Chaldon Animal Sanctuary
The song from Oklahoma said it all really - "Oh, what a beautiful morning, Oh what a beautiful day".
April was simply wonderful weather wise. Gone were the coats, wellies and mud as most days remained, dry, sunny and warm. The dogs and cats all took advantage of the weather and spent much time outdoors sunning themselves.
Even the chickens, pigs and foxes joined in the fun. It made our hearts sing just to see them enjoying this fluke weather.
By the end of April we knew we needed, but didn't want - some rain. Our poor grazing animals were very short of grass and so their winter feeding rations were being continued.
As May appeared so did the rain. The grass grew and so did the nettles - very rapidly. All was back to normal.
Sadly we lost two of our old friends, not from old age, but from conditions that seem more prevalent these days. Scout, our little diabetic dog, who had been doing so well, suddenly had a tummy upset and we were unable to stabilise his sugar and insulin levels. It came as a great shock when he went into a coma and then slipped away. A few days later, Sheba, a German Shepherd, who we had been watching as her back legs grew weaker and weaker, one day couldn't get up and so we knew the time had come to say goodbye. It was so heartbreaking to lose two so quickly. But, as sometimes happens, two new faces appeared - Finn, a little Terrier with a few problems and then Midnight, a cat, that growled all the time. Both are settling in and finding friends here.
With "June is busting out all over", who knows what will happen. We just know that we are very glad to be here to help those that need us. A drop in the ocean maybe, but a life-raft to those who need help.
Usually at the end of the day we sit down for a couple odd hours and watch tv, or a taped programme before the bedtime rounds. One evening we were happily viewing a programme about the cleverest animals in Britain, nothing too brain challenging, just fun to see.
As we laughed at the antics of a couple of very clever crows raiding dustbins for food, Polka, our one eyed no teeth feline entered the room. One look at the tv made her leap into action. She charged across the floor, leapt up at the tv and splattered herself against the screen!
As she slowly slid down the screen, one of the crows flew off with her in hot pursuit round the side of the tv. When she couldn't find it, she returned to the front and sat in 'hunting' pose and watched the remaining crow continue to scavenge.
He was replaced by squirrels doing their act after nuts had been put at the end of an assault course to try and fool them. Well, squirrels jump and sort of fly and run really fast and poor Polka was having trouble keeping up with them, but that apparently was part of the fun.
She hopped around the tv, and even sat on top of it in an effort to catch these pesky intruders in her lounge, when they disappeared from the screen.
Isn't it wonderful that today's tv's are so real so as to fool a well seasoned huntress. What an easy way to exercise your cat, keep the real wildlife safe and give the owners a laugh or two at the antics and frustrations of a home bred lioness!!
Last May we received a 'phone call saying "the dog's got to go - he's bitten the child". In cases like that we find out what actually happened and then get the dog out as quickly as possible - not only for the child's safety, but also to prevent a one way trip to the vet for the dog.
The dog in question was only 8 months old, the people had only had him 24 hours and he hadn't broken the skin of the child, but snapped out of fear. Before that he was alone in a flat while the owner was at work - hardly ideal for any dog but particularly bad for a large puppy.
So we collected one very jumpy, neurotic German shepherd who wet himself out of fear - and barked at anything that scared him - and that was everything - the television, the cats etc.
The first night was a long one - he had a bed beside Liz's bed, but opposite the cat flap. Remember he is already scared of cats - so when he sees them disappear out through what he thinks is a solid wall - he barked - and when they push the flap open and slide back in - he barked even more!
As the weather was nice there were lots of excursions and outings - at 1am, 2am, 3am - you get the idea! By the next morning Drummer had accepted cats - but we were shattered from our disturbed sleep. In some ways it could be seen as an omen of things to come.
It was soon obvious he had diarrhoea - he was all skin and bones so it seemed likely he had been having tummy troubles for some time. Several changes of diet and vet visits later he was diagnosed with colitis and prescribed tablets that certainly improved things. However, he was still having problem, so more vet visits and various samples which still came back with no answers, so an allergy blood test was done which showed us which foods to eliminate from his diet. This prescription diet plus adding Aloe Vera has finally sorted him out - we still have the occasional night when he needs to go out in a hurry, but he has finally put on weight and condition.
He has become a much happier calmer lad although he is wary of strangers, but he now has a waggy tail and a bright cheerful face - especially when a new brother arrived 6 days before Christmas - a 6 month German Shepherd!
