31st December - Happy New Year...

...love from the 'Gang' !  - UPDATE at 12:40 am. Just spent the last 40 minutes down the stables calming all the Horses down as several million pounds worth of Fireworks went off all around. On Guy Fawks night, Major was so scared he broke out of his stable, smashing all the brickwork surround. We have not been able to repair that yet as it requires quite some work (est £200), so Gwilliam is in that stable now as he is not very big & doesn't push against the door, which is wedged back in place & held there with string! Major is in a bigger stable - which he initially smashed the door off of (see Major Problems button above) but has been calmer since. The very last thing we wanted tonight was more Fireworks.... so that was nice

30th December - Even Colder

It was actually painful this morning seeing to the animals as the snow was being whipped so hard into my face it was stinging. My fingers were like pieces of ice as I struggled to open the sacks of carrots - which were themselves frozen... When I let the Chickens out I looked across to where Dolly & Skipio were - I couldn't see Dolly & panicked that she might be 'down' again. I looked harder but then saw her head peeping out of her new house - what a relief !

29th December - New Hens

From the entry for 12th Dec below - I have taken a picture of the new chaps in their stable and posted it on the Poultry Page (see Chickens Link)

28th December - Snow Pics here

25th December - Happy Christmas

22nd December - Turkey Pictures Live

This years rescued Christmas Turkeys Pics are now uploaded here (Big thanks to Andrew & Helena for the camera !)

21st December - Wish List

...is now updated - re entry below

18th December - Freeze Update

The past two days have been very cold and the water pipes are all frozen - making it hard to get enough water to the animals. In the evenings, if the pipes have defrosted I try & fill as many black bins & buckets as possible, so that there will be water to hand out in the morning. Working outside for so long & with metal gates to open & close & iced water to hand out, it's your fingers that suffer the most - I can't feel them after a while & the pain is enough to make you want to cry! - Trouble is you can't work effectively in gloves, so you just have to grin & bear it.

One of the many projects we started but didn't finish in the Summer was to lay more water on. I would like to have an 'internal' water tap (internal to the stable block) as there would be more chance that this would stay unfrozen being inside - the outside taps clearly are the first to freeze up. Perhaps we will be able to do this work in the Summer. I will update the wish list with the materials we need in case anyone has some water system parts lurking in their garage or loft !

Pan the elderly thoroughbred from below is still having his wound treated. the vet advised to leave it 'open' so that it will drain, and draining it certainly is. Pan is on antibiotics which are mixed into his feed and he is a good boy because he eats it all up. Some horses can sniff the medication & refuse to eat it ! (i.e. Dolly!). Pan has been out in the morning sunshine today but is now back in his box with two rugs on & is tucking into his 2nd meal of the day. To think he used to be kept out in a field all year with no rugs is just awful.

Dolly the Shire is doing very well, she is spending more time than ever 'up' rather than laying down which is excellent news. As soon as I can get a camera I will update the site with pictures of her.

The rescued Turkeys are all OK, sadly Copper, who was rescued last year passed away last night. At least she had a year of comfort at the Sanctuary and passed away on a soft bed of straw. One of the Cockerels (Fluffy Bum Cockerel) has decided to move in with the poorly Turkeys to be their leader. Fluffy is unusual in that he refuses to roost up high like the other cockerels, instead preferring to sleep on the floor. This suits his new situation as he snuggles down between all the Turkeys in the straw.

17th December - Gym Membership Rockets

Two more people have joined the Tower Hill Stables Gym & Health Spa - well they don't know about it yet as their 'membership' is a gift to them for Christmas.

So if you are struggling for that unusual present, don't forget that you can join the Gym for someone (or yourself of course!) Also we can send out a gift certificate if you want to make a donation to someone as a present. Let me know ASAP as there is still time for me to post the certificate for Christmas.

I also still have some calendars to sell - see animated gif, bottom RHS on the home page for details. £11.75 (inc p&p @£1.75) 

13th December - Christmas Turkey Rescue

This year I was able to rescue 4 Turkeys from a rearing unit. I cannot begin to put into words the upset I go through when I go there to collect as many of the injured ones as they will allow me to have - i.e. the ones too poorly to be slaughtered for human consumption. While I was there a batch were being ushered from a shed across to the killing shed & one poor little one with clearly damaged legs was trying to move away from the others by beating her wings against the concrete. A Polish laborer scooped her up by her legs & put her into the shed with the rest to have their necks wrung.

As much as the experience tears me apart, I can do nothing to help. If I even "look" upset, they won't let me take the worst cases. It is very unusual for a Turkey unit to let you take the birds alive. Most places I tried were extremely condescending and to them, to let a bird go alive is, well, perverted.

Whilst ever there is demand for Turkey flesh at Christmas this business will continue to thrive. It is therefore better that I am able to save a few rather than none. Inside I am crying, outside I have to appear to be so called "normal".

Unfortunately the digital camera has now completely given up the ghost, so I am currently unable to share with you the pictures of these desperate little birds. If anyone has "upgraded" their old camera & therefore has a spare digital one, we would be very grateful for the old one as clearly images of the animals are key to this website.

The little ones are now down the stables on a bed of straw with water & pellets within reach. Some of them cannot see as their eyes have been pecked out or are closed up with infection. I will bathe those with infected eyes regularly over the next few weeks until they are able to open them. All 4 have body wounds similar to the ones in the previous years rescues - see here

12th December - 20 More Mouths

Some time ago, I was asked to take some more ex-battery hens. The answer was of course yes, but as they were in Lincolnshire I just haven't the time to fetch them. Thankfully an arrangement was made for the Hens to be brought to near the M25 & Barbara from Brentwood was able to collect them for me & bring them here. They have all been put in a wired up stable for the time being & are getting used to their new surroundings. Eventually they will move down to the main 'Chicken' area, but probably not before the Spring.

11th December - Difficult Few Days

My partner Martin was supposed to be able to leave hospital on Friday night & a lift had been arranged door to door - however when he awoke from his op, he found that they had put rather more local anesthetic into his right leg than they thought & as a consequence he was unable to stand - so couldn't leave until the next day. As he was not allowed to leave there unaccompanied, I needed to get to London Bridge for 1 pm on Saturday, collect him & train it home. This took about 5 hours door to door - needless to say this was not ideal as I then had all the animals to see to!!

On Sunday morning I found that Pan the horse had cut his leg. I led him onto the back lawn to treat it, but when I returned with the equipment Pan had collapsed & was in a bad way. It looked like his heart, as this was almost to the day exactly what happened to Oscar 5 years ago. Oscar was an elderly thoroughbred too and sadly he had to be put to sleep on the back lawn as his heart had failed. I immediately called the vet (House & Jackson) and Russell arrived within the hour. After some tests, Russell confirmed that Pan's heart was in fact OK, but the cut on his leg was infected with cellulitis and as he had been down for a few hours it was vital to try and get him up. With Martin unable to assist I called my Hay merchant & Ben & his Dad Tony, soon arrived. Using the technique we have used many time on Dolly, we were able to roll Pan over onto his other side & he immediately got up. Russell administered a number of pain killing injections and antibiotics to help fight the cellulitis and advised me to walk Pan three times a day & keep a close eye on him.

7th December - 2 New Rabbits Arrive

I was asked to take two more rabbits whom I have called Sugar & Spice. They are a male & female and although I have separated them now, I guess there is a strong possibility that there will soon be the sound of little furry feet! I have not had a chance to get their pictures taken yet.

The Gym now has 4 members ! - this could solve your "what Christmas present to get" dilemma ! - We can also send donation certificates if you want to make an ad hoc donation as a present too - email me for details.

New Page updates will be a little slow over the next few days as Webmaster Martin goes into hospital tomorrow ! - [Martin] Today at work I was asked what I was going in for. I said "To have a Hernia operation" - "Oh", came the reply, "Have you got a Hernia then?" - "No", I said, "I'm having one fitted" eheheh

6th December - House of Commons

I have been invited to attend the House of Commons next week by three MP's and the Animal Asia Foundation in aid of the China Bear Rescue. I have been asked to be a spokesperson on behalf of the animals as World attention becomes focused on China in the run up to the Olympics as they have a less than ideal record on animal rights - as well as human ones.  I have not quite worked out the logistics yet as to see to all the animals and get to & from the House of Commons - with Martin incapacitated at home as he will just be out of hospital - it seems a tad too much to cope with at the mo.

5th December - French Connection (Martin Update)

Susie Kelly, is an accomplished author who now lives in France. She has just written a very nice piece on her website about Fiona and her work - see it here. Thanks Susie !

Also Dave the GP is back home OK (see below)

4th December - Open Day

Thank you to all who attended today - the weather was mild & £510 was raised to help feed the rescued animals. A big thank you to Andi & Rob of the 'Happy Hamsters Catering Company' for arranging, organising and funding it themselves - The food was excellent, there was even a menu! Everyone was dead impressed with the quality and choice of food and six of Andi's special vegan chocolate cakes were purchased !

Dolly was up for most of the day, but sat down towards the end of the afternoon. She did however get up when her tea was served after everyone had gone home. Murphy the Great Dane proved a big hit with visitors as did Lena, Dan & Horace. Some of the more boisterous dogs - Flick & Tess the Bulldogs & also Maddie & Molly - I had to put into stables as with people about it would be too much to have them running loose  Everyone is now back in the house and catching up with their snoozing on the settees.

The only negative on the day is that we can't find two of the Cockerels that run free in the stable block. We have looked with torches everywhere we can think of but without success. All the 'loose' Cockerels in the stable block have particular places that they roost everynight & so it is quite easy to count them all in at the end of each day and they were all there last night. I can only think that they may have gone further afield today as there were lots of people about. This sometimes happens and they come back the next morning. If they roost in a tree they will be safe - clearly there is a risk that they may be caught if they are roosting on the ground. We will go out & have another look a bit later but at the end of the day if we cannot find them there is not a lot we can do. We will leave the outside lights on as this can act as a deterrent to any Fox. Clearly they would be 100% safe if I kept them in cages - but that is no life for any creature.

The last one to roost outside for the night was Mr English Gamebird & he came back in the morning - so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

3rd December - Major is startled by a Mouse & Phone Problems

Firstly to see what happens to a stable door when a Shire horse is startled click here.

Secondly & importantly in case you are trying to contact me by phone, I made the terrible mistake of calling BT this morning to advise them that my "call minder" (you know the 1571 service?) stopped working about a week ago. I really should have known better as whilst I expected them to just re-connect the service what they did instead - presumably because it seemed like an amusing idea at the time, was to disconnect my telephone line & give me a new number ! - which obviously wasn't exactly what I had in mind. Even the new number doesn't have 'Call Minder' !

The new number is 01621 774080 but they have assured me that my old number will be restored on Monday. What this will translate to we'll just have to see.

2nd December - Dave the Guinea Pig at vets

Dave Guinea Pig has been having trouble eating & I have had a look in his mouth and he needs some dental work as his teeth are overgrowing. This can happen with rabbits too. If you ever notice 'wetness' under the lower jaw of a rabbit or Guinea Pig it is usually a sign that something is wrong with their teeth. Dave is booked to be dropped off tomorrow morning and we will pick him up as soon as he has been seen to.

27th - November - Lifescape Magazine News

Lifescape Magazine have asked me to write an article in each of the next 4 monthly issues covering my training schedule for the London marathon and also training tips and advice for any readers who are new to marathons and perhaps doing London for the first time.

I am very keen to help Lifescape as I clearly support the promotion of the Vegan / Vegetarian lifestyle and hopefully the readership will be interested in helping the rescued animals here at the Sanctuary.

Lifescape magazine is now available in 'Borders' and I have added the details to the list of places you can find the magazine on this page here.

The new virtual Gym is proving popular and has already attracted 4 members !! Thank you

24th November - The Freeze Looms

The biggest problem about working in sub zero temperatures apart from of course not being able to feel your fingers & toes is the fact that the water pipes down the stables freeze up. If the temperature rises above freezing during the day, I might be able to get one tap working later on, but of course the animals need water 1st thing if they have run out, or more likely knocked their water buckets over ! I have completely filled every available bucket & trough tonight just in case the weather predictions come true as I will need the water to hand out in the morning. We have had mild Winters as you will be aware for the past few years, but if I believe what they are saying, the next few months could be very tough indeed.

I am pleased to say however that the new Gym has attracted one member so far. 'Thank you' from all the gang! (UPDATE now 3 members ! 25/11)

23rd November - Tower Hill Stables Gym Opens

See here

21st November - Heartbreaking News

This morning when I went down the stables to hand out  breakfast I found one of the most 'special' animals here, my beloved pet pig Bess, had passed away in the night.  She was very old and came to me about 5 years ago in absolutely atrocious condition, she was practically starved to death.  When she was younger she used to come in the house and was really a main part of the Sanctuary.  We even developed the word 'Bessproof' for her as if we didn't secure everything she just used to knock everything over to get where she wanted to be.  I left her late last night with two bakewell tarts for a late night supper and she had eaten them.  There was nothing wrong with her other than old age and at least I know that she passed away peacefully amongst her friends.  She was all snuggled up in the most beautiful straw bed, it was just as if she were sleeping when I found her.  I know it is how we would all like to go but it doesn't make it much easier for those of us left behind.

I cannot say more as I am very upset but here are a few links to the Bess pages within this site:

Link1Link2link3

20th November - Horses finally come in from the fields

Now that Dolly's area and the School have been prepared for Winter with new bark chips, we decided that today would be a good day to get Bo & his gang out of their field into the School where they will 'winter out'. This manouevre actually required a lot of careful planning as there a lot of different 'horse gangs' to move from area to area to enable access to the school.

Step 1 - Major & Simon the Shires plus Holly had to move up to the top of the yard out of the way as they were living in the area between Dolly's school & the main school & were therefore in the way !

Step 2 - Max & the Cow gang - except Marinka the crippled Cow & Olga the calf had to come out of the main school into their Winter area (part of where Simon & Major had been). This had to be achieved leaving Gwilliam, Poppy, Babushka, Mini Max & the 2 Cows I mentioned behind - not easy.

Step 3 - Catch Gwilliam, Poppy & Mini Max & put them in stables.

Step 4 - Move Marinka, Olga & Babushka through to the area where the muck heap is (for this reading who have been to an Open Day!)

Step 5 - Build a temporary fence in Dolly's school to separate her & Skipio from Bo's gang as they rush past from the field as they need to pass through Dolly's school to get to the main school. I can't afford any contact between the young horses & Dolly as they won't understand her poorly leg & it could be disastrous.

Step 6 - Open up Bo's field & hope they realise where I want then to go ! The school had been prepared with carrots & short feed & I made sure they were watching what we were doing. It paid off, there was a bit of mad galloping about, but eventually they ran into Dolly's school, up the corridor we had prepared with temporary gates onto the concrete area where Major & co had been, sharp left & through the gate into the main school.

Step 7 - Madly run after them, closing the gates as appropriate to make sure they don't turn round & come back.

Step 8 - Dismantle the temporary gates in Dolly's school as I can't afford for her to have an accident on them

Step 9 - Re-arrange the indoor accommodation (stables) to leave two of the largest boxes for Major & Simon the Shires to come back into.

Step 10 - Prepare a stable for Babushka & usher her in

Step 11 - Prepare a stable for Marinka & Olga & usher then in

Step 12 - Let out Peanut, Kolyada, & Bunny Babe to the concrete area where Major & co were originally.

Step 13 - ...and relax

Step 14 - Do the normal daily jobs.....& make sure that everyone has hay, water, carrots, Shortfeed ...and a copy of TVquick

This whole move was more of a palaver than I had originally planned because i had envisaged that Dolly would simply be in a stable with daily turnout. However due to the events of the last few weeks I have had to put her in the new school area with only her best friend Skipio where she is happy on the bark chip surface. It is a big area for just the two of them, but with her condition it is too risky for an other animal to be in there with her as they may want to play when of course Dolly is not able to. She is happy following the sun round & being with her friend.

This area had intended to be for her to share with Simon & Major.

The bill for Dolly's house has now arrived ! £1765 + the work to take the muck heap away, dig out the main school & refill both schools with Bark Chips was £2300. So that was an extra £4000 odd to find this month... oh dear

17th November - Keith renamed as Katy

After the faux pas was realised, Keith was re-named as Katy by her new sponsor!

16th November - Hens named

The two Hens from below (15th) have been named already as......Phil & ...Keith ?!!
Thanks Phil & Keith in Brentwood for naming them so quickly - where did you get the idea from? hehe

15th November - Two Hens Arrive

I was asked by the Mayhew Animal Home who are a charity based in North London whether I would be able to take two Hens that had been found wandering about in the Wembley area by a Policeman. They had been unable to find anywhere to take them in. They arrived today and I put them in a holding cage in the main Hen area whilst they got used to their new surroundings. They were released later in the afternoon and there was no "trouble". Hens are usually fine when introduced to others, it is however a completely different story with Cockerels - as they can and usually will always fight for dominance. I will post pictures of the new Hens as soon as I can.

If you would like to name one or both of the new Hens please e mail me. A donation of £5 for each Hen will secure your selected new friends name !

14th November - another early start !

After yesterday's goings on it was business as usual today. It was a beautiful yet cold morning with the 1st heavy frost of the year so I was keen to get out to make sure all the animals were OK. Everyone seemed fine with the Cows & Max reveling in their new area and Dolly sitting comfortably in hers. After breakfast & the morning mucking out, Ben arrived with the Hay trailer loaded with 112 bales of lovely hay - much to the delight of everyone ! As he was leaving, Gladwells the feed merchants arrived with the weekly supply of short feed - about 2 tons that I had to unload - also courtesy of a very kind supporter a new broom together with 3 Shire size rubber feed buckets which the big horses - including Dolly - were very keen to test for their elevenses. The day was gloriously sunny & I feel that Dolly really enjoyed herself, She ate all her feeds, tucked into the hay & carrots & enjoyed sunbathing with her best friend Skipio. I know Dolly isn't going to get better, as she has an orthopedic condition which cannot be corrected, but whilst ever we can keep her comfortable and relatively pain free I am happy that I am doing the right thing by her - afterall no-one can take days like today off her.

13th November - 150 tons of muck anyone?

Today was an even busier day than usual - & that's saying something ! The Muck heap was taken across the road to the space in Percy Pig's field where it can rot down further. Plus the main School (Menage) area was dug out & transported across the field and fresh bark chips were delivered in.

We had literally just finished feeding the animals at about 8:30 am when the assorted Tractors, Mantu's & 5 Ton dumper trucks arrived and started work in what would be a mammoth exercise to last through to 7 pm. There was so much stuff to shift !

Before Bo's gang can come in out of the fields we needed to get the school sorted so that it was nice & dry & would take the 'hammer' from 8 Horses for the next 6 months. Dolly & Skipio's area had to be sub-divided with fencing to make a 2nd area where Max & the Cow gang - who had been in the main school - could stand whilst the work was done. To make matters worse I only had 6 bales of hay to last & clearly this had run out by lunchtime! Poor Ben who had been working the machines had to finish up here then go home & then bring back 14 bales (They come in packs of 14 tied together) so I could give everyone their tea ! - Tomorrow morning he will bring the trailer with 112 bales on it - for this week !!

Max & the cows + (mini Max, Poppy, Gwilliam, Babushka) went back into the newly refurbished school at around  9 pm & there were carrots all round to celebrate.

