28th June - Toby goes to sleep

I am devastated to report that Toby the dog has passed away. As those of you who know of Toby will know, he came to me in an emaciated state in Feb 2004. He had had a wretched life, having been thrown out of a window & having his back broken when he was younger. This had left him totally incontinent. He needed a lot of nursing during his time here but had a happy but long overdue retirement where he never wanted for care, love or food. A few weeks ago he became weak & had a few days where he had to be helped to his feet, but during this time he never lost his appetite. Then he would bounce back & be almost back to his normal self. Last weekend however he went down very quickly & lost interest in food finally on Sunday. He passed at 2:30 am Monday morning cradled in my arms. I think the worse life they have had, & the more care they need in their old age, the more attached I become to them. This makes their leaving all the harder to bear. I have been knocked sideways by Toby leaving & am only now, a week later, able to update the site. I miss Toby very much and have shed more than a few tears.

27th June - Help !

I have to collect 400 bales of hay from a store at Bradwell (5 miles or so) & whilst we have use of a large hay trailer we have no vehicle capable of pulling it. We used to use the Horse Box but she is off the road needing a service & plating which we will get round to doing it when finances allow... The vehicle we need has to be an off road 4 wheel drive type like a Discovery or similar - clearly with a tow bar ! If you can volunteer your services for man power too that would be great. Not sure of the date yet but is likely to be this weekend if we can get the vehicle sorted. Likely to be a days work & moving hay is not light work !

25th June - Dolly comes home !

Dolly came home from the vets this afternoon much to everyone's relief. As she walked of the lorry she realised she was back home and the relief was truly visible on her face. She has been miserable at the vets as whilst they were clearly doing a fantastic job, she was badly missing her friends. Even though either I or Martin saw her every day she was away I don't think she could relax, as she was getting stressed with the procedures and at the end of the day no-one likes big needles do they !

As soon as Skipio saw her he whinnied to her & she called back. She couldn't wait to get into the field & soon renewed acquaintances with her friends. There was shortfeed & carrots all round to celebrate !

Clearly I realise that Dolly's old age cannot be cured, but the infection causing her hock to swell has all but gone & the remedial Farrier work has given her the comfort she needs to walk. Erik said she does have arthritis, but not too bad. We are very grateful to Erik Belloy of House & Jackson under who's care Dolly has spent the last 5 days getting better.

We await the bill with trepidation !

24th June - Cockerel Crisis

As anyone who has been here will know, I keep the main Cockerel gang in a run next to the pond. However it is not always easy to keep several cockerels together as they have a tendency to bully each other. Over the past few years I have had to remove the "weakest" individuals from that gang & let them live up in the main stable block.

The dozen that are left all get on OK - there is the odd squabble of course but no real fighting.

There have been quite a few "weakest" ones over the years & there is now a second Cockerel gang living more or less in harmony with each other in the stables. One of them is such a friendly bird we call him the kindly Cockerel as he is quite happy to be picked up & cuddled. However he is the one the others pick on whenever they decide that it is time to pick on one of their gang members. Normally it results in Mr Kindly Cockerel roosting on his own as opposed to perching next to the others. Today however the "others" seem to have frightened him away as I was unable to find him roosting anywhere when I went to shut up the stables. I always check to see that all the individual Turkeys & Cockerels are safely inside, as if they stay out at night they risk being taken by a Fox.

We spent a few hours looking everywhere, but eventually had to give up. We left the outside lights on in an attempt to ward any passing Fox away. Sadly there was no sign of Mr Kindly Cockerel in the morning :0(

However at lunchtime - result - he appeared safe & sound! - No idea where he was hiding, but he is on a perch with the others tonight so I am hoping they have settled their differences for the time being :o)

24th June - Dolly much better

Erik the vet has said that Dolly has responded well to her treatment and the antibiotics appear to have got the swelling in her hock under control. The Farrier work on her front foot was also successful and all being well Dolly will be coming home tomorrow afternoon.

Skipio is really unhappy with Dolly away and has been pining for her all week. I cannot wait for Dolly and him to be back in the field together again.

Dolly has come a long way in a week, but Erik has said that he may need to see her again in a few weeks if the stiffness in her leg comes back.

