Thursday, 31 December 2009

Veronica counts the pennies.



Last night just before I retired for the evening, I took this photo of snow being whirled around in the high winds. The cats in Kitty Kottage(shed on left of picture) were nowhere to be seen and as you can see there are no heads poking out the stables.It was fierce but also very picturesque. Today is as if it never happened, the sun is shining again though the ground is icy and dangerous underfoot.
Today was the turn of the little sheltie crosses Indie and Jerry to find a loving home A lady came for one dog but Nell was too nervous for her and she fell in love with the boys. They should settle well with her, they had come from a loving home and they are such adaptable outgoing animals they would fit in almost anywhere.I just love to see animals go off so happily,it makes my day brighter.Sometimes when I am doing homechecks and find lovely people, some of whom live in wonderful settings,I feel like putting myself up for adoption. Mind you I would be advertised under the category "special needs" or "difficult to rehome, has some behavioural problems"! I doubt there would be many, if any, takers.
I have just received a short video of our dear Gel the arthritic collie who left us not long ago and is currently residing in Spain.When I saw the video and the accompanying photo of him asleep under the olive tree I felt overwhelmed by his tremendous luck in going from a terribly sad life on a chain to living with people who adore him and who will take him everyhwhere with them.What a change in fortune for dear old Gel.
The kitten in the vets has been diagnosed with gastro entiritis so is in isoltion from the other kittens,he is on antibiotics and we have to hope he will improve rapidly.At least he is not a tiny baby which have little chance of fighting the infection.
Today is Veronica bookeepers day here (pictured counting pennies at her desk)and there are more papers flying about the office than usual,I dont mean she is in a temper and throwing paper about,Veronica is far too sweet and sedate for that sort of behaviour (well thats what she tells me!)rather that there are piles of paperwork covering two desks whilst she attempts to make sense of it all. Poor woman - when she started she thought she was taking on a simple bookkeeping job, instead she does her work but also ends up taking Jade the current office dog out for a wee, mops up the wee when Jade fails to make it to outside, answers the phone, makes tea and acts as a sounding board for me when I am indecisive which is most of the time.Not bad for a part timer. Hope she doesnt ask for a rise in pay!
About Jade, she is the Staffordshire bull terrier brought in with mange.Her owner had neglected to obtain veterinary treatment for her and her condition had been allowed to deteriorate.With treatment she is now looking so much better than when she arrived but it is always a long job and she is not yet at the stage where she is fit enough to be rehomed.For the time being she lives here in an indoor dog kennel and she is happy and content - she was kept outside in her last home so this is luxury for her.
I must finish now as I can hear William barking somewhere. In his old age he does not seem to know what he wants, he barks to go in the car, barks to come out,barks to go in the conservatory, barks to come out. Is this what lies ahead for me? Will I be forever wandering in and out the house and office? Come to think of it I already do that!! No more to be said.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Bertie enjoys his foster home.


Bertie pictured here is a dog craving for home life and a confortable knee to sit upon, his foster person tells me that he sits on her knee with his eyes half closed in apparent ecstacy.Another bonus is that he appears to like children and is very gentle with everyone. That is not a common terrier characteristic but it is a good one and will make him easier to house in a suitable home.
It is definitely a day for wearing thermals and waterproofs. Big Molly hates this weather, she feels the cold and it can be an effort to coax her out for a walk.(I know exactly how she feels,I would rather be snuggled up in bed myself) The Maggie Marthas (the old Yorkshire terriers)go as far as the door,look out and run back into the warmth. The only ones who seem to enjoy their exercise whether it is freezing cold, raining, snowing or blowing a gale are the collies who just love being outdoors racing about. Having said that they all still like to return to warm beds and I will never believe that any dog prefers to live outside in a kennel if it has the choice of living in comfort with the family indoors. Over the years I have successfully rehomed as pets - working sheepdogs, gundogs, stud dogs, ex brood bitches,all of which had been kept on chains or kennelled outside in often dreadful conditions. There has never been one returned because it wanted to live outside!
The old Tractor is refusing to start this week and this has meant individual bales of hay are having to be carried to the top fields, not an easy trek especially in these conditions where we are having to fight against the wind to stay upright. We normally use the tractor which is equipped with a large spike at the front, to lift and move the large bales of haylage into the fields. When there are so many horses and ponies, the small bales do not last long enough and the large ones are more economical too. I am trying to find someone to come and fix it but have had no luck so far.
Another kitten has gone to a home today,I continue to be amazed that people will venture out on days like these (today is wilder than yesterday)but I am pleased that the kittens are being homed. Todays kitten was the last of the litter which had been living in a car so we now have a small pen free for any emergency admittances.
Gail is taking an older kitten to the vet this afternoon,he has the runs - antibiotics and a light diet of scrambled egg have done nothing to allay the problem. I keep worrying that the vet will refuse to see our animals until the bill is paid but I am paying as much as I can every few weeks. This is the first time in the 7 years the shelter in Wales has been open that I have not been able to keep on top of it. I am thinking lots of positive thoughts for a better finacial siutuation in 2010.If anyone would care to join me in this please feel free to do so. The more the better! Mind you if anyone reading this has won the lottery or come into extremely large sums of money, I am not too proud to accept handouts! This course of action might be a little quicker than the positive thoughts but either will do.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

The sheeps shelter collapses in the high winds.


The police turned up with the "puppy" which turned out to be a young adult(maybe 18 months)terrier.He is quite obviously a working dog, he has bites all over him, he is very thin and he also has a skin disorder which could be mange.Although I would not trust him around cats, he is a loving affectionate little dog who loves to climb on a knee for a cuddle and he thinks its great here(always an indication that the previous home was lacking in creature comforts!)We have called him Bertie.
Nell is still very scared,it will take some time before she
loses her fear of this new life off a chain, chained dogs receive no socialisation and this must be a very frightening experience for her. Her nature is lovely and eventually she will be a loyal pet for someone, a home with other dogs may help her adapt to home life. I have borrowed a camcorder so she can be seen on our website which now can display short videos - I just need a few days (or few months)to work out how to use it! Once she is homed I can take the other two young dogs from this farm, we really could do with a few more fosterers for such dogs,they need people with time and patience to help them adjust to home life and although it would be hard work, it would make it easier for them to find permanent homes.
In spite of the horrendous weather conditions we have homed 2 cats today.I am amazed anyone ventured out and it is getting worse. There are gale force winds and heavy sleet coming down, thank goodness our cattery roof is now solid and secure, I am worried the office roof felt is going to blow off, it has already ripped in places and been temporarily repaired. I have asked the girls to top up the pigs bedding with more straw and hay, we are in for a cold night tonight. The old shed which is used by the five sheep has blown down so we have had to move them into the adjoining field where there is a more solid shelter, I can only hope this one withstands the high winds. Sam, the oldest of the sheep is losing weight and I am calling the vet out to him this week though I fear it is simply a symptom of his age. He is becoming very frail , poor old chap.He really looks his age especially compared to Joseph and Jacob the young Jacob sheep who are fit and virile looking.(well as virile as they CAN look with no testicles!)

Monday, 28 December 2009

Another frightened farm dog.



