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.