Back to newsletters

  March 2016

I hope you all had a good Christmas and have recovered from the mad rush that seems to happen every year even though we know the date will be the same every year !

As ever, it was lovely to receive your cards, letters and donations and to those of you who sent after Christmas, the donations are of course, always appreciated regardless of the date they come. I tell our furries the same thing as we have a lovely quiet 25th and they usually have their gifts on Boxing Day though treats are consumed by all of us before then of course.

Hopefully those of you who had been poorly are now better, and with Spring peeping round the corner, perhaps it’ll be a chance to shake off the various bugs that are about or seem worse over winter.  A little sign of Spring is when the snowdrops pop up and the wild daffodils were early this year as it was wet and warm. Here is Sunrise sniffing the daffodils a friend sent me in memory of Jacky. Five years have passed as I continue what we started, and thank goodness for what we achieved as the furries are my strength each day.


 I’m glad you enjoyed the Christmas Photo Special and I enjoy catching shots of the furries to share with you. Sunrise continues to be a happy girl who loves to explore anything and everything - open a cupboard and she’s inside, come in wet from outdoors and demand a cuddle to share her wet paws etc - typical and ordinary cat behaviour now that she is a more confident girl.     

Here a straightforward moment of life of Sunrise ( who likes to pose for the camera ) in the kitchen. But what caught my eye was her wonderful choice of background which set off her colour perfectly, unlike the next photo of her in a box where she attempts a camouflage technique.


The box also attracted interest from others of course so we have Mason waiting a turn  .... 


                                                                                                       .......and then success into the box with Sparkle on the lid. 


                                                                                                    Then later Rosetta tries it for size, the simple pleasures for a cat.



There have been lots of vet visits as usual with some being just routine check ups but others with ongoing problems to be managed ( teeth / thyroid / arthritis etc ) or worse with the loss of dear little Schui just days before Christmas. You’ll have seen his cute face many times in the newsletters over his years here, and though his age of 12 years was not a great one to reach, his body said it was enough as his liver failed. 

On a happier note, I was able to help a grieving little yorkie who was fostering with me until the right home was found for him. His ‘mum’ died and her husband knew how sad the little dog was being left alone while he was at work. The little chaps favourite spot is tucked down the side of me, sharing my armchair until he goes to his new family. Update - a health issue means he is staying with me for the foreseeable future.

Many of you have been friends of the Sanctuary long enough to remember Amadeus - yes, a name from the past. Not only was he a wonderful character but he also had chemotherapy for nearly four years, making the absolute most of the extra time and health his treatment gave him. So when Wilson was recently diagnosed with the same type of cancer ( lymphoma ) I didn’t have the same concerns or dilemma as first time round, about starting Wilson on chemotherapy.

As I understand it, the dose given for animals is to stabilise rather than cure them of cancer, so they have a lower dose and consequently, fewer if any side effects, and that is certainly the case for Wilson who appears to have nothing negative, only a positive reduction in the swollen lymph node and improvement in his general health with a good appetite and weight gain. He’s enjoying the few Spring days we’re starting to have, out and about again with his brother. At the moment he’s on weekly vet visits that should be able to be reduced, hopefully to monthly as happened with Amadeus.

Also enjoying Spring here are Bob, Lady, Nanette and KFC - and in case the last name didn’t give it away, they are hens. As you may remember, after losing the last hens to a fox when my security wasn’t enough to protect them, I’d said  no more, however when friends couldn’t keep their four girls, I was delighted to have a good reason to offer to take them. 

After a lot of thought about security ( I always blame the hen keeper not the fox ), I realised I had a possible solution I’d not thought of before. Many years ago we had rescued foxes Fanta & Rio living here and their pen was now used as general storage but was so well made ( chain link buried in concrete etc ) to keep them in, surely it could work in reverse and keep wild foxes out.

 Also since the cat fence has gone up around the property, I certainly don’t see foxes trotting around as I used to and though foxes could dig under that, it’s not been a problem yet and is hopefully a first line of defence, so welcome girls, enjoy your retirement.    


People often kindly donate no longer needed items ( food, bowls, toys etc ) from their pets ( sadly sometimes when they’ve lost their pet ) which are gratefully received and they help twice over, both because I am able to use the goodies as well as saving money because I don’t have to buy what is required. I’ve not needed to buy a dog coat for years as I have a lovely collection of various shapes and sizes whenever one is needed.

Some ladies perhaps have a collection of shoes or handbags, however, I was given something different that had me in similar joy - at first glance, it was a big plain black bin bag.

But what treasures it contained as it came from another dog lover who had sorted through no longer needed items, so I had a wonderful time rummaging through new or only lightly used collars, leads, toys and all sorts of miscellaneous dog accessories. When Crusoe and his mum Zora arrived, there were lovely collars suitable for both of them, plus a long training lead which was essential for Zora’s safety in the early days and weeks.

