Sunday, 29 January 2012

Its's Snowing

It's Snowing and everywhere is covered with a thin layer of the white pretty stuff. The Llamas are bemused and as always are intigued with anything that varies from their usual routine. I have never come across animals so inquisitive and it will be hard to part with them when the time comes.

Old Henry was adopted by the Merseyside couple who came to see him.Their own elderly  Freshfields dog Dave (love that name) appeared to have no animosity towards Henry and vice versa. I am thrilled to  find him somewhere so quickly and hope that the two remain on good terms when they find they have to share their home.

A Very Welcome Visit From Penny.

Last year we rehomed a particularly traumatised farm dog called Rosie(now Penny) Some of you may remember the lovely video  which owner Ian took of Penny and pal Bruno having a run alongside a river.It was set to a background of music and was very touching, especially considering the dreadful past this collie had experienced. I have only seen one or two dogs  as badly frightened as her since my move to Wales.

Just look at her here on the left on the day she arrived, so scared she would not walk and below is Penny on the day she came to visit us , looking perfectly content and  her eyes alert and full of intelligence. Fear Gone. fantastic.

It was wonderful to see her now, a completely different dog with confidence and happiness shining out of her eyes.Her progress was not without set backs and it has taken a lot of patience and understanding , but those qualities are exactly what Ian and his partner possess . They loved her from the start and were determined to do their best by her. They succeeded.

Cat News:
Adoptions have been slow this weekend, just one kitten went and one cat was returned for bullying another cat. Not the best of weekends for our feline friends but this happens from time to time.Next weekend we may home dozens!

We have all been  saddened by the demise of one of our long term residents Big Ginge. He had lived here for several years after his animal rescuer owner Enid died , leaving him and 20 companions homeless. Big Ginge and most of his pals had been feral cats which Enid had taken in and they were part domesticated when they arrived here. My memory of their arrival was leaning in to one of the baskets to reassure one of the more nervous cats Flecky, only to have him lunge out and whack me across the mouth leaving me with a permanent scar. I dont blame him, it must have been quite  shocking to have my beaming visage looming over  him when he was nervous anyway. ! He and Big Ginge were the last surviving members of this elderly group and strangely Flecky has grown  to prefer me to the other people he  knew at the shelter.Big Ginge, on the other hand  was friendly with everyone and was always happy to pose for photos .
We will all miss the old man very much.

This a typical photo of him and the last one I took just a few months ago.Flecky who is also failing in health is the black cat on the right of Ginge.

Our Lovely Ginge had a happy life here, was always  dozing in the conservatory and on warm days would potter about outside , having the occasional sunbathe. Not a bad life for a cat.

R.I.P. Big Ginge.

Friday, 27 January 2012

The Newcomers Quickly Arouse Interest

The Old And The Young:

Here we have two more unwanted collies- The old chap (Henry)came from the Pound where he had been left unclaimed and the youngster Becky was taken to be destroyed after killing two poultry in the farm where she lived. Henry is the sweetest old dog, he is so gentle and placid ; his tail is always waving   gaily  and he is appreciative of every bit of attention he receives.   His coat is a bit matted and unkempt but he is so  docile,it is clear that he has not been the victim of cruelty , just a little neglected.   I am sure someone will come forward to offer him a home for the last part of his life.  
  Little Becky(and she IS little)  already has a homecheck being done ,  she will be  a great family pet as long as there are no small animals about for her to assault. I am rehoming her away from rural Wales so there will be no opportunities for her to be in close proximity to poultry and sheep. This is not the area for a dog to be unless it can be trusted 100 percent with livestock but at the age of six months she deserves a second chance.

Transport is sorted for Jane:
Jane the staffordshire bull terrier is leaving us on Tuesday when she will be off to Cardiff to her new life, it is so obvious she is feeling so much better nowadays, not only did the dustpan and brush fall prey to her mischievous ways but she has today emptied the bin all over the floor. Thank you Jane. that is just what I needed!
She is showing signs of boredom and needs the one to one attention she will shortly be receiving- until then Its a case of keeping everything chewable well out of her way.

Charley Turns Into  A Bully:
Charley one of the four hard to home cats has 'queered his pitch' as the old Scouse saying goes. He has been aggressive towards the other three and is making their lives a misery. Frances has wisely allowed him the sole use of one of her rooms and she is fostering him until we find someone to take him on who has no other cats.  Without their presence he becomes a real Pussycat!

If anyone knows a cat lover without other felines and who would take pity on  middle aged but very handsome deaf white  Charley please get in touch

I was quite excited to receive a call asking for two shetland ponies, there have been very few such calls this past year and we would dearly like to find a nice place for Heather and her son Paddy. Unfortunately all they wanted ponies for was to keep their grass down! It would be much cheaper and less aggravation to hire a person to do this,  I doubt they had taken into consideration that ponies are VERY  expensive to keep. Farriers ,Dentists and Vets are by no means  cheap so they would make very expensive lawnmowers.
Pictured here with my lovely boy Rocky are the mother and  son shetlands. Their Time will Come.

