Chaldon Animal Sanctuary
It’s now November, the clocks have gone back, firework nights are over ( it used to be only 1 night but life has changed ). We wish we could say it has been a good year but it hasn’t. Your support as always, has been fantastic and your moral support during the dark days leading to the court case was incredible ….. it certainly helped us through a nightmare. Neither of us had ever been inside a court room, the best we could boast was watching Judge John Deed on television !!
In the court room we felt that all of you were standing behind us wishing us well. To those who attended the hearing or wrote statements on our behalf a million thanks and to Julian our solicitor and Rowan our barrister for their legal expertise. In the court room justice was seen to be done as we were totally vindicated by the court, and the neighbour had to pay all costs.
The physical toll on our health is still with us, not to mention the mental anguish, and we have still had to cope with the usual ups and downs of life here, losing some of our dear furry friends and settling in new members in to the family as we were literally their last chance. We were further shattered when Phil Barnes, our dear friend suddenly died, his last act for the sanctuary was a written statement to the court supporting us.
We’d like to say a few words about our friend Phil who was a true friend and defender of any insect, animal or bird. He had been a hunt saboteur and an active member of numerous animal charities, and to our sanctuary our own plumber or electrician on call whenever we needed him.
Phil was so pleased that with some local friends he was able to help rescue a neglected horse living alone in a field without any shelter. Girlie as she was called, was often found in a field full of mud and no food but thanks to Phil and the others, had food taken to her until she was able to be stabled at a horse rescue sanctuary. Phil loved to come and tell us how well Girlie was doing after he’d visited her. He would chat for hours about so many subjects that on occasions he left us behind with his incredible knowledge….he was a one off.
Phil had many friends of longstanding and 40 years was not unusual. The church at his funeral bore witness to that as it was packed solid and standing room only came to be. During the service we were asked if anyone would care to say a few words about Phil and a steady stream of people came and spoke of their memories. Some of the tales were funny but without a doubt, heads nodded as another anecdote summed up Phil and made us remember this wonderful animal defender.
Our sympathy goes to Sally his sister, who is just as passionate about animal welfare.
You never know what will happen next here, even a simple thing like going to make a cuppa can turn into something else quite different !
I was just about to pour the boiling water into our mugs and saw outside our kitchen window, a fox ... nothing that unusual so it took 2 seconds to recognise him as one of our resident foxes not a wild one !!!
So I nipped outside and thankfully Rio is a friendly lad who was pleased to see me, not quite brave enough to come and be picked up but relieved to see a friendly face and didn’t run off.
First thing was to shut the gate of the enclosure he was in ( where we used to have chickens ) as it is where the fox pens are now, then go and check to see if Fanta his sister was also out which she wasn’t thankfully. However Rio wasn’t going to follow me in to his pen and I couldn’t leave the door open as Fanta would have come out too.
So I picked up Fanta and as there was no basket or carrier to hand carried her to the food storage shed by the back door and popped her in. I then returned to find Rio happily back in his pen, so went and collected Fanta and returned her and there was a happy reunion of tail wagging foxes .. and then at last went and re - boiled the kettle for our cuppas !!
We mentioned briefly in our last letter about Frisbee a Springer Spaniel arriving earlier this year ( was going to be put down ) and thought you’d like to see a ‘photo of a now waggy tailed and happy dog.
We were also expecting the arrival of Ollie, a dog from Spain but he was further delayed although should be arriving early December now. Strange to think that next time we write a newsletter ( Easter 08 ), he will have been here for a few months and be settling in nicely when we’ve not yet even met him !!
It’s one of those seemingly rare things today as I sit and write in our woods with the dogs - a true Autumn day. The sun is weakly shining and there are a few grey clouds that hopefully will pass by rather than spoiling the crispy leaves and raining on us. We’re sure it’s not only us that remember Autumn as being a time of bright days and cold nights with a frost that turns the fallen leaves into a wonderful crunchy carpet to rustle and kick through, instead of the wet soggy mush that all too often seems to be Autumn nowadays.
So today is a rare treat of "proper" weather for the end of October and the sounds that accompany our walk are the puffing and panting as dogs race around playing, kicking and digging through the leaves. Just as well this is going to be typed out for you to read as Brogan ( German Shepherd Dog ) has just wagged his tail and knocked the notebook I’m writing on - so my scrawl is now even more illegible !!!
Anyway, what I was going to tell you about is the reason we are in our woods this morning and not in the field as we usually are for morning walks. It is because Trubshaw & friends are up that end of the field ( furthest from the lane for those of you who’ve visited ) and that is because we have the specialist workmen here, building the retaining wall next to the lane. It was another cause of complaint from the neighbour. It is good to get it sorted out at last and shortly the sound of a cement mixer should fill the air as it arrives to complete the job.
As already mentioned, this year has not been an easy one and many jobs around the Sanctuary have not been done or kept up with as we didn’t know what the future held and if we would be forced to try and move. Now we are trying to catch up with everything that’s been neglected.
For some time we had been trying to find someone to do the variety of jobs we needed doing - not just "gardening" ( if you can call 6’ high nettles a garden .... they may be good for butterflies but we can’t see through them !!! ), but able to do handyman jobs of all sorts as well. On top of that of course as priority - to be animal lovers and happy to work around them ... literally be willing to push the wheelbarrow around Rudi or Spice or whichever cat is sitting in the middle of the path in the way.