One day Taxi, the lively border collie went to the newly stocked toy box in the lounge and decided the bone she wanted wasn’t the one on top, that would be too easy ! So she pawed out a kong and a ball, looked over her shoulder at me watching and with a grin, popped her head back in to take the prize - the bone she wanted.                                          

She took it off for a chew for a couple of minutes before getting bored and going back to the toy box and getting a rubber toy out. That didn’t hold her interest for long either but then she found a twig someone had bought in and cheerfully laid down chewing it into small pieces which she left littered over the lounge floor - and I went and got the broom to sweep up wondering why we bother with toys !


There are so many people who help keep the Sanctuary running with donations, whether of food / towels / blankets / stamps / financial etc and I’d like to mention some of them, though each and every one of you who support the Sanctuary in whatever way, are vitally important to it being able to continue. We’ve had donations from people who’ve thoughtfully sent them in memory of someone they've lost, either pet or person, and others who’ve kindly asked friends for money to donate to the animals instead of gifts for their birthday. Another supporter for years has put a £1 aside each week and another supporter saves 20p’s and recently donated £50, wonderful kind-heartedness from so many of you.

Fothose who’ve asked, yes please, we do still collect used stamps for fundraising and recently received nearly £400 mostly from the stamps, as well as some other donated items sold on our behalf.  ‚Äč

Thanks to your generosity at Christmas and various specific donations towards it, the cat pen plan has grown from being an expected patch up and make do job like most things here, to actually being able to provide something 5 star for those cats that choose not to be free range, as well as practical for me. I’m currently sorting ideas and hope to be starting work shortly and will  keep you updated when it’s done of course.

We’ve been through a lot of dog beds over the years to try and find something to stand up to everything my hooligans put them through, as well as easy for me to keep clean and after a years trial of a bed I bought last Christmas from your donations, I have every confidence in highly recommending the beds from Tuffies in Scotland ( ). Again they kindly gave a discount when I approached them for new beds which were bought from your generous Christmas donations.

Also thanks to an always friendly and helpful Simon from our local carpet / lino shop ( ) who has yet again come to our rescue with lots of flooring for the animals needs as well as for the Sanctuary.


                                                                                                                                                              Please be careful with your loved ones, there are nasty people out there just looking for the opportunity to steal an unattended dog ( stolen for ransom and worse ) and many dog owners are not aware of the danger.

Poster used with permission & thanks.


And don’t forget the new law that all dogs must be microchipped comes into effect April 6th, as well as still being required by law to wear an identification tag on their collar. As an aside, I chose not to put the pet’s name on tags as I feel it could make it easier for anyone trying to steal them, but I do have ‘vet’s fees paid’ on them in case of injury if they are lost.


I’m sitting here wondering what else to write about and looked around for inspiration - and realised what a wonderful scene of contented and safe pets it was.

It’s been a busy day but it’s early evening and everyone is fed and settled down, so the dog beds and settees are full of snoozing dogs with the occasional cat dotted amongst them. And I’m trying to peer at the computer screen round Disney, an elderly now deaf gentle cat who is trying to help all the while purring loudly and happily. So I’ll do as I’m told and put this to one side for a while so he can have a fuss - it’s worth remembering that one day, like all of them, he won’t be here to supervise.


In January, it was the anniversary of the capture of Zora, the Bosnian stray who I’ve introduced to you. I looked through some of the photos to chronicle her last year and it was fascinating to see the differences. I think the photos below particularly show the changes. I don’t often have such stark contrast photos to share with you as I’m working with their emotions and behavioural issues rather than physical changes, and like all mental stress - human or pet, what goes on inside isn’t always visible to the onlooker.


One day recently, I called Zora in for breakfast and she charged out of the field towards me. Yes, you’d expect it when you’re offering food perhaps but in fact, most of the time she’s been quietly sliding indoors when she felt safe and certainly not responding to an invite to come, so another step forward in her new life ( admittedly the next day she paid no attention again ! )

Zora is incredibly clever from years of street survival so she continues to keep me on my toes as I try not to lag too far behind ( I don’t think I’ll ever get one step ahead !) in trying ways to help her continue to progress with her confidence. She may be a dog but it’s been more like living with a non aggressive wild animal at times, certainly in the earliest days and it’s been fascinating learning from her - including how high the fences need to be! After days of minus temperatures, it’s cold rain outside but as I type this, Zora is curled up on the settee with Crusoe, her son - no more surviving in the freezing outdoor dangers she came from.


On June 11th we will be having our usual stall at the Caterham Carnival, and are collecting bric-a-brac for our next stall please. As usual, Gail and I can happily accept items dropped off to us, collection is more difficult as I try to fit it in when out and about.


Jacky & I decided when we first started writing our little newsletters, that we would try not to preach as our supporters are already on the animals sides.. However, when I saw this, I thought it so well put that I hope you’ll not mind me sharing it with you. As we have started another year, I do so hope that Some Day comes as soon as possible, for the animals sakes.



Thank you everyone for your support throughout the seasons and the years.

Your donations are not only essential but given with love and your support, which means so much.

Thank you for allowing me to continue to help some of our furry friends that so desperately need it.  

Liz & the Furries 

Saving one pets life won’t change the world...but it will make a world of difference to that one pet.

Some of the 'one pet at a time' that are current residents here.


Printmeit. Unit 11a Morrison Industrial Estate County Durham DH9 7RU  Click HERE to go to website.