Chaldon Animal Sanctuary
The New Year soon arrived and we wondered what it would hold for us. Sadly two of our pussies died in January, Xante one of our friend Daphnes' cats, and Forsyth a lovely black & white fella who had been with us for some years. Both were elderly and had started having health problems so their loss wasn't unexpected but nevertheless, upsetting for us.
Dylan our 14year old sheep who had been here since he was saved from slaughter as a 5 month baby, was found one morning curled up in bed and had passed away in the night. We had been watching him as old age was catching up but he at least, chose the time and place. A few days later Icicle, Dylans goat friend also left us after a short illness with heart failure. An old lady too but nevertheless, a character and part of the family. So the New Year started, but not very well.
Midway through January the weather was awful with high winds and rain and just to add to our upset, the wind took half the roof off of Trubshaw, Chance, Albi and Kebabs house - once our garage actually !!! Fortunately none of the animals were hurt but we were met by the sight of the 4 beasties standing totally bewildered surrounded by the roof that had fallen in around them. The only place suitable with shelter that we had was the ex- chicken paddock and so began a long 3 and a half hour battle to encourage the four to walk to their new temporary home.
The field is one side of our bungalow and the chicken run the other, so in theory it wasn't far for them to walk but as they were all scared and they have never come out into the lane in the front was why 3 1/2 hours elapsed before all were relocated. The 2 sheep were comparatively easy to move and with encouragement walked slowly down the lane on leads to their new temporary accommodation. However Trubshaw and Chance were a different kettle of fish. If walked on a halter and lead, they could pull us over and then career out of control anywhere they wanted to, and so a devilish plan was put into place !!!
One at a time, the end of the rope was tied to Liz's 4 x 4 tow bar and slowly the vehicle edged forward with first Chance and then Trubshaw in tow, sounds simple doesn't it ? It started off fine, Chance listening to our words of encouragement, very slowly ambled down the lane and then turned into the chicken run by another rope strategically placed to get her through the gate. All went well and Chance was now into safety.
Oh boy, compared to Trubshaw that was easy, he didn’t agree with wearing a halter, nor being attached to a car and as for walking, his legs were frozen. We called on some neighbours round the corner and asked if they could help us, explaining our plight. They understood as like us, they have a menagerie and are used to dealing with animals and so they came to our rescue as extra hands to help.
Trubshaw gradually found himself approaching the gateway to his temp home and was nearly through it, when now devoid of ropes he reversed and ran up the lane into a neighbours garden. Words won’t describe what we all felt !!! It was now nearly dark and Trubshaw had trapped himself between two fences and so was able to be caught again.
This time the journey down the lane was much quicker and soon Trubshaw was where he should have been a lot earlier. Without our neighbours, we dread to think how we would have coped. We were all exhausted and Liz had several bruises where one or the other "dears" had bashed into her. The next day we spent a very quiet time recovering !!!
The herd are now back in their field having had the roof mended of their house, the chicken run was a blessing for a short time but with no grazing and the mud 6 - 8 inches deep, not ideal. We must thank Brian ( of Cristal fame ) for repairing the roof and making such a good job of it. All’s well with the world once again - well, for now !!!
I had it in mind to write about Trubshaw and the water butt, however as I’ve brought my notepad out while walking dogs, I’ll just digress for a moment.
It is early February and it went below freezing overnight, so the ground is nice and firm instead of muddy & slippery. Best of all, the sun is out and sitting in it, is quite warm - lovely pale blue sky, wispy white clouds and birds everywhere singing fit to burst. It really feels like the first day of Spring - our snowdrops are out and just yesterday we saw the tight crocus buds starting to open - a joyful splash of colour. Goodness !!!! - is the weather bad at the coast as I’ve just heard a seagull flying past.
So, back to Trubshaw and the water butt when they were in their alternative paddock. The water butt doesn’t have a ballcock in it like the proper one in their field, just a hose running into a drum that we turn on from the outside tap. Trubshaw had a drink one morning but the level was quite low, so he was waiting for it to be filled up. Out we went and turned on the tap, the water gurgled through the hose - and Trubshaw jumped and ran away !! To see half a ton of bull frightened by the running water is not expected, and he then stood at a distance, watching and listening, not at all happy.
Once the butt was filled and hose turned off, we told him it was O.K. now but he still wouldn’t approach it. We left him and went and watched from the kitchen window. Ten minutes later, Albi sheep went and had a drink and then finally Trubshaw decided it was alright after all, and approached and had a bit more to drink...big scared baby.
SPANISH STORY. "OLE"
Brian & Lorraine, friends of ours go out to Spain quite often as they have a holiday home there, and on one occasion, they saw a little pup that ran away like a streak of lightening. Over time the pup started approaching and taking food from them, and each time they visited, she’d appear and spend time with them, gradually gaining confidence, although as she was surviving on the streets, she remained wary of being caught. Her age was unknown although she appeared to have only been about 3 months old when first seen. In due course, she turned up pregnant and then the next visit, had 2 pups with her which Brian & Loraine were able to catch and put into a rescue kkennel over there.
By now Brian & Lorraine were of course well involved and felt responsible for the mum dog, now named Cleo Rose and her future, which was a bleak one without any help. Many dogs are poisoned or otherwise killed in that part of Spain, and so something needed to be done to protect Cleo Rose.
