Tuesday, 30 November 2010

I return to a Good Welcome.

I am back home after my break in Liverpool.Every time I go back I love to reaquaint myself with the everyday humour of the people there. A simple act like buying a train ticket or dropping a shopping bag can result in a humorous two way repartee with a total stranger and can be funnier than watching a comedy show. I dont realise how much I miss it until I return.I popped in to the Liverpool shelter to say hello to people there and as always was taken aback by the number of animals in need of homes. The wildlife unit was packed, there are 52 hedgehogs spending winter there and all the other pens were full with various animals and birds. It has become a very large part of the work done at Liverpool and since my (now deceased ) partner Steve started it 15 years ago, it has increased in both size and the number of inmates both permanent and temporary.Lynn has been the person in charge of that section since the horses were moved here to Wales though I think she sometimes still hankers after them and wishes they were still there. I was glad to know that they are managing to rehome a few dogs and cats even though it is a difficult time of year, as it is with us here in Wales.
Anyhow I came back to snow and a very frozen and potentially lethal track up to the house so had to park the car halfway and walk the rest. The dogs were glad to have me back and Paddy almost knocked me over, he was so excited to see me. Meg too was delirious with joy, the others were happy enough but were more laid back about it. Holly cat spent the whole night in bed with me and never stopped purring, so I think she was quite pleased too.Its nice to have such a welcome.
As you know from Rhians blog some of the staff who live in outlying rural areas are unable to get in to work and there have been the usual problems with frozen pipes and panics over heaters not working etc. This morning 4 volunteers managed to get in for which we were very grateful. Veronica arrived from Anglesey though left to go home early in case the weather deteriorated, she was forced to walk gingerly down the track with the aid of her hiking sticks.That is until Mr Roberts who delivers our hay turned up in his tractor/trailer and offered her a lift down to her vehicle - If only the camera had been handy! There she was perched up in the enormous tractor as though she did it every day of her life.Mind you I bet she was glad she did not have to make the treacherous descent down the track .
Over the past few days 3 dogs have been admitted into our care, 2 unwanted farm dogs and a nice little jack russell whose owner had no time for her.(see above)
Tomorrow I am admitting a middle aged Tibetan terrier female whose owner is very ill and cannot look after her any longer.As all our foster homes are full at the moment I am hoping she will get on with Meg in my kitchen. There is only Timmy collie in there and he gets on with every dog he meets.(I shouldn't have said that, NOW ITS BOUND TO BE A DISASTER!)
The xmas fair in Penygroes is on Thursday and if I was worried before about nobody turning up I am worse now. The weather will surely keep people at home and The Porthmadog one is on Saturday . Why didnt I have them 2 weeks ago?Oh well cant be helped, we will just have to make the most of them and close up early if they are not well attended. I feel sorry for the shopkeepers in those areas which are even worse hit by bad weather conditions .It must be a great worry to them, the rent still has to be paid and staff wages and when there is nothing coming in to pay them, what a nightmare.
It is just three pm and the ponies are already waiting to come in. We were supposed to collect three return horses last week - Rocky , Honey and Caspar.but our horse trailer has a broken wheel and we are having problems finding someone to fix it The people caring for the ponies will have to bring them back.It is only twenty minutes away so it should not be too big a problem though they may think it best to wait a few weeks until the snow clears.
Time to take the dogs out now, so I am signing off with very cold fingers and a nose which appears to have gone numb.The heating in this office is appalling. At least its not Alaska where drips from noses turn into icicles !

Sunday, 28 November 2010

More Snow....

Like most of country North Wales is having a hard time with the weather at the moment. To be honest like some other members of staff I haven't been able to get to work as the roads up to my home are impassable with snow and Ice. Mei and Gail have been keeping in contact with me and the situation at Freshfields is pretty difficult. The water is frozen and everywhere is so cold and dangerously slippery underfoot. Therefore it comes as a wonderfully surprise that a Cat, several kittens and Basil the JRT have been re-homed.
Please excuse me whilst I take this opportunity to make a special plea for our black cats. Elmo our lovely black boy needs a home of his own as soon as possible. He really isn't happy living in the cattery and makes a run for the door at ever available occasion. He would love a rural home so he can potter about, but a lovely fire to sleep in front of in the evenings. Another cat desperate for a home in the spirited Wendy. She has been with us for months and sadly does herself no favours. I think she's frustrated in the cattery and would thrive as the only cat in a household. It's such a shame as I'm sure she has a lot of love to give. So anyone considering a cat with spirit and attitude....please give Wendy a thought!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

I am Off for A much Needed Break.

It is starting to become very cold and icy and wouldn't you know that the insulation in the ferals home "Kitty Kottage"has started to peel away from the sides making it much colder in there, We have been given a heater for there but the insulation is a job which needs sorting out first. Peter from Kingspan, if you are reading this, can you get hold of a few throw out pieces suitable for insulating the shed?
We took in the last of the 17 cats which had been left homeless when their owner died. It has been a long drawn out process because we have had to take a few at a time as and when space became available but they are all now safely esconced in the old kennels which has heated pens.It is mainly used for new cats which are waiting to be neutered but a pen became free so this family are all together.
I am off tomorrow to Liverpool for a four day break so I hope Rhian may write an entry over the next few days to keep everyone in touch with whats going on here. I need to have this time away otherwise I will go completely Gillian McKeith(for anyone who watches I'm a celebrity) and nobody would want that, least of all me.
When I return it will be to make the final arrangements for the 2nd December Christmas Fair in Penygroes. I feel nervous about its success not having held this event locally before.Will anyone come? I worried like this over the Sponsored dog walk earlier in the year and Veronica has just passed me the final figure for it. Altogether, that is with our own and the two being organised simultaneously by friends in Derbyshire and Anglesey, just under £4,000 was raised.Isnt that fantastic. We could do with one every month!
Picture is of Jim collie (recently rehomed) and 10 years old Lucy also recently rehomed(to me! that is unless someone with the patience and understanding of terriers and their idiosyncrasies turns up?)

