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    Chaldon Animal Sanctuary

December 2008.

Christmas Special.

Here we are again and as we look back on another year, we also thought you might like something a little different for this newsletter and to join us in one of our occupations of talking about our family.

We often reminisce and look back on how far our furries have come, and have conversations starting with "do you remember?", particularly when we’re looking at the latest ‘photos we have taken. The difference, not only in their bodily condition but also in the expressions of the now settled pet from the scared beastie that arrived, who often had no reason to trust or be happy with life.

This is the reality of what you all do in your support of our sanctuary...yes, we live with them, the joys and hardships, the fun and the sleepless nights, but we wouldn’t be able to do any of it if it wasn’t for YOU.

So with heartfelt thanks from all our furries, past & present...and no doubt, yet to come !!...we hope you enjoy our Christmas gift to you all of a ‘photo special edition newsletter.


Now you should recognise this’s Chico !!!

This is the first ‘photo we took when we collected him from our vets before we took him to the specialist who repaired his two fractured legs, and did a skin graft too.

Thankfully we had a newsletter all ready to go out that weekend and quickly did the Chico Appeal asking for help and boy, did you all respond magnificently in paying for his treatment, every penny of it and wasn’t it money well spent...look at him now sharing with Cristal.

Who’s armchair is it?

Bingo was also only 7 months when he arrived after being taken to the vets to be put down having bitten his 5th person, and yet he has never shown any sign of it to us or on his vet visits. He was another very worried lad who didn’t understand what was expected of him and needed some guidance to teach him.

Now he’s a cute and great little chap, if a little enthusiastic and lively..just as he should be.


Now here’s Fiddler who was labelled "evil" and was going to be euthanased when only 7 months old. Poor little chap was very skinny and a bundle of nerves. He expected to be hit and was terrified of eating if anyone was near him but now to see him fly down the kitchen and dive into his dinner is fact, he flies everywhere with his tail up and wagging.

He’s much more settled and quite full of himself, doesn’t believe he’s only a little dog and charges after the bigger dogs trying to keep up with them in our field.

Best of all, he wags his tail when we talk to him and doesn’t flinch when we stroke him, comes for cuddles and enjoys being brushed...which is just as well as he always looks a scruff and is full of leaves or mud etc !!!

This is Frisbee, another "surgery special" ( in other words, one who would have been put down ) who also is supposed to bite. There is no doubt he is terrified of having his collar touched ( been grabbed, thrown outdoors perhaps) but he has never put his teeth on us, although we can see how when very scared and if cornered, he might do. But there is no need to put any dog into that situation where he feels he needs to defend himself.

From a very flat ( and fat ) boy he is now full of life and bounce and waggy tail, typical springing Springer.


And this is Granville after his big operation on his elbow which you may remember from the year before last. He came as a young pup who was left alone while the owner worked, so of course he made a fuss and he has a very loud voice !!!

We soon discovered that major surgery was needed and as you can see, he is now a very happy lad who enjoys his walks without pain. He still suffers from separation anxiety and panics if left alone, so he travels in the car with us when we go out.

Here’s Cobweb when she arrived after living on the streets with a friend of ours feeding her until she coaxed her close enough to be caught. Poor little girl has a skin complaint that meant she was in distress with very sore and itchy skin and is on treatment all the time to keep her also meant her fur has grown long and silky now.

And then a year or so later looking somewhat more relaxed and happy. She had been so terrified of being stroked when she came and sadly we don’t think that was just because of her sore skin. There is a sad P.S to her story further on.


This is Hector who had originally been a feral and then was causing trouble by fishing in a neighbours pond...of prize Koi carp !!! When his owners kept him indoors to keep him out of trouble, he became desperately unhappy and nervous.

So he came to us all the way from Wales and as you can see, he is now a laughing happy and relaxed lad, thoroughly enjoying his "estate" here and happy to be indoors knowing he can go out when ever he wants to.


We have a lot of O A P’s ( Old Age Pensioner Pooches & Pussies ), here’s some of our old friends.

Widget is a bit frail now after her strokes earlier this year, and at 15yrs still enjoys a potter in our field although here she is tucked up in her favourite bed.

This is Soots who is now 17yrs and what you can’t really see on that ’photo is that she is on the roof of a garden shed, not bad for her age.

Julie is now 17yrs and although has given up on going for walks, quite happily potters about indoors and still loves her food.

Bruiser is 19yrs and deaf but still has a lot to say for herself with a miaow that announces her where-abouts whenever she needs to know where we are !!!


And to finish off our ‘photo special, here’s some group shots off our furries, taken this summer, just hanging out together or having fun.

Here’s Jess leading the way with Ben, Buzby, Widget and Finn.

An armchair full of cosy felines, Rhapsody, Ruffle & Lockett.

Game of tag in our field with Mungo, Frisbee, Fiddler, Cristal & Granville.

