Chaldon Animal Sanctuary
Since we last wrote to you in November, life here has just been one long roller coaster of ups and downs. Yes of course we expect that with our way of life, but this has been like no other.
We started in December with the first 3 weeks being a huge up... your letters, cards, gifts and donations just took our breath away and we thank all of you for your marvellous generosity, as once again our bank balance took on a much healthier look. Even our postman noticed our increased mail and more than once, we were left a sackful with letters and parcels inside.
The first call for help came mid- December and so Chips arrived. The following week passed very quickly as we were really busy and before we knew it, Christmas Eve had arrived. Our vet 'phoned to ask if we could take a cocker spaniel, of course we said "yes" and so Jess joined our numbers.
Christmas Day arrived and a shadow fell immediately as one of our little cats R-J, only 5 years old passed away. We had known for some time that his kidneys were failing but he happily pottered around until that day when he slipped into a coma and left us.
Two days passed quietly then another phone call from our vets asked if we could take in an 8 month puppy, so Fiddler moved in. They were all settling in to their new life when a huge bombshell dropped.
Daphne, our dear friend whose cats had come to live here last year, suddenly passed away. We were dumbstruck as we had only been with her in the morning and been chatting` about Christmas, the programmes we had seen on tv and naturally her cats.
We will always be grateful that this lovely lady was able to often come and visit her feline family last year and see just how happy and settled they were.
As the New Year approached, we hoped that it would bring happier times.. silly us!!!!!! Daisy our ex-laboratory beagle became very ill, to the point when we thought we would lose her. Ian our vet pulled out all the stops and Daisy slowly improved, but not for long. Another crisis in her illness made us fear the worst, but once more with our vets help, she recovered. She is now out of the woods and slowly returning to her old self.
Next on the list came Granville our basset hound puppy. We had been waiting for him to grow a little before x-rays on his joints could be taken to see if his limping was due to an inherited bone problem and they showed that his left front elbow needed surgery.
Not only is this operation expensive but it is crucial to the healing process that no strain be put on the joint for several weeks. The operation went well and Granville came home to recuperate in a pen in our lounge. For a 9 month puppyhe has been remarkable and taken his confinement without too much fuss, the only time he'd protest very loudly is when his friends went out for their walk and he was left behind which is more than natural. After 3 weeks he is now allowed a little freedom and this will increase gradually.
During all this, Liz's vehicle failed the M.O.T and although it could be repaired would have cost quite a lot, as welding was needed amongst other things. So the decision to change vehicles was made and fortunately we were able to buy something much more suitable to our needs and in better condition.
The old one would you believe, we sold on the Internet auction site E-bay for spares.
At the end of January when Trug our 15 year goat could stand no longer, we had to say goodbye to him, so for us it has been a very stressful time one way and another.
Some of our friends have told us that they have been through a rough patch too, so we have decided that the moon or the planets are in the wrong place and the sooner they return to normal the better.
When we wrote to you last we told you about Griff the little terrier who was big on biting and how after several months of retraining with us, he had moved on to live with friends of ours who have experience with difficult dogs. A few of you expressed surprise that we had re-homed him as that is not our usual policy. In rare cases like Griffs we will re-home but only if we think it is better for the animal and only to someone we know.
Griff had done so well and his improvement made us pleased that a dog with little hope could be persuaded to follow a few rules and become liveable with.. however Griff is back with us. He took advantage of his new Mum & Dad and had bitten them both so it was agreed that it was better for him to return here.
With so much activity he doesn't have time to think about being bossy because he could miss out on something far more exciting. We thought a quieter existence would be better for him, but it seems we were wrong. His new Mum & Dad tried so hard but it wasn't to be. It would seem that Griff likes being part of a big family so will now stay here for the rest of his days.
SPRITE & SPIRIT
Spirit & Sprite, our two little ex-ferals we told you about in our last newsletter are both doing very well. Thanks to those of you who sent a donation for the pair of them.
A wonderful sight that we've witnessed quite often is to see one of them, usually Sprite coming out of our woods and then running up to and in through the cat flap. To see them heading for home is marvellous especially when we remember how they nearly had a life on the streets, plus we didn't know if they would want to stay with us or take themselves off to live an outdoor life.
They like their home comforts, Sprite is the more confident and at bedtime is already waiting on Liz's bed so she can have her cuddle. Spirit arrives just after and on occasions has laid next to her and rested her head in total trust on her shoulder and going to sleep.
