Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Can't think of a Title!

Photos at last!

Here are two of the three cats admitted the other day. I was unable to get a good photo of Lucas but anyway Lucas its actually a female(?) and is almost identical to Mum Queenie shown here. Ginger  cat Cochyn (now called Corky)is a handsome little cat but I have a liking for tabby cats and tabbies with ginger interspersed with the stripes are so pretty. My very first cat when I was a child was a tabby and it has remained my favourite colour in felines.
So  how is it that I have three jet black cats ? (currently asleep on my bed)
I have also never been a great fan of Jack Russells but have seldom been without one and have three  at the moment!
Having always been a fan of big dogs, I always hankered after an Irish Wolfhound and have never had one. I think we animal welfare workers have a sense of guilt about choosing animals which would 
be easily rehomed and we tend to keep the ones with problems which nobody else wants. Even the pedigrees I have kept have been either very old or had health or attitude problems. Not that I have any feelings of regret over those, in their way they have all been characters and I have loved them all in spite of their difficulties(sometimes this has endeared them to me even more!)

So many people want a specific colour , especially when they look for a  cat ,and yes, we may all  have our preferences but I often wish that the overall deciding factor every time should be not colour or appearance but which cat is most in need. When that happens I know that the person is a genuine cat lover who wants a cat for the right reasons and that I can truly relate to. Having said that , I know many want to replace a pet  they may have lost and because they ask for only a ginger or a grey, it does not mean that it is not a good home. I would say that a high percentage of our cats go to people who are looking for a cat to fit their criteria, either by age or colour and I have no doubts about the quality of       home offered but when someone asks for the cat which has been here the longest, it warms my heart just that little bit more.

One dog and one cat rehomed this weekend.
Tipsy the cat had been here since last June so we are all delighted for her that she caught the eye of cat lover Margaret in Pwllheli. Eight months is too long for any animal to be in a shelter.
Mindy the scared little collie found a home in Formby,Merseyside.(10 minutes  from the Liverpool shelter). so when she  develops her confidence, she will have lovely walks in the nearby sand dunes and pinewoods.
I know where Mindy  is going to live, as I lived nearby when I was married and I walked my dogs along Formby beach and surrounding area It is a dogs paradise so she is a very lucky little lady.

The  deliberate breeding of crossbreeds.
Someone emailed me with  the idea that a cross border terrier/yorkie could be called a 'Borkie'!! Freshfields own 'Borkie' now named Dinky is  desperate for a home or rather it is me that is desperate for her to find a home! She is so loveable and affectionate but she is racing round the living room, on the sofa, off the sofa, on my head, off my head and round the room again and so it goes on until she falls asleep exhausted! Its exhausting just watching her.
Really she is  just a typical terrier pup and I do love her and hope someone nice turns up for her soon - Very soon!

A Dog Pound Lurcher gets lucky.
One of the pound dogs went to a foster home in Dolgellau and has been there for three weeks during which time we had him neutered etc. Elaine, the foster lady has been reporting back  to tell me how well he has behaved and what a nice dog he is, so of course I was able to tell any enquirers how he behaved in a home(many lurchers are kept outside as working dogs)which was of  great benefit. Danny Boy, as we named him was adopted yesterday by a couple on holiday but who had a Freshfields dog previously and has also had lurchers before.We hope that this proves to be a successful matching of dog and owners.
The Westie Sparky who was in foster care in Anglesey has also been adopted ,.Our foster person there Stefan has proved to be a great help with the smaller dogs which have needed emergency accommodation. His own spaniel loves  to play with the 'guests' and keeps them occupied for hours at a time. Lately there has hardly been a time when there has not been an extra mouth to feed in his home.As always we are very grateful to our foster carers. They are invaluable to a rescue centre like this which has to rely on such kind people offering their help. If we are to rescue some of the many unwanted dogs of this area  we depend on these temporary homes.  May they keep on coming!

Abandoned terriers.
Whilst the owner of the Pound kennels was busy elsewhere, someone abandoned two little terriers inside one of the empty pens! They look as though they may have been working dogs and they are most definitely from the same home. The two males appear to  know each other and get on well and they both have the same visible symptoms of neglect -  poor bodyweight(especially the older  one)no hair on noses and ears and dull coats.
Bertie and Teddy are being fostered together by Vanessa who works here with the horses; I do think the two dogs  could be separated from each other.They get on , but Teddy the larger one seems quite indifferent to her companion. We never split bonded animals but in this case there does not seem to be the sort of bond which would make one dog fret for the other if they were to be parted. It would be  easier to home separately but if they proved to be truly attached, we would make the decision to keep them together even if it took a lot longer to do so.
Bertie is on the left here  and ginger Teddy below.
Sorry about the names, lack of imagination I'm afraid. Every black patterdale or cross which comes in is named Bertie! Even the name Teddy has been given to numerous cuddly little dogs residing at Freshfields. Next time  I am going to throw the name finding over to my blog readers and hope that  we can find appropriate and more unusual  ones for the next admittances.

Still waiting for the grey pony's owner to sign him over.
The owner of the grey pony in need of an urgent place here, has still not been to sign him over officially and we are unable to do anything until this has happened. At least the weather is reasonable at the moment but I am keen to get him settled in/wormed etc as soon as possible.
I will give her till the weekend but after that something has to be done to secure the pony's future.

The Holyhead charity shop opened for the week raised just under £700!
Gwynedd Paranormal held a 'spooky' night at Glynllifon and raised £250

Thanks to all concerned for this very welcome help.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Seven in, One out.

