Chaldon Animal Sanctuary
This may not ( I hope ! ) come down the chimney or be giftwrapped but it is my gift to you all, to share our furry family in thanks for your help in getting us through another year. We all know money is tight and how bad things are for everyone, particularly at the moment, but somehow, when a pet needs the vets or the food shed is low, the money is there and that’s due to all of you. What is on the animals wish list to Santa is the obvious of food, bed, toys, wormers etc but also freedom to play, to sleep in safety and to feel protected, secure, loved and be able to trust and be happy.
I never take for granted how lucky I am to be able to do what I do for our furry friends - if it wasn’t for your support, I couldn’t be here for the desperate animals that I help - and there’d be no newsletter full of photos and stories of life here at the Sanctuary.
So to each and every one of you who saves stamps, blankets, towels, fund raises or send donations - I and the many furry lives you’ve helped change, say a heartfelt - and waggy tailed or purring -
- Part of last years Christmas food delivery - being checked by Phoebe.
- Nikki showing appreciation - I hope!
Fifi & Java, the ferret girls.
One of this years wild fox cubs exploring - and cats rule - OK !
Poplar not letting cub go pass.
And later Paws by the shed, glaring at the cub.
Sadly since that photo was taken during the summer, Paws has left us at a grand old age of at least 17yrs. I also said sad goodbyes to Chiffon, Moses, Felix - so many treasured oldies here at the moment means so many losses happening. My thanks to Andrew for always coming when graves are needed to lay someone to rest. It’s not easy losing loved ones, but I think this sums up part of Chaldon’s approach.
A phone call late one evening that I answered - they’re usually wildlife calls but this wasn’t, which explains why at 11pm, instead of being sound asleep, I was bottle feeding a 2 day old kitten. Sadly, the mumcat knew better than us when she pushed the little one away, as after 2 days of 2 hourly feeds, day and night, the little lad died. However, his two sisters are growing up well and have a new home waiting for them with a friend.
..... and Goings
We can’t help them all, unfortunately - we know that ... But it’s great when you can be part of a group and help one by one.
Our wonderful vet didn’t put down a troubled terrier and wondered if I could help. I contacted Terrier Rescue and an hour later, the dog was safely on his way to kennels with people who understand what terriers are about. As a general rule, terriers were originally bred for working and so adapting to our human lives is quite a challenge - and challenging is just what terriers can be in the wrong hands ! Thankfully, this little chap is now in safe hands, what a pleasing result due to everyone doing their bit.
Another evening, another phone call but a bit earlier thankfully and soon another little dog arrived instead of being put down, After some surgery to sort an ongoing health problem ( another example of how your financial support makes a difference ), he also has gone on to a new home with friends as he is a real little gentleman who doesn’t need a permanent space here, but needed us in a hurry the evening he came.
And Some Stay .....
There are also new permanent arrivals with two ex-stray - and now ex - tom cats, welcome Dennis & Flame. Dennis was being kept an eye on but when the people feeding him were going to move, they wanted to make sure he was taken care of, and he’s enjoying his life of a cosy bed and a home. As is the other new stray whose attitude was so bad, he was considered a feral ( wild unused to humans ) cat but in fact, he was also just surviving the best way he knew how - eat the food put out for foxes and avoid trouble and humans. Again, a friend stepped in and helped get him (Flame) into safety and thankfully he’s a big softy rather than a wildie. The importance of neutering is highlighted yet again with these two boys no doubt being responsible for hundreds of kittens.