Well the holiday is over now and it has been the quietest ChristmasI can remember as regards animal admittances.I think most people got rid of their unwanted pets in the weeks leading up to it.We did not even have a call from the local police about strays which is most unusual, anyhow it made a nice change but today I have received several calls from people wanting to get rid of dogs. I knew the peace would not last for long! We have admitted one stray kittencat which turned up on someones doorstep on Christmas Eve, a three legged feral cat and a nervous collie.(pictured here and more of her later)
A man turned up yesterday with an unwanted lurcher but unfortunately we had no room so he is my immediate priority to advertise and rehome.Then one of the 15 collies arrived whilst I was out.On return I went in to see her and she is absolutely terrified of her own shadow.Such a pretty dog, a longhaired red and white collie, but oh so very scared.When she arrived she went for Barbara who thought we might have an aggressive dog on our hands.Clearly my dog whispering technique was called for and so I slowly backed into her, then slid down to talk to her facing away from her. within a minute she allowed me to caress her and slip off the piece of string attached to her collar. It worked again. The first time I used this technique(long before anyone had heard of Cesar Milan) was with a collie called Snowy who was found in Liverpool, he had to be sedated to be caught and brought to the shelter in Ince Blundell. He also was terrified but he would actually leap at you and attack which was very very frightening and the staff were quite rightly unsure of him and scared to approach him. I went into his pen backwards preventing a full head on attack and I sat looking away and talking to him.This was a hard one to crack and it took a few days of this before he would allow me to touch him. After that he was putty in my hands though I must say that he was eventually adopted by Alan a member of kennel staff and to this day he cannot be trusted implicitly with strangers. If only animals could talk, what tales they would tell though some would not have pretty stories of their past homes.What makes a dog so scared and aggressive, there is only one answer - human beings and the worst sort.
I wonder did anyone read Liz Jones article in the Mail? The one where she wrote about being lonely at Christmas- well I did identify to some degree though unlike her I did have invitations from friends and family . Unfortunately they did not pan out due to being let down by one person and later when I planned to visit family I was unable to go due to the fact that world war three had broken out there! The Waltons we are definitely NOT. Much as I love my sister and her girls, all the women in our family are strong minded and volatile which is ok until all meet under the same roof. When that happens it would be safer to swim in shark infested waters! As I am not a good swimmer I decided to stay at home with the animals. Under the circumstances I feel this was the best decision I could have made but I did feel for my sister having to deal with the fall out. Not an easy time for her.
Finally I had a wonderful surprise, a lady who used to foster kittens for Freshfields in Liverpool many years ago, the eighties I think, wrote me a letter and enclosed a copy of the Paul Gallico book "Jenny" I had written about recently.I was thrilled to bits and overwhelmed by how thoughtful some people are. I also received a lovely book of poems from a fellow animal lover in Tennessee, United States! Gestures like these really boost the morale.
I hope everybody had a good holiday and if there are any "Waltons" type families out there, can I live with you?
ps: I spoke too soon, the police have just rung with a stray puppy, why didnt I keep my big mouth shut? Wonder if poor little thing is an unwanted xmas present? More tomorrow.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

They made it in but one got stuck!






I dont know how they did it but all staff turned in today, including two regular volunteers. This was in spite of the icy conditions underfooot though they had no idea how bad it was going to be when they reached the shelter.The yard and the track leading up to it are like an ice rink and Rhian was over optimistic thinking her van would make it.Unfortunately it skidded half way up and ended up stuck on the side of the road. See photos.Half the morning was spent trying to extricate the van form its precarious position, Mei went on the quad bike to get some grit from up the road (thank goodness we have this vehicle , it is invaluable)and we covered the worst ice on the yard.Working outdoors has its pleasures but it is very hard going for the staff working in these conditions and they remain cheerful most of the time. Which brings me to the kindness of people who have donated gifts including a very welcome food hamper for the staff to enjoy. We are so glad of gifts of petfood but it is nice when appreciation is shown to the staff as well.
Unbelievably someone turned up to collect a reserved kitten but she had quite a trek having left her car on the road.We made an exception to rehome this one but generally at this time of year we only allow animals to be reserved and collected after New Year. Nothing is black and white though and we have always made exceptions depending on the circumstances of the prospective adoptees.
Poor Molly was unable to go out this morning,dogs are having to be walked on leads because of the ice and the danger to both staff falling and dogs slipping and damaging their cruciate ligaments is of great concern. The big dogs are more likely to pull us over, especially Molly who has never been the best trained dog in the world.My fault of course but she is eight years old now and its a little late to teach an old dog new tricks!Hopefully later today, the ice will melt and she and her companions Ben and Meg can have a good run in the fields.
A labrador was meant to come in today, his owner has died and he is in a house on his own but it has been postponed until Saturday, also one of the collies mentioned yesterday is coming in.We have foster homes for both.
There will be no blog until Boxing day or the day after, depending on where I am at the time and as that depends on the weather I cant say for sure.I hope everybody has a good Christmas and eats lots of mince pies and chocolates so I can console myself that I am not the only one over indulging! Merry Christmas and fingers crossed that we dont hear of too many pets abandoned.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Another litter of kittens arrive.

In contrast seemingly to the rest of the country, the sun is shining here! We had some snow during the night but it has almost cleared now and the birds in the trees are once again singing as though it is the start of Spring.Poor birds, they must be so confused.
There have been a few donations of cat and dog food yesterday and again today for which I am very grateful- I went out yesterday to buy cat food as we were so low on it and of course we are overflowing with cats and kittens still. A farmer brought in a litter of kittens about 8 weeks of age , they were too old to drown he told a member of staff.I suppose we should be grateful that he brought them in but advice on neutering the adult farm cats fell on deaf ears! It is far from easy trying to educate those who have lived by these actions all their lives but we will be sending someone diplomatic(not me !)round to his farm to try again. With so much help nowadays from National charities like the Cats Protection League, there is simply no excuse for this barbaric method of disposing of unwanted litters.
I have had the details of the 15 collies, their ages range from 18 months to 12 years, they seem to be a mixture of short and long coated dogs but some have a suspicious temperament - what does this mean? Anyhow Kirsty who used to work at the Liverpool Freshfields is going to go and assess them and take photographs.Kirsty has taken one of the older ones and she tells me she has a lovely nature but until she sees the others I cant make plans for them.Of course if we were allowed to use our kennels and I did not have a miserable grumpy neighbour, then we could just remove them all at one go.As it is some will go into foster homes and we will have to conduct the rescue over a period of weeks.
Naughty Bonnie Foxhound has done a vanishing trick whilst out walking in the fields with the other dogs,she will be within shouting distance but she has selective hearing! Somewhere she will have found an old bone or she could be in next doors bins so I will have to walk down the track to look for her, the track is quite icy still and I am not confident driving the car. I am just about to sign off and I can see her trotting into the yard looking very pleased with herself and licking her lips- what has she been up to and what has she pinched this time?

Sunday, 20 December 2009

An unusually marked cat is admitted.



The Vet came out to see Ken and the injury is due to being kicked by another horse, we think maybe the bully is the old horse Callie but we will be keeping an eye on her and Ken will be moved if this happens again, the problem is by moving him to another group he will have to leave Buster to whom he has become attached.(Buster on rightofphoto)Anyhow he is a lot better today and able to walk on his bad leg. Dafydd the vet who came out is very kind with the horses and is very popular with the staff here though I tend to think that could be more to do with the fact that he is good looking rather than his veterinary expertise!
There is not much snow here at the moment though Rhian struggled to get in yesterday, as did Cariad today, they both live in outlying villages and they had thick snow on the tracks leading to their cottages.We seem to have escaped the worst so far but it is icy cold and the sky is very dark so maybe we are heading for some more? The pigs peered out of their house this morning and almost immediately disappeared back under a mound of hay and straw. There was no way they were venturing out today and I dont blame them.Its no weather for pigs never mind the rest of us.
We had a home offered today to one of the young ponies Merlin and she may also take one of the young shetland ponies Bobby to keep him company.It is not going to happen until the New Year as she has to have a stable built and of course we have to do a homecheck but it will be good if it all works out,it is far from easy to rehome young, unschooled ponies.Merlin is a real character, his twisted foot has not improved so he may always have an awkward,clumsy gait but he is full of personality and if he goes we will all miss him.We have so few ponies suitable for homing now that if the youngsters could go that would be marvellous and make room for any emergencies we hear about.
I have received a call about 15 collies needing homes.The farmer has died and an ex employee of Freshfields has taken one of the older ones but is in need of help with the others.I am waiting for a call with more details about them.
There has been an unusually marked stray cat brought in, he is an unneutered male and is black with almost silver grey markings(see photo) I have only ever seen a cat like this twice before in all the time I have been involved in animal welfare. I wonder what colour his mum and dad are? He will surely be snapped up in the New Year though not before he has his manly attributes removed.Iam sure male readers will wince at this but over the years I have noticed that some men vehemently oppose the neutering of male dogs or cats but seem unfazed by the idea of females being spayed even though that is a bigger surgical procedure. Strange but true.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

The vet comes out to Ken.



