SANCTUARY NEWS - AUTUMN INTO WINTER 2017
It has been a very traumatic time in the sanctuary, at the beginning of August I was suddenly taken very ill with a massive haemorrhage, rushed into hospital where I suffered an even bigger haemorrhage losing over half my entire blood! I had a scan and was put into ITU where I had six units of blood transfused and loads of drips etc. After a couple of days back on a ward I had to wait four days for a colonoscopy and once that was done I had a result. Nothing sinister thankfully, it seems it was caused by my diverticulitis and specifically eating seeds! Seeds are supposed to be good for you but apparently not if you have diverticulitis and if like me, you have the diverticulum all around your entire large colon! Sadly I can no longer have any seeds or the granary bread I loved and I have to be careful with what I eat, also supposed to avoid stress! It might have been useful to have such information at the time I was diagnosed in 2004 but I was told nothing beyond having the condition. The hospital was marvellous and I had superb care, it was really touch and go at one point, so much so everyone on staff seemed to know about it! And the nursing staff really do deserve better treatment and pay. I learned not only do they have to fork out for their own training but also for their NHS clothing! No wonder we are crying out of nurses. I was not in hospital long but it is taking quite a time to fully recover as I am very anaemic now. Apparently it can take three to six months for haemoglobin levels to get back to normal and of course it means a lot more Paul has to do, but we manage and as always the animals are the priority and other things just have to wait.
It has also been a bit fraught in the sanctuary as we have had in some wild pigeons that have obviously been poisoned. Unfortunately by the time they show symptoms and come to us, the toxin has done its work and there is nothing we can do except make them comfortable, warm and safe until they pass away. Deliberate poisoning aside – some people regard pigeons as pests sadly – the most likely culprit is rodent bait. This often comes in the form of poisoned grain and if put down irresponsibly, i.e. not hidden as it is supposed to be and in the open, pigeons will go for it as corn etc is a staple food for them. Deliberate poisoning is another matter and utterly reprehensible, anyone caught doing so should be prosecuted. And of course other creatures are at risk in either case, as dogs, cats, other wildlife may ingest the stuff.
We want to say a big thank you to 'Wet Nose Day', the animal equivalent of 'Red Nose Day', for their kind donation enabling us to get in a load of foodstuff to see most of our animals through the winter months. And what a good idea, I am sure animal themed fund-raising events would be popular, shame the TV channels don't take it up. Could make a real vital difference; maybe a 'Vet Nose Day' to raise funds for the ever growing veterinary expenses, or 'Animal equipment Day' to raise funds for necessary animal needs such as the new aviary we really urgently need now and worn units that badly need replacing. Well it is good to dream.
We also thank an amazing young lady in Bristol, who with her friends have once again held a summer fund-raiser for us, this year a dog show. Each year in the summer Fiji organises an event for us to raise some cash and we appreciate this so much. Apparently the local paper did a piece on it too giving her, and us, some welcome publicity.
Hermes the racing pigeon has a companion at last. We have another racing pigeon in and another treated rather callously by the owner who told the lady who kindly rescued the bird, to send it on its way or 'neck' it – that means wring its neck!!! Most likely had the bird gone back home that would have been its fate anyway and how despicable to destroy a beautiful healthy bird like that. Thank goodness for those like this lady who refused and found us to take the bird in. 'Percy' Libra will now have a long safe life here. Why Libra? The sign of the scales of justice and so this represents justice for these much maligned birds. The aviary we need is for pigeons that can fly but would be at risk if released.
More good news, we have a new resident cat. Ebony was camped out on a lady's doorstep and after much searching, leafleting, and enquiries in the local area, concluded she was abandoned. Unable to take her in herself she asked us and as we had room, we said yes. This kind lady even had her vet checked before bringing her to us. What a joy she is, so good and clean, in good condition, eating well and settled in right away, but sadly doesn't seem to understand play, not yet anyway. Years ago we had another cat, Possum, dumped in the village as a kitten, who couldn't play either but after a lot of patience and attempts, he finally learned what play and fun is. Hopefully Ebony will soon learn too. She is a dear little cat and certainly very affectionate – or maybe grateful for finding a forever home out of the cold. We think she was an indoor cat and it must have been very traumatic being pushed out in such weather and coping with fireworks etc too, she had been seen raiding bins for food.
Ebony could be another victim of the housing crisis that means people are forced to move into rented property where no pets are allowed. A recent report says pet ownership in Britain is falling mainly because of this and how wrong it is. People don't just rent property, they rent homes, and what is a home without a much loved pet, a part of the family. I have lost count of the number of very distressed folk we get asking us to take such pets, or the utter distress we feel because we simply do not have the facilities to help them all. What happens to all these poor pets? Where are they supposed to go when there is no room at the inn, to quote an apt seasonal simile? What about the damage to people, and to children, on a par with real grief? When are these landlords going to be shamed into getting compassionate and to start putting people/animals before business? I would like to see 2018 become a year of much better understanding and caring in such cases.
We took in a second young squirrel in the late summer but sadly she was badly injured possibly from a big fall and we couldn't save her.
Tortoises Harry and Hermione are now hibernating but may well wake up occasionally if we (hopefully) get a mild winter.
We took in a hedgehog with an apparent deformed back foot who is doing well. We will keep him in through the winter and see how he copes in the spring, hopefully we can release him then. We also took in a second hedgehog with a chill. Glad to say after some intensive care he has now gone back home to a village that really cares for its hedgehogs and has a thriving population. These useful little creatures are in decline and need all the help they can get.
Our foster pigeon, Nelly, has now gone home after her six month stay. She was a perfectly behaved guest. We, and neighbour rabbits Tom and Jerry, miss her.
We are successfully on our third generation of Dubai cockroaches. What amazing resilient little creatures they are. Real survivors.
A few times this year we have agreed to take in an animal or bird and then it is a no show and no explanation! Recently we made an appointment to take in two rabbits from someone 'desperate' to find somewhere for them as they were moving next day. The time came and went and another no show! We always go to a lot of effort for any new arrival, getting units ready complete with food and water, having something ready to transport them round to the units etc, to cause the least stress to the animal or bird and so it can quickly settle in. All this is time consuming; we are busy people, seven days a week, and feel the least anyone could do if they change their minds for any reason, is to give us a phone call to say so. A simple courtesy that would be much appreciated. I am sure other sanctuaries have the same problem but it is one that could be costly to another animal or bird that could be helped in that place, so please think and do the right thing, make a call.
Please remember food and water for all wildlife to help them out during the winter months, it looks like it may be a very cold one, and if you are having a bonfire at any time, please check no hedgehogs, grass snakes or slow-worms are hibernating under it.
Our thanks to all our supporters and fund-raisers. More news soon from the sanctuary.
We wish all our supporters, fund-raisers and all those who love and care for animals and wild creatures:
A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND A PERFECT 2018.
And may all animals, birds and creatures, as well as humans, receive the love, care and respect, they all deserve in the coming year.