We will be having another pony returned this weekend.Axel is one of  three Dartmoor ponies we rescued several years ago and he has been living with my next door neighbours  for the bulk of that time , not the infamous HH of course!  When Axel  and his pals were admitted they were  almost wild  as they had not been long taken off the Moors and were very skittish. The well known round up of wild ponies from the moors  is one which many people find abhorrent and quite rightly so. It is a terrifying experience for animals which have never been handled, to suddenly find themselves herded into waiting lorries and taken to the even more frightening environment of  the horses sales. Axel was one of the lucky ones purchased by an animal welfare group and  his future was immediately secured. Nowadays he is as well behaved as any other domesticated pony but his carer is unable to keep all her equine family and Axel is showing signs of ill health so we have agreed to take him back so we can monitor his health and care for him at the shelter.

Disaster Strikes As I leave |For Liverpool:
Why is it that things always seem to go wrong at the most inopportune time?
The night before I left for the meeting in Liverpool, Mei noticed my car was leaking oil so I had to give up on the idea of driving there and had to beg a lift to Prestatyn where I had arranged previously to pick up my sister. She  was not happy at the prospect of driving her car from Prestatyn to Merseyside but there was no choice.Sandra hates driving even more than I do and finds the journey arduous  but it was either that or cancel the meeting which neither of us wanted to do.

Then as I was rushing round in the morning , trying to organise myself - I suddenly noticed that one of Paddys front paws was ENORMOUS! I know he has elephant sized feet anyway but one was double the size of the other and it looked sore. Now I had a problem.Not only was I about to leave for two days but there  was no vehicle in which to transport him to the Vet ,and he needs a Great Dane approved vehicle in which  he can comfortably travel, anything smaller  than a transit sized van will simply not do!

The other issue was that only Mei and I can enter the house to remove him, he will not allow anyone else to do this.
"Oh Paddywack" I moaned at him " Why  today of all days?"
He just stared uncomprehending at me in typical Dane manner.
I had to leave him in Meis capable hands and told her who to ring for help with transport and by afternoon he had paid his visit to the vet(again) who found that he had a hole in between his toes . This was probably caused by a foreign object which had since worked its way out(I failed to notice this I am ashamed to say) and infection had set in.

As I type this , his foot is back to normal . I hope we can manage to keep him away from the Vets surgery for a while, he seems to have hardly been away from  there  lately. And did I mention that he disgraced me whilst he was being examined? When the Vet removed the thermometer from his backside, Paddy  decided he needed to Poo and proceeded to pass his usual huge  cowpat  on the surgery floor.Am I glad I was not present! Mei was mortified.

Possible Home for Old Henry.
I have taken a call from a lady who lives near the shelter in Liverpool and who  has adopted an elderly dog from them some months ago . This lady is expressing interest in the elderly collie Henry. how lovely ot would be for him if he were to find his forever home so soon.I have promised to ring her back tomorrow as I have to get my dogs out before darkness descends and I will  be unable to find them in the surrounding fields - something which will inevitably happen if I do not get a move on!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Its Ferret Week.

Sunday Adoptions (and another dog returned)

Out of the three farm dogs which came in from Anglesey, two have been homed but middle aged Ben still languishes in kennels. I will find someone nice for him soon and I told him that very thing when I went to collect the other two. I think he understood - well he wagged his tail and offered me his paw so I took that as an understanding!  and I always keep my promises.

Farm dog George was  adopted with Scooby, a young collie with whom he got on very well and Pero( from the same farm as George)also left us for his new life.The downside of the day was that Harry the collie/Huntaway was returned less than 24 hours after he drove off happily with his new family. He was returned because the two children(who had met him previously) were terrified of him. Harry was not in any way at fault, his nature is wonderful  but although the children were not babies, it reinforces my view that homes with children so often do not work out for one reason or another.  I had not picked up on the childrens fear when they first met Harry, they were shy but that is not unusual and I felt he was the right dog for the family.Am I losing my touch?

Several cats were homed and three of the new puppies have been reserved, now there is just one to go.Not bad going at all. If only I could always be sure that animals were going to stay out! There are times when I feel that I want to keep all the animals here and never home them but that would , of course, be an impossibility and in the long term would not be fair on them at all. All  our animals have different temperaments and characteristics, as do people but I do believe there is the right match for every pet and every person. I could, however be the exception to this ! Either that or I am going to meet my own match so late in life I will be too old  to do anything about it!

Monday:    Its the Week Of The Ferrets.

Within a short space of time I received two calls about stray ferrets turning up announced in peoples gardens.  Dave has been busy this morning repairing an old double hutch in which to accommodate them
The first (a female)arrived this morning and is a youngster and very friendly and easy to handle. She is not at all like our last ferret Finchley who was a demon and struck terror into the hearts of those  delegated to cleaning out his hutch. Me especially!
How we ever found anyone to give him a home still amazes me but last I heard,  he had greatly improved through correct handling and kindness.
The second ferret is due in tomorrow with Veronica whose son found him/her in Anglesey. Heres hoping he too is an affable little soul. I find ferrets interesting and often loveable animals and I am pleased so many people nowadays keep them as pets rather than as working animals used to kill other animals. These social little animals are happiest being kept in pairs or groups and  are great fun to watch . They  will derive immense pleasure from playing with a black binbag, amongst other things. and  once neutered their strong smell diminishes.I would strongly recommend them as pets if anyone wants a pet with loads of character and has the space to build them a good sized (and super secure) play area in the garden.