The decision was easily made to take care of her, they had fallen in love with this little dog of course. After a couple of attempts, they managed to catch her and get the local vet to spay her. At the same time she had flea and worm treatment etc too. Brian & Lorraine asked us if we would be able to take her if they bought her to this country, as they both work and couldn’t fairly give her a home, and we were delighted to be able to say yes, we could take her. Yes, there’s plenty of dogs in this country that need help - we’ve been doing what we can for years to help them already, but we couldn’t refuse to help this little one just because she was foreign !!
So Cleo Rose was caught one final time and left behind her the dangers of living on the street, and put into the safety of kennels while her Pet Passport - allowing her to travel, was sorted out. Finally after some delays, the date was set for leaving Spain - early February, and after a 36 hour journey by car and ferry and car again, she arrived here one evening. Naturally a very tired little girl who said hello to us and our other dogs. That first night the temperature went to minus 5 but when it’s that cold, we leave the heating on low overnight so we were all warm and Cleo snuggled into her duvet.
The next morning for our walk was a very hard frost so on with a nice warm coat for her. The second morning we had snow - she wasn’t sure what to make of that at all, bit of a culture shock she was having after sunny Spain, the area she had left was mild and dry.
She didn’t mind the cold and soon took to running around on our walks, but then the rain returned and the mud. This she doesn’t like ( neither do the rest of us ) and would stand in our field shelter on the paving slabs to keep out of it. When walking through the mud, she has a very high stepping gait like the Viennese horses as if it would keep her toes clean and dry.
The first days she ate and slept, and came on our walks and slept, and slept some more while starting to adjust to her changed life as well as recovering from the long journey. Remember, this little lady lived the first 10 months of her life on the streets and the next 10 months in kennels, so she didn’t have any idea of a normal home life. There was, and is, a lot to learn and we’ve spent a lot of time teaching her - from the most basic of housetraining ( took only a week ) to the importance of being able to take her collar, walk through doorways and her learning to trust because she had spent so much time as a pup evading people.
As we’ve already had a Cleo ( and Chloe ), we needed to change her name and she is now Cristal, which is the name of a beach in Spain near where she lived, plus the colour of sand is her coat colour, as well as it suiting her sparkling character ( crystal ).
Cristal is now a lapdog and happily uses an armchair as you can see. We still have a long way to go but it has been, and is, wonderful to share her journey as she learns to trust and be a much loved part of our family.
You didn’t think you’d heard the last about Chico presumably ! Since we last wrote he has had his freedom to go exploring and certainly enjoys it here - well, Chico just enjoys life really, he’s that sort of character. However it became apparent that instead of building muscle strength up and becoming less lame, that he would chose to put himself back into the Lewis pen after a few hours and that his front leg was bothering him.
Chico in the snow during January. This is the leg with the worst fractures that had given him less problems at the time of the original accident but it had needed a lot of metalwork to repair it - pin, plate and screws.
Our vet x-rayed it and there wasn’t an obvious reason for the limping, although it was likely the plate etc might be causing it. So back to the specialist vet we went and Chico stayed for the afternoon while they anaesthetised him to investigate and the decision made to remove all the metalwork.
We went and collected Chico that evening ( the M25 during rush hour but thankfully wasn’t as bad as feared ) and Chico was delighted to see us. By the time a slight scenic detour was taken on the way home - O.K...yes, a wrong turn = going the wrong way ! It was 8.30 p.m. when we got home. A very long day which included 4 and a half hours driving.
Chico had a light dressing on his leg which came off after a couple of days revealing a long wound healing nicely. He is back on strict rest though as the bone may be slightly weak from the holes the screws leave when removed, so no rushing around and jumping allowed for a few weeks again.Hopefully by the time you receive this newsletter, Chico will almost be ready to start doing more and this time will see the end of his problems and be able to get on with life, just in time for better weather and his first full summer with us.
Polka would like you to know that this cartoon does not represent her !!
Some of you may remember our cat Polka who had the radioactive treatment for her thyroid problem, and you raised the money needed to pay for the treatment. Well, she is currently asleep on my lap as I type, sprawled over Cristal and being a perfect pest every time she stretches out and kicks the computer keyboard!!
In May it is the anniversary of her treatment and she will be 16 on the 31st and would never have made it to that age without the treatment, so a huge thank you to all who helped her during that worrying time. It’s lovely to see her at her advanced age going out sunbathing and having a potter around outside in the better weather.
Our one-eyed, toothless, radioactive wonder amazes us that she is still able to enjoy life although she takes it at a slower pace as befitting her years. Thankfully one of the advantages is that she has stopped bringing us rodents in as a present, yes, even without teeth she could catch them!!
As we say goodbye, we’d like to thank Elaine & Desmond for their dedication in collecting the used stamps from us and preparing them for the dealer, and thanks to all of you who send us their used stamps - another £60 has been raised from the sale of them, quite amazing and a real help.
Could we just ask that you separate the foreign stamps from the others and that you leave a half inch paper surround on all the stamps, this enables the dealer to be able to remove the actual stamp only for sale to customers.
Our thanks to Keith, Brian, Lorraine, Fred & Phil for their help and also to all of you who bring towels, blankets and food for the family. As always we don’t forget any of you who keep our family safe.
Grateful thanks and best wishes from all at the sanctuary,
Jacky & Liz.
Granville & Mungo showing what handsome boys they are.