Tea & Biscuits
As you know, the hens Jacky & I bought from a battery farm, we named after biscuits - Digestive, GingerNut, Wafer, Bourbon, Hobnob, Rich Tea, Garibaldi & Mini - Garibaldi. Sadly time has taken its toll and during August, there was only Hobnob left and hens do prefer to have company. When I was talking to a friend, she mentioned that her father had just rescued 3 hens that needed help. He didn’t have the space to keep them but couldn’t leave them living in a coalbunker where they had been, very thin, no daylight and in a dreadful state. So my friend ( thank you Iryna ) delivered the new girls to join Hobnob and when naming them, I decided that tea and biscuits went together so meet the Tea Ladies - - -
Tetley with Hobnob
Teabag (the smallest) & Typhoo (the baldest)
Max who I introduced in the last newsletter, is doing very well & I have since heard about one of his brothers who had a tougher time in his early months than Max, as although Max was nearly put down when 5 months old, he was well loved in his original home.
Max also has a new best friend as I’ve long loved German Shepherds and we’ve had several ( all rescues ) here over the years, often with more than one at the same time. Sadly time is running out for Drummer, who is astonishing as he’s happily survived a heart problem since he was 2 yrs old ( is now 12yrs ), but I felt the time was right to take another young GSD in as I don’t want to be without one when that dreaded day arrives that I say goodbye to Drummer.
When a young (18mth) GSD arrived in a friend's local kennel, she mentioned him to me and when I saw his photo and heard his problems, I not only fell in love but thought I could help him and offered him a place here. However, the kennels are local to my friend - in Scotland ! Me travelling is out of the question of course but between them, my friend and sister made it possible for Phoenix to arrive.
Boris, as he was then called, was going through a behaviour rehabilitation programme in the kennels as he was suffering from severe OCD ( Obsessive Compulsive Disorder ) as he’d had such a difficult time in life ( here is his 4th home that we know of, plus 4 various kennel stays at least, after being found as a starving stray when about 6 months old, poor lad.) He was an incredibly stressed lad who found it easier to resort to living in his own fantasy world rather than our real one - he saw imaginary fairies ( well, I don’t think fairies are real - or are they ! ) - paced like caged zoo animals used to, circled and had no recall when off lead, being worse outdoors than inside.
Luckily the kennel staff are very good and gave him every help to start coming out of his problems but he was still hardly an easy homing prospect. Thankfully the staff in due course, agreed that Boris could come to me, having been reassured I have the experience to cope - and to help him, which the other dogs of course have also been able to do. My sister drove up and stayed with my friend overnight ( thank you Jo ), and then collected Boris the next day and drove all down the country to deliver him here, and then she drove home afterwards - an exhausting couple of days and so good of her to do that, so that we all could help him - thank you Jennie.
It takes time, usually months or even years to see an animal learn to trust again, but the daily routine remains fairly similar which gives them the security they need. Behavioural issues are not usually fully resolved - managing them for life, not curing them may be needed and it’s taken a lot of effort to make progress with Boris. However, now he is rising from the ashes, mentally and physically ( he was severely underweight through stress ) and is now named Phoenix. He’s enjoying life nowadays and doesn't spend much time in his imaginary world, and can be distracted out of it too and come for a cuddle or a game with his best mate Max. ( Drummer loves him too.) So, still early days but such progress made already, welcome to our family Phoenix, now safe and loved and not going anywhere else.
Playtime - chase me!
I make no apology for using the double spread centre of this issue to include the long awaited photos of the rockery, in memory of Jacky.
They show the progress through the stages as
gradually evolved and grew. However, I’m delighted to say that doesn’t mean the photos are animal free, as it had to be supervised naturally !
The limestone was an Ebay find that was donated, as was the water pump ( thank you Chris ). The plinth for the water shell, Jacky & I bought as the base to a bird bath many years ago; various guttering/wood etc already here was put to a new use; the slate sign (above) was beautifully painted by Lyn & Maggie and thank you Andrew for all the hard building work.
July 2011 Ideas - & Chico inspecting it
October 2011 Work begins
Words on the base of plinth -
‘Find much joy in earthly place
And in thy spirit keep forever peace’
October 2011 Taking shape.
