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After an unsettling year, another Christmas comes racing towards us and will no doubt be very different, but I do hope you have coped with all the challenges.
As I sit at the computer working on this newsletter, I have a couple of cats on my lap ( Ruby & Twiggy ) with Rosa ( dog ) tucked down by my side. We have a roof over our heads, food for us all in the cupboards and dare I whisper it - currently no major health issues with anyone.
The daily life continues here at the sanctuary of course, tummies to fill, litter trays to empty and cuddles to give etc. Fortunately I still have Andrew’s help as he’s mostly working outside or in the work barn, and you can see some of the projects within this news.
The second lockdown has just been announced as I finish putting this newsletter together so I can only repeat my sincere wishes of earlier this year - keep yourself and loved ones safe, and I hope you are able to get any help you need. Perhaps hedgehogs and bears have the right idea with hibernating over winter - let us hope that next year is a gentler one for us all.
Ian Dibble ( our vet ) - where do I start to thank someone who has quietly been such a huge support in the background of my life for 40 years. Chaldon Animal Sanctuary would not exist without Ian, along with our other amazing supporters especially in those early years ( 1991 ).
As we all know, finances are always tight with animals, and in the early days of what Jacky & I were doing, we were constantly hanging on by our fingernails to make ends meet, and vet bills were a running tally that we chipped away at all the time. Despite that, our animals were never refused treatment and were treated with the same concern and professionalism that any gold star paying client received. In due course, a legacy allowed us to wipe the slate clean with our vet practice - what a wonderful day that was.
We would turn up with any animal for Ian to treat, not just the usual cats and dogs, but I’ve sat in the waiting room with Trevor the turkey on my lap or walked a goat ( Icicle ) in on collar and lead. And even the cats and dogs with their temperament issues, have provided their own challenges for handling and treating though I still smile when remembering the comment that “your goats are better behaved than some client’s dogs” !
With the dreadful situation of this year since Covid, Ian has not been working and sadly, is now actively retired - and I use the word active deliberately as I know he will still be keeping himself busy. Heartfelt thanks Ian for always being there for our pets and us, with your knowledge and veterinary skill, your support of our cause and of course, your friendship.
No prizes but have a bit of fun seeing if you can spot all our species that Ian has treated over the years - list at the end - how did you do Ian ?
More years ago than seems possible ( where have the years gone ! ) - beanbag beds or anything with the polystyrene beads in, were banned after yet again, clearing up a split ( or chewed ) bed. As some of you may know, you end up finding them weeks later as they get everywhere.
It occurred to me that I now have a completely different group of dogs of course and while some dogs may be wary of the movement and sound of them, others may like one. I found a cheap second hand faux leather one and put it down in the lounge and watched to see what would happen.
Naturally it was given a good sniff as they “read the news” of where it had come from, and then it was promptly claimed by Nikki as you can see, with Bumble on the chair behind.
Fagin also tried it for size, and Juliette & Maddie blended in nicely but they showed no further interest, so I’m not planning on adding any more bean beds to the household - just in case !
You can see in the ‘photo below how Tootsie got her name, with her little white toes.
This ‘photo made me smile as she became ‘tootsie - less’ by tucking her paws under her, very prim and proper !
Bumble & Fagin are making progress, little step by step. It may have seemed a small thing when Bumble recently was eating his dinner near the washing machine but I had a huge grin on my face. The machine went to its fast, noisy spin while Bumble was eating - he looked up and then put his head back in his dinner bowl. Not so long ago, he’d not even come into the kitchen if the machine was on.
Fagin watches others and some of the others who will knock the bowl out of my hand, are asked to sit to give me a moments pause to put their bowl safely on the floor. Fagin decided to offer the same behaviour, entirely self taught and not asked of him at all, clever lad.
Dawn doesn’t like to be observed, her ears go sideways with worry so I was pleased to sneakily catch this lovely photo of her with Fagin and Rosa. Another day she had been looking out of the lounge door and you might think that was nothing special - except there were workmen outside the window and she hadn’t run into her safety spot. This is a huge leap forward for her.
I’ve been at it again with spotting Freecycle finds and thought a couple of chairs in faux leather ( wipeable - most important ! ) might be appreciated and as you can see from the following snapped photos, I wasn’t wrong as Taxi, Dawn, Fagin & Pique show.
There doesn’t have to be much box left for it to still be a box, which as we all know, are much prized by cats. So first we have Mason quickest in the remains of a box, with Sparkle waiting her chance to get in as Mason pretended he hadn’t noticed her !
The look of dismay is evident as Sparkle sees him lay down, in possession of the box !
Sparkle then lost interest once it was empty but various others decided to sleep in it - Boo, Dilly, Tootsie and doubling up, Boo & Cinders squeezed in together with Juliette last.
The box was going to go out for recycling and instead ended up being in the way for the next few weeks until it fell apart.
And talking of daft cat sleeping spaces - this is also not a bed, it’s just a shelf and there are plenty of comfortable soft beds in the same room that could have been used by Juliette & Dilly.
Featured below - Twiggy, Nikki, Jeeves, Jovi, Ruby, Taxi, Jetta, Heidi, Pique, Tootsie, Raisin & Wizard
Every year the Chairman of Tandridge District chooses one or more good causes as the Chairman’s Charities for the year, and Jeremy Pursehouse has chosen us as one of his nominated causes ( along with Valgray’s Collie Rescue and a local Scout group ) who will benefit.
