Thursday, 28 August 2008

A family of Guinea pigs arrive

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

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Homes for kittens at last.

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

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

The little ponies enjoy their new stable

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

Saturday, 16 August 2008

An update on Celt , our orphaned foal.

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

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

More cats, kittens and 2 dogs.

The 2 yorkshire terriers have arrived. After agreeing to take them, nobody called me back to make arrangements but the owners daughter walked into our shop in Machynlleth to say they could not bring them to the shelter.Elinor, who runs the shop with Jennifer, arranged for them to go into a foster home and I collected them on Monday.Barry, who is now hopefully well on the way to recovery from his stroke a few months ago, came with me as we also wanted to look at a possible charity shop in Barmouth. The shop was promising though no firm decision made yet but we returned to North Wales with 2 dogs, 5 kittens and an adult cat! Both litters of kittens were abandoned, the adult is part feral unfortunately so a farm home is needed for her and they are so thin on the ground, most farms already have their quota of cats.
Maggie and Martha the Yorkies are dear sweet natured little dogs who seem used to other dogs and to cats though there seems to be discrepancy with their ages.I was originally told they were 20 and 21 years, Elinor was told they were 9 and 10 but the owners told the foster people the dogs were 19 years and 20 years! *I have been unable to contact them to find out which is correct, nor did they leave any written information, I have no idea if they are spayed, what they like to eat(although they appear to eat anything put in front of them) where they are used to sleeping etc.
As it is One prefers to sleep alone on a chair, the other is more clingy and likes to cuddle up to me on the sofa with the other animals. I dont know which is Maggie and which is Martha though they both respond more to Maggie!
This afternoon someone turned up with a mother cat and her 8 weeks old kitten which he had taken off a neighbour whose children were mishandling them.Rhian went to collect a beautiful grey and white stray cat which looks suspiciously like one of our own rehomed cats though there was no microchip.We are wondering if it was a kitten of ours as we dont microchip the very young ones when they go out to homes. We are checking our records to see if a kitten this colour was rehomed to the area this was found. Another person turned up with a cat taken from a person whose cat had killed their hamster(surely few cats would not do this if given the chance?)The owner threatened to kill the cat if it wasnt taken away immediately - of course no responsibility was taken for the hamster being in the a situation of vulnerability, I know who I feel is most guilty and it is certainly not the cat.Poor little hamster deserved better care.
My passport still has not arrived but after ringing the office I am told that it is being processed and will be with me in the next week. I hope so, I am flying to Peru on 29th of this month so it doesnt leave much time. I dont know which worries me most, being away for 2 weeks or seeing the strays in Peru. Probably the strays, I have been in contact with someone who helps the strays out there and hope to meet up with him in Lima to pass on some wormers and vet products which will be useful to them.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

We have visitors from Liverpool

It has been a very quiet weekend which is just as well because our regular Sunday volunteers were all unable to come today so work took a long time to finish.Fortunately, late morning, Helen our Liverpool manager and her partner came to visit the shelter and both mucked in to help.During the afternoon we had a cat returned which had been rehomed in March. An allergy was the reason given but as the same people returned another cat to us just a week after they took her, I have serious doubts about this! Some people should not have pets.It is so hard to judge total strangers, home checks do not always throw up warning signs at the time and even my highly developed intuition(gained over many years of rehomimg animals)can let me down from time to time. It would be nice to think that anyone who wanted a pet was decent and an animal lover but it is just not the case.
Macy, the returned cat was destined not to stay with us for long, just an hour later she was chosen by a nice family from Criccieth who decided to take her and another of our adult cats.Lucky little Macy.
Someone turned up with a dog they had found last night, a nice dog part collie, part german shepherd I think.As usual no Id, its sometimes easy to tell a genuine stray/abandoned dog due to their condition.This one is borderline, he is neutered which may be a good sign but his coat is scurfy and dull so its anyones guess if he will be claimed.Another part time resident for Rosie.She will keep him a week to see if he is claimed, then we can start to advertise him for a home.
Well, no sooner had I written the above paragraph when the owner of the dog rang so he will be a very short stay dog.It seems he is from a rescue centre and has been very neglected, hence his somewhat dishevelled appearance.Its good to know he will be reunited with his new owners though I will have to tell them off for not having a name and address tag on him!
The baby rabbits seem almost wild, they have not been handled much so need some work doing with them to make them more used to people.
Last night we had to call out the vet to Noddy the little old shetland pony, he was coughing and his breathing was very laboured.Mei and I were worried he had an obtruction in his throat so after he had not improved in an hour we asked the vet to call out - sods law, by the time he arrived Noddy was fine and munching away happily at his hay.Still, with his great age I would rather be safe than sorry.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

