Wednesday, 29 June 2011

In which I become a Star For the Day!

It has been a manic few days here,  the work on the barn floor has begun and there have been trucks arriving daily with deliveries of building materials. It is looking good ; half the rubber matting is in place already thanks to volunters Jason and Harley and it will be so much easier to keep clean than the sand floor which unfortunately did not work out as well as I had hoped. I think  the horses will appreciate it when it is finished. Next weekend the concreting of the stable yard begins and when winter comes around I know how much of a difference that will make to horses and staff alike. It is a fantastic feeling when I am able to make improvements here, I have so many plans for the shelter but of course without funding they  can come to nothing. My next projects have to be with the cattery. There are plans for the total rebuilding of our less than ideal cat pens but the plans which have been lodged in the council planning department for two years now have to be redone.This is because the new animal welfare regulations require all rescue catteries to be of the same standard and size as Boarding facilities.I discovered this was going to happen shortly after I put in the planning application so the plans were witheld until I could have them altered by an architect. More expense!
Candy the labrador has evoked much interest but mainly from couples with young children and Im afraid she would knock them over in her eagerness to be friendly,her original quiet behaviour has vanished now she has her paws well under my table ! Paddy has felt compelled to put her in her place a few times , same as a mother dog would with a wayward pup.He is very patient with the 'foster children' !

Some time ago we received a donation from the Royal Bank of Scotland charity fund. I thought maybe a member of staff had put the name of Freshfields forward for this.Anyhow a few weeks ago I received a telephone call form the RBS asking if I would consider having a photo taken for them- thinking it would be for their inhouse magazine \I readily agreed  but was a little surprised when they sent out a representative to look us over! He chatted to the staff and took several photos and wanted to look round the fields. Bit odd I thought, usually for any sort of media publicity  a photographer comes, takes his photos and goes within a space of ten minutes. Then I received another call saying that they wanted ME in the photo(not what I was expecting having pushed the staff forward and melted into the background myself) I agreed with little grace(hate my photo taken) and  yesterday was the day of the photo shoot.
A team of FOUR arrived and were  here for at least three hours, there was an
advertising creative director, the photographer(what amazing equipment he had and by that I mean his CAMERA)the RBS man and would you believe  aMAKE UP artist to spruce me up!! I could not believe it but suddenly I found myself sitting in their van having my hair and make up done. Then we moved to the field where hundreds of photos were taken of me with Phoebe one of our ponies and every time the wind  blew the make up girl rushed forwards to fix my hair! I was thinking to myself that it was all a bit over the top and if this was what actors had to endure when  on set , I was glad that had not been my vocation.
When it was over I asked why there was so much fuss over a mere photo and was told that it was for a poster which was going to be in every Royal Bank of Scotland Branch in the Uk and Wales! 
I have no recollection of being told that, just as well I didnt know or I would have backed out! So there you have it.RBS customers look out for the Freshfields Poster Girl! I knew I would be famous one day.

Mion and Elspeth had  a very successful day with their Freshfields stall at the Criccieth fair - they raised an amazing £470. That has to be a record sum made at a Freshfields stall. Well done girls.
This sunday is Catherines Open garden in Criccieth.Last year was a lovely day spent looking round her lovely garden and people were enjoying their strawberry scones and cups of tea in  gorgeous surroundings. heres hoping the day will be as nice this year. I am looking forward to meeting old friends there.( I am sure they will say "less of the old")

Sorry there are no photos today.I will make up for it on the next one.

Friday, 24 June 2011

The Four Musketeers receive some training.


Thanks Rhian for the illuminating facts about Kiris illness.Its good to know that she is well again.
For an old girl of 12 years she has been through a lot but must have a strong will to survive, No wonder she is such a favourite of husband Steve. Kiri is a tough Old Girl.

Two lovely adult cats (seen here)were admitted today. The owner of George and Lori has moved to a flat where cats are not allowed.They are easygoing cats who should be easy to home - that is if anyone ever visits us here! We did have a home offered for one cat but unfortunately the house was on an estate where cats had regularly been killed by lads with dogs and it was felt to be too dangerous to house felines in this area.It was explained to the young lady but she announced that she would get one from somewhere if not from us and sadly that is the truth. She will overlook the fact that so many cats have met an untimely end in her street because she wants one and that is the all important thing to her. Do they think that we turn people away for kicks? We are desperate for good homes but not at the expense of the cats who are at our mercy when we adopt them out. 

I have a new house guest - Candy a 9 months old labrador(sorry she is upside down!) whose owner found her too much to cope with - she is the best behaved dog I have looked after in a very long time|!having had a labrador myself and knowing what they can be like when young I was prepared for the worst, a manic overexciteable barrel of a dog prone to stealing food and chewing everything in sight! Instead what I found myself caring for is a  treasure of a dog and through no fault of her own she has already had too many homes.So unfair.


Seren has left today for a new life in Plymouth, Sue and Roy have had many years of experience with rescued dogs and feel sure they will cope with her nervousness and lack of training. I was pleased to see her go in the knowledge that she would now have more attention and will learn to live a normal life in a home with lovely people who care , but at the same time I could not bear to see her sitting bewildered in the back of their car  and had to walk away before they drove off.  Its small wonder that many fosterers end up keeping their temporary charges, it is so easy to form a bond with animals, especially those which have been mistreated or abused.They really pull at the heartstrings.Pictured here is an apprehensive Seren just about to set off to her new life.What a pretty girl she is, good luck Seren.