I have been in LIverpool for the funeral of a dear friend and also a trustee meeting so I am just catching upon events that have happened whilst I was away. Fortunately there have been no disasters - I always believe that when I am away something will go seriously wrong, when I ring Mei to see if all is well and she says yes, I keep saying"ARE YOU SURE?" I am always sure she is keeping something from me but she isnt and is highly amused that I cant bear to hear all is well. Of course I would hate to hear bad news but I like to think that I am needed and that things go better when I am around.Oh well that theory has now well flown out the window!
4 cats went out to homes yesterday but we are not rehoming any animals from today until after the New Year. We will, however take reservations.I am amazed that we are still having people coming here for kittens as christmas presents for children, will the message NEVER get through? Late yesterday a young man turned up wanting a kitten and even when I explained this is far from an ideal time to bring a new pet into the house,especially with the ages of his children,he just looked at me blankly as though he had no idea what I was talking about!
A cat has been admitted whose owner was in a fatal car accident recently.Personally I love Christmas and all the glitz and Naff songs and I love shopping for presents but it can also be the worst time of year for those who have had bereavements and my heart goes out to those people,including my own friend Diane and her family.
I was surprised when I returned from Liverpool, to find snow on the ground, there was none in Liverpool.Today is snowing again so if it sticks I will be out taking photographs tomorrow. The wild birds are so hungry and like other bird lovers I am spending a fortune on seed and insect food for them.As soon as it goes on the tables a flock of starlings swoop down and are ravenous so I have to do a second top up about fifteen minutes later.
I have checked my emails this morning, there are emails from both new owners of Scott and Sally the two young collies.Both dogs are settling in well and arenot causing too much disruption in their respective households. To say I am relieved is an understatement,It worries me that people will not cope with the young dogs, they are so hyper and as I mentioned before quite destructive,I have lost a few of my much loved books to them not to mention boots, slippers, pens and a throw!
Marcasite is back to normal again, her leg injury is barely noticeable now and she is walking without pain.Today, however, Barbara noticed Ken is limping! On close inspection he has what looks like a bite on his back leg and we have called the vet out to give him an antibiotic injection. It looks like a dog bite but none of the dogs here could have done it so unless a stray dog has come on to the property (unlikely) its a mystery.Anyhow the vet will have a better idea when he arrives. Ken has been kicking up a fuss about being kept in - he has kicked over his water bucket and thrown his feed bucket across the stable so we have had to bring Big Buster in to keep him company in the adjoining stable.He is pictured with barbara coming in from the fields,Rhian is in the background.Buster could not care less about being in or out as long as he has a supply of food available, he is a very greedy horse and is always the first at the gate in the afternoon-impatiently waiting for his evening meal.
Dorothy who fosters kittens for us has just arrived , she saw that we had two rabbits here and has offered them a home with her bunny.These two are both neutered so with a bit of luck they will all get on together and it will be nice for hers to have some company too. Now we need someone to take pity on Mr Grumpy the ferret.Any offers? Surely there is someone out there who likes bad tempered ferrets?
A visitor to the cattery today has chosen Sunny a black cat which was admitted 7 months ago so he is well due for a good home and he will be going to live with another Freshfields cat .It will be a happy Christmas for Sunny.
Well, its time to top up the hay and straw in the pigs house, another winter of worry about them keeping warm. There is a US based website which sells made to measure coats for potbellied pigs but with the weather we have here they would not stay dry forlong. Hay and straw it will have to be.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Paul Gallicos "Jenny" and an old blind cat finds a home


Its beautiful here today.The sun is shining,the sky is blue and the birds are singing away everywhere as though it is a spring day. The animals are making the most of it and enjoying being out which is great because one of our long term cats has found herself a home by making a fuss of visitors.She prowls around the yard always living in hope of some extra attention from any cat lovers who arrive.Today she hit the jackpot! Well done Jenny. The strangest thing is that I named her after a feline character in a favourite book I read in the sixties by Paul Gallico who also wrote a book called Thomasina (about another cat)and the Snow Goose. These books left a big imprint on my memory and over the years I have often asked people if they had read Jenny and Thomasina but nobody had ever heard of them. Well when I told these people why I named her Jenny, they were amazed because they too had read the book and loved it and had only been talking about it just before they made the trip to Freshfields.How uncanny is that? Unfortunately I no longer have my copies of the books and I know "Jenny" is out of print now. "Thomasina" must have been one of the first books written about the often sad lives of animals when they fall into the wrong hands and I would love to read them both again.Does anybody have a copy of either? I may look on the internet later.
A lovely couple came who wanted to give a caring home for the last years of an older cat and they have taken 2 cats - Tudor (pictured here)who was very old and going blind and Bonnie who was only 5 years but had been here for a year. It is so cheering to have people who want cats for the sole reason of giving a home to something which really needs it, maybe not the prettiest animals but the most in need.People after my own heart.
Sally collie has left us today for her home in the South of England.As with all of them I will be anxiously awaiting news that she is OK and settling in. After all these years I still do not like watching them go to new homes.Even though I am thrilled they have found nice people to live with, the anxiety never goes away.
Marcasite is doing well, the swelling has gone down and she is able to put weight on her leg , what a relief that is to everybody. She is not out the woods yet, she still needs the vet to have another look at her but she is so much better already.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Krystal and friends.


This photo was taken yesterday when Krystal and her little shetland friends came in for the evening.Krystal has pretty gruesome looking melanomas under her tail and currently she is on treatment to try to halt the growth.At the moment she is in no distress but the horse staff have to clean her up every day, it is so important no infection gets in there and she may have limited time left to enjoy a decent quality of life. She is such a gentle old lady and everyone who comes into contact with her is impressed by her kind manner.
Just when things seem to be going well, disaster occurs, We had to call out the vet last night - Marcasite has a badly swollen hock. This is one of the four ponies which were admitted when their owner had to move from her smallholding into a small bungalow, they are all in their twenties and Marcasite, a pretty palomino mare was found to be limping and clearly in pain when she was brought into her stable yesterday.The vet has given her a pain killing injection and something to take the swelling down, she seems better today but the vet will be coming out again to have another look. At this stage we do not know if there will be tendon damage, we have to wait until the swelling goes down more.Fingers crossed there is no more permanent injury.
There has been an offer of a home for dear Jenny the lovely dark tortoishell cat who follows people about when they come to visit. We knew one day she would sell herself!There is also a possible home for Amy - another people follower.I would love them to have homes of their very own so I am very hopeful.
A farmer has brought in a litter of 3 kittens he found, we have just about managed to squeeze them in but we have very little room now for any more cats and kittens.I doubt if we will home many now until the New Year, it is so close to Christmas and of course one always doubts the homes which turn up at last minute before the holiday in case the pets are wanted as presents.
Legend and his new owner came to visit yesterday, he has settled in well but he is very lively and seems to like pottering about on the kitchen units!!!!The local papers are doing a follow up photo of him in his new home and with his rescuer Ramona. I look forward to seeing it,Ramona told me today that she has now found out from local people that he had been heard barking for 4 DAYS! That poor dog stranded on the ledge that length of time, no wonder he was so scared and traumatised.Why did nobody do anything during that time, surely someone must have been in possession of some compassion? Thank goodness for Ramona is all I can say.
Indie, one of the little dogs admitted yesterday has had an emergency dental operation today and is recovering in a foster home along with her brother Gerry.
Finally, before I shuffle back to my pensioners bungalow, I would like to say that I am (very) slowly recovering from the trauma of the Free Mince Pie incident but will keep away from Morrisons for the foreseeable future just in case a repeat performance sends me toppling over the edge!!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

New arrivals and a wake up call for me!