And after a game, a rest in the shade to catch your breath.

We always knew when Spring had arrived as Samuel cat used to join us on our dog walks, with Mungo & Binty.

Sadly Samuel is no longer with us and the only cat who used to come for a walk with the dogs, so we’ll miss his company next Springtime.

It's humbling how these poor mistreated creatures decide to still trust humans, although it often takes a while for them to really believe they are safe, and also, even years later, they will suddenly jump, flinch or react to something that startles them unexpectedly and we wonder what on earth they endured to still have it so firmly lodged in their very core of memory.


And a few pictures of some of the work that has been done here this year. The old falling down fence in our field and the new one you paid for.

The old paths we struggled with and the lovely new and safe paths we now have.





We’ve had painfully few nice days weather wise for our dog walks but it is mid Sept and the sun is out today. There is an autumnal chill in the air which is normally enjoyed and welcomed after hot summer days - but this year like last year, summer didn’t really arrive. So instead of relishing the autumn ( especially as we’d hoped to have a late Indian summer ), it is all too easy to think that it’s going to be a very long winter - again.

However, let’s not worry about that but enjoy today all the more for it’s rarity - the leaves are a tired green now and just beginning to dry and go brown, the brisk breeze today is making them rustle in the trees and it won’t be long before we’ll be scuffling our feet and paws through them as they fall. The sky is a lovely blue - not a bright summer one but a gorgeous sight with white fluffy clouds. Birds are busy tweeting and chirping, could almost be a Spring day by the sound of them.

And our dogs are pottering and playing - Frisbee is bouncing at Chutney trying to get him to play, Binty is chewing a stick and Merlin is romping with his new friend Harley. Ah - you haven’t heard about Merlin yet as he arrived just too late to be mentioned in our last newsletter. He is a young lurcher who had been seen roaming around the streets for 3 or 4 weeks and survived by eating the food put out for foxes. To say he was nervous is an understatement but one lady befriended him with patience - and plenty of food !!

The vets scanned him just in case he was microchipped and of course, the dog warden and lost & found places were informed but as the area Merlin was found in is near a travellers site, we all presume he’d been left behind or dumped. The lady who rescued Merlin was unable to keep him but she’d done the important bit catching him and getting him into safety. We knew Merlin was at the vets but were hoping he would be found a place in kennels however.. !! We had to go and collect some tablets and it just happened that Merlin was being taken out for a walk - or rather, was trying to be taken out as he shivered and shook in terror of going through the door. Well - you’ve guessed the rest although we did think and talk about him coming to live with us.

We are used to very scared dogs and are fully fenced and walk on our own land so he wouldn’t have to cope with getting used to being taken out for walks. In fact, over the next few days it soon became apparent just how many fears and hang-ups this poor dog suffered with.

He was only a little underweight but was covered in ticks and the vet nurses had done an excellent job in getting rid of them. He was terrified of - well - a long list of nearly everything, from paper, coffee mug, cardboard boxes, crisp packets, obviously washing machine but oddly not the television, doorways, being stroked and the word "come" made him flee in the opposite direction at top speed, so very sad when it should be a word of happiness to come for a fuss and stroke.

Having our other dogs has helped him tremendously and Harley who came from Spain last December, is a particular best friend as they are the same age, size and breed ( lurcher ) and they race around our field in perfect harmony and joy - a wonderful sight.

I’ve just paused writing to watch him, now playing with Cristal - bounce and chase in the sun and now he’s here.... "hello you, want a stroke lad - oh, your ears are lovely and warm. Are you puffed and enjoying yourself then? - silly question !! "....he’s pottered off to dig a hole now and shortly we’ll all go indoors and he ( along with all our others of course ), will flake out to have a snooze, dreaming of games played and then ready to do it all again this afternoon.

The word "come" has been gradually been including in chats with him when he has a fuss but without asking him to do it, until yesterday when I tried it and gently called it. He stopped and looked at me for a split second and then came flying to me like an overgrown gambolling puppy, nearly skidding round a corner....I nearly cried with joy, was absolutely thrilled....think he knows he's safe now !!!

So now he is getting cheeky - almost naughty as he sees what he can pick up to chew, or pushy as has a fuss and asks for more ( perhaps his name should have been Oliver !! - except that was a lovely old spaniel we had years ago ), or plays with my toes as I’m trying to get dressed and very gently took a sock off my foot, and even climbs the front half of him onto my lap for a fuss, not a proper arms round him cuddle yet as that is too much like being held or caught, but he relaxes and enjoys the strokes and words of nonsense spoken to him. Yes, he’s come a long way in two months and still a way to go but the progress is marvellous to see.