Tuesday News;
Harry has been fortunate to find another home already and will be leaving us tomorrow. I hope with all my heart that this time we have made the right match and Ben has a lady coming to see him on Friday. It would be lovely if she liked him and felt he was the one for her, I can't stop thinking about him in kennels and wishing I had room in my own home to have him. I hate the idea of the older ones being kennelled.

All the pups are now spoken for and this morning another dog arrived from the Pound  He  is a very old collie, blind and rather deaf but  he does a lot of tail wagging and seems content  in  his limited world. What a great shame that such an old chap has ended up being an unclaimed stray.  If a permanent home cannot be found, I may  keep him as permanent  Office dog. He is so quiet and inoffensive that one almost forgets he is here.  The staff  have voted to name him Henry.

Veronicas stray ferret has escaped from her home so he is on the loose round Benllech so if anyone in that area spots a slinky cream coloured visitor  in their garden please let us know.Veronica hopes he will turn up again as he had been residing in the shed  at her sons house for a few days and knows there is a source of food there. Lets hope so.

Naughty Jane, the little staffordshire bull terrier waiting to go to her home in South Wales has demolished the office dustpan and brush! veronica was searching for them and found the dustpan in Janes basket but minus a handle and more than a little frayed round the edges! The brush had suffered the same fate and was also without a handle  and had considerably less bristles than it had yesterday! I put it down to here excitement at the prospect of leaving the shelter  for a home life so I can't feel too annoyed can I?

I will be away in Liverpool until Friday so have a good week everybody, the blog will be back at the weekend.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Four Needy Cats Meet their New Carer.

Jobs at The Shelter Needing Expertise.

Not all jobs round the shelter are with the animals, there are always things requiring the attention of someone with specialised knowledge.
Ex electrician Roy(now the manager of our charity shop in caernarfon)  spent a day checking the electrics and installing a few more points for us in the office. He is such a busy  person but always finds the time to help out when needed and is one of the few people I can turn to when an animal is in need of urgent rescuing. We are extremely fortunate to have found him. When I first moved to Wales he came to introduce himself and I immediately recognised his name as a long term Liverpool  Freshfields supporter. Some of our supporters live many miles away and I seldom get to meet them so it was a pleasant surprise when he turned up to offer his help here. Nine years on and he is still working hard for us. We could do with a few more like him.

Four very lucky cats
accompanied me to Machynlleth where they were handed over to their  lovely new carer Frances.  There was a scary moment when Felix managed to get out of his basket in the middle of our charity shop but he was soon retrieved and       placed back in the carrier. Felix, who has a heart murmer and Grumpy  cats Poppy and Tinker along with  deaf  white cat Charley  are all set for a lovely home life. after being passed over here because of their different issues . Poppy and Tinker have been here for over 18 months so are more than ready for their new beginning.Above is temperamental Poppy

Black and white Felix is pictured  on the left here   and grumpy Tinker in her favourite wicker basket which went with her.  Deaf Charley is pictured below.

The Third University
This was the group to whom I gave a talk and not the Womens Guild as I mentioned previously. .Heaven knows where I got that from!  It is a worldwide organisation set up to give retired people interesting options to fill their time, they do courses in creative writing, computer studies etc and of course attend talks by  nervous people who run animal shelters !

Around 50 people attended and I managed to stumble through without having too many memory blanks.  I did keep some notes to hand.
Barry had given me a lift there and he had set up a (last minute) slide show of the shelter which took some of the pressure off me. It made me realise that if I am to give more talks of this kind it would be advantageous to  perfect a slide show  which would make it less stressful for me having to remember everything I want to say.Well done Barry for putting this together at such short notice.

There was quite a lot of interest in the shelter, I chatted to some very nice people  and I even did my first book signing which made me feel Very Important indeed!  nine copies were sold.

Whilst talking about Machynlleth, Elinor who has run the shop for a long time has been ill and her son Wyn has stepped into the breach doing a good job of keeping the shop open .Thanks Wyn and fingers crossed that your mum gets well soon.

Saturday Adoptions

Harry the pound collie left his foster home to go to live with his new family, one of the advantages of having the dogs in foster care is that we find out more about their general behaviour in the home.Alison told me that Harry had been very clean and well behaved during the week she has been caring for him so that bodes well for his adaptability to a new environment.

Cats,  3 yrs old  Candy and Harvey who are great pals, have been adopted together which is just what we wanted for them,  and will hopefully help them to settle more easily. Black cats  (YES!!!!!) Jack and Stevie have both been reserved and are leaving us today so a great weekend so far for cats..

New Admissions.

Four scared little farm pups have arrived, they are cross jack russells with a collie mum though are more likely to be collie size judging by the size they are now at eight weeks.(one is hiding behind the others in the photo) I have given a leaflet to the owner so he can get the mother dog spayed on the Dogs Trust Farm dog scheme. I can only hope he puts it to good use. I don't mind helping farmers with their unwanted dogs but  they also need to take some responsibility for the unwanted litters their dogs are having. There are two girls and two boys in the litter.Now I have to decide which foster carer will have the pleasure of looking after these dear little dogs.  Queue here Please.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Upside Down Photo Advice Needed?

Should Vets Insist cats be secured in baskets whilst waiting to be seen?

