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Hello Friends

 

As usual for the first newsletter of the year, I start by looking back to Christmastime and send you my thanks for all your wonderful cards, good wishes, gifts and donations.

We had a lovely Christmas and hope you all did as well, with moments of happiness as well as loving memories for those grieving as I know many of you are.

I had a quick vet visit on Christmas Eve morning for a cat check-up, and then had the rest of the day off, with a couple of friends popping in. On Christmas morning I did a bit of catching up on the usual routine of jetwashing the dog concrete etc, but then the fire was lit, treats and nibbles were consumed by all of us and we had a gentle day of enjoyment together.

Just a few of the goodies that arrived for the family, thank you.

  

Now the snowdrops are in bloom and there are occasional bursts of sun breaking through during the longer daylight hours though the temperatures are still often below zero overnight. The snowdrop photo I took during the night, after rescuing and releasing a vole the cats had brought in from the cold !

Thankfully when we were without heat and hot water for nine days ( due to Calor letting us run out of gas ) it was during a milder spell but life was certainly difficult. The log fire came into it’s own, heating hot water on the stove top, as well as adding warmth to the bungalow, along with the two electric heaters needed. The photo has the fireguard to the left with my feet at the bottom and going clockwise -  - Rosa, Jeeves, Fagin, Maddie & Dinky.

As reported in our last newsletter, Chaldon  Village Fete granted us a marvellous £763.62 and our friend Sarah kindly went along to the distribution meeting to collect it, here with our local Town Crier.

The Quality Street fair funds raised have also been an incredible help with the frightening rising costs of living, as have many of you who have sent a little extra to help keep everyone fed and warm - thank you for thinking of us.

Our commercial washing machine was on its last legs after 20 years of very hard work here; and for many years had been kept going due to our wonderful repair friend Gordon. However the machine was finally beyond repair and  being for heavy duty use, they are not cheap to buy and I was dreading the day it finally gave up.

It always makes me smile when serendipity steps in to our lives, and through previous connections made, someone reappears at just the right moment in time. During Covid I joined a collie group online to gain guidance with Jeeves who arrived that summer - and I made a friend who remembered us when a charity she’s a trustee of, were looking for recipients of a grant.

A new commercial replacement washing machine  has very kindly been donated by Ariael, a private animal charity with my very grateful thanks for your  generosity and support.

When it arrived, I was a lot more excited than I suspect this lady was with her new appliance !  

 

I wonder if any of you noticed the new name on a couple of the photos in the Christmas newsletter. There are 26 letters in the alphabet so why is it so hard to find a “spare” letter that I can use for a new dog? It can’t sound like an initial in use for another dog, nor as part of their new beginnings, with the letter of the name they arrived with, nor a vowel ( too soft a sound in a group ) and not S ( sit, stay, stand, stop ). When I named Heidi, it turned out to be an unexpectedly good choice as she has a couple of corner spots that she likes to use as hidey holes ( speak it out loud if you don’t get it ). So last year when I needed a name for a new dog, I was left with the  letters L, Q, V, W and Z !

I settled on Zeena as an easy sound for a little collie with learning difficulties who came to me via a rescue friend. This little bundle of confused dog has cerebellar hypoplasia so was born with lack of physical co-ordination plus decreased cognitive function, which makes learning and comprehension slow for her. However, despite the many challenges of working to help her understand life in general, including to trust hands, she is now a delightful and happy little girl.

Recently I watched her up the field playing with Pique, and Zeena was bouncing and circling, barely falling over her own feet. In that sentence you may have noticed the word circling which is part of her condition so why was I happy enough to see it? It was because she was circling in the opposite direction which suggests to me that her brain is still making new pathways, through the stimulation of playing with the other dogs. To see Zeena’s improvement over the months, literally makes my heart sing - and helps offset the slow progress in housetraining.

There was an unexpected arrival three days before Christmas as I had been asked by our lovely vets ( Crown at Nutfield ) if I knew anyone who would take a cat who needs her bladder expressed ( squeezed ) as she had lost the ability to wee on her own after a road accident. The owners had excellent support from our vets but were no longer able to continue the care she needed and her future looked bleak.

I contacted various rescue friends and although initially it looked hopeful that someone might be in a position to take her, they fell through for various reasons and time ran out with the deadline of Christmas speeding towards us.

So welcome Hyacinth ( pretty as a bouquet and is a fluff bucket ! ) who is a lovely girl, only 5 years old and has settled here into her new home for life.

As I write this ( early March ) I am awaiting more unexpected arrivals after two yesterday ! I had previously been contacted about a family group of street cats living free ( feral ) but since Jacky died, have not taken on travel and trapping but thankfully another local rescue were able to help and have been marvellous.

However after two pregnant cats had been caught unexpectedly one morning, human illness interfered with plans and there was nowhere for them to go and letting them loose again was not an option. When the other small rescue  wondered if I could possibly help, I said yes of course, and we met in a Tesco’s car park to get them into safety here. Now I’m on maternity watch and wonder what information I’ll be updating this with before it goes to print but in the meantime, welcome Birch & Larch, while the work continues to find safe places for the rest of the family group.

Late March update is that two litters have safely arrived and I’m working hard to gain the mothers trust enough to let me handle and socialise the kittens as soon as possible.

   

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I know I often say thank you, but below is the reality of why - because without your support, I could not have given peace to a dying man.