More new cats.
We have admitted  seven cats into the one unit which is infection free. Suzy was the first. The next to arrive  were found abandoned and are fully grown - perhaps around 9 months of age.We were told they were kittens but as happens so many times, when they arrived we could immediately see that the kittens were  in fact fully grown adult cats. A little timid at the moment but young enough to appeal to the public who usually are after youngsters and they are attractive little cats.  We have named them Olive and Oscar.
Then youngsters  pictured below were joined today by three more newcomers -  Cochyn (Welsh for Red) Sox and Queenie whose owner was waiting to move into sheltered  accomodation.  They are so scared at the moment that I don't want to distress them further by doing my David Bailey impersonation! If they settle a little more, I will try to take some photos tomorrow.

A rather nicely named cat called Martini  was admitted after several weeks in a boarding cattery.Her owner has been  in hospital and it has now been decided by the relatives that Martini will need a new her owner will be unable to care for her when she leaves hospital for sheltered housing. That scenario is a common one  and it can be greatly distressing for both pet and owner.At least we can do everything in our power to ensure that Martini is found a loving home not too dissimilar to  the one she has enjoyed for the past few years.
Before I finished this blog Martini found  a new home. What a fantastic result.
That makes seven cats in and one out!

Neutering turns an owner against her dog!
Yes, I find this hard to believe too ,but the reality is that the owner of Dinky a small terrier cross found wandering, announced that she  no longer wanted him as he was no use to her if he was neutered. We had asked the Vet to neuter him if we were to take him as it was believed  that the person who 'found ' him was in fact the owner. Normally we wait much longer before we take this action but as it was genuinely believed that nobody was going to come forward for him  so  the vet went ahead and neutered him. The owner was none too pleased at this and flatly refused to have him back because she had bought him for breeding!
This little dog is not a pedigree and as such it is completely unethical to breed yet more crossbreeds but there is a current trend to cross two breeds to make  dogs called labradoodles and maltiepoos as well as other crosses. What would this little chap have fathered ? (he is a yorkshire terrier crossed with a border terrier)
 As if there are not enough crossbreeds in animal shelters everywhere!

A   Little Grey pony Needs Help.
Last summer I was concerned about two  ponies being kept in a field local to the shelter. They   did not appear to have anyone caring for them and on investigation I discovered  that there were sporadic visits only made to him.. I  then received a call from a man asking  me to take the grey pony  and  his companion but the following day he rang again to say that one had been homed(she later died) and the other which belonged to his wife was no longer in need of a home as his wife wanted to keep him.
Since then I have kept an eye on the pony and made enquiries of neighbours. Satisfied that one neighbour was  watching out for him and that the World Horse Welfare had also been in touch with the owner,I felt that the situation was being monitored enough for me to relax over the remaining pony,
Today I received an email from the owner(who now lives several miles away) telling me that her ex husband has left the property and that the rspca had been in touch with her  over the abandonment  of the pony. The situation is now desperate for the 20 years old  grey, and having spoken to Mei about the feasibility of introducing him to one of our groups of ponies here, she feels he will fit in with one group which are not stabled individually - this group are  kept in one half of our barn.(we have no spare single stables)  Now we have to have him signed over and then it is just a matter of walking him from the next village to the shelter.

 I have been in touch with the Vet about castrating the Llamas and I am waiting for a date to be given.  I have emailed the prospective owners to see if they could cope with the warring pair and as yet am still awaiting a response.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

A Decision is made.

A decision is made about the Romanian dogs.
Liverpool manager (Freshfields, not football club!) Helen and I have decided we must do something to help the Romanian dogs. We may have a burgeoning unwanted/stray dog problem in the Uk but few,if any, face the horrific treatment meted out to them that these poor creatures faced daily before rescue.

Theodora, the lady who gave shelter to these 300 abused dogs and did the best she could for them with limited funding , would want to know that they were not going to be rounded up by the authorities and killed. She saved them from this fate and believe me , many  of the cases are truly shocking. Her sudden death 3 weeks ago has placed a question mark over the fate of the dogs and local English people are doing their utmost to find safe places for them in other countries.
The conditions at the shelter are basic and with recent weather conditions causing the temperature to drop to minus 20c and deep snow everywhere, there is little protection other than the wooden boxes provided for them to sleep in.
Between the two shelters we will be giving eight dogs the chance of a bright future. The rescue is set for April, after the dogs have had all their necessary injections/paperwork prepared. We have left the choice of animals to the helpers over there . They will choose the dogs they believe are  most needy(what a difficult choice to make!) and we will eventually receive the details and photographs  via email.
There will be those who criticise the decision we have made  but Helen and I believe firmly that we cannot turn our backs on the situation.

If   I  did not have a back up system with this charity, and was entirely on my own without support , I would like to think that  when I died, kind people would rally round to help the animals I had rescued!

We start to admit cats again.
At long last we can admit some of the cats waiting for places here. The main cattery is still off limits to newcomers but the old dog kennels which we use as isolation for new cats , is clear from infection now. The first to arrive came in yesterday.Suzy belonged to a young family and when she scratched one of the children, she found herself homeless.  At the moment she is not too keen on being photographed so looks a little apprehensive but she is a lovely cat and I have high hopes she will be adopted fairly soon

Torrential rain has caused flooding in one of the stables.
This mornings downpour resulted in  the shetlands stable being flooded.  There was a veritable river gushing down from the top fields  and the ditch we had dug at the back of the stables overflowed. The three shetland ponies have had to be temporarily evacuated to another part of the site, until we can dry out the stable and improve the drainage at the back of it. We have also had to move the ponies which were kept in that field.At the moment it is unfit  for grazing ponies though the 4 sheep seem content enough and have managed to find dry land in the stonier parts of the field.