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Titch gets wrapped up against the cold.

Both Smudge(the dog pictured yesterday with Mei and Ben Westie have gone today and a litter of farm feral kittens has been admitted. The farmer who brought them in has a much better attitude than most I am pleased to say and he is trapping mum with our help and will have her spayed.The kittens like so many feral kittens are absolutely beautiful.(see here)They are a bit hissy and spitty but are so young they will,not take long to come round to being handled. A few kittens have been reserved but it has gone rather quiet again this week.
I have managed to contact the farmer who was going to have his dog shot and he is still there so I am arranging to help get him out of harms way. There are now two other collies in the same boat so they will be coming in this week if I can find anyone in the Machynlleth area to collect them. All three are from the same area so I need someone with a van ideally. Anyone out there able to help with transport?
It is a lovely sunny(but cold) day today and whilst we were putting the ponies out, one of Cariads children decided it was too cold for little Titch the shetland so she gave up her hat and scarf for him to keep him warm. Before anyone is up in arms about animal exploitation, it was taken off within seconds by yours truly!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Paddys favourite game "YOU TUG , I STAND STILL"

It has been a very busy weekend so far.Rosie the young collie pictured on last blog has been homed and we are receiving lots of calls about our other dogs, there are a few people coming to visit tomorrow. We have to co-ordinate it so our foster people arrive at the same time as those coming to see the dogs. It is a bit of a nuisance not being able to keep the dogs all here but with a neighbour like Horrid Hawksworth we have no choice in the matter. Although far from ideal, the system works reasonably well.
My little Suzy seems better though is still not back to her normal grumpy and endearing self. Its funny, I find myself wishing she would growl at me just to show she is feeling ok. After a day of refusing food she is eating a little so that has to be a good sign.
I have been told of a farm dog in desperate need of rescuing, another one which is no good at working, the farmer has told someone he plans to shoot him.I have left a message for him to say we will have the dog and someone I know is going to go there and confront him/take the dog off him.
Disappointingly Ben Westie has been returned just hours after he went, unfortunately he was quite nasty with the cats of the house (and he lived with two) but we have done another homecheck on someone in Southport (thank you Liverpool for arranging that so quickly)who are coming up to see him tomorrow, heres hoping this will be the right home for him.
Incidentally the people who exasperated me so much the other day, the ones moving and wanting me to take their two cats at the last minute , brought in the 10 years old cat but said the other had become scared of the removal men and the hustle and bustle at the house and had disappeared, The following day they found him, he came back for food and so he was put in a basket and brought to the shelter. We were relieved to see him with the cat, after thinking he may have disappeared for good and then all of a sudden the door of the basket flew open(he hadn't shut it properly) and off ran Tiddles up the mountain! What can one say to such ineptitude?Yes I know accidents can happen but this was just the last straw with them. Of course we will put up posters in local farms but it will be a miracle if he is found. (though miracles have been known to happen)We are all so annoyed with this couple and so worried now for the welfare of the missing cat.
I made an early morning trip to the vet to collect a semi feral cat which had been trapped and taken there for spaying , the plan was to put her in the feral enclosure which is pretty full but this cat has a problem with her eyesight and it was felt she would not survive if released. Having agreed to this, her eyesight is worse than we were been led to believe and we are not sure that she is feral so for now she is in isolation and we will see how she goes. My gut feeling is that she IS feral but because she is almost blind she is feeling vulnerable, many old ferals become friendly when they are old and frail, we will decide about her future when we have assessed her thoroughly.Perhaps we will be able to find her an indoor home somewhere she will feel safe. I think she would become affectionate if given a chance. On the way home from the vet I called in to see the people who are returning three of the ponies and have arranged for them to come back one day this week.I need a driver now, the horse trailer is not easy unless you are used to it and I have enough problems driving a car! I think those who know me will second that.
This afternoon Emma (pictured here) who used to dogwalk for us came to visit with Jimmy the patterdale terrier she adopted several months ago. he looked so well, a lovely glossy coat and an unscarred face! When this little dog was found he had a badly infected and swollen face from some sort of a bite wound, look at him now, he is a different dog.It is so good to see him again.
Mei is pictured here also with Smudge whose owners brought her in this morning, she is hopefully going out to a home tomorrow if she gets on with their other dog. Her owner said nobody has the time to walk her now they have a baby in the house. Poor little unwanted dog, there is something very appealing and sweet about her, I could be tempted myself but I will stay strong, I have enough with those I have already. Speaking of my dogs, here is Paddy enjoying his favourite game of Tug of war with a difference - he lets the other dogs do all the hard work and he simply stands there pitting his weight against theirs.This time Lucy from the office is the one trying to out tug him.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Suzy is unwell and Branwen leaves us to live in Kent.