Vicky the animal behaviourist is doing one day a week here at the moment and it is good to see the work being done with the permanent dogs, we struggle to find time to do anything extra with them and maybe ,just maybe a couple may find homes if we can find the right people to take them on. We call them the Four Musketeers.They  live at the shelter due to the fact we were never able to find people to adopt them and it is a great shame that they miss out on a real home life.Sam the cross patterdale has an issue with strangers but is getting better all the time,As long as people don't crowd him and afford him some respect, he is a great little dog whom all the staff adore.He needs a single person with experience of terriers and their idiosyncrasies.Scamp the cross collie/Kelpie (seen here with Vicky)who is an ex farm dog needs someone with collie experience but with no other dogs as he behaves best when on his own, he is learning to sit and stay on command and he will play with a ball until he is exhausted! Then there is Glenn, another kelpie/collie ex farm dog who is  full of life and nervous energy, he behaved almost autistically at first but has improved loads and now responds to people with great affection. Lastly Cleo, a cross mastiff /labrador  who loves everybody but needs someone strong because when she is on a lead, she goes for other dogs.These problems are all surmountable but require owners with knowledge and experience of dogs with issues and most, understandably want easy well behaved animals.
There must be the right person for  these dogs but it is not easy finding them .Advertising has brought nothing for either  but we live in hope.

I have just sent Rhian out to collect a stray  cat from a local village(see above)When she arrived back with her we saw that her once beautiful long coat was very matted and  she had several horrid ticks gorging on her! (ugh) Some of her fur was easy to just gently  pull away, the photo is of the bit pulled away from her tail alone! You can imagine what the rest of her is like. The rest will have to be shaved off under an anaesthetic so she will go in next week to have the rest of her makeover completed.

We have two new young women working here for the next 6 weeks , they are on one of the government get back to work schemes. Hannah, Gails daughter has worked here before but It is new to Emma and she is coping very well so far.It is not easy to suddenly be thrown in the deep end with a new job, complex  animals and lots of new people to get to know(and some of them fairly complex too!) having a couple of pair of extra hands makes a big difference here and when they fit in well it is a great relief(not all of them have done so)

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Masticatory Muscle Myositis

Kiri during the first episode!
In 2003 Kiri was diagnosed with Masticatory Muscle Myositis (MMM) .. and No, I’d never heard of it either! To be honest, not many people had and it was down to our Vets experience and quick diagnosis that Kiri is still here in 2011 to tell the tale.
Within a couple of days her face became so badly swollen that she had no stop and indeed from a side profile she looked more like a Borzoi than a GSD. Though she managed every last crumb of her meal she seemed to be having difficulty opening her jaw and she was coughing whilst eating.(Let me point out at this stage that the meaning of life for Kiri is food; she would have sucked it up through a straw if necessary – a factor that would later contribute to saving her life)
The vet reckoned that there was a possibility of a foreign body in her mouth or throat, or she had had a severe allergic reaction to something. But she was in so much pain that they really couldn’t examine her. She suggested a course of steroids over the Week-end and if she hadn’t improved an X-ray on Monday.
Within 24 hrs the swelling on Kiri’s face had reduced dramatically and she looked almost her usual self; there was just a slight dip on her temple that bothered me somewhat, I rang the vet and she suggested this could be a reaction to the high dose of steroids, but felt it necessary to continue the treatment. (Thank God she did!)
By Sunday night there was a drastic change to Kiri’s face. At the time it appeared as if the swelling had gone down but hadn’t known when to stop, giving her head a skull-like appearance, and by now the front of her mouth would not open more than an inch or so. (But yes she could still eat).
The diagnosis following this visit to the vets on the Monday was MMM. They hadn’t even been able to open Kiri’s mouth under anaesthetic, a classic symptom of the condition. They informed me that it is an immune mediated disease found in many large breeds of dogs. Kiri was prescribed a course of steroids, starting with 60mg daily to be reduced over the next 6mths. I was also told to provide her with bones and chew sticks as physiotherapy for her jaw. As MMM is a disease that only goes into remission and never really goes away long term use of steroids was necessary.
Over the next week Kiri’s face deteriorated, the condition affected the muscle behind her eyes giving them a sunken look and I suppose due to the pressure on the tear ducts, her eyes where also weeping. On a good note after spending a day on a chew stick about the size of a stick of rock (normally would have been demolished within an hour), there was a drastic improvement in the mobility of her jaw proving that the physio was almost as important as the steroids.
Looking Good-A recent photo, Kiri with Oliver Blue
Kiri responded well to treatment, and though on the advice of a specialist 10 days after starting her steroids the dose was cut in half. This was because she was losing muscle tone on her limbs and it was felt that the steroids themselves were causing this problem. We always had a bit of trouble with Kiri’s weight; much to my husband’s disapproval I affectionately called her “fatty.” During this time her greedy nature surely saved her life, somehow she ate every meal, but still managed to loose 6kg.
Kiri was 12 in February and is in very good health for a German Shepherd of her age. She was lucky to only have over the years 2 further “episodes” but none as serious as the first. Her very low dose of steroids (15mg a week) has kept her on an even keel, and though to others she may still look slightly strange to us she is still beautiful as ever!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Sweep says goodbye and more kittens arrive.