When I took Harry to be neutered yesterday, a lady standing in front of me  was holding her cat in her arms instead of having him secure in a basket;  although he/she seemed extremely docile ,I could see that his eyes were unhappy .  I thought that if someone came in with a dog they could not control, one leap at the cat and all hell would break loose. I  have noticed people doing this before and also  with dogs not on leads or on very loose leads. It seems common sense to ensure that your pet is secure when visiting an often packed surgery waiting room  - your own pet may be docile but that does not mean others will be.
 I shall ask the surgery to put up a notice to this effect.

I also took a cat called Stevie to have a much needed dental and a very handsome Tabby cat to have his skin checked over before he leaves us for his new home.He had been admitted with a flea allergy and had it treated but he has another injection which according to the Vet  should clear it up completely. After his operation Harry is going to his foster mum Alison until he is collected by his new family on Saturday.

Collies coming in and Going Out
We are having lots of calls from people wanting sheepdogs at the moment and they are going out as quickly as they come in , long may it last! The mother of the three red and white pups is due in wednesday, along with two other collies from the same farm.They will be boarded at kennels but I am hoping all will be snapped up by those on my waiting list for this breed.

The collies came in but not the ones I expected.Apparently one they had homed themselves came back to them so he was sent instead of the pups mum Nell. Poor 8 years old Ben is very bewildered by his sudden change in routine and it shows in his eyes.I could barely stand to look at his expression,it was so sad. I will still take Nell(and they have another apparently that they no longer want!) but I want to try and find suitable families for these 3 first. I have had to board all three in kennels as foster people are all busy fostering at present.  Here is Ben  in  yet another upside down photo, how do I rotate them? I just cannot work it out.

We Receive Help From Barclays.
Barclays have donated £500 of materials and sent a group of their staff from different branches to carry out work needed here. For once we had more volunteers than permanent staff! They all got stuck in, mending pens and fences with the supplied materials  and it was a real treat having their help. So often we manage to do the basic tasks but do not have the time to do other jobs and this is when volunteers can be so useful.
Thank you Barclays and everyone who volunteered their services for this day. It was much appreciated.

Volunteer Brendan and Dave attempted to put halters on the Llamas but they were having none of it, never mind - better luck next time lads. It would be a great help if we could manage to do this, that would make moving them easier.(The llamas,  not Brendan and Dave) Still, it is early days yet and I am ever hopeful of eventually having two very placid and amenable loveable llamas who can be easily moved from field to field, will stand to be groomed and even enjoy a little fuss and attention. That  would be quite an achievement.

Tomorrow I am off to Machynlleth - ostensibly to give a talk to a Womens Group in the town  but I will be using the trip to also deliver four  hard To home cats to a very nice couple who have had cats from us before and who like to give the cats nobody else wants , the chance of a home. I am unsure at the moment which lucky cats have been chosen(they left the choice to us) but willl write more about them  in my next blog.

PS: Does anyone have an old trailer they no longer use? We need one and would be glad to hear from you.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The End To a Good Weekend

Both Puppies went today so there was not one left alone  as I had feared. Bonnie, the last to go is pictured here with Sandra, her new owner - Bonnie will have another collie as a companion and the male pup is going to a couple in Wrexham who have had past experience of collies. Lots of luck to all three pups and new families.
Today has been even busier than yesterday. Bud retriever has left us for his third home and hopefully his final one. I could not stress enough to his new people that he cannot cope with any more changes in his life and they are aware of that and his problem of poor recall. They have assured me that he will never leave them and I can only hope that will be the case. Their own elderly rescued greyhound has had the same problem in the past and so they know what they are taking on. I have faith in them and  feel it is the right home for Bud. I feel so guilty when I am unsuccesful matching animals with owners but  I have to think sensibly and balance this out with the successful rescues which thankfully far outweigh  the negative ones. With the best will in the world we cannot always be right and make the correct decision but we try and most times it works out well.
Libby the collie which was returned  has also found a new home,As the past owners said she was perfect in the house, other than an inlination to  dominate their other dog, she should  settle well in a home with no other canine. Certainly she has been not an ounce of trouble here and is much loved by all who come into contact with her.Pictured here about to leave us for her new life in Manchester.

Harry the dog from the Dog Pound has been reserved and after being neutered tomorrow, he will be in a foster home until he is collected next saturday. He remains shy and nervous but has a sweet nature and appeared to really like the children of the family who have put their name down for him.

Two more cats went this morning, one adult black and a black kitten and  as we all know, black cats are so hard to place that we are all delighted when they are chosen.

Our dear Noddy is much better today, his normal appetite has returned and although we kept him in today, he appears to be fit again(well , as fit as an old man can be!)     Big Sigh Of Relief!

Sorry to keep  showing llama pics but I am finding them so fascinating I can't resist photographing them. They like to eat out of your hands but are still  nervous of being stroked or patted and saunter away gracefully when overtures are made in this way as though to say 'Look , I don't mind you humans offering me food but keep your hands to yourself'. They are the most inquisitive animals I have ever come across, always watching and observing.
Roy from the Caernarfon shop, and his wife Mavis called in to meet the Boys who stared at them with disdain.They are very good at that!
By the time the last people had left with their newly adopted pet, dusk was starting to fall and it was late for me to take out my dogs.There was a beautiful sunset and  it was too beautiful to resist so here is the handsome Paddy on his late amble in the field(actually he did manage a gallop for a few moments) and one of my favourite night time views of the tree next to  Kitty Kottage.