Two little dogs and a cat have been admitted this morning.Gerry and Indie are 8 years old cross shelties and they have been left homeless along with their feline friend Pushkin.Indie is the one licking his lips! It has been a week of requests to take in unwanted pets and we are doing the best we can. I have lifted the ban for taking in pets(due to the lack of finances) for the time being,the weather is getting colder and pets like these three whose owner is seriously ill in hospital have nobody to care for them. ALL 3 pictured here along with a photo of the cheque being presented to me by Louis and Viorica of the Royal Sportsman Hotel.
Yesterday I was pleased to be able to pay a visit to the bank accompanied by a friend carrying a very heavy bag of change collected at Tescos a few days ago and we decided to have a coffee in Morrisons before returning home.As we entered I was approached by a young lady who offered us a free mince pie and a hot drink! Of course It was accepted and I thought "what a lovely idea".Then I noticed other shoppers were not being offered this treat.Why not? Because it was only for senior citizens and people with disabilities!!!! My pleasure in the freebie diminished rapidly and the mince pie stuck in my throat as we were surrounded by pensioners on walking sticks and zimmer frames.No offence to those other shoppers but I cannot possibly be in the same category - can I?? I clearly am so I guess I had better get used to it.At what point did I suddenly become part of this group? What a wake up call to my advancing years, thanks so much Morrisons!
I have just had a call from a local riding school who are planning to visit the shelter in January and bringing goodies for the horses, Llandudno Riding Club have also donated some food and are putting our posters on their notice board.This is what is needed, we need our profile raised as much as possible, the recent publicity seems to have struck home this time.Its taken 7 years in this area to become known to the local community but at long last we appear to be noticed. I am delighted and will continue to spread the word all over North and mid Wales in the hope I can bring in new supporters for our work.
Yesterday we had a visit from a family who have supported us for some time and Mum Judy had kindly made soup for the staff, how thoughtful this was and very welcome in such cold weather.These are the sort of gestures which really make me feel heartened by the kindness of certain people. When dealing with calls in a rescue shelter, there is often the tendency to feel the whole world is uncaring.Sometimes after a particularly gruelling day of dealing with those wanting to get rid of pets and knowing there simply is not enough room, ones patience can snap .For many years In the LIverpool shelter I was the one who took all the calls and I have to say that it made me very tense and anxious and I know that those who followed me had the same problem.Now the work is divided and no one person has to do it day after day.Believe me It truly can be soul destroying.Here in Wales I seldom sit in the office all day long and even when I do, Veronica takes some of the calls so there is not the same build up of pressure.
The horses are not wanting to stay out long at the moment and we try to get them all in before it goes dark(so early now)The owner of Krystal, the grey horse which came from Liverpool has been in touch about her. Surprisingly(or not?) very few horse owners ever keep in touch once they have passed their animal on to us, even those who profess to be devastated at parting with their animal fail to send a donation from time to time or ring to see how the horse is settling in.Out of sight out of mind is the saying which springs to mind.
I do wish we had managed to home the two bunnies before Christmas, they have been here too long now, as has Mr Grumpy the ferret.I would like to see them in homes where they had lots of attention and love.The staff do their best for them but its never the same as a good caring home. Who will ever take on Mr Grumpy , is he destined to live here forever? I hope not. Even bad tempered ferrets deserve a chance.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

2 collies homed, yippee.



Yesterdays blog certainly provoked an interesting response, I had some phone calls also wanting to know who "Rick"was. I am sure his comments were genuine and that he was not being critical of the shelter itself, he appears to have an interest in rescue situations judging by the links he sent and at the end of the day his concern was a justifiable one.
At the moment we have in our care, a staffordshire bull terrier called Jade(pictured here)Her owner failed to obtain veterinary care for her skin condition(mange) even though various welfare organisations had helped with fees. When she came to us she had received no treatment since June and her skin was so red and inflamed she was in so much pain that every step she took caused her pain. weeks later she is much improved though she still has a long way to go to be ready for rehoming.
Like so many of this maligned breed she is loveable and friendly with great potential to make a wonderful family pet.In the meantime she is living in the office isolated from the other dogs until she is no longer contagious.A collie I was caring for myself was homed a few days ago, he is another lucky dog being sorted out with a pet Passport ready for his holidays in France. Today 2 dogs have been homed- Gel (so many collies have this name) a middle aged collie from a farm, he has gone on a seven day trial to see if he can cope with the circumstances of his prospective long term owner who wants to take him towork with her ,and Scott the pup who was abandonded a few weeks ago has left us to live in Lancashire with experienced collie people . Our other youngster Sally should be going next weekend.Of course there are others waiting for our help as alwaYS. When there are so many we have to prioritise which are most urgent, which animals are most likely to be destroyed or abandoned? This is never an easy decision to make at the best of times but sometimes owners can be caring enough to hold on to their pets until space is found and others are obviously not prepared to do this. No contest! Those at peril HAVE to be moved to a place of safety as soon as possible.
Just one adult cat has gone today - one of our mums who came in with a litter earlier on in the year, well one is better than none!
I have been asked to home a pair of Pygmy goats, I have no goat safe fields here, maybe at some point in the future and if our financial situation improves,we can make a small area for such emergencies, its not uncommon for us to be asked to help with goats.The goat which we had at Freshfields in Liverpool years ago was called William and he was the biggest goat I have ever seen, even the vets were in disbelief at his size.He had been kept in a back garden since he was tiny and as he grew and grew,so did his horns and he was not averse to using them. We had him neutered immediately but of course the op takes some time to affect the testesterone in an animals system and William was one big dominant male! He was terrifying! Staff had to walk across his field to reach the midden where we piled the used hay and straw, we had to keep one eye on William and try to get to the midden before he realised someone was in his field. It was almost possible to tell what he was thinking.He would stop grazing and start staring at the intruder and then oh so slowly he would begin his walk of terror! The unfortunate staff member would start to walk faster, trying to push the filled wheelbarrow as quickly as possible, as he/she started walking faster so did William until both human and William were running.It was a game of nerves and speed, who would reach the midden first ? If William arrived first he would toss the wheelbarrow over and then make for the hapless human behind it. Fortunately he never quite made it and we would have to throw the contents of the barrow on the pile and quickly leap to safety over the fence. There was a sign on the fence saying "If you cant cross this field in 30 seconds,dont bother because William can make it in 20!"

Saturday, 5 December 2009

The 1p kittens and the story of Legend.




As everyone knows we have had a great deal of bad luck recently so friend Jan had brought me a brass "Lucky Frog" surrounded by coins and with one in his mouth.According to Feng Shui, if placed facing north he is supposed to bring good fortune to his "keeper".Immediately he was placed in the office I touched the coin in his mouth and to my horror it broke into little pieces.OH no did this mean more bad luck? Well I have to say that since his arrival things do seem to have got better here,broken coin or not.I know it is coincidence but it would be nice to think that there is some truth in mystical matters.
Well, The Christmas Fair went well and raised £825 .The highlight of the day however was the presentation of a very large cheque for £2,000.How brilliant is that? Louis and his wife Vicky who own the Royal Sportsman Hotel in Porthmadog made this very generous donation to the shelter and had arranged for the local press to be there to phgotograph the hand over.Always embarrassing but worth it for the publicity and for once I was happy to pose, the smile on my face was one of genuine delight.
Whilst the Christmas Fair was in full throttle a lady came in who was very upset about an advertisement in a local shop offering kittens for one pence each and the words "buy one get one free"! An hour later the kittens were in our care, would you believe they were living in a car? The photographer was still there so he took a photo of the 6 youngsters for next weeks newspaper.There are only five pictured here because Rhian fell in love with one and has taken him home to add to her animal family.It has been a good few weeks for publicity , which brings me to the tale of Legend.
One of our supporters Ramona heard barking coming from a water filled Quarry locally(the same one where the sheep was stranded) and traced it to a young dog in obvious distress on a ledge.She was unable to reach him so she went home and brought back her childrens dinghy and paddled out to him, she then climbed up to him and rescued this very scared little dog.It was a very brave rescue as it is a dangerous place and the water is very deep.We believe he was thrown in, he is a nervous pup around 6 months of age and very clingy to whomever shows him affection, not a dog inclined to be adventurous at all.Not long after Ramona brought him to us and the publication of the story in The Daily Post and other newspapers, we received a phone call from his owner. Clearly he was trying to cover himself in case someone recognised his dog but when I rang the number he left I could not get through.I tried for several days with no success. We then received information that the owner of the dog had been trying to get rid of him for several weeks but as the information was anonymous and no address was given there was nothing more we could do. Veronica,our wonderful bookeeper(and dog walker,fosterer,fundraiser and office cleaner!)offered to foster the pup and from dozens of offers of homes for him we chose a local lady to give him the home he deserved. He is getting over his trauma now and settling in well in his new home. An amazing rescue but a terrible experience for any animal to endure.He is pictured on the day he was rescued looking exhausted and later looking a lot happier with Mei.
Today has felt like Christmas , cat fosterer and all round supporter Mion arrived with her niece .They were laden with goodies for the animals,they had bags of catfood and blankets and toys for the cats and dogs.Then friends and supporters Marc and Joseph arrived with goodies for our shops,Roy arrived to put up stronger lighting in the cattery and Jan pulled up in her 4x4 with a bag of shavings for horse bedding , a bag of dog leads and another coin for Mr Froggys mouth.This time I let HER put it into position! I have always been clumsy so I am not taking a chance with this.Usually its electrical goods I break. I cannot count the number of washing machines, hoovers,fridges,toasters etc I have got through over the years.It seems like everything I touch breaks! Well nobody's perfect are they?
Finally two of our teenager cats have gone to a home today and there have been a few more people ringing for adult cats so it would be nice to think a few will find homes before our "cut off" date before Christmas.
PS: A comment has just been posted on this entry and it contained a criticism of the rescue worker who saved Legend.Rick, I have posted you a reply but in case you only read this, let me say that I absolutely agree that difficult rescues should not be undertaken without back up of experienced people , however lets not take away this persons bravery and success saving the pup. As readers will know, we always call in the rescue services for situations which require people highly trained for climbing, caving or sailing.In this case we knew nothing about it until the lady and dog turned up here. If Ramona reads this and would like to make a comment I will print it over the next few days. All comments are welcome.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