Sweep collie has left us today, his new people having cut short their holiday to take him home. Cariad is fostering a new dog, a young labrador which has proved to be too much for her owner to handle.I love labs, my first dog was a yellow labrador and I have a soft spot for them though they can be very lively and destructive when they are young. One Christmas when Sasha was only 4 months old, I popped out to the shop and when I returned Sasha had pulled over the Christmas tree and was munching her way through the chocolate decorations,(my fault for not realisign dogs can smell chocolate)there was tinsel and fake snow all over the floor.I could have wept.In fact I seem to remember that I actually did! So I know what they can be like but she made up for it with her loving affectionate personality and I broke my heart when I lost her at the age of 13 years. As the famous poem goes "Why give your heart to a dog to tear?"The answer has to be because they offer so much companionship and loyalty, the like of which can never be matched.(well certainly not in my own experience!)

More kittens have been admitted, there seems to be no stopping the steady flow of these now but where are all the people who wanted one? They have already got what they wanted and no longer have a home to offer. We have so many gorgeous ones too, this year there seems to be a wealth of grey or grey and white kittens, we have 3 at the moment which is quite unusual, all from different litters too.One tiny kitty (grey and white)was taken in to our Vets and when Gail went to pick her up, two more had been taken in , a grey and a tabby(shown here)
Rhian has left early today to go to the Vet where her elderly dog Kiri has had an operation to sort out a mouth abscess. Both she and husband Steve are very worried, Kiri is the 12 years old German Shepherd which gave them so much worry a few years ago when the sides of her face appeared to cave in and she very nearly did not survive.Rhian will have to explain what the illness was because it is too far back for me to remember the name of it.I will ask her to do a short piece on it later.

The sheep have been shorn this week and wouldn't you know it - the weather has changed from hot to rainy and cold. Poor sheep, they have to be done every year or their coats will become too heavy and dirty and it can be dangerous for them if flys lay their eggs in the coat. At least they have a shelter they can use if they feel too cold and I hear that we are due for a scorching weekend! I will believe it when and if it happens but for their sakes alone I am hoping it will be true.Pictured are two of them - Jacob and new girl Mary(whose coat is not developed enough yet to warrant shearing, her turn will come next year.

Just a reminder about our Open Day, if anyone can download a poster from our website and put up in their village or town I would be very grateful.Also if you live near a caravan site perhaps you could take one in to it,most have notice boards where local events are advertised.If you do this let me know which ones you have targeted so I dont send another to them.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

The end of a quiet(ish) Weekend

It has been a lovely day today but very quiet, no adoptions at all.Max the young springer went yesterday to live in Southport near the beach and sand dunes so he will thoroughly enjoy that and he has another springer as a friend so his life shpould definitely improve from now on. Sweep the 5 years old collie who has been reserved has been taken for several days out by his new people who are in this area om holiday, so he has been having a wonderful time.They are cutting their holiday short so they can take him home and get him settled in. It has been a good bonding time for them all and Sweep is now totally enamoured of his new carers.
I had an email from someone who saw the bit in the blog about the disabled kitten and she has sent me an article about kittens with ' swimmers syndrome' something to which I confess I have never heard.Of course it could be one of the many facts I once stored in the old memory bank and which has long since been lost!Anyhow this was a very interesting article and I feel this may very well be the kittens problem. It is called by this name due to the action the kitten makes whilst trying to move the splayed out back legs,the good news is that it may be rectified in a very simple way. Once he has been diagnosed correctly by the vet I will write more about this syndrome. I learn a little more every day!

I couldn't resist taking a video of the cats waiting for lunch! many of those shown are ferals, as you can no doubt tell as they run for cover when I approach too closely.These cats are those which have the free run of the shelter and what a life they have! Food on tap from the Dinner Ladies ,warm cosy beds and lots of interesting places to explore with no traffic to dodge
either.What more could a feral cat desire?

I had a very disturbing telephone call this morning which was so upsetting I will not tell you but once again I feel incensed at the stupidity of those who have babies and toddlers but bring to the home ,a large breed dog known for being a difficult breed. There was no fatality but if I could get that dog away I would do so immediately.Sometimes I wish that people had to take a responsibility questionaire before being allowed a pet.Come to think of it some people could do with one before they become parents!

We had no prospective adopters today but a visit from 2 lots of supporters and it is always good to see them. When I first started the shelter here in Wales, I despaired of ever rallying support for the work here so I appreciate each and every supporter we have. I don't like it when I receive apologies for the fact that someone may not be able to contribute much or help much in other ways because it is true that every little helps and I would never ever be blase about such help.I can never envisage a time when we would not need or welcome our supporters.It is not just monetary contributions or helping hands on with the animals but the emotioal support also.Just knowing that there are other people who care about the welfare of animals and who believe that we, as a charity are doing our best to help, can boost morale so much. So now you know how important each and every one of you are to us.

Ps: you will wonder where the video is! Well for some reason I was unable to upload it so will try again tomorrow.Apologies.Photos instead of Oscar the cat which had been here for two years, was adopted and returned 24 hours later for jumping on a worktop (in his new home he can jump on them all he likes)he looks so contented sleeping next to his new owner, -and then there is nervous Rosie collie in the garden of her new home,(love the piggies!) we have updates regularly on her progress and she is coming on in leaps and bounds. .

Saturday, 18 June 2011

A stressed out Mother cat arrives.

