Sunday, 31 January 2010

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

Jamie asleep with my German Shepherd and best friend, Louis

I hope you don't mind if I start with a personal story. As you know I care for hundreds of kittens in one season, and I often think.."Aww bless I could live with you," but having 5 cats already I never do anything about it. (The last one I bought home was Tia in 2003) Anyway, at the beginning of December one little fellow just got to me. I burst into tears and just couldn't put him down, I had to bring him home. He was not the most glamorous kitten I'd seen, but for some reason the little man, now christened Jamie stole my heart. Anyway, I'm sure you'll agree, it looks like he's well settled.
With the return of the snow and ice today, work for the girls with the horses was more difficult. It's not as bad for us in the cattery and warm kitten room. Though taking the dogs out doesn't half blows away the cobwebs.
Well the plot thickens, we have now been informed that another charity has taken Trixie to re-home, even though they had been informed that the cat was one of ours. To be honest I'm absolutely livid, that's one of our cats and her future safety is our responsibility. The least we deserve is a phone call to inform us of her whereabouts and condition. Iguess they don't understand that we worry about the individuals, she a name not a number to us..Oh, but talking of numbers, she is chipped and registered to Freshfields which may cause difficulties to them when they re-home her, I hope! (Sorry not trying to sound petty, but I'm annoyed!)
Ben the collie was off to Derby yesterday and his brother Don is leaving next week-end. There is still no interest in the lovely 12 year old collie Lass, though she is no trouble to us I really hope she finds her own home with a sofa to cuddle up on in the evenings. Rosie is fostering another farm collie. He was taken to the vets to be destroyed as he had no interest in sheep, there is also some question about his eyesight. I'll update you as I get more details. Rhian
Big Buster waiting to come in before the snow on Friday Afternoon

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Look At Your Hands

The Young Tortie Tabby Female Who Has Been Reserved

Well I guess we'll start with the good news, pending a home visit Ben the collie has already been reserved. I guess his striking good looks would always help him on his way to a new life. Don his brother is still with us, but on a favourable vets report he will soon be leaving us as well. Smokey our elderly disabled cat has also been lucky this week and has packed her tesco carrier bag and gone to live to Blaenau Ffestiniog. And a stunning 9month old tortie tabby youngster has been reserved.
Unfortunately all is not as rosy in the garden and we are quite worried about the whereabouts of one of our middle aged cats. Trixie was re-homed with an elderly lady in Pen Y Groes about a year or so ago. (Well actually when I say elderly, she was in her early 70 ies - I hope I have not caused offence!) Sadly we heard that the lady had died and we made enquiries about the whereabouts of our cat. At first no one seemed to know anything but we have now been told that the cat has "been sold" by the family to someone in Colwyn Bay. To us this is totally unacceptable, this is our cat. But who is to blame? As Rosie pointed out, god forbid but any of us could die tomorrow. Maybe we all need to think and make provisions for our animals should anything happen to us, at least let family and friends know our wishes for their future. We will continue the search for Trixie, I just hope in the meantime that she is safe, happy and well cared for.
We took in another two cats yesterday, a black stray in good condition but unfortunately no microchip, and an elderly grey tabby and white boy who's owner had died. With a bit of luck we have a home waiting for the old boy.
Well that's it from me for another time...
Mei-Off to feed the wild birds!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

A Different Corner

Bonnie - the week she came in to Freshfields

Just a quick note tonight. I just thought I'd share these photos with you. It seems like a long time since I first saw the skinny Foxhound which had arrived at Freshfields during my week-end off. We decided to christened her Bonnie, when she came in she was covered in mange and was virtually a walking skeleton. It was probably a life saving decision for her when she decided to come off the mountains and walk into an industrial estate where the partner of one of our volunteers was working. Well how times have changed for Bonnie! A huge character, and an even bigger thief Bonnie is great fun and a pleasure to have around the sanctuary. Though don't leave you dinner anywhere that isn't under lock and key!!
The Fat Foxhound. Looking good these days