Feral cat Break out!
The feral cat enclosure is proving harder and harder to contain its inmates! Usually at least one makes a bid for freedom  when the dinner lady  enters with trays of food. They never go very far away but it needs to be more secure, so  Dave is building a small porch which will provide the extra security needed when staff  need to  enter the enclosure  to clean and feed the ferals. We have not found any suitable homes for any of the feral cats for a long time.We definitely  need some good farm and stable type homes. Please let us know if any of you know anyone who could find space to take a couple of our cats to live outside in rural properties. They do need a shed or outbuilding which is secure enough to contain them for a month until they adapt and it is best to have minimum of two.They are less likely to wander off if they have companions.  Ferals deserve homes too.

Interest in both new collies.
There are people interested in collies Merlin and Mindy which are currently in boarding kennels. I  am about to find a home checker for Merlins prospective owners - they live in Cornwall. First I need to check what he is like with cats so we will have to bring him  here to test him. 
Before anyone calls the rspca to report us for cruelty, there is no risk to the cats!
All we do is walk the dog(on a lead) up to the cat enclosure and watch for a reaction. Some immediately change their body language to  'ready to attack' mode  and we can see that they are not tolerant of felines. Others walk up nonchalantly and have a look, then walk away, totally indifferent.This is the reaction we are hoping for.  Fingers crossed for Merlin being one of the latter.

Moles in the Shetland Field.
Strange mounds of earth have appeared in one of the fields. When I first spotted them I mistakenly thought that the staff were being lazy and instead of picking up the horse poo, they were just covering it up!  Mei thought that highly amusing and  told me that no, it wasn't the staff covering up manure, that we had an invasion of moles!
I have in the past been the unwilling recipient of  the gift of a  dead  mole from one of the cats but I have never noticed these mounds before. I do hope that it does not mean more limp lifeless little moles being deposited in the conservatory. I'm sure not many country dwellers like them but I happen to be very fond of the little creatures and I would not like to see a mass slaughter occurring under my very nose.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Lots of Donated Food this Weekend.

We had snow overnight, sleet and rain this morning and as I finish this blog, the sun has come out and the birds in the trees are singing like it is a spring day!

Unclaimed strays
Two more pound dogs were admitted today and have gone to local kennels until they can be found homes.Both collies, they are strikingly different in both appearance and demeanour. The older dog which we have named Merlin is a big handsome longcoated collie with an outgoing personality.The female Mindy is a small timid short coated collie who seems scared of her own shadow.Although they have both been sent to kennels, I am planning to move Mindy as soon as I can to a foster home where she can have the attention she so obviously needs. If I leave here where she is,I cannot see her coming round enough to be able to have her adopted.  Often when we admit unclaimed strays, the first reaction is to wonder why their owners failed to claim them but usually after a short time we can see the problem.It's not that the problems are usually major but but an impatient irresponsible owner would not bother to try and correct the problem.Far easier to dump the dog!


One common problem is the habit of jumping up and snatching food out of the hand.If the dog lived in  a home where there were children this could be the reason for abandoning the animal. The sort of owner who would buy a dog, then not bother to train it, is typical of those who will have numerous dogs over a short period of time. We have seen evidence of this with many owners who bring  a dog to us claiming it is a very difficult animal. Most are lovely dogs just in need of someone with patience and a little common sense to go with it!
Now, I have very little patience and some would say not always much common sense, however I love my pets dearly and over the years have put up with quiet a lot of bad behaviour from them . I am sure many blog readers will identify with this, but how many of you would abandon your pets?  It is not about the animal, there will always be those in our society who are unwilling to put effort into anything, whether it be their families, work , pets , or anything else. We see evidence of this all around us don't we?


Oddie likes being back home
Having been on his holidays to the nearby village, Oddie  the wandering cat has decided he has had enough of holidays and decided he prefers being at the 4 star accommodation provided at Freshfields.He has scarcely moved off the sofa in the conservatory and is first in line when meals are served.
Who can blame him!

The cat flu is going, there are only a few cats with mild symptoms now,it will be good to draw a line under this particular bad bout of infection.Taking in stray cats does mean that there will be a higher chance of some bringing in the virus, but even isolating those infected has not helped this time. The new batch of colloidal silver has arrived so all cats have it in their water bowls now, that should help bring it to an end very soon.

The last of Enids cats.
Old Fleckie has passed away this week, He was the constant companion of Big Ginge who died a few weeks ago. We all  knew his time was near and although saddened by losing two of our longterm residents, it helps to know that they both clearly enjoyed their lives here. They had both been rescued by a lovely lady in Holyhead. Enid was a great cat lover and her home was a haven for the unwanted cats of the area. Both Big Ginge and Flecky were feral cats she took in and had neutered but like many of her cats, they remained so nervous she was unable to find them homes and  so they stayed with her.When Enid  unexpectedly died several years ago, her friends were very concerned about the  beloved cats left behind.When they approached Freshfields to help out with the situation we agreed to take them and admitted around 15 cats. We were able to find homes for a couple but not all were friendly  and some were already getting on in years , so  after a month or so of settling in time, we released them here.
These two were the last of the bunch and staff had become very fond of them over the years.
Fleckie and Ginge, we loved you.