A BIG thank you to everyone who has helped towards the Dolly Appeal so far as over £350 has been pledged to date. I do not have the bill yet but am expecting it to be in the region of £1500. I have asked if they will give us a discount as we are a Sanctuary & will let you know what they say !

22nd June - Herbie Arrives Home

Herbie the miniature Shetland arrived home from the vet today & is now munching away in his stable. In a few weeks time I will start to integrate Herbie with Mini Max, Bunty & Kosmatuchka. A special Herbie celebratory mug design has been created which will be unveiled shortly. Advance orders welcome of course!

21st June - Dolly News

Dolly has been receiving medical attention today & all 4 of her feet have been clipped and treated by a Farrier. She is on a much stronger antibiotic now for the infection in her rear leg and is having a series of X Rays tomorrow to check her joints & feet.

Herbie has recovered from his operation and is ready to come home tomorrow - assuming I can arrange transport from the Surgery at Blackmore (Essex) !

20th June - Another Busy Day !

I have been trying to arrange for the Sheep, Baaart, Homer, Felicity & Stephanie to have their coats sheered as the weather is very warm & they are getting hot underneath all that wool. Today however was the day! & now they are much happier! They are in a stable at the moment but will go back into their field at the weekend. Thanks to Andi for helping me get them out of their field & into the stable (across the road) in the first place.

Dolly the Shire has gone to the vets today for a thorough examination of her leg. She was as good as gold to lead out of the field and onto the lorry. To keep her company Herbie Munchkin went with her to the vet as he needs to be "seen to" in order to be integrated with the rest of the Shetland gang.

I realise of course Dolly will not live for ever, but I want to try everything to see if her leg can be improved before making any decision. I am launching a "Dolly Appeal" today & will be ordering Dolly Mugs & Dolly design Mousemats which I would like to sell at £10 each to raise funds towards Dolly's vets bill.

If you would like to order any - or any of the other merchandise - please let me know by the end of June so I can make a bulk order with the company that makes them.

If you would like to contribute towards the appeal directly, please let me know on the e mail link above - all cheques payable to Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary & posted to:

Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary

Thank you

16th June - Dolly Update

Dolly the Shire has had her X-ray which has revealed that the problem is not her hock after all. The vet was convinced that her hock was damaged beyond cure, but has now had to admit that this was wrong. The problem is now that they don't now know what the problem is and are coming out again on Monday to try something else. To prove whether or not it is Dolly's foot that is the problem they plan to put an injection into it that will freeze the nerve. If then Dolly is able to walk normally then we will know that the problem is in her foot rather than higher up in her leg.

Dolly has been doing so well these past 3 days and has not gone down again, however at first light this morning she was cast in the field, but to make it worse she was lying with her back against a bramble hedge. Why is this worse? well because we have to roll her over onto her other side in order for her to use her good rear leg to get up, there is no where to roll her.

Whilst I know I can ring people who live 30 miles away who have offered to help in these situations I wasn't sure they would appreciate a call at 6 am on a Sunday ! so we decided to see if we could spot anyone we knew driving past. After 30 minutes I had had no joy so Martin made me a little sign which said HELP !.

The 3rd car that saw me with it stopped & the young man who lived locally went to get some more people & together we managed to pull Dolly away from the hedge (Dolly helped by twisting herself away from it) & then we had enough room to roll her over on herself. She was however very tired & we waited until she had eaten a few carrots & then we managed to help her to get up.

Once she was up she walked off & started to graze & had a long drink. It was such a relief to see her up again.

I wanted to say how grateful I am to the three people who helped us today - very much appreciated

I also wanted to say a big thank you to Jo & Justin who brought round a new computer for us & transferred all our files from the old one to the new one & got it all up & running. It is nearly 3 times faster than the old one & this is excellent news. Also I wanted to thank them for the buckets & pitchfork & SDS drill bits - fantastic help.

Thanks too to Graham for doing the Spittalfields run on Saturday - lots of Mangos & papaya's - Pigs very happy !

12th June - Summer Open Day

45 people attended the Summer Open day and the weather held up - just about ! I hope that everyone had a good time & made friends with as many of the animals as possible. Toby the Dog was not very well that day, although he did get up for a wander in the evening - see him here. Dolly the Shire too has been poorly for the past week and has a problem with her hind leg. She lays down & is unable to get up on her own. This is a very serious issue. She has seen the vet twice in the past 3 days & is due to have an X ray on Thursday (16th) to find out what the problem is. More details here.