Monday, 25 January 2010

Spinning The Wheel

Another Collie Looking For a Home

Well following a stropy text message from one of the shop manager I find myself writing again... Told you I'd tell on you Trish!
As regards to re-homing cats and kittens it's been quite a productive week-end. Three kittens and 2 adults found themselves lucky and are now at the beginning of the rest of their lives. Here hoping them all the luck in the world. But unfortunately just as we found ourselves with space we also had to take in 5 extra cats!
The pups are doing well and are becoming more sociable. They are at a crucial stage in their development where they need to see and be seen. At this age puppies need to hear the Hoover, see the T.V and socialise with people, cats etc so they later become confident acceptable adults in our increasingly anti-dog society. We have had some interest in the litter but unfortunately from people who work all day. Taking a puppy into that environment is in my opinion unacceptable. After all
,We all agree (don’t we?) that dogs are pack animals, social creatures that thrive on companionship. Is it not therefore unnatural for a dog to be alone, or away from its pack leader for such a long time? (Especially a puppy who needs extra meals as well as companionship) A dog left alone all day must have long boring hours and will do anything to make himself feel better. Excessive barking, tail chasing, pacing and circling, all considered behavioral problems could stem from this boredom.
The dog in the picture is Ben, another of the 15 farm collies that need re-homing. He is apparently a full brother to Don who came in a couple of weeks ago. Ben is equally nervous but has a sweet nature. He is more unusually looking being slate grey and white, he also has the glamour of a long coat. I'm sure he will be reasonably easy to re-home.
Well I think I'll sign off there for today.. Rhian

Thursday, 21 January 2010


Two of the boys now waiting for a home

Yesterday we had a phone call from our Vets Surgery. One of the Vets has refused to put a health litter of puppies to sleep. After some thought and a little juggling we agreed to take in the litter of Collie x puppies. So thanks to the kindness and compassion of the Vet team at Milfeddygon Deufor they are here to tell the tale. Two have already been re-homed to people who where on our waiting list and the other 5 now hopefully have positive futures ahead for them. Our only worry now will be the poor mother, who has gone back to the owner!
Enough said I think!

The sweet little bitch puppy
ruling the roost no doubt

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The Strangest Thing

A stunning uneutered male who came in a couple of weeks ago...tomorrow he will be going to the vets.

Hi again
Well there's not much going on here outside the normal routine really. Unfortunately very few animals going out and an endless amount of people wanting "to get rid of" dogs, cats and even a couple of horses. There seems to be an endless amount of calls from people wanting to re-home collies/sheepdogs, and there are now three Staffies on the books as well. I must admit that I'm finding the endless amount of calls quite mentally draining. When we try and explain that we have no immediate room people are quick to almost blackmail us with the classic line, "Well I'll have to have it put to sleep then." When really all we are usually asking is a day or two to make space or a find foster home, you would think people could be a little more patient and compassionate.
I've had an e.mail from the boss woman and all is going well. They where lucky enough to go to nature reserve a couple of days ago where they saw mongooses, antelope, black harriers, tortoises, ostriches and other wildlife. Lesley said she was also meeting up with Rosie which will be great for both of them.
Tomorrow and Thursday we have vet trips. We have cats going in to be neutered tomorrow and dogs on Thursday. The cost of all the neutering is currently draining our limited resources, but is just so necessary if we are to be successful in reducing the growing population of unwanted dogs and cats in the area. The kitten room is only now getting a little quite. I don't think we have ever had so many young kitten at this time of year before.
One last tale before I sign off for the day. Imagine Veronica's face as she sat in the office discussing animal adoption with someone on the phone, only to look through the window and see a big bale rolling down the track towards the office. I'm sure she wondered if she was safer in the office or running out ... Good thing it slowed down on the yard and just missed the office....And what would she have told the lady on the phone? Well the villain of the crime was big Buster, again, ...a quick shove to the bale had sent it rolling down the track! It was only last week when he knocked the dog pooh bin off the pole breaking the steal strips that held it in place...I dread to think what he'll do next?