I have sent in 4 dogs to be neutered this morning. Ben the Westie has been reserved by a lady I met by chance in our Porthmadog shop the other day.I was making a fuss of her lovely little Westie Molly and asked her if she wanted another.She turned up yesterday and the two dogs got on so well that it was a done deal. I must have had 50 people after him once he was advertised on the net and most sounded lovely homes.If only there was as much interest for crossbreeds! Still Ben needed a home also , still on the subject of Ben, both Mei and I received telephone calls from local people who said they knew the dog and wanted him, one said the owner had promised him to her? Both expressed concern that he was being neutered today and one openly admitted the owner had promised to let Ben father puppies with her dog. We were accused of being cruel to him! Where were these people when the situation became desperate? How pleased I am that he came to us and was not given to either of these women. He now has a good life ahead of him and most emphatically will not be fathering any litters of pups to be distributed round the area .
Nobody has claimed the Jack Russell, The family interested in Timmy the pound dog have changed their minds but he is so adorable he will find someone nice soon. Brian, a gentleman from Kent has just arrived for Branwen, (pictured above)the 6 years old Welsh sheepdog Veronica has been fostering. Her name will be Branwen Barge as she has joined the Barge family! It never ceases to amaze me that people will travel so far for one of our dogs and I am forever grateful that they do. Without them we would not be half as successful finding good homes. It seems that there are not so many sheepdogs in rescues in the South Of England so the distance seems to be no problem to most. Keep them coming! Veronica shed more than a few tears after they left, it is hard fostering animals, it is so easy to become attached and even when you know it is the right thing to do for the pet concerned, hearts can still be bruised. On a lighter note(I think) When Veronica took Branwen to the vet this morning to have her anal glands emptied prior to her going to her new home, an elderly lady brought in a cat to be 'microwaved'. I think she meant microchipped! Veronica and the Vet staff tried their best to hide their chuckles. I'm sure the poor lady would have been horrified had she realised what she said .

I have had a tearful call from a lady who has lost her smallholding and is concerned about the future of her two ponies, father and daughter Welsh Section A ponies. It is not immediately urgent for which I am very thankful as I have the returned ponies to sort out first. The problem is that few homes are found during the winter months, most happen in the spring and summer when the weather is better. The best I can do for the returned ones is to bring them back here for the winter and use one of the field shelters for stabling. I will not rehome Rocky again, I was loathe to part with him in the first place and this is the second time he has been returned albeit for an unforeseen change of circumstances at the home he went to. He has been extremely well cared for there along with two other Freshfields ponies but there is a limit to the times it is fair to move them on. Pictured some of the ponies in need of new homes. Left: Heather and her son Paddy,. right Rocky and above Caspar and Honey. By the way Rocky does not have an extra 2 slim legs or one extra thick leg nor is he is being attended by a headless member of staff! Rosie is hiding behind him bcause she was having a bad hair day!

My little old Yorkshire terrier Suzy has been unwell today and a visit to the Vet confirmed that she has a collapsed trachea so has been given tablets to aid this condition, her heart is not bad at all which is good. At 16 years of age she is a feisty little dog and loves her food so when she failed to coerce me into sharing my breakfast with her this morning it was certain that something was wrong with her. I use the same criteria to judge my own state of health! Hopefully the tablets for Suzy will do the trick. I couldn't face losing yet another dog at the moment, its always hard to do so but there has just been a little too much for me to deal with emotionally over the past few months.

I have arranged for 6 feral? cats to be trapped(courtesy of Billy Meade from Holyhead Cat Action Trust)The owner of the property where they are living has died and there is nobody to feed them. I have no room at all but once again Ann Cragg(wildlife lady) has offered emergency help by giving them a space there for a few weeks.I will just have to hope against hope that by then we will have some room. It would be best if they turn out to be domestic because there is little likelihood of any ferals from our enclosure finding farm homes so quickly and it is full there already. A litter of 7 babies(kittens not humans) is coming in from a farm on Sunday and as yet we have nowhere to put them.All our foster homes are full.With a bit of juggling around and some kittens going to homes over the weekend I am sure we will find space one way or another. Better that than them growing into adult feral cats and then we would have a far worse problem to contend with in the near future.

Must go now, have to collect the dogs from the Vet and it gets dark so early - I cannot drive in the dark so must set off now. I think it is also time to bore you all with more photos of Paddy so prepare for them in the next few days!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Where are they all coming from?

was speaking to Mary from Colwyn Bay Cats Protection League and we were both saying that we have never know a year like this one for stray and abandoned cats. Every animal shelter I klnow is full to the brim and this year the kittens have been arrivinbg non stop. Years ago winter was the time when there were no kittens around and it gave us the opportunity to rehome the adult cats.Not so nowadays and the sheer numbers of cats and kittens is completely overwhelming.People are turning up daily with them and we simply have no more space. It is so very hard to turn them away but what can one do? If there is no space that is it. I always give advice and try to make them wait for a space here and most will do that, if I really think a cat is at risk I would take it but it would have to come in the house and I already have too many pets .

Anyhow on to the dog situation. it looks like Carlo , Jim and Branwen will be going on Friday. Little Timmy the collie from the Dog Pound may be going but I will advertise him until I am sure of that home turning up trumps. Someone brought in a young collie female, rather nervous(as they mostly seem to be!) and a Jack russell was found on the beach near Pwllheli - we have called him Basil because he has a rough coat like Basil Brush! He is a sweet dog about 12 months of age, he cowers quite a bit if you bend down to stroke him which is unusual for this breed which are generally quite outgoing dogs. Ben the Westie has had dozens of offers of homes so I am sifting through them to find the best one. I wish other dogs would have the same response. Poor Gel collie has been searching for a home(well we have been looking for him) for 4 months has had not one offer and he is a lovely dog, not the prettiest collie but loveable all the same. At 2 years he is the oldest collie we have and the younger ones are always snapped up first. I'm sure he will find someone nice soon.
Pictured from top Basil, Rosie(left) and Timmy(right)

I went to pick up a second hand washing machine today so we can start washing the animal bedding again now. It was great to see one of our rescued dogs at the house where we collected it. Hadley, now called Harvey was one of the winners of our dog show last year.He is a lovely grey lurcher and it was good to see him in such a nice home. That is such a boost,its one of my favourite things, to see dogs rescued from a dog pound or bad homes ,so close to a death sentence and then there they are happy and contented in lovely homes where they are cossetted and adored. Its worth every other negative thing that happens when living and working at an animal shelter.

