Chaldon Animal Sanctuary
As always, so many of you think of our Furries and me, sending Easter cards and / or donations, is very kind and gratefully received. The Furries have no idea that the postman equates, in very real terms, into me being able to put food in front of them or take them to the vets when they are poorly, but I do of course. To those of you who kindly say "save a stamp / no acknowledgement" - I know you can't hear me but the Furries would confirm if they could, that I always say out loud "thank you" as I read your notes and letters.
The picture above of sitting in the sun has actually happened quite a lot this summer with some lovely days. One day after I'd cleaned the hens out ( Andrew usually does them ) the weather was one of the first sunny days before the heat wave arrived, so I went and sat on the bench near the chicken run and was soon surrounded by cats joining me.
It was fascinating watching the hens, apparently checking out my workmanship as they popped into both houses, chattering away - I could almost hear the comments ….. "I like a clean bedroom" ..… "Ohhh look, she's done it like this" ….. "that's not what we’re used to" and so on, I wondered if they were measuring up for curtains and other interior decor the way they carried on !
In the last newsletter I mentioned giving deer antlers as chews for our dogs here but it has been bought to my attention that they are not suitable for all dogs as they can injure their teeth on them. If the dog tries to eat the antlers by crunching on them, they may crack a tooth instead, and as it splits upwards, the tooth is left painfully exposed and open to infection which results in it needing to be removed. So although I have not had any trouble with my dogs gnawing on them, a word of caution must be appropriate.
Having survived the winter's floods without water problems here, I was horrified when during a downpour in a storm, it started raining indoors as well as out. It was scary and I spent some time with buckets and litter trays going under leaks while moving things out of the way and mopping up.
Thankfully, although it wasn't much fun for an hour or two, the rain stopped and so gradually did the leaking ceiling, including the light fitting that was dripping ! Andrew responded to my call for help and quickly came to make sure I was safe. The fuse to the lights was removed as I was scared I'd forget and try to turn on that switch automatically and cause a fire or something dreadful. The loft was investigated to see how bad the damage was, and the roof gully outside was partly cleared as it appeared to be the problem area with some concrete repair to the gully needed.
The remedial work will soon be done, but even while dealing with the situation, I thought to myself - "This is something to write about for the newsletter" - strange way of thinking perhaps !
My thanks yet again to a great team of friends and volunteers who worked incredibly hard to help raise the wonderful total of £508.06 at this years Caterham Carnival - a long and busy day which gave a great result.
Our next stall is at the Chaldon Fete on August Bank Holiday Monday at St Peter & St Paul School in Rook Lane if you want to come along, we'll be pleased to see you there.
The used postage stamps you all, including our USA friends, continue to send are an ongoing help.
The fundraising total from the stamps has topped £600 in the last year, with another £170 raised by the sale of a couple of complete stamp collections that were kindly donated too. Thank you all.
I was working at the computer one day when I realised I was wrinkling my nose, much like a dog picking up a scent. On further investigation, I discovered Polly had been up the field and found something odorous to roll in, then came and sat behind my chair hoping not to be discovered. She soon smelled worse to her nose ( shampoo ) and better to mine !
Another time I was in the kitchen and my nose wrinkled at something smelling unpleasant and on further investigation, a sachet of cat food had blown up and leaked - rather revolting. I wondered if one of the cats had tried to do away with the human cat food opener ( me ) and put a tiny hole in the sachet to cause it and sure enough, when it happened again the following day, I could see the evidence of claw marks in the sachet of food. They are now kept in a plastic cat proof tub !
Rover is a dog that should never have been born. I don't know his full history ( although his behaviour showed certain problems from his past) but his first year was a rough one - in an unsuitable home, no training, socialisation, exercise or secure background and probably born to a mother in similar circumstances.
He was placed in rescue kennels when he was too big, an uncontrolled and unruly teenager with no purpose or direction in life. The kennels did a good job caring for him - he was safe and well cared for but he did suffer kennel stress and spent over two years being passed by as other dogs went to new homes, and this is where Chaldon comes into the story.
Rover had not learnt a proper way to react and behave so was very reactive, but when I went to meet him, I found him to be a lovely and eager, if slightly over the top lad so home with me he came. Sadly though he was institutionalised and as it turned out, was never able to adapt and fully fit in with the family here. However he enjoyed life and loved our playtimes together though would only ever would fetch a toy 5 or 6 times before ignoring me and pottering off to do his own thing in the field.