Jay has been adopted.
Ninas brother found a home today, I was so pleased as I had been concerned about him missing his sister when she was homed a week ago. They were lovely little dogs and at nine months of age they were never going to be in kennels for long. It would be great if they all stayed with us  for such a short time.

Romanian Dogs
Most of us know that the animal welfare situation  in many other countries is very poor  and Romania is one of those countries. Some of the tales coming out of Romania are truly shocking.  I have been asked to help with some of these unfortunate dogs. The elderly owner of a sanctuary in Romania has died and there are 300 dogs needing homes, many of which have been very badly abused.  The tales are so horrendous I will not write about them here ,for fear of causing untold distress but take my word for it, things are bad there.My feelings are ambivalent -tthere are  dogs here in the Uk needing help  without taking in dogs from other countries but it is hard to ignore such a plea, especially when these are all good natured,homeable animals with no hope whatsoever of finding a better life over there. The people trying to help are planning a trip to the Uk in April when they are bringing some dogs over to other shelters. They need more places ready for these dogs. Of course I have no room here but at the moment we could afford to board  a few for a short time, maybe 4! They are all vaccinated and have their pet passports so are able to travel to the Uk without facing quarantine. What do others think?

Tescos Food Collection
Yesterday,  stalwarts Mion and Elspeth stood outside Tescos in Bangor collecting cat food.It was freezing cold and they were both shivering but they stayed from 9.30am - 4 pm and in doing so collected hundreds of pounds worth of donated cat food for the shelter. It was like Christmas again,
Thanks ladies, you are stars.

Pets At Home, Bangor
A big thank you to the manager of this store who keeps our food bin  topped up with goodies for our animals. Any slightly out of date food or imperfect toys and pet accessories all come our way. I am always excited to see what is waiting for us -Yes I know I am sad ! but when there are so many mouths to feed, donations of this kind are so welcome to anyone  running an  animal shelter.
I was about to say that it is  more exciting than finding a forgotten bar of chocolate in a cupboard but in truth I would be lying!  It comes a close second though!

Stermat Staff Help the Animals.
Two members of staff from  the Stermat  store in Valley(Anglesey)turned up today with a car boot full of bedding for the animals, dog coats and pet food. This is the second year they have kindly helped us.
After nine years here , we are finally becoming known to the community and receiving much needed help.What a difference it is making.

Holyhead Charity Shop.
This coming week ,volunteer Elsie and her sister  are taking over a charity shop in Holyhead to raise funds for the shelter. if you have goods to  sell please take them in or  just pop in to support us. The shop is  in Market Street, next to Careers Wales and opposite the entrance to St Cybis  Church.

Jake Beagle.
Finally , Jake the Beagle has gone to a new home,His new people have had a beagle before and know their foibles inside out. Jake had reputedly nipped  a lady who went to see him in his last home. I can see now that although Jake has a very loving nature, he is unruly and has a tendency to grab anything out of a proffered hand,He is very greedy and if he thinks that hand reaching down to him may have a juicy titbit in it, he will not hesitate to make a grab .He is not yet a year old and he needs some basic training but he is most definitely  NOT a dangerous dog as I had been led to believe.
Beagles are notoriously independent and determined dogs, they are not for everybody and I have never thought they make ideal pets for anyone not used to dogs in general. Their temperaments are generally very good and lacking in malice either towards humans or other animals. This docility of nature has, unfortunately, made Beagles the most popular breed used in research laboratories. When Freshfields took in  twenty five Beagles intended for research, they were all extremely gentle creatures - scared witless after their ordeal in holding kennels and unused to kindness ,but even in their fear, not one of them growled or nipped a member of staff. A true Testament to their gentle character

Mei is going for her pre op tomorrow and is beginning to feel nervous about the approaching operation, After three years of waiting, and feeling that nothing was ever going to happen, reality has taken over  and her nerves are kicking in. I have seen her crying with the pain(and she has a high pain threshold too!) and if the op brings an end to that,  she will be overjoyed.
Kim, another of our colleagues has the same as Mei, and she too is waiting for the same op, this carpal tunnel  problem seems to be so common.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Oddie Is Lost...And Found.

One of our cats goes missing
One of our old cats had been missing for three days. We had only recently released Oddie to live here permanently and he had made himself at home in the conservatory but he had a habit of following Mei when she left for home in the evening. We wondered if he had followed her on the night which was very misty, that could have explained why he failed to return. Mei was sure this was what had occurred, and sure enough today she found him this evening outside her house in the village! Poor old Oddie was very hungry and very grateful to be returned to the shelter where he tucked into some tasty morsels, From now on we will keep the cat flap locked until Mei has left for home, the three days he has been missing have taken their toll on  poor Oddie  and in this cold weather, such an old man will suffer without warmth and food.  Welcome back Oddie.

The most famous cat in England
Many will have read of the stray cat which brought the Liverpool/Tottenham football game to a halt last week when he ran across the pitch, and will also  know that the Liverpool shelter now  has him safely  in their care.They have even had an offer of a home for him, from a lady in North Carolina in the States! Over 2 million people watched the video on you tube, though I must say that some of the comments made were totally disgusting and were so vile I would not repeat them. Why are these not monitored? Is it an impossibility with the huge numbers of people who make their comments on various videos?  Anyhow 'Shankley' as he is now named is doing well and, I am led to believe, is enjoying his new found celebrity status.