I have just had a call about two cats booked in to a vet to be destroyed. Yes its about the woman who called here yesterday! I could shake her. I dont know what to do, we have no space at all.The only thing I can think of is to place another pen on top of an existing pen in the staff tearoom(caravan)hardly ideal for the cats or the staff who have little enough room in there to enjoy their tea break anyway but I dont know what else to do.I feel very angry with the owner who has had weeks to let me know that she was moving and chose to call the day before! Why do they do it? I am very fed up!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Big Ginge and others visit the Vet

There is now a sixth pony to be returned, this time it is Axel who went to our next door neighbour 6 years ago. Due to a change in personal circumstances she feels unable to cope w ith the number of horses she has currently. Fortunately there is no absolute urgency and we will try to find another home for him.Axel came in from to us after he was part of the annual round up of Dartmoor ponies which are then sent to market.He was one of those rescued. we took him and two others and my god they were wild!These poor ponies suffer greatly during the round up, they are wild and unused to people so the trauma of being caught and put in horse boxes and sent to market is incredibly scary for them. It took a long time to get them used to people handling them and to be fit to be rehomed. It is a great shame he has to be moved from where he has become settled and used to the other ponies but these things happen unfortunately.

Today we admitted a little West Highland terrier and a cat from the same home where the owner is being evicted. The cat is in a dreadful state, underweight, scabby and with what could be a tumour in her mouth(see photo)There is another cat yet to come, I hope she is in a better condition than this one who will see a Vet tomorrow. The Westie is ok but a bit bolshie (I think the owner has been rough with him)but it is early days yet and he could just be being male - I will have him neutered this week. Pictured also is poor old Devil Cat mentioned on Friday who is still very very bad tempered and intimidating all the staff. We also admitted a dear little collie from the Dog Pound, and there is someone interested in him already! Things are going well at the moment. Long may it continue.
Both Raven and Taz seem to be settling in well in their respective homes and it restores my belief that there is the right home out there somewhere for every dog. Maybe there is also the right home for poor old Devil Cat, someone with no other pets and a great deal of patience?

Helen who manages the shelter in Liverpool came up with her partner today, brought the joint Xmas newsletters and installed a programme for me on the computer.The idea is that I will be able to set out my own newsletters which will save costs, however there was a lot to absorb and after a while Helens instructions started to go over my head. I think I will just have to try it out and learn by my own mistakes.

The little collie is still not reserved although the family came again today and brought their own dog to see how they liked each other.They really got on well and enjoyed chasing each other round the field, lots of wagging tails were apparent so it went well.Nevertheless they are a little unsure so it is best they go away and think about it.He will be so easy to home anyway that I know he will not be with us for long. At under a year old and so loving and affectionate he is the sort of dog most people want. A car has just pulled into the yard whilst I write this, a wiry coated jack russell has been found on the beach at Pwllheli, he is in good condition though still has male attributes! There is a good chance he may be claimed.Lets hope so. They had no sooner left than another car pulled up, they had a 10 yrs old cat in a carrier and wanted me to take him .We are completely full here and it is just not on when they turn up with no prior call. There is a waiting list of urgent cases to help and we have taken cats off these people before so they know how it works.Their reason - they are moving to a flat in 2 days! I feel so sorry for the cat so have come to a compromise with them, they take her and their other cat with them and I will place them on a priority list to take as soon as we have space.That seemed to work.

The tabby has been to the vet and she has an abscess in her mouth , she must have been unable to eat for some time, no wonder she is thin.The other cat from the same home came in this afternoon, Roy from Caernarfon shop has been kind enought to help with this rescue.(he is always quick to deal with any request made to him concerning animals) and he seems to be in pretty good condition.(the cat not Roy! Though Roy is ok too!)
Big Ginge one of our old resident cats who lives in the conservatory has also been to the Vet, he is losing weight and I wondered if he has had a stroke.He has a heart murmer and the Vet has given us tablets to give him which will help this condition and his kidneys which are also starting to show signs of old age. Big Ginge is such a lovely old man, he originally came from a home in Anglesey.His owner had worked in cat rescue for many years and he was one of a multitude of cats we took when she died. There are just 4 remaining now at the shelter, they will live their lives out here. Pictured here is Big Ginge with some of his pals.

Westie Ben is fine, a friendly dog, I think yesterday he was just a little bewildered.

I have just taken my dogs out on the fields, their last exercise of the day (and mine) and it is starting to feel as though winter is definitely here. Why is it when each season starts I can never find suitable clothes?Where are last winters warm jumpers, gloves and hats? Then when I find them eventually and spring starts I cannot find any cooler clothes? Is this down to a clothes thief or more to my disastrous self organisation? No cant possibly be that, I blame the seasonal clothes thief!

PS: Thought Handyman John too lazy to come to do his usual DIY stuff! seems however he is poorly and laid up with flu like symptoms.Sorry John I know you love it here and have to be very ill to prevent you turning up!!!!!!!!! Hope you get better soon and I will never call you names again. Honestly!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Cat Tales and Taz finds a Home.