I won't for a second pretend life was easy living with him because Rover had too many issues in spite of every effort made for him, however we pottered on happily enough for 13 months with Rover enjoying the particular company of a girl dog Gypsy ( who had also been in another rescue kennels for 2 years and run out of time due to her fear aggression to children. )
As I write this, Rover is unwell and the first blood sample gives cause for concern as to his future which makes me feel so sorry and sad for him and all those countless other pets that are born with the odds against them from the very start of their lives. Too many are born in the wrong circumstances and in the wrong homes so that everything is stacked against them no matter what chances the future brings.
It's a few weeks after writing the first part of this article before I've felt able to come back to it with the sad news that Rover did indeed have a serious health problem and he joined many others in our graveyard.
Sometimes, despite everyone's best efforts, a dog's life is not what we would wish for every pup that is ever born - as we know, pups, like babies aren't born bad but what life throws at them, shapes what they become and Rover was one of those victims of his circumstances.
And as I proof read this article, it makes me think of how many others ( cats as well as dogs ) who have come here over the years it also applies to. There are so many names I could have used for this article though I have used a generic one. Most of them thankfully were able to be a part of Chaldon for many years, though others have indeed only had a shorter time of sanctuary here.
It highlights again the importance of neutering as well as careful consideration before saying "I want" rather than "I can give" when thinking of taking an animal into your home and life.
We know there are sometimes genuine reasons for a pet needing to arrive here, but after yet another phone call today about a mother cat, her daughter and grand daughter, you can see how many extra cats there were from just that one family who 'wanted' - but only 'until'.
This is not Rover, I found it on the internet but it is in memory of Rover and all the many others that are also 'until' dogs or cats - or rabbits, guinea-pigs, goats, cows, chickens, parrots, horses etc etc.
I know this starts off as if more appropriate for the Christmas edition but it happened this spring so here it is.
T'was a day during May
And all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring,
Not even a mouse â€¦ woah
Wait there just a minute as what did I just see scamper across the floor?
Oh dear, a tiny live mouse had just come out of hiding and run past sleeping dogs so before they woke and saw it, I moved so it turned and shot back into safety under some furniture. I then got my rodent carrier and shut the dogs out of the way and started furniture removal. Sadly, little creatures see us as the scary monster enemy so I wasn't able to succeed in catching it.
Couple of hours later and mouse shot into the lounge where I and lots of dogs - and a couple of cats were, and vanished into safety. I thought it was up one end of the lounge but 20 minutes later when Granville and Merlin were peering intently behind a dog bed at the opposite end, I went and investigated. Yes, sure enough there was our little mouse friend but the good news - it was now hiding right next to the door to outside. So dogs and cats out of the way again, I opened the double doors and stood back and waited.
A few minutes passed and then into view came a little nose and ears - the mouse paused on the door frame and then shot off outside, phew.
Good luck little mouse.
Some of you may remember when Merlin arrived, an ex-travellers dog who was living on the streets, that it took months for him to gain enough confidence to eat in the kitchen without getting in a panic. Now, he happily eats at his own place in the kitchen that he chose, where he feels safe.
Recently he was late arriving for his dinner and Kismet was eating in Merlin's place, so I offered Merlin his bowl in a different position, not expecting for a second that he would be brave enough to eat until he had his own spot. To my astonishment and delight, Merlin tucked into his dinner as if it was the most natural thing to do - what a wonderful moment.
When grooming dogs, I do whoever needs it most at the time, as well as doing those who want to be involved but don't really need doing, or the next one who joins the queue and asks to be done. Recently I was very surprised as I finished one dog and before I had chance to see who was coming next, Frisbee bounced in front of me and waited to be done. I can hear your puzzlement !
This however is a dog who has been here 7 years and has never asked to be brushed, I've always had to encourage him to approach and accept it. He watches the others getting the fuss, attention and treats but still couldn't bring himself to want to be done, only to endure being done so this is a HUGE achievement for him. I always say progress takes time but didn't expect him to change his ways after all these years.
