Saturday, 29 May 2010

Bonnie returns full of vitality and we have a busy weekend.

Bonnie came back bright as a button from the Vet, you would not believe that she was recovering from an operation. He thinks her growth was not a malignant one so as long as she keeps out of the sun she will be Ok. We are all so relieved, she is such a great character and is so much part of the shelter it would seem weird without her lumbering about in her inimitable way
More good news , I cant believe that Vixen(now called Sally) has gone to a home already but she has found someone to love her thanks to Marc and Joe(friends and supporters from Anglesey) .Joseph came to see us and brought a friend who had just lost his dearly loved canine companion and could not bear to be without a dog. He did not care about the dogs appearance, in his own words he just wanted to give a loving home to a rescued dog.Out came Vixen and the "deal" was done. There was no asking if we had anything else to look at, he liked her immediately and she liked him so that was that! If only all homing was so simple. A man with exactly the right attitude and believe me that is rare.I cannot remember the last time that happened. Good luck to them both. It was just the best thing to put a smile on my face - I really needed something good to happen today because this morning I had to have one of the Maggie Marthas put to sleep and felt very despondent. Even the presence of the other dogs failed to cheer me up. At the age of 22 years this little yorkshire terrier had grown very frail and there was no longer any quality to her life.Today she refused to eat again(she would not eat yesterday either) and I could no longer ignore her deterioration. The other Maggie Martha seems oblivious to her departure for which I am thankful but she still has Suzy to snuggle up with
Speaking of Yorkies, there are two mid age Yorkies in need of a home.I will probably bring them here in the next week or so but in the meantime I have taken in Poppy the 12 years old shaggy type dog I mentioned a few weeks ago. I was unable to find her a home and her situation became urgent.Her owner is still in hospital and not likely to come out and Poppy was still in the empty house for which the keys were being returned to the Council yesterday. Although it was thought she was not good with other animals, she is in fact wonderful and no trouble at all.In fact she is the sort of dog I could very easily fall in love with! Oh no, I had intended to reduce the numbers of my own dogs to give me more freedom to travel and actually have a life outside the shelter!Will this ever happen?I need to be stronger willed and learn not to melt at the first sight of a homeless dog with expressive big brown eyes and a habit of rolling on her back to have her tummy tickled.Works every time with me. A pleading expression and a sloppy kiss and I am lost. Just for the record this works ONLY with dogs
After writing about the probable future problem with huskies , I have been asked to take in a Utonagan.This is a dog which originated from crossing Siberian huskies with Malamutes and German Shepherds. Why would anyone want to do that? Well it was to breed a dog which looked like a wolf and the only reason I can see for that is to impress as with the so called dangerous dog breeds.For heavens sake are there not enough breeds in existence, what is the need for another?Will this be the latest craze? It scares me because it is hard enough to find good homes for ordinary dogs but those with specialised needs are so much more difficult to place and most breed rescues are overwhelmed already. Harry seems to be a lovely dog in many ways but has only been in his new home for a few weeks and already they are nervous of him.These are dominant dogs,like the Siberian Husky and as I have said before should never go to people inexperienced with the breed type. I will try advertising him first and see if anyone knowledgeable responds, if not I will try a foster home, at least he is good with other dogs.
There have been a few offers of homes for companion horses but actually we are running out of suitable animals to home on our loan scheme. Murphy shetland is going pending a home visiand then there are just the the three youngsters and Marigold and Melba (though they are a bit of a handful.) Most of the others have health problems in one way or another and are on medication or need specialised diets. There are some on the waiting list which I have been trying to match up with suitable owners but again most are not entirely without a health issue.Either that or they need to be homed with their companions and most people will not have the space or money to take on two.

Another old cat has been brought in because his owners are emigrating. Bart is already missing his home comforts but he has settled in fairly well for a cat used to a good home life and is eating well too..He is 12 years old , a beautiful big longhaired cat with a lovely temperament , he is used to children fussing him and has even lived with a dog - there has to be somebody out there who will appreciate him. I am confident he will not remain here too long
We have two new mums with their babies. Grey mum has two kittens with her and black mum has 5 little ones. As often happens when taking photos of animals - They MOVE. so they are not the best photos in the world.We have to think of names for the newcomers now, we have lists of names to look at when our brains can no longer come up with anything remotely original which is most of the time!

Sunday saw lots of volunteers at the shelter..Sue our Wednesday lady (and holiday cover) arrived , then Emma (her third time here helping with the cats )and then our longterm sunday volunteer Dilys arrived bringing with her a new helper. Yuri is from Peru and has lived in this area for over a year, he has worked with horses both in his home country and in the Uk. He brought his"tickling stick"which he uses to establish contact with himself and a new horse, this method is excellent for nervous animals to become used to the touch of a human and works very well.Blue although not nervous was lulled almost into falling asleep and the staff were fascinated by Yuris way of communication with the animals. Its been good to have so many new helpers here.Its taken a long time to become established in this area and it seems our constant publicity has finally begun to pay off. Our volunteer base is definitely growing.

Finally a car pulled up this afternoon and the driver brought us a dear little dog called kenny whose owner died yesterday. He is not full grown yet, a cross jack russell/cavalier spaniel and he is sitting beside me in the office as I type this. He is a real sweetheart. A lady from Colwyn Bay happened to ring at the same time he arrived and he sounds just what she wants so is on her way to see him. He is another I could really fall in love with so he needs to go QUICKLY!
Photos are of Kenny, Yuri and Blue , the two mum cats mentioned and the lovely Bart.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Bonnie has an operation..

After writing about the lack of support from local supermarkets, I have been told that there is a new Waitrose in menai Bridge in Anglesey and they are supporting local charities so thanks for that information .I will follow it up. My new computer is now up and working so I am hopeful that there will be fewer problems connecting to the internet. The donation of this computer may well have saved my sanity (well, what sanity I have left!)I am very grateful for both computer and the prevention of an extremely likely nervous breakdown which would probably have resulted in one very temperamental piece of technological equipment being hacked to pieces! Thank you Peter for preventing this mayhem.

A rather thin lurcher type female has been found on the bypass and so far nobody has turned up to claim her, she loves playing ball and gets on very well with other dogs which is always a bonus.If nobody claims her this week I will arrange to have her spayed with Jess. The staff have named her Vixen and it suits her, she does look a little fox like. There is also a 12 weeks Kelpie pup being fostered in Machynlleth, his owners said he is growing too big! This always mystifies me. When someone aquires a pedigree breed there is none of the uncertainty as there is with a crossbreed so why is there such surprise as the dog grows "the wrong size"?

Our dear Bonnie Foxhound has been to the vet today because of a lump on her leg.The bad news is that it is skin cancer and she has stayed in for an operation to remove the growth. Poor old Bonnie, this means that she will no longer be able to roam freely round the property scavenging and sunbathing when the sun is shining.It will be too dangerous for her. Fortunately she is not a young dog, around 10 years we estimate so she does like her sleep a lot too and may not be too concerned at her enforced incarceration during hot weather. That is of course if we do have any more good weather. In future I will have mixed feelings when I see the sun,instead of heralding it as a great day,I will now also worry about Bonnie being shut inside. Que sera, sera.

The horses have now gone to their summer home and yesterday I went to check on them, all look blissfully content and barely looked up from their grazing when I approached. My presence failed to compete with the profusion of lovely green grass. I did notice the ragwort was starting to grow so stayed to pick as much as I could.Another visit will be necessary at the weekend

.I was upset and angry to read in the local newspaper about the man from Bala who left a young pony in a field to die last winter . Words are not enough to describe my feelings about this. It makes me feel murderous. Why Why Why? In spite of RSPCA being aware of the situation months before, this still happened. It is beyond my comprehension. If this happened to an animal I had been informed about I would be totally devastated and would feel unfit to continue my work. having said that I dont know the background of the case and perhaps should not make judgement so quickly. .

We had a short but pleasant visit from Ian who is in charge of the neutering voucher scheme implemented by the Cats Protection League headquarters. They have allocated Freshfields a sum of money to be used towards neutering cats at both shelters.This is such a wonderful help to us, without it we would never be able to afford to neuter the many stray cats brought here.

Speaking of cats, I have just received a telephone call requesting help for 14 cats, none of which are neutered. They will need collecting as the owner has no transport and it is doubtful will have cat baskets either. Their owner has died and his widow wants them gone! I should be able to collect them some time this weekend.

Well I am off now to collect Bonnie from the Vets surgery.She will be glad to come home,

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The foals play dead

The photos of swans does not mean that there are now dozens of swans "swanning" around the shelter (forgive the pun)I took them a few weeks ago whilst visiting my niece in Worcester and just thought it would be nice to share them.
Shooks has now left us for pastures new and what great pastures they are. In October when she has her passport and rabies vaccination, she will be off to the snow capped mountains of France to spend winter there.I have been promised photographs and I look forward to seeing them.
The Liverpool shelter is donating some of their Tescos donated food to the Welsh shelter and are sending a van over here next Thursday.That will be so very welcome, if only we could receive the same co-operation from our local Tescos! Only the Holyhead branch are amenable to having a collecting box for us at the store and shops like Morrisons in Caernarfon are just downright unhelpful and obstructive. I think its actually down to the Managers , if he/she does not care for animals they refuse help. Morrisons Head office simply says its up to the local managers to make decisions about helping charities so thats not too helpful.
I couldnt resist taking the photo of Crystal having a quiet moment, well to be honest all of Crystals moments are quiet , she is such a gentle and, well -quiet horse! The other horsey pic is not of 2 dead ponies but of the three youngsters having yet another siesta on a sunny afternoon.I tried to take all three but Shamrock was alert as soon as I sneaked up on them.I have never known ponies sleep together in this way, they almost are curled up (if horses could curl up)together fast asleep.Its a bit blurred because I was trying to take the photo quickly before they heard me and I rushed it too much.
There will be six horses leaving us this week for their summer holidays. Big Buster,Freddie and Callie are going back to the same place in Caearnarfon where they were last year only this time Buster is going instead of Ken (who is doing well after his grief over his new friend dying)Must remember to explain to the owners of the fields or they will think ken has grown massively since last summer! Marigold and Melba will be joined by Solitaire this year for their holiday which is also in Caernarfon.The owner of this land has agreed to take an extra and we chose Solitaire because she has become very close to Marigold over the past year.
As with other parts of the country we are having fantastic weather.Morning walks are amazing,it makes one feel glad to be alive.I love this time of year with the buttercups pushing through the grass, swallows ducking and diving through the skies, birds singing away in the surrounding trees, butterflies flitting over the wild flowers and most of all the sun shining which makes everyone feel good. Except Rhian who hates the sun!Due to her pale colouring, she burns when out in the sun too much but Rhian if you read this - Pale is the new Tan!!! You are fashionable and not only that you will not get wrinkles like little old sun loving me.Wish I had skin like hers,its flawless. In comparison I look like a Sharpei!(wrinkly chinese breed of dog for those who dont know)
Tilly has had an operation to remove the growth and she will be returning to Rosies foster home later today.We are waiting to hear what sort of tumour it was. Hopefully she will be able to go off to her new home later this week if all is well. Yet another issue that her owner failed to deal with.He has a lot to answer for. Robin, the one with the embedded chain collar is now doing very well and is a lot friendlier and happier.Who can blame him. It must be like getting let out of prison after doing a life sentence. Tilly shows her appreciation all the time, she simply wants to be cuddled or get on to someones knee and then she just gazes up in adoration at the person.She is adorable.
We had a gull brought in with a broken wing, fortunately Veronica was here that day and as she lives in Anglesey she took him over to a lovely lady called Ann who takes in wild birds.In this area she is the only person I know with experience of injured wildlife and I know she is trying to cut down on her intake.After many years of this work, she has often been overwhelmed and feels she would like to take a step back.I know the feeling only too well.The concern is who can do it when she stops. We dont have the facilities and I have a little knowledge but not enough to take it on. Maybe someone will turn up by the time Ann gives it up.Heres hoping.
When I was shopping for catfood a few days ago,I was approached by a gentleman who saw the Freshfields sign on the vehicle.He wanted to get rid of 24 Koi Carp and other fish(big goldfish I think). We never know what we will be asked to take here from one day to the next.Clearly I am unable to take these fish but I am trying to find someone locally with a suitable facility for them.
Another lovely collie has been admitted(see photo)Jess is a 3 years old, not an ex working dog this time , but a pet who proved too much for the owner to handle.You can see the alertness in her face. With these dogs as any collie owner will say, they are bright and intelligent so must have both mental and physical stimulation. She loves it here, Give her a ball to retrieve and she is as happy as a sand boy.Does anyone know what a sand boy is and where that expression came from? Or have I misremembered it and got it completely wrong?Answers on a postcode please.
My computer is still playing up and some days I fail to connect to the internet at all. One of our supporters Peter has very kindly donated a computer to me and I am waiting for a cleverer person than me to come to set it all up and transfer all my files. That is way beyond my limited technological capabilities. I have arranged for someone to come here Monday to sort the problems out. There has to be nothing more frustrating than a computer when it is playing up.
Its like being without a television or a car when you have been used to using it every day.Without my computer I feel lost. How did we all cope with work before they arrived?
The pigs have been enjoying wallowing in a mud bath all day and Pink Pig is now two tone black and pink, very fetching. He is not a very friendly pig and when the sun is hot its a constant worry that he will get sunburned and he does not make it easy to spray suntan lotion on his body. We use the highest factor sunblock for him and for the grey ponies who tend to get sunburn on their noses if we are not careful. At least the mud provides some protection.
WellI am off tonight to a birthday meal.My next door but one neighbour has invited Rhian and me to a birthday celebration at a local pub and in case anyone is wondering if the delightful Mr Hawkesworth has had a change of heart towards me, no he certainly has not - this is a different neighbour. This family are dog lovers/owners and live on the other side of him and they too have problems with him (which immediately created a bond between us) We animal lovers have to stick together.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Rosie finds a lump on Tilly

Tilly the 8 years old collie was due to go today, she has been spayed now and yesterday Rosie took her home for a grooming/bath session. Whilst she was grooming her she discovered Tilly had a lump on a mammary gland so the homing has had to be postponed until a vet has examined her. I am concerned that this was not noticed when she went in to be spayed!
This morning the staff and I held a meeting to tighten up procedures at the shelter, as I mentioned the other day, there is so much administration/paperwork for every animal which is admitted and although I am trying to get everything on a database on the computer it is taking time. There just do not seem to be enough hours in the day and when I do think I have a spare hour, something urgent crops up and I may have to rush off to the vet with a sick animal or deal with an unexpected problem by which time my spare hour has gone! Of course the answer is to have more staff but in the current financial climate that is a total impossibility. Right now I am pinning my hopes on the £84 million lottery winner being an ardent supporter of Freshfields and any day now I will receive an enormous cheque which will pay all the bills for both Liverpool and Wales shelters, refurbish both to a high standard,purchase more land for the horses to graze(probably next doors 13 acres) buy a new tractor, a new ambulance, horsebox large enough for several equines and finally security cameras.That would do to begin with! Not much to ask is it?
The people from Scotland have arrived and the initial meeting of dog and humans has gone well.They love Shooks and there is no doubt in their minds she is the dog for them and there is no doubt in my mind that they are offering the best home possible for her. I couldn't be more pleased.They have taken her out for a walk and will be staying overnight in Caernarfon and setting off back home tomorrow.Pictured here just before they took her for a walk. What a lovely life she has ahead of her.We are all very envious as she will be spending much of the year at Tignes ski resort in France and we are all desperate to do the follow up homecheck! Finding such a home for Shooks has made the day for us all.
Whilst we were having our meeting this morning, sitting outside the office to make the most of a brief appearance of the sun, I heard a cuckoo very close by and saw him/her fly out of the tree in my garden closely followed by two clearly very irate dunnocks(hedge sparrows). Was the cuckoo a female looking to lay eggs in their nest?Whatever the reason for the sudden flight she failed to return to the tree so had definitely been warned off that particular territory. It is the first time a cuckoo to my knowledge has ventured so near to the house,I usually hear them in neighbouring properties. Oh well It does not look like I will be seeing a cuckoo on my bird table any time soon.
There is still no sign of our missing cat I'm afraid.Iwill only mention him again if there is good news.
The kittens are going very quickly but mainly the very young ones.Still perhaps when they have all gone the slightly older babies will have a chance.We do not rehome until they are 8 weeks old, they need that time with their mum and their siblings so even if they are eating we still wait till they are a little more independent.Yesterday we had a call about a mum cat and kittens,the owner in a flat no longer wanted them(!!!!) so Gail (Gail looks after our cats here) who lived close to the address went to collect them.When she arrived he had given away three kittens aged just 6 weeks to the people in the flat above so there was just mum and one baby left. These will be fostered by Gails sister Tanya until they are ready for homing. A British Blue female cat has been taken into the Porthmadog shop, her owner is very ill and no longer able to care for her.Trisha has taken her home to foster for the time being until I can get up to Porthmadog to collect .
A gentleman called today worried about a donkey near to him in anglesey, he wanted to buy the animal if he had somewhere safe he could take him to. I would be happy to have a donkey here but feel he/she would probably be happier with others of his own kind so put him in touch with the local Donkey sanctuary Inspector. Of course there is always the possible problem of lungworm affecting the horses here so a thorough worming would have had to be done before moving him here. Nevertheless I was a little sad that we were not going to become the proud carers of a lovely donk.I have always loved them. One day I feel we will have a donkey or two at the shelter or maybe thats just my wishful thinking like the windfall from the lottery millionaire! I suspect I am more likely to have the donkeys than the money but dreams are good and so is optimism.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Shooks is expecting visitors .

Two of the black kittens have been homed but we have admitted another litter. There are three little black and whites from a lady who let her cat breed, she has been given strong advice that she MUST get her cat spayed this time(it is her second litter|) and we have offered help. Even if a staff member has to collect and take the cat to a vet(and this will probably be the only way it will get done) we will not let this be forgotten.I do not want to receive a call from her in a few months with yet another litter of unwanted kittens.
One of our cats has gone missing,a ginger feral called Ziggy who has lived with us for two years, his siblings also live here and I find it hard to believe he has just disappeared.This should be a very safe place for cats to live, there are no roads,just fields for the cats to explore and yet over the years we have lost a few. It is possible the old and frailer cats may have been taken by a fox but it is highly unlikely they would take bonny healthy animals.More likely there is a human hand in the disappearances! especially as one of the cats next door belonging to Nia and Andrew has also gone missing at the same time as Ziggy. Heres hoping they will both turn up. Their white longhaired cat came from the shelter some years ago and is not in the habit of staying out.Very worrying.
I Have heard from the family in Scotland who expressed interest in Shooks the Siberian Husky and they are coming to see her next week soI am looking forward to their visit with anticipation.They have owned a Malamute for 17 years and had very similar experiences with her so they really do know what they are taking on with a husky.She really needs to be in a home now,I had not realised just how hard it is to find a suitable home for this breed of dog. It is not that there have been no enquiries, rather that the characteristics of the breed makes home finding quite limiting. For the life of me I struggle to remember this dogs correct name, I have called her Snook, Souk,Snoops,Sox, everything but Shooks but it is actually Shooks I am told sternly by Meirwen. So SHOOKS will hopefully like these people and they will fall in love with her and at last she will have somebody to care for her who is under no illusion that Huskies need specialised care. It greatly concerns me that so many of this breed are being seen now,many with young families with babies in prams and it occurs to me that a large percentage of these dogs I see now will end up in shelters(unfortunately probably mine!)
There has only been one call about the poor old dog which was featured in the local paper quite prominently. In spite of the large article about his rescue we are still no wiser about the circumstances leading up to his abandonment. The one call we did have gave us a name of a possible owner but I already know of that person named and I am sure it is not his dog though will investigate further.
Walking the dogs this morning I noticed that the dreaded ragwort is beginning to make its appearance, the rain and sun has caused the grass to start growing but has also made the weeds spring to life .Would that the grass grew with such rapidity!
I have another car full of goods to take to the Llandudno Charity shop later today, once it is emptied I have the joy of moving tons of rubbish from the Caernarfon shop to the local tip. Theres no doubt about it, life in an animal shelter definitely means a variation of jobs to undertake and many not pleasant and fulfilling. When people say to me that they would love to have an animal shelter I somehow think that they do not mean visits to the tip and such like.Not only that type of work there is so much administration ,filing,computer work,databases to complete etc etc. Had I know all this when I first naively started rescuing unwanted pets I feel sure it would have scared me off for life! Well , having had my daily whinge I have to say also that I honestly would not have wanted to do anything other than rescue work.It can sometimes be very very rewarding.It aint all bad!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Grandad has more teeth out!

Ihate to start the blog with bad news but we had to let the old dog go yesterday, he was not improving and we all agreed he had no quality of life to look forward to. Whether he had been brain damaged from the blow(s) to his head we will never know but he was a great age, I guess he could have been 16 or 17 years of age and over the weekend he deteriorated.I have sent the story with his photograph to the local papers in the hope someone will know the owner and we may begin to find out what had happened to him.One thing is for sure that he was neglected during his life for which there is no excuse and the other certainty is that we will be left to pay the not inconsiderable bill for his care since we picked him up.
There is always good news to balance out the sad, the little collie pup was only here a few days before someone visiting fell in love with her, no surprise, she was a lovely pup and not at all vicious as we had been told! I have no doubt she will bring a lot of fun and love to the life of her new carer.
Well the kitten season is now well under way,pictured are a litter of unwanted babies(oh why do they not get their cats neutered?)which arrived over the weekend and we have 2 new mums in with tiny babies also. I hope that Mion our foster mum will be able to take on one or two of these mums so that the pens may be used to house the ready to home kittens.There is so much help nowadays for people to neuter their animals, it is hard to understand why there are still unwanted litters being born,it must be down to sheer apathy on the part of the owners.There is no other reason I can come up with.
Andre the horse dentist has been back this morning as a couple of our ponies needed to have teeth extracted. .Vet Ken was here to administer the anaesthetic and Grandad, one of our elderly shetlands is now left with just 6 teeth in his old head. Vanessa is pictured comforting him after his treatment. We have no idea of Grandads real age though he is almost certainly in his thirties. He was purchased at a horse sale a few years ago by someone who knew he had no chance of being sold to a private home due to his age. We had thought at the time he might pal up with little Noddy who had lost his longterm companion Raffles so we were happy to give him a permanent home at the shelter.Nowadays Grandad and Connie are best pals and Noddy and Maggie are inseparable. From a distance it is hard to differentiate between them, all our old shetlands are the same colour - black! Only Noddys misshapen body makes him stand out. In my eyes he is a real prizewinner but in reality it is doubtful he would ever win "Handsomest pony". Who cares about that when he has so much character and he has been such a healthy pony considering his great age( late thirties) Latest photo of Noddy here with Maggie behind him.
Tuesday is office day, Bookkeeper Veronica is here and has brought a friend Julia to help with the filing- she has immediately brought a little sunshine into my day.I loathe filing!Question is can she put up with the chaos of daily life here? Time will tell.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

The Old and the Young.

There is good news about Ken,he has made friends with a horse next door to his new home and they are having a trial run to see how they get on together over a longer period of time.So far it is looking good so I am very pleased.It now looks as though he may be able to stay out in his new home.
The terrible picture of an old dog with a head wound was taken today at the vet. This morning,shortly after Rhian and Gail had left for the Vet, a van drew up in the yard.Three men on their way to work had spotted a dog tied up by the side of some toilets in the local village Pen-y-groes. To their horror the dog which was an elderly crossbreed had a bad head wound and was clearly in a state of shock.They had some difficulty getting hold of him as he was so distressed but succeeded in lifting him into their van, they then asked a passerby for the nearest animal shelter and brought him here. It was evident that he needed immediate expert attention so I tried to take him in my car but he was so agitated he would not stay still on the seat so Rosie who has a dog crate in her vehicle transferred him to that and rushed him to the vet. All we know at the moment is that he has had a trauma to the head and his old body is just a bag of bones, his backlegs have signs of total muscle wastage. He is on a drip and the next 24 hours will be crucial.It may be that it will be the kindest move to let him go but we want to wait until he is over the shock and the vet can properly assess his condition.
Then at the other end of the age scale we were asked to help with Minnie a 10 weeks old collie pup as the owner was having great difficulty housetraining her! She had also "bitten" the 12 months baby. This is why I always recommend families to wait until their children are past crawling and toddling stage to buy a pup. Babies and pups DO NOT go together.Unless you are a very experienced dog owner I would always say no to that idea. Pups do bite, they bite for attention, because they are teething themselves but mostly just in puppy play. In fact Minnie is a darling little dog, a little shy but sweet and no different from any other puppy I have ever seen. House training takes a long time with most dogs and at 10 weeks she is only just at the start of her training. By the way Squiggles collie who was also brought to me after her owner said she was vicious(she was 16 weeks old) has gone to a home where she will be taken to agility classes and is doing well. Collies just love to be kept amused, they are too intelligent to be left unoccupied for long periods of time which is why collies are not suitable for every home.
I have not had a day off for 9 days so I will be off tomorrow until Monday, next blog probably tuesday. If there is any news of the old dog I will ask Rhian to post a short update.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Will Ken find another friend?

