29th June - Dog Walk

It was a lovely day for the monthly Dog walk, although it proved a bit too hot for Buddy and Tess ! We had to arrange for Fiona and her mum to meet us at the half way point to give Buddy and Tess a ride home! - All the other Dogs (and people!) were fine. Thanks to Andy, Karen, Ray, Matt, Kelly, Andy, Cong and John we managed to get 9 of the Dogs out today for some exercise and raised £235 towards the feed bills which is fantastic.

Peter the Horse joined us for lunch in the garden when we got back as well as Pudding the Dog. Toby, Ray's dog, had a nice visit and will certainly be dreaming about Cats that don't run away from him when he gets to sleep tonight !

All being well, the next Dog walk will be the last Sunday in July. Please let us know if you would like to come along.

27th June - Dog Walk

The next Dog walk is on Sunday 29th at 11 am - please e mail me if you would like to come along. 2 hours guided walk in the countryside with a rescue (or 2!) with food on return! donation of £10 per person. Thank you

24th June - Update

Sorry for the lack of updates in the past weeks, but as you may imagine we have not had a lot of time. Quite a lot has happened.

Firstly, Fiona's knee is improving but still far from right - