Chaldon Animal Sanctuary
After a cold but dry spring, we're now sizzling, but it's still dry and that makes us very happy. The family members all appreciate it too as they head for a shady spot to contemplate life or simply lay out in the sun until they are forced to find a spot that is cooler. We think they are mad but everyone to their own!
Thankfully our losses have not been so bad as they were at the beginning of the year when we last wrote to you and a few newcomers to the family have needed help to readjust from their old lives.
In an effort to raise more funds we have turned to modern technology i.e. the computer and in particular the Internet. For some time we have had a web site for anyone to look at with info about our family, the latest newsletter and lots of 'photos. There has been great interest and so we thought to raise some extra pennies we would start selling goods on E-bay, a site dedicated to people who want to buy just about anything at the right price.
Lately, boot sales have not been so popular and although Fred our fundraiser still continues to go to local fetes and fairs, any better items may sell for more on the Internet. Browsers can stay at home and click on anything that may take their interest instead of attending an outside function where the weather can be off?putting. Also E-bay has millions of customers, which we don't.
We are asking if any of our supporters who live locally can look around their homes for anything that they really will not use and either 'phone or e-mail us for us to collect it or you to deliver it. Conversely if you live further away and have a computer could you sell something on E-bay for us and send us the proceeds. Our site is www.chaldonanimalsanctuary.co.uk and for selling things www.e-bay.co.uk
On our site we have a donations page which now has a Paypal button (thanks Tracey & Jean) making it really easy for you to send donations or any money raised. We have all noticed the sharp rise in everyday expenses and our animal food and veterinary bills are no different, so please look out your unwanted items and let E-bay turn them into cash.
To our old friends who prefer to post us a letter, send used postage stamps or collect bric-a-brac;we still need you. We are just trying a new avenue to bridge the gap between income and expenditure.
It was just an ordinary day for us but for one little chap sitting in our vet's waiting room, life wasn't so kind.
He was there to be given the final injection because his owners couldn't cope with him anymore. Fortunately Sue the receptionist on duty listened to the very upset owners and then 'phoned us to see if we could help this 5 year old terrier. We listened too and said we would try to help him and so a grateful owner duly arrived with Griff in tow.
Basically it was the old problem that happens so often; Griff had taken over as boss indoors. He wouldn't let his owners go out in the car without him, he over-reacted if the 'phone rang or when the postman paid a visit. He had, in fact become a pain to live with. Two animal behaviourists had tried to help, but Griff was well in control of his owners and so the training methods only partly helped. And yes, he had bitten too.
We certainly couldn't guarantee a success but between us we have a lot of knowledge and experience and back one another up in any tricky situations, so we started to assess him and for the first 2 days he sat in a pen in our lounge apart from exercise time. He watched us and the other family members and we quickly found that apart from being extremely dominant he was also very nervous. As he slowly merged into the family we found he would do anything for a tit bit. We started worth high value rewards i.e. a digestive biscuit so he would obey us without any qualms and then gradually the rewards were made smaller and finally just lumps of complete dog food, but he always had a reward. If he got over-excited or disobeyed he went back in his pen - with a reward. tidbit thrown in pen - he followed - door shut. Oh yes, we can be clever too!!! We decided we would not confront him as this would only bring his dominant character out but used bribery, i.e.: tit bits.
After a few months here, for most of the time he accepts that we're the boss not him. Of course he mumbles about the change of leadership and he still on occasions gets over-excited and so the pen is used again…. BUT he is making progress very slowly and his transition will probably take a couple of years, but at least he is alive. He is very happy accepting his new role in life and at least he doesn't have all the worries of running a home!!!!
As Liz was preparing her dog's dinner one evening, she noticed something not quite right. Midnight (cat) was sitting outside the back door but with an odd expression on her face, which made Liz go and see what on earth she was looking at, that had caught her attention so strangely. And there, sitting on the lane, staring intently at the back door waiting to be noticed - and more importantly fed - was Mrs. Wells, one of our regular wild fox visitors. Mrs. Wells was obviously feeding cubs and very hungry and didn't intend waiting until their usual feeding time at our bedtime.
So thanks to Midnight, Mrs. Wells had an early meal (and still arrived back at bedtime for a second helping) and now turns up most days for a first sitting as well which is lovely as we get to see her properly in broad daylight. (P.S. She now brings her cubs too!!)
Another time standing at the kitchen sink doing washing-up, we saw a squirrel arrive at teatime to have some of the chicken's corn, which the chickens don't mind. Magpies no, squirrels yes apparently!
[Update...and now the baby squirrels also come!]