There is a thick mist covering the whole property today.walking the dogs this morning I could hear a cuckoo but could not see any of the surrounding trees the mist was so dense and still is as I write this. This week has seen the first cuckoos of the year arrive, I hope they can find enough food to eat, each year I wonder if this will be the last year they return. The name of the road in which the shelter is situated is called Lon Pant-y-Gog, which in English translates as Cuckoo Dip Lane so it looks as though cuckoos have nested here for many years. I love hearing their call,almost as good as the sound of flocks of geese flying overhead(always sends a shiver down my spine)
I had a very sad email this morning, poor Ken has lost his companion Taffy. As you know he went out on loan recently to be a companion to another horse and they had really hit it off well. This morning Taffy was found with a broken leg and had to be put down to the owners great distress.Ken was allowed to say goodbye to his friend and later lay down on his grave (who says horses have no feelings) which brought a lump to my throat. This is a tragedy all round because now Ken may have to come back,however Nicola is trying him first with another horse belonging to a neighbour so all may not be lost forKen. What a distressing thing to happen. No wonder Nicola is devastated at this awful turn of events. My heart goes out to her and to our lovely Ken
Anyhow there is some good news today as well- both black kittens have gone to nice people,another tabby baby reserved and the spaniels and Tilly are reserved pending the result of homechecks.Not a bad few days apart from the sad news about Kens home. I did think I had found the perfect home in Scotland for the Siberian Husky but they have not rung back so that is disappointing. there have been many people wanting her but all have had either other dogs(she is too dominant) or cats(she hates them)This home seemed ideal,oh well maybe they will phone tomorrow, she needs to go and settle somewhere permanently, this is no place for a husky.
The Llandudno shop DID do well over the weekend , the Extravaganza attracted loads of tourists which in its turn brought people to shop and a young helper Hayley ran a small tombola outside which raised £45 to add to the weeks income. I wish there were events like that every week!
.Another mum cat and babies are being admitted tomorrow from Anglesey where they have suddenly appeared in someones garden shed. This was the second such call today though I am still trying to get in touch with the other person who rang for help. Answerphones are great in some ways but a pain in others.No good at all if you both keep missing each others calls.
Tomorrow Tilly,husky Shooks and a couple of cats are going to the vet to be neutered/spayed,I have been putting it off due to lack of funds and a desire not to increase the sum already owing to the vet but if they are to go to homes it must be done. Rhian will be taking them in along with Jess the spaniel whose infected mouth needs attention. I have asked her to get some more wormers for the cats, some of the feral cats roaming free are looking a bit scrawny and we need to worm and deflea them as soon as possible.
I must go now to help Mei with the dogs afternoon constitutional! Afternoons are all about that and feeding all the animals their second feed of the day plus of course bringing in the horses. There is not enough grass to leave them out grazing all night and anyway they are queuing up to come in around this time- gates get kicked and there is a lot of hustling and bustling as they vie for the nearest spot by the gate to be the first in for food.
That reminds me of an incident which happened when friend Barry and I visited a Buddhist retreat in France called Plum Village some years ago. It was a wonderfully calm place and everyone was encouraged to think deeply about everything one did and to eat slowly and savour every mouthful(difficult for greedy old me). Anyhow NOT in the best Buddhist tradition Barry and I decided that to get the best selection of food at the buffet tables for which there were always long queues,we would hover around the dining area just before the dining bell was sounded. That way we would be first in line! There were two tables and as planned I was at the front of one and Barry the other.Barry stepped forward with his plate and immediately dropped it, the plate rolled all over the room as he vainly tried to stop it.There was real chaos as some of the monks thought he was having a heart attack as he did a rugby tackle on the rolling plate and rushed to his assistance. By the time he caught it he had lost his place in the line and I was already filling up my own plate. I was by then doubled up with hysterical laughter and as I triumphantly passed him at the back of the line I smirked and gestured towards my overflowing plate. Still chuckling I sat down on a bench under a tree to eat my meal, then leaned forward to pick up my drink which I had placed on the ground,Just then a large lady arrived and sat down on the other end of the bench - my plate was catapulted into the air, the food went all over the floorand my meal was gone in a flash ! Trudging despondently back to the dinner queue I passed Barry who had now succeeded in obtaining his meal, needless to say he was the one with the triumphant smile this time. A lesson to be learned here I believe! Horses take note.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Ffrindau Freshfields set up a second group.