Friday, 15 January 2010


I Just thought I'd share this picture with you. It's 12 year old Lass enjoying her run in the snow at the beginning of the week. Bless her, we are all so taken with her...

A Ray of Sunshine?

Scott (with a spot) and Billy

I think the dogs are the only ones that are disappointed to see the snow is defrosting with the rain this morning. For us it will be great to finally get back to some sort of normality!
There is nothing more upsetting for us as staff than to go into work and find one of the animals has died in the night. Gail was faced with that exact situation at the beginning of the week. Arthur was an old stray cat that had been taken to the vets a couple of weeks before Xmas, he was blind in one eye and looked like he'd had a really hard life. An affectionate old soul he loved his cuddles almost as much as he loved his food. (but wasn't sure what to do with a litter tray!!) He seemed absolutely fine on the previous day, but he had passed away in his sleep during the night. No matter how many times you see it, it still gets to you, and so it should I suppose or your in the wrong job. I guess a little comfort for us was the knowledge that he spent his last days with plenty of food and a warm bed always available for him.
If you are thinking of getting a kitten then spare a thought for our teenagers. They may no longer be cuddly and cute, but they are full of fun and have a lot of love to give. One lucky teenager to get a home this week is Tammy, a little black female who seem's to have been with us for such a long time, I wish her all the luck in the world with her new life. But there are so many others still "Waiting, " Scott and Billy(pictured above) are just two of the many 6 month old (ish) kittens that are always overlooked here. These two brothers came in together with their tortie/tabby and white mother Laura at the end of the summer, they are also still Waiting For The Day!
Lesley is away now for a couple of weeks but as I mentioned in the earlier blog, between us we will try and keep you updated on what's going on at Freshfields North Wales. Whilst the cats

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Come On!

It's Really Snow Fun!

Well I guess it gets from bad to worse. Lesley's computer isn't working again and the bad weather is really tightening it's grip on North Wales. Personally I have been stuck at home until yesterday when Barbra braved the elements and came and got me to go to work. I really did not fancy a walk down the icy hills at 7.30am but Lesley's 4x4 made it up here safely.The road from Tan Y Rhiw and track up to the sanctuary are virtually unpassable with snow and ice unless you are lucky enough to have a 4x4 yourself. But to add insult to injury the water has now frozen up as well. This can be hard work in any household but is a disaster in an animal sanctuary. Poor Barbra is having to carry water from the stream in the bottom fields to supply all the horses with their daily needs. We only have three 20 liter container so if anyone has any spare we really would appreciate them through this bad spell. We have been lucky enough today to get some bottled water for the cats but as you are all aware I'm sure they will not last very long, and with a lot of people in similar situations supermarkets are getting low!
Enough hay has been taken out to "Jim" the pony to get him through this bad spell, when it is safer to travel we will be bringing him over to Freshfields.
Most dogs seem to enjoy snow, Bradley is having his second puppy-hood rolling around, playing and running in the fields, though Jade the Staffie is much happier hogging the fire! The majority of the cats are still hiding by the heaters though some venture out and love to play in the lying snow. Minnie from the kitten room likes to help Mei bring the horses out, how I wish I had a camera at the right time!
Well that all from me for now, hopefully someone will be able to keep you updated throughout the week

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Can we accommodate one more pony?

