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This newsletter is once again funded by the generosity of the Caterham Harestone Rotary, who approached us a few years ago to see how they could help. Although a small group of people, they have quietly made a noticeable difference each year since, by paying all the costs for this bumper Christmas newsletter, printing, postage etc with the rest of their donation going towards the larger winter feed bills.
They also again kindly sponsored our stalls at Caterham Carnival which means more of the bric-a-brac profit, equals more funds going directly to the animals rather than just covering costs. I am very grateful to them for their continued support - thank you.
Our wonderful team were also at Chaldon fete on August Bank Holiday Monday as usual, and in contrast to the damp Carnival in June, the weather was scorching so the poor team were melting in the heat. Thank you to everybody for all your hard work not only on the day, but also with preparations and behind the scenes, it couldn’t happen without you all.
I mentioned the winter food bills and that is because many years ago, a few near misses with running low on animal food when suppliers had problems, plus the very real risk of being snowed in, means that in October I start stockpiling the essentials to take us through to Spring. Naturally this stretches my usual budgeting and therefore your Christmas donations are always much appreciated, as are our regular sponsors and supporters, the car boot and online fundraisers, used stamps and anonymous donations that arrive in the post plus local donations of items of food, bedding etc.
The Amazon wish list is a delight as who doesn't like receiving surprise gifts, so when a package turns up from Amazon, it’s with great excitement I open it to see what has been chosen and sent by a kind donor, often anonymously. I sent the summer newsletter e-mail just before feeding the dogs at 6pm one Saturday evening, so imagine my amazement at 10am Sunday morning when wish list items began arriving !
Each and every one of you are helping the furry family
and together, we make a difference -
Sparkle was peering intensely at a kitchen cupboard that I’d been in ten minutes earlier, and was sniffing the tiny gap under the door. As she is a hunter, I opened the door expecting to find a vole hiding in a corner but having investigated the cupboard contents, out strolled Tootsie.
While not all the cats love the dogs, they are accepted or avoided as each individual prefers, but Sparkle loves her dog friends.
Here she is cuddling up to Maple who patiently moved her head so Sparkle could snuggle in.
I’ve never been particularly agile, disliking gymnastics at school but when Fiddler ( nearly blind in his one eye ) stops and changes direction several times, my fancy footwork and pirouetting to avoid walking into him is almost impressive enough for a ballerina - in wellies !
Life can genuinely create reasons when animals need help, such as happened with one super cat ( and a dog mentioned later ) that came my way. One of our supporters died and her neighbour approached me to see if I could help as nowhere local to him were able to. Rooney was a young and homeable cat which are not the ones I usually take, but he was in the house on his own with the neighbour visiting several times a day. He arrived with complete confidence that life is good, and to my delight, was only with me for a month before he went to live with good friends, what a brilliant outcome.
As you know from the last newsletter, there were a lot of losses, including Phoenix the German Shepherd. They are a breed I particularly love and they easily “go wrong” and end up in rescue, so consequently, I have always had one or two living with me since I was 19 years old, so when Phoenix died, the hole was even larger as he was my only Shepherd.
Although I disliked being without one, I wouldn’t go looking but believed that fate would send one if another needed to be here. It was eleven long weeks before one arrived here in rather a hurry to save his life - meet 3 year old Wizard.
He’s a delightful lad who had been on Gumtree a couple of months earlier - I’m at least his 4th home. He went to a lovely couple but circumstances went a bit wrong so he couldn’t stay there, and other rescues were refusing him due to him having bitten once.
Wizard came in like a rugby player who didn't know the rules of the game, so it was fascinating watching the other dogs as teachers, as he learnt to play nicely. I’m enjoying having a Shepherd around again, even if he is too clever and can open doors and latches, meaning Andrew has made a variety of ingenious solutions to prevent Wizard joining me in every room - bathroom trips really are better without canine visitors !
Take a couple of donated office tables, a freecycle child’s slide and some astroturf, give them to Andrew and hey presto, they are transformed into something fun for the dogs, as various new items are gradually being added to the field.
Zora, Crusoe & Heidi investigate
Nikki wishing she was taller ...
... until I showed her why there is a slide as Maple watches with interest.
Pique showing them how it’s done…
… and then showing off that she doesn’t need the slide as she leaps off and on.
Success as Maple & Nikki sitting pretty on the table.
A couple of shrubs in the field form a pathway and can be a busy ‘traffic’ highway, so I sat opposite and took photos of the comings and goings.