It is a beautiful sunny day here in North wales which is great for us, the animals and of course the thousands of people who have travelled to the area for the Bank Holiday weekend. In Llandudno it is the annual Victorian extravanganza which features a parade and other entertainment with many dressed in Victorian costumes.It means a big influx of tourists and usually that means our charity shop will do well so fingers crossed.Our new manageress Jan has really turned things round there and providing we can get the stock in(still a problem) it makes a regular profit. I think we need to start selling furniture if we can, the purchase of a van for this is necessary and of course at the moment we are not in a position to incur extra expense but that is most definitely the path we need to take to bring in the funds we need .
We have two new rabbits at the shelter, father and son who get on brilliantly together, and there is also a female rabbit currently in temporary residence at our Porthmadog shop- until we can transport her here.Father and son pictured here.Not a great photo, they refused to pose for me and kept hiding away in their hutch. Dont blame them , I hate photos of myself too.
Great news about the 4 collies (including Robin who had the embedded coillar) they are doing so well that they are now allowed outside their pen to play and have come on in leaps and bounds under the care of my friend Sally. She believes they are not far off being ready to rehome which is wonderful to hear. Its amazing how one to one attention and kindness can turn almost feral dogs into the happy youngsters they should have always been. Thank goodness he handed them over when he did, another year and they would have been far more introverted and difficult to work with. I hope that the other six wherever they are, are also enjoying life now.
Fluffy mum with kittens is doing better nowadays,she was very very nervous and highly strung when she was admitted but she has calmed down considerably now she feels safe with her babies. A couple are reserved but as happens every year- when we finally start to get kittens admitted the telephone calls for them dry up.Nobody has rung for a kitten for a while.Pictured are mum and her tabby babies and two abandoned black kittens posing prettily.
It has been a very quiet weekend,just one couple arrived to look for a cat that was dog and child friendly.They chose Wendy a litle black cat who has been at the shelter for 18 months, a choice which made everybody happy. We have homed so many long term cats this year already which is a cause for celebration.It is not nice seeing these overlooked cats here month after month and when there are not any in the cattery it prevents me releasing more to live here. Speaking of which , the last released cat Old Jimmy Ginger has made himself very much at home in the conservatory though he is not a dog lover and William has to be wary of him. Eventually he should realise that William does not pose a threat and like others before him will live in peace with him.
Just after I wrote we were having a quiet time some morevisitors turned up, this time to see Tilly the 8 years old collie from the same home as the other neglected 4. Actually I think this collie may be their mother.Tilly was handed over by the owner several weeks ago to a friend of mine who said she wanted a collie, she then brought her to me.Good thinking! It got her away from that terrible home.As mentioned previously Rosie has been fostering her.Anyhow this family had a teenage daughter who was absolutely terrified of dogs so I was dubious about the success of this prospective home. As expected the daughter was too scared to come out the car but when I put Bonnie foxhound back in her pen she seemed happy to walk with Tilly and her parents. They are going to let me know the outcome of their visit, certainly Tilly is an ideal dog for anyone nervous, she is so calm and docile though I do not want her to go out and then be returned a few days later. It would not be fair on her.
A second Friends of Freshfields fundraising group was set up today by two of the volunteers at the shelter and Cariad who works part time with the horses. Our Welsh fundraisers will be called Ffrindau Freshfields, Caernarfon area. and if anyone would like to help them raise some funds for the animals here please get in touch.
There are loads of wheatears in our fields, scavenging for insects on the ground, they are quite brave little birds, not as brave as the resident robins but they allow me fairly close when I am walking the dogs though I have yet to get a good photo of one. I did, however manage to get a shot of a bright little chaffinch sitting on the fence by my bird tree.Not in focus though Im afraid. I was waiting patiently for a goldfinch to alight on the nyger seeds but had no luck today. Mei spotted me standing motionless with camera at the ready, she thinks I am totally out of my mind! I tell her she too will become like me when she is older.I remember my mother feeding the birds and worrying if she was late arriving home from the shops, she was insistent they knew her and the time she fed them. I am sure she is right though at the time I reacted with typical teenage scorn. I often wonder if the people who bought her house when she died bother to feed the birds but as they concreted over the front garden, cut down the aging holly tree and ripped out mums beloved rose bushes,I somehow doubt they are at one with nature.Best not to think about it.
The best time for catching the goldfinches feeding is early morning, sometimes there are as many as six goldfinches on the feeders and they stay in the tree whilst I replenish their containers so I am hopeful I will manage a photo soon and preferably in focus next time. I dont care what anyone says they definitely recognise me as the "dinner lady". Mum would be proud of me.