Overnight snow has covered everywhere in a beautiful but treacherous white blanket. neither Rhian nor Gail have made it in but Barbara has just taken the 4x 4 to collect Gail from Pwyllheli. I have a Trustee meeting to attend in Liverpool tomorrow but I have doubts anyone will be wanting to travel if this continues.
This morning when I was walking the dogs, I took a bag of bird food for my "bird tree", the birds know me now and seldom fly away when I reach the tree so I was unsurprised to see several birds singing away amidst the branches.I could hear one little bird singing away and when I finally spotted him he allowed me time enough to identify him as a marsh tit.I was so thrilled, I have never seen one before,as I have previously mentioned we do not have many trees and hedgerows here so the variety of bird species is poor. I am pleased to say that the british conservation volunteers have been in touch with me and they are going to plant some hedgerows and trees for me this year.
Predictably the meeting was cancelled and there was another snowfall last night so our track is too dangerous for anything but Four wheeldrive vehicles to attempt. I wonder if we have a fox visiting us every evening, several times I have put out the large fat balls for the birds and in the morning they have gone from the feeder. I dont think a magpie or crow could carry one away , I will put out some dogfood tonight in a dish near the tree and check for tracks in the morning. I have only seen a fox here once and badgers never, although I did see an albino one nearby but that was two years ago.My sister Sandra who lives in Prestatyn has a family of badgers visiting every evening and they are a joy to watch. her friend runs a cafe and passes on all the left over food so the badgers enjoy a real feast in her garden.
It is a really clear day today and I can see the Sealink ferry crossing from Ireland to Anglesey, I have been told that the Mountains of Morne (not sure how this is spelled) in Ireland can sometimes be seen from here though I have not yet had that pleasure.
I have just had a call to say that the Fire Brigade have been to our shop in LLandudno but before I went into a total panic, I received a second call from Barry to say not to worry, the fire was not in our shop, the source was from the flat upstairs - the tenant had burnt his toast and it had set off the fire alarm.!!!!! I have the utmost sympathy for Mr Burnt toast, My staff always know when Iam cooking as smoke pours out of the kitchen window "Dont worry , its only Lesley cooking again" they say to alarmed visitors. My poor dogs have to be forcibly evacuated into the garden until the smoke clears. Speaking of dogs, the two new collies lass and Don are settling in well, see photos of them here,Lass is such a dear old girl and Don although shy, is very sweet natured. There are four left at the farm and I am hoping the Border Collie trust will help with them. I think the bad weather is preventing people from actively searching for new pets as we are having very few enquiries right now, usually when I publish photos of collies on the relevant websites, the phone rings constantly with interested people.
There is not much about cats at the moment and no photos because they are simply not venturing outside, unlike the dogs, the cats seem to heartily dislike the feel of the cold snow on their paws. Do not be fooled by the lack of mention at the moment, believe me there are cats everywhere , they are just in hiding and thankfully we have had no major neglect cases admitted. The kitten with the runs is much better and almost back to full health and Bob a little cat with a stump of a tail has been reserved. There must be around 120 cats here, including the free roaming ferals.
I have had a request to take a 7 years old welsh Mountain pony whose elderly owners are no longer able to care for him, they are desperate not to place him where his future would be uncertain and the phone call made to me was punctuated with heartrending sobs.Neither of them want to part with "Jim" but their health has dictated this difficult decision. I am hopeful that he would be easy to home and I am going to make a decision today.We really cannot accommodate any more equines either practically or financially but this a hard one to turn down.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Bertie likes a cuddle

