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March 2010.

HAPPY EASTER..

Once again all our thanks to you for making Christmas such a pleasant one, the donations, gifts and good wishes for all of us ( pets and people ) made our Christmas quiet and happy.

To those of you who bought our little Chaldon calendar, thank you for once again supporting our sanctuary and sending your orders in so promptly, a good few pounds were raised from them.

So many of you asked after Jacky and sent her good wishes and the latest is that she hasn’t got heart failure, the hospital got it wrong and we’re waiting to see what she has got, appears to a be a lung problem""..perhaps it’s what the dogs get and is lungworm says Jacky !!! She still feels so weak and can’t do as much as she used to which is the most frustrating part of all of it, but unlike our friend Sylvia ( more on next page ) Jacky is still able to care for her dogs, with Liz’s help.

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The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue !!

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Well, we had to tempt fate and last newsletter told you what a quiet year it had been for new cat arrivals !! Just after the last newsletter was printed and posted, all that changed !- and we suddenly had 6 new felines join us.

Our friend Sylvia had been taken into hospital and her 5 cats were at her local vets, safely cared for but not ideal for long term boarding. There was also George the stray cat being fed by Sylvia’s neighbours but still living on the street and when we were asked to help, he was the first to arrive here. That night was torrential rain and George would have been sheltering outdoors somewhere but instead was indoors in a cosy furry cat bed and seems quite pleased about it. Mind you, he has an odd way of showing gratitude and we had been warned that he could be...how shall we put it politely....temperamental !!!. This means we ask him if he’s having a Grumpy George or Gorgeous George day !!!

As with so many cats that have survived living on the streets, goodness only knows what he has been through but he now has a permanent place with us, in the warm, with plenty of food and not living on the streets or his nerves anymore.

We then had a couple of hectic days trying to sort out accommodation for Sylvia's other 5 cats and we quickly had the indoor pen extended .. we really do need elastic, expanding walls sometimes !!! The pen also has the run attached so they have access to outdoors too, when the weather improves enough to tempt them out.

At the time of writing this, our new lodgers are happily having their pen door open for a while each day and are exploring indoors, they found my bed pretty quickly too, apart from Milly who seems to be "glued" to the radiator. During the few weeks over Christmas / New Year when the weather was so awful ( snow and minus temperatures ) , we had the heating on low overnight as well as during the day.

Most of our cats were not impressed with all that cold white stuff ( snow )and enjoyed the radiators on everywhere. Our dogs did enjoy playing in the snow, although we were less than impressed and wished all our dogs were shorthaired when they came in from walkies with frozen feet and iceballs on them !!.

Anyway, I digress again and hopefully by the time this article is in the next newsletter and we've sent them out, our friend Sylvia will be feeling much better and in the meantime, we’ve been enjoying getting to know Milly, Timmy, Ginger Poor, Sandy Bracken and Felix....oh, and Grumpy / Gorgeous George!!

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GENERAL CHIT CHAT.

The land opposite us has been left untouched for 20 years and we’ve enjoyed seeing the wildlife over there and not having near neighbours. However, life changes and the land was sold and building work has now commenced. Our cats are quite miffed as they used to treat that land as theirs, so many lovely shady or sunny spots and they were never disturbed. However with the advent of JCB diggers removing the earth to accommodate a basement, the peace and quiet has been shattered with the gentle drone of machinery. Our dogs have been pretty good so far although if they spot a workman when we’re out on our land, they are not impressed.

We’re still waiting to hear about our new shed as "someone" ( wonder who !!! ) has reported it to the local council as needing planning permission. The shed is situated in front of the bungalow and it would appear that only the rear is allowed to have a shed. So we’ve applied for retrospective permission and are waiting to find out if we get it and the shed can remain in place or if we have to move it.

