Sunday, 30 November 2008

Cats in the Conservatory

Oh my god its freezing this morning.Everywhere is covered in a layer of frost, the ground was crunching and crackling as I walked the dogs up the fields. They seem to love this type of weather and seem friskier, cant say I feel the same!
Some of the feral cats have moved into the heated conservatory(see photo) with the elderly residents.They know where the best spots are though most prefer to keep out of the way in Kitty Kottage or the other heated shed.
Pip the deaf Jack Russell is still not homed but I have had a few enquiries so I am keeping my fingers crossed for him that someone suitable turns up.Someone caught a dog which had been wandering for about a week, he waas emaciated and extremely scared of everything that moved.His eyes were completely dead of emotion, his body rigid with fear and when anyone tried to pat him he cowered in fear.This is his 4th day and there is a remarkable change already in his demeanour. We have named him Freddy and he has brightened up a great deal and even wagged his tail this morning- his eyes look less dull and fearful which is a wonderful sight.Its a dreadful thing for any creature to feel so scared of people that they are frightened to move or respond to overtures of friendship.I have been reading about the police officer and his police officer partner who have just been in court for cruelty to their two dogs.Having watched the video footage taken by their neighbour,I feel full of anger, what on earth is wrong with society that there is so much violence and cruelty about.If the police are capable of it what hope is there for the rest of society, hardly role models are they?
Grandad one of our elderly shetland ponies has started having fits, the vet has been out before to him when it happened but we thought it was a one off incident. It is quite scary seeing him unable to control his shaking, his legs wobble and he becomes disoriented. He has had two episodes in the past couple of weeks and the vet thinks they will keep occurring so we have to keep a very careful eye on him.Poor old Grandad, he is such a loveable old pony - he was rescued from a horse sale by someone in Liverpool and has lived here happily for several years.Of course its to be expected when we have so many old animals at the shelter but seeing them getting older and developing age related problems or other serious health issues is still upsetting.Grandad is a great favourite of Meirwen though like all of the animals here he is loved by all the staff.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Rusty and Romana settle in their foster home

This week saw the arrival of Rusty and Romana from South Wales.These 2 horses belonged to a lady with MS, her condition was worsening and she was unable to care for them any longer.Rusty the little one is 25 years of age and Romana 20 years.We have been fortunate to find a fosterer who has a wealth of experience with horses, in fact her late husband wrote many books on Equines.Mary has offered to care for them over the winter months until we have space here at the shelter.They are both very friendly animals who have obviously been well loved by their previous owner,Romana the larger of the two has a tendency to become laminitic unless her grazing is restricted which of course is often a problem when we try to rehome.Other than that the pair of them would make wonderful pets.
We were given a tank of African Snails a few days ago but they were not here long as staff members Vanessa and Cariad took them home for their children to care for.These rather strange animals were given to a child to take home from school at the end of term.Unfortunately they breed and lay eggs prolifically so the original 2 turned very rapidly into 8! Mum then panicked and brought them here.Knowing nothing at all about them I rang Lynn in the Wildlife section of the Liverpool shelter, she gave me some good information and I downloaded some more info from the internet.What did we all do before the internet?
A litter of collie/spaniel pups were brought in and there are only 2 left as I write this.They need to go as quickly as possible being so close to the forthcoming holiday period. I dont want them going as Christmas presents but I would like to think that they will have a comfortable Christmas lying in front of a warm fire so hopefully the adverts I have put up everywhere will bring some success.
After a good spell of cats going to homes, this weekend has been another quiet one, maybe next week will be better.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Molly an ardent Everton supporter.

