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A little update on a busy summer before I start thinking ahead to the Christmas newsletter, which will be upon us before we know it ! I don’t know about the dogs chasing their tails but I certainly feel as if I’d have been chasing mine if I had one ! The days, weeks and months go flying by, full of daily routines as well as unexpected ones that crop up, plus the ever present office work which is always last on my to do list I’m afraid as I’m still as unorganised as ever.
The weather has been variable the last few months with torrential rain and sizzling heat, and having used some legacy money to install solar panels, has meant being able to use the air con when it was hot, and when it’s raining, I can get pet bedding dry and avoid the ever rising electricity bills.
The day of Caterham Carnival wasn’t the best weather as you can see by the clouds in the photo.
It could have been worse but there were a few rain showers during the day which puts visitors off, however it was again, a very well run day by the Carnival Committee. As ever, my huge thanks to our wonderful team along with the new helpers, who work so hard to make the day the success it is. They’ll be at Chaldon Fete on August 26th from 1pm.
This is the marvellous Dragon Bus that is owned by friends and they came along to support us at the carnival. Although it really is at it’s best at night time when all the lights are on as you can see in the second photo, it was wonderful to have it on display as people came to our stall, thank you Roger & Bev.
As you know, a bunch of troubled souls live at Chaldon and I did grin when on the same day, I had two friends make comments to me along those lines. Firstly a friend in another rescue wondering if I could help with a dog she “couldn’t place in a normal home and the only person she could think of was me“ ! On the same day, another friend said “if we were talking about a normal dog….” and I’m happy that people realise they have special needs. Mind you, as I’m writing this, I have just been smearing salmon sandwich spread ( not so keen on the chicken flavour ) on the inside of a plastic dog travelling crate to help a dog investigate it before it’s used for a vet visit next week - what’s odd about that !
You measure love, not in time, but in transformation.
I saw this phrase ( author unknown ) and I love it and feel it’s appropriate for what happens here at the sanctuary, as the cats and dogs take their time to learn to trust and be comfortable with life as no longer being scary. There are so many little steps they take to progress and it doesn’t ‘just happen’ without watching and waiting for them to be ready to be helped to take another step forward. When I look back at how far some of them have come, it really makes me stop and think ‘wow’ - haven’t they done well.
This was highlighted recently when Zora, our little Bosnian street survivor needed vet treatment. She will never be remotely like a ‘normal’ dog but she is a very happy girl and I work round her limitations ( doorways, direct approach etc ). So when she chose to stand near me so I could stroke her, I had the biggest smile on my face - until I felt a mammary lump and my heart sank. However Zora had recognised I needed to know and trusted me enough, to come and tell me about it in her own way.
Our vet and I discussed the way forward, and an operation was booked and in the meantime, I helped her get used to the travelling crate (for safety from car to buildings).
Surgery went very well, thanks to the vet’s understanding and help of the care needed with handling a dog like Zora, and post-op recovery went well. Zora quietly accepted the restrictions while the wound healed, and showed in so many little ways, just how far she has come in allowing me into her space.
( Latest - the lump was benign, what a relief ).
Little Ruby cat loves to meet visitors and be stroked, almost tripping people up in her demands to be fussed. And yet she was taken to the vet to be put down when only a youngster, due to her temperament and ongoing cost of dental treatment needed. It has taken years of time and love, for her to transform and trust so now she wants attention ( but don’t pick her up ! )
As the years go past, the cycle of residents continue and it seems that in the blink of an eye, suddenly the youngsters are elderly with associated health problems, leading to sad goodbyes.
Phoenix, the German Shepherd who was a most handsome, completely nutty character who saw the world through very different glasses to the rest of us, has left a huge gap in my life and by the side of my bed. The bed feels very empty on top too with the loss of two bed friends - Cristal and grumpy / gorgeous George cat. He remained strong minded until falling asleep forever on my bed when he was 19 yrs. Both were links with Jacky as he was the last rescue we went to collect together as her health was failing.
Cristal (dog) also arrived during Jacky days, and danced her way through life here before becoming a frail old lady, but then had lung cancer take her very quickly only a couple of weeks after Phoenix. Then to my dismay, Radar ( dog ) who enjoyed life in spite of his health problems that were caused by bad breeding, took a downward turn. I knew he wouldn’t make old bones but he became tired as his body failed and let me know that it was time to go.
This is the hardest part of my life and it never fails to hurt - a lot. And yet, even when I’m feeling very down and sad, one of the others will manage to raise a smile - perhaps taking a step forward by doing something for the first time, or just being silly and happy, or relaxed and trusting. The fact is that a difference is made for those lost souls who do arrive here, and that is due to your support keeping the sanctuary going - thank you.
Please welcome new additions to our family who arrived before the losses but I felt would benefit from what the sanctuary offers. Say hello to saluki lurcher Pique ( as in a ballet move and pronounced PK ) who is the aforementioned dog who can’t live in a normal home ! She was a stray who ran out of time in the pound and was lucky enough to be offered a rescue place by Elaine of Arundawn Rescue who are marvellous in being at the front line of dog rescue.
Pique came on well with various fosterers but she ended up being a ‘yoyo’ dog who kept bouncing after a few weeks due to her behaviour and severe separation anxiety - hardly surprising with 4 moves in 5 months, plus her unknown background history. She is continuing to learn her manners here, and as I replied when asked how she’s doing - “she’s not bad by my standards” ! She has a lovely nature, adores the space of our field to run in with her new friends, and the separation anxiety is now not an issue for her as she knows she’s finally safe in her forever home.
Little Twiggy is a new cat whose life was at risk, as due to her previous history she was attacking her owner and her vet said putting her down was the only option. Twiggy has blossomed into a gorgeous happy girl with the change of situation at the sanctuary, and giving her space to find her feet - although she does like to spend time off her feet inviting tummy tickles as you can see.
I do like a good Freecycle find and was pleased to get a small freezer to take the dogs lickimats and stuffed treats that have been particularly enjoyed on hot days. Another slightly different Freecycle advert I responded to, was two parakeets who were given safety here after their owners were let down days before emigrating. Fortunately when chatting to Elaine about Pique, I wondered if she knew anyone who could help and she did, so the birds are now happily with an experienced bird person, thank you Sue.
This year we also had two successful broods of wild baby robins raised in our tool shed where they were safe from cats, especially important for their first flights. It was a great pleasure to see the little ones safely move out into the cherry tree and the big wide world.
From all residents, our thanks for your ongoing support, you make it all possible.
Liz & the Furries