The 'phone call was the same " he's bitten the child - the dog's got to go". When we found out more about this youngster, we discovered that he lived in the garden and had his bed in the garden shed! When he was allowed indoors he got overexcited by the child and ended up grabbing at her - again not breaking the skin, but was holding hard and wouldn't let go - within another few weeks he would have been put down for sure.
When he arrived he was terrified of having his collar touched as he expected to be pushed back out in the garden - so he ' bit'. I use the word loosely as although some would call it a bite, in reality it was a very hard hold that was as close to bite without quite being one as it could be! It took a tremendous amount of care and hard work to train Brogan out of that behaviour and he will probably always retain a wariness about his collar being taken when he is worried.
Naturally he also didn't like going out, so to see him now trotting round the field with his Big Brother "Drummer" is wonderful. Sadly, Brogan also has health problems in the form of a genetic disorder that affects his elbows - he already has arthritis because of it, but painkillers keep him out of pain and able to enjoy life.
To round up the story of our 2 lads, we're asking for your help. Brogan already has a sponsor - but Drummer hasn't - and he costs a lot. We don't even dare think about how many hundreds it cost to get him sorted out, but now his running costs of colitis tablets, aloe vera and specialist diet add up to £59.80 a week...yes, it frightened us when we worked it out, especially when you compare it to the normal costs. i. e; Brogan who costs £2 daily.
So we never know what a 'phone call will bring. We have 2 wonderful lads who through no fault of theirs had a rough start, but are draining our resources, so if anyone would like to help towards Drummers Dinners we would be delighted. Thank You.
We enjoy taking 'photos of our animals and have literally dozens of albums full of family snaps. However, trying to take a 'photo of a single animal without any one else in the shot is fraught with difficulties. Apart from the usual things to consider of distance - the dogs are good at looking cute half way down the field; or the direction of the sun, there are the other animals that get in the way!
They lean against us just as we take a shot, so the picture is blurred, or even better, they knock your arm and you miss the shot altogether and get the sky! Then there are the ones that walk in front of the pet whose pic we were just going to take with a "will I do?" expression on their face, or the game of chase that goes crashing through the middle of the shot!
You get the idea…it's amazing we don't have hundreds of heads or tails only shot, but we certainly don't have many that haven't a friend or two lurking somewhere in view!
Tra La la and Dandelions
Yes, she's in the news again. Our blind Cocker Spaniel Cleo still manages to amaze us and come up with new feats. She is such a happy dog, and when out for a walk in our field or our woods, her tail (thankfully undocked) wags non-stop as she bustles around.
We're sure she tra la las as she goes - no particular tune you understand, just happy notes. We've nicknamed her Miss Marples as she joyously goes from A to B investigating everything on her travels. Her lack of vision doesn't impede her one iota.
The dandelions just suddenly happened. At first it was only a suspicion, but then confirmed. Cleo loves - and eats dandelions!!
As she trots briskly around the field she suddenly stops, sniffs and plucks a dandelion flower. And studiously eats it!!
Only the flower head is taken and it has to be a fully opened one and of the right variety namely those with a juicy stem, despite the stem being left behind. So far buttercups and daisies don't interest her, but who knows given time.
Never in over 50 years of sharing my life with dogs have I ever had one who eats dandelions. I had one who picked ripe loganberries from the bush, who ate raw brussel sprouts and loved tomatoes, but dandelions - not even he had that weird taste.
STOP PRESS. She started on the daisies. Buttercups beware!!! And then of course, there is the clover!!!
Cat Tales For Sale
We apologise for saying this but.....Christmas is coming!
A friend and supporter of ours is an artist, and is bringing a book out just in time for Christmas presents.
For every book sold through our newsletter, we receive £5 - so sort out your gift list now and do your Christmas shopping the easy way. While you're at it, don't forget to treat yourself to a copy as well!!!
Details of the book and how to order will be on the website in late September. In the meantime you can contact us directly for more information.
We now have a website - thanks to our friends Blair and Leo, who have set it up and have registered a domain name for us, which is: www.chaldonanimalsanctuary.co.uk.
Basically it is our fact sheet, latest newsletter, and some articles from previous newsletters that we thought would be interesting or informative to new supporters that find us.
Oh and 'photos of some of our family and how to donate or sponsor obviously!!
It is now up and running, so if you have internet access, please pop in and have a look.
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We started this newsletter with thoughts of Oklahoma and now we've come to the end, the strains of The Sound of Music strike up "So long, farewell" (for now) says it for us.
Our grateful thanks to all of you who support us in whatever way. It's much appreciated for without it our family would not be here to enjoy life as they do. Your help keeps them alive and well and safe and really we suppose, that says it all.