Now it’s November and his progress has continued as Merlin is now going through his delayed puppyhood. Recently he took a large envelope of used stamps and scattered them around the lounge !! He now will give the other dogs a race around our field at top speed, up & down, round & round and no-one stands a chance of catching him and it is wonderful to see him laughing as he runs. He had his first big "tree crash" recently, skidded round a corner and straight into a tree, ouch and can a lurcher scream for blue murder !!! He was quite sore on his shoulder but I was very pleased as he came to me for reassurance... ( when he arrived he'd run away if something scared him ) and the next day, was chasing round our field again, perhaps slightly slower than usual but he still outran everyone else !!!

Merlin, like so many others, was terrified of coming into the kitchen for his dinner, so he has his bowl near the doorway at the moment, like Fiddler used to. Recently Fiddler couldn’t have his bowl in his usual position ( a pile of towels were in the way ) and so I called him from the other end and what joy - he scampered down to me at full speed, tail wagging and tucked into his dinner. These are the little things that show great improvement and make us smile.


You may remember in the last newsletter we told you about the food bin that Gershwin landed in? Well, the same bin figures again but with a dog this time. Jiffy had been diagnosed with lymphosarcoma and we knew our time left wasn’t going to be long. At that stage she was happily pottering around, wanting walks but not eating much. Jiffy discovered at dinnertime, that she could knock the lid off the bin of cat biscuits and help herself!! Unfortunately too many upset her tummy so it was quite difficult to say no to her when it wasn’t going to be for long, so a couple of mouthfuls were allowed before putting the lid back on and steering her away from temptation. We have now lost the old girl but can smile at her "naughtiness" even so near the end of her life.

We’ve also lost dear old Cameron, one of our 3 legged foxes who lived here for the last 13 years. He hadn’t been able to live a life in the wild because of his missing leg so lived with his friend Rebecca in a purpose built fox pen where he didn’t have to worry about trying to catch his next meal as we always provided it for him. He didn’t want to be a friendly lad to us but was a great character and a very handsome boy.

As we mentioned earlier we have a lot of elderly pets and while we know that there will always be sad losses, this year has been a particularly difficult one. Not only have many of our old furries reached the natural end but there have been others who’ve died in their middle ages from things like cancer, kidney failure and even just recently, accidental poisoning.

The poison was from a vehicle which leaked a small amount of brake fluid, although we originally presumed it to be antifreeze as cats find that attractive. Further investigation found it to be brake fluid so they must have only walked in it and then washed their paws - it wasn’t much but enough to cause death two days later, such pointless loss of lives.

Please be ultra careful with your vehicles or any visiting, just glance to make sure there isn’t a little colourless patch left behind on your driveway or street.

Rest in peace Ticket, Ditto & Cobweb.

Sadly during the summer we have lost others of our elderly pussy family too..Norman who loved to greet visitors as did Rudi, one of our friend Daphnes cats that came to live with us. Norman when he arrived couldn’t believe that food was always available and used to spend hours sitting next to the bowls of food, managing to squeeze in just another little mouthful. Also dear old Suzy who kept out of the way of visitors but was very affectionate with us. Twiggy, whose sister is still here and misses her. And in our last newsletter we told you of Sorrell who had come to us but sadly he developed liver failure and we lost him after a short illness. He had enjoyed his time with us but we feel cheated that it wasn’t for longer.

So many losses in this newsletter and we could fill the whole newsletter with memories of them all - all individuals with their own tales of woe & then tales of joy.

They have a place in our hearts and memories forever.


Earlier you saw ‘photos of our 2 OAP’s Julie & Widget, who although enjoying a quieter life now are both fully aware of breakfast and dinnertimes and who can get into the kitchen first to be given their bowls. Neither have 100% sight nowadays and whoever arrives at the first bowl tucks in quickly leaving the 2nd one upset that they have nothing to eat until it’s pointed out that a 2nd bowl is sitting there being thrust under their nose. Fortunately they both have the same amount of food so it doesn’t matter which bowl they chose. They sure keep us on our toes trying to keep up with them !!


As we come to the end of this photo extravaganza which we hope you enjoyed, we must again say it’s because of you that we can help the animals that come into our care. This was the year of the volunteer and to us, you’re all our wonderful volunteers with your help and support of our sanctuary.

Our thanks to Keith who has come to us for many years now and is always willing to do allsorts of jobs. Also our best wishes to Fred who is still recovering from his knee operation this year. Thanks to all of you who bring us towels, blankets, food, stamps and donations. We are still collecting used postage stamps and this is a busy time of year to be saving them, and our thanks to Elaine & Desmond for continuing to raise so much each year for us by their hard work sorting and selling them on our behalf.

We approach the end of another year and wonder who we are destined to meet in the months to come, animals abused and mistreated by their so called owners who will arrive on our doorstep.

Saving one pets life won’t change the world...

but it will make a world of difference to that one pet.

Don't forget to order your calendars ASAP please.



We wish you all a very Happy Christmas and New Year.

Love and thanks from all the furry family,

Jacky & Liz.

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