Bo's gang will come into this area as soon as some more gates arrive, as in order to make a suitable Winter turnout area for Max & the cows 2 new gates are needed to section off an  area - I am gradually replacing the gates we had with much more suitable ones - the original gates were OK as long as the Horses or Cows didn't lean too hard on them - which they do & they have been destroyed. The new style gates are much stronger and of course more expensive !! But they appear to be able to take the strain !

Dolly has had a good weekend and the weather has been very kind - she spent most of today standing up, sitting down only late in the afternoon. She got up to have her tea. I am having to take each day as it comes.

12th November - Hunters kill Sanctuary Moorhen

We were just getting ready to feed the horses when I was suddenly aware that Bo's gang who are still in the bottom field had started to become agitated and were running about. At first I thought it was probably just something going on in the road, but when their running started to become galloping I knew something was amiss. Then we saw two men in the farmers field on the other side of the brook & they were hanging about by the fence. Then one climbed over, crossed the brook & got into the field with Bo's gang. Martin started off down the fields to see what he was up to, but saw then that there was a bird of prey half way up Bo's field. The man was attempting to catch it as it had obviously flown away. When Martin got closer he noticed that it had killed one of the Moorhens from the pond & was eating it.  Martin was not amused & told the man to leave the way he had come. The man had been hunting the bird a few miles away - I expect they were from the local hunt who are trying to use birds of prey to flush out Foxes so they can shoot them, but clearly the bird of prey had other ideas. I realise that birds of prey kill other birds, but this Falcon is not natural habitant of these parts & certainly should not be allowed to hunt for 'so called sport' on private land without permission & particularly when that private land is an Animal Sanctuary. How anything involving murder can be classified as a sport is totally beyond me.

10th November - Dolly update

Dolly has been better this week on the new bark chip surface. She is still eating all the food I put out for her. She is spending quite a few hours sitting down, but I have not yet seen her struggle to get up on the bark chip surface - it really is the best thing ever for her.

Martin had to visit an oral surgeon yesterday, but the good news is that nothing has been fractured. On a sobering note the Surgeon told him that the last person he had seen who had taken a kick from a Shire in the face has broken his jaw and had to have an eye removed. Makes us realise how much worse it could have so easily been.

Thank you to all who have contributed towards the Dolly appeal above, your help is greatly appreciated. I don't know the bill for her new house & chips yet, but it will be at least £1500

9th November - Interview Published

An interview with me by Bradley Saul has been published on the Organic Athlete website which you can read here

5th November - Dolly's New House

Dolly's new house has been built - see the link on the Dolly Appeal page

4th November - Another busy day

Today, on top of the usual jobs, I had £600 of short feed to unload (100 x 20kg sacks_ carrots ! - a weeks supply), and then a visit from the vet to look at Dolly's foot. Ralph was very nice & packed out Dolly's orthopaedic shoe with some special flexible putty (bit like plastic padding) which sets to form a flexible yet strong cushion for her weight to bear down on. He also administered a pain killing injection. Dolly is walking easier now which is a relief.

Then Ben arrived to erect the field shelter with his team of workers and they worked until about 7 pm getting it built & also spreading two massive farm trailer loads of new bark chips on the surface of the new school where the new shelter is. Dolly & Skipio immediately moved in and Dolly is much happier on this soft surface.

Then of course the trouble started. In the field next to us they had a big firework party - how much it must have cost I can only imagine - Bang after bang after bang - the animals were going mad with fear. I had to stand next to Dolly talking to her constantly for over an hour to stop her from jerking madly at every loud bang. With her poorly leg this was the last thing she wanted. All the Cows were running round their school & inside the stables more havoc was going on. Major the Shire had become so scared that he had smashed his way out of his stable taking his door off, and crumbling all the brickwork and woodwork frame. He was fairly calm when we got to him & we decided the best thing would be to let him, Simon & Holly out onto the area that Dolly & Skipio had just vacated. 

We have just come in from making sure that the fireworks have finally stopped and from handing out extra carrots to all to try & calm them down. Tomorrow we will have to assess the damage properly & work out how we are going to repair it all.

2nd November - Dolly problems continue but it's Martin in Hospital

Dolly had been fine all day & ate her tea all up & just when I went inside for her rug, she sat down inside the field shelter. I decided not to panic as I know she does sit down every night. However given all the work on her leg yesterday I was concerned as to whether she would be able to get up. My worst fears were confirmed when she tried to get up to let me put her rug on, but she couldn't do it. She is not able to get the same leverage from her feet on the rubber mats (see below) than she is on grass, but she can't go back onto the grass because due to the weather it's a mud bath. I decided to wait for Martin to get home & then after allowing her a few hours to "rest" try to get her up. At 9 pm we both tried but failed to get Dolly on her feet & she knew she was in trouble. Kindly Garry a friend from Southend drove over at 10:30 to help us & we knew we had to flip her over so that she could try & get up on her other side - "the rested side". To date we have used this technique about 10 times in the past 6 months with 100% results.

Tonight was however about to spoil our record. We attached the ropes & Garry & I pulled as Martin stood on her leg side to guide her back legs over & push as we pulled - but alas,  Dolly kicked out with her hind leg twice catching Martin full on in the face. Disaster.

Not only had we failed to turn Dolly but Martin was semi conscious on the floor clutching his head. We quickly went to his aid & assessed that he was badly damaged & we called for an ambulance. They arrived quickly & from the rapid and massive swelling suggested that Martin's jaw was probably broken or at least fractured. He was in a lot of pain.

At this point Dolly made another attempt to get up & succeeded, wandering off to eat hay off the trailer.

As hard and as difficult a decision as it was I had to let Martin go alone to the hospital - he insisted - as I can't leave all the animals unattended for an unknown time - such is the responsibility of running a Sanctuary. On arrival they quickly gave him some strong pain killers & he had several X-rays. The Doctor who saw him suspected a fracture or several small breaks on the left side mandible. However the X-rays weren't conclusive and a 2nd consultant was called in. Between them they finally agreed that it wasn't a break and somehow Martin appears to have got away with being smashed in the head by a thrashing Shire's hoof - with no breakages BUT massive soft tissue damage. - see here He arrived home at 5 am.

He has to go back in 3 days for further X-rays to check again just in case there is a fracture that didn't show up. There is a possibility that the jaw has moved slightly in which case Martin won't be able to open his mouth fully - but this cannot be determined yet as he can't open it due to the swelling at the moment.

It brings it home how fragile we are compared to the large animals and if Dolly had caught Martin differently - well I don't like to think about it.

Thanks Garry for coming over at such short notice.

I will post updates as often as I can - the weather is appalling & tomorrow I have arranged for new wood chips & a field shelter to be erected in the new school, so that Dolly can move into it & have the woodchip surface to sit down on. This should give her better leverage to get up from that either the rubber mats or concrete. I fully realise that Dolly will not live for ever, but I don't think she has given up yet. If she had of, she would not have got up on here own last night. I had spoken to Chris House (the vet from House & Jackson) who was on standby to attend to take whatever action was deemed necessary. When the time comes we will both know.

1st November - Dolly sees the Farrier

Dolly the Shire (see Dolly appeal above) had a 3 hour blacksmith appointment today to remove her special shoe, see to her foot & re-attach the shoe. From below with her bad knee I knew it was going to be a tall order, but the blacksmith did really well with her and she is much better tonight, he is coming out again next week to do some more work with her as there was too much to do in one appointment.

Now Dolly is in from the fields she is sharing the large field shelter & hard standing area next to the school with her best friend Skipio. The one downside has been that because Dolly likes to sit down at night she starts off laying on her straw bed, but tends to kick it away when she moves and ends up lying on the concrete floor. This is not ideal. So to alleviate this we have tonight taken the rubber mats out of the Lorry which is not in operational use (see wish list!) and put them down under Dolly's straw bed. This will mean that she will have a inch of rubber cushion between her & the concrete when she sits down - this will make a big difference.

31st October - Midnight Fencing Escapade - well almost...

With the onset of the Winter, the horses in the fields must come in to either their stables or their winter hard standing areas. Bo's gang of 8 youngsters will winter out in the school (menage), however the section of fence separating them from the area that Dolly & Skipio are using at the moment has all but fallen to pieces and is held together with string! This has been OK during the Summer when only 3 horses have been living in the school, but Bo's gang are much more lively and I know that this fence will only last about 30 seconds as soon as they enter the school. So - what to do. The usual fence posts have not worked well in this situation and so Martin came up with a cunning plan to use some heavy timbers (6" by 4") cut down to 6 foot 6 lengths which would be concreted into the ground, making very sturdy posts on which to nail the fencing rails.

The timbers were cut on Sunday night and the cement & ballast was purchased on Monday. Very kindly supporters Andi & Adrian offered to come over at 7 last night to help. We had to dig 3 holes 2 foot 6 deep & about a foot across within which the posts would be sunk. Thankfully it had stopped raining, but as luck would have it the cement mixer started ! - not really - just a little joke ! (see wish list!) - about 15-20 buckets of concrete had to be mixed by hand (not fun) and the posts were all sunk and concreted into place by 10:30 pm. We were hampered as the school was so wet that as soon as you dug a hole it filled with water - presenting somewhat of an engineering challenge !

We should be in a position to attach the rails at the weekend - assuming the concrete has set fully which may not be the case due to the extreme wet ! Then Bo & co can come in to test our work for quality etc

Thanks again Andi & Adrian !

30th October - Dolly unwell

Dolly the Shire has taken a bad turn as she has twisted the knee of her bad leg which has caused it to swell. She must have done in Saturday night as at first light this morning she was down in the school. She got up OK but is very tender on the knee. I have given her bute (pain killers) and packed the knee in ice to reduce the swelling. This evening she sat down again, but got up at about 7 pm. The Farrier is due on Tuesday and so I will see what he says when he sees her.

You may have noticed on the home page of this site the advert for the fit Vegan calendar in which there is a picture of me ! - A few people have asked for them, so I will order them in & mail them out to anyone who wants a copy. I am asking a min of £10 a calendar - to cover the cost, postage and a few pounds donation for the animals. I will have some to buy at the Open Day on 4th December

Also, whilst on the subject of the Open Day - Andi from the Happy Hamsters Caterers has offered to make a limited edition special Vegan Chocolate cake for anyone who would like one.  These will be made to order so if you would like one, let me know & you can collect it at the Open Day. The price will be £10 per cake - all profit to the animals.

25th October - New Arrival

A new rescue arrived on Saturday. His name is Murphy and he came down from Northampton from where his previous owners were unable to keep him. I was shocked at how big he is - meet him here

20th October - Fiona in Magazine (Martin update)

A new veggie based lifestyle magazine was launched in October called Lifescape. The November issue features a four page article on Fiona and her work with the animals. The magazine aims to compete with magazines like "Zest" and should be available from larger magazine outlets. I tried to get it in WHSmith in Brentwood but they didn't have it. I'm going to ask again in there tomorrow (this time wearing a beard) hopefully they will order it in if enough people ask. - UPDATE - just found out that WHS don't stock it yet ! - there are 270 shops nationwide that do however - if you want to know who does stock it, click here

16th - October - Fiona comes 9th in Amsterdam

More details will follow soon - UPDATED - Here is Fiona's report and now Pics here

15th - October - Boot Sale Fund Raiser & Dolly update

Special thanks to 10 year old Charleigh who today raised just over £111 for the rescued animals through a boot sale! It was a long day with an early start - but what a fantastic achievement. Thanks Charleigh & co !

What a beautiful day it was today - much like August rather than the middle of October ! With it being so warm I have been leaving it until late to put Dolly's rug on as it is important not to make her too warm. So I nipped out at about 8 pm to pop it on. Unfortunately she was lying down in the field. We have learned not to panic any more when she is down as that now her rear leg is cured of the cellulitis she is able to get herself up, but given all the traumas we had with Dolly in the Summer (see June entries below) you can't stop your heart jumping into your throat whenever you see her lying down.

I decided to leave it & pop out later. This I did at about 10 pm but, she was still down, however, in a different place - so I knew she had got up OK. As I fiddled with the gate she stood up, much to my relief & I put her rug on & she had some carrots !

The moon was bright tonight & it was so quiet out there with all the horses standing around. Then I noticed that Major the pure white shire was lying flat out, as were all the horses in his field apart from Simon - who was on guard ! They all got up when I approached (again much to my relief!) & so they had to have carrots too.

It is quite normal for horses to occasionally lay down - but it can also be a sign of trouble. It can be a symptom of colic (stomach ache) which can be fatal for horses, or for the larger animals like the Shires, if they are down too long they can have trouble getting up as their sheer weight can cause the side that is against the ground to become numb & the muscles to stop working. So you have to be able to assess whether the Horse is just having a rest or is in trouble.

14th October - Fantastic Support from Animal Aid

Special thanks to Claudia & co at Animal Aid for publishing a New Article on their website in support of Fiona's race on Sunday. - Read it here or click on the Marathon Girl link on the main page of the Animal Aid website here.

Fiona is in Amsterdam now & I am holding the fort ! - Here's hoping the weather holds & Fiona has a good race - Big thanks to to all who have send messages of support. If anyone would like to sponsor Fiona you can do so here.

Thank you from all the gang !