Then Echo one of our cats spotted the squirrel in the chicken run and decided to go for a spot of "hunt the squirrel". He jumped over the fence and before he had the chance to misbehave, one of our bantam hens chased him out - it really was such a funny sight to see this big, longhaired ginger puss fleeing at top speed from this tiny bird a fraction of his size!
We went out to feed the fox family one afternoon and Snowdon (cat) was lying down and chirruped and called to us. Obviously we replied and said "hello" but to our surprise he didn't get up and come trotting over for a stroke like he usually does. As we went over to him, we saw the reason why; he had a dead mouse between his front paws, so we thanked him for it so that we could remove it before it was brought indoors to be eaten. Now, silly maybe, but we're not keen on handling deceased rodents so we picked up a small stick nearby, broke it in half and used it like chopsticks to pick the body up. What then to do with it - well, in the spirit of recycling and waste not, want not, we saw Mrs. Fox nearby so threw it towards her. She swooped and picked up her little mouthful, but what really astonished us was that she'd seen us throw the pieces of broken stick away and went over to the exact 2 pieces, (checked them in case it was more food) but just like our dogs, she sniffed the pieces we'd handled and ignored the rest.
And still on the subject of foxes, we have no problem with cats and foxes together - the foxes respect the cats and keep their distance. One day when we were watching, 2 adult foxes were eating with a cat joining in, followed by a magpie flying down to grab a beakful and being ignored by foxes and cats alike who preferred to eat the easy pickings in front of them. To complete this wonderful sight - 2 foxes, numerous cats around plus magpie, we then saw a deer wandering past in the field - magical.
THE MORE THE MERRIER
Last year a very good friend of ours had a problem but one that we were able to help solve. Our friend Daphne was going into hospital but had nowhere for her 17 cats to go. Her little family consisted of waifs and strays, old and young who had found their way to her when they desperately needed a Mum and a home. Now they needed temporary lodgings until their Mum was home again and able to cope with them.
As luck would have it another good friend Fred our fundraiser had only recently paid for a large and new shed to be erected here..what better place for a temporary holiday. The Fred Shed as it had been called was supposed to house all our extra items such as spare beds, bedding etc but its space was needed for much greater things. Quickly the shed walls were insulated and beds and litter trays placed around inside. A fan heater, radio and heated lamp were installed as well. We have to thank another good friend Phil for quickly installing the power supply that enabled Daphne's felines to lay around in comfort while listening to the radio!!
The plan to pick up the cats and bring them here went off without a hitch and soon all 17 settled down to life in the Fred Shed. As space indoors was limited, Gideon who is expert at such things quickly erected a cat run made of old wire panels. Installing a cat flap from the shed to the run completed the job. Now our second family could stay indoors or take the air outside on the various shelves and branches at their disposal. All were happy with life and when Daphne came out of hospital, she was able to visit her family. A little while later the Fred Shed occupants went back home to their Mum and all was well with the world.
Sadly, earlier this year Daphne's health deteriorated and she was admitted to hospital again. No problem though, the family moved back here (after we emptied it of the bits and pieces stored in there) and continued as if they hadn't been away.
It soon became apparent though that Daphne would not be able to manage looking after her little flock anymore, so they became permanent residents here (Daphne has one puss at home to keep her company).
Daphne is still their Mum and she visits them often but now that they have been micro chipped, they have their freedom to investigate all around them. They are certainly enjoying their country life and can be seen chasing all sorts of "things", sitting on shed roofs or watching the days events pass by but funniest of all is the day they met our pigs. The looks, the twitching noses and the frozen postures said it all but then we don't expect too many cats have met a pig!!!
The cats are now being encouraged into the bungalow so that they can enjoy a proper home life and the Fred Shed can be closed up. Who knows the shed may even return to being used for storage but thank goodness to Fred, Phil and Gideon making a temporary home almost paradise.
Daphne is delighted to be able to add her own postscript below.
"What would my cats and I have done - it doesn't bear thinking about, but I do think that the spontaneity and willingness with which this urgently needed help was given is just one of the many heartening aspects of some splendid teamwork.
'The furry friends can't show how lucky they are except by the way they're enjoying themselves, but I know there is no need to worry about them. On the low days this is a tremendous relief.
A fascinating development of the move to Chaldon has been the opportunity to watch how the two families of cats have integrated and settled down together.
We all know that cats have completely independent personalities and are extremely intelligent. Some of mine have learned one thing more quickly, some have been more daring than the others - for instance in the first encounter with a pig. Jacky & Liz have kept me informed and much entertained with each step. I have quite a circle of pen pals and so the news of the sanctuary and its wonderful owners has spread around the world."
It's time to sign off once again, but as always our grateful thanks to all of you who help our animal family in whatever way. Your efforts don't go unappreciated because no matter how small or large your contributions are important.
Lillian hiding in the long grass.....we can see you!!!