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We all had a lovely quiet and healthy Christmas and hope you did too, making the best of the current situation. During this time, I jotted down notes for the next newsletter as they occurred to me, and wondered what our situation would be by the time I came back to edit this in springtime - hoping for warmer days, lots of vaccinated people and the world beginning to turn on a better year perhaps. Yes, I think we can say that is the way things are going, but not before the new year came in rather roughly - being in lockdown 3, storm Christoph, more flooding, snow and temperatures below freezing and the ongoing effects of Covid, but I do hope that you are all managing to keep warm and safe.
This year more than ever, I was so glad to hear from you and receive cards and notes with how you were, thank you. And of course, a grateful thank you for every donation and gift for the residents here too, they put smiles on my face, and food, treats etc in pet tummies. You really are the glue that holds the sanctuary together so we can jointly continue to help our furry friends.
In the busy lead up to Christmas, I was sitting in the lounge surrounded by the Christmas newsletter, labelling, stamping and sealing envelopes when it would have been sensible to be in the spare room office doing it - that way I don’t have little furry friends arriving to help ! This is why stamps were often stuck on wonkily as Maddie head butted my hand for a fuss, then Juliette cat wanted to join us and cuddle as well, so the envelopes were put to one side and I took a break until it was their teatime ! Another time with a lap-full when I had one free hand to snap a photo - Rosa, Jeeves & Jovi.
By Christmas Eve I was nicely under control and up to date with the post so if you were late in receiving a thank you note from me, it was because I was still receiving Christmas post well in to January, even though they were often dated early December. Our great posties have been hard at work but with a reduced staff level due to Covid, it’s not been an easy time for them.
There was also sadness at hearing of the death of friends / their partners or our supporters, including the news that one of our long time friends of the sanctuary had sadly died. Although I don’t name check very often, I would like to mention Jack Bridges, who also introduced us to Harestone Rotary who support us each year ( newsletter and fete stall costs ). Jack was the epitome of the words a gentle man and I was honoured that a collection in his memory, raised a marvellous £200 for the Chaldon residents which I’m sure would have been pleased Jack, and for which I’m very grateful.
Christmas Day was spent relaxing in my chair ( apart from the routine care jobs of course ) with the cats snuggled in the warm ( it was minus 2 outside ) and the dogs enjoying their new toys and bones after an invigorating walk. On Boxing Day I had another day off apart from the essentials and on the third day, I picked up the reins ( or should that be dog leads ) refreshed from a couple of slower days.
I don’t tend to dress the animals up but couldn’t resist this little santa scarf on Maddie for a photo opportunity as she says thanks to you all on behalf of everyone here who benefitted from your Christmas generosity.
We are keeping safe still here but warm was a bit more of a challenge when the heating went off one night - and it was minus 3 ! As I don’t have a log fire due to the work involved with maintaining them out came a couple of fan heaters and lots of extra bedding for the cats and dogs. The next morning Andrew arrived to lend his much more effective heaters so we all warmed up, and yes, I have now purchased some of those from Christmas donations as our backups. The heating suppliers were very good and an engineer arrived by lunchtime. By then snow had fallen on ice and the wonderful engineer walked down the lane to sort us out as his vehicle was unable to drive down.
The issue was tied in to the work the firm had done earlier that week. There is no mains heating here and when Jacky & I moved in, we researched our options and went for Calor Gas and have been happily satisfied with it. The large gas tank was installed with the comment “ it will need changing in thirty years” - it seemed a lifetime away. Then in January this year, a surveyor from the company arrived to check the situation for access to change the tank - where did those 30 years go !
Although I knew it was the anniversary this year, it really did bring it home how long the sanctuary and I have been here, with Jacky gone the last ten of them. It has all passed in the blink of an eye but also when you start thinking back to all the pets helped and improvements made along the way, it seems a lifetime - or at least half of mine anyway !
I want to share a photo I took of Jacky many years ago - typically with her barely in it and surrounded by dogs - Finn, Chips & Chutney ( there were more not in the photo ).
And this photo of me taken this winter made me smile at the similarities ( including other dogs not in the photo ). In fact thinking about it, I’m probably about the age now, that Jacky was then in her photo !
I’ve been busy updating our website and want to thank Les who again has taken my vague ideas and created a lovely new logo ( click logo below to go to home page ) for our home for life sanctuary.
Although there is still plenty more for me to do ( I don’t have an admin or website team ), it should now be easily viewable on mobile phones as well as laptops. We first went online in 2003 with the site ( thanks Blair ) before mobiles became popular, but people now want easy links to the Amazon Wish List and Paypal as well as our information, photos and newsletters.
I was also able to add our latest fundraiser as an easy link ( click logo below or on home page ) as one of our wonderful supporters ( thanks Doug ) organised things so we are now also on the Easyfundraising site, meaning you can chose Chaldon as your cause to support while you shop online.
It costs you nothing other than your usual online shopping from many websites and well known stores ( Amazon / John Lewis / supermarkets / insurance companies etc ) and it costs us nothing either - a win win situation. Rather than fill this newsletter up about how it works, the link to our fundraising page is on our website for those of you on the internet who wish to know more, or ask me.