5th October - New Arrivals

I was asked if I would be able to take an old Labrador who was going to be put to sleep last Friday at a pound in Sheffield - basically because she was old and thin & was refusing to eat. Lena arrived here on Tuesday this week and was a nice surprise for Martin when he got home from work! Lena is very thin, but has settled in with the main gang in the house and has not caused any issue with the others. It can be problematic introducing a new Dog as if one has aggressive tendencies it can easily lead to fight situations with so many & clearly this has to be avoided at all costs. Fortunately Lena is very passive & just wants to curl up in the warmth. She was very hungry when she arrived and has not yet stopped eating - which is great news. Hopefully we can get some weight back onto her. You can see her here. (Click on the "Lena" menu button)

Two little feral cats arrived at the weekend too, rescued by a charity in Islington called SNIP. They have both been neutered and will live in feral pens for the next six weeks. I will post pictures as soon as I have them.

25th September - Christmas Open Day

The next members open day will be on Sunday 4th December from Noon. I am delighted to say that the catering will once more be provided by the Happy Hamsters of Brentwood! If you are a member or supporter you should have received an e mail by now - although I do get a lot of bounces, so maybe I don't have your latest e mail address - let me know if you didn't get the notification and I will check the records. Don't forget also that if you want to receive emails about offers in the Sanctuary's online shop, just let me know.

24th September - Joe Cockerel escapes !

Oh dear - another escape ! (see below). Those of you who have read the story of Joe Cockerel (see 16th Aug below) will know what an amazing recovery he has made against all the odds & so when he "escaped" from his run on the garden today it was in fact an incredible site to see him bombing about the garden - given he could only lay in a twisted heap a few short months ago. Whenever the weather permits Joe goes out onto the lawn into a rabbit run to get sun & exercise, however when I lifted the run up to fetch him in, he bolted ! - round & round the garden he went - I'm a good runner but I couldn't catch him ! Eventually with the help of Mr Peacock & Fluffy Chicken we headed Joe off (seriously, they helped - you would have been amazed to witness it) down into the stable block where I managed to get him & put him back into his house. He is about 90% normal now but would still be a target for the other Cockerels who live down the stables as they will sometimes pick on a weaker bird & I can't risk that with Joe, given what he has been through. Hopefully one day he will be strong enough to be integrated back into the Cockerel community - but not yet

23rd September - Nadia Piglet escapes !

Keeping Pigs in their paddocks can be a challenge - although it really depends on the type of Pig as to how "inquisitive" they are about what's on the other side of their fence! We use a strip of electric fence rope running around the inside of each Pig enclosure which keeps them away from the actual fence which only being sheep wire would not last 5 minutes if seriously challenged by a Pig! Cilla and her gang have their fence running on the same loop as the Horse electric fence unit which is powered by the mains (10 watts!). However, for the chaps who are across the road we have to use a different type of unit as there is no mains power. This unit runs off of a car battery, which is fine BUT sometimes the battery can drain quicker than you expect, particularly if vegetation touches the rope as this causes a "short" which will eventually drain the battery. This is in fact what happened on Friday !

Fortunately the only Pig that burrowed out was Nadia, one of the baby Large Whites who lives with her sister Dinara & Percy ! In fact, although the line was "dead" none of the others had followed or tried to get out of their paddocks. There is actually a further fence and hedge that she would need to negotiate before getting to the road.

Nadia went back through the "hole" she had made for some food we out down for the ones who had not escaped & the battery was put on an a boost charge for a few hours. At 10 PM we re-connected it BUT it didn't work !! - then it dawned that it was the unit itself that had broken - oh dear...

Fortunately the Pigs were all tucked up in their houses & weren't going "exploring" so we were able to leave them until the morning. Martin set off to get a new unit Saturday am & this was fitted & working by 9:30 am - phew - £80, but absolutely essential to keep the Large Whites in their field.

15th September - Asics help Fiona

Update by Martin - Dismayed at the lack of help/interest from VIVA! & the Vegan Society I wrote to Asics the sports manufacturer whose shoes Fiona runs in for marathons. Within a week they have written back explaining that whilst all their sponsorship budget for 2005 is spoken for they have put Fiona on their "Potentials Programme". This means that they will supply her with whatever running gear she needs at trade which is about half price on the shoes + VAT. So as Fiona's shoes cost £110 ish & she needs a new pair every 3 weeks, this is a very welcome boost. They have done this on the strength of her athletic performance alone i.e. they are not interested in the animals or the Vegan angle which just makes the stance taken by the two afore mentioned bodies even more farcical IMHO.

14th September - Chick News

Amazingly Joe Cockerel has continued to make progress and is now about 70% normal - I really am staggered by his recovery given what the vet said - re 16th August entry below.

Also, Mr one eyed Cockerel who the vet said had a tumor in his head & should be put to sleep is still doing well. It was in fact an abscess as I had half suspected all along - although a massive one - but has now burst & is decreasing in size. Throughout, Mr one eyed Cockerel has not seemed to be bothered by it and has been eating normally. He, Joe & Charities Chicken (who is in fact a Cockerel that won't get on with the others but lived all last Winter in Charity the horses stable, hence the name) all go out in rabbit type runs on the lawn each day when the wether permits.

12th September - Shetland Shelter

With the weather turning now, we are turning our attention to "Winter Quarters" for the larger animals. Now that we have 4 smaller chaps on the Horse front, we plan that they will winter out on one of the hard standing areas and we are building them a shelter which will basically mean they have a stable to share when they want to, but also have permanent access to the outside. We have most of the materials ready now, just need some concrete to support the main post of the shelter. Work will re-commence this coming weekend

10th September - 29 CD's sold now

Raising over £350 for the animals ! - see here for more information

8th September - Dolly update

Dolly is doing brilliantly & is still enjoying being out in the fields with her best friend Skipio. I have decided that I will do everything possible to avoid bringing Dolly into a stable this Winter as if she becomes "cast" in it (down & unable to get up) it is nigh on impossible to turn her over in the confines of a stable - she needs as much room as possible. To this end this Winter I will move Dolly to where the Cows normally winter out as there is a large field shelter there which will provide stable like protection from the elements whilst still providing plenty of room should we need it in an emergency. The Cows & Max will Winter out in the new school area and I am planning for a field shelter to be built in this area so they can get out of the weather - such a lot of work though!!

1st September - Desperate Measures

The Sanctuary now has 100 members who through the sponsorship of the rescued animals account for about 35% of the feed costs (total feed costs about £3000 per month). However with shortfeed costs having risen & hay prices remaining high it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep going.