A tinyblack kitten about 3 weeks of age was brought in today, she has gone to a friend who will foster her and give her the one to one attention a kitten this age needs. Two little tabby and white kittens which have been here a month have been reserved and will go together as we had hoped.Also adults Roxy and Ronnie who have been here 6 months have also been reserved, they are lovely friendly cats but for some reason they failed to sell themselves so I am really pleased for them. Sometimes the very quiet, laid back cats stay in the background when we have visitors .This leaves the attention seekers to draw people to them by calling to them or rubbing against the door of the pen or even by batting visitors with their paws. These outgoing felines always find homes easily, it is nice when visitors look beyond these to the quieter cats in the background. Anyhow it HAS happened today so I am delighted.
One of the cats we took in yesterday which was supposed to be domestic is literally the Cat from Hell! She is lovely to look at but a demon in nature. Not only does she hiss and spit at everyone but she launches herself at her hapless victims. Even our ferals don't do that. What has made this cat behave in such a way? Will she change? Is it fear? Her owner says she has always been this way but we will see how she goes, if she fails to improve she will have to live in our feral enclosure. I cant help but feel sorry for her, she must be unhappy.
4 more kittens have been reserved today, thanks to the article published by The Bangor Chronicle about the cats abandoned in binbag. Sometimes publicity helps, other times it simply brings us more unwanted pets. This time we have been successful.
Unfortunately we do sometimes have to turn people down who want to adopt an animal.Today a young couple came wanting to adopt 4 of the kittens in the newspaper. My reservation was mainly because they lived in a rented property, had no letter of authorisation from the landlord or could give me his number, that they lived in the centre of a busy town and had two very young children. plus they did not want me to bother with a homecheck.That coupled with their cavalier attitude about the cost of vaccinating and neutering four cats bothered me. In the end I went with my gut instinct, they have rung me a few minutes ago and are very displeased with being turned down and have'threatened' to talk to someone about me!!!!! And I must say that I was charm personified on the telephone, nobody could accuse me of being less than pleasant when I delivered the bad news to them. Oh well, cant win 'em all! My job is to find suitable, good homes and I have to do the best I can, none of us can ALWAYS make the right decision but my gut instinct has rarely let me down.

Its a beautiful day today, bright and not cold at all but the night before last we had hurricane type gales and one side of a field shelter has come loose and is in danger of collapsing. We have three such shelters and they are strong and well built but they have been up 8 years and in spite of weatherproofing them annually, there are some parts of the wood rotting. That must be the next job for John (if you are reading this John, its pretty urgent) and helpers. If it is not reinforced now we will lose the shelter and we are in no position to purchase another. Also we may need to use it as extra stabling because yesterday I received two calls requesting ponies out on loan to be returned. FIVE altogether!

Jim the young collie in my house has been reserved today, he will go as a friend to a lovely deaf dalmation. the two dogs got on really well and I am happy that Jim will be having a canine companion as he enjoys their company so much, he will be going next Friday.

Success Story of the Day:
We have found (or rather they found us) a brilliant home for Taz, the young German Shepherd with the socialisation problem .There have been several calls from those interested in her but nobody we felt would cope with her - until now. Dermot and Sue from Stockport have recently lost a German Shepherd who was originally an RSPCA rescue dog with major attitude problems.
They managed to overcome that and he lived happily with them for many years. To our amazement within minutes Taz was licking their hands and retrieving a ball, it was like watching a different dog. Their confidence seemed to pass to the dog and she was clearly enjoying their company, to the point where Mei left the field and she failed to follow her, that in itself is unusual as she had bonded closely with her. Previously if Mei left the field she would refuse to stay with anyone else. If anyone can help bring her on and train her it is surely this couple. What a great end to the day.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Paddy and Ben turn their backs to the camera

Today I have recovered my equilibrium and am tackling the phone with a measure of calmness and aplomb! Actually it has been a quieter day today so it was not difficult. Its when the going gets tough that I get going!As Michael Winner says in that awful motoring advert "calm down, calm down". I hereby take the vow to do so from hereon.
Raven, I am pleased to say has done well during the two week trial and his prospective owners are delighted with him. I would have found it hard to find a better home.I had told them before they took him that in his eagerness to have my company he had destroyed the door frame in the kitchen in a desperate attempt to get to me.If I ever find a man who would go to such lengths I will declare myself his forever!(as long as he resembles either Richard Gere or Bruce Springsteen)
So at least now we know that Raven is not returning and we can admit another needy dog. There are several collies waiting for places including one in the local dog pound.That one will be a priority.
I found some more photos of Old Ben though as usual my photographic expertise was poor and I only had his bottom in most of the photos. I like the fact you can see how much they are enjoying themselves and even old Ben was lively.Its hard to believe that these were only taken just a week ago. These are with Paddy and not Molly as shown the other day, and young Jim collie in the background .(Jim adores Big Paddy and is always grovelling on the floor around him and licking his face) In the flesh Paddy is much larger and more masculine looking than Moll was. Its good to see Paddy starting to relax and even enjoy an occasional romp with the other dogs.Today , though he has not been so good on his back legs, I think the cold has affected him - I am waiting for a day coat to be made and hope it will be done soon. In the meantime I will keep the heating on for him during cold days.Have just discovered that Roys daughter who has brought her two dogs back recently from Hong Kong has been concerned about her dobermanwhich has been diagnosed with the same problem as Paddy, fused vertebrae.It is more common than I realised.Several of the staff here have known dogs with it too.

One of the cat places has been taken today by a lovely big black cat which had been hanging around a house in the village here for some weeks. He is another one for neutering this week if we can get an appointment. Another two will be arriving on Sunday along with a little Westie whose owner is about to be evicted and I am trying to find a place for another local stray, a big ginger I am told which has been around for months. Now it is becoming so cold these cats are trying their best to find a safe haven and as the cold weather gets worse more and more animals will be doing this which means more pressure on us to find space for them. As always we will do our best,At least some cats are finding homes right now, the catchat website helps a lot with this.Its the feline equivalent of Dogsblog and without them we would be really struggling for homes. Whoever started these two sites deserve medals. Photos of the new cats in next blog.

It is possible I have found a "ghost writer" to help me with publishing a book. The lady from Great Dane Rescue has put me in touch with someone so I am waiting to receive a reply from my last email to her.Another friend has offered to help me find my way round the self publishing site Lulu.com.(confuses me totally!) so it looks as though it may become a reality. Maybe by next Christmas we will be able to sell the book to raise funds.