We have had torrential rain this weekend and it has become very cold and icy feeling.
The weather notwithstanding, we have had some cats rehomed!!! Thank goodness they are starting to move at last. 3 of the teenagers went today and they have been here since they were about 7 weeks old and are now almost 5 months. I am so pleased for them.Another adult cat has been reserved and will be going in a few days.All in all it has been a successful weekend.
Yesterday I collected an unwanted cat from Anglesey where he was being fostered for me by Ann Cragg who runs a boarding cattery but also takes in a small number of injured wildlife.It was the first time I had been there and it was heartwarming to see all the birds enjoying their recovery, many are free to fly away but choose to stay and who could blame them, after all there is constant supply of free food. Her pet LLamas looked on curiously as we parked the car and when William jumped out they were totally agog at this strange creature with a PLASTIC BUCKET ROUND HIS HEAD!
The cat is a handsome grey about 8 months old, I doubt he will be here for long.
William is much brighter this weekend, he is eating normally again and more his usual self and is managing extremely well with his collar.
Molly is pictured above with her beloved football.She is originally from Liverpool and is more than likely an Everton supporter, after all she did come from a home in Everton close to the football ground! She is 7 years old now whic h is quite a good age for a Great Dane but she is as playful as a puppy and very fit and active.The only health problem she has had is when her wagging tail would split against the furniture, eventually she had so many problems with it that she had to have several inches amputated and now everything is fine and no more injuries.That does bring me to the issue of tail docking, a barbaric practice which thankfully is now against the law though I continue to see breeds with docked tails.Its hard to believe that this was accepted practice for so many years.I love to see |Dobermans, Jack russells and similar running round with lovely long wagging tails - thats what dogs are supposed to look like, tails are there for a reason and are not there for humans to mutilate!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

William has emergency surgery

My lovely William came in with a sore eye yesterday, I took him to the vet and had to leave him there for an operation.He had suffered some sort of trauma to the eye and it had ulcerated.He is a very unhappy boy today and like all animals hates wearing the collar round his head.He is not eating and is generally looking very sorry for himself. I am just so thankful his eye was saved.Like all lurchersand greyhounds he has a very low threshold of pain, I can totally empathise.When I collected him from the surgery I took one look at him, my legs turned to jelly and I almost passed out! I had to avert my eyes from him all evening(though cuddling him at the same time)as it made me feel quite nauseous.In 30 years I have never been able to overcome my squeamishness over all things medical.Anyhow today he is a little brighter and will be on antibiotics and pain killers for a week.Poor old William.
We are besieged with requests to take animals, its a nightmare.Some people simply do not or will not understand that we are not miracle workers and we only have so much space. nevertheless it is still upsetting, i hate to turn anyone away, I worry what will happen to that animal.A woman contacted the vet yesterday with 2 8 months old cats she could not keep, she was returning to liverpool today so we felt obliged to take them
Did she give a donation? NO.Not a penny towards them.I despair sometimes .Just a few pounds would have helped buy a few tins of food.
I have heard today via email that our little shy dog Pepe is settling in his new home, I couldnt be more pleased to hear that news.It seems he has found the right people who have experience of timid dogs and have a lot of common sense in dealing with the problems which accompany such an animal.if only there were more people like that.So many want a perfectly behaved,perfect pet and sadly manyanimals in rescues are traumatised by past events in their lives requiring much patience and commitment.
I have a new friend Janette who runs a pot bellied pig sanctuary in Canada (hearts n Noses)She has just sent me information on another much larger pig shelter which has been the subject of much media coverage in the Us. Humane society officials went in to find 5oo pigs in poor condition, many dead and dying from starvation! What goes through peoples minds who do this, why do they not ask for help if finaces are a problem? It happens time and time again, one wonders how it ever gets to this dreadful point without action being taken.Freshfields has had a continuous struggle over the years but when times are hard we put out appeals for help, no animal would ever suffer in this way, neither I nor anybody who works for me here in Wales or at the |LIverpool shelter would allow such a terrible situation to develop.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

More Mice and a head banging jack russell

Another 30 mice arrived today from the same home where we rescued the 900, these have been given a home in South Wales so Barbara has taklen them today.
We have been offered free grazing and a stable just 15 minutes away from the shelter and it seems ideal for the miniature ponies.One of our part time staff Cariad has offered to care for them as she lives close by .Its just a matter now of making the arrangements for their arrival and ensuring their passports are in order.
The Jack Russell is very quickly driving me mad, he is in the house with me and my own dogs and he spent the entire evening leaping from the floor to the sofa to my head and back down again, from the floor to the sofa to my head, over and over again!!! He clearly thought it was great fun and unfortunately the poor little chap is deaf so he was unable to hear my pleas of STOP NOW, GET OFF, NO, DONT, GIVE IT A REST AND OTHER THINGS I CANT PRINT FOR FEAR MY BLOG WILL BE TAKEN OFFLINE!
He is a dear little dog and its not his fault his previous powner did not spend any time training him.At least he is young enough to alter his head banging ways.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Pepe finds a home