The very last thing I want to do is to ask existing supporters for more as I am already very grateful for your kindness and support. What I would ask you to do though is two things:

Firstly, please tell everyone you know who uses the Internet to shop for anything, to bear the Sanctuary's on-line shop in mind when making purchases. There are over 80 retailers in the scheme - big names too Amazon, Focus, M & S etc - & if you or they visit them via the Sanctuary's pages, the Sanctuary will earn commission on anything ordered. It costs the user nothing, & in fact there can be occasions when going to that retailer via the shop can yield a discount. Last month for instance generated £38 in commission for the animals on the back of just 8 transactions!

Visit the shop here or from the link on the main page

The second thing I would ask that you might do is to see if you can encourage your friends family members or colleagues to become members of the Sanctuary.

I would not ask you to do this if the situation were not desperate. Clearly if there are people reading this who are not already members, please do bear the Sanctuary in mind & be aware that 100% of every penny given goes to the animals - nothing is taken to pay rent, salaries, administration, maintenance etc. You can sponsor an animal for any amount from £2 per month & you will be invited to the Open Days (twice a year) and the animals, if required, will send you hand made cards on your Birthday & Christmas (at no cost to the sanctuary & it keeps Martin off the streets making them!) - Remember you can sponsor as a present for someone special too.

I have written/called both the Vegan Society and the animal charity VIVA! to ask whether they would be able to help with the marketing of my marathon running regarding the promotion of Veganism - particularly as their stated objectives include the promotion Veganism & running a marathon as part of the elite race you would have thought would be good promotional material to demonstrate that Veganism is not prohibitive to performance at endurance sport at International standards - needless to say neither organisation has even bothered to reply... I would say I am shocked, but after dealing with the larger organisations for years sadly I am not.

31st August - Fiona goes to Eleven

Taking the hay down the fields to the Horses and Cows in the Summertime can be a time consuming task and as anyone who has helped with or has at some other time shifted bales of hay will know - it's heavy work. At the moment the Sanctuary is using between 22 & 24 bales of hay per day ! - click here for todays lesson in moving hay !

22nd August - Marathon News

I have been offered an "elite" start for the Amsterdam marathon on 16th October. This is a large International marathon with 20K runners. There will only be between 20-30 elite runners & best of all Haile Gebreselassi (one of the best athletes the world has seen) will be starting with me as the men & women elite start together. Haile has broken 30 world records and has won double Olympic Gold - He will be attempting to set a new world record so there will be lots of media coverage. I hope to get some publicity for animal welfare and will be wearing my Vegan Runners top. If anyone would like to either sponsor me or collect sponsors on my behalf I would be very grateful. - let me know by e mail, thank you.

20th August - Joe Cockerel Pics now live

See here - click on the Joe Cockerel button (orange)

16th August - Joe Cockerel's story

Joe Cockerel arrived here about 6 months ago, but after about a month he became ill. He was living in the stable block with some of the other Cockerels and I noticed that he had gone quiet and was starting to hold his head to one side as he perched. The vet saw him and said that we should have him put to sleep as there was no chance he would get better and he certainly would never be able to feed himself again - as his head was now twisted round on it's side so that it was actually upside down.

As you know I hate to give up with any animal that I don't think has yet given up itself and because no "explanation" could be offered by the vet, and particularly as this did not appear to be a disease as no other chicken was affected I decided to treat Joe myself.

It has been a tough assignment as on top of everything else I have had to feed Joe by putting food into his beak - which he then swallowed & administered water by syringe 5 times a day - every day for the past 3 months.

Joe's eyes have remained bright clear & orange & whilst ever he was making the effort to swallow & drink the food and water I was giving him I believe I did the right thing. A few weeks ago, Joe started to move his head on his own and he can now untwist it whilst standing and has been pecking food & taking water on his own! He still holds it twisted a lot of the time, but this is real progress. Today he was in a rabbit run on the lawn & for some of the time he was actually holding his head near normal & pecking at the grass.

Although the vet could offer no explanation I think Joe has suffered nerve damage - possibly a blood clot or something like that which has caused the nerve in his neck to go haywire. I have no idea whether he will make a full recovery but I will keep on trying whilst ever Joe wants to.

If you would like to help with Joe by sponsoring him, or any other of the rescued Chickens please mail me on the link above - thanks

4th August - Mr Peacock's tail drama

It's a good job we took a picture of Mr Peacock with his magnificent tail to make a mug design a few months ago as this week, all his beautiful tail feathers have started to fall out !
This is quite normal (Mr Peacock assures me) and he says he will grow a nice new tail (train) for next Spring !

12th August - New cat Arthur arrives

Arthur is a tame cat & was brought here after being handed in at a vet where he had been found living rough on an industrial estate. No-one had enquired about him in the area and as an older Cat he was facing the needle. Arthur is living down the stables and has settled in well. He sat & watched Dolly have her tea tonight!

10th August - Dolly Update

Dolly the Shire had a return trip to the vets last week to have her poorly foot seen to again. The Farrier had to take her special shoe off, trip the foot and re-do the shoe. Dolly also had to have some X-Rays to check on the bones in her foot. She was there for a few hours and came home safely - much to Skipios's relief !

24th July - Ferdinand Pics Live

Ferdinand the Duck who arrived on 10th July is now on-line here

20th July - Horace at the Vets!

Horace - see 6th July entry below - suddenly developed a swelling on the left side of his jaw. It literally appeared in a few hours and at first I thought that he must have injured himself somehow. Investigation revealed however that an abscess had formed and burst out on the inside of his mouth. I made arrangements to get Horace to the vet immediately and they confirmed that he had indeed got a tooth abscess which had burst. They gave him an antibiotic injection and a course of tablets but have said that if it recurs Horace will need surgery. We really want to avoid this if we can as due to to Horace's age a general anaesthetic is something to be avoided if at all possible. Horace is recovering well & would like to hear from any well wishers !

18th July - Fence Repairs

Many thanks to Justin who helped Martin repair the fence at the bottom of the Cows field.
Due to the lack of "rails" (see Wood Shop sketch below) we used some sturdy pieces of good old 2" by 4" ! - which were free - so a right result !

14th July - Free Hay !

Big thanks indeed to Sue & Jim for letting us have their field of Hay completely free - about 280 bales. What's more this is some of the loveliest hay you will ever see - the animals go mad for it !

I got a call on Wednesday evening to say that the hay was being baled and that the farmer who cut it was worried about storms as we have had so much hot weather for so long. Clearly if the hay gets wet it won't save and starts to rot, so it is vital to get it in off the fields whilst the sun still shines ! The big problem for me is that because the Horse Box is off the road - see wish list! - I have no way of picking it up. Keith's Tardis (van - see below) has been brilliant for this job, but Keith had previously explained that he was unavailable from this Wednesday till early next week as he was playing a key role in arranging a wedding this weekend. However when he heard of my plight, he sportingly made himself available this morning to help me fetch it in. I am also very grateful to Andi who drove over to help with this chore. It is tough work at the best of times but in this heat it is not ideal !