Finally I had to chuckle at the sight of Mei doing a Forrest Gump down the track(run Forrest, run!) as she desperately tried to overtake eight wayward ponies which had decided to go in the opposite direction to where she was directing them. It was hilarious ,Thanks Mei, I really needed some hilarity to end the day and that was a cracker!.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Carlo is rescued and I need a break from the phone!

The dogs in the Van case has been solved. Roy placed a notice on the van and I received a text message from the owner saying they were in the middle of moving house and the dogs were being fed and exercised and were about to be moved to their new home. It was not the best thing they could have done, leaving them unattended in a car park but perhaps they had little choice?It does seem a strange thing to do -anyhow the dogs have gone and in all fairness they did look in good condition and appear to be wellcared for.There are worse things around to worry about whether I agree with the way they dealt with their problem or not. My time at the moment is completely taken up with organising the next fundraiser and trying to deal with the many requests to take unwanted pets. The Daily Post didn't publish the promised article about the abandoned kittens but the Bangor Chronicle will be doing so this week.I hope it will bring in a few donations and homes.
The gentleman DID come to see Sam at the weekend and is coming back again this weekend to spend more time with him. It is looking fairly hopeful, Sam did his usual warning to strangers but he was not put off by that and took him for a long walk, he thinks Sam is beautiful and we can only hope that their next meeting will bear fruit(not literally of course!)
There are several youngsters here working on the new Government scheme to get young people into work and it is great to see things being done that we have had no time for. Emily and Nicola mainly help with the cats and dogs and Harley and Gary are currently helping John and Dave rebuilding some stone walling which had collapsed next to Kitty Kottage. Whilst feeding the ferals at the back of Kitty Kottage I slipped and fell off the surrounding wall, although shocked I was unhurt but had a sore back for a few days.(Calamity Jane rides again!)I dont want another accident to occur with someone else so it is a great relief to see this being sorted out.
There has been a surge of interest in the adult cats this week and 2 have been rehomed with another possible two going at the weekend. Of course there are many on the waiting list so already one place has been taken up and the other about to be. If only we had 10 more blocks of cat pens! I'm afraid to confess that as the number of calls on the phone asking for us to take pets has escalated to the point where I am now completely overwhelmed, my patience is also wearing thin with some callers.I try to be as polite as possible but just occasionally I find myself being more than a little caustic and this is not at all helpful and I am immediately ashamed of my lack of self control when it happens. When one is answering calls all day and many are distressing, it can have a bad effect mentally and in the past I have been guilty of having 'melt downs' on a regular basis.Nowadays I am more able to let things go over my head (one of the benefits of getting older maybe?) but sometimes I do find myself losing patience.One such call came the day before yesterday.I was dealing with Bens death, amongst other things and the phone was incessant. THis particular caller was no better or worse than most but when she was scathing about the poor stray cat desperately trying to find shelter and safety on Bonfire night, I felt compelled to tell her that she was not a stray through choice and it was no fault of hers that she needed a safe place to shelter, the caller took offence and hung up.Then I worried myself sick about about the cat but she left no number for me to call her back. That has preyed on my mind all week.So it is simply not worth it to voice ones true feelings, in the end it will be the animal which suffers.Incidentally this caller was a cat owner, wouldn't you think she would have a little more compassion? I know I should not have said anything but at the end of the day I am only human,(at least I think I am!) No comments on this please.
On the other side of the coin, I meet lovely people who restore(almost) my faith in the human race. People like the lady in Anglesey who has daily watched a neighbours dog being neglected and abused and having tried other avenues to gain help for him, finally took it into her own hands .She and her husband have taken the dog off their neighbour whilst he was abusing him and threatened them with the RSPCA if he failed to hand him over. They have also arranged to to have the dog neutered before he comes to us. Pictured here is Carlo who will be coming to us next weekend.
Rant of the Week:
So many would have turned a blind eye and ignored Carlos' plight ,not wanting to upset a neighbour. For years I have begged people who have telephoned me with similar stories to go to the aid of these abused pets but very few will do so. I suppose many are understandably scared that they will suffer retribution themselves if they are to intervene and the law does little to protect these innocent animals. Providing they have access to water and are not dying from starvation or the owner is literally caught in the act of harming it, it seems that they get away with it time after time. I so wish that the law came down more heavily on animal abusers and saw the connection between this and acts of violence towards human beings. Fines are simply not enough for most animal related crimes. I wonder to myself if I saw a child being abused would I intervene?Would I think twice about the perpetrator being a neighbour and possible future consequences/retribution? Actually I know that this would not prevent me taking action. There is nothing worse than sitting back and doing nothing to help victims of abuse whether it be human or animal.That said, I admit that I WOULD think twice about intervening in the street it involved adults - with knife crime so prevalent everyone needs to be aware of the repercussions. So maybe I am not as foolhardy and headstrong as I like to think I am? nevertheless I like to think that I would not walk on by and would do something to help even if it was not to fling myself on top of the assailant!

Morris, (pictured here)one of the new horses is still incredibly thin and we are wondering if he has something more serious underlying so its time to call out the Vet again and re assess his situation.He is not suffering but it would be good to know of he has only a short time left or whether there is anything can be done for him. The previous owner reneged on her promise to return with his rugs the following weekend after we admitted him,I am now wondering if she knew he had something more seriously wrong with him? We have not yet decided what to do about Sorrell and her operation, whether we will forge ahead with the appeal for funding for it is still undecided but is likely we will address this in the new Year.