As usual I have received a flood of e-mails praising the catering skills of the Happy Hamsters !! I would like to sincerely thank Andi & Rob for preparing all the lovely food & Andi for spending the day in the kitchen seeing to all our catering needs ! Fantastic job !

Overall the Sanctuary received over £2,100 in donations which was absolutely wonderful. The only disappointment was that Martin failed to sell a single Yak CD, in fact he has only just stopped crying (Wednesday) ...& hopes to be back at work tomorrow (only joking... he he he etc)

If anyone has any pictures of the open day they would like me to publish on the site, please mail them to me on the above link. We were so busy we forgot to take any !

Once again thank you to everyone who helped make the day a success & hopefully those who were unable to attend will be able to make the Christmas open day !

28th May - Raspberry Delight

What a lovely day it was today, all the animals really enjoyed the weather today - and the ...raspberries....? Click here to see.

26th May - We're back on-line !

Unfortunately my PC gave up the ghost a week or so ago, so I have not been able to access e mail or update the site - however thanks to Sanctuary supporter Rob, who took the PC away to have a look at it, we're back in business ! - Thank you ever so much Rob for sorting the problem out, very much appreciated.

Thank you also to Louise Hammond who recently competed in the London Marathon for holding a sweepstake on her finishing time amongst her colleagues at Mellon in Brentwood. £90 was raised for the animals - see Louise here

Some sad news, I have to report that Smokey the cat passed away due to old age last weekend. Smokey was never in perfect health, suffering from incontinence. He was always to be found snuggling up with Budgie who lost an eye in a traffic accident before he came here. Smokey & Budgie were amongst the first cats I took in at the Sanctuary. Budgie is still very well, but still feral, unlike Smokey who used to let you stroke him - a bit. At least he had a good 5 years or so here.

Also Jack the Goat passed on, again due to old age. Jack was one of the first Goats I homed here & was a really nice chap. He was however an escape artist & used to live in the field where the Pigs are, but when he kept escaping into the road I had to bring him back over to this side of the road where he wintered in a stable, but spent the Summers out in the horses winter areas. We really miss him. I don't know how old he was, but he had about 6 years with us here.

They say things go in threes... I also have to report that Claudia, one of the large White Pigs we took from VIVA a few years ago had a severe attack of meningitis on Friday last week & had passed away before the emergency vet could get here. It was so sudden. She was fine on Thursday evening, but when I took their breakfast over on Friday, she didn't come out of the house & when I went in to see what was happening she was "fitting". I called the vet & he had arrived in an hour or so, but she had gone. Pigs can suddenly develop meningitis and a sever attack can kill in a very short time. Amelie, Jayne & Matilda & Percy in the next paddock along are all fine.

As with every animal that passes away here it is always an upsetting time, you never get used to it even with so many animals. It is just so sad that these three have gone now as we come into the better weather.

Finally, the Sanctuary received a 3rd commission cheque from the business generated through the online shop here. This was for £27 & was on the back of 5 people using the shop facility to buy something from the 80 odd retailers in the scheme last month. If you would like to go onto the shop mailing list, just let me know.

7th May - The case of the missing loaf

Today, a whole loaf of bread was taken by persons (well Dogs) unknown from the bread bin in the Kitchen. Crumbs were liberally scattered around the house when I came in from seeing to the outside animals, but no-one would own up - in spite of several different questioning techniques. Everyone had a water tight alibi - well nearly everyone....

Click here to see how the case was solved.

23rd April - Herbie rides again...Pics now live HERE

Well, he says he could have ridden here, but at the last minute decided to come in a trailer!

Herbie arrived today having traveled all the way from Stafford (200 miles) as nowhere else could be found to take him. Herbie is a 2 year old miniature Shetland pony and has a problem with one of his hip joints; it has a tendency to dislocate. He is also 'entire' and so will be shortly seeing the vet in order that he can be integrated with Bunty, Mini Max & baby Kosmatushka who are also Shetlands. He is however much smaller than them, but I don't think he realises!

He is a little dear and I will get some pictures of him posted just as soon as possible.