One evening we received a call from someone who works at our local train station, and there had been a cat found on a train - no basket,just one terrified tabby crouched under the seats. We collected puss and the next day took him to our vets to get him scanned in case he was microchipped, but unfortunately he wasn't.
How he got on the train ( which came from London Bridge through to Caterham ) we don't know, but don't believe he chose to be there. Was it someone deliberately dumping him - strange place to do it. Anyway as he was travelling without one, we called him Ticket.
A newspaper article didn't find his owner, nor the lost & found registers he's on, so he is now settling in well here. He's a lovely chap, very gentle and enjoys a little chat about life - if only we could talk pusscat to ask him where he came from.
We often have conversations at newsletter time tossing ideas around of what to write about - who or what's been happening that you might be interested to hear about. So I'm sitting in our field trying to think of something to write for this newsletter and nothing comes to mind except to tell you that it's a cold early March day - minus 4 overnight. No sun today although yesterday was a lovely bright day with a hard frost so the ground was still firm to walk on - our dogs loved it.
The sun yesterday also showed us our first sighting of a few crocus opening in our animals graveyard, they are still tightly shut today and barely visible. The snowdrops out the front of our bungalow are nearing their end, such delicate looking flowers that bravely turn up in the depths of winter.
Dogs are happily pottering around or digging holes, and Granvillle, our basset who had the major elbow surgery, is doing his best impression of a horse being lunged - in other words running round in circles on his long lead. We are seven weeks post op and he's doing very well but we still have to be careful and restrict him as the joint is still healing. Although it is unbelievably hard to restrict such a young dog, the benefits will last him for the rest of his life. By the same token, it would be heartbreaking if he overdid things now by chasing his friends and injured himself as the joint would be painful for the rest of his life. He is such a happy dog with a wonderful temperament who is one of those unusual animals who enjoys seeing "his" vet and bounces in at top speed to see Ian.
Stop press...Granville has just been signed off vet treatment and is enjoying life immensely.
While writing this, the grey clouds have moved off and there is some blue sky showing with a bit of sun as well. It's a brisk cold wind blowing though and as my hand is turning a funny colour with the cold, I'll stop rambling on giving you a weather report from here and go wandering round the field again before going indoors and putting the kettle on for a nice cuppa.
In amongst our busy days at Christmas as we told you earlier, three new little canine friends arrived. The first on the Saturday before the festive season was Chips, a 3 year old curly coated terrier who was reputed to have bitten his owners foot. As we usually do, we immediately wondered had happened as we found that far from being aggressive he is quite nervous. He has needed eye drops recently and we do take the precaution of a muzzle on him because he is so frightened, but we look forward to the day when he takes confidence from us and knows that we are not trying to hurt him.
Stop press.....marvellous news, Chips now comes and asks to have his eye drops put in, no muzzle on but just sits there while it is done and has a tidbit afterwards.
Next came Jess a beautiful golden cocker spaniel who was taken on Christmas Eve to the vets to be put down as she was supposed to have bitten the children. She has a most gentle nature, has shown no signs of aggression, only fear especially of men.
Lastly 2 days after Christmas, an 8 month terrier puppy, was taken to the vet to be put down as he "was evil". We have never met an evil dog especially a puppy, so couldn't wait to see what his crime was.. we are still waiting!! He is just a puppy who loves playing and busying about to see what is going on...... Fiddler by name and fiddler by nature.
It brought home to us once again just how easy it is for anyone to get a dog, not knowing enough about their needs and then just discard it. All three dogs had face fur so long it covered their eyes and we think that their vision was impaired and this may not have helped nervous and scared dogs if they saw sudden movement. These 3 dogs are far from the aggressive beasts that we were led to believe, and Jess & Fiddler who our vet saw, thought the same and convinced the owners that in the right situation they would be fine. Thankfully the owners gave their permission for the dogs to come here and remain with us.
We know that the excitement of Christmas, especially combined with young children is not always easy and we wonder if this was the case with our 3 newcomers but surely their pets deserved some thought too.
The moment an animal is adopted
a friend is born.
The friend did not exist before,
the animal existed, but not the friend.
The friend is something absolutely new,
a once in a lifetime
never to be forgotten, forever friend.
That friend is born of love, care, commitment,
hope, faithfulness and devotion.
Spring and Easter are just around the corner and we all look forward to warmer days.
We thank you all for your support....the used postage stamps, blankets, bric-a-brac, voluntary helpers plus the donations that you send are always much appreciated and continue to keep our sanctuary open.
Jacky & Liz.
Here's a Happy Easter picture for you of Chutney holding an Easter Bunny soft toy.
Spring Is Sprung.