Animal adoptions
We are not yet able to start homing our cats but we have found a home for Nina, one of the kelpie crosses we recently admitted and someone is coming to see her brother Jay on Saturday. It would be nice if he also was adopted, he must be missing the company of his sister.
One lucky bunny was adopted by a lady who already has two of our rabbits - Truffles has left us and if he fails to mingle with the other  buns, then owner Edyth will return here for another  female to keep him company.
On a sadder note,  we lost Bluebell, the handsome big chinchilla looking rabbit who started fitting and passed away at the Veterinary Surgery. On investigating her history, we discovered that her
previous companion , her sibling, had also died after suffering severe fits.There was clearly some genetic weakness, a shame we were not made aware of this though it was unlikely to have made any difference to her ultimate condition.

Llama Trouble Again
After being very calm and settled here,  Rudy one of the llamas is now trying to assert his dominance over Santa and he has attacked him on a few occasions.The noise he made  was so heartrending and pitiful that it scared the life out of me .  The horses were not too impressed either. They were all huddled together and staring over at the Llamas field with great concern .
We have just had a home checked out for Rudy and Santa,  but I am now  concerned that another move will create yet more problems .  I am investigating the pros and cons of having them neutered.They are 10 years old and so any improvement in their behaviour is unlikely to occur within the next year (if at all) but leaving them entire does not seem to be a viable option at the moment. I also feel that they need to have separate paddocks, next to each other but separated ,and separate sheds in which to sleep. The logistics of this are evading me right now but I will put my thinking cap on again tomorrow and try to resolve the issue.
Will the problems never end?

PS: I have not yet had a blood test as Dr wants to leave me till end of year! I am starting to feel as though the PA is all in my imagination and that the original diagnosis 12 years ago did not in fact happen! I feel constantly spaced out (more than usual) constantly exhausted and the most unusual symptom of all (for me) is that I appear to have lost my appetite!!!!! At least I'll lose a few pounds!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Diesel has Good Results.

A good result for Diesel.
Diesel had his appointment at the Opthalmic specialist and it is much better news than I feared. He has mild Glaucoma and when he is scared his pupils enlarge making him look as though he has sight problems. He seems to become scared of new situations/environments but overall he is a lovely dog. As he grows older, he will eventually develop full blown Glaucoma but he will not go blind in a few years as we had first believed and now we can place him for adoption.  Great news for this friendly youngster.

The Shar Pei Pup at the Liverpool Shelter
Have any of you read about Inky the abandoned Shar Pei pup in Liverpool? If not, please  read his story on the main website. When Helen the manager emailed me about him and sent the photos, I wanted to reach out and comfort the little chap. Without getting myself really wound up and angry, I just want to say that thank goodness he ended up at Freshfields where I know the caring people there will give him everything he needs and he will not be without lots of cuddles. One thing we are known for at this charity is our true compassion, it is not just a job , we all genuinely love the animals in our care, why else would staff work for low wages and hard work and heartbreak? Whoever reads this at  the liverpool shelter , please give Inky a hug from me and everyone here in Wales.

Kelpie crosses.
We see many kelpies crossed with collies at this shelter, they are very popular as working dogs but of course that in its turn means that we admit a fair number of them. brother and sister Jay and Nina (pictured below)were admitted yesterday and are being boarded at local kennels. At nine months of age they are young enough to adapt well to pet homes and are loving friendly  animals. There is no reason for farms to have all these unwanted dogs with options now to have their dogs neutered free of charge at local veterinary surgeries. I try to push this whenever  farm dogs are admitted  , and some farmers have been pleased to receive the information. Most, annoyingly, have shown no interest whatsoever!  What must the next step be? Random calling to farms? Perhaps a focus on certain areas of rural Wales ? An almost impossible task and who would do it? It could help some dogs which would otherwise be churning out pups every season and even if it only had a 10 percent success rate, that means a few less litters being born. Every little helps. Nevertheless it would be a difficult scheme to set up and would require a huge amount of funding to employ people to implement the scheme. This is definitely  to be added to my lottery win plans!

An Old Kittiwake
Around Christmas time, Rosie found a dead Kittiwake on the beach at Aberdesach, it was ringed and she asked me to contact the authorities to report finding the bird.  Only now have I had a reply and we were amazed to discover the Kittiwake was around 20 years of age  and was ringed in Scotland in 1995.  If only he could have told us tales of his travels! How interesting that would be.

The First Kittens of The Year Arrive.
Mion is fostering our first kittens of 2012, The eight week old kittens were found on a caravan park and although probably born to a feral cat, the mother sadly had disappeared and the babies have been handled and fed by a kind person on the site. This will mean that instead of being wild babies, they are now domesticated and ready to be adopted.One kitten is  black and the other  white and tortoiseshell. It would be nice if they could be rehomed together.
We still have some cat flu on the site but it is going slowly but surely. I am hopeful that in another week we will be able to resume admitting cats. We stand a chance of being crushed in the stampede which will occur when we reopen our cattery doors, there are so many urgent cases waiting to be admitted.
I have  a vision of a large number of cats carrying suitcases waiting at our doors like the first day of the sales!