Kittens are overtaking the place!  We have admitted a very sweet tabby/ginger mum  who is not much more than a kitten herself , she was taken in as a stray with a litter of 4 by a local family ,but they were worried that their hectic household full of children and dogs was proving too much for the cat to cope with and they were absolutely right. The mother cat was showing little sign of interest in nurturing what is probably her first

litter.Many young cats find motherhood difficult, as do  some young women  and iof there is any  By the time Rhian went to collect them the following day, she appeared very unsettled and had dropped one kitten coming down the stairs.Thankfully that baby was fine but a ginger youngster appears to have either neurological damage or has been born with a deformity, his tiny back legs are splayed out when he walks.He seems fine within himself, he is eating well and moving about the same as the other kittens but I think he will eventually need a safe indoor home as he will Im sure be permanently disabled.Poor little thing. The people had done their best , they were kind enough to give shelter to the little family and they did the right thing by ringing for help. Today mum has settled down and is caring well for her offspring.Pictured here with her babies which are in hiding behind her except for the kitten which fell down the stairs, as you can see he is bonny and lively.
Two more semi feral kittens have also been admitted and are really beautiful tortoishells but they need more handling before they are suitable to be adopted unless of course, we find that rarity - a person willing to take on a pet which has problems. Having just said that, I realised that in fact lately we have actually found a few such people so they are definitely out there! Sue and Graham from Plymouth are shortly to be taking on a very nervous young collie called Seren who had not seen thelight of day until we agreed to take her on. Her companion Cadi has already been
adopted by Ian and James and to quote them "we love her more and more each day" .Taking on a dog which has never had any socialisation can be very hard indeed but the rewards are so much greater too and when I hear from those kind people who have taken on pets with real problems it makes my day.I am so grateful that they keep in touch, its just so fantastic thinking of how that animal was when it first arrived at Freshfields and then to see how far he/she has come on is truly heartwarming.

There is a lot of coming and going at the moment with the work that is being done and little by little I can see it coming together.Now I feel that it will be finished in time for Open Day so I am very relieved.

Finally, an unexpected visit today from an Essex family who had last week reserved a kitten, resulted in the lurcher pup being adopted.She had been reserved but the home visit did not pass unfortunately and I was just about to contact the original people who expressed interest in her when this family arrived for the kitten and mentioned that they were after another dog.I explained that we only had a few which were fostered out but that I happened to have just one in the house.When I told them she was a lurcher they told me they had a rescued greyhound and another rescue so I felt happy they had some knowledge of this type of dog(they are not everyones cup of tea)They fell in love with her straight away so she has left us to become an Essex Girl! A good end to the day.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Whats Going On?

We had vet Dafydd out today to microchip/passport our most recently arrived  horses. .Mei is unhappy about microchipping the horses though has no problems with cats and dogs.This passport system is a bureaucratic time and money waster for all concerned. Every equine has to have one and each time it costs us £25 ,thats on top of all the other expenses we have for the horses, farrier, dentist etc. it is not legal to transport a horse without this  and  a couple of years ago we  had Trading Standards here checking all our horse passports.As nobody else I know has ever had  a check up like that I can only assume it was  a visit prompted by a complaint from someone.I wonder who? Some may remember that when we complied with this ruling when it first as put into place, we were conned by a person registered on the Defra  website to do this and we lost over £300. The whole Passport issue is a fiasco and policing it was always going to be nigh imposssible.Most of the horses and ponies we admit have never had one but as a sanctuary we have to be seen to be acting within the law so there is no escaping  this added and totally unnecessary  expense  for us.
Pictured here is Vanessa putting a headcollar on Caradog ready for the Vets arrival. watching intently (in the top picture)are shetland Heather and her son Paddy.They look as though they are wondering whats going on don't they?
 though I doubt if they would have been so keen to hang around if they had known it was all about nasty things being done to them by the Vet! Isn't Caradog a handsome horse? I still think Rocky is the best though I am slightly biased about him.

There have been roadworks in Lon Pant - y- gog for what seems like forever and  so many people have found themselves heading in the  wrong direction due to the diversion signs regularly blowing over on their sides. It is quite a diversion too and we are all pretty fed up with it.Thank goodness it will be finished by next Tuesday . Last weekend 3 carloads of people arrived together after driving round and round the village trying to find us, its such a nuisance and it isn't an easy place to find at the best of times. I wish the Council would allow us to put up a sign but I have asked and they wont allow it because
we are not a tourist attraction.Apparently that would be the only way it would be allowed. Several of the neighbours are regularly bothered by unwanted carloads of people trying  to locate the shelter so it seems very unfair that we receive complaints(not nasty ones)a nd have our hands tied to prevent it happening.
Yippee, the work is due to start on the stable yard tomorrow, I  was starting to think it would never be done in time for the Open Day but I can breathe a sigh of relief now. The track up to the shelter is on the agenda also to have a make over - wish I could have one, I have always fancied being on one of those programmes where someone is given a complete make over and then all the friends and family gather together and ooh and ahh over  the new and improved
Jane Smith (or Lesley Tarleton!!) and the lucky woman having glided down the staircase like a supermodel complete with new designer outfit blubs a little and
says how much it is going to change her life.
Oh well I can Dream.

f anyone would like to put my name foreward for such a project I will be more than happy, in fact I may just put  forward my own name !

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Cross eyed Monty Finds a Home

A little old lady from the dog pound has joined Paddy and Patch(they are both so good with new dogs coming into their space and this sweet  old girl has just fitted  in so easily. I think she could be aged between 13 and 15 years and she is in good condition apart from being in season.That poses a problem, if she has been caught by a lascivious male dog then she will have pups which at her age could kill her , if I have  her spayed she may not survive the anaesthetic.Its a quandary, I will take her to the vet tomorrow and ask advice.Also admitted today is a 6 months old springer spaniel which Gail is going to foster once he has been to the vet for a check up.I am worried about his back legs, he walks oddly and I am wondering if he has hip Dysplasia.He was bred and then sold to a man of 85 yrs who died leaving him homeless!