13th July - Wood Shop Sketch*

Update by Martin - So we call into a local Woodyard - i.e. place where they have enormous buildings full of wood. This one is specifically a fencing company as we need some post & rail fencing materials to repair some damage caused by the Cows (- although they blame Simon the Shire).
We make our way to reception and the receptionist eventually looks up. I say,
"Hello, we'd like to buy some wood please".
There is a few seconds delay to her response, during which I start to get a sinking feeling
"Wood?" she asks quizzically
"Yes" I reply in my best Basil Fawlty accent
Another pause ensues
"..for fencing?" she asks almost too slowly
I am now thinking that I have inadvertently wandered into a laundrette
"Yes, for fencing" I reply
"Well it depends what you want" she answers
(At this point I think it is necessary to mention that the specific type of fencing we needed is called "Post & Rail" fencing, It is the single most popular type of paddock fencing you will come across in these parts. It consists of 6 foot stakes which you bang into the ground & 12 foot half round rails, which you nail to the stakes making two or three rows)
"I need 10 four inch stakes and 10 four inch rails" I explain
"Oh, I think we are out of stock on those items" she says - "let me check on the Computer - yes, computer says no, completely out of stock"
She looks at us for a response - I don't know what she was expecting us to say
Eventually, as it was clear she wasn't going to say anything at all I said
"Well can you order them for us?"
"Yes" she says - and then silence again...
"So how long will they be?" I asked after the silence became painful
"Oh about 2 weeks I should say" she says
"Two weeks?"
At this point I could just imagine going off into a Basil Fawlty rant - "Right then I'll go back & explain things the the Cows & ask them if they could just be so kind as to not break out again over the next 14 days or so, whilst you sit there on your great...... & so on...

But of course I didn't ! - We just left wondering how these companies stay in business !

* reference to the Monty Python Cheese Shop sketch - if you know this you'll know what I mean !

12th July - Mr Peacock mug design now available

Here ! - just mail me if you would like one!

11th July - Dolly Pictures Live

Click here to see pictures of Dolly the shire at the vets and also coming home !

10th July - Ferdinand, Floyd & Pussy arrive

Ferdinand is a white Duck whose partner had been taken by a Fox and was lonely. I was asked if she could come & live on the pond here and said yes. She was very frightened at first as she had not before seen such a big pond. We had to put her in the water a few times before she finally got the hang of it & went off to meet the other 3 Ducks that live there. She has been here now for 2 days & is really enjoying herself. As soon as I get a picture of her I will publish it & let you know here.

Floyd and Pussy are 2 cats whose owners were unable to keep them any more so I was asked if I would take them. They are currently living in feral pens in Dolly's stable - while she is in the fields! - where they will stay for the next 6 weeks. This is to give them the chance to become familiar with their surroundings so that they do not "bolt" when the pen doors are opened. Again as soon as I get pictures of them I will let you know

8th July - Horace & the hand - update by Martin

So Horace has been here a few days & everything was going swimmingly... It's the evening & I am having my tea & the usual collection of 10 or so Dogs are 'groaking' in the vicinity of the table. In walks Horace & bumps into Monty who can be a bit grumpy from time to time. Monty is annoyed at being bumped into & so snaps at Horace. Horace is clearly upset, so I lean down to pick him up out of harms way. Unfortunately, Horace can't see that it is me picking him up and mistakes my act of kindness as an act of hostile intent ! His only option therefore was to sink his very small, but incredible sharp & powerful teeth into the palm of my hand !  With the small Horace still attached to my hand I stand up, grimacing with the sudden pain, un-attach Horace and deposit him somewhere safe (from the other dogs & my other hand) and plunge my now bleeding appendage under the cold tap. This actually increases the pain by a considerable factor.

Now, can anyone spot my both obvious & basic mistake? - Yes, I have left my tea unguarded on the kitchen table. Maddie the lurcher has spotted this "opportunity" and whilst I am struggling to contain the pain of the cold water on the wound she has the rest of my tea off the table & onto the floor, where she, Tilly, Dan & Molly polish it off.

By the morning my hand is painful, swollen & red & looking infected - it's a good thing I don't play the piano I thought - but hang on - I do play the piano....dang !

I went to work as normal, but was advised to go to the Dr's to get antibiotics as it was clearly infected. I popped along to the surgery in Brentwood as a 'visiting patient' as my surgery is 35 miles away. At this point I must mention that about 6 weeks ago I took a nip off one of the other dogs & called into the same surgery - again as a 'visiting patient' - they were very kind & sorted me out with a tetanus as the nip was quite deep. So when I walked in there again they recognised me so I said "you'll never guess what....?"

6th July - Horace arrives

Horace is about 16 years old and is virtually blind and quite deaf ! Some nice people had tied him up in a bag & thrown him into a river. Fortunately he was rescued and made his way to the Sanctuary here last weekend. He is quite a small dog and clearly needs special attention. He has settled in with the rest of the Dog gang fine. I have posted his picture  here.

3rd July - Dolly appeal reaches £750 !

I have tonight ordered all the "Dolly" merchandise (& other animal merchandise) that has been requested as part of the Dolly Appeal. So if you have ordered a Dolly Mug or anything else, it should be with you within the next week.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed towards Dolly's vets bill - as soon as I know what it comes to I will let you all know !

If you would like to help - see Dolly's appeal page here

3rd July - Bill & Dave arrive

Bill & Dave are two guinea pigs who have come to stay at the Sanctuary. They are very sweet little chaps & as soon as I get a picture of them I will let you know here.

2nd July - Help with the Hay

This is a BIG THANK YOU to Jay, Keith, Phil, Justin & Jo who came over this weekend to help us collect in nearly 400 bales from a storage barn a few miles away. With Keith's Tardis, (OK van) taking 50 bales a trip, it took 8 trips to get it all. This is hard work make no mistake !  It was very important for us to get this hay as it was only £1 a bale & is good stuff too. Normally I have hay delivered in & this costs £2.75 to £3 per bale, so clearly the saving is considerable.

During the Summer we use about 10 bales a day & this increases to 15 or more in the Winter. So this 393 is about 5 weeks worth of hay - BUT has saved the Sanctuary nearly £700 - which will go towards the next lot of hay !

I hope all who helped are not feeling too stiff today !

There will be lots more hay to collect over the coming weeks, so if you are interested in helping & don't mind hard work please let me know by e mail !


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