Even had two way traffic NIKKI & PIQUE
Cats also do the same on a path outside the kitchen, with Tootsie and Sparkle considering who has right of way
Sparkle decides to change direction ...
... and approaches me
Before posing with a “look and admire me” innocent expression but do not touch her tummy !
I’ve just come in from our morning walk in our field, and I’m deafened ! No, not as you’re thinking that the dogs were barking as not a woof was heard, but the amount of “chatter” of various behaviours and body language was loud ! It was as if I was in the middle of a crowded room of people all chattering at once, as I watched the dogs asking each other “shall we play” “ what are you doing” etc and it is beyond fascinating. This is something I’ve always said and to take the words from the poem -
A poor life this if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.
It shows you can learn so much by observation.
Animals do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.
I’m sure you understand what the trio are saying to me as they sit & stare waiting for the treats !
I am not always able to provide what an individual needs and that happened recently with a cat. I was asked to help a ten year old puss as his elderly owner could no longer cope due to her own health problems. Charlie had a loving owner and a quiet home but had previously been mistreated so was known to be unpredictable when upset. So although it was a massive change for him to come here, it was hoped that he would, as they usually do, soon realise it is not scary here and I am safe.
However, this beautiful boy arrived and as expected, was unsettled by the move, but what became apparent was that he couldn’t cope with hearing dogs in the vicinity. Usually they soon realise that nothing happens when they hear barking and quickly ignore it, but that didn’t happen this time. No matter what I tried, he was not able to get past his anxiety in this situation.
Thankfully Jacqueline of Animal Protection Trust who we’ve had a mutual friendship with over the years, was able to take Charlie into her Old Age Pussy pen ( OAP ) where he is relieved to be settling in.
It’s important to recognise when the best way to help someone, is to find somewhere that suits them rather than struggle on. We know we can’t help all the animals that need it, but we will always endeavour to make sure it is positive help for those that do come our way.
You may have noticed the dachshund in the traffic photos and she came via Animal Protection Trust when Jacqueline wondered if I knew anyone who could help - it works beautifully both ways for the benefit of the animals.
The same as Rooney ( cat mentioned earlier ) Maisie was another one who I was able to help with a short stay here, when her loving owner’s health meant she had to move and couldn’t take her. Previously Maisie was an ex breeders dog and she had made wonderful progress with her owner, however there were still a few little issues that needed help. After a few weeks rehabilitation, to my absolute delight another friend couldn’t help but fall in love, and Maisie is now thoroughly enjoying life in her new family of humans and other dogs.
A few general shots of some of the canine family.
Things are not always as they may seem as Sparkle just leapt off my lap and then disappeared out the cat flap with a ( dead ) mouse in her mouth. However, in the few seconds between jumping off my lap and vanishing, she’d shot over to the door where Maddie had just come in and laid down her ‘prize’ - in time to see it stolen by Sparkle ! However, here are some sitting pretty views of cats during the sunny summer days, starting with Maddie pausing while grooming.
MADDIE>> TWIGGY>> TOTO>>
<<TOOTSIE >> MASON >
Wilson has been on chemotherapy for three and a half years now, and although he has had some tummy upsets recently, he continues to enjoy life with his brother Mason.
A rainy day and a line of beds, all filled with cosy cats.
Tootsie ( barely visible ) Twiggy, Wilson and Ruby.
I have no idea why Sparkle decided to sit in there, other than it’s a box !
I am writing these few words with pen and paper as Jacky & I used to all those years ago when we started the newsletters in 1991. I agree, hardly the most exciting thing to say but it shows how quickly technology has moved but the older ways can still be more reliable as my laptop had a hissy fit just as it was needed for sanctuary related work.
Why am I thinking about the passing of time you may wonder. Partly due to many pet losses as mentioned in last newsletter but also there are a shrinking number not only of animals who knew Jacky, but sad to say, that also includes our human family of supporter friends too. This saddens me naturally but then I try to look at it from the other direction and see all the new residents that have happy lives in the sanctuary because of what Jacky & I created with you, our supporters, past, present or future.
The importance of legacies can not be underestimated - or over appreciated. No matter the size of them, they are unexpected and always put to good use as Jacky & I have always tried to put them towards something we otherwise could not afford. So we tried to use them for something practical such as a new wheelbarrow / new toys / food / beds or something larger such as the ongoing sanctuary restoration work or solar panels, rather than letting the legacy be swallowed up entirely in necessary on-going bills of food and vet fees. For those of you who have remembered our furry family here at Chaldon in this way, may it be a long time before I find out about it, and I take this opportunity to thank you while I can - you really do make a difference.