca ruins at Maccu Picchu.
Another unwanted farm collie has just arrived from the Powys area. Flossie is 7 years old, past her best and now homeless.It always distresses me to see the bewildered look on a dogs face when it first arrives at the shelter and Flossie was no exception. They look fearfully around trying to take in the new surroundings and the farm dogs are almost always particularly subdued. It will not be long before her tail comes up and her eyes brighten when she realises that we are not so bad here, in fact compared to what she has been used to it will seem pretty good.I love to see the change in these dogs, it makes the work seem worthwhile.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

A dog called Jessie and 4 new ponies.

No sooner had our lovely foal gone to his new mum and we breathed a sigh of relief that things would be back to normal(ish)our 4 new ponies arrived.Their owner came with them and it was very sad to see her distress at parting with them, after all they had been with her since foals and they are all now in their twenties.Luckily they settled in very quickly and have continued to graze calmly.Their field, however is due to be de-weeded so they will have to move to another for the time being.I cant see any problems occurring, they are nice socialised animals thanks to the care they have received during their lifetime.From left to right are 23 years old palamino mare Marcasite, grey gelding Starlight,chestnut mare Solitaire and last but not least Carousel who is a lovely bright bay mare.
I have also agreed to take an elderly mare in her thirties whose owner has died, there is nobody to care for the pony at her Anglesey home, she should be arriving later this week.
We are looking for a home for a lovely little 8 years old female dog called Jessie, her owner is moving abroad, she is a lovely dog who is good with cats, dogs, children etc. A perfect dog really- but will her age put people off? I hope not, I would love to see her find a home quickly before she becomes too settled in at the shelter.Personally I love the older dogs, they are generally easier to look after and although pups are cute, they are a great deal of work.The only young dog I have given a home to over the years has been Molly the Great Dane and I must say that although I love her dearly she can be a bit of a handful especially when out walking and she decides to grab hold of my sleeve and swing me round by it.So many times she has humiliated me in front of disapproving dog owners whose dogs are perfectly trained and who are obviously thinking(quite rightly) that my dog is completely out of control. My staff constantly remind me of the hilarious time that they all fell about laughing whilst watching me carry a duvet to the caravan where someone was coming to stay.Why is that funny? Well Molly had other ideas what to do with a lovely clean white duvet!! The sleeve game is good but the duvet game even better and yes she took hold of it and my attempts to get it away just made her more enthusiastic and yes she swung me round and round until redfaced and exhausted I gave up all hope of supplying the visitor with fresh bedding and retreated empty handed leaving Molly with her new toy.Of course she then totally lost interest but it was too late - the duvet was a goner! So I love dogs like Jessie, 8 is a great age for a dog, past the puppy stage, still active but not too mad, past the chewing stage , no house training to do, what more could one ask? Actually though, now I think of it Molly has turned 8 this year, shouldnt she have calmed down by now? I think those disapproving dog owners have a point,I am quite clearly a failure at dog training.

Monday, 2 June 2008

They have bonded!

Its worked! The above photo shows Celt and Flossie together.Ann tells me that she is now protective of him and watching over him, he is suckling from her and happy to have a mum to snuggle up to in his new stable.We are all absolutely thrilled for them both.This is what he really needed.The Daily Post have been to see him in his new surroundings and there will be a feature tomorrow I believe.Check out their website, if you cant get hold of a copy.
Now we can all get back to a normal routine.
We have a new rabbit in, a lovely longhaired black and white speckled female, very pretty and friendly for a change though the poor thing has been incarcerated in a small hutch for a long time so she is quite dispirited at the moment.Im sure after afew days, she will be running and junping round her enclosure, animals kept without exercise in small cages tend to become institutionalised after a period of time and this one is 3 years old, seems her owner lost interest and no longer bothers letting her out/cleaning her hutch.At least the girls mother did the right thing by handing bun over to the shelter. I do not know how anyone can walk past a caged animal without feeling overwhelmed with pity, do they not see their distress? Do they care? Sadly I doubt it. Anyway this lovely rabbit will now have a good life and one where she will have constant exercise if she so chooses.
Tomorrow will be very busy, we have the farrier and the equine dentist paying their regular visit to check out the feet and teeth of all our horses and ponies.It will be all hands on deck to help.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

A surrogate mum called Flossie

Thanks to the Daily Post newspaper who published an article appealing for a surrogate Mum for our orphaned foal(now named Celt) we have found a mare in Anglesey who had just lost her own foal.Flossie is a beautiful thorougbred exracehorse who has been very distressed at the loss of her own baby, it is early days yet, introducing them is not easy but Flossie owner is experienced and is hopeful mare and foal will form a bond eventually.Until then they have to be watched and they will not be left alone together - Celt has a little pen made up in the corner of Flossies stable and he has already enjoyed several drinks from her.We are all keeping our fingers crossed for them both.If it works, Celt will stay with her until weaned, he will then return to the shelter.
Caring for him has been a real learning curve, all our foals have arrived here with their mothers, it has been a tense and tiring but interesting experience. We will most certainly feel more prepared if we take in such a newborn again.
I was away for 2 days attending my nieces wedding in Wolverhampton, it was good to hear that 2 dogs had been rehomed whilst I was away and also 2 cats including Sam the old cat whose owner had died in Bangor. I am so pleased for the old cat, he really missed his home comforts.The Aberystwyth kittens have come in, really pretty little things with a dainty tortoishell/white mum.Another litter of kittens was brought in, their mum had been killed on the road, they are only 4 weeks old and are being fostered along with another litter of the same age.Mion who is a volunteer at our Porthmadog shop has become the person we turn to when we have kittens too young for rehoming,She does a great job with them all.
I have just heard we have received a £10,000 grant for replacing the old stable block which was pulled own last year.What great news,I think I might go for shetland pony stables so the little ones can look out over the doors, at the moment the shetlands cannot see over as the doors are too high.
There are 2 homechecks in the offing for Rocky and Murphy the biggest horses here,if they are successful we will miss them, they are both lovely natured horses but there are always others waiting for a place here and the charity policy is to always try to find homes for those animals which are young enough to adapt easily to a new environment.The 4 new ponies arrive on wednesday and they will become permanent residents due to the fact they are in their twenties and their owner has expressed a wish that they remain in our care.Christine is very distressed at having to part with her beloved animals but her age and ill health has forced her to make this decision.
Just heard Rockys homecheck has passed, I am both glad and a bit tearful, Rocky is one of my favourites but it is a good home and quite local so it will be easy to pop round to see him from time to time.