Finally today there has been some interest in the kittens, I was beginning to think none were ever going to leave here! Two little kitties are leaving for a life in Anglesey and there is another person coming this week to see them.I hope this will be the start of a big spate of cat adoptions.
We are all delighted about another cat finding a home - Cross eyed Monty see here on left  was spotted on the website and he has gone to live with four other felines and their carers. We all thought Monty was great and loved his unusual appearance so its good that someone else agreed with us enough to offer him a home.
Little old dog now named Pippa has been to the vet and she has been given an injection to prevent puppies, she has to go back tomorrow for another.Springer Max is being neutered on thursday so we have decided he can been found have his legs/hips checked at the same time. Two more lurcher/greyhouds have been found, one on  a local beach, no ID of course, we have had to put one in a local kennels and the other  has a foster home already so there is either time for the owner to claim him or another home to be found for him He is a very pretty fawn colour and the other we have named Teddy is similar to the Dog Pound lurcher(could they be siblings?) What is going on with these dogs? Probably the nice weather has all the lurcher boys out hunting and they are probably of the attitude  if one fails to return it is no good as a working dog! Of course I am just assuming this because there is no way I could ever understand the mindset of these killers of the countryside.

Mary lamb has joined our three resident sheep and is more than happy to be with her own kind. See the photo of her shortly after they were all  introduced to each other. In the next field Caradog and Phoebe are very interested in the new arrival.  Vanessa rode Caradog yesterday and it was felt that with a little more schooling he would be suitable to go to a home with an experienced rider. What we really need is someone willing to take on the pair as they are very close to one another. They are  both far too healthy and fit to spend their lives here and we need all the space we can get for the infirm and needy animals which need sanctuary for the remainder of their lives.

The photo of dear old Noddy is not advertising his demise! The old man is simply having a snooze in the sun and is completely oblivious to any activity going on around him, like any senior citizen he likes his afternoon siesta, at the age of 38 he is the equivalent of a  100 year old human being!
I have just ordered the catering for the Open Day, I hope I get it right this year. The first year I  failed to order enough food, last year I ordered too much, will it be right this time? I know some people were unhappy about there being nothing other than vegetarian /vegan options but in truth I  but I cannot justify    serving meat at an animal shelter which also rescues farm animals and it goes against the ethics of the charity. (and my own personal beliefs) so hopefully it will be tasty enough to assuage everyones hunger pangs and that visitors will understand the reasoning behind the decision. Are there any people out there who can bake cakes for the day? I would be very happy to hear from you if you could help in this way.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

A good weekend for dogs

What a pleasure it is walking dogs on a nice sunny day, as I walk I take in the wild flowers and the insects buzzing about and although I probably have identified them all at sometime, I seldom can remember so have to look them up yet again in one of my many books about nature. My memory is so bad I put it down to having an overload of information in the brain! I will shoot anyone who says it is my age! I have always had a poor memory and inability to retain information which is what has made it so hard writing a book about the past.Much of it was already written down in diary form but I have had to really search my memory for certain bits of information. Speaking of this, I have backed out of the current arrangement with an agent because  the publishers have asked for it to be changed to just the happy stories and that is not the story of a sanctuary. I have no intention of writing  all doom and gloom  and there are lots of funny tales but I want it to be a true story, not a shmaltzy fictitious type one. I am disappointed because both Linda and I had put a lot into it but this is not the path I want to take  and I had already made some compromises so I will once again be looking at the self publishing angle.I feel I am back to square one again.

Bella the middle aged collie went to her home today , she has gone to someone who already has a cat from Freshfields and Bella has proved to be really good with the cats here.

Its been a hectic day today, Blue the whippet was brought to the shelter by his foster mum to meet his new people who had travelled all the way  from Plymouth to collect their new friend. His Foster mum says he is the best dog she has looked after and they will be getting a cracking new pet, she was very tempted to keep him but knows if she did that she wouldn't be able to help others.I was so pleased she said that , we have lost so many foster homes this way.Pictured are Virginia and husband  Grahame with Blue.

Rosie the timid little collie from the Pound has also found a loving home with a couple from Cheshire, Rosie and their old dog Bruno got on famously which bodes well for their future together. She is the one I will worry about most of all because she is so nervous and I live in terror of such dogs going awol from their new homes, never to be seen again. When they are so shy they will be unlikely to go to strangers so I always stress the need to be extra extra careful and vigilant wih them.

Even Sweep the five years old collie who has had no previous interest shown in him has been reserved so it has been a very uplifting day.

4  dogs out this weekend and just one in - a 9 weeks old lurcher pup was admitted after his owner decided to give her up when his wife gave birth two days ago! Unbelievably this was her  second home, he had been with another man who gave her up for the same reason! 

No cats have been adopted unfortunately but two litters of kittens have arrived, the first litter of 3 was born to a feral cat on a farm but luckily, mum moved to a neighbours home to have her babies and now the babies will be safe and we are arranging to have the mother cat spayed as well as another female cat on the farm.

The second litter came from foster mum Mion who has been caring for them since they were three weeks old. All kittens are adoptable age so now all we need are the homes.