 I love this time of the day when  all the animals are settled , having had their evening meals.The horses and the Llamas are munching away contentedly at their hay(love that sound) the cats are all  sleeping next to the heaters in their pens and the conservatory cats (and the ferals too)all cuddled up together for that extra warmth from each others bodies.  For Mei and I, the day is about to come to an end, she will toddle off home at about 7.30pm and I will start the much dreaded task of finding something I can cook for myself  with the minimum effort!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

A good day for Cats and Noddy Has A bout of Colic

What a busy day it has been today.Early this morning I had to take Paddy back to the Vet to have his heart checked again, it was much more stable so he is remaining on the heart medication permanently.As always he created somewhat of a stir in the surgery waiting room, he wagged his tail happily (unfortunately it whacked ME  causing me to wince in pain ) at a waiting collie who was hiding behind his owners chair and he must be one of the few animals who actually licked the Vets face whilst he was examining him. I am always covered in bruises where Paddys weapon of a tail hits me and where he pushes me over in his exuberance and joy at seeing  me  when I finish work.
The Vet Surgery appears to hold no fear for him, even though he has spent a fair bit of time in them.I see some dogs trying to drag their owners back out of the waiting room and am very thankful Paddy does not do this or I would be making a very undignified and sharp exit!
Its another bright day but freezing cold and everywhere is covered in frost including the windscreen of my car. The stable yard is already slippy so I have ordered some rock salt (and a snow shovel)which will be handy if this cold spell continues. I live in dread of one of the horses slipping and breaking a leg when  the yard freezes over.

The first of the sheepdog pups went today, the largest male Buddy was adopted and there are people interested in the other two. I was starting to worry that nobody was showing interest in them and then all of a sudden I began to receive enquiries about them.It would be nice if there is not one left alone at the end of the weekend, that is always a shame, we try to have them go out to homes on the same day but it is not always possible.

Around 5 pm Mei called me to have a look at Noddy who was definitely not himself, we  looked at each other and said'Colic'. Our little old man was clearly very uncomfortable and was trying to lie down all the time,When he showed no interest in his food I knew he was poorly, he is like me, nothing keeps him away from his food. Mei called the Vet and he arrived quickly and gave him a couple of injections which should do the trick. Noddy is such a hardy little pony, in the 30 years(he is 38 years old  now) he has been in the care of Freshfields, he has rarely been ill. In spite of his malformed legs he has probably been the healthiest pony we have ever cared for but he has been a little tinker in the past, as readers of my book will know. By the way thanks to everyone who has  bought a copy and took the time to let me know that they enjoyed it. I appreciated that very much.

We had several visitors today and three cats have gone to homes with another three reserved. Katy the all white cat left us today, as did 6 months old Annabelle and a biggish kitten(not yet named) There have been a few enquiries for kittens but most people want very young ones and all ours from the last batch of unwanted litters are now 16 -20 weeks old. At this age they are that much more difficult to rehome but they will all go eventually,it just takes time.One of the reasons I began rescuing animals in Liverpool was because the only animal shelter in that area in the 1970's had a seven day policy.If an animal failed to find a home in that time,it was destroyed. I used to think how almost impossible it was to find suitable homes given that time frame and now I KNOW that it can take much,much longer than that. Time is something we at Freshfields have plenty of and   we can be lucky and pets can be adopted very quickly after admittance but others will linger but for most animals there is the right home and the right owner, its just a matter of finding them and matching them up.

John left his xmas ' Bah Humbug ' hat behind the other day when he went home and somebody kindly  but misguidedly put it in the office where current office dog Jane thoroughly enjoyed ripping the pompom to pieces. John, if you read this you now have a pompomless hat!

Ps: Neglected Jane is going from strength to strength, this dear little staffie is losing her drab, dull coat and it is becoming shiner by the day, she is also putting on weight though she was so thin it will take a lot longer for her to gain enough to be a  normal weight. She is such a loveable dog and is as good as gold here, quiet and clean(wish all dogs were like that)This time  you will notice that the eyes  are green not red, What AM I doing wrong? Award winning photographer I will never be.

Friday, 13 January 2012

I see a Rare Bird Visitor.(A Kumlein's Gull)

The day started badly and I have a heavy heart because the  old pigs have gone today.  Cant write about at the moment .It is  a beautiful bright sunny crisp day and It is too nice to dwell on sadness.

I had a call from friend Barry to say there was a lot of bird activity down on Pontlyffni Beach so I grabbed my binoculars and headed down there. There were a few flocks of ducks (Teal and Widgeon)including one very large brown bird which I wasnt sure of its identity so I rang Alan Davies from the 'Biggest Twitch' and he told me it was probably an eider duck (female) but he then said that a rare gull had been sighted further along Pontllyfni beach so off we shot to see and there he was, the first time ever an Iceland Gull has been sighted in Wales(so I am led to believe). A helpful birdwatcher already there ,let me look through his telescope for a better view and I can now proudly say that I saw the First Iceland gull spotted in  this country., By rights he should have been in Canada so is way off his normal route, perhaps the recent high winds have forced him in this direction.

I have definitely become a twitcher! On  first hearing the news of the rare arrival , I did not even stop for a cup of tea! It was on with the binocs and off down the beach at a fast pace. Whoever would have thought it!