We used to have a mixed "family" of 4 foxes who couldn’t be released into the wild for various reasons and this time last year, we had the two girls left, Rebecca and Fanta. When Rebecca died ( old age as she was 13 yrs ), we had the same situation as we now have with Albi since we lost Trubshaw, of having only one left on their own. Fanta fortunately was always a "peoples" fox and loved our company and was quite happy in her last few months to potter and snooze away her days. During December we knew her health was worsening and took her to our vet ( yes, we could handle her that easily, just like a dog ), and she was diagnosed with lung cancer and so we had to say goodbye as she had one last cuddle in Liz’s arm. You gave us lots of love and laughter Fanta.

In spite of the sadness of losing Fanta & Trubshaw as last year came to a close, they both had a good sense of timing with regard to the weather. Trubshaw left us just before some bitterly cold and wet days which he would have struggled with due to his arthritic back legs, and Fanta left us three days before we were snowed in the week prior to Christmas. She hated the cold and with a bad chest it wouldn’t have been good for her and we’d have struggled to get her to the vet, we would have done of course, but not easily.

This winter certainly has been a hard one and after much thought we started feeding the wild birds, something we’ve not done before because of our cats. However the RSPB do in fact advise cat owners can feed the birds as if gives them a better chance of evading predators because they are healthy and well fed instead of weakly. As long as the feeding table is carefully sited and so we’ve put ours up on a scaffold pole, cats can’t climb that !!!! The range of birds visiting to feed has been an absolute joy to see.

Andrew and his team made it to us both times we had heavy snow, to clear our paths ( with a bit of car pushing and slipping on the second bout of snow when it was quite deep ), and it makes such a difference to us .... even though more snow fell, it was easier to sweep off and melted quicker as it wasn’t so deep on the paths by then. We were very cautious when walking our dogs and managed to stay on our feet.

Our food order for our pets is always doubled for Christmas precisely in case of bad weather, and thankfully although delayed due to the first lot of snow, it arrived in time and meant we had a nice full shed to keep everyone fed. Unlike most of you whose gas arrives in underground pipes, ours come by lorry into our tank and we had a Calor gas delivery plus we didn't have any electricity cuts or frozen pipes, so all in all, we were very lucky during all the bad weather.

And now it is early March and we’re hoping that at last the weather will start to improve, the spring flowers are beginning to show themselves. The sun is out for the 4th day in a row so perhaps Spring is finally here, 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 are having mad dashes around outside, accompanying us while we’re working ( feeding Albi sheep etc ) which has been a singularly lonely job this winter as the cats wisely stayed indoors "stuck" to the radiators. Now they 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 as we all tend to feel more cheerful when the sun is shining.

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As you know, our greatest pleasure is seeing a scared pet gaining in confidence and becoming happy, even cheeky. Perhaps you remember our Merlin ( lurcher living on the streets ) who has been with us just over a year now. From a dog who was terrified of being touched, he now pushes his way in for a fuss and demands cuddles and contact. Recently the contact was a little more than Liz would have liked as Merlin got a bit excited and tried to play with her ... and thumped her in the face with his claws, ouch!!! ... it left a lovely bruise and graze. Those moments are slightly awkward as you want to encourage them to play & interact but need them to learn to do it safely and sometimes they don’t understand. It’s hard to tell them no when you’re laughing with them but it made us smile to see him being all silly and bouncing about like a puppy.

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We thought you might enjoy this true story that we were sent as it gave us a giggle.

WALKING THE DOG 

  A woman was flying from Melbourne to Brisbane. Unexpectedly, the plane was diverted to Sydney along the way. The flight attendant explained that there would be a delay, and if passengers wanted to get off the aircraft the plane would re-board in 50 minutes.

Everybody got off the plane except one lady who was blind. A man had noticed her as he walked by and could tell she was blind because her Guide Dog was laying quietly underneath the seats in front of her throughout the entire flight.

The pilot approached her, and calling her by name, said, 'Kathy, we are in Sydney for almost an hour. Would you like to get off and stretch your legs?' The blind lady replied, 'No thanks, but maybe Buddy would like to stretch his legs.

All the people in the gate area came to a complete standstill when they looked up and saw the pilot walk off the plane with a Guide dog! The pilot was even wearing sunglasses. People scattered, they not only tried to change planes, but they were trying to change airlines!

Remember.... things aren’t always as they appear.