The first week the fundraising began at 14p - four weeks later, it was up to £14.03 so very well worth doing and proving yet again, look after the pennies and the £’s will soon add up. And also still worth sending are your used postage stamps please as last year’s batch raised an amazing £183 - thank you to all who send your “just a few” stamps, as well as the long time firms who continue to support us this way.
Also thanks for his continued support to our lovely patron Peter Egan who wrote a few words for his page on the updated website, which I of course, share here too >>>
What a terrible year this has been for everyone and here we are in 2021 still fighting this terrible virus.
All the charities I know have been hit badly by this pandemic and have suffered considerably by not being able to fundraise.
Which makes it all the more remarkable that Liz Chaldon’s inspiring sanctuary has ridden the wave and her great work continues.
Liz would be the first to say that this would not be the case without the great support from her team and all those who have supported and donated to her amazing work.
I am deeply proud to be patron for the Chaldon Animal Sanctuary and having seen Liz at work close up on many occasions..most recently this year with two dogs..that others had given up on because they were considered to impossible to socialise..Liz took them on and within a matter of weeks these two boys had settled into their new home with their new friends..at peace with their surrounding in the care of Liz and her family of cats and dogs. Her patience and commitment is inspiring. I look forward to being a patron for this remarkable sanctuary for many years to come.
You have already ‘met’ the boys that Peter mentioned when I introduced them in previous newsletters - Fagin and Bumble.
One day I went up in the loft and Jovi followed me up. He then went exploring and refused to come out so here he is sitting on the ladder waiting for me to help him down when he was ready !
Here are Nikki & Juliette posing for a beauty shot !
I was absently stroking Jeeves while looking the other way and a moment later I did a double take as he was standing in front of me - but I was still stroking a collie head ! Taxi had slid in to his place for a fuss - well, they are similar in many ways, including nearly losing their lives just for being the breed they are, with their own particular behaviours.
I really do think of writing to you as friends and that was shown when I was asked to write a Jeeves update for the supporters of Elaine ( who rescued this poor chap in the first place ). I could not think of how to say anything until I thought “there’s a piece for our next newsletter” and off I went with writing the following piece for everyone.
Jeeves is a lovely but complex lad who is making good progress, but he’ll never be an easy or predictable dog. Jeeves arrived very fearful and reactive so needs time and careful handling. When calm, he is very loving now ( asleep on my feet as I write ) but then he gets worried in case he’s in the wrong, so needs lots of reassurance. This has helped him improve massively in so many ways, and he is now very enthusiastic about life with lots of collie bounce, apart from grooming or being handled ( wipe paws etc ) as sadly he feels the need to defend himself by using his teeth. I have patience and lots of treats to help him continue to learn that he will not ever be hurt by humans again.
In the kitchen, under the units are blocked off where there are possible entries for a shrew or vole the cats may bring in, but there is one spot left for a live trap. So I investigated when I got up at 2am one morning and saw Twiggy cat in front of the gap, and indeed, found a little live vole sheltering in there. So there I was, out the front of our property where the cats don’t go, in wellie boots and a coat over my dressing gown, releasing it for a second chance at life. I went back to bed happy, leaving a fed up Twiggy wondering where it went !
Unusually I was able to take a photo of cats in the snow as Cinders & Boo were out and about.
They were soon on a shelf above a radiator with Mason, all cosily curled up together though.
Wizard couldn’t wait to get up and start the snowy day.
Heidi loved the snow as did Pique, Fagin, Jeeves and others but I think Rosa & Maddie had a better idea to snuggle up indoors, and Jetta cat isn’t setting paw outside until summer arrives !
I don’t know if any of you do similar but at the end of the day, I tend to ponder what I have managed to do - and importantly, what is on the must get around to do list for the next day. So one evening as I considered the day’s events, my conclusion was that I hadn’t done much at all.
But in reality when I thought back on that comment, it is quite ridiculous and what I meant was that I hadn’t done many of my intended jobs - quite a difference in meaning I’m sure you’ll agree !
Therefore, my “not done much” included all the cleaning, feeding and general care of the furry family, answering several phone calls with various queries ( wildlife - not here, here’s another number ) - supporting a friend whose dog had sadly just died, plus various other enquiries - all in all, quite a busy day !
Below is a very small section of some of the goodies you donated, either directly through the Amazon wish list or with your cheques in with Christmas cards - thank you for keeping their store shed full during the winter months, plus all the little extras and treats we received which are always enjoyed.
While browsing for some cute pictures to add to this newsletter, I came across this fun dog one but, I do hope they are not chocolate eggs as remember that chocolate is poisonous to dogs ( and cats ). So let’s have a cute rabbit as well - even though they shouldn’t have chocolate either !
Stop press - we will not be at Caterham Carnival even if it happens.
My heartfelt thanks to all of our supporters, there are so many acts of kindness from you that keep the sanctuary afloat.
With enormous gratitude and purrs and woofs from all of us
Liz & Furries