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Spring 2019

Wow, what a wonderful Christmas was had by all at Chaldon. We had such generous donations, some beautiful cards and letters, and our Amazon Wish List was well supported again. We were also delighted to be a recipient of shoeboxes of goodies from a local Facebook group who ran an appeal for local animal rescues, so as always …..

We had great fun on Christmas and Boxing Day, with the dogs shredding their wrapping paper and boxes to get their gifts and having fun with all their new toys and bones. The lick mats were smeared in pilchards and very much enjoyed by the cats, the non fish loving cats enjoyed their festive treats of Dreamies instead.

Stuffed kong toys or licking mats are a great enrichment they all love, cats as well as dogs to my surprise. Oddly enough, the cats prefer the mats not with fish paste as I assumed they would, but with the same as the dogs - ham or chicken paste, although the all time favourite for everyone is pilchards in tomato sauce and because they are only actually eating a small amount, it’s not too rich to cause upset tummies.

It really is a joy to see them enjoy Christmas as much as small children generally do, and it’s sharing that time with them, that makes my days such a pleasure too. We had time spent with each other instead of rushing around, leaving me ready to pick up the baton ( should that be lead or litter tray ! ) to head into the new year.

Dogs Taxi, Heidi, Maple & Nikki starting on the unwrapping, and Nikki got dressed up in a festive bandana.


More Christmas ‘photos further on.


One day when I answered the phone, the conversation went something like this. “ Hello, I’m from Medi-Mark and we produce animal disinfectants”, to which I replied along the lines of no thank you. The call then took an unexpected turn as the caller continued - “No, this isn’t a sales call, but our annual stock give away day”. That got my attention of course and when the firm explained that when they have short dated products, they kindly invite small rescues like Chaldon, to go and collect it, how wonderful is that !

I didn’t think I would be able to organise collecting any due to the time and distance but the more I pondered the opportunity, the more I realised it was too good to miss. So I had a chat with Andrew and yet again he was able to help and so with a bit ( lot ) of organisation, we set off at 8.30 one morning. We had a good journey there and on arrival,  Andrew swung into action loading his car with this impressive result - - -

We noticed on the outward journey, that the opposite side of the motorway was at a standstill, so we avoided going home that way, and took a scenic route which turned the morning into a lovely, if unexpected, little outing. What a wonderful company to enable smaller rescues being able to benefit from their great products. Thank you Medi-Mark, we won’t need to be buying any cleaning products for ages, which makes a real difference to where financial donations are spent - on treats, food and vet bills.


The winter weather looked beautiful across our field and hasn’t been too much of a problem this year.

During the snow, there were the dogs who loved it - Taxi & Heidi -

- while others hibernated by the radiators, and the cats mostly stayed in bed …

Tess, Maddie, George and Jetta.

Toto keeping an eye or two open from her igloo bed, one wild & wet day,

While the trees were dormant, I had tree surgeons G. S. Treecare massively reduce the height of some trees that hadn’t been touched since Jacky & I moved here in 1991. George and the team did a great job, were friendly, helpful and I highly recommend them.

George Smith

Tel: 0208 763 0452 / 07887972263 



It was a huge job over several days and as you can imagine, the dogs were less than happy being kept out of the field while the men were working in there.

What really spooked some of them, particularly Heidi, was when men with high vis and hard hat were up a tree !

However, during the wild March weather, I didn’t have to worry about the safety of them, unlike the tree from the public footpath at the back of us, that came down on our fence - Andrew and chainsaw to the rescue.

      Before repair    and after 


The last two rooms of flooring are done and as is typical for Chaldon, the larger room was done in two and half days, whereas the smallest room ( bathroom ) was more awkward and took a total of 5 days due to the plumbing and other work the room needed doing while we were at it. When sweeping and mopping the floor throughout the sanctuary now, I smile as it has made it so much easier to maintain, and it looks good too which is a bonus. Thank you to everyone who helped raise funds for this massive project and especially to Peter ( patron ) for enabling the grant, and to Andrew for doing a simply superb job of the entire flooring and renovation work.

Being able to get these jobs done is the reality of how your support and donations make a vital difference to the ongoing running of the sanctuary.  


I use a laptop computer and was making the most of an empty lap one day, to have it in an easier position actually on my lap. Then Sparkle arrived and was unimpressed with lack of lap availability - look at the face !

 A minute later I took this photo -

- note laptop now on its stand while cat happily on my lap.