We lose Judy and a ferret needs a home

We lost the fight for Judy, the grey mare from the Anglesey ponies.I had been thinking the past week that it was her time but when she suffered a prolapsed rectum yesterday, this served to bring the decision forward.She had been through enough and was not showing signs of improvement.Her poor crippled legs were not getting any better even with regular farrier work, there comes a time when enough is enough.We all felt angry that such a young pony should end up like this, all because of the arrogance and obstinacy of one woman who thought she knew best! The suffering she caused to these ponies is beyond belief, to rescue them in the first place only to put them through this - unbelievable.
Shane , one of the others has more abscesses in his feet so his feet are being treated and padded out each day.The remaining 4 are continuinmg to show great signs of improvement.Also Tanya the old chestnut mare who arrived the same week is improving though not yet able to leave her stable.
6 baby bunnies arrived today, that now makes a total of 13 rabbits we need homes for! A worrying situation, must advertise them next week.
Roy from the Caernarfon shop still has his ferret which we now have had neutered, he would love to keep him but feels he needs to be with other ferrets and he could not cope with the care of them for any length of time.If no home pops up here then he is on the waiting list to go to the Liverpool shelter though I hate to overload them when they are so full of animals.
I have just listened to a message on the answerphone which was so hard to understand i was unable to make out what it was the person wanted rescuing, i could not even make out the phone number, answerphones are useful but are not always clear and if people speak in a low voice its almost impossible to decipher the message. It reminded me of another call which did get through but was equally as confusing.Some years ago when I was in LIverpool,Ann a former trustee of the charity and I were in the office and I answered a call from a distressed lady who needed help.This lady had an animal in her garden and wanted us to go and get it as she was too nervous to venture into her garden whilst it was there. When I asked her what it was she said she did not know so I asked her to describe it. Well, she said, it was about a foot long, the colour of a house brick(red?) had a pointed face, enormous upright ears and long thin back legs like an insect with which
it hopped over her wall! Im sorry to say I collapsed in hysterical giggles and had to pass the phone on to Ann who was also convulsed with laughter.She managed to find out the ladys address and we were about to pay a visit to her when she told us that she saw the creature a week earlier and had not seen it since!! We never did find out what it was but I hope the poor woman overcame her fear and managed to enjoy her garden once more.
Its incidents like the one just mentioned that keep animal welfare people sane, we need relief from the more unpleasant occurrences. When I feel low nowadays I think back to things that have happened which made me laugh and soon I start giggling at some of the absurdities in life.One of the funniest happened when I was with my friend Diane, at a nightclub on Merseyside, however I have to stop here as she would never forgive me should I recount the tale in my blog but suffice it to say that even all these years later it still brings a smile to my face.Thanks Diane!
It is torrential rain today so we are bringing some of the older horses into their stables, the dogs and cats simply decided they did not want to venture outside so all is quiet this afternoon.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

A nicer picture of Charlie.