The internet is back on at last!

Apologies to all who follow this blog, the internet has been down since my last entry and only sorted out today, its been incredibly frustrating but we are now back on track.Well where do I start to catch up on news? The best news is that our supporter Peter was successful obtaining the roofing panels from his firm and we now have a solid brand new roof on the cattery.I am just amazed and thankful that someone came to our rescue and am completely overwhelmed by this extremely generous gesture. Peter took it upon himself to do the work aided by Jason and John(our handyman).The work took 2 days in difficult weather conditions but they worked very hard and now we are ready to move all the evacuated cats back into their respective pens. It really has been wonderful to know that this winter the cats will be much warmer as the new roof has thick insulation. I could not be more pleased than if I had received a lottery win- well in all truthfulness THAT would have excited me just a little bit more but nonetheless a new cattery roof at no cost is very acceptable right now.
It has been a very busy time, Pets At Home held a funday for us, we have yet to be told the sum raised, we have another collection outside Tescos in Holyhead on saturday - anybody in that area willing to help for an hour or so?Please ring the shelter on 01286 880808.Then tomorrow is the Christmas Fair at the Royal Sportsman Hotel in Porthmadog High Street, 10am - 2pm.Please support us if you are local.
Theres lots more to chat about but right now I have to get things ready for the Fair so my next blog will be on saturday and I will write about Legend the pup thrown into the water filled local Quarry which was featured on the front page of the Daily Post this week(he is fine) and all the other pets which have been brought in this past few weeks.
See you all Saturday.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

The Wettest Day Yet.



What a day! Like so many places in the Uk we are having torrential rain and gale force winds. Icould not manage to stay upright this morning when I walked the dogs. I usually walk up to the top fields but I had to turn back when I was almost blown off my feet.Why is it so hard to get really waterproof trousers? We have all bought both cheap and expensive waterproofs to try and keep dry outside but nothing ever seems to do the trick.Theres nothing worse than working in soaking wet clothing,Wellingtons also do not last long when worn daily in this hilly environment.I sometimes see good quality waterproof boots and then realise they are leather which I will not wear for ethical reasons. Theres a fortune to be made for the clever person who produces clothing meant to be worn outdoors in all weathers which actually lives up to its waterproof claims.
John and Barbara have been busy this morning digging a trench at the back of the new stables.This morning the rain which had poured down from the hills had formed a stream and had flowed into the stables, we had to evacuate the old ponies and move them temporarily until a deeper trench was made for drainage. All the ditches here are overflowing, I cannot remember it ever being this bad in the seven years I have lived here.At least the pigs fields seems alright, there are no major flows of rain through that one and they have had a huge bed of straw to keep them warm in their house.It really is non stop work at the moment to keep the animals warm and dry with the problems we are having.
We discovered today that Gel collie is jealous of attention to the other dogs so I have had to ring the lady interested in him and tell her that this dog is unsuitable for her.I am still trying to find people to do the homechecks for Sally and Cassie.Usually I have no problems with finding homecheckers out of the area but for some reason I have had no luck this time.
Any has managed to get into the office again and has appropriated a box for her bed today.It was only put there for a few seconds and was to be thrown out in the rubbish but it looks as though it will be staying a little longer,well at least until Amy decides to vacate it. Most of the free roaming cats are comfortably esconced in the conservatory or in Kitty Kottage. No way are they setting foot outside in this rain and who can blame them.
Heres hoping tomorrow will be better.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Suzy has recovered.




Wonderful news - Suzy has recovered.After several very tense and nail biting days with Suzy refusing all attempts to encourage her to eat and her spending all her time sleeping, she finally started to brighten up and show interest in food. What a relief it is to see her back to normal.She is back to her usual grumpy irritable self and I could not be happier. She can bite me all she likes, she is old and entitled to have her moods (my friends and family please take note!!)I am just delighted she has recovered.
The person interested in the middle aged collie has not yet been to see him but is coming here tomorrow, I just hope she will take him as I have rather foolishly held off advertising him and we need our foster homes for other urgent cases.
The two young collies are still available although Sally has someone interested so pending a homecheck she may be going to live in Lancaster.They are both lovely dogs but like all youngsters quite a handful.Both Scott and Sally pictured here.
The collapsing cattery roof is still posing us a problem and now the old dog kennels in which we house the overflow of cats,is also leaking.Will the problems never end?
One of our supporters who also has cats from us is trying to get some help from his employers who have a roofing company so I am going to measure the roof today and keep my fingers crossed that his request will fall on sympathetic ears.
Our Christmas fair at the Royal Sportsman Hotel is taking place on friday 4th December so we are all hoping it will be a success as it is the first Christmas fundraising event we have held in Wales. The collection went ahead at Tescos in Holyhead on Sunday and the magnificent sum of £411 was raised, far more than I expected.It was a bit of a struggle finding volunteers to help but in the end it all came together and everyone is thrilled with the amount collected.An attraction could well have been that a couple of helpers turned up with their dogs wearing panniers on which the Freshfields logo was displayed. Tescos have given us a couple more dates to do this so I will try to organise another day in the next couple of weeks.Money is still tight but the apppeal has kept us ticking over and of course the donations of petfood has saved us a great deal of money.
I have been in LLandudno with Barry trying to sort out the problems there and have started interviewing people for the job of manager.There have been quite a few applicants and I am still sifting through them so may need to return to Llandudno later this week or early next week. Mei doesnt like me taking the 4x4 because William is unhappy when his mobile kennel disappears. Usually he prefers to sleep in the car than anywhere else so he is very put out when it vanishes from the yard. When I return, he rushes - not to greet ME but to jump back in the car as though to say "its not going anyhwhere again without ME" Only when he is safely inside will he deign to wag his tail in greeting to me.Dear old William.
Me is STILL in pain with her wrist, I took her to Bangor Hospital yesterday and this time the doctor told her she has to have ANOTHER MRI scan and most likely an operation.This has been going on now f0r 6 months, no wonder she is fed up.Most of the staff have something wrong with them physically( some have back pain and Vanessa has a recurring knee problem) and I think we all have some mental health problems or we wouldnt be doing this work, low pay for hard, dirty work and frequent abuse from members of the public we are trying to help.Its a great way to earn a living! Seriously though it is a good feeling knowing that needy animals are being helped by us and we meet some lovely people who restore ones faith in human nature. Its the animals and people like that which keep us going and make it worthwhile.
Its just as well I am quite healthy apart from the pernicious anaemia which tires me towards the end of the three months when I am due for an injection.Incidentally I seem to be getting braver about it.,The last few times nobody got hurt except me! And it only takes one nurse to hold me down instead of the usual 3!! Things are progressing. There may even come a time when I can walk in the surgery without being held in a vice like grip by a friend who is desperately trying to stop me from escaping.Stranger things have happened.
Well its a blustery wet day today and we have had no visitors for cats but we have had a visit from someone who wants to homecheck for us . We are desperately short of such people so I was delighted to have her offer and hope she becomes an integral part of our volunteer team.
Connie shetland is doing ok at the moment, we are watching her carefully in case she has another fit, yesterday Grandad also had a fit and this is about the third one he has endured.Both old ponies have heart murmers but have been fine in between the seizures so their numbers are not yet up and we will give them a good life until that day arrives. Thats what Freshfields is all about.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Smoky, A temperamental disabled cat.


