Monday, 28 July 2008

Shy Polly finds a home

Another hot day for the animals. Pictured are Dusty and Daisy the new Lionhead rabbits, they are dear little creatures and Earl is delighted with his new pals.The rabbits which came in together last week are doing well with the exception of the little black female with Glaucoma.It looks likely she will lose an eye.
Yippee - a cat was rehomed today and another going tomorrow, is this a sign of things picking up? I sincerely hope so, I always start to worry when there is such a lull in the cat homing side of things although I do tend forget that it is always like this summer time.The cat going tomorrow is Polly a little black cat who is very shy and does not sell herself to visitors.At last someone has seen past this and offered her a home.Polly is a lovely little cat and has been here over 6 months, prior to that she had been with a few others kept in a shed for 2 years.Unbelievable but true.Her companions went quickly but because Polly is retiring and stays in the background she has hardly been noticed. I am so pleased for her.
The farrier came again today and after discussing the xrays of the horses feet he was not optomistic though felt Tanya was slightly improved.We have decided to give Judy and Tanya just a little longer to see if there is more improvement but it has been decided thatI will make the decision to let them go if after another few weeks there is not much change in their condition.I will not allow them to carry on if there is no chance of them having a pain free existence in the near future.That would be totally unacceptable. Although I knew the owner and had always regarded her as an animal lover I now feel anger towards her, anger that she was too stubborn and self righteous to take advice when these ponies began to go lame.I am sorry that she is now ill having had a series of strokes which I would not wish on anybody but I cannot help but feel bitter when I look at these ponies suffering and they are so young, the oldest is only 11 years.At least there is a change for the good in Dylan, Blue, Copper and Bobby.Judy, Shane and Rusty need a great deal more veterinary care.Of course Tanya came from a different home, her elderly owner apparently adored her and had kept her for years on his farm but at some stage her hooves had been amateurishly cut causing her untold damage /It is not enough to keep an animal and profess to love it By not giving it correct veterinary, farrier and dental care that is an act of cruelty.Cruelty comes in all forms and neglect of a horses basic needs is just as bad as withholding food and water.It causes pain, suffering and an early death in many cases. Sorry to rant, I feel upset today

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Spot the Dog.

Yesterday the two remaining pigs still had not touched their food - a sure sign something serious is going on. The vet came out, took the temperature of one which was normal, the other pig did a runner, broke through his enclosure and hotfooted it up the horses field.He was rounded up and returned to his own field, very bad tempered at this disruption to his daily routine and the indignity of being herded back. Today both pigs are back to normal, eating happily and behaving, well, like pigs.
Today was too hot for the animals but great for me, I can stand any amount of hot weather but the dogs on particular found it hard going;Pictured above Molly trying to find somewhere cool to lie in the garden.First choice was the Weeping Willow but that for some reason proved unsatisfactory to her, so she then went to the top of the garden(its on two levels) and settled down under the tree.
Two new female rabbits arrived today, only 6 months old they are Lionhead rabbits(i will post a picture tomorrow) and they are getting on fine with little Earl the neutered male so he has company at last, the only problem is finding a home willing to take on three and one of the new ones has a problem with her teeth which grow at a fantastic rate and need trimming every 8 weeks.
Donald and Dennis Ducks went today - to my neighbours who live next door(no, not the nasty one) They will join a couple of geese and hens and will have their own pond.I was becoming very fond of them and was beginning to work out where i could build a pond and secure a safe area for them so I am glad they have gone to someone I know will care for them .
It has been a very quiet weekend for cats , nothing rehomed at all although someone did visit and promise to return tomorrow with his wife.Heres hoping they do.I spent a few hours tidying up the yard, pulling up the grass growing between the concrete, a boring, backbreaking task but it looks so much tidier .Roy, the manager of the Caernarfon charity shop turned up and helped which made the job easier.He has promised to paint the tractor which is looking very old and shabby so if you are reading this Roy, Im holding you to that!