PS: I stand corrected, it  was a Kumlein's Gull(sub species of the Iceland) Local Twitchers I apologise profusely for this unforgiveable error!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

We Say Goodbye to Blitzen

Having made the difficult decision to let poorly llama go, he went very peacefully and without undue stress. The staff , both permanent and volunteers, were marvellous and  I was let off the task of aiding the vet for which I am very grateful .Blitzen had begun to develop sores from not moving and I  think we all now believe that the right decision has been made.  RIP Blitzen.
The remaining two,  Rudy and Santa seem unconcerned and have continued mooching about the field Llama style .  I am  very relieved that they have been unaffected by the loss of their companion, animals seem to cope with it far better than we humans do.
It has been a very trying time and perhaps now we can move ahead with the rehoming of the Boys, there have been a couple of enquiries so it is time to check these homes out for their suitability. We are all becoming very fond of our Llama friends so we want the best for them

Three kittencats have been admitted , their owner was worried that the family dogs which were trying to get at them, were going to eventually kill them. We have named the three youngsters  Tomas, Ted and Toby. They are in good condition and friendly, we just need some  cat lovers to visit and offer homes!

An old sofa has been placed in the feral cat enclosure and the cats are loving it though every time I try to quietly open the door to take a photo of them all enjoying a peaceful snooze, they scatter everywhere.This time just three remained in position and kindly posed for a photo session. The other 4 jumped off and remained at a distance glaring at me with total hatred. I deserved it of course, after all I had disturbed their afternoon nap!

Tomas.Ted and Toby

Another two dogs came in from the Dog Pound, the little one Sunny has been taken by Veronica to his foster home in Anglesey. Stefan fostered Jacky the abused border terrier and is looking forward to meeting his second foster dog.
The second (now named Harry) is another fairly young dog, maybe 18 months old, he looks like he is a collie crossed with a Huntaway(new Zealand sheepdog)Huntaways are becoming very popular dogs to be used on local farms as working dogs and we have seen many crosses of this breed recently. Harry has been boarded in local kennels and has taken the place of Twm collie who was adopted today by a couple from Wrexham who had the youngest looking 18 years old collie I have ever seen. Whatever she has been on, I want some!

Incidentally Meg cross collie did not come back to us, the owners have decided to keep her and work through the problems with their other dog.I hope they do persevere because any changes in a dogs behaviour take time to change and is never an overnight miracle.

The three rabbits I mentioned in the last blog are all now safe. Giant Bun has been adopted by Sandra and Tom in Anglesey and the other two are safe here at Freshfields. Veronica bookeeper has named them Truffles and Cinammon which I think are lovely names. One has an undescended testicle but both males will be visiting the vet next week for neutering so he can be checked out then. Truffles is the one on the left with that awful red eye problem which keeps occurring in my photos.Anybody know how to prevent this?

A few people have asked me about Paddy.Well he is doing ok and has to return to the vet tomorrow for another check on his heart.In the meantime he seems back to his old self, even to the point of enjoying his usual halfhearted gallop across the field with numerous jack russells in tow!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Well Done to ' Dogs Today'

ANOTHER dog is being returned, this time it is Molly(now Meg) the 6 months old collie cross whippet whose companion Sam is showing signs of jealousy when Meg is receiving the attention. I cannot believe the bad luck we are having lately with the dogs. With so many others waiting for places the returns mean we are unable to help them and some are urgent too!

Today I was asked to take three rabbits (including a Giant Bunny)which are being attacked by rats in their current home. As it was obviously an urgent matter, I asked friend  Sandra in Anglesey if she could help until we could organise something more permanent for them and I am waiting to hear news from her,  so more of this rescue tomorrow.
Phoebe and Warren the last two rabbits to be admitted have now been homed, luckily they were only here a week which is fantastic when most small pets are here for long stays.
We only have facilities to keep two rabbits or  two pairs but one run gets waterlogged and needs a new floor and raising off the ground .Until that is done it restricts our ability to admit any more bunnies. We will be trying to sort this problem out over the next few days.

The Llamas have settled very well now but the jury is still out on the fate of the injured one and I feel less and less optimistic as each day goes by.I think it is time I made a decision one way or another Not an easy thing to do, especially as they all now seem so content(even the poorly one)but he is now making no effort at all to get up and walk. This cant go on.It is simply not fair.

Is there any good news to report? Well I had a lovely letter from the new owners of middle aged collies Livi and  Tavi with beautiful photos of them which show clearly how happy they are in their new environment  and jane the Pound Staffie is looking better already.It just shows what a difference worming and good food can make to the general appearance of a neglected pet. Even her coat is getting a gloss on it now.
Speaking of staffs, this months Dogs Today magazine has done itself proud. It has featured the terrible and evergrowing problem with the over breeding of dogs in general but particularly staffordshire bull terriers.There are articles on rescue shelters and the problems we are all experiencing at the moment , and good on them, they have forgone their usual pedigree pups section to feature instead  dogs languishing in rescue centers. The first photo is of  our own Dodger and Nancy who have fortunately now been adopted so I hope some of the others featured will also find loving homes.
The Editor is a woman after my own heart, she writes that she wishes  that there was a tax on the breeding of all dogs and with her comments, she  risks putting herself at the mercy  of some dog breeders who will undoubtedly take umbrage at this idea. Pesonally I am all for it. Something has to be done and soon because we have become a nation of Too many Dogs and  when thousands of them are being destroyed  annually due to lack of homes, the situation cannot go on being ignored. The number of unwanted dogs in rescue shelters is rising beyond belief, and many of these discarded pets  are pedigrees. More and more calls I receive are asking me to take pedigree dogs, years ago this would have been unusual,now it is the norm.
Sorry to have a rant but it truly is an issue which bothers me a grteat deal and it should bother anybody who cares about the future of Britains dogs and subsequently its overcrowded animal shelters.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Paddy is Rushed to The Vet Again.