We admitted a young tabby and white cat yesterday, she had been scavenging for food in the Nefyn area for the past week. We have put a stop to taking in any more cats due to the cattery roof problem which is still not sorted.Roy from the Caernarfon shop had a go at fixing it but it has not worked and there is no way we can afford to totally reroof it.I am at a loss as to what to do next.The new tabby cat is young enough to be in the kitten room but the adult cats waiting list is growing longer by the day which is a worry.Just as I wrote this Roy telephoned and he is going to come back and have another go with different materials.What would we do without him? He really is as committed to this shelter as I am and in this day and age when nobody seems willing to do anything for nothing he is priceless.I dont know if he would thank me for also mentioning that he is now 80 years of age!!!! Amazing!
He tells me he has a marvellous volunteer in the shop, a regular and reliable man who travels by bus to the shop in Caernarfon and he is 94!!! Where are all the young people who are out of work? I suppose shopwork is too boring for them.
We need to find an indoor home for Smokey a handsome grey female whose owner had died leaving the cat homeless.Smoky was born without a bone in part of her front leg so she has a strange gait when she walks, she also has a pin in her back leg from a traffic accident.On top of this she is a bit temperamental and it is hard enough to find homes for the sweetest natured cats, never mind one who has both a disability AND isnt the sweetest natured animal here.So we need someone who does not want a cat to go outdoors, who does not want a perfect looking animal and someone who admires an independent minded feline who has a tendency to lash out when it suits her. Now where do I find someone like that? Answers please on a postcard!
Suzy is not doing so well after the op and I am wondering if I did the right thing putting her through it, in fact I feel very guilty about it.To be perfectly honest when I took her for the appointment I had in mind the vet might decide it kinder to put her to sleep but when her heart was checked and it was fine, the option was not discussed and before I knew it she was being whisked away to be prepared. That is not to say that I could not have told the vet not to go ahead but somehow I could not bring myself to say so especially as Maggie Martha did so well. I will see how she is today,she may well be improved by the end of the day.
A young collie called Sally has been admitted so she is in the house with me.Just 6 months old she is a lovely dog , one of those submissive types who is scared of cats and rolls on her back when another dog approaches.The other dogs have accepted her immediately and she is very homeable being young and pretty.Who says looks dont matter? As I have often said before the plainer the animal is the longer it remains unhomed.Fortunately Sally is most things that people want in a dog,I wonder how long it will be before the enquiries start to come in. She is already advertised on the Dogsblog website along with Lassie and Gel but sometimes it takes a few days before the profiles appear.
Thanks to a couple from Anglesey who answered my recent newspaper appeal we have been liasing with the manager of Tescos in Holyhead to organise a collection outside their store .A rota of volunteers has been set up to cover the day.This is the first store which has offered this facility so I am hoping we will receive plenty of donations.Barbara is taking a table and setting up a stall in the foyer selling our calendars, cards etc. It will also be good to raise the profile of the shelter in Anglesey.
Regarding the person who stole the cats last week, as expected she had given me an incorrect address so all I can do is hope that she will care for them in the future.I absolutely loathe people like her who think they can do as they please and make up their own rules according to what they want with complete disregard for anyone else. To say we are all concerned about the cats is an understatement. All over the Uk animals are stolen from shelters. When I lived in Liverpool we had a greyhound stolen from the shelter.Jimmy had been with us for a few years, lived with greyhound companions and was much loved by all the staff. He was a happy dog but untrustworthy with other animals and this is why we chose not to rehome him. Although I lived on site I heard nothing and in the morning found the kennel door open, and all 3 greyhounds missing.Eventually we found two which were clearly traumatised and were hiding in an outbuilding shaking from head to foot.There was no sign of Jimmy and we never did find him despite advertising for a long time afterwards. Even padlocks do not deter determined thieves.They are despicable.
A farmer has just turned up with a young stray collie he has found.For once I know this is not his dog and he is genuine.The dog is young, not even 6 months old and very thin under his long coat,There is nowhere for him to go so whilst I try to find a foster home he has joined Sally in the house.They are getting on well together and both are good with the cats which is a relief.This one reminds me of how old Tara must have looked when she was a pup, he has speckles over his face just like her.Dear old Tara, we do miss her but we have a lovely framed photo of her in the office and its almost as though she is still here lying beside me as I work.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

A real Welsh Sheepdog



The kitten in the ofice is now named Layla and she is not only almost well again but is gaining confidence daily,in fact I let her out for exercise and she really makes the most of it getting up to all sorts of mischief.Its good to see her looking so much better than when she arrived. Amy(pictured peering in at the little one in her pen) would like to live in the office, she waits patiently outside the door waiting for the chance to sneak in with someone and then makes herself comfortable on the top of the filing tray.Cats seem to love the filing trays, they always make a beeline for them and although we all make an effort not to allow them in, invariably at least one enterprising feline will make it past an unsuspecting visitor. Amy is the most friendly of cats and was rehomed once but returned because she was diagnosed with liver problems and other issues resulting in the need for lots of nursing and special care. With this in mind we decided to let her live out her life at the shelter but she has not had one days illness since the day she was returned and is looking healthier and bonnier than ever!
A farmer has contacted us to get rid of two collies,an 8 years old and a 2 years old. The female is in season although they assured me she definitely was not!This meant they couldnot be fostered together without problems.Fortunately there is a lady already interested in the older of the two and she is hoping to view him Monday.
The younger one Lassie, is,I am reliably informed, a native Welsh sheepdog which to the uninitiated could look like a crossbreed. They look different to the more identifiable border collie type sheepdog and apparently also work in a different manner.Instead of crouching and rounding up the flock, they work from the back of the flock and their carriage is more upright with their tails held high.These pedigree sheepodogs are also used to work with cattle and are highly prized by both farmers and people involved with agility. (Thanks to my bookeeper Veronica for this information - Veronica is involved with agility dogs and has 3 dogs herself including a Welsh sheepdog very similar to Lassie) Photo of Lassie above.
Unbelievably Suzy the 15 years old Yorkie is now in the vets having a dental, she too has pulled through and now that leaves only Thin Maggie Martha to undergo the same.As she has no problems right now I think I will leave it a little while, she eats well and has no other visble problems with her teeth at the moment. All these little dogs have only been with me a year and have clearly not had dental treatment during the last part of their lives.It seems to be the same with the horses, when they come to us their mouths need extensive treatment, its almost as if owners do not realise that animals need dental care as well as human beings.
Little Layla has been awol all day and we have been making extensive searches for her,hence the office is looking like a bomb has hit it! Veronica has just found her curled up asleep in her pen drawer and looking as though butter would not melt hin her mouth Oh well its a good reason to start a good tidy up but I am a great believer in "always put off today what you can do tomorrow! So tomorrrow there will be a blitz on the office.
I am off now to collect Suzy from the vet.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Gel goes to Spain.