That makes 25 Horses now - if you are not already a member, please consider sponsoring one of the rescues at the sanctuary as it is really becoming increasingly difficult to meet the £3000 per month feed bills. - Thank you so much from all the rescued animals

17th April - London Marathon - ***Pictures now on-line HERE***

Update by Martin - I am thrilled to report that Fiona ran a brilliant race to come 30th in a time of 2 hours 49 !  Fiona was wearing her "Vegan Runners" top and as she ran alone up the Mall there were thousands of people shouting "Come on Vegan" which was brilliant.

This is an outstanding achievement for someone who has no coach, no athletic entourage, a colossal physical workload with running the Sanctuary 24/7, let alone for someone who has no kneecap & a knee joint replacement ! - What a star !!!

Thank you to all who were there to support Fiona & thank you to all who sponsored her for the animals - around £2000 has been pledged for the Sanctuary on the back of this marathon effort!

12th April - Summer Open Day Fixed

This Summers members open day will be on Sunday 12th June from Noon. If you are a member or supporter of the Sanctuary you should have received an e mail about this in the last few days. I did however get quite a few 'bounces'! If you did not get the mail, please let me know as it could be that your message was one of the bounces or I don't have an e e-mail address for you at all ! Thank you - Fiona

8th April - Peacock Panic Palaver

The Peacock family have lived at the sanctuary now since early last Summer, and following their release from their 'holding pen' in which they lived whilst their chicks (who arrived with them) grew up (Their chicks would have been taken by Cats unless we had protected them in a pen) have behaved very well - rarely leaving the stable block at all.

However since the 'Spring' started to arrive, the Mother Peahen & her three offspring have been venturing out into the garden during the day - they have always returned to the stables at night. Mr Peacock, who has the most beautiful plumage,  does not even venture after them, he prefers to stay inside, eating & drinking (!?)

Anyway, earlier this week, when I closed the stable block up, I always check to make sure that all the Chickens, Geese & Peacocks are inside - all were there apart from Mr Peacock - no sign of him.

I searched to no avail. When Martin got home from work we searched again & eventually found him roosting on top of one of the chicken houses in the field. Unfortunately no sooner as we spied him, he took off, flying up over the road, landing in the top of a tree in the field that Percy the Pig lives in !

There was nothing for it other than to call it a day & wait for morning. I was pretty sure that he wouldn't fly at night & he was about a safe from any Fox as he would be inside the stable block - I was however worried that he might fly down & land in the road, as a road runs right by the tree he was in. As soon as it was light, we let the his partner & her babies out onto the lawn, hoping that they would call & he would fly down. Would they call? - no of course they didn't ! - animals are like that !

Eventually & unfortunately whilst we were distracted, he did take off but we missed it & failed to see where he landed. An hour later Martin found him down by Cilla the Pig's paddock - it took some effort to herd him back towards the stables, but eventually he recognised where he was & ran in 'hooting' - They sound like "Road Runner" the cartoon bird.

So far, he has not wandered off again, but I think he will do so again, as I am aware that Peacocks have a habit of wandering. I don't want to clip his wings, as if he gets into trouble he won't even be able to fly out of it. I also don't want to put him in a pen, as that's no life for such a large & magnificent bird. I just hope that he limits his wanderings to the Sanctuary's fields from now on !! - yeah right...

3rd April - Stan Arrives

Stan is a beautiful bronze Turkey whose owners were unable to keep him anymore. He is quite a big bird, but has settled in very well with the other Turkeys down the stables. As soon as I get a picture of him I will post it on the Poultry pages

1st April - Percy's New Chatroom Goes Live

Percy's Chatroom has been updated with more advanced software (from the planet Percy) and you can pop in by clicking here or the button above. It now has 'sounds'. Thank you to Jo19 for helping us with this and for hosting the Chatroom for such a long time.

25th March - A visit from the Stork

In the very early hours of Good Friday, the Sanctuary received a visit from the Stork. Click here for the details !

24th March - Sanctuary receives 1st commission from on-line Shop

Thank you to everyone who has used the Sanctuary's on-line shop to buy things, we received our first commission cheque for £30 today ! There are dozens of different retailers linked to the scheme & the shop can be accessed from the home page of this site, or the 'Buy your gifts here' link above or by clicking here.