Last newsletter I mentioned Taxi not wanting her tummy stroked and although she still doesn't, she does now wag her tail and even remains laying on her back without concern as I walk past and talk to her, which really is incredibly trusting of her and great progress. She still jumps up her tree and digs trenches though - again, time can be the great healer as she does it less than she used to.
One day as I held the kitchen door open for Cristal, a very skittish whippet type ( rescued from Spain 8 years ago ) she suddenly stopped and peered uncertainly at my hand and then I realised that I had a dishcloth in it, which she had to check out as being safe before she'd go past it - they often have long memories, especially when they've had to live on the streets and on their nerves to survive.
Our hens are usually shut in at bedtime but after their houses had been treated for mites, the girls thought it was a lovely evening and roosted elsewhere in their run, and the following morning they were scratching round bright and early.
I got up and went into the bathroom and turned a tap on, and then went to the kitchen and the girls were at their gate waiting for me. Now that might sound quite logical but it was summer so no lights had gone on, no sounds or apparent movement in the house - apart from the water running in the bathroom. So far from being bird brained, they knew that sound meant I was about and therefore were by their gate waiting for me to appear with breakfast - clever girls.
One morning I was quietly sitting at the computer with my headphones on, and Chico jumped on my lap and snuggled down. Later when I took the headphones off, Chico suddenly started and stared worriedly at them. He hadn't noticed them on my head but then it seems they became some monster when I removed them. I did ask him if he wanted to investigate and see it was just foam and plastic but his face and huge eyes made it quite clear that was a definite no - I have no idea what he thought they were but they frightened him and I quickly put them away. It made me wonder if it reminded him of something from his surgery when he went to the specialist for treatment before he arrived here as foam and plastic are often used in veterinary practices for splints or to protect surgery sites such as the plastic collar to stop stitch or bandage chewing etc, and I know Chico hated wearing them.
You may remember that Chico has been diagnosed with heart failure but the good news is that was two years ago, however, it has aged him and he now appears an older chap than his 9 years would suggest, but his daily tablets keep him well - thank you for continuing to help our boy as you did when he arrived, by also paying for his heart treatment.
Last newsletter I included a poster about the dangers of lilies and asked for your help in spreading the word, and I was delighted recently when I went into our second vets practice and saw the cat area of their waiting room has a large artificial lily and the poster prominently displayed - letâ€™s hope it helps save there being more feline fatalities. I have extra posters here so please everyone, ask if you have somewhere to display them and need more.
And for those of you who noticed and as I have been asked, yes, I now use two vet practices due to the changes at our long term one. Thankfully the Sanctuary's friend and vet Ian Dibble is still at the local practice and giving his always excellent support although the practice has changed ownership. For this reason and the ensuing policy changes, I now also go to Johnny who I first met when he was working at the Caterham practice. Johnny and his wife Gillian have their own independent practice in Banstead ( Kriek & Gibson
Veterinary Surgery, 38 Brighton Road, Banstead, Surrey, SM7 1BT Tel: 01737 360468 ) and the Chaldon animals are very lucky to also receive excellent care and consideration from them and their team.
During this heatwave, enjoy the summer and until I write again at Christmas ! -
I washed a couple of soft toys for the fundraising stall at the Carnival, and then pegged them to the line to dry - the duck by it's beak and the dragon by it's spines and thought what a cruel thing to do, it seemed so wrong somehow!
I told you recently how long it has taken Rosetta to be comfortable with approaching for a fuss but now she is quite pushy. One day when she was on my lap, she was having a lovely cuddle and I wondered if she had ever been that relaxed with people before - did she have a happy kittenhood or is it in fact a completely new experience for her, we'll never know. However what we do know is that she is now safe and loved for the rest of her life.
Sandie cat fell in love with Rosetta when she arrived and although Rosetta appears to ignore him, she will go and sit near him too so it's not unreciprocated. Recently Rosetta needed some teeth out and of course, spent a few days being kept indoors while she healed. During this time, Sandie who is normally out and about with her, was quite morose and took to a bed indoors. The reunion when Rosetta sauntered into the kitchen was a delight to see and it was obvious that Rosetta was as happy to see Sandie as the other way round.
for your much appreciated ongoing support and interest.
Liz & the Furries
Don't forget, we are at Chaldon Fete on
5th August, Bank Holiday Monday.
Saving one pets life won't change the world...
but it will make a world of difference to that one pet.