Benson testing the new water bowl
November 2011 Building the stream
January 2012 Nearly done
April 2012 Plants arrive
Gershwin & Poplar with the stream off
August 2012 Finished apart from more planting next year
And look closely .....
Anyone For Tennis?
Drummer & Binty
The washing machine is kept very busy here as you can imagine and the sight of all the pawprint bedding on the line, plus a cat bed is quite normal here - well, when it’s not raining!
And when it was dry but not put away, Katrina made herself comfy on top of the pile with Ginger making do with my bed!
Who Believes Animals Can’t Talk !
I’ve long said, they may not speak in English, but they still speak - to us - to each other - and are able to understand different species too. I’m not good with other human languages and don’t speak or even understand French / Russian etc and the dogs don’t speak sheep, but they certainly understand it !
Albi our sheep ( now 15yrs ) likes to bleat in greeting to visitors and our dogs know the difference in his bleats, those to ignore and those to respond to and charge up to the field so they can try and catch a glimpse of whoever Albi is talking to.
Likewise the dogs recognise different cat calls and mostly ignore them, and likewise the cats ignore barking dogs - unless it’s the going out / walktime barking when the cats don’t sit in the way by the door !
Little Parker is an old Jack Russell and he’s become the archetypal grumpy old man - with good enough reason as he’s now blind and very hard of hearing. This means if he’s feeling a little unsure if the way is clear in front of him, he’s taken to muttering and grumbling and the other dogs know to move aside. One morning Parker went out of the kitchen after breakfast and stood there grumbling while he decided what to do next. Nikki, another Jack Russell happened to be near him but she moved and turned her head away, just a little movement but saying in doggy language "I hear you & I’m no threat" but of course, Parker couldn’t see it. However, he also didn’t notice her there so he went off down the room quite happily, and then so did Nikki but it’s always fascinating to see the little interactions between them all.
One morning when the cats were eating breakfast, Sparkle & Rosetta decided to share the same plate and I watched with interest as they don’t usually share with each other, and can only describe what followed as a ballet, as they both sat and ate a bit, then moved round each other, taking it in turns to be the one who moved round the plate. It was lovely to see as is this ’starfish’ of cats another mealtime -
Rosetta, Sandy, Leia, Gershwin & Mister.
Not too sure if Sparkle’s tongue poking out is enjoyment of food - or a comment on the kittens Wilson & Mason.
Merlin & Leia sharing - both used to not like the other species when they arrived.
Merlin is a lurcher and they can be untrustworthy with cats and Leia used to be picked up by the dog in her previous home and ‘played with’ - in other words, shaken like a tug toy and had taken to living down the garden out of the way. So it’s particularly wonderful to see them trusting each other.
And Benson ( cat ) & Finn ( dog ) sharing as they stretch up waiting for a fuss - just as well I have two hands!
Cheshire Cats, Borstal Puppy and Racist Chicken!
Visitors often comment on how friendly our cats are but as I logically reply - "you don’t see the shy ones who hide" and this was illustrated to me yet again recently. Tootsie has settled in very happily, coming & going with the others - except when people are here when she vanishes. I sometimes spot her briefly in the distance, all wide eyed and worried but as soon as the coast is clear, she comes back round my legs and is her usual purry self. Another time I put the tv on just as Tootsie came into the room - she heard a female voice and froze as she knew it wasn’t me. It took a good minute or so ( with me chatting to her ), before she was reassured it was safe and wasn’t another person actually here that perhaps wasn’t to be trusted.
When some friends were here, they met Max and the comment they made that if he was a human, he’d end up in Borstal ! There’s little doubt that other than normal hooligan puppyness - which is quite enough, that if he was in the wrong hands, he’s a disaster waiting to happen.
Then when the Tea Ladies arrived, one is a usual brown girl like Hobnob who was quickly accepted by her, but the other two are fancy breeds of some sort - smaller, different colour and shape. Hobnob was not sure about them at all, being rather assertive towards them and no doubt using rude swear words at them ! I told her we don’t have prejudices here and she could behave herself or she’d be the one segregated - and in typical chicken fashion, after a few days, they were settling down nicely I’m pleased to say.
