Chaldon Animal Sanctuary
What a washout the summer has been so far this year, literally for many poor people across the country with flooding happening in many places. We’re lucky here in that we’re fairly high and not near rivers etc but we are still at a lower point on the lane and have heavy rain racing down the lane and onto the property, in spite of trying to improve drainage here. We’ve had a hosepipe ban in the South - and flooding in various parts of the country, so a typical British summer then !
The cats wisely don’t venture far and one day when the top half of the back ( stable type ) door was open, Minnie sat up in her bed, looked at the sky, decided she didn’t like what she saw and turned round and snuggled back in her bed rather than going out. The dogs don’t think twice about going out at walk times and many of them don’t mind what the weather is doing, but some delicate souls, particularly Binty & Cristal, will cross their legs as long as possible when it’s raining. If the weather is warm and wet, the lounge door is likely to be open so they can potter at will, and Binty will sit in the doorway, glowering at the weather in a most disgusted way !
If we take the time to stand and stare, animals are such a source of interest as we’ve said before. A large dog bed we’d had donated years ago, reached the end of its life recently. It was a round, beanbag type but without those dreaded polystyrene balls inside ( do you know how far they go if the bed splits - or is chewed - I do ! ), and it was hardwearing, waterproof and washable, very useful here !
Out goes the now wrecked bed and in came a large rectangular fibreglass type bed which I put blankets etc in. The cats and dogs investigated of course as it was something new, and I watched as they all got used to it. Granville wasn’t impressed and ignored it in disgust - he used to like the previous bed, while Jess who ignored the previous bed, likes this one! The cats that like to share with the dogs boycotted the new bed for a few days, but wanting to snuggle with canine friends won in the end and Felix in particular is back in residence, snuggled up to Barney, and Granville who has decided it’s not so bad after all.
One morning ( very early ) while I was pottering about doing jobs, I opened the back door and briefly saw a ginger flash vanish at speed down the lane. I didn’t think it was a fox but hadn’t glimpsed enough of the flying furry to be sure. Ten seconds later, Echo ( ginger cat ) came round the corner looking sheepish at running away!
I was sitting outside with the dogs one morning and heard Mungo, 15 year old golden retriever, give a few woofs which is unusual for him so I looked to see what was bothering him. A magpie had landed in our field and Mungo disapproved so woofed at it and gave chase ( for a few feet only ). Magpie decided discretion was the best idea and flew off, leaving Mungo standing there, wagging his tail, very pleased with himself at seeing off the intruder !
As many of you are probably aware, it’s not a static population here - well, it is in as much as they are usually permanent residents once they’ve arrived, but so many of them are adults / elderly already so they have less years here than we expect youngsters to. This means there are more losses than the average owner plus we can estimate roughly how many upcoming losses there will be sadly. At the moment, it is a very elderly population here, with 90% of our furries, already over the age of 10 and up to 18 years old. However, the unexpected can - and does occur.
Sadly Gigi ( Mumcat ) died suddenly after no apparent illness ( suspected heart or inbreeding problems ). Gigi had progressed to our outside cat run where the new ones can be indoors or out as they chose, until they have their full freedom. Gigi loved the run and was happy in her own space and obviously felt safe, although still chose not to be a cuddly cat ! One day she didn’t come in for breakfast but seemed fine when I went and said morning to her, but later on when I checked again, she was laid out in the sun, having gone to sleep forever. She was with us such a short time ( less than a year ) but knew love and security rather than fending for herself on the streets - thank you to those of you involved in her rescue.
I also sadly said goodbye to Watson, a sweet cat who lived here for 13 years after a couple of years living rough on the streets. He became one of the gentlest cats I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, though he arrived as a bruiser of a tom cat. And dear placid Paws finally reached the end of his nine lives, having survived a road accident before coming here, plus various other illnesses during his 7 years with us, also sadly missed.
Our ex-battery hens that went away earlier this year during my illness, are back and it’s lovely to have them home again - thank you Andrew for taking them in at such short notice.
When Jacky & I made a conscious decision all those years ago, our numbers started to fall as they continue to do - however, it doesn’t mean the desperate aren’t helped if we possibly can. There will always be last-chance animals coming to my attention and I don't intend to say no if I can help them, in one way or other. Many phone calls I am able ( as Jacky & I always did ) to offer advice or further places to contact - but some new arrivals will always come - meet Tootsie, Mason, Wilson & Max.
A friend had been feeding a skinny stray cat, and little cat got fatter - and fatter - leading to a suspicion of the reason ! One day I had a phone call as friend had seen cat with “something, perhaps a mouse” in her mouth, but on closer inspection, it turned out to be a just newly born kitten. Mum cat was ushered indoors and safely ensconced behind the settee on a blanket where she gave birth to kitten 2 ( kit 3 didn’t survive ).
The following day, the family arrived here and settled in - Mum cat is only a small youngster herself and I named her Tootsie due to her white toes, all the family are black & white. The kits ( Wilson & Mason ) had a possible home lined up but due to ongoing kitten health concerns ( possibly something transmitted from Tootsie ), they are staying here. Tootsie has done most of the work of rearing her babes, but I did have to hand feed Mason goats milk for a while as he wasn’t feeding properly. Both boys are still tiny but have been such a pleasure to watch - they are only the second newborn litter here in over 20 years so it’s been a real treat to have them join the family.
Then, thankfully as I was just about better, I went to the vets and while in the waiting room, one of the nurses approached as there was someone on the phone who wanted an appointment to put to sleep their dog - a 5 month puppy ! The vet surgery and staff refused to, but wanted to offer help so the pup wasn’t dumped or taken to another vet practice.
Pup arrived here and was understandably very insecure but also a bit of a hooligan who needs a lot of help and work to become a more settled lad. A friend said to me "but he’s not really a bother is he?" - and I replied "not if you count teaching him no" ( and it sometimes felt like it was for 101 things ) don’t do this, do do that etc, but it was all puppy behaviour, they’re hard work! Lots of people were contacted ( our vets and staff are very good ) as the plan was to find someone to give him a home, however - best laid plans and all that !
The morning he growled at me in frustration ( still only 5 months old ) was the final deciding point that he was staying here, in safety. He is already a large lad and with his parentage ( Rottweiler cross ), I fear he won’t be given a second chance if he misbehaves - or is perceived to misbehave, in the future. Too many people don’t understand dog language and behaviour, so normal adolescent behaviour in particular, is badly handled. As Ian Dunbar ( behaviourist who introduced puppy classes ) says and I paraphrase - "Bad behaviour through lack of training is the biggest killer of pet dogs" - I absolutely agree. Welcome Max.
As I’ve printed this edition at home, I’ve left photos out as they are of such variable & poor quality on the home printer, and instead put the cost of ink saved towards the photo edition Christmas newsletter that will be professionally printed again later this year ( when I’ve written it ! ) So lots of news in this edition and lots of photos in the next one. Fancy thinking of Christmas when we haven’t even had a summer yet - the wettest drought ever surely - at least the hosepipe ban is now lifted.
There are so many of you to thank as I continue to receive so much support and friendship from you all, and that means a lot to me, apart from the very real and essential help you give the furry family of course - it ( Chaldon Animal Sanctuary ) could not happen without you. THANK YOU
Liz & the furries.
Saving one pets life won’t change the world...
but it will make a world of difference to that one pet.