Photos are of Emily and Harley exercising our resident collies

Monday, 8 November 2010

Memorial to Ben

Over the weekend Ben my old collie devoped a nasty swelling on the side of his neck. He seemed fine within himself, was eating and enjoying a fuss as usual.This morning I asked Rhian to take him to the Vet thinking it was maybe an abscess or his salivary glands.I was shocked to receive a call telling me he had advanced Lymphoma and had only a short time to live. I gave my permission to allow him to be put to sleep.He had not been suffering, in fact today was the only time he appeared not himself and low in spirit. I would not keep him going for another month if he was about to deteriorate so rapidly.A dignified end is the best we can all do for our pets.
Ben came to the shelter 2 years ago at the age of 12 years , his owner had become homeless and I offered to take him temporarily until he found somewhere to live.Ben ended up living with me permanently and was great pals with Meg Lurcher and Molly Great Dane. He was a lovely gentle natured and happy dog who thoroughly enjoyed his life here and he will be sadly missed. Rest in Peace Dear Ben.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Hello, Who's This Pretty New Girl?

Thank goodness the main firework frenzy is over! The past 3 nights have been dreadful, I am sick to death of it and there have been so many telephone calls about dogs going missing having been frightened of the loud bangs.Surely by now people know what this does to animals and should be keeping them indoors.Mind you some of the calls were from farmers whose working dogs had either broken their chains or torn open a door to the shed.Poor dogs is all I can say.There is no comfort for them on this nightmare night for animals. Meirwens 2 chihuahuas Ella and Benjy were so scared she was worried they would have heart attacks , she was especially concerned because Ella had a fit of some sort last week .Thankfully theyboth survived to see another day, no thanks to this horrible'celebration'!!! When will it be banned?

Roy has telephoned about a van with 3 collies inside which has been left unattended in a car park seemingly for over 24 hours, the police have been to investigate but say there is nothing can be done as no crime appears to have been committed. I have suggested Roy return and put a notice on the car asking the owner to contact us immediately. There may be an innocent explanation but it has to be monitored for the welfare of the dogs. Will keep this situation updated.
Two little 10 years old Jack Russells have been homed today to keith and Brenda from Rugby.They had lost both their jack russells from old age and were delighted to find these two lovely dogs whose owner had been unable to take them with her when she moved house. They all took to each other immediately and somehow they looked right together.An ideal match,I would say.The happy four pictured here just before they left for their long drive home.
A gentleman is coming tomorrow to see Sam one of our permanent residents, I say he is permanent because we had thought he would never a home and he has been with us for a year .He is a lovely dog and is very popular with the staff but he does not take to strangers and because of this we have had to take particular care when visitors come. Once he knows people he is a great dog, easy to take out, good on recall too. Tomorrow may not be the outcome we want but its worth a try.I have told the gentleman all about Sams idiosyncrasies so fingers crossed.

A beautiful grey longhaired stray (semi feral)kitten has been admitted, she has been born to a feral mum but has been handled a little so is not too scared and wild . The lady who had been feeding her and mum is in her eighties and could no longer cope.Feral Mum has only partial sight so she has to be trapped and taken to the vet for both spaying and have her eyes checked.If there is something badly wrong with her sight she will have to come here. We are full to the brim with cats both domestic and feral , kittens too and so once again(rather unhappily) we have had to squeeze one in with others the same age.As soon as she met them, she started to purr and rub up against them and seems happy to be back with other cats. Pictured here meeting her new friends.
It was a very cold night last night, there was frost on the car this morning and so it is now time to start doing the heat pads for the outside cats here. The main cattery has heating but one of the feral sheds where some of the free roaming cats sleep does not so until the electricity is sorted they will have heatpads, Once heated in the microwave they remain hot for about 12 hours.For now, this will keep the older ferals warm. I don't heat the Feral enclosure because if they go to homes on farms /stables they will not have this ,so although I want desperately to mollycoddle them, it would not be fair in the long run.As it is they have sheds and baskets /boxes with warm bedding inside.

After writing about the possibility of publishing a book on life in Freshfields, a couple of readers contacted me about it so I will look at some options for doing this cheaply, it is worth considering if it does not cost a fortune. First I need to find a ghost writer, that may prove difficult as I have no idea how to find one! I will try the internet when I have spare time.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Bonfire Night is terrifying the animals.

Cant spend much time on blog at moment because the animals are upset by the increasing noise of fireworks both last night and tonight, we never used to hear them here but so many young families have moved into the area and things have changed for the worse regarding Bonfire night. I do not want to leave the animals alone in the house for any longer so will write more tomorrow.
Hope everyones pets will be ok.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Bronson becomes Pickles.