Colloidal Silver for cat flu
I am expecting another delivery of colloidal silver which I believe can be very efficiently used in the prevention and cure of various ailments for both humans and animals though excessive use can turn people a very strange colour! Don't try this at home! Actually, you would have to use an awful lot over a long period of time for such an effect to take place and with all medications, natural or otherwise it is never sensible to overmedicate.
 Unfortunately we had run out of the product recently but  on previous occasions when we have used it on any cats  beginning with a virus, it has stopped it in its tracks. I have also  tried homeopathy in the past with some small success but with so many cats it is very time consuming and in the end I have resorted back to conventional treatments.  I would not  suggest that people ignore advice from their Veterinary Surgeon , but sometimes when conventional medicines fail, that may be the time to do a little research into alternative treatments.

Pernicious Anaemia:
Have I endured 12 years of distress for nothing?As most of my readers will know, I have absolute terror of injections and all things medical.
I am a little concerned about my situation at the moment. My Dr has suggested I may NOT have pernicious anaemia due to the results of a blood test showing my levels were within normal range. He wants me to go without treatment for several months and then have another test. Those who run the Pernicious Anaemia Society are horrified  and say that of course my levels will be higher because i have been on B12 injections for 12 years which  keep me stable.They  have told me that going without treatment can have severe and life threatening results.  I have to go back and face another test next week which fills me with terror though am not too keen on ending up in a wheelchair either! 
It  appears to be something about which most GPs have only a smattering of knowledge and I have just discovered that there are now tablets available  to treat the condition, so I wonder why I was told that there was no alternative to the injections?

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Diesels Eyesight .

The 'stray' dog which turned out to belong to the 'Finder'
is called Diesel and he has now been to the vet who has confirmed he has most likely got a degenerative eye disease which will result in him losing his eyesight by the age of 4  or five years. He is booked in to a canine ophthalmic specialist on Friday so we will know more about  it then, How sad for this youngster. Still, dogs are stoical adaptable creatures and I expect he will have just as fulfilling a life as any other dog. Will it make finding him a home more difficult? Well, it could go either way. Advertising him with this problem could result in  someone kind offering him a home or it could mean that nobody will want to take him on.  I prefer to think that his story will touch the heart of someone kind and he will be one of our Happy Ever After  stories.

More Information discovered about Diesel.
I have also now discovered that he nipped a child in his last home which is why they dumped him on us but how irresponsible  that was! We should have been told such a thing had happened so we could be careful where he was placed, I shudder to think of the possible consequences had we not managed to contact the original owner and get to the bottom of the whole business. It is obvious that this friendly dog has a lovely nature but the problem with his sight will be making him acutely nervous and any unexpected movements , especially from people he has not come into contact with previously, could scare him into nipping. This is not unusual behaviour when an animal is losing its sight but does not mean that the animal is dangerous, just that he needs a sensible owner and needs to be homed with adults.

 We have A New Foster Home in Dolgellau
As you know I am always raving on about foster homes, how much they are needed and lo and behold, I have received a call from Elaine who lives in  Dolgellau, she is already caring for her first Freshfields foster 'kid' which is a middle aged lurcher we have called Danny Boy. Elaine has fostered before for another charity so knows the ropes. Now I have  to advertise Danny Boy and arrange to have him neutered as soon as possible. I dont generally  have much luck homing this type of dog , most calls I receive are either for collies or small  poodle type dogs so  I need to really push for this boy. Anyone know a lurcher lover with space for another?

Please Beware of Rock Salt:
To my shock, I have just discovered that throughout the Uk hundreds of cats and dogs have died through licking rock salt off their feet. It contains a poisonous chemical which if animals get it on their feet and then lick it off can result in death to a much loved pet. I had just bought some to put down in the stable yard when it freezes over! There is no way I will use it now I have possession of this knowledge, how many others are unaware of the devastating effect this can have on pets? I cannot countenance the use of it with so many animals around.The cats are always  down there loking for rodents and they would stand no chance. What a waste of money and why is there not a warning for it to not be used where pets are likely to walk?

Do I have a New Office dog?
Ben, an 8 years old  ex farm collie is currently living in the office whilst we try to find a way of persuading him to walk on a lead. He is the sweetest gentlest of animals but all he wants to do is have his tummy tickled and he is not the slightest bit interested in going for a walk.I spoke to his owner about it and he just said "he's always been a lazy b......r!"  No loyalty there then! Poor Ben has been a farm dog all his life when all he has ever wanted is to be loved and petted. Well he has that now but will he stay or will he go? He is no trouble and very quiet and well behaved but I feel there is more for him in life than just sharing office time with me. Everyone here has fallen in love with him, even Rhian who is besotted with German Shepherds and is not that keen on collies, has taken him to her heart.

Wrong way Freddie!
I had to chuckle when I saw the horses queuing up as usual to come in for their evening meal. There was Swift (Jack)in the lead, followed closely by Shamrock, Merlin and Celt(the youngsters) then William and then there was  was Freddie! Someone tell him which way to go!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

No Visitors Today.

Having admitted two more rabbits, I received another call requesting help for 5 bunnies and 9 Guinea pigs! If there is anybody out there who could help and foster any of these please let me know because  we have facilities for only a small number of small pets and right now we are full to capacity. I am also trying to place a female pig, a very large  but friendly cross Gloucester Old Spot which needs a secure and permanent pet  home. There is space here but as there is still a chance the llamas may stay I need to keep that area empty for the time being and if I am perfectly honest , fond as I was of our own pigwigs,I am not too enamoured with the idea of more .This is a very cold exposed place and every winter I feared for their welfare and wellbeing.