If you read this and see no photos check again later because I will be posting them after I have had something to eat. Its a matter of prioritising!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

William is better today

I had another day off yesterday - whats the world coming to? two whole days off in a week! I went with friends to the Osprey project in Machynlleth ( there are three chicks in the nest) and then on to see the Red  Kites feeding at the RSPB reserve in Nant yr Arian, what a fantastic sight it was, over 100 of these beautiful birds swooping down in all their majesty - awe inspiring and apparently some days there are up to 300 gathering for their food. 100 was good enough for me!
On the return journey home we stopped to take a photograph of a lurcher which was in the Dog Pound and in desperate need of a place with us. He has a foster home as soon as Blue whippet goes to his new home in Plymouth on Sunday so he should be home and safe by the middle of next week. Judging from his nice white teeth I would put his age to be around a year and he appears to have a typical friendly lurcher temperament though is quite strong.there are also 2 more little dogs  in situ there so need to sort places out for them rather quickly.One is an elderly terrier female and the other a staffordshire bull terrier female. Isn't it incredibly sad that all over the Uk dogs are left unclaimed in pounds?

The farrier has been here today which makes for a very busy morning, all the new horses have had their feet trimmed and quite surprisingly Caradog the big chestnut was fairly easy to do. I had thought she may prove to be a litle difficult to handle as she is rather nervous but all went well and her feet are now in much better condition than when she arrived.

The Vet  Dafydd came out  to check on William and although he is no longer in pain, he has made it clear that he is not fit to be ridden so an early retirement is the answer for him. Such a great shame that such a handsome and comparatively young horse is 'out to grass' so to speak. Still better he is here than being passed around, at least his future is now secure and as you can see bu the photo his appetite is still good, he is pinching food from the wheelbarrow which Mei has left there for this evenings top up!
Ember and Freddy shetlands will be leaving for their loan home next week.Their new people have been busy  repairing fences round their fields
 to make sure all is ready when the boys arrive.

Mary lamb is doing well and we will be releasing her into the field with our other sheep, as soon as she has been wormed she will be joining them. She is a typically nervous animal, only those handreared tend to be friendly with humans, most have little or no contact with people at this age so whether or not she will change when she sees the other sheep unafraid with the staff,
remains to be seen. Next year could pose a problem when the time comes for her to be shorn! I can just imagine the high jinks there will be on that day.

One of our microchipped cats has been admitted today, she has been in the vet surgery for a week recovering froma road accident where she has suffered a damaged leg.She will be on cage rest for a while to see how the leg improves.We have been unable to contact the owner and have had no telephone call  to tell us she has been missing which is odd.Perhaps they are on holiday and have left a friend/relative caring for the cat? iF that has been the case the person has not reported her missing to us which gives me cause for concern.
Our kittens are going out pretty quickly at the moment but we have another litter coming in on Sunday from fosterer Mion.

Behaviourist Vicky finishes today though we plan to ask her to return when we can afford it, we have applied for a grant to pay for her to continue her stellar
work but at the moment there is not enough funding to spare for her to put in the necessary hours. In one week she has achieved much with both dogs and staff working together and it would be a shame if we were unable to carry on with this training.

Well thats todays blog finished and now I can take my dogs out for their afternoon exercise for which they will be anxiouslywaiting though perhaps I
will have a cup of coffee first - it may give me the required energy boost I badly need today. I have had the dreaded B12 injection(god I hate that word) but because it was overdue it takes a couple of days to kick in. By the weekend I will be my usual effervescent self!!!!

Ps: just heard someone in the village is feeding our ponies apples and other food, I was worried this might happen with them being in a spot where they can be seen by passersby.The problem here is that some of them have laminitis and this can be aggravated by the wrong diet plus of course we dont know what they are being given that could be highly detrimental to their wellbeing.I will put up a sign straight away.I just hope it will not be ignored otherwise we will have to bring them back to the shelter.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Dollys Story.

Mary  the lamb seems  to be doing well, she is eating and drinking but is very very shy and races to the corner of  the stable when anyone attempts to approach her.When she is a little stronger we will introduce her to the BIG BOYS Jacob and Joseph the jacob sheep and old Sam.At the moment she is too young and frail to be with them, they may bully her, especially the Jacobs who can be more than a trifle naughty.

We have moved four more ponies out to another location, this time they are in walking distance from the shelter and opposite Meis house , so she is able to keep an eye on them daily.There is enough grass for two more so Jack and Sorrell will be joining them tomorrow.
Work has begun with the moving of the midden which after a year had grown very big and we did not want to carry on heaping more and more manure on it so it has been  taken up to a top field, out of sight, and where it can be spread to fertilise that area. Then  the big job can begin, that of  redoing the track surface(it has so many holes in it)and concreting both the stable yard and the floor of the agri (barn) which houses around a dozen of our ponies overnight and through the winter months. I have ordered the rubber matting for that  already.It is exciting being finally able to undertake a reasonably big project, for years I have felt we were at a standstill regarding improvements to the shelter and although the biggest project is still a pipe dream(the cattery) I now feel more optimistic about that too. We are still applying for every grant making trust we can find and have had a few small grants bestowed upon us but every little helps and one day perhaps we will succeed with a 'biggie'.