Jeremy has already completed a 16 mile fundraiser walk on one of the hot summer days, but sadly with the current restrictions, it is much harder for him to organise events, but I know all of us will be grateful for the results of his hard work.
Thanks to Rotary Caterham Harestone for another year of kindly funding this Christmas ‘photo newsletter edition.
The Hatcher Animal Welfare Trust approached me about a grant and I am thrilled to thank them for their generous donation which paid for the much needed sanctuary roof repair. Roberta Hatcher adored animals and treated her dogs and cats not as pets, but family members, which particularly resonates with me of course.
The work was delayed by the events of this year, but the scaffolding is up and the roofer ( thank you Graham Harvey ) is currently busy waterproofing us before the winter weather settles in.
The front of the property and parking area have had a long overdue tidy up too. Some chainsaw work cleared overgrown elders covering the bric-a-brac shed which had been protected by a tarpaulin. The shed has now been transformed with fresh roofing and a coat of paint to maintain it.
Then a ( thankfully ) small tree fell on my car during one of the October gales. There was no major damage but more chainsaw work was needed which has opened the area up even more. It will never be up to Chelsea show standards ( nor would I want it to be ) but I’m glad to be getting some of the ever outstanding work done, albeit unplanned and not yet completed.
It is not safe for cats to be free roaming but they also need freedom to be out and about, so with three acres here, there is plenty to do in the safety of our own land. However the almost cat proof fencing we put up a few years ago, has been tested this summer with quite a few successful unauthorised outings - yes, Twiggy, I do mean you looking innocent in bed !
Through trial and error, we have now found what seems to work but two cats ( Toto photo below & Popo ) have their own personal door - a microchip cat flap that only allows them off the property to go hunting in a neighbours garden. As they have done it all their life and the neighbour is happy for them to continue, this worked well until the day the cat flap suddenly let Tootsie go out and as she is not traffic smart and too friendly to strangers she was at risk.
So Andrew has been at it again - give him “this is the problem” and see him come up with a solution, this time involving an ordinary garden storage box.
Inside are two microchip cat flaps which need protecting from the weather as they are not designed for outdoor use. If one flap fails and allows the wrong cat through, they can’t get out past the second one as there is not much chance of both flaps failing at the same time, clever and successful.
Here Popo is sunning herself on top of it.
Katie lounging on my ( our ) bed though she now enjoys exploring our land as it’s a bit different from her urban background.
When I was looking through photos for this newsletter, it surprised me how often I’d see one and remember being pleased at whatever it was that one of the pets was doing. Looking back months later, that ‘something’ is now commonplace as the ‘photos show the journey of the little steps they take as they make progress here.
Bumble ( above ) and Fagin were very dependent on each other when they arrived, understandably with their background, but now they virtually ignore each other. They now enjoy playing with other friends - to see a small Bumble playing with lanky legs lurcher Pique or Fagin laying with Wizard is wonderful, and shows both the boys are now comfortable as individuals instead of being reliant on their brother.
Jeeves would only lay on the floor by my feet when he arrived and still does when worried, but gradually progressed to using a dog bed on the floor and now he uses a settee or armchair, as he gains confidence to relax away from me while still keeping half an eye open.
Sprite came to me many years ago as a feral ( born in the wild ) teenage cat so was past the ideal age to be tamed. However, after many hours spent just sitting with her, she accepts me as long as I don’t approach her. But at bedtime, she is sitting on my bed waiting for me and as we settle down, she puts her little head in my hand and purrs me a lullaby - happiness for both of us.
Tarzan ( another ex-feral ) got his name as when I went to collect him, he was swinging off the walls of the pen he was in. Nowadays he comes and headbutts my hand demanding a fuss and stroke, although like Sprite I still can’t approach him.
Happy hens Chuckles and Cloud in their Cluckingham Palace bedroom.
A couple of pictures taken during the warm days of summer, with Merlin & Ruby in a sun trap spot.
Then we have Jovi posing as a ‘flower’ ( the words on the ornament are - flowers of friendship grow in a special garden ).
Coming in from the field with Nikki trotting ahead of me as usual, she suddenly paused and turned to look back at me - why? Because she’d heard the change in my pace and sound of my footsteps, as I stepped over a large stick on the path in my way - they certainly see, hear and notice so much more than us mere humans .
The weather plays a part in life here as shown with the difference between a wet and dry walk being very noticeable. Both ’photos are the sign of a good walk as far as Wizard is concerned - a muddy undercarriage or brambles caught in his trousers and tail.
Chaldon Animal Sanctuary came into existence to help those who couldn’t be rehomed due to their behavioural issues, to provide a permanent place of safety when they were unable to go into the usual rescue routes and the alternative was euthanasia. As the issues are mental rather than physical, before and after ‘photos don’t usually show the result of what life here gives the residents, so I am pleased to show you the following - the first photo not long after Rosa arrived ( nice enough ) but the second ‘photo taken recently with a much happier and confident expression.
This is the reality and the difference your support in whatever way - donations, fundraising, sending stamps, purchasing items from our Amazon wish list etc, actually makes to the lives of the residents here.
With enormous gratitude and purrs and woofs from all of us
Liz & Furries
Guess the species answers.
COW, CHICKEN, DUCK, SHEEP, CHIPMUNK, GUINEA-PIG, CHINCHILLA, GERBIL, AVIARY BIRDS, GOOSE, DOG, PIG, GOAT, FERRET, RABBIT, CAT, TURKEY, FOX, HAMSTER