This photo is the more usual view, when lap cuddles were shared by Maddie, Wilson and Mason - and you’re right, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Our Bosnian girl Zora, has been here four years now and continues to make progress. For a dog who had over five years surviving the incredibly rough streets and humans’ attitude to dogs over there, her ability to adapt and be happy living with a human, is amazing. She will never follow what is expected of pet dogs which is absolutely fine with me as we’ve reached an understanding - I ask her to do something and if she wants to, she’ll oblige. This is as opposed to the others who will follow the routines as a matter of course but you take nothing for granted with Zora. So recently when I called, inviting her to come, and she ran at a gallop across the field to come indoors, was thrilling to see and had me grinning for the rest of the day.

This looks like a quite normal photo of a dog watching the tv, however, all is not as straightforward as it seems.

Heidi grew up in kennels where she was well cared for but there was no introduction to household sounds and limited exposure to different people, other than her carers. She arrived here when 3years old and the television and radio were a source of pure terror because she saw or heard unknown people. I started with the radio on but so low, it could barely be heard and that included overnight as well so it became a background sound of normality for her. However, the television took a lot longer and careful choice of programme to help her, but David Attenborough with his slow movements and calming voice, gained another fan with his shows being the first where Heidi would stay in the room.

So a year after her arrival, when I took that photo with Heidi being relaxed enough to lay down and watch tv, was a day of huge pleasure that she had conquered another hurdle in her new life. Nowadays, she barely even glances at the television regardless of what is on although, like me, I’m not sure she would appreciate a fast moving, noisy game of football.

Another smile moment was when Phoenix went to the vets and was relaxed enough to go and quietly lay by the door, waiting to leave. As a reactive, stressed dog when his routine changes, this really is great progress as he’s become a slightly older, more sensible chap.


This photo demonstrates perfectly the two main type of dogs, the toy enthusiast with Taxi de-stuffing a toy, and the food lover Maple munching a bone.

While here we have brothers Wilson and Mason enjoying the lickimats -

- though Tootsie ignores the mat and goes for the Dreamies.

I’d also been collecting Freecycle ball pit balls and those with the new toys added to an old tyre, were great fun - Phoenix and Maddie indoors …..


But also the balls were used outside on another Freecycle find of a children’s slide, we have Taxi, and then Fiddler who proudly took a ball up the field. What is interesting about that is that Fiddler, who is nearly blind, picked up a pink ball but two minutes later had a blue one in his mouth. Scientists now know that dogs are not colour blind as previously thought.


They can see blue and yellow better than other colours which look like various shades of grey to them.

It doesn’t happen that often but we all know children and animals like to keep us on our toes! Elderly gentleman cat Dennis had a severe limp, barely using his leg one day, and the following day it was as bad so off to the vet we went - and Dennis walked across the consulting room floor with barely a trace of a sore leg ! He had a couple of days restricted rest and the assumed strain quickly vanished altogether.

Sadly one of my guinea-pig boys had cancer and as is typical with these little ones, within days I had to let Caramel go. I was worried about Oreo being on his own as guineas are herd animals, so I made enquiries trying to find him a new companion. Oreo didn’t worry about being a bachelor for a couple of weeks until a new lady friend arrived and he’s enjoying her company.

As you know, I don’t usually rehome but when I was asked via the vets, if I could help an owner with her rabbit, I was able to ask a friend to foster for me as I don’t have suitable rabbit housing. Thankfully my friend became a failed fosterer and has kept the lucky bunny.

 A couple of cats arrived at short notice when their elderly owner died, and with the help of another friend, the sweet girl cat has gone to find a new home and the lad is settling in here for the time being. He’s known as a bit of a bully, but like many bullies, he’s not so confident in reality and has shown quite a nervous side.


I have this lovely sandwich tray and was looking at the pictures recently and thought it would be fun to think about who fitted each description ! I’ve listed them below as it’s not clear on the picture.

Devoted - plenty of choice but went for Phoenix, my Velcro dog.

Discerning - Heidi who empties the toy box to select THAT one she wants.

Dependable -  Jinxy as I can depend on her to disrupt life!

Determined - Taxi, the obsessive collie of course.

Dramatic - Cristal who stubs a toe but reacts as if she’d broken her leg.

Demanding - several fit but I went for Nikki who tries to be first for everything.

Domesticated - none of them, daft bunch of characters that they are !

Dippy - Maple, silly, kind and daft, bit of a goof ball !

Disorderly - Radar who, with glee, leaves a trail of devastation behind him.

Delightful - Breeze, sweet but with a hint of gentle mischief.


 From all residents, our thanks for your ongoing support, you make it all possible.

     Liz & the Furries