Vicky the animal behaviourist started her week with us today and she has been making great progress already with the 'difficult ones' (and I dont mean us!)Now we all have to learn how to deal with the animals which cause us problems, it is of course no good teaching an animal good behaviour if the people who work with them have no idea how to encourage it and perpetuate the initial training.I am one of the worst culprits because I am  useless at training and give in too easily in order to have a peaceful life which of course is not the answer.So I have to do a little training with myself too.
 If I told Vicky how I used to calm my highly strung Jack Russell Dolly many years ago she would have a fit! I would be on the telephone to a friend and to get my attention Dolly would either start barking incessantly or she would attack one of the other dogs.The only thing that would stop her would be if I threw her raisins which she loved so I would be trying to hold a conversation amidst shouting manically  above the barking "Raisins Dolly raisins" and throwing a handful on the floor.  Of course that would only shut her up for the time it took her to gobble them down and then I would have to start all over again.Dolly became known to many as Raisins.At that time I had no idea that raisins can be actually detrimental to a dog and I could have unwittingly caused her to be very ill and it could even have caused her death! Dolly must have had a cast iron constitution because this behaviour (of hers and mine) continued for many years until I was on the verge of a breakdown over her and being unable to control her manic behaviour so friends Dave and Caroline  offered her a home where she lived happily until she died of  old age. With hindsight I realise  now that my own state of stress  had transmitted to her and that we were locked in a no win situation. If only there had been animal behavourists around in those days!
I have this beautiful photo sent  to me of Teddy(now Ozzie) the abandoned German Shepherd pup with the damaged leg,if you remember he was in the dog pound at the tender age of 8 weeks and later after he was adopted he had to undergo an operation to remove the leg.Well just look at him now. Seen here in his new home with his two white GSD pals, what a handsome dog he has grown into but it is of no surprise, he was a stunning puppy. Keep these photos coming, it makes all the stress and hard work of running an animal shelter worthwhile and its what keeps us all going.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

A Lamb is Rescued from Drowning

I am thrilled to hear that Eric and Roo are settling happily, I have been sent photos of them in the enclosed garden in their  new home, and of Roo enjoying a rest on the sofa. The Tortoishell cat is Scrappy who is also a Freshfields cat, she has lived there for a few years now - we still have her (very)timid daughters Zoe and Ziggy. If you look carefully at her photo you will just about see Eric in hiding at the back, have a good life boys!

Pepsi and Sandy yorkies  have said goodbye to Paddy and Patch and left us for .the next phase of their life which they will be spending in  the wonderfully named Strawberry Lane  though this one is located  in Wilmslow not Liverpool.I had thought I would be glad when they went because they are such lively little dogs ( And I do like my evenings to be peaceful)but this was not the case at all. In fact I had to walk away to avoid seeing them leave.  Silly, by now I should be more than  used to saying a farewell to my temporary charges but in fact it seems to affect me more than ever, I can remember my mum telling me that as she grew older, she became more sensitive and emotional than when she was young. I am inclined to agree with her sentiments.

Williiam is able to move his leg today though is still on stable rest .A friend has suggested dosing him with a homeopathic remedy and I am all for trying anyhting which might help. Certainly I have experienced the physical and mental health of some animals improving drastically after being treated homeopathically so nothing lost nothing gained.

We had an emergency admission this afternoon, in the shape of a little lamb which was in shock after being found up to her neck in water, unable to move tosave herself from drowning. By sheer chance supporters of ours Sue and her family were walking near the estuary when she was spotted by son Rowan and subsequently  rescued. After drying her off at home they brought her to the shelter where she is now recovering from her ordeal.
.It is possible she was cut off by the tide or fell into the water and then found it impossible to climb back out, there were no other sheep around so  they must have been moved to a different area and this little one mistakenly was left behind.Perhaps she was already stuck by then? She is very weak and hungry but is already tucking greedily into the hay we have placed beside her. My main worry is that having been immersed in water for a long time, there is always a chance she will develop pneumonia so we will keep her as warm as possible today and hope for the best.
The staff have named  her  Mary.

Friday, 3 June 2011

William is in The Wars and I miss my Appointment!

Yorkies Sandy and Pepsi have been reserved and will be leaving us on Sunday to go to live with Yorkie mad people Maggi and Rick in Wilmslow. They are dear little dogs though very lively for their age and as I have always said - I prefer the placid old dogs. I am amazed at their rapid recovery from yesterdays operations, what stoical animals they are. We humans are not nearly as brave, well I 'm not anyway.In fact I was meant to have my B12 injection today and I failed to keep the appointment.How stupid is that? I will work up to going on monday.It cannot be left any longer, the dizziness is starting so as always that will force my hand!
Dear Paddy has not been so brilliant today, his back legs seem very weak, I took him for his first trip to the beach and I was sorry I made the decision because for the first time in ages he almost collapsed.Time to put him  back on Metacam I think.That always helps him when he has bad episodes.
Jeremy cat seems a little better today so we will just be keeping a careful eye on his progress. We also had a feral mum cat spayed yesterday and released her back to her home , her kittens remained  here to be put up for adoption.Although the photo shows three, there are four but one little tortie female was determined to hide away.Ther are only 6 weeks so are young enough to domesticate fairly quickly, older than this and it can be a problem unless you have a great deal of time to spend handling them and getting them used to humans. Another litter will be arriving next wednesday - it is very late in the year for us to be only just admitting kittens of adoptable age.I hope at least some of the people who have been waiting for us to get them in, still want them .