I have been busy printing posters of our animals to make a display board for the Liverpool Christmas fair on December 6th.As I printed out photos of animals rehomed I wasted a lot of time looking at them and remembering their individual stories, cats, dogs, rabbits, ponies etc. They all had a story to tell, if only animals could speak. Like everyone who has read the recent horror story about the little boy murdered by his mothers boyfriend I was not surprised to read that he had previous convictions of animal cruelty. I wish this country would adopt the same severe stance which the Us have on animal abusers.For many years they have seen the link between animal cruelty and those who abuse their fellow human beings which so often leads to murder. I fear this country is way too lenient on such people. What use is a fine and 8 weeks custodial sentence to someone who has starved an animal to death.It would be laughable if it were not so tragic.
What struck me about the photos of dogs rescued is their happy expressions, many of ours have been abused farm dogs and known nothing but life on a chain and harsh words.To see their happy smiling faces is a wonderful feeling.
A young Jack Russell was brought in today, he will be in the house with my little dogs, he should be easy to rehome, he is a cheery happy little dog.His owner had too many dogs and was in a dispute with the local council.
The best news this weekend is that Pepe the timid red and white collie has found a home.I can scarcely believe it , his new owners have experience of such a nervous dog so I hope it will be another success story.
I have been asked to take 5 miniature ponies just 32 inches tall! I am trying to find a foster home for them over the winter as we are have too many here to cope with this many more albeit tiny ones.
Just one cat was homed today - Lola a lovely black female was homed via the catchat website- so many people come to us from that site, it has been a real godsend to us.
We have a few cats starting to sneeze so we are not admitting any more until this is cleared.I have always found November to be a bad month for any type of virus, heres hoping it wont take a strong hold and will clear soon.Unfortunately it also means we have to put a stop on rehoming this week at least.Well see how it goes.I am a great believer in the properties of colloidal silver to keep it in check, it works as a preventative as well as a natural antibiotic and has worked well in the past.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Mary, Aimee and Sparky.

The photo is of 3 cats which are part of the group of 12 which came in when their owner died. They are all such sweet natured animals, Id love them to go in pairs if possible but at the moment it is so quiet for cats, I dont hold out much hope for that , perhaps after Christmas things will improve on the rehoming front.
The 2 horses which are going to a foster home will be arriving on Saturday so I look forward to seeing them next weekend.Their fosterer Mary is a person with years of expertise with horses, her late husband wrote many books on equine care including "The Anatomy of the Horse" so we are very lucky to find her.
Nothing came of the homeless Boa Constrictor so perhaps they found him a home, I did manage to speak to Gary of the North Wales Reptile rescue, an organisation which does its best for unwanted and neglected snakes, lizards etc. He told me that it is very hard to place a Boa as they often carry a disease which if undetected can wipe out someones entire collection.People are wary of taking them on and most of the rescues are so under pressure they cannot find room for such a big reptile.If only there was a strict procedure for the ownership of such creatures, so many must fall into inexpert hands and as I mentioned before in my blog.these animals should not be allowed as family pets.My conversation with Gary , who told me of some of the cases he deals with simply helped reinforce this view.
The three colts are getting very cheeky, Merlin is starting to feel a little more confident around people and staff can now approach without him showing such extreme fear.Its a slow process but there is no quick fix to gain the confidence of a nervous animal.Patience is the key.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Gismo goes again.

Well, Gismo (pictured)was returned and 2 days later he has gone to another home, this time I hope for good.He will be a friend for another collie.Poor old Siobhan is still with me and there is a problem now because Pepe the abandoned red and white collie has formed a deep attachment to her.He is still such a very shy nervous little dog and he follows Siobhan everywhere.If she comes for a fuss, he will also though hides behinds her hoping we cant see him!! He is not house trained and I suspect this is why he was abandoned but he has such a nice nature if only we could overcome this and he was to gain more confidence round people.Of course we dont know what has happened to him priuor to his arrival at the shelter and he has obviously a fear of human beings so it could be a long job. He wags his tail when he sees me and others he knows but he is too scared to stay close, very occasionally he will allow me to fuss him but them he darts away as though he thinks I will chastise him, poor little man.
I had a call today about a Boa Constrictor meeding a home!!Trisha from our Porthmadog shop has had a request about finding a home for one whose owner is moving house and cant take the snake with him. I most certainly will not be rushing to collect HIM.(or the owner) I will try to find a suitable place for him with specialists, so many are kept cooped up in tiny tanks and far from ideal. I wish someone would explain the appeal of these, in my view they are NOt pets and should never be kept as such.I wonder if I will have loads of emails from people protesting that they are beautiful(I would agree with that)and make wonderful family pets!(I would Not agree with that)