Friday, 25 July 2008

William sends me to Coventry Part 2

As you can see from the photo William is still unhappy with me. What a look of reproach!
We have lost one of the pigs, he went off his food, the vet came and gave him an antibiotic injection, this morning he was dead .He was such a big potbellY that we had to call in the local farmer to move him, 4 of us couldnt budge him an inch.Poor old pigwig, there are now 2 left so will need to keep an eye on them as the vet did not know what was wrong with the one which died ,I think it was the change of weather but he was quite old so could be anything.Pigs are not as hardy as they look and can go off so quickly.Just days ago they were all enjoying their favourite food -bananas.. If the other two go off their food Ill have to call out the vet again.
I had a phone call from someone offering us 40 bales of hay free of charge so have been ringing people to try and get it collected from Anglesey.The farmer who just helped with the pig and who also does building work for the shelter has just offered to collect it for us, also free of charge.As good quality hay is now £4.50 a bale, this will be a great saving for us. Its good to know there are people out there willing to help.Good things DO happen occasionally in shelters, just not as often as we would like.
We have also been offered free grazing for a couple of our ponies so am going out to check the fields over the next few days.We often get offered grazing but I dont usually accept because if there is nobody available to do daily checks on the ponies it is not suitable.In this case the lady who offered is happy to check and care for them whilst they are there.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

William sends me to Coventry

I am becoming ragwort obsessed!Everywhere I go I am searching for it, I can now spot it a mile away(well not exactly a mile away, more like yards)Thanks debbie for letting me know that DEFRA can issue an enforcement notice on the owner of a ragwort filled field so I will take that route.It may or may not be too late for the pony in the field but something has to be done to let the owner know that this is not acceptable.
The ponies had their xrays today and the results are not good at all.It may be that Judy and Tanya may have to be euthanased.I will seek a second opinion for my own peace of mind and make the decision within the next few days.
The rabbits are all back from their neutering operations and are fine, pictured above are Lipsy and Morgan, we are very quickly becoming overrun with them so desperately need to find some good homes.
My faithful companion William has had a dental today and is currently not "speaking" to me,I have been sent to Coventry.The ignominy of having to spend a night in a cage at the vets has mortified him, he is VERY VERY displeased with me! I can only wait until he forgives me for this heinous crime. Its a big relief that he is Ok, he must be 13 or 14 now and its always a worry when an elderly pet needs an anaesthetic.Even just one evening away and I missed him so much, I am so used to him being around me and travelling everywhere with me, he is like my shadow.
A few more kittens have been rehomed and a couple of adults but have just heard one fo the adults has gone missing.This is something which really upsets me.It was a genuine accident but after caring for a cat for so long only for this to happen is very upsetting.Sometimes I wish I could keep them all here safe from harm but it is totally unrealistic.I can only hope he will turn up soon.
The planning dept have been after my planning application was received.I have put in for plans to improve and streamline the cattery and add an extension to the house which is very small.We need a staff room as currently they use an old caravan for their tea breaks and it is on its last legs.They seemed reasonably amenable but time will tell.I am quite sure my delightful(not) neighbour will have already placed an objection with them! From something which was said at this meeting I also gathered he had made some more complaints about my dogs barking. He has already been instrumental in closing the 5 kennels we had and stopped me taking in dogs here, he most certainly is Not going to be successful getting me to part with my own dogs, however hard he tries. Watch this space for the next move from the council.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

I missed the Liverpool Open Day.