Now bear with me as I appear to digress ( in Ronnie Corbett style ! ) - you all know Chico of course. His previous owners have always stayed in touch, through all of Chico’s surgeries, send his "dinner money" each month and been to visit him too. They are grateful that we had been able to help save Chico’s life by taking him on - not only because you, our amazing supporters raised the finances needed, but that we can give Chico a safe home away from busy roads as we all believe that such a nosey character as he is, would have been run over again and quite possibly not be so lucky next time.
So when chatting on one occasion we mentioned our search for workmen and it turned out that they knew someone. To our delight Andrew, Nathan & Dave are exactly what we needed, and they are coming to us each week and gradually making headway through our jungle of weeds, repairing, tidying, making and fixing as they do.
We are soon going to get the rest of our boundary fences sorted out - the one near the neighbour and also our back boundary fence is rotten and no longer secure so that’s another big job but will be lovely to get that replaced.
So many of you kindly sent contributions towards the court costs and this of course is now going towards the fencing needed. We would also like to add special thanks to Roger & Wendy for their generosity
In some ways we are lucky now as most of our dogs who were petrified of fireworks are no longer with us, the rest are either not worried, or are concerned without being in a panic, except one, Flight a collie cross who is as bad as any we’ve had. Over the years we have tried a variety of ways to help her cope but to no avail. The year 2005 was so bad with fireworks every night, as soon as it was dusk, she started listening for the fireworks and wouldn't eat her dinner in the evening so had it at breakfast time for over a week, until the fireworks mostly stopped every night.
Last year we tried a new homeopathic remedy after it was recommended which certainly helped her cope, but we also researched the Tellington Touch which includes making the dog feel safe by "wrapping" it and the easiest way is to put a tight fitting T-shirt on. So when she started getting in a state which was just at dinner time, she had the drops, and then had the t-shirt on to try too. I went and prepared the dogs meals and Flight came out into the kitchen which surprised me but thought perhaps she just wants to be near me. As I put other bowls down she said "where's mine?". I quickly made her a small meal not expecting her to eat it but she did, to my amazement. She then came and laid fairly calmly in the lounge for the rest of the fireworks and certainly was not in her usual panic.
This year has been a similar success with only one night when she felt too unhappy to eat her dinner, but as this was over a week after firework night we were all getting fed up with them by then !!!
Losses & Gains.
It’s always a sad time for us when we lose one of the family especially during these past few terrible months. In the last short newsletter telling you the result of the court case we wrote about Tizer, our beautiful Doberman with a lovely full waggy tail. At that time of writing he had lost the use of his back legs and despite treatment by an acupuncturist which certainly helped him feel better, he didn’t respond and sadly we had to say goodbye.
We also lost Dice & Pusskin who were both elderly pussies suffering with a combination of kidney failure and tummy troubles. Dice had been with us since a kitten and grown into a beautiful lad although had health issues for many years, and Pusskin was one of Daphnes cats that joined us a couple of years ago already an old lady.
Just recently Lizzie a 9yr cocker spaniel became off colour and so she visited the vet. A blood test showed she had kidney failure and after only a few days, we lost her. It was such a shock as she appeared to be quite well until her sudden ending.
Then only three days later, Sherpa our 16yr old Dachshund cross lost the battle of advancing years and was laid to rest with Lizzie & Tizer and so many others, in our little graveyard.
Sherpa had been the first dog to come here when we became a sanctuary, she arrived in a cat basket, a round wicker one with a front opening door and as the door was opened, all you could see were two enormous ears and a little 5 month puppy peering from inside. Such happy memories of all our babies.
Life we know has to carry on and you can be sure that while we are still grieving, the ’phone will ring and a voice will ask if we can help, be it from an owner or from the veterinary surgery.
The former happened when two Persian cats needed help, their owner was poorly and could no longer look after them. We agreed to take them but were shocked by the state they were in when they arrived. It was lovely as the months passed to see them put on weight and then purr happily for a fuss as well. Sadly though, it was only to be a few short months that Barnaby had with us, as cancer reared it’s ugly head and we had to say goodbye to him. His sister Summer has adjusted to losing him and made new friends with other cats and is a very loving little girl now.
The next arrival was a little terrier ( Dexter ) who had bitten several people, he is now settling in and is far more trusting, although a bit of a livewire to live with...but he doesn’t try to bite anyone !!
Next a couple via the vets arrived, another little terrier joined us,Polly..
Then another, Bingo...
Both still 7 month puppies but were taken to be put down as they too had a history of biting.
With so many of our animals ( cats as well as dogs ) we are amazed how often they have been allowed or encouraged to use their mouths or teeth to "play" with hands and then it goes wrong and they develop into biting...as usual, not the animals fault, they aren’t born bad or aggressive or scared and needing to defend themselves !!!
It may seem funny when your puppy attacks a moving broom but what’s the difference between a foot or a broom being bitten. After minimal training and being directed towards good behaviour, they are responding very well and much happier dogs now.
Yes, that’s when it’s really all worthwhile.
Our thanks to Fred, Keith, Brian & Lorraine, to our stamp senders ( we’ve just had another £50 from the sale of the last lot ), those who bring blankets & towels, pet food or goods for sale, and those who send donations or support us in what ever way, we appreciate you all and send our heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you.
We wish you all a very Happy Christmas and New Year.
Jacky & Liz.