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Seal on beach

Photo is of the stranded seal pup from last week, shown with Barry and a few passers by looking on.Barry has followed up his progress and it appears he is doing well.It has taken sometime to upload a photo as the ones Barry took were wonderful, well at least they were wonderful of the blue tarpaulin they used to carry him in!! He sent me several different views of the tarpaulin with no sign of the seal.
This one was taken by Barbara our new volunteer and there is not a tarpaulin in sight.A much better photo I think you will agree.
I spoke to Merlins last owner today, seems our new colt is a gypsy cob and will make around 13 hands.I was surprised to hear his mother and father were that size, I was sure he would grow into a bigger pony.He is so much bigger than Celt and Shamrock the welsh pony colts. He certainly looks like a typical Gypsy animal, lots of feathering round his legs and a sturdy body with small ears, a very different shape to the others. I know very little about the breeding of horses and ponies, my only interest is their welfare but I have to admit to a sneaking admiration of this type of pony.I love the appearance of them, they remind me of an old horse I remember from my childhood. An old grey shire cross called Terence used to pull the rag and bone mans cart and my mother used to always rush out to the gate and as he passed by would give him a treat, an apple or a carrot.My mother was always quite scared of horses although she loved all animals and she made the mistake of curling her fingers round the apple instead of holding it flat on her palm.Needless to say the horse munched down and almost crushed my mums fingers.After that she made me give Terence his weekly treat. Mum and i felt so sorry for this old horse plodding miserably round the busy streets of Liverpool, blinkered and weary in all sorts of weather. When he died we were quite glad not to see him anymore but then another took his place and once again our hearts went out to him, this time a small bay pony was used. As he grew older I begged the owner to let me retire him but he would not hear of it and I often wonder what became of him, he always looked so dispirited, no green fields for him to enjoy, just days of pulling a heavy cart.
Im so glad I didnt live in the days where working horses were a daily sight, I heard enough sad tales from my mother and grandmother.
On a lighter note I have found a home for the 4 rabbits, a collie waiting to come in and several kittens. A friend from the midlands has found homes for all of these and is collecting them Sunday.
I have been asked to take 2 pygmy goats and am trying to work out a safe area for them, goats need a very secure paddock and I am not a fan of tethering.I will try advertising them locally, there are so many people with land round here, maybe someone is out there just waiting for a pair of goats called Ding and Dong!
The weather is so cold and wet, its hard to believe we have so many cats, theres not a one in view anywhere, they are all keeping warm and dry in their respective houses.
The forecast is bad for this weekend so there is little hope of a nice dry day at the moment. The horses are all ready and waiting to come in by 4pm.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Meet Merlin

Today Merlin has really started to settle and is following the other youngsters wherever they go.Now its a case of handling him as often as possible. he has not had a headcollar on before and is unused to being on the end of a lead rope so we should have plenty of fun with him! He needs our farrier to trim his feet, then we can see exactly what is going on with him.He has clearly not been seen by a farrier before so that is another obstacle he needs to overcome. The trouble with the type of person who bred him, is that no time is spent on the foals, no getting them used to human contact, just bred and turned out with the rest of the herd.This is the worst thing they can do, foals need to be handled well right from the start otherwise you end up with very troublesome and potentially dangerous animals through no fault of their own.Ponies like this are evrey farriers nightmare.can you imagine having to try to pick up a horses feet to trim and the animal has never had someone do that before so is scared and resistant.Sometimes we have had to call in a vet to sedate a pony in order that his feet can be trimmed.Even then they can rear on their hind legs which is no joke, even the smallest shetland can manage a very hefty kick and I speak as one who knows!
We are having one of the field shelters extended so more ponies can take shelter during the day if the weather turns nasty, it will only be a three sided affair joined on to the existing shelter but it will afford more protection against the elements

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

A new foal arrives.