From time to time I receive e mails from the company who provide the service with details of special offers from certain retailers. I have not been passing these e mails onto the supporters & members of the Sanctuary because I don't want to create what could be interpreted as "spam" !! - However if anyone does wish to receive mails about these special offers, please let me know & I will set up as separate mailing list.

21st March - Marathon Sponsorship now on-line

As requested we have created an on-line form for those who would like to sponsor Fiona for the London Marathon on 17th April. Please click here

19th March - Gate Pics !

Click here to see the new gates ! - follow the 'New Gates' button

13th March - Fiona wins Brentwood Half Marathon

Update by Martin - Today Fiona won the Brentwood Half Marathon - in spite of having 2 cracked ribs - for the 4th year in a row ! It was a cracking time too - 1 hour & 19 minutes.

We are very grateful to Sanctuary member Chris Domoney who ran the race in full Elvis garb to raise much needed funds for the Sanctuary. See here for further details.

12th March - Two more Gates !

The last two gates have now arrived, giving us enough to repair all those that the Horses had "re-arranged" for us. Thanks again to all who helped with this appeal. We probably will not be able to get them fitted until the Easter weekend when Martin is off work.

7th March - New Gates (see gate appeal below)

Three new gates have arrived and we have fitted two of them so far. Thanks to all who helped with their costs. They are much more substantial than what we had in place before.
As soon as I get a picture of them I will update the pictures of the damaged ones to show you.

3rd March - Chicken Attack

Updated by Martin - If yesterday someone had told me that a Chicken could cause de-habilitating pain by launching a full frontal assault on my left leg I would have laughed and said "don't be ridiculous". Today I'm laughing in a desperate attempt to mask the pain caused by a full frontal Chicken assault on my left leg !  I'm absolutely stunned that a Chicken, OK a large Cockerel, has the power to inflict such injury, in fact I still can't quite believe it. I thank the Lord that "Red" chose to hone his deadly skills on me, rather than Fiona, as I can honestly say that he would have put pay to Fiona's Marathon training if he had targeted her.

What I had done to upset him I do not know, I was just handing some feed out to Dilly & her Goat Gang friends when I felt a searing pain in by left leg just below the knee. It felt like a nail gun had gone off against my leg - honestly. I looked down to see "Red" falling back to prepare for another assault. He must have got me with his beak, legs & wings all at the same time and punctured not only my overalls, but my jeans & then my skin ! & with such force I still cannot fathom it. To simulate the effect take a reasonably large hammer & target your leg with enough force to drive home a 6" nail - no don't do this !

As a result I am still limping 24 hours later and am having to take pain killers to numb the pain which is considerable - having kept me awake all last night !

It just goes to show how careful Fiona has to be in looking after everyone here and trying to keep well enough to run marathons at any pace let alone an "elite" one.

I will have to contain "Red" in a pen until after London as we cannot afford any more attacks like this. He has "had a go" at both Fiona & I before but never caused anything like this much damage !

22nd February - Snow Pictures

Here are a few pictures of the animals eating their breakfast in this mornings snow !

21st February - Dolly the Shire is unwell

Dolly has developed a condition called cellulitis which is an infection in her leg that causes a painful swelling. I have been working extra hard this Winter to keep Dolly well, as at 25 years old she is very old for a Shire. I noticed the swelling developing & because Dolly has had this before I recognised the symptoms. Ben the Vet came today to give Dolly an injection of antibiotics. It is important that Dolly keeps exercising as this will help with the swelling. She was off her food for about a day, but has eaten all her tea tonight - which is good news. With the cold weather I am using over 10 sacks for Quiet Mix horse food a day for the Horses & Cows alone + Hay !!

18th Feb - Gate Appeal

Thanks to your kind donations £300 has been raised so far towards the replacement gates (see below). They have been ordered & will hopefully be here in the next 10 days or so.

I have managed to get a few pictures taken of the Piglets ! - They are doing very well and you can see them here.

13th Feb - 2 more Piglets arrive

I was asked if I would take two 8 week old Piglets who had been saved from slaughter. As regular readers will know I already have 260 rescues here including 25 Pigs, but I couldn't stand by and do nothing to help them.

Hopefully they will be integrated with Percy when they are a bit bigger - probably in the Summer. In the meantime I have made a temporary pen for them.