Well I have decided all bunnies except the frail one with Glaucoma are going in tomorrow to be neutered.There are not going to be enough homes available for A litter of babies. There are 5 here now and in spite of advertisements there have been no enquiries and have received an email today asking me to take on 2 more(lionhead rabbits)One of these has teeth which grow too quickly and need regular attention so they will not be too easy to rehome.
Bonnie the foxhound will have to go for another check up, her skin looks inflamed again, it look as though this will be a recurring condition, she is such a wonderful natured dog, so amiable but still very very nervous of strangers especially men.As she is quite clearly an ex working hound this does not surprise me, I have seen first hand the way they are treated and if the things I have seen happened to a family pet the RSPCA would be called in immediately.Foxhounds know no affection,they are a commodity to be used and discarded (usually shot)when no longer agile enough to work or breed.Bonnie is one of the lucky ones, she is so happy pottering around here with the other dogs.
The Liverpool shelter had its Open day Sunday, unfortunately I developed a migraine and was unable to attend, usually we have a stall there to promote this shelter so it was disappointing to say the least.I had spent hours printing our Sponsor a Pony leaflets and making display boards depicting scenes from the shelter and many of our animals here.Anyway it seems it was successful and the sun stayed out and the rain stayed away. Nice people from Criccieth are having a Garden party Open day for us on the 16th August so hopefully local animal lovers will be able to attend and show their support.This time we WILL have a stall so the display boards will find a use after all.Contact me for directions.
The Peru Trek is creeping nearer and nearer, I still have money to raise to make it worthwhile, the training is doing ok, I go twice a week to Kickboxing classes at the Martial Arts Academy in Caernarfon and exercise at home but I do need a few more trips up Snowdon to get me used to long hours of walking.
I have found and identified another wild flower - this one goes by the name of Stinking Bob!!!!! There is loads of it round here and I have never noticed it before, apparently it is a type of geranium.Who names them I wonder? Brilliant isnt easy to remember.
A few days ago I passed a field in bangor which has a shetland pony grazing in it, the entire field was covered with the dreaded ragwort.I cant believe that any horse owner is not aware of the potentially fatal effect this weed can have on equines.Every time I walk the dogs I find a few more clumps on the fields and always return with an armful.How can this owner visit her pony and not do anything about it? I have informed the RSPCA but dont know if they will act on such a report though it is tantamount to neglect.I hope they are able to do something, there appears to be nobody living close by so could be a problem tracing the owner.
We are waiting for the horse vet to come out and xray the feet of the worst of the laminitic ponies.This needs to be done before the next farrier visit which is next Monday.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

The Teenagers bid for freedom. and a Lost dog.

Part of the wall running alongside our track to the house has collapsed and we have had to have extensive work done to make the area safe again, unfortunately this entailed 2 fields being without fencing for a few days.Although we kept the ponies off these fields, through the night the young ponies (known as the teenagers) managed to open the gate leading into one of these fields and decided to make a bid for freedom.Their little jaunt out took them into the village and so it was all hands on deck to round them up before an accident occurred, my heart was in my mouth until they were all safely back in their field.We managed to get headcollars on 2 and the others meekly followed.They seemed glad to be back and galloped up the field to the water containers.Its thirsty work rampaging round strange gardens! Pictured above Marigold, the Leader of the Gang!
The remaining 4 rabbits are fine, there have been no more casualties though they are NOT all males as we were told. In fact there are 2 females, 2 males and as all had been mixed prior to arriving here, that means baby bunnies in the offing which I am very unhappy about.It is hard enough to rehome rabbits, there are 5 adults here now and that in itself will be difficult.2 litters will be a nightmare.
Old Tanya has had an an antibiotic injection from the vet to help clear the infection she has in her feet and today she is walking far better.
Someone turned up with a dog which had been living rough for several days, Rosie has promised to foster him when she gets back from holiday tomorrow.He is a well cared for, neutered male terrier cross so maybe the owner will turn up for him.I hope so as he seems over interested in the cats.
The grant we received for mobile stables has now been used up and in return we have the best mobile stables I have yet seen,I was so impressed with the company, based in Ruthin, their men worked non stop all day to erect them and what a good job they made of it. It was a pleasant change from many of the companies i have used for various work at the shelter. I am tired of workmen who do a few hours, disappear and return days later!! Work which should take 2 days turns into a 3 week job. These men were a credit to their company, I cant recommend them highly enough.So if anyone is thinking of having shelters contact me for details.Ill post a photo of them (the mobile stables, not the men) over the next few days.

Monday, 14 July 2008

The Problem with Rabbits!

I was very upset this morning when Gail, one of the staff here found one of the rabbits dead in his pen.There was no mark on him, no sign of any problems and he had been eating well so I Decided to take them all to the vet today for a check up.The vet could find nothing wrong and felt the bun died from stress! I dont know how true that is, its a possibility of course but I am now extremely anxious about the remaining 4. If another dies in this way I will have to get some tests done, I am dreading tomorrow in case another goes.My friend Pat wrote a marvellous book called The problem with Rabbits and I searched high and low for my copy but could I find it?I couldnt even find Pats phone number - is this the first sign of old age? I dont remember being this forgetful years ago.Anyhow, I rang Lyn at Freshfields Liverpool, she has been looking after rabbits for years, I on the other hand have completely forgotten all I ever learned as I have been away from rabbit rescue for many years and the odd one or two which land up here have been healthy.Her advice was very helpful and hopefully once I have had them vaccinated against myxamotosis, they can be put on the waiting list to go to the Liverpool shelter, unless of course I find some good homes in this area.
The vet is coming out here tomorrow to see the horses so will ask him to bring some myx vaccine with him.Vanessa and Mei think that the bay pony Shane iseems to be walking a little more comfortably, I hope so as he has been in a lot of discomfort.Mei has discovered a new product (well, new to me anyway) via the internet, a paste called Lamisoothe used for horses joint problems and laminitis.Its worth a try but is a 24 day course so will not show immediate results
There was a nice comment on my last entry here but I dont know how to reply so if Sara from Lytham reads this please ring me on 01286 880808 and have a chat.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

First time out for 3 of the Anglesey ponies.

The kittens are going out slowly but surely, but still no homes for the adults.Even after years doing this work, I still feel upset seeing the same cats here month after month.We have so many beautiful cats here but its always the same, when there are so many kittens available , the rehoming of adults slows to a halt.
We put the three healthiest Anglesey ponies out for the first time yesterday.They are still unable to be put on grass but at least they had some fresh air in our "laminitic" paddock , so callled because it has a covering of wood bark which is easy for lame horses to walk on.They clearly enjoyed themselves and spent a lot of time communicating with Sam and Murphy shetlands who were in the adjoining field.I have just heard that the people who were to have Sam and Murphy have backed out so I am very disappointed but there will be someone out there for them.I think people expect our horses to be free but we ask a one off donation which helps pay for the massive bills we have.Horses are expensive to keep and I dont think it is unreasonable to ask £350 for 2 young ponies.I think I will contact a few other shelters and compare this with others.I dont want to lose homes for them but on the other side I want people to be able to afford to keep them and we need some sort of income to help pay our own bills.
Five rabbits have been brought in to us, all are males which will have to be neutered and most are underweight, one with an eye infection.We struggled to find accommodation for them as we are not geared up for bunnies and other small animals.Currently they are sharing one of the old dog kennels and we are rotating them for exercise.They were removed from a farm where other animals were also showing signs of neglect, these have been reported to the RSPCA.Heres hoping they do something!
I want the Vet to visit tomorrow to look at some of the horses again.2 of the Anglesey ponies need to be checked and Old Tanya is moving very badly, I feel she is not improving as I would have hoped and I feel pessimistic about her future.i hope I am wrong.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Another trip to vet for Holly

A few more kittens have gone but as quickly as they went more came in, we have taken in 18 kittens over the past two days! Some years we seem to have only black or black and whites but this year there is a multitude of colours and some very beautiful ones.Looks should not be important when choosing an animal but unfortunately it appears to be very important to many of our visitors so a selection means they are more likely to find homes easily.Imagine if human beings were all put up for adoption and only the good looking ones were homed, how many of us would end up in institutions? Doesnt bear thinking about does it?
Our old cat Trevor was Put to sleep yesterday, he had started to go off his food and become very slow, his heart was failing and he no longer enjoyed his life.He had a good 18 months of life here with his companion Tomas.Tomas is doing well at the moment but he also is an old chap and not as active as he used to be.
This year is flying by, I have just realised our Open Day in Liverpool is only a short way off(the 20th)it does not seem a year since the last one.I am often asked when I will have an open day here but I dont feel we are ready for one just yet. When the cattery is improved, then I will think about it.Maybe next year or the one after that.I will definitely have one in the not too distant future.
Yesterday I took Holly in for a dental, Holly is the tortoishell cat who lost both ears to a disease and then lost an eye so she has really been in the wars and was clearly none too keen on this visit to the vet. Her looks seemed to put people off and even though she is a real character with a lovely personality nobody looked twice at her.Eventually I decided to let her stay, she now sleeps on my bed!
I had a chat with one of the Vets about the two ponies Shane and Judy, neither of whom seem to be benefitting from their treatment, he suggested xraying their feet to see hwat is going on there,and another possibility is to fit mouldable shoes onto them which may ease their discomfort - when horses suffer from neglected feet and/or laminitis , they are often forced to walk in an unnatural position as it is too painful for them to place their feet flat on the floor.
I had a disturbing phone call yesterday from someone who took on a horse a short time ago only for her to die this week from Liver failure.It seems ragwort posioning is the most likely cause of this as it has a cumulative effect on the liver which can result eventually in an untimely death.I feel somewhat responsible for this persons distress as I had passed on the details of this horse which was on a waiting list to come to the shelter.I wonder if its possible the previous owner was aware of this problem? Unfortunately we are not always told the truth about the animals we are asked to take and very often we discover major problems when we admit them.
The good news of the week is that Sam and Murphy our young shetland ponies are going to a new home and the same people are taking the ducks and the rabbit.We are waiting for them to build a shelter for the ponies anmd then they will all be off to live on a very nice place near the sea in Anglesey.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

The Bog Woppets.

The newspaper article did the trick and 4 kittens were found homes today,I hope the momentum continues through the week.I thought there was a home for the two ducks but it turned out they thought they were females so cannot add males to their existing group.I cant for the life of me remember what a group of ducks is called, I know a gaggle of geese but what are ducks?
Some of the old resident cats are looking distinctly frail nowadays,I fear several will go in the next few months.This is the part I hate about taking in elderly animals though I would not have it any other way.These animals are the needy ones and they so enjoy their lives here,its wonderful seeing them all lazing about in the sun(when we have it!) and it never fails to amaze me how even the doddery ones find a new surge of energy when the food gets put down.If they can have an extra year living in this rural cat idyll then its worth it.What always surprises me is how they settle so quickly when I release them, its as though they realise immediately that this is Ok, that there will be a never ending supply of food, warmth and comfort.
The work has started preparing the ground for the new mobile stables which will be used for the little group of elderly black shetland ponies, Noddy,Maggie,Connie,leroy and Grandad or as the farrier calls them "The Bog Woppets".(no idea why, I presume it must be a lancashire or Yorkshire term!) The doors will be lower so they will be able to see over, at the moment their stable doors are too high though it is unlikely little Noddy will be able to see out even with the new doors, he is far too small.Noddy has been in our care since he was 8 years old, he came from Derbyshire, his owner had lost her home through bankruptcy and she was worried the Bailiffs would take her pony.He had lived in her garden and was entire (a stallion)so was a miniature hellraiser for the first year and terrorised many of the staff including me but now he is a little old man well into his thirties and as gentle as can be.His girlfriend Maggie came to us from Bangor after her companion died from people throwing food into their field,(such a dangerous thing to do), Connie came from a wildlife shelter in Gloucester who could no longer care for her,Leroy was a rescue from the horse sales in the shetland isles and Grandad came from Liverpool where he was rescued from a life of neglect. Our horses come from all over the Uk though I have taken in more from Merseyside than any other area.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

An email from California.

I received an email today from a friend in California, Katy has ponies of her own and also helps at a horse rescue. Recently a raging fire threatened to engulf her home and she was allowed to leave work to go and rescue her ponies.After moving them to a place of safety she was told the fire had spread to the vicinity of the Horse rescue so she and her husband jumped in their van to go and help but were held back by firefighters.I can just imagine her feeling of panic and distress, however after some time she discovered that all the horses had been moved out safely so she stayed to help with others whose homes and animals were in danger. She helped rescue some LLamas though sadly some did perish, along with some domestic pets.Several people lost their homes before the fire was put out but fortunately when Katy returned to her own home it was still standing and intact.
It made me realise how terrifying such a situation could be and that we should have an emergency plan for evacuation should any kind of catastrophe occur.That is top of my agenda this week.
We all continue to be concerned over Shane who seems to be in more discomfort with his feet than the other Anglesey ponies, even the little grey mare Judy seems a little more mobile and she was particularly bad when she arrived, in fact she was the one I felt may not survive.We are going to try another supplement in his feed to see if that helps.
The Bangor Chronicle publishes an article about our large number of kittens needing homes and we have had several calls so I am hopeful some will go this weekend.
A small piece about the planning application I have put in to the Council was featured in the local newspaper so I should hear fairly soon whether it has been approved or not. I have sent in an overall plan of how I want to improve the shelter, starting with the old cattery being pulled down and rebuilt and the same with the other old wooden buildings. I have doubts about it being passed but I have to start somewhere if the shelter is to stay here amd the facilities improved.At the moment I feel uncomfortable showing people around, its always clean but it looks shabby.I so envy the state of the art shelters which belong to the national organisations with unlimited funds. Oh well I can but dream!

Thursday, 3 July 2008

The farrier is shocked.

The farrier Frazer came today to see to the feet of the 8 Anglesey ponies and Tanya.He was shocked at the state of them all, so much so that he took photographs before he worked on them.All will need more work doing, they were too bad to do all at one go.Todays treatment alone cost £320 and there will be a lot more to be spent on them before they are walking correctly on well trimmed feet.Even with the little improvement made today they will all be feeling more comfortable but they must still have box rest for some time to come.Pictured above are 2 of the popnies Shane and Copper.
A couple of kittens went to homes today but the adult cats are just not moving.I have been asked to take so many more cats and there just isnt the room at the moment.Flossie was spayed today, ready to go to her new home tomorrow and I also had a stray ferret neutered which Roy from the Caernarfon shop had found and is fostering until a home can be found with another ferret.They are such social animals, like rabbits it is unkind to condemn them to a solitary life.Ferrets always had a bad press with most people thinking they were useful only for hunting rabbits and this was the only reason we were ever asked for them.They used to be very hard to home until the Pet rescue programmes on television showed them as lively and affectionate pets.Since then ferrets have become more popular with families who just want them as pets and we are able nowadays to place them in decent pet homes where they get the attention and care they deserve.
I have begun to identify some of the wild flowers growing here, including the brilliantly named Prunella Vulgaris!! How great is that name?For the uninitiated this is a small purple flower which grows out of a small poker like head.I am not good at descriptions Im afraid but it is commonly known as self heal! I was also able to identify red and white valerian which was growing outside a friends house, as valerian is commonly used in calming pills and potions , I felt inclined to gather a bunch to boil up in a witches brew to keep me sane! I refrained only because I was scared I had misidentified it or that it had to be somehow diluted and I would end up poisoning myself )Death by Valerian!
Donald and Dennis Ducks have been offered a home so will be going this weekend but Earl Bunny is still here, I must take a better photo and publicise him more.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Buddy has a home

I had just asked someone at my Liverpool shelter whether they could take Buddy and lo and behold that day a family came and fell in love with him.So, pending a homecheck Buddy will be off to his new home very soon.Poor Buddy has not had much of a life until he came here,his owners never exercised him and then wondered why he kept escaping from the garden.He is no trouble here, he loves the fields to run and play in and his greatest enjoyment in life is his rubber Kong.He will love the attention of the familys teenage boys.He is not the prettiest dog in the world but he makes up for it with character.
Today had some visitors from Liverpool who have a dog from the liverpool shelter,its always nice to see supporters who are here on holiday.many are surprised when they see our Porthmadog shop with the Freshfields Animal Rescue sign, they dont realise we are so near to Porthmadog.
The Equine Dentist came yesterday and to our surprise he told us the Anglesey ponies are younger than we were told.Bobby the shetland is only 5 years of age and the others are aged between 10 and 12 years.He is more accurate with their ages, it is interesting to learn how he is able to do this by the indents and colouring of the teeth.All 7 plus Tanya needed to be anaesthetised for dental treatment.The other surprise was that Tanya is not 35 as first thought but only 24 years old. The vet Dafydd attended in order to administer the anaesthetic and also Im afraid to put to sleep the old German Shepherd Jet whose legs had completely given way. We made him as comfortable as possible and sat with him before the vet did his job and he went peacefully.Never an easy decision to make but he was in great pain and his treatment had failed to work.
A few people came to see cats but went away to think about it, I never expect to see or hear from them again when they say this so hope I am proved wrong this time.
We really need some homes, there are so many on the waiting list to come in.