The new foal arrived unexpectedly from South Wales,Although I knew he was coming at end of the month no arrangements had been made so they took a chance arriving without even a phone call.I do wish people would not do this.It isnt like fitting in a dog or a cat which in itself can be hard but with horses much more has to be sorted out.
Anyhow he is here now and I am pretty sure he has not been weaned correctly, he was extremely traumatised and seemed to be in a frenzy searching for his mother, it was upsetting to witness.Today he is calmer and has settled down with the two other youngsters.We have called him Merlin, he is a coloured Welsh cob colt and is about 5 months, the same age as Celt and Shamrock though quite a bit larger.It is clear that he has not been handled much and is very headshy and skittish so will need quite a bit of work to make him as easy to handle as this companions.Although I had bveen told he had suffered a leg injury through barging through a wire fence, the driver of the horsebox told me a different story, that the colt had been born with a deformed front leg. We have called the vet out next week.At the moment he is too hard to handle and we need him to settle more before upsetting him again.Merlin has a very strange gait and at the moment I do not know exactly what the problem is or if it can be rectified.
More mice arrived and have gone to the LIverpool shelter for rehoming, I think we have taken the majority now as they are only being caught in smaller numbers now.Thank goodness for that, I was dreaming about mice every night!
Disappointingly the lovely cross collie/gsd Gismo which was rehomed days ago has been returned, seems a member of the family developed an allergy to him.What a shame, this is the one of the nicest best behaved dogs ever. Soemone will have a cracker in him. hopefully he will go again soon.
I must go in as fireworks are going off everywhere, my neighbour is having a bonfire party for her grandchildren, she thoughtfully always let me know so I can ensure the animals are kept in.All the horses are in their stables, cats shut away(except the ferals which I cant round up)dogs are comfortable in their beds, house dogs have the TV on loud as William is terrified of loud noises and is the one I always have problems with each year.The tv driowns out the noise of the bangs outside. For a rural area this past two years has seen an increase in fireworks due to the many young families who have moved closeby. I ache for the farm dogs and others chained up with no way to escape the noise. Roll on the end of the week.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Reunited with her owner

Well, the little old dog was claimed this morning, she was 16 years old and her owner was very pleased to have her back, as was Sandy who was overjoyed to be reunited with her owner. I have cautioned her that she must take her to seek veterinary treatment immediately, the poor little dog has a very sore mouth which looks very infected and I suspect there is something more serious underlying with her weight loss.The owner was worried if she took her to the vet she would have to have her put down so had delayed doing so to the detriment of her pet.I had no doubt she was dearly loved but there is more than one way to be cruel to a pet and withholding veterinary treatment is certainly one.I will check that she has done as I requested. In the meantime I may get a good nights sleep tonight, little Sandy howled all night and in the end she had to join the gang in my bed where she settled straight away! (I hasten to add that the gang are comprised of several cats and a dog and not the entire cast of the Chippendales!) I should be so lucky!!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

A little old dog arrives and horse neglect reported.

I had 2 cases of possible horse neglect reported to me this weekend, one involved several horses being kept in poor conditions in a muddy field.Most were underweight, one particularly so. They had been eating the bark off the trees(a sign of vitamin deficiency and starvation)This is no way to keep horses and is very upsetting to see.
The other was a pony with overgrown feet , he was clearly in a great deal of pain when he walked though there were signs someone was caring for him as there were feed and water bowls in the field.
Photos of both have been sent to the ILPH for action to be taken.All I can do in cases of reported neglect is to visit, take photographic evidence and forward this on to organisations which have the power and resources to take action.As many cases which are reported can be simply a case of a dispute between neighbours and no cruelty or neglect is evident I am happy to check it out before calling in already overworked inspectors.
A little old dog was brought in today, she is emaciated and has the most terrible teeth which must prevent her from eating properly, she was found wandering along a busy road and was in danger of being killed.She will have to visit the vet tomorrow.Currently she is curled up in a basket in my living room and seems glad to be warm and comfortable.Who knows if anyone will claim her.I am doubtful but stranger things have happened.She seems oblivious to the presence of the resident dogs and cats which is a bonus - after agreeing to take her I worried about the possibility she would be a cat hater but as soon as I saw her, it was clear that she is far too frail to be a threat to the cats.