Cross staff  Oscar (pic below)has been adopted at long last , and we have had a call today telling us that he is settling well. He has gone to live with a gardener who will be taking him to work with him once he feels he has bonded well enough with him. Oscar has simply not appealed to people, his web profile brought not one enquiry so we are thrilled he has now found someone to love him as he deserves.

We have had a very quiet day today, no visitors at all but sometimes it is good to have a breather in between the chaotic days.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Murphy is returned.

Contact Number needed:
Will the person who made a comment on the ferret please ring me if she is genuinely interested in giving her a home. There was no contact number  given.
Ring 01286 880808.

Thanks too to Kim who relayed the story of Fionnula who turned into a swan.I remember it now, i the legenmd she was one of the four children of Lir. Brings it all back to me.I was told this tale whilst in a pub in the depths of County Mayo, being entertained by locals playing the spoons and other instruments. One of the best evenings of my life.

Another Pony Returned:
Little Murphy shetland pony (below)was brought back from his loan home today. His owner had lost her job and could not afford to keep him. How often is this going to happen in the next couple of years? Horses are going to be the first cutback many  people will make.This week I have had a lot of calls asking me to take horses and I simply cannot take any more at the moment. I hate saying no, its upsetting and it preys on my mind .,I have to keep telling myself that I am not a miracle worker   and there I was thinking that I was !

The Stray Which Wasn't! 
Could this be a future title for a book?
The poor dog about which we were told lies seems to have an eye problem, for a young dog his eyes look a little cloudy. That definitely warrants a trip to the vet on Monday.He is very nervous and seems apprehensive being approached by people he doesn't know. He is going to his foster home tomorrow so we will learn more about his behaviour  then. Could this be the reason for the desperation to get rid of him - perhaps they knew he had a health isssue which needed treatment? We will know on Monday so look out for news then.

Staffie Belle comes to visit.
Rescued Staffie Belle (used to be Tess) now belongs to Steve ,a painter and decorater from Mold.Steve adores this Staffordshire bull terrier and she is truly one of our best success stories. Steve kindly helps out whenever we need anyhting collecting in his area and bringing to the shelter.This journey involved collecting saleable goods  from my sister in Prestatyn  for use in a temporary charity shop in Holyhead. Belle always accompanies Steve  and  their admiration  for one another  is clearly mutual. She was at the shelter for a very long time and we had almost given up hope of finding anyone for her when Steve and his wife took her in.

More Bunnies Arrive:
Two beautiful rabbits arrived today. Spayed female , and part Angora Fudge has an eye infection and a very dirty bottom. I quickly delegated that little job to Rhian! Although she has been cleaned up, she will need to see a Vet after the weekend. I want to try her with neutered male Cinammon but not until  any infection is cleared up.  The other bun is a female with a chinchilla type coat, a very pretty girl.  I think I will call her Bluebell.

Fudge,also pictured here with new volunteer Non. Non is here today so we can see if she is suitable for doing her work experience here in the summer. Judging from her work today we are all pleased and  we will definitely allow her to do her work experience at the shelter.

Adoptions today:
Two dogs,  Scooby collie and Angel collie which were being boarded at local kennels found new homes today but nobody came for the cats. The weather has been dreadful, pouring with rain and blowing a gale, maybe this has put off some people who may have been planning to visit. The main cattery is closed anyway due to a bout of cat flu but the kitten unit is still open for people to choose a pet .
Until the flu clears we will not be able to take in any more adult cats though I have a huge waiting list and when the time comes we will be deluged with new cats.

Teenagers in need of Homes:
These four beauties are just a  few of the half grown kittencats we have still in need of homes. We have been pretty lucky actually, many of them have been adopted but these which were fostered by |Mion have been very shy from day one .It  is only now they are starting to become friendly and domesticated enough to be placed for adoption.

The photo looks a bit blurred because it was taken through glass but you can still see that they are lovely little cats. Fingers crossed they will be chosen soon. Every year we have loads of these kittens left over from the influx of babies we admit  and there are always some which will be left behind  .but I have high hopes of these finding nice families for these to go to in the near future.

Fosterer Stefan takes on another dog:
Stefan who lives in Anglesey stepped into the breach today when I had an emergency email about a young West Highland terrier in need of a  place urgently.His own dog loves these foster 'children' and really enjoys playing with them and helping to make them feel at home.We have some very good fosterers at the moment though as soon as they really fall for one of their charges and decide they cannot face parting with it, then we lose the home for good.  Foster 'mum' Rona fell in love with 4 months old Freddie and he now lives permanently with her. Just a comment on this little pup, he came from a couple who said he was the most difficult dog they had ever known. Rona thinks he is a sweetheart, no trouble at all!! It's all about the right way of dealing with a dog and understanding dogs and Freddies story is proof of that.
Kin too fell in love with a handsome cross german shepherd and that was the end of that foster home.Still, at least they both give their time now to working at the shelter with some of our other animals so all was not lost in the end!

Now I have to face the wet and the cold to walk my dogs. Nightmare!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Give Me Strength!

Today a woman turned up with a stray dog she had found in her garden.As always we checked him for a microchip.Success.He was not wearing a collar and tag but at least  we could trace his owner through the chip.We asked the woman to fill in her details for our records(later found to be false) traced the owner who had given the dog away - to the finder! Quelle  surprise!
Unfortunately the woman had long gone by this time as she told me that she was unable to hang on to the dog due to the fact she had two other dogs which were unneutered and presumably not good with him. We then had to find emergency accommodation for him.