Thank you all for suggesting names for the Pups, I  like Buddy, Amber and Bonnie though often the new owners do change their names when they get them home .This is, however,  what they will be called whilst they are here. Thanks again, we all get a little jaded thinking up names all the time so new ideas are always helpful. Buddy the boy at the front of the photo is already reserved but the other two are still waiting.
Today has been a disappointing day with two dogs being returned. Sam who went less than 24 hours ago, was brought back because she was too much of a handful(she is a 12 months old lab cross) and Bud the Golden Retriever who went to a home 4 months ago has also been returned. We are particularly upset about Bud as so many people answered the advertisement for him and he could have been well settled in a permanent home by now had the right decision been made. I do hate this happening, I feel so guilty that I have not done right by this lovely animal.The reason for his return - a relative living away from home has an allergy to him.   Poor Bud and poor Sam.

Last night Paddy was rushed to the Vet again, He was panting heavily and could not get comfortable. I thought he was having another bout of gastric torsion but the  Emergency  duty  Vet  Geraint said his heart was very erratic and he has kept him in overnight.
I failed to get much sleep worrying about whether he would still be alive today so feel more relieved than I can say to find out he could come home! He has  a variety of medications to take and has to go back next Friday to have his heart checked again.Poor boy was so pleased to see me, he nearly knocked me over just by leaning on me in sheer  delight.  Geraint said he looked like he could have arrived in a horse box, he was so huge! I am so used to seeing him all the time, he doesn't even appear that big to me, its only when  we are out  and see other peoples reactions that I realise he is so enormous.

Yesterday we homed blue merle collie Libby and I can scarcely believe it, but today she too has been returned . though this time it is completely understandable as Libby had dominated their labrador so completely he was terrified of her. Such a shame, she had been fine here with the other dogs but perhaps they are  all more dominant than her and when she has someone less confident she takes over. She has lost herself a lovely home but at least now we know she is best to be the only dog. This has been the worst month ever with returns but we have had a marvellous success rate previously so the law of average says that this had to happen sooner or later. I need to remember the hundreds of animals  annually for which we find permanent homes and whose owners regularly  email me with  photographs of their beloved pets.

We have had a severe bout of sneezing in the main cattery so we are stopping rehoming and admitting until it completely clears. This does happen periodically when taking in stray cats but it is a bind when we have to turn prospective owners away at a time when  we are really desperate for good homes(is there any other time?) We will still take reservations and hope that people will wait that little  bit longer before they are able to take their new pet(s) home.

New neighbours Sian and Iwan  from the village turned up with 6 bales of hay for our rescued horses (and Llamas). At the moment we are getting through loads of hay and this donation was very well received. Its good to know that the two new families who have moved in are happy to help us and are supportive.

Phoebe and Warren rabbits who only were admitted earlier this week have already been offered a new home so they should be leaving our care tomorrow.I am very pleased indeed as I uaually find them hard to home and bunnies can be here for anything up to a year. That reminds me. I went for a meal to a local pub a few weeks ago but did not stay as there was a neglected rabbit in a filthy hutch outside in the Beer Garden.I reported this to the RSPCA so hope something has been done by now. Bun had matted fur and was living in filth and at 1pm he had no food  or water. Disgraceful.

Finally just look at the beautiful sky outside, it is twenty to five and this is stunning(the view not the photo_

Friday, 6 January 2012

More Llama Tales.

It has been a bit of a crazy few days, we had planned to move the Llamas on two occasions and the bad weather prevented both moves, eventually the lady fostering became so aggravated with us, we felt we had no option but to try and get it done, bad weather nothwith standing. We rounded up the staff who were all about to go home, rang Barry to ask if he would use his vehicle to pull out horse trailer and off they all went.It was still very windy but it had to be done.  I have been  unwell for the past week with a heavy cold which developed into a chest infection so I was not able to volunteer for the physical demands of this particular rescue.

Poorly Llama Blitzen  had seen the Vet the day before and the prognosis was not great  as he was making little ffort to stand on his back legs. Nevertheless  it was decided that we could not leave them where they were , and any decision made about Blitzen would have to be taken once they were all in our care. Had we decided to have him put to sleep we would then have had the dilemma of what to do with him afterwards so we reluctantly agreed he had to be moved to the shelter.   The round up and subsequent relocation  went fairly well so I am led to believe , though it is shame there was nobody videoing it! I hear John ended up face down in  a mud patch and there were a lot of weary (and filthy)faces when they all arrived back.