Support for the Sanctuary has grown to 80 members since this website was started about 3 years ago & around 30% of the sanctuary's feed bills are now covered by the supporters. Finding the other 70% is now however becoming... - well it was impossible before - not sure what actually comes after impossible !

I am so grateful to the supporters who are enabling me to rescue these animals, but if you are reading this and not a member and would like to help, I really would be so grateful to hear from you. Please email me on the above link - thanks very much

Pictures of the Piglets, Nadia & Dinara will be available soon.

12th Feb - Gate Appeal !

In the Summer of '03 we had a lot of work done to create winter turnout areas for the Horses and Cows. We laid quite a large area of concrete & partitioned off several "areas" so that three separate "pens" were created so that there were day turnout areas for 1) Max & the Cow gang, 2) Dolly & the older Horses gang & 3) some of the youngsters as there are too many for them to all go into the school.

Unfortunately, the gates we used were really only meant to be "yard" type gates and the animals have over the past 18 months - well - all I can really say is "adjusted" them ! See here

5th Feb - Cat News

I have updated the Feral Cats page with a picture of new rescue Minki. She actually arrived at the end of last year, but I have only recently managed to get her picture taken. Click here to go to the feral cats page.

Also some very sad news, Captain Pickles or just "the Captain" as used to call him, has passed away aged about 17. I thought he was not well a few weeks ago & kindly one of the Sanctuary supporters, Andi, took him to the vet. They treated an infection he had on his tongue & sent him home, however about a week later he collapsed in the afternoon passed away very quickly. This has been a real shock, he had about 4 very happy years here as a house Cat, and was a really nice little man. We all miss you very much Pickles xxx

On another subject, just a quick thank you to Graham for getting so much fruit from Spittalfields Market on Saturday, The Pigs really loved it !

Also a Massive thank you to Andi who has raised over £1300 so far from selling his DVD's - see below

16th Jan - DVD Sale

Sanctuary supporter Andi has decided to sell his entire DVD collection to raise money for the animals at the Sanctuary - The collection was over 500 titles and are listed on www.veganforum.com 

If you click on the above link, select "local forums" & then select "UK" - then look for a thread called Tower Hill Stables.

Typically they are priced at £4 - and are selling faster than proverbial "hot cakes".  This is really kind of you Andi - thank you very much.

15th Jan - Monty in the wars - again !

Having recovered from his operation, (see 3rd Dec below) where an abscess had developed behind his eye, Monty got a cut to his ear last Thursday. By Friday evening it had started to swell & so we rushed him to the vet today. The cut had, as expected, become infected and yet another abscess was causing a considerable volume of puss to build right down in Monty's ear. Another general anaesthetic was needed to flush the wound clean as it was far too sore to do with poor Monty conscious. Monty was well enough to come home the same day but has to go back next week to have the drain removed. The bill was £180 odd ! Click here to see the brave soldier.

14th Jan - Laddie & Dan Pics on Line

Click here to see them !

10th Jan - Laddie & Dan's Op is successful

Laddie & Dan, the new arrivals, have successfully had their ops at the vet (see below) They also have a few teeth removed and their ear canals cleaned & they are now fully serviced & ready for action (this basically means lying about in armchairs, exploring the yard & eating food !). As with the 2 new horse arrivals I have not yet had a chance to get their photos taken but will do so this weekend. If you would like to adopt Laddie & Dan, or Mini Max & Bunty (see below) or any of the other rescued animals at the sanctuary please do drop me a line on the link above - thank you very much

8th Jan - Percy's chatroom

Because Percy is usually very busy he hasn't had much of a chance to get his chatroom up & running. Very kindly sanctuary supporter Jo19 (as she is known in the chatroom) has offered to host the chat room on Monday nights at 9 pm (UK time) - so if you are able to log on at that time, do pop in for a chat. Percy will try & appear on Monday too ! - Jo19 may be in there on other nights at 9 too. Percy's Chatroom

6th Jan - More Arrivals !

When I heard that two elderly dogs were looking for a home I said I would take them. They came all the way from Stafford ! Their owner was having to move into into accommodation that would not allow her to keep them and she had been desperately looking for a home for them for a while. The larger organisations could only offer euthanasia as an option due to their age in spite of them being healthy !