Stevie, the blind tabby is a lot better today, his middle ear infection seems to be under control and he is managing to sit up straight without losing his balance.His appetite is improving also so I think we are over the worst.
Tilly the new collie has been rehomed already, she is going to be spayed on friday and will be able to recuperate in a nice home rather than a kennel.Nobody yet has taken to little Charlie, once he goes Rosie will foster 2 more collies awaiting a place, unwanted farm dogs again. In the next week I am giving a home to 2 middle aged yorkies whose owners are moving and cant take the dogs with them! They could not be bothered to bring them here so am having to collect them from a foster home in machynlleth area which has been arranged by Elinor who runs our shop there.
.Their daughter contacted me about them, the owners themselves have not bothered to speak to me, enquire as to what I will do with them, where they will be living etc.I find this incomprehensible . After 10 years how could there be so little interes in their future welfare? They can live in the house with my other old yorkie but if anybody is interested in these two girls and can offer a good home I will be happy to do what is best for them.Mind you, I said that about
the last 2 yorkies Suzy and Lucy who were 13 yrs and 14 yrs but there were no takers and I still have Suzy who is now coming up to 15 years of age. What will be will be as the song goes.
There is a brilliant sunset here, the views from the shelter looking across to the sea are quiet spectacular,the evenings are very peaceful and quiet in sharp contrast to the daytime when it can be very busy and bustling with people coming and going.It is nowhere near as hectic as the Liverpool shelter and we have very quiet days when we dont see any visitors but I have become unused to the fastness of activity there, having settled in to the more relaxed way of life in Wales.When I first moved here it would irritate me immensely when I would be stuck behind a vehicle whose driver had pulled up to chat to another driver with total disregard for me who was rushing to get somewhere.Now I find myself doing exactly the same thing!!

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Dylan is taken for a walk and a home for 2 ponies.

Meirwen has taken Dylan the coloured pony, out for a walk, he is a lot better now he has lost some weight, his laminitis is clearing up but he is very lazy and unlike some of the other ponies who race round the field when they are let out,Dylan is more interested in what there is to eat.(pictured above returning from their walk)
It looks like we have a home for Pepsi and Caspar, the welsh ponies who have been with us since they were 10 months.They are now six years old. I will be checking out a home next thursday but hopefully it will be successful and the ponies will find a permanent home(pictured above)
Stevie is still unwell though is drinking and showing a little interest in food though not eating enough.If he is no better tomorrow I am taking him back to the vet for another examination.I feel so helpless watching him trying to keep his balance and of course his blindness makes it that much more bewildering for him.
I have just been interrupted by the most almighty screeching noise, thinking a bird had been caught by one of the cats I rushed out and it was a buzzard circling overhead. There are several buzzards nesting in the vicinity of the shelter and I worry about the old frail cats but apart from one which vanished mysteriously a few years ago, the birds do not generally seem to come close to the house and yard.
Just one kitten has been homed today and Seren a 14 years old black female who has been here quite a while, Im so pleased for her and hope she settles in with the other old cat in her new home. I think I will place an advert in the local paper this week to try and summon some more interest in our cats.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

An anonymous letter stirs up the past.