The Physio lady Gillian came out to work with William (above)and guess what - she recognised him ! She has worked on him in his previous home and even has xrays etc of his back problem.We have been told by her  that he panicked being loaded into a horsebox and in his panic he fell over backwards! A horse doing this is a terrible sight, some of you may have seen photos of racehorses toppling backwards, they are so heavy there is a great likelihood of serious damage being done and in Williams case this was exactly what occurred. He suffered nerve damage which initially prevented him from urinating etc  though slowly he recovered from this accident. Unfortunately it left him with a fear of horseboxes(completely understandable) and a recurring problem with  back pain. He also has a weakness in one of his fetlocks which causes his leg  to occasionally give way from under him.
 The owner who appeared to be a very caring person and who took me in totally  then sold him to someone who wanted to ride  and jump him, when they said they did not want to keep him, she brought him here IN A HORSE BOX and  told me that he would be ideal for a novice rider! Her lies could have resulted in serious injury to both horse and rider and I am just thankful nobody was badly injured though poor William is clearly suffering from  having someone on his back,  albeit momentarily .(thank goodness she jumped off quickly)
 I have just called out the Vet Dafydd after Vanessa called me to look at William, he is standing on his own in the field and he is pawing the ground with one hoof, his front right leg appears rigid and he seems unable to move it at all. What next?
The Vet has just been and has given William a pain killing and anti inflammatory injection. After studying him moving and dragging his front leg, he believes that it is nerve damage and is likely to be related to his other problems. He is on a weeks stable rest and will have painkillers twice daily for a week, he will return then to have another look at him. What will be the prognosis? My wish is that these episodes will be infrequent when he is totally rested and that we will be able to treat him when he has his bad times.What I will never do is keep an animal alive if suffering constant pain.That goes against all I believe in, we are here to relieve suffering not just to keep animals alive with no quality of life. I feel very sad for this beautiful horse who at 14 years is in the prime of his life but I am also optimistic for his future with us.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

A Foal In Distress and Roxy Finds love Again.

Having had a fantastic day out birdwatching in Anglesey I feel so much more relaxed today so I plan to continue the blog and when I feel particularly stressed I will ask someone else to take over for a while as I did this week.Thanks to everyone who emailed me to ask me to continue, I appreciated your thoughts and it is good to know that people enjoy reading it. Sometimes I look at other peoples blogs and they have so many followers especially those written about children and the day to day life of stay at home mums, the other popular ones seem to be those who are involved in art and craft type things.maybe I could introduce some of those issues in my blog. I wonder if I publish some of my doodling will it increase my followers? I can almost hear you all sigh and hoping desperately I stick to animal tales! Dont worry, if I struggle to find interesting facts to talk about on the blog at the moment  the pages would be blank if I had to conjure up anecdotes on domestic issues.
Over 70 species of birds were spotted yesterday around South Stacks and surrounding area and I saw my first Puffin. There was just one solitary Puffin in the water but I was pleased to see even one as this was the main reason I chose to go on this particular trip.I think Roy also enjoyed his day off, for once he had nothing to do but take pleasure in the wonderful views of the cliffs and the  multitude of birds nesting on them.

On my return home Mei told me that she had been involved with an issue regarding a local horse breeder whose foal was caught up in wire and fencing which he wascarrying like a collar around his neck(see photo) Both she and Vanessa had tried to free him but he was very shy and they were concerned that their intervention could cause the mare and  foal to panic and create a worse scenario, they could not find the owner so telephoned the World Horse Welfare, however    it appeared the owner must have arrived home soon afterwards because after going back to check on the youngster, the girls saw that the treacherous wire collar had been removed.
On the left hand photo you can see how tight the wire has become,how lucky this little chap was not to have lost his life.
This incident shows how important it is to keep any field clear of rubbish where animals are grazing though I must say that there is building work going on in this road and it may very well not have been the owner who caused this potentially fatal accident.
Whilst I am on the topic of horse breeders I am so very pleased to know that at long last there is awareness being raised against a farmer who indiscriminately breeds welsh ponies, most of which end up in the local horse sales after being rounded up.Few are sold to private homes and it has long been talked about
 by horse lovers in the area who have been incensed at the conditions these ponies are kept in. Our own orphaned foal Celt came from the same farm 4 years ago. Heres hoping that this will  herald the end of this particular     persons activities.

This morning the two yorkshire terriers have gone in to spayed and neutered and they should be off to their new home this weekend. Roxy the bulldog cross who came in with them and who has been fostered by Rosie has been brought in today to meet with her prospective new family and she has won over their hearts. She will be going to live with another Freshfields dog Tess and a freshfields cat also.Pictured above with her new family and  below with new pal  Tess. Dont they look good together.She will be the fourth pet Alison has adopted from Freshfields.What a good advert she is for us.

The two yorkies have returned from their ordeal and to be honest they do not even look as though they have had operations.They were waiting for me with wagging tails, full of beans and not a care in the world! Considering they are not young(10 yrs and 11 yrs) I am amazed at how well they have coped with it.Tilly is a little less lively but again not too bad at all so she will be well enough to go with her new family tomorrow.
One of our middle aged cats Jeremy appears to have had a stroke, he is not looking so good at all so we will see how he goes today and if no improvement he may have to have a visit to the vet surgery in the morning. Poor Jeremy.
Eric and Roos new people have contacted me to say they are collecting them tomorrow on their way back home to Shropshire.There is always good news in amongst the bad.Thats what stops us all from becoming too maudlin.
A neighbour passing by on her horse rang to say one of our horses was having difficulty standing, it was Morris the arthritic bay so Vanessa has checked on him but he was probably just a bit stiff from lying down. nevertheless   I appreciated the fact that  neighbour H was concerned enough to contact us.(no It wasnt HH, AS IF!) We all need to look out for each other and we would do the same if we saw a problem with her horses .

It has turned out to be a warm sunny day here which is a great relief from the high winds and constant rain. The wild flowers are appearing everywhere so I need to get out my wildflower book again; each year I identify several species and the following year I forget them all and so it goes on.Still it keeps me off the streets!