A friend of a friend had cancer and his dog’s future looked very uncertain due to her particular border collie quirks ! The owner had the right to peace for what time he had left, so via my friend, I offered a place of temporary safety here and the owner was able to have happy updates of his girlie “on holiday” here before his death. Skye couldn’t life safely with our cats so here was a stepping stone plus health spa to lose weight, before with the help of our good rescue friend Elaine, Skye moved to a wonderful new permanent home where she has truly landed on her paws. So my thanks extend to all of you for helping Chaldon be here, to help a human as well as his dog.

A couple of months later, Elaine contacted me about an old boy she thought would benefit from living here, as with the dog’s age and poor health, a retirement palliative care home was needed. He is also completely deaf, and as ventriloquists find the letter M and F hard because of the lip movement needed, I’ve named him Muffin in the hope that he will learn to lip read. He is a very sweet  gentleman who appreciates a gentle way of life here plus improved health care than he’d previously had. He just needs a dining jacket, pipe and a whisky to be Sherlock Holmes in the leather chair that is now his !

Sadly there have been losses too and many of you will remember Tootsie, either through her frequent photo appearances or having met her in person when you visited. She had an aggressive mammary cancer which quickly meant I had to make the decision I always dread, and it never gets easier. Also the complicated little character of Jetta ( in the Spring 2022 newsletter ) who shared my bed and always made her presence known to me but not to visitors, faded quietly away through old age. Sleep well little girls.

Another loss was Max - a wonderful dog who was taken to the vets to be put down when he was only five months old ! He was signed over and came home with me instead, for what I assumed would be a few weeks while finding him a home. However whatever Max had already been through in his short life had left its mark, making his behaviour an unexpected challenge. So he stayed in safety here for the rest of his eleven years of joyous, chaos causing life - it was fun knowing you boy !

Do you want to guess what this is, caught on a remote camera in front of a wood pile here ? Answer lower down the page ****

I certainly didn’t order the snow we had in March and this statue is the usual view of a snow covered cat.

I’ve never had to remove snowballs from a cat before but Cinders came in like this - - 

A warm towel from the radiator, was wrapped around her to melt them which I thought she’d like but was met with disgust !

Art imitating life in the very well observed cartoon by Off The Leash Rupert Fawcett copyright, with his  “The Weigh In” as the dogs want more walks - notice the dogs paws on the scales.

Then compare with Rosa’s weigh in with a little “help” from Nikki - Rosa was pleased there was no need to go on a diet !

I’d just finished brushing Wizard’s shirt front which is thick and hides tangly bits and thought I had them all, but my fingers seemed to have found another. Look closely at the photo though and you will see the fluff wasn’t attached to Wizard but his name tag !

**** This amazing glimpse further up the page is of a tawny owl, that I often hear but have never seen - because I don’t go and sit out in the woods at night but go to bed ! 

We all know the saying - be careful what you wish for - and as the weather started to warm up, I thought it would be lovely to have chickens again. As you know, I don’t go looking for animals but make individual decisions on any that approach me ( do I have space / am I the right option and can I give the animal what it needs ) so therefore was quite happy to wait until I heard of some hens that could come and reside in Cluckingham Palace.

However, who became resident in there, was the boys of the family of Larch & Birch ! They were living on the streets and although being fed by a lovely lady, they were in danger from a neighbour who was putting down poison, so decisions had to be made quickly to get them into safety.

All rescues are struggling the worse I’ve known it in all my years, but what I find disappointing and frustrating, is that all the rescues that were approached, either “don’t do ferals” or were full. While understandable, it doesn’t stop the problem of the inevitable population explosion and if only someone had trapped and neutered when help was first asked for last summer, there wouldn’t now be another two pregnant cats here, and heaven knows how many other litters the boys have been responsible for, as the area is low in owners getting their pets neutered.

So now there is a colony of street stray ferals living here and naturally the boys have been neutered, flea, worm and microchipped, while the girls will raise their litters before they get neutered etc and then it’s their choice if they join the boys freedom in our three acres, or decide they like the indoor home comforts with cat flap access.

Being used to living as a group, thankfully I have not seen any problems joining the existing residents here. The Cluckingham Palace door is now open as the boys feeding station shown here with Peach & Plum on the infrared camera one night.

I’ve named them the Elm Family as part of the road name they came from includes Elm and they are eating me out of house and home, plus all the vet bills of neutering etc, so if you are able and would like to contribute to the Elm  family funding, I’d be very grateful, thank you.

 Summer events we will be at are:  

Caterham Carnival on 10th June, 12 - 5.30pm  

Chaldon Village Fete on Bank Holiday Monday August 28th, 2 - 5pm 

Quality Street Fair on Sunday, 3rd September, 11am - 4pm.

We no longer run a bric-a-brac stall but welcome tombola items ( not alcohol please ) and also pre-loved pet items that help us raise funds for the residents here, thank you.

At the moment, we are still collecting used stamps and recently received £136 from the last batch so as you can see, they are still worth saving, thank you. 

 

P.S - 31st July is the cut off date to use any stamps without the barcode.

The latest Easyfundraising grand total is £636.72 - what a wonderful way to raise funds for us while you’re shopping online, thank you.

The Amazon Wish list continues to be well supported which is a great help too, but can I ask that you check the address is correct please as some parcels have been mis-delivered to a neighbour as the house or sanctuary name was not included. The Chalet or Chaldon Animal Sanctuary, Birchwood Lane will find us.

Your continued donations are essential and so very gratefully received, whether regular or one off, your cheque / cash / standing order / sponsorship truly does all add up and help keep everyone fed, warm and healthy - thank you.       

With enormous gratitude and purrs and woofs from all of us,

Liz & Furries