Being totally cowardly I copped out of ringing the Raven people and asked Mei to do it for me! The good news is that he is doing really well so I feel a lot happier about the outcome of the 2 week trial. I would hate for him to be returned, well of course I hate any animal being returned because it makes them more insecure each time it happens. Anyhow its looking pretty hopeful for him especially as he has bonded with one of the collies in particular - strangely it was the one who was most scared of him when they met.
The abandoned pup was admitted and he is a sweetie. He was named Bronson(after Charles Bronson) but I wanted a softer gentler sounding name so he is now Pickles.So many staff and mastiff types are named after macho men like Bronson and Boxer Mike Tyson and I fear this adds to the bad public image of dominant, scary fierce canines. He does look as though he has some staffordshire bull terrier in him and he is now meeting cats and other dogs to socialise him but actually he appears to be quite a gentle pup so feel he will be suitable to rehome where there are other pets( one of the bonuses admitting them at this age)
Local newspaper The Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald don't want to publish the abandoned kitten story . Its a shame as I wanted to get the message across NOW to people who may be considering dumping unwanted pets. THIS is the time it needs publicising but the papers have their own agenda - I think they just want to do a story nearer Christmas. The Wales Daily Post, however, are interested and I have sent the story and photos to them today.They want a story for the weekend so it should be in this coming weekend. It would be great if it brings some homes AND some donations too. Both mums and the five babies are adorable though one kitten is very tiny and frail so we are giving him extra food in case he is not managing to feed off mum or is getting pushed out of the feed bowl by the bigger, stronger kittens.
The two shelters will have a joint newsletter this Christmas and then I need to get started on our annual bilingual one though that will probably take me until Spring to write and get printed/sent out. Our wonderful helpers in Anglesey have organised a Christmas Fair in Bentllech. at the ex Servicemans Hall(off the main square>Bentllech,Anglesey from 5pm .8th December (wednesday) so that coupled with the other 2 in Penygroes and Porthmadog will bring us in some much needed funds leading up to Christmas.
December - March are the worst months for us financially. The shops are closed for a period over the holiday and afterwards nobody has any money to spend so it is very quiet in the shops.That is why it is important we try to bring in as much as we can now . We just may be also able to organise another xmas fair in LLandudno if we can find the right venue.Steve and Jan from our LLandudno shop are looking into it at this minute so if successful we will be steaming ahead with that and will need helpers and cake bakers in that area also..Any offers?
Veronica has just suggested I write a book about life here, in fact I did have a go some years ago before I moved to Wales(and still have the battered manuscript)but its pretty amateurish like this blog so I would need a ghost writer and then getting published is not easy so the best option would be to self publish and then hope it would be taken over at some stage by a publishing company(if sales were good enough) I looked into it at one time but it would cost about £2,000(probably more now) just to have a small print off.(a small number of books) I would like to go down this route some time, it MIGHT be a good fundraiser.

Another day is almost over, it is blowing a gale and is raining and dark , Mei is bringing in the horses and ponies who are all waiting anxiously at their respective gates.None want to stay out now as they did a few weeks ago. Who can blame them? They enjoy their evening meals in comfort, as indeed I do! What can I make that is quick and easy? Jacket potato again I think followed by a couple of Julias flapjacks. What I would really like is a big meat free roast dinner,lots of roasties and veg and slices of meatfree turkey but at the end of the day I simply feel too tired to cook. and anyway I suppose a jacket potato is healthier and less fattening..Think I will make an effort and have a roastie this weekend, it will be something to look forward to (providing I dont burn it!) Of course I will have to share with Paddy, Patch and Suzy.My dogs are always incredibly rude , spoiled and badly trained BUT I LOVE THEM.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The countdown to Christmas has started.

Maggie shetland (above)is a little better but the vet has been out and she has a swollen leg most likely caused by a kick from another pony, We wanted him to look at Grandad because he has been scouring (runny poo to the uninitiated)) but the naughty boy was determined he would not be caught to have his check up.Grandad of course is one of our elderly shetlands ( and not as some may think my own Grandad long deceased )The Vet says that he is being called out to loads of horses with the same problem at the moment and it is due to the change of weather so Grandad will have antibiotics in his food tonight.We will keep Maggie on pain killers for a few more days and she has antibiotics for her food too ; she should be fine by the weekend. To be honest she is rather enjoying the attention and having all the hay to herself in the stable she shares with Noddy and Leroy
Two cats and five little kittens were admitted today, we really had no room but as it was an emergency we were forced to double up some of the kittens(something we do not like to do)_. These poor animals were discovered this morning on the side of a road in Felinheli in a securely tied black binbag! A lady walking her German Shepherd led her to the bag and she could see something was alive inside. The adult cats are young themselves and the kittens barely 6 weeks old.(pictured here)How could someone do this? This is what to expect now we are on the countdown to the Christmas holidays. Joy and Goodwill to all men, but not to animals! These are the lucky ones because they were found by someone who cared enough to rescue them and bring them to a place of safety for which I am grateful.
I have emailed the local newspaper and hope they will give us some publicity and maybe , just maybe it will prevent others from taking a similar course of action.
It has been a manic day again today, some days it is so quiet and others are completely chaotic with people coming and going, deliveries being made, we office staff trying to do our work amidst visitors arriving and telephone calls being received and made.Xmas puddings having our labels put on by volunteer Julia who also is our one day a week filing clerk, posters being done to advertise our xmas fairs , Veronica valiantly trying to balance the books and even the local Undertaker arriving to see me and No I am not being measured up for a coffin . I did , however, inadvertently reverse into his vehicle a few days ago.(Not occupied fortunately)and made a dent in it.He was very charming about the accident though I dont think I'll be up for any discount later on!
Finally the highlight of the day. We were visited by Steve (pictured here with Tess, now Belle)who has adopted Tess the staffordshire bull terrier. We were all in the caravan having a panad(tea break) and we saw him pull up. Everyone went silent , we were all thinking that Tess was being returned and then Mei went out to see him and he said "dont worry she's not coming back". Collectively we all burst out with a loud cheer which was probably heard next door by Horrid Hawksworth ,who is probably at this moment ringing the Council to complain that we are having fun too loudly!
Steve very kindly offered to take some goods to our LLandudno shop on his way home to Mold, well he did not exactly offer but rather was coerced into it. It was fantastic seeing Belle (Tess) looking so well and so very happy.She had put on weight and was looking brilliant. We are all so happy for her.Emily one of our girls on a work scheme, burst into tears,She had been very fond of Tess, as indeed we all were but to see her today with her new owner was so satisfying.
So it has been a day of ups and downs, anger at the cruel way the cats were abandoned but joy at seeing Tess so clearly enjoying her new life. A 12 weeks pup is arriving tomorrow, another poor abandoned creature, Vanessa will foster him until a home is found. I wonder how Raven is getting on? I am almost too scared to telephone so will put it off until tomorrow.