The three boys  settled in well though it was clear Blitzen was in some distress. In my heart I felt that I was very soon going to have to make that dreadful call to the Vet;. Without an xray I had no idea whether his injury was going to be permanent but there was no way I intended to allow him to suffer  so I went to bed with a heavy heart.
Friday morning and unbelievably Blitzen was out of the field shelter and happily snoozing in the field.How he manged to get this far I have no idea. He is  pictured here with Dave who was checking to see if he had eaten his food(with the pain killers)
Some time later  whilst I was  typing  this blog I suddenly saw Blitzen raise himself almost fully  on his back legs only to let himself fall down to the floor again. The point was that for the first time he had managed to do this and stay in that position for half a minute, surely that has to be regarded as optimistic! Or am I being overly so? I  need to speak to the vet again(tried but he was out on emergency calls)

The horses are currently spooked out by the presence of these strange creatures with a strange smell and habit of humming loudly! They dont know what to make of them at all but I am sure they will soon get used to their presence. Above is Rudolph and Blitzen on the right.Santa has more white on him than the others and is a little more reserved.

Callie and Freddie stood in this position for ages, just staring at the Llamas. I wonder what they are making of them?
They must seem very weird to these two old timers.

PS: Sam the cross labrador went to a new home today, fingers crossed Libby will find her home tomorrow when we have visitors from Shropshire who are coming to seeher.Having lost their own blue merle collie, she is hopefully the dog they are looking for to fill the empty space in their home.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

High Winds Prevent The Llama Move.

Both Tammy and Gel left us today for their new homes. Tammys paw is still swollen so we will be paying for any future treatment and hope that it gets better soon, she is not bothered by it though pulls off the bandage as soon as it is put on which makes it hard to keep the wound clean, she will have a better chance of that in a home. As usual I will be waiting to hear that all is well before I breathe the sigh of relief that comes from knowing the right animal has gone to the right home.  We have a very good success rate with the dogs and cats and very few are returned but the cats cause me less worry. For some reason cats seem to be regarded as less of a problem(even when are not perfectly behaved) or could it be that cat owners have more patience? I really do not know the answer to this but it is the dogs which worry me most when they leave the care of Freshfields.

Unfortunately the moving of the Llamas to the shelter has had to be posponed due to the bad weather conditions. The person driving the horse box is understandably unhappy driving in  high winds.  Last night we had 90mph gales here and were lucky that the only damage was to our sign at the entrance to the property.Having stood there  steadfastly for 8 years, overnight the wooden frame was broken in two and now lies forlornly in the field. We need to get that sorted soon, in this rural location people find it hard to find us anyway, without the sign they will all be driving  round in circles!
The Llama relocation is now set for Thursday,Tomorrow is out as we don't have enough staff on hand to facilitate the move(several will be needed to herd them into the box) The future of Blitzen is still up in the air but if we fail to TRY to save his life we would be going against all we stand for.At this stage we do not know for sure whether the damage to his legs is irrevocable, it is something we will most likely be able to ascertain over the next week or so, once  he is under our care.

I'm not sure whether |I mentioned that the Anglesey Xmas coffee morning went extremely well with lots of  people attending and the grand sum of £442 was raised for the animals at Freshfields. Organisers Julia, Ann and Betty did a wonderful job , as did a lady called  Petra who played the keyboard and led Carol Singing which was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. Due to the succes of this venture we will be holding another next December. Another  Anglesey fundraiser planned for  March or April (date to be yet decided upon) will be an evening with Alan from 'The Biggest Twitch' when he will be talking and showing slides of his wordwide birdwatching which provided the subject for his book.Refreshments will  be available, watch out for more details of this.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Tiger Comes Down The Chimney/

Remember Tiger, the cat which was adopted and then disappeared up the chimney? Well he remained in his hiding place until Christmas Day when he finally decided to make his debut! Since then a very relieved family have seen him exploring the house and actually deigning to stay around in sight of all. It just proves that eventually, even the most nervous cat WILL come round given time .  I am grateful to the family who adopted Tiger for giving him that chance to assess his situation,albeit slowly, and now he has made his appearance things should improve daily. That is very good news to start the New Year.
Still on the subject of cats I could not resist the opportunity to take this photo of Tangy, one of our younger feral cats showing off  in "Im The King Of The Castle" mode!
Well, 2012 is here, I hope that it will be a good one for all of our supporters and that financially Freshfields will not suffer further due to the current economic recession.
The constant rain is flooding our fields but it is comparatively warm - in fact the wild birds have abandoned their frenzied eating from the feeders and are clearly finding plentiful natural food at the moment which is wonderful ;   the handsome but greedy starlings still  prefer to have their meals prepared and ready and waiting for them so I continue to put out food for them. I was shocked to see some of my spring flowers bursting into life again. This changeable weather is so very strange isn't it?
Two of our cats have been adopted today.Mimi and Missy (pictured below)who were fostered by Mion, along with their babies, have finally left us, they have been here the best part of a year so we are all thrilled for them. January has got off to a good start.
Tomorrow should be also a nice day for the animals, both Tammy and Gel collies have people coming to see them and hopefully adopt them. I have Tammy with me in the office today(I collected her from the kennels) and I am collecting Gel tomorow. Tammy is such a lovely natured animal, the more I see of her. the less I understand why she ended up on Death row at a dog pound. Anyone would love her to bits.She is everything I personally would want in a dog - well behaved, a good car traveller and full of affection without being overbearing. I begin to think that many people simply have no hearts.
Thank goodness for the lovely people I come across in this work, without them I would be truly disheartened.

Happy New Year to Everyone.