Monday, 7 June 2010

The ups and downs of shelter life.

A few people who read the blog find it upsetting and I have thought about it and wonder if I should refrain from telling the sad stories but if I did that would not be representative of shelter life so would not give an accurate picture.I do understand that some of my news can be distressing so I would like feedback from readers. I do try to temper the sad tales with something uplifting but maybe I dont do this enough, in which case I will endeavour to find more though sometimes this can be difficult.

Today, for instance the staff and I are reeling from the sudden deterioration and subsequent demise of Lucy lamb who developed pneumonia on Sunday evening. I considered not writing about it but I try to follow through the animal tales, from their arrival to their(hopeful) successful rehoming. This outcome, however sad is part of life at any animal shelter and it has to be faced and there are other animals to care for and to rescue so we cannot spend too much time with the inevitable grieving process. Even a creature which has been in our care a short time is cared for and grieved over if we lose it and after over 30 years of animal welfare work I still spend hours in tears. One never becomes hardened, simply accustomed to it.There is a big difference. Over the years many have said to me that they would not be able to do this work because they "are not hard enough". I find this quite offensive so DONT EVER say this to me if we meet up! I may just surprise you with something learned at my kickboxing classes!!!

Now for the happy tales:-

The lovely collie we call Jess has left us today for her home in Norfolk where she will undoubtedly be spoiled and loved by June and Rod who fell in love with her on sight. A photo can show what an animal looks like but the superb nature and personality of Jess had to be seen to be appreciated and appreciate her they most definitely did. Jess will soon be living in the beautiful Norfolk countryside and her memories of being bored and left alone all day will soon be a thing of the past.

Harry the Utonagan has a few people interested in him, there are three possible suitable homes so a decision will be made over the next few days as to who can best can offer him what he needs.Kenny the puppy is also leaving us today.Vanessa has been fostering him and she says he is no trouble at all - she has been bringing him to work with her and he happily potters about around the stables stopping occasionally to mischievously and half heartedly chase one of the long suffering feral cats. He is told off when he does this but he means no harm to them . When one stopped in its tracks and glared at him, he wagged his tail and ran quickly back to Vanessa. I hate it when dog owners encourage their pets to chase cats, Kenny proves there is no malice to begin with in a pup, it is trained into them. Even lurchers and greyhounds can be cat friendly if taught to be so and I know people who have taken in ex racing greyhounds who now live contentedly and in harmony with cats.Having said that , it is something I would not necessarily recommend. To achieve this harmony between a dog used to catching and killing small animals and a cat you need to be an experienced ,sensible ,patient and very aware dog owner and it may be that some greyhounds/lurchers will never be trustworthy with other pets.

Finally on the dog side of things, I can scarcely believe it but 12 years old Poppy has today joined the family of a couple from Hampshire who whilst on holiday in Barmnouth spotted Poppys' photo in the window of our charity shop. Their last dog was 11 years when they took him in and their old cat had recently died leaving a gap for another rescued animal.It seems Poppy fit the bill and to clinch matters she jumped in their car and sat waiting patiently in the passenger seat as though she had been waiting for them to come for her all along! Although she was very attached to both Mei and myself, she barely gave us a backward glance as their car pulled out of the driveway. I am delighted for her and it now means I can give more attention to the remaining Maggie Martha who has had a stroke and is rather poorly at the moment. Poppy looks different from the last photo of her because her shaggy coat was clipped before she was admitted here.She looks so much smaller now.

A little bat(possibly a pipistrelle though I am not positive) was found on Lon Pant-y-gog this morning and I am about to get in the car and go to Porthmadog where I have arranged to meet up with the local "batwoman".If the little creature checks out Ok I will bring him back to release otherwise Sara who is a registered bat handler will take him home to look after him.
PS: The bat is a pipistrelle female and very pregnant according to Sara. Having checked her over she pronounced her fit to be released so I will be doing that just before dusk this evening after she has warmed up over a heatpad placed under the carrying box. This livens her up ready for her release.


Tali said...

I totally agree, posting happy "fluffy" stories daily are not representative of working within rescue. People that read it should realise that your blog is reality and not a fairy story that always has a happy ending. In my opinion people who are not able to deal with the sadness are just burying their heads in the sand. Your blog is reality and that's how I think it should stay...Good on yeah Lesley!

Margaret Hall said...

It's always sad when an animal doesn't pull through, but as Tali says, you are writing about the reality of working with rescued animals. Trying to hide the darker side would be distorting the facts.

I read your blog regularly and I feel you get the balance just right.

Sallie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sallie said...

Carry on exactly as you are. Your blog is true to life. Unfortunately not every tale has a happy ending however much you try. I love reading your update, happy or sad. I can usually be found sat at work with a tear in my eye which in turn ends up as a smile.
I am also a Lurcher lover with 2 of my own. They live happily with 2 cats but outside of the home cats are fair game and will give chase.

pamela said...

I agree, the balance is perfect . I do feel sorry though for people who are distressed by the sad parts. Not being daily involved in rescue, means people arent accustomed to such events. BUT , they happen , and its certainly got to be harder to be there than to read about it. Id say to those who are upset - read on, you need a realistic picture of sanctuary life, but take comfort from the fact that , the animals at the centre of sad stories,are by the time you read about them, getting the maximum help they can be given,in a loving caring environment .Its sad when some die, but thats just life everywhere, not just at a sanctuary.