I’m working on this newsletter with (only) a couple of cats on my lap ( it’s usually more as the photo shows ) and have just accidentally pushed the wrong button on the computer and deleted a photo ( thank goodness for the undo button which quickly put it back in place ! ) I said to Tess it was because I’m trying to work round her in the way - I’d find it boring working in an office setup though !
You may know we used to have bric-a-brac stalls, but as the years have passed, our helpers have moved or aged and they stopped. I do try to sell a few bits online but it doesn’t replace the benefits of having a stall which also works as local advertising. There is now someone (thank you Gail) who is willing and able to run a stall for us at some of the local events next year, so we need to think ahead about two things please. Firstly, good quality items to sell, remembering that Christmas is coming and you may receive unsuitable gifts you can donate, plus people to get actively involved on the days – for transport and to (wo)man the stall - perhaps help set up or tidy away at the end of the day. More information next newsletter. Thank You.
And heartfelt thanks to those who have suffered a bereavement and had a collection in aid of our furry family instead of flowers ... the animals have benefitted from your thoughtfulness at the time of your sad loss.
These wonderful pencil drawings ( sorry about my photos which don’t show the true quality ) are done by an artist friend and you will perhaps recognise that they are residents of Chaldon - Drummer, Max, Mungo & me, cats are being done too.
Janet has very kindly offered her artistic talent in aid of Chaldon so that if you would like to have your pet (or human) drawn, she will donate 50% of the cost to Chaldon. With Christmas coming, if you want to commission Janet and help Chaldon, she needs good clear photo/s, and remember to say you’re via Chaldon. NO LONGER AVAILABLE
Thank you for helping the animals here while celebrating your own treasured ones, furry or human.
Our beautifully designed cards are still available, blank inside for your own personal message. Ten cards of the same design per pack, with envelopes.
NO LONGER AVAILABLE
The work surrounding and created by looking after the animals, does take a lot of time and effort ( cleaning, paperwork etc ). I’d like to thank Suzy for her marvellous help each week in getting the Sanctuary tidied up and back on its feet. Also thanks to those who read the newsletter on our website which saves postage. And about postage costs - a friend has saved Chaldon 19p per copy posted, by franking these for us - a huge saving, thank you.
Thank you to those of you who say no acknowledgement when you send a donation, I don’t like not writing back but it does help. Jacky & I were always keen to reply to post with personal replies but we did start using printed notes as Jacky’s health worsened, and during the busiest time at Christmas. Nowadays, however hard I try to keep up to date with replies, I‘m not managing to and when I realised I again had letters here for a fortnight that I’d still not answered, it cemented my reluctant change of heart that due to the changed circumstances, using a printed reply note is the way forward for me. Your letters and words and donations are all incredibly important and I like hearing from our friends so please don’t think it’s because I don’t care as that couldn’t be further from the truth. However, I hope you realise and accept the logic of this and am sure you’d rather I used the time to continue caring for the furry family instead of letter writing - thank you for understanding.
While wandering around the internet, I found this artwork by Stephen Huneck on his website here (www.dogmt.com) A dog lover in USA, and after a serious illness, Stephen designed a Dog Chapel where people can reflect on the love they share with their pets, a place of joy, love and friendship. I thank Stephen’s wife for giving her permission to use this here.
I think we can all agree with the sentiment - cats and dogs sharing and peace between everyone. Thank you all for your support and friendship.
Liz & the furries.
STOP PRESS - Chico who has so many of you to thank for being his friend, has just been diagnosed with heart failure, such a shock & worry as he’s only 7yrs.
He is stabilizing at the moment but it is a serious condition - we hope he has years still ahead of him. More info in next newsletter.
Saving one pets life won’t change the world...
but it will make a world of difference to that one pet.