Im not managing the blog as often as I would like at the moment.There have been some problems with our charity shop in LLandudno - ie. its not making any money.I have been there with my sister, who is a trustee of the charity and we have had to look at various issues which may or may not be preventing the shop making a profit.We spent the day in the shop and Sandras friend Shirley did a really good job making the window display Christmassy and festive. It is clear that the recession seems to be affecting the donation of good quality saleable items. I have never seen the shop with as little on display.One of the most popular items at this time of year are warm jumpers,fleeces etc but so little is being donated to the shop that we still have summer clothes on the rails.
Anyway enough of that.On to more interesting things to do with animals.Hadley the grey lurcher has a home, not sure if I mentioned the fact that a man travelled down here from Berkshire and when he arrived he looked at poor Hadley and said" there is no connection between us" This was within the first 2 minutes!Amazing and very very silly but if he thought he was not the dog fo him,he was definitely not right for Hadley either.This time he is going to a couple who liked him straight away and who have an elderly lurcher female.As luck would have it, Hadley had gone to the vet to be neutered(though I doubt he felt very lucky at the time!) and this couple were there and spotted him(no doubt looking very sorry for himself)Well his soulful look did the trick and they are collecting him on Wednesday.
Needles the black and white staffordshire bull terrier is back with Rosie, having failed to get on with the new familys other dog. She is such a delightI feel sure she will not be there very long.This time it will be as an only dog even though she plays happily with Rosies other dogs.Speaking of Rosie and Needles - the Freshfields staff are always ready for an animal rescue attempt even when on a day off from the shelter.This weekend Rosie was walking the dogs on Dinas Dinclle beach and came across a stranded octopus struggling to breathe.By her own admission although fascinated to see one alive(though barely)for the first time , she felt unable to touch it . After tying one dog to a rock and the other 4 to that one, she took off her woolly hat and scooped up the poor creature and returned him/her to the sea.Another successful rescue achieved. I hope she doesnt put in for extra time!
I have a little feline friend in the office with me, a little black feralc kiten about 9 weeks old was admitted suffering with cat flu.She has been isolated here and is doing well now though a little timid still.What she does seem to like is when I pick her up, she then climbs on to my shoulder and settles down in the warmth of the hood of my jumper. Ahhh.
Connie one of the elderly shetlands had another fit the another night, this time it lasted longer than the others and we were very worried about her.As often happens when the vet arrived she was coming out of it and after an injection was given to relax the muscles, she recovered well. He asked if anything had happened to cause her stress and the only thing that it could have been is that unusually and inadvertently she had been separated from her best friend Titch and put in a different field for the day but Dafydd the vet says thatin itself could have brought on the fit as any form of anxiety /trauma/stress can do to both animals and humans. I have had a word with the staff who will make sure this does not happen again.It was an honest mistake but one we cannot afford to make again with these elderly animals.
Finally I have just had an email from the people who gave our lovely Gel a home, he now has his pet passport(pictured above waiting for his taxi to the airport) and leaves today for Spain where he and his family will be remaining until May. Both Mei and I offered to accompany them to care for Gel but for some reason they failed to take either of us up on the offer.I dont know - some people do not know a good offer when they hear one!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

22 year old Maggie Martha pulls through her operation


(fat)Maggie Martha(pictured here at the front with thin Maggie Martha and 15 year old Suzy at the back)) has returned from the vets today having had a dental operation yesterday, I was so worried she would not make it through the anaesthetic but she has and is back home snuggling up to the other dogs on the sofa.What a relief and how amazing that at her great age she has pulled through this trauma. I can scarcely believe it myself.It was obviously not her time to leave us and I am overjoyed that I have more time with her.
We had 5 cats admitted last week, their owner was moving and was unable to take them- her daughter who at present has no home of her own and is living with her boyfriends parents has asked for them to be returned to her. I explained that I would have to come and see where the cats would be living and needed to speak to her future mother in law.Last night she broke into the cattery and stole the five cats. We know it was her as she left behind the other cats sharing their pen.I am livid, this girl has no stability to offer these cats, they are not hers, they belonged to her mother and 2 of the cats are Freshfields cats so she has no claim to them. I will be visiting the address she gave me but I now wonder if she was lying about that, what makes people think they can do what they want and what sensible caring person would want to take on five adult cats without a home to give them. Thank goodness the other cats did not escape.
Local people have just lost a young pony from grass sickness. I know little about this never having experienced it first hand so I decided to download information from the internet.I didnt know that worming should ideally take place when there is stable weather as sudden change in weather conditions can alter the goodness in the grass and any sudden change can cause grass sickness. I knew stress could cause it but this is new to me and I am glad to I know about it for the future welfare of the horses. Even after years of working with animals there are always new things to learn and it is good to be open to new ideas. The learning process never ends.
There have been so many calls regarding dogs needing homes but my foster homes are full so I am unable to help them at the moment.It is so frustrating as many of these dogs would be snapped up if I was able to accommodate them. This time of the year is always busiest, its the time people start to think of getting rid of any unwanted pets they have.
As I finish this I can see the horses starting to gather round the gates of their fields, they are ready to come in for their evening feed and the shelter of a warm stable.It seems that winter has arrived, all the animals seem to be hungrier in this weather (I am too!) The people from Liverpool who brought up the catfood last week have rung to offer more help with horse feed this time but if they read this, I have written down the wrong telephone number so cannot get back in touch.Please ring again - We desperately need help with this.Another kind person has offered to buy some hay ,I am overwhelmed at the kindness of these and others who are helping us through this very difficult time.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Buster and Rocky return to the fold.


I have been away to Liverpool, mainly to attend the trustee meeting which is held monthly but I decided to stay with a friend for a couple of days.Its funny that when I am here,I long for some time to myself and when I stay away I cannot understand how people live such uneventful lives.I then find myself longing for something meaningful to do! What a contrary creature I am,no wonder all my relationships fail!
Well I am back now and so are Buster and Rocky who arrived back today from their loan homes. We always hope they will stay out for good but circumstances change for people and at least we keep a track of them and disappointing though it is when they are returned, its good to know that the loan agreement exists to ensure their future safety. I had almost forgotten just how tall Buster stands(17.2 hands) and handsome man Rocky is as gentle as ever.
There is a new collie called Barney in with Mollys gang, he is a middle aged shortcoated collie , another chained and neglected dog though at least this one is friendly and not cowed.His only problem appears to be that he is not to be trusted with cats,that characteristic is always a problem to us so he needs to be kept on a lead at all times. Molly and co seem to accept him well into their kitchen( well its more theirs than mine as I am no Nigella Lawson).My biggest worry today is that one of the Maggie Marthas appears to be off colour and has failed to eat.As she is normally so greedy this tells me immediately something is wrong.If she is no better tomorrow I will take her to the vet. I have had them a year now and I knew when I took them on that their great age (21 and 22 years) would mean that they would have a limited time here. The strange thing is that this one is the one I call Fat Maggie Martha who has always looked bonnier and healthier than her companion(Thin Maggie Martha)Anyhow it may just be that she is having an off day.I hop eso, Ilove these little dogs dearly.
Several kittens have gone to homes this weekend and there is a prospective home for the two rabbits which is good news. A home is still needed for the Gangster ferret which needs someone with a lot of experience and who does not want a cuddly animal.Cuddly he is most definitely NOT. Any takers?
The appeal for funds has raised enough to keep us limping along for a bit longer - a few people have asked me if the situation is really that serious, well yes it is but as mentioned before I am ever optimistic and people have been very kind helping us with catfood and horse feed and hay.This crisis could not have come at a worst time, the winter months mean a great drain on resources, the horses need supplementary feeding at this time of year when there is little grass left.My main worry is paying off the vet bill So am trying to pay off little by little, this is the first time in 7 years the bill has mounted up to thousands, in the past it has been paid as and when we made appointments. I hope that with the continued help coming in from members of the public we will see out this time of crisis.
Anyhow to finish on a lighter note- well actually I cant think of anything but I am feeling positive and the animals are all being fed and sheltered, they are safe and well so not everything is bad news.

Next entry tonight.

I have been away for a few days so will write new entry for this evening.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Time to order in the haylage bales.