Unfortunately Laddie & Dan had not been castrated and so it has not yet been possible to attempt to integrate them with the other dogs. I have booked them in with the Vet for their Ops & hopefully in a few weeks I can attempt to start an integration !

4th Jan - New Arrivals

Although I ran out of room a while ago ! I was asked if I would take 2 small ponies in who had been abused. They arrived today & I have called them Bunty & Mini Max (don't ask). Both the vet & I believe that Bunty is pregnant ! - so watch this space for news. Mini Max was entire & has had to be castrated as I cannot integrate him with the others if he remains a stallion. Mini Max also has severe nerve damage to his ears where he has been hit presumably to go faster ? I have not got any pictures of them yet, but will try & get some published this weekend.

28th December - Big Turkey passes on

Very sadly, one of the boy turkeys I saved two years ago passed away last night. He was blind in one eye on arrival but soon settled down with the rest of the Turkey gang. It is always upsetting when they go, but I have to think about the two years he had here wandering around the yard & enjoying the sun in the Summer months.

Mrs T, the Turkey lots of people have met over the last few open days is very well having just enjoyed her 6th Christmas here at the Sanctuary!

26th December - Firenze (Florence) Marathon pics live !

See here for my pictures of the marathon in which I came 5th ! (see 7th Dec below)

25th December - BBC articles published

The BBC have published a few pages of information about my work. Here are the links to the articles:

Christmas Turkeys  - Vegan Style
A Day in the Life of Fiona Oakes
The Marathon Runner with 261 Pets

10th December - Turkey Rescue

This year I was able to rescue 5 Turkeys from slaughter. These birds were ones that had been injured and were therefore not well enough to be slaughtered for human consumption. Please click here to see them & also links for the other Turkeys I have rescued in previous years

9th December - Monty fighting fit again

Monty appears to have fully recovered from his operation & is back to his usual self - The vet will need to see him again next week to decide on whether to operate on the swelling he has below his tongue (see below).

On another subject tomorrow I will be calling off at a local Turkey farm to see how many birds I can rescue this year - I will be allowed to take the birds considered too poorly for slaughter (?) I will get some pictures of them this weekend - if all goes to plan

7th December - Fiona's Marathon Result

Update by Martin - Fiona competed in the Florence Marathon on 28th November and ran a brilliant time in this large international race to come 5th !!! - in a time of 2 hours 50 min's. This is an incredible achievement - particularly when you consider the workload Fiona has got at the sanctuary and also that she had to start BEHIND 25 elite/professional female athletes who were all "announced" at the beginning of the race & appeared to take their places just before the race start - having been keeping warm in their hotel next to the start. Poor Fiona had to wait 40 minutes in the cold with the rest of the competitors before the race started & then they let the elite runners off first.

Fiona cut her foot (burst blister) at 10K, but kept running as people were shouting from the side lines "5th lady" which motivated her to continue running. When she finished the race her right trainer was red with blood & there was no medical assistance either - great organisation - NOT. They were not even handing out water at the end - she had to walk a further quarter of a mile to get some. Nice one guys.

All being well Fiona's next marathon is London - depending on how she is following the winter of working outside with all the animals. If Fiona competes, she does at least have an elite entry into this race.

5th December - Christmas Open Day

The Christmas Open Day was a great success ! The weather was fine and 8 members and their their guests (26 in all) came along to see the animals they help to care for. I am so grateful for everyone's generosity - over £1000 was raised on the day. Martin even sold 2 CD's - although I fear chart success is still a little way off...

Saracen the Bengal Cat was on his usual "vocal" form & Percy the Pig delighted in entertaining everyone with his appetite ! Bessy Pig managed to sleep successfully through the whole day and Mrs T the Turkey enjoyed the attention she got from all who met her.

Duffy the Dog enjoyed himself closely following along behind a number of visitors all day long & Johno thought Christmas had come early with so many people to get strokes (& treats) from.

Special thanks to Andi & Rob - the "Happy Hamsters" Caterers whose Vegan cooking skills have resulted in many e-mails expressing delight in the quality and taste of the delicacies on offer!

Also I am happy to report that Monty (from below) is a lot better following his operation and I am very grateful to everyone who has made a contribution towards his operation & aftercare costs.

