Chaldon Animal Sanctuary
IS IT SUMMER?.
Hello folks, the Chaldon gang are here again with news of our goings on. We have had some newcomers join our family but more about them later. Writing your newsletter doesn't come easy to us, we tend to care for animals easier than we can put our thoughts down in writing, however, we have always felt that it is important that we try to share a little of our lives here with you so that you know where your help and support is going. By understanding the difference that you make to our furry family, helps you to be part of it and so here we are again, with our latest ramblings.
We know we often write about the weather but with our lifestyle, it is something that does very much affect our daily lives as it alters the actions of our furry family so we hope you don’t get bored with us chattering on about it.
The sun is out for the 4th day in a row so perhaps Spring is finally here ( early March ), certainly our pets seem to think so. We’ve just come in from our morning dog walk and the dogs have been charging around, digging holes with earth flying, chasing each other round the trees, playing peek a boo as they change direction, while the older ones sedately pottered around or found a patch of sun out of the wind and chewed a twig or stick and sniffed the breeze to catch interesting scents.
Our cats have suddenly decided to stir from the radiators and the younger ones are having mad dashes around outside, accompanying us while we’re working ( feeding Albi our sheep, etc ) which has been a singularly lonely job this winter as the cats wisely stayed indoors. Now the younger ones are seen flying about at top speed, investigating everything and even sitting in the sun but only for a short while as it’s still jolly cold. It was minus 3 last night and still a hard frost on the ground but it doesn’t seem to matter when the sun is out.
Fast forward a few months into the middle of June, it’s been a slow summer this year so far for decent weather and it certainly isn’t yet "busting out all over"!! Now our field is looking lovely as it is full of buttercups which are so tall, we can "lose" dogs in them.
Where are you?......Here we are !!!
Jacky was in the field one day watching as Chips and Polly had a lovely chase around. They had been up the field, down the field, in a figure of eight and round and round in circles, but by now they were hot and breathless so they turned to come back to Mum. Jacky fell about laughing as first Chips disappeared into apparently a crater in the ground. His little face as he pulled himself back to ground level was a picture but best of all was to follow as Polly, who was on her way back, suddenly also disappeared apparently "got" by the long grass grabbing her legs...they didn’t chase around any more that day !!
And now as we try to finish our ideas for this newsletter and bring together the pieces already written, it is early July and we’re having a heat wave with temperatures at the top 70’s and in to 80 degrees each day. It is lovely to see the sun and we’ve been lucky with a good breeze to help keep it fairly pleasant but we have been walking our dogs for longer in the cooler mornings and a shorter walk in our woods in the hot afternoons.
Our cats are spending long hours outdoors, snoozing in shady spots in between popping in for mealtimes.
Here’s Echo under a bush.
Our cats have a lovely time living in the country, with little fear of traffic or people, they all have favourite spots to visit or curl up in when the weather is warmer. So when Disney our beautiful white & ginger cat went missing, we were really surprised as he is always around and about and has lived here for 6 years so was not expected to disappear. At first we wondered if he was locked in somewhere but as the days passed to a week, we thought that less likely. Posters had been put up and local vets phoned and as Disney has distinctive colour and markings, we hoped someone would spot him ... well, he was spotted...here!!!
Jacky was sitting outside in the garden when a movement caught her eye, and there coming out of Liz’s bedroom door was Disney, at first Jacky couldn’t believe her eyes ... was it him.. were those markings his? Of course it was him but by this time he had wandered off and into our woods and nowhere to be seen. Liz who can still move about with ease followed his path but Disney had gone / vanished into thin air. We talked about the likelihood of him popping back home for a bite to eat and then going again when he had never ever done anything like it before and kept our eyes open to espy him again but to no avail.
Then 2 days later Liz was in our field with her dogs, when Mungo gave a few woofs and when Liz looked, she saw Disney walking down the lane towards the bungalow, coming from the opposite direction from where he was seen before. A rescue mission was put into practice and very soon Disney was back indoors, he was popped into a pen so he could be checked over and then kept in for a few days. We will never know why Disney stayed out but still popped back for food and water, we know that Disney is a bit daft but a gentle soul who loves people so his behaviour is a complete mystery. All is well that ends well.
Which came first....