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MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME !!!.

We had a new arrival literally turn up at our back door one February afternoon. One of our workmen friends suddenly asked "do you have a ferret"...answer no, not any more.. "just saw one go past the back door".

Five minutes later while standing at the kitchen sink looking out of the window, I saw a little face peak out from a pile of bits and pieces, with Phoebe cat sitting nearby curiously watching and wondering what "it" was. I grabbed a bowl of cat biscuits and gently went out saying "hello, who are you and are you hungry?"

Little face watched me approach so at least she didn’t run away, good start. I crouched down nearby and put the food down...she thought about it and suddenly came running out at speed...straight towards me...it is at this moment you find out if you’re found a friendly ferret...or not !! She brushed her nose past my motionless hand and went straight on to the food bowl, grabbed a mouthful and ran back to hide.

A good start to being able to catch her as I still had all my fingers ... now that isn’t meant in a nasty way as we love ferrets, they are great characters but some of them have not been well handled and can be difficult and we had no way of knowing at that stage what she was like. Mouthful finished and this time ferret went straight to the food and I gently stroked her back as she went past and back she went with another mouthful. Third time she came out was the moment to catch her ... just stroked and picked her up, with that nano second of "will she turn into a whirling dervish of evil?"... no, just looked at me while holding on to her mouthful of food, poor thing was so thin and hungry.

I wandered into the kitchen with her, popped her in a cat basket with food and a blanket while we sorted out some more suitable accommodation for her. Phoebe was still sitting outside, perhaps looking to see if there were anymore and although undoubtedly some cats might be aggressive to ferrets or hunt them, we’ve not had that problem in the past as the cats were scared of them!!..and ferrets can be a formidable opponent when threatened. That night the temperature dropped to minus 2 so with her hutch placed in the warm bathroom, we think she turned up with her little spotted handkerchief over her shoulder and knocked on our back door at the right time !!!

Her nickname is Miss Ferretface and she was a bit difficult to handle for a few days and succeeded in having a chomp on my hand when she got scared. She has had a couple of vet visits when she went off her food but has now put on lots of weight and is learning to play with toys and accepts being handled as she realises she’s safe.

We had ferrets many years ago and while we certainly were not looking to increase our family, we had to respond when she invited herself in !!! We are enjoying her learning to trust us, her exploring curious ways and as she responds to us chatting to her, she is a little cutey and it makes us smile to see her getting brave, happy and fat.

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For some years we have been involved in a small way with a rescued horse called Deno. We are not able to donate financially but we maintain a website ( www.denorescuedhorse.co.uk ) for him and last year were lucky enough to be able to go and meet Deno when he moved from Cornwall to Surrey. Deno’s new family have started a fundraising venture of printing goods for sale, not only for him but for Chaldon as well.

So now we have available a small range of printed items, bags, tea towels plus various other items . fridge magnets, keyrings etc, and have included a brochure with the details. There is a small stock ready for dispatch but we will mostly be printing to order so there will be a delay before items are posted. We’ve enclosed a leaflet and order form for you to use and return to us should you wish to.

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At the end of last year, our computer died and we didn’t have our current mailing list available when we sent the Christmas newsletter out, so if we made any errors in your details, please accept our apologies and do let us know if we have made mistakes this time.

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You may have noticed our logo on the home page which depicts our "Home for Life". We write of our sad stories that we become involved with, but we also follow it up with progress reports, show you the outcome of those who come to live here and how they improve, and we share ‘photos of our happy pets. You get to know individual ones who live here and as the years pass, so you hear of their lives and them as they grow older, and ultimately, their demise. We try to involve you and keep you informed as we know it is entirely due to you, that we are able to be here in the first place to say "yes" to that ‘phone call from our vet or a despairing owner.

We are always aware that we could NOT do what we do for our furry friends if  it wasn’t for YOU.

It is your backing that has helped us grow ...by your support, we are able to provide a loving, secure Home for Life.

Jacky & Liz.

Saving one pets life won’t change the world...

but it will make a world of difference to that one pet.

Chaldon

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