3rd December - Emergency Operation for Monty

Monty and Judy are two of my earliest dog rescues and I have looked after them for about 10 years now. They are both little terriers and were originally picked up by the dog warden wandering the streets of Old Harlow in Essex.

Two days ago I noticed that Monty's inner eyelid was starting to close a little & this is normally a sign as with Cats that something is wrong. He seemed a little quiet but was still eating & drinking. The next day he had not improved but was now taking a very long time to eat his food - he seemed to have trouble opening his mouth. On further investigation the "smell" indicated to me that there was an abscess somewhere and that he need to see a vet. We got him straight to our local vet and a few tests revealed that there were in fact two problems. Firstly, the closing eyelid was being caused by an abscess behind poor Monty's eye. This had to be sorted very quickly and before he quite knew what was happening, he had been whisked away for surgery. The vet has just phoned to say that Monty is OK and that they removed two back teeth to create a channel to allow the abscess to drain & with antibiotics that problem should now clear up.

I did say that there were two problems, the second one which may, or may not, be connected with the abscess infection is that under Monty's tongue his salivary glands have the equivalent of human gall stones in them. The small stones have effectively blocked some of the glands causing the saliva to build up & cause a swelling.

The vet said that this second condition is not as serious as the first, but must be treated when he has recovered from the first operation. Poor Monty. Tonight's operation is likely to cost in the region of £200 & I fully expect the same again at least for the more complex stone removal operation. If you would like to help the Sanctuary towards the costs of Monty's treatment it would be very much appreciated. Please mail me on the link above - Thank you very much

26th November - Dolly in the wars

Dolly the Shire horse has been under the weather for the past week with not one but two bad abscesses in her feet. Shire horses are prone to hoof abscesses and they can become infected if left untreated. Unfortunately it was a few days before my blacksmith was able to see Dolly but when he did he was able to cut into the underside of her hind hoof & eventually cut into the abscesses which were then able to start to drain. Dolly however was not co-operating much as she was in a lot of pain - She was kicking out & believe you me if any of her kicks had made contact they would have caused serious injury.

The next day as she was limping very badly I called the vet & arranged to pick up some Bute which is a horse pain killer and also a box of antibiotic powder as I was worried about infection.

Dolly decided that she didn't like the antibiotic powder mixed into her feed - in spite of me disguising it with plenty of molasses ! - so we had to resort to mixing it with pre boiled warm water & use a syringe to get it down. This worked & three days later Dolly is walking near normal again.

21st November - 4 Little Pigs

Today Ellie, Nellie, Sophie & Long Nose arrived to live in a paddock next to Claudia, Jayne, Matilda & Amelie. They were previously living a few miles away and their owner was unable to keep them any more. They arrived in a Horse Trailer & we unloaded them & herded them towards their new paddock area which had been fenced off on Saturday. A new Pig House had been made for them out of recycled wood. Click here to see them

18th November - Quiz Night Raises Funds

Thank you to all those from Mellon Europe who took part in Martin's Quiz night at Shenfield School tonight. Over £200 was raised to help with the feed costs - Thank you for your help

9th November - Vegan Society Awards 2004

On Monday of last week I was contacted by the Vegan Society to ask if I would be able to attend their Diamond Jubilee Anniversary Gala Dinner at a big hotel in London - as their guest ! I was very shocked to receive this invitation, but also very honored. One major problem for me is leaving the Sanctuary for any length of time, as with 250 animals here it is vital that either Martin or I are here to look after things and deal with any situation that may arise. We can only therefore leave the Sanctuary together for a few hours max at a time which rather makes it impossible for us to go to London together. Fortunately my Mum was able to come down for Chesterfield and attend the event with me whilst Martin looked after things at home. When we arrived, I quickly realised that I had not just been invited along as a guest but had actually been nominated for the Vegan Achievement Award ! - along with Benjamin Zephaniah the poet and Arthur Ling the founder of Plamil foods.

When I was announced as the winner I was totally shocked but very honored to have won amongst such worthy nominees.

The rationale behind the award was in recognition of my athletic achievements, particularly my marathon running, my duties as a Fire-Fighter, my work with helping to rescue and care for animals and their owners in Russia and for my work with the Sanctuary here.

I am very thankful to everyone who nominated me for this award and to the Vegan Society in awarding it to me and making my Mum's day!!!
This page was last updated on: June 30, 2012
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