Well for us, the chickens before the eggs!! As many of you know, we used to have chickens, ex-battery of course but after a breach in security of our fencing, we lost them all to a fox raid. Our fault, no point blaming the fox for taking advantage and doing what comes naturally, but after that upset, we vowed not to have hens again unless we felt we could be certain about our ability to keep them safe, but we did miss them dreadfully.
Every so often, one of us would say "miss our chooks" ... we’d agree and perhaps ponder about keeping some again but where we used to have them has now turned into a garden area with a few vegetables growing and we would need a new secure enclosure built. So we continued to chat with ideas about if we had them, how we could house them and eventually, we came up with a rough plan but it involved a fair cost for housing and fencing so the idea remained on the back burner for "one day". However, as things sometimes do, something happened and we’re delighted to let you know that we now have a small family of hens again, thanks entirely to the Croydon Vegetarian Group.
The Veggies have been supporters of ours for many a year and recently approached us and said that due to the generosity of a bequest they had received, they would like to fund a project here. It didn’t take us long to think that rescuing some battery hens from hell ( battery cages ) and giving them a natural life of freedom, was infinitely more exciting than more fencing repairs or paths laid, plus we hoped it would fit the ethos of decent animal welfare and that we could again talk about the horrors of battery farming and meat eating to interested visitors, we know it had an effect when they met our Trevor the turkey as he put a face to what they ate at Christmas.
At this point we have an admission to make as we got so excited about having hens again, we borrowed from Peter to pay Paul and went ahead and bought a house ready for hens as we had tracked down a direct contact to a battery cage farmer and needed to act quickly to save some of the latest batch of hens due to go for slaughter. Andrew ( Purley Fencing ) threw himself into making a secure temporary run for them in the space of one afternoon and the next day, we were off to bring some new girls home !!
We knew we couldn’t take many and when chatting, Jacky would say 6 and Liz would say 4 so the obvious number to get was 5, especially when we realised that a battery cage normally has 5 birds, so one empty cage sounded good to us, not many in the grand scheme of things but a huge deal to those few.
So, how many do we have......well......seems there was a "supermarket special" or something as we bought 5 .... and got 3 free !!!!!!!
Of course we had taken extra cat carriers in case we needed them and were thrilled to be able to take just a few extras when we were offered them. They were only 15 months old and were from the next batch due to go to slaughter, all those in the same shed as them will now be no more.
Here’s Mini-Garibaldi exploring the day after they came home, on grass for the first time in her life.
Chickens really are the most curious creatures and we spend ages watching them while we are at the kitchen sink, and marvelling how their natural instincts kicked in, stretching their wings in space they’ve never had before, scratching the earth and after a few days, dust and sunbathing. The first few times we had rain, we had to keep going and checking on the hens and put them back in their house so they didn’t catch cold, getting wet and bedraggled as they didn’t work it out for themselves, although they did eventually realise they could also shelter under ( or in ) their house which is on legs.
Over the next few weeks, a permanent fence was erected, buried in the ground and as secure as we can make it and not yet had any signs of attempted break ins, plus the girls are shut into their hen house overnight of course. In the mornings when going to let them out all is quiet until they hear the magic words of "morning girls" and have a reply of excited "chattering" at the start of another new and wonderful day.
Here they are pecking around, a few weeks later.
With huge thanks to Croydon Vegetarian Group from 8 happy hens Garibaldi, Mini-Garibaldi, Digestive, Hobnob, Rich Tea, Wafer, Bourbon and Ginger Nut.
In our last newsletter we introduced you to our friend Sylvia’s cats - Sandy, Timmy, Ginger, Milly, Felix & George. Sylvia is now home but still in poor health and so with great reluctance and sadness, she asked us if her cats could remain with us permanently. We had suspected this and of course, welcomed them into our family, in time for them to really start exploring their new surroundings outdoors in the ( sometimes ) good summer weather. Quite what they thought as they found grass and trees everywhere instead of a garden, cars and tarmac we can only guess but there is no doubt that they thoroughly enjoy it. Liz’s bed and duvet were quickly found to be prime spots for snuggling into and we’re pleased to say that they have all settled in well. Sadly Sylvia’s health has not yet been up to a visit here but we hope that will change, and in the meantime we take ‘photos of her family to send, showing what they get up to here. Thank you for trusting us with your family Sylvia.
We also told you about the little ferret Fifi ( Ferretface became abbreviated into that ) who turned up at our back door and she is coming along very happily now. She’s put on a lot of weight as she was so thin but has also learnt to play at last. To start with, she had no idea of what to do with the toys, tunnels and boxes etc we put in for her but finally, early one morning she suddenly started racing around her pen, bouncing and not quite sure what to do with herself in a burst of energy and high spirits, what a wonderful sight. Then she reversed at speed, shoving toys out of the way as she ran backwards and as a finale, grabbed the swinging cloth tunnel and shook it, swung off it and then went in the tunnel and weeeeeeeee.....slid out the other end, what fun !!!
Our new neighbours building work is continuing and the workmen are used to seeing a regular visitor keeping an eye on them -
Yes, our Chico introduced himself at the start of the build, taught them to keep sandwiches out of his reach and to expect to see him anywhere and everywhere!! The ‘photo looks as if Chico is suggesting the girder needs pushing along an inch or two!
We have been very lucky with such considerate new neighbours and workmen, and when there was going to be a deep layer of concrete poured, they let us know beforehand so we could keep Chico safely shut in and out of harms way until the cement was safe for him to walk on without getting concrete booties !!!
Couple of bits we hope you like, first a cat one, then a dog one.
On a cheek or a chin,
That's the way,
For a day to begin!
A cuddle and purr,
I am your alarm clock,
That's covered in fur!
- - -
Did you ever notice when you blow in a dog’s face he gets mad at you, but when you take him in a car, he sticks his head out the window !!
Quote by Steve Bluestone.
We don’t use an answerphone but that does mean we take calls out of office hours of course. Often they are wildlife enquiries and we are able to pass on the ‘phone numbers of the local wildlife hospitals, but 9 pm a couple of evenings ago when the ‘phone rang, was a different story.
A lady had seen an apparently stray cat around for the last couple of months but been unable to get near the cat. Then the cat didn’t appear for a week or so and when she reappeared, was in obvious need of help and the lady was able to pick her up and pop her in a cat basket to keep her safe while ringing around to find out what to do next. After a couple of fruitless calls to other organisations, she found us in the ‘phone book and the long and the short is that the cat spent the night with the lady and was delivered to us the next morning.
The poor little cat is very grubby and thin but purrs at being fussed although doesn’t take kindly to any attempt to look in her mouth to try and guess her age so we are just giving her time to settle. Of course we had her checked for a microchip which she doesn’t have and the lady who rescued her is putting posters up in the area to try and see if there is a genuine owner looking, but it appears likely this little old girl has been dumped and been trying to survive on her own, poor thing. She was absolutely exhausted from the strain of surviving on the streets, never knowing where danger would come from ...people / cars / foxes etc and for the first 2 days, she slept in an exhausted heap in her bed, just waking for food and litter tray. On the third day, she woke with a clear expression looking much happier and we’ll update you with more about her in the next newsletter.
We never know what the next phone call will be about or bring us, makes life interesting !!
Mugs & things.
With Christmas on the ( distant ) horizon, it’s time to forward plan perhaps and think of buying for Christmas stockings and gifts !! Our air fresheners and calendar bookmarks in particular would be suitable if you want to post a little gift to someone as well as useful for yourself.
Mugs with 14 ‘photos of some of our furry family. Chaldon mug, dishwasher safe.
Price £7.50- each including postage.
Delightful hanging air fresheners suitable for cars or small rooms, in either a cute beagle puppy or smart tabby cat.....varying designs left, please e-mail for further details. The scent of them both is Bouquet of Flowers or vanilla,depending on design. Price £ 2.50 including postage.
A pack of two calendar bookmarks, one side featuring our dogs and cats or flowers from our garden with a calendar on the reverse.
Price £2.50 including postage.
Order from our webpage ( Paypal takes fees ) or drop us an e-mail with your order and address details ( Paypal by gift ) or post a cheque, thank you.
We hope you’ve enjoyed hearing from us, we don’t take your support for granted, far from it. Visitors are welcome but we don’t have open hours so do ask that visits are by arrangement please. Obviously so that we are here but also not in the middle of something awkward to leave...perhaps grooming a nervous dog who jumps when the doorbell goes or trying to coax a nervous cat to eat.
Thank you all for your support and we’ll be back towards the end of the year...now there’s a nasty thought on a summery July day !!!!
Jacky & Liz.
Saving one pets life won’t change the world...
but it will make a world of difference to that one pet.
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