The snow is still here and staff have struggled to get in, one succeeded,one failed so we are down with both permanent staff and volunteers. The water is not flowing freely through the hosepipe so buckets of water have to be taken from the yard to the fields and of course the horses are unable to graze so bales of hay have to be carried to the fields. It is a great deal of extra work and as fellow rescuer Janice commented (Jan sees a lot of this weather at her pig sanctuary in Canada) these are the days you desperately need help and nobody can get to you.
Anyhow the sun is shining now so maybe some snow and ice will melt away.Unfortunately a visitor and supporter Tom attempted to get up the track in his van but skidded on the ice and it took some time to get him back on the road again. This problem notwithstanding there have been a few more visitors today and 3 young cats have been reserved which is wonderful,a good start to the day. Two more of Nells companions have been admitted - Don a 2 years old collie and Lass a 12 years old who is amazingly affectionate and friendly for an ex working dog.
Liitle Bertie is pictured here in his favourite position - on someones knee and snuggled warmly in a blanket,he really is a little baby and I cant wait to find him that special home where he will be able to do this every day with his own special person. There have been so many calls the past few days from those wanting to get rid of pets, mainly dogs though one caller has "found herself" with too many rabbits and has seven to rehome! havent they heard of neutering?
I am expecting a cat to be admitted today, This cat has been a stray for several months and is living rough under an old car.Poor thing must be scared and hungry, I wish I had known about him/her earlier though. This is not the kind of weather for animals to be able to scavenge food and in rural areas like this it is even harder for them to survive. There are not the bins to forage about in though if there were strays here at the moment they would do very well as the binmen did not come when expected this week . I have been left with about 30 binbags and cannot put them out as they get ripped apart by foxes and neighbours dogs and then I receive complaints about the mess. A catch 22 situation. I never complain about the dogs because I am only too pleased that they are not chained like so many others in this area and I would hate to be the one to put a stop to their freedom. If they want to have a scavenge then so be it.
Finally ,I must admit to a few carefree moments of total childishness the other night. Just before retiring for the evening I found my old sled which has been in storage for a few years and with Barbara starting me off by giving a hefty push I careered down the snow covered track, hanging on for dear life and shrieking with
terror as the speed of the sled escalated before finally coming to an abrupt halt tipping me off into the snow. Great fun. I may be considered by some to be eligible for free mince pies( not to mention the dreaded bus pass!) but I intend to grow old as disgracefully as I am able! The day I give up singing into the hairbrush and dancing round the kitchen to the Smiths" Hang the DJ" or Trance Nation then it will be time for me to give up. Mind you I think Molly and co will be glad when i stop singing, they do not appear to be too impressed with my singing voice though Meg jumps up and has a dance with me so it cant be all that bad?

Friday, 1 January 2010

First snow of 2010

Happy New year!
Today we have had the first real snow and its the first day of the new year.The dogs are thoroughly enjoying it though the photos did not turn out so well, I need lessons on how to take photos in glaring white snow, poor Meg looks like a ghost dog with her rear half about to disappear! Ben refused to pose and ran off somewhere to explore on his own and Molly just ambled about doing her "Im too mature to act silly in the snow! routine. William,of course is snugly curled up with the old cats in the conservatory, his favourite resting place - the car- is too cold for him at the moment.
The fireworks last night frightened William half to death, Mei said her chihuahas were terrified too, I hope there are no more tonight. As an animal lover who sees what devastation and terror these things cause and not only on the particlar day, often a week before and a week or more after it is unbearable when having to deal with a traumatised pet/It would be good if only organised displays were allowed, one day perhaps.
It has been very quiet today,most people are probably enjoying a day of rest after an evening of celebration.It makes a nice change not to be answering the phone every few minutes . On that topic A friend suggested we have an emergency phone number for when I am not at my desk and I think she may be right, seems not everybody can speak into an answerphone with ease and important calls could be missed. My worry is that the mobile system will be abused and not used for emergencies.In the past I have been available like that 24 hours a day and it was exhausting as the phone would ring continually - I would get calls sometimes at midnight and early hours of the morning.I dont sleep well as it is and to conmtemplate having even less is not something I would like to do. The late calls were never the urgent ones either , usually it was somebody who had more than a few drinks and wanted to talk. I really could not face that again. Anyhow I will do it on a trial basis and see what happens.
If the snow continues like this I will be snowed in by tomorrow and some of the staff may not be able to get into work either.It is coming down really heavy now though we can be thankful that this area has not seen the worst weather conditions in the UK. The mountains all around the shelter look beautiful covered in white,maybe i will try to get some photos of them tomorrow.