Altogether a good hour and a half was spent making telephone calls on her behalf.A total waste of  everyones valuable time when the simple truth would have sufficed. So now we have a cross greyhound staffie(the latest craze amongst lurcher people) to add to our animals up for adoption.He is a nice friendly dog  and appears to be no more than 12 months of age but he had clearly been given to a very irresponsible couple who thought they could get one over on the charity like so many. I suppose they thought by lying they would not be asked for a donation to help us with future costs or to make themselves look better in our eyes.Who knows?

Then I had the horrid job of telling a lady that her homecheck for a pup had not passed.This is never easy but this was for a collie cross and she lived in an upstairs flat with no yard or garden. Our concerns are for the animals and we have to try to do our best for them. It is not always easy to house train a puppy but even more difficult when you have nowhere to take the pup to train him/her. Having said that I know there are people who have done exactly that but not many I feel sure have been successful. All we can do is TRY to make the right choice for the pets in our care and I remain convinced that in most cases we make the right decisions.

Anyhow in this case my decision was ridiculed by the person in question who became  extremely angry and aggressive verbally and  even went as far as telephoning me  back to tell me that she was writing to her MP!!  I now am totally convinced the right decision was made.

On the positive side of things, Becky collie  was adopted and we had a pup brought in and rehomed 48 hours later . Life here is just full of ups and downs. Never Boring though!

Oh , and Jane staff is doing very well with her new family, here she is pictured having a cuddle on the sofa with 6 years old McKenzie. As you can see Jane has one eye  on  the photographer as though to say "Oh no, not another one obsessed with taking pics of me"
Sorry this is a bit short today, I have a bad bout of laryngitis and a chest infection so trying to finish early tonight. (the staff have thoroughly enjoyed the fact that I have almost lost my voice so am unable to shout at them!)
As if I ever do.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Henry is now Chas

Just a note to say that old Henry was adopted and is now living happily with canine pal Dave. They have changed his name to Chas so they now have two dogs called Chas and Dave!  He is a lucky old man to find a loving home so soon . Not many people will take on old animals so he has really been fortunate . Good luck Chas.

The snow has cleared(except on the mountains) but it is bitterly cold and the cats are feeling it most of all.  I feel like huddling up with them , they look so cosy in the heated conservatory.

The Photo is of snow covered mountain Cwm Dulyn at the back of Freshfields and behind the neighbouring farm. Mount Snowdon is unseen to the left  and a little behind Cym Cillyn which lies next the mountain shown.  Meis dad was named after the  mountain in the photo , and her family had a beautiful image of it put on his gravestone.
Instead of waiting until five pm,  I felt compelled to light my coal fire/log burner early this afternoon, Paddy was shivering and the Jack Russells had wrapped themselves  up tightly in their blankets. The cottage is too hot in summer and too cold in winter unless all heating is on full and like most people I try to economise. Today,however ,is not a time for being frugal with

Grandad gives us a fright;

Old Grandad has had another bout of colic and the vet came out to see to him, it is particularly worrying when the ponies are so old but thank heavens today he is back to normal. Colic in horses can be caused by so many things and it is hard to sometimes know  why it has happened . He and Noddy look their age (late thirties) nowadays but they are very old ponies and have been remarkably healthy throughout the time they have lived at Freshfields.With so many oldies on site it is inevitable there are going to be health issues to worry over, we expect it but still dread them falling ill. Each time we wonder if one is about to leave us and then next day the ailing one is up and bright as a button. These little shetlands are such hardy  creatures. I just love their characters.

The young ferret we admitted last week is a sweet natured little female, I have  booked her in to be spayed  tomorrow, along with two dogs Becky and Scooby (collies)and then I hope we can find  a nice ferret loving person to adopt her. I have called her Fionnula after a character in an Irish legend.I hope I have the correct spelling though I'm sure there will be someone who will know and rush to correct me! I was told of the legend when I was in Ireland  with Sea Shepherd in the seventies and the name stayed in my mind ever since. I seem to remember that it was about  a girl who was changed into a swan. (or was it the other way around?)I would love to know if anyone else  knows the story.

The other ferret we were waiting to admit never did reappear . I just hope that someone else took him in, its so cold now I can't bear to think of animals being out in this . Do many other people worry about this too? It is one reason I hate the winter, at least when the weather is warm, stray and neglected animals don't have this  extra problem to deal with.

I have asked  a lady from the British Llama Society to check out the home in Gloucester which has been offered for the Boys.  I must say that the Society has proved to be very helpful, both with advice and a donation to help with the expenses we incurred over the Boys. They sent me information on Llama care and have not failed to be pleasant and willing when I have telephoned for advice. I think we all agree that the LLama rescue/welfare situation is likely to become more prevalent now that recession has hit the Uk and that is very worrying indeed. Perhaps some Llama lovers will set up rescues in various parts of the Uk. The only one in existence now is already overloaded with rescue cases and is unable to take more in. If I   had the money and the land I would like to do this myself but I would have to win the lottery!

Mei receives the news she has been waiting for.
After three years of pain and waiting for appointments at hospitals, Mei was starting to believe she would never have her wrist problem sorted out, but she has a pre op appointment in three weeks and can scarcely believe it. I am so pleased for her.Of course now she is worrying about taking time off and not being able to walk the dogs etc!

A donation from Wilkinsons in Porthmadog
We were  delighted to receive a   huge amount of xmas pet treats from our local branch of Wilkinsons, there were so many they filled the back of a small van. Thank you Wilkinsons.