`Its a really nice day today,quite warm and even the sun is shining, its quite a change from the last few wintery days and a welcome respite.Little Katie has left us and so has Hadley.Willow goes tomorow . I am wondering if one of the people who rang after seeing them on the Dogsblog website might be interested in another I have just heard of.There is a 3 years old black female lurcher in a dog pound in Dolgellau (same one Hadley was taken to)so maybe just maybe there may be a home for her.Where are all these lurchers coming from? There seems to be a sudden spate of them in this area.
Did anyone see Doc Martin last night?I have always liked that programme, there is no gratuitous violence and no animal abuse so I always feel it is safe to watch in the knowledge there will be disturbing scenes in it. Not so last night, I had to switch off thanks to repeated close ups of a dead pheasant and a dead deer slung round someones neck with its poor head lolling lifelessly.I felt it was totally unecessary footage and far too graphic. There were far too many shots of the dead animals.I see enough in my day job, I certainly do not want to see this kind of thing when I am trying to relax. Its put me off watching again.I wonder do many other people feel this way.
There is little grass left here now so it is time to be ordering the big bales of haylage. This is when Trevor our old tractor is forced into life after a spell of hibernation during the summer months when he is almost redundant.Without him we would be unable to move the large bales into position in the fields and this is the cheapest way to feed the horses when the grass has diminished.See photo of the horses gathered round the hay container last winter.
The four youngsters,Celt,Merlin, Shanmrock and Finn have recovered well from their gelding operation and Finn who has gone to live with Cariads other pony, is coming along well with more individual attention.I am so glad that the ops are over and done with.I was in my usual mode of "keep out the way of blood and gore" and had to leave the premises until it was all over. Just the thought of it makes ,me feel faint! Animals are so stoical,I have the greatest of respect for them in their ability to recover from trauma and operations. Would that I shared some of that ability!
We are having six cats returned today, they were homed 4 years ago but apparently circumstances have changed so I am obliged to find space for them.Two are ferals and I am delighted to say that they already have a home,the man who delivers our hay wants a couple of ferals to live in his barn so these two should be ideal for him.Accommodating the remainder is not easy as we have lost a whole pen due to the roof situation,however they were our cats originally and their future must be assured. They will have to go in the old dog kennels with 2 other cats. The mnaterials for the temporary roof fixture should arrive today and with a bit of luck it will be repaired by the weekend. The long term solution is of course to pull it down and build a new cattery but as we have no way of knowing what the future holds for the shelter , its a case of taking each day as it comes.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Marjorie meets Crystal


The Dogsblog website once again has brought some homes for the dogs, there are people interested in Willow , Katie and also Hadley a lurcher being fostered by Rosie. Hadley was found, taken to the police in Porthmadog, then transferred to the dog pound where his time was up.He had staples in one leg where he had obviously had a recent operation but nevertheless he remained unclaimed.Pending homechecks all should be going early in the week.
2 adult cats Ernest (Che) and a little tortie adult have been reserved today also so not too bad at all for a bleak, cold, rainy and very windy Saturday.The highlight of the day however, has been a visit from supporters in Liverpool who travelled to the shelter with a cash donation and a huge amount of catfood packed into their car. What a treat to see a good supply of catfood stacked up once again.It felt like Christmas had come early. This will save us hundreds of pounds , the kindness of people lately has restored my often dimmed faith in human nature. Words are inadequate for the gratitude I feel towards those who have given us the practical help needed.
We also had a visit from Marjorie and her carer who come regularly to see the animals here.Marjorie sponsors Callie but today the old lady Callie, not Marjorie!) was grazing in the top fields and was nowhere to be seen so Mei introduced Crystal to her instead.It is always a pleasure to see how this wheelchair bound lady brightens up when she meets our animalresidents.It means a great deal to her and she thoroughly enjoys her trips to the shelter.
The bad news is that my neighbour has once again started complaining to the council about the noise of our dogs! It seems he is annoyed at the noise between 8 and 9 am and around 2pm in the afternoon,this is when the dogs are walked so they get excited, are they not to be allowed to make any noise at all? The council is going to be monitoring the noise. He is clearly not content with the fact that he has stopped us taking in dogs to our block of five kennels(I have never been able to understand how there was planning permission to build these kennels but we are not allowed to use them!!!!) but now the resident dogs are not allowed to make a noise either. I think he wants us gone and thats the truth of the matter. Well I am not so easy to get rid of. The perverse side of my nature will never give up no matter what is thrown at me and the more he hassles the more determined I become to carry on. In a way he has just spurred me on and given me even more reason to stay positive about the future of the shelter. I now would LIKE to end this days blog by a very rude comment and gesture to Mr. H. Clearly I am unable to do this so please feel free to use your imagination! The more imaginative the better.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Dawn leaves us and a very thin puppy arrives.





The donations are still coming in but there is a postal strike now,wouldnt you know!Anyhow so far we have received almost £2,000 so it is helping us greatly,thank goodness there are some animal lovers out there who really care about their local shelter.
I had decided we had to stop admitting animals as there is a large vets bill yet to be paid but yesterday someone turned up with a dog found tied up outside his house and she was so pitifully thin I could not turn her away .Willow as I have named her is now esconced in my living room with the Maggie Marthas ,Suzy and Pooty the old tortoishell cat.Willow (pictured here)is a young whippet cross about 5 and a half months old and reminds me rather of my lovely William, she is gentle and very calm around the other animals and I am going to find it very difficult to part with her. Even William who dislikes youngsters intensely seems passive around her.Incidentally I never did part with Meg the lurcher who had a tiff with Molly, she is still with me and always will be though I have to be careful not to make a fuss of any other animals when she is near, she is very jealous and possessive around me. Molly ,more or less keeps out of her way but they and Ben the old collie live amicably together now.Bens owner has agreed to let him live out his life here and although I did not want another dog,I am relieved. Ben is so settled here now and judging by his reaction when his owner visited him,I dont think he wanted to go back to him. His owner loved him dearly but Ben seems to prefer life here.At least now the man can accept the councils offer of a place to live instead of holding out for one where he could have his dog.He will now be able to leave the B&B where he has been accommodated for the past 6 months.
One of the lovely people who has supported us through this difficult time had expressed a desire to take a cat which had been here a long time and today he chose Dawn to live with him.Dawn has been here almost 18 months, a shy but sweet little tabby with bits of ginger colour always held back when visitors came and her nervousness did not endear herself to prospective owners.She was never a great one to make a fuss but amazingly today she was purring and making a great fuss of this gentleman. Real cat lovers are instantly recognised by cats and there is no doubt in my mind that she knew she was in with a chance today. How right she was. This is a real morale boost for the staff who, like me ,worry about those which are overlooked and for Dawn to be chosen when there are so many more outgoing and attractive cats here is a real pleasure to all of us.
There are two other adult cats reserved and should be going tomorrow.Which is just as well because to add to the pressures of the moment, the cattery roof is collapsing!We have had to evacuate one entire pen intothe old dog kennels and another 2 pens are affected so we need to empty these also.There is no money to pay fora new roof but we will need to repair well enough to see us through the winter ahead. We have builders arriving today to give a quote for minimum repair.Also Roy the volunteer manager of the Caernarfon shop has told me today he is stepping down so I need to find a replacement - not an easy task, Roy was so reliable and committed to the shelter but for personal reasons he feels unable to continue.What a nightmare. Oh well better to get all the rubbish luck out the way at once and then things can only get better!!!!!

Monday, 19 October 2009

Hunting continues in North Wales.

After speaking of my huntsman neighbour,I was horrified to hear (I was on a day off and away from the shelter) from Mei that there was a hunt taking place in Nasareth and the hounds were on the adjoining property to the shelter.There were a large number of hounds and Mei heard gunshots, I believe I am correct in saying that this is illegal, that control of foxes should occur with only two hounds!Apart from my great sadness for the slaughtered wildlife, my neighbours Nia and Andrew have cats and horses (some from here) and geese loose on their land so there could have been a veritable bloodbath.Had they wandered just that bit further the Freshfields animals would have also been at risk. Foxhounds are lovely animals, we have an elderly one here but Bonnie, although she has a gentle affectionate nature would behave totally differently if running with a pack. I will be making some complaints about this and will also talk to Nia and Andrew who will be horrified to hear what has happened on their land. These people have no regard for the law, they believe they are a law unto themselves and they cannot be allowed to carry on their murderous antics so close toour homes and putting our pets at risk.
The Welsh Assembly have produced excellent literature regarding the keeping of pets and an accepted Code of Practise for such.This morning there was a forum held in Anglesey and I was able to attend along with Sandra a friend and someone who has done much for animal welfare in this area over the years.It was interesting to hear of the efforts of various councils all over Wales, their efforts to improve animal welfare is to be applauded. The implementation and subsequent enforcement of these Codes of Practice are another matter.The law does not protect animals adequately and although the public can be given advice on pet ownership, it is quite another matter taking them to task over it. The judicious system as it stands gives ludicrously small sentences to those who have committed acts of animal cruelty(and also for child abuse!!)and until this changes and it is taken seriously it does not act as a deterrent.
Good news, our appeal in the newspapers has resulted in just over a thousand pounds being donated and I hope there will be more to come, I have never done as much positive thinking as I have done in the past few weeks.I am trying to push the negative thoughts out my mind,not easy but I cant succumb to it. As the self help books say -positive energy brings positivity into ones life.Heres hoping thats true.