I found Stevie on the floor this morning, his head right over to one side, he was clearly distressed so rushed him to the vet who diagnosed middle ear infection.Poor cat has been in the wars, can only hope he improves.
The young collie came in to work with Rosie this morning.He is a She called |Tilly, a lovely little dog, shorthaired and dainty and loves the other dogs, she had a marvellous time chasing them round and round the field.Rosie said that her owner had complained that Tilly jumped up at her daughter! What on earth do people expect from a puppy?Do they really expect a pup to stand quietly and not show excitement and more to the point why do they get rid of the animal rather than take her to dog training classes.Such apathy and that dreadful easy come easy go attitude is why so many animals are abandoned once the novelty appeal wears off.I have no doubt Tilly will make the right someone a lovely family pet.There has also been a call from a farmer who wants rid of 2 collies, 8 months and 18 months, neither want to work with the sheep, we need to try and home Tilly quickly so Rosie can foster these 2.
Just had a call about people who have been evicted and left behind 2 mother cats and 7 kittens.we are really full with cats and kittens so have no idea where they can go but clearly they cannot stay where they are.The house is being boarded up as I write this.A worrying situation, so I have made arrangements to go and collect them all, if the worst comes to the worst we will have to set up temporary cages in the caravan(staff tea room) until they can be accommodated in the cattery.
I am worrying that my replacement passport has not arrived and I am off to Peru at the end of this month, there has been a delay with the strike and the passport has not even been processed. They say that a letter has been sent to the person who countersigned my form and photo which was sent on the 22nd but I checked and she has definitely not received it! Is it just me or do other people feel that nothing ever runs smoothly for them?
The nice people who are having an open day at their farm in Criccieth on august 16th, have had an anonymous letter put through their door from someone who is obviously out to shut down the shelter here in Wales.This is the third time this has occurred and resulted in Tescos refusing to allow us to collect petfood in their store. This coward like all cowards does not give the name and address but I have a good idea who it is.In 2002 in Liverpool I took a freshfields dog back from a woman because she had not complied with the criteria we required (the dog was living in a kennel when she had been specifically rehomed to live as a family pet indoors) she subsequently took me to court but the dog was found a better home elsewhere.
The same year I reposessed a staffordshire bull terrier from people who were allowing him to roam the streets, they also took me to court.The judge was duly sympathetic to Freshfields and no action was taken(in either case)against us. It seems as though some people bear a grudge for a very long time because the old newspaper cuttings from 2002 have been sent to anyone trying to help us raise funds for the animals here in Wales.It therefore appears to be a vendetta against myself personally but in the case of Tescos it resulted in the loss of food for the strays of this area.Hardly the action of an animal lover and it only serves to confirm that my decision at the time was correct.
It is likely one of these families now has a caravan in this area, I am sure I know who it is but unlike her I have better things to do with my time and nothing will stop me helping needy animals, however I do feel sorry for her that she has remained so bitter and vindictive over such a long period of time.This sort of thing used to make me very angry, now i see that this kind of behaviour is indicative of someone with an empty unhappy life and is to be pitied.I wonder what other people think? Will some think I am a bad person?

Friday, 1 August 2008

I lose Binks and a blind cat arrives.

I have been in Liverpool for a meeting, to try and find a fundraiser for the charity, something we desperately need.Whilst I was away my beloved cat Binks collapsed and had to be put to sleep.I felt devastated, why do these things seem to happen when I am away?It was not unexpected, she was 18 years old but I had hoped for another month at least.Poor Binks had been an outdoor cat most of her life until she came to me , from them on she shared my bed, always waiting until I stopped tossing and turning and was still,|Only then would she move in to place her paws round my neck and settle down purring loudly.I became so used to it her purring did not bother me.I miss her a great deal already.
On the way back from Liverpool, we stopped to collect a blind tabby cat from A vet Practice in Cheshire.He is pictured above underneath the photo of jacko the blind collie.Stevie(wonder) had been taken in as a stray and as he was neutered and in good condition they hoped an owner would turn up.Nobody did claim him.He may regain some sight as its possible his blindness is due to trauma rather than a degenerative condition, only time will tell.Currently he is asleep on a chair in my living room.He seems a nice cat, friendly and gentle.
Today a farmer brought in 10 kittens, supposedly domestic and 8 weeks! In fact they are part feral and at least 12 weeks! homing 10 kittens more is hard enough but when they are unused to being handled it is a worse nightmare.On the positive side they are all pretty ginger and whites and a couple opf greys which appeal to people.Of course I am also very pleased that they have been brought in for rehoming and even more pleased that the owner took a neutering voucher for the mother cat.Result.If only a few farmers take responsibility for their farm cats it is progress.
Rosie is fostering a young collie brought here yesterday.He is only 8 months old so hopefully she will not have him too long before someone nice comes along for him. I still have Jacko the blind collie, I would love a nice home for him, he is the most wonderful dog, Im so tempted to keep him but I would like a home for him where he can be indoors with the family, somewhere with a nice garden and maybe another dog.He is the most happy dog, we all love him.Pictured above enjoying his exercise.
Someone is coming to see the ponies on Sunday with the view to giving a home to a pair(maybe Pepsi and Caspar, the Welsh Mountain ponies)It would be nice to find a few homes before winter so we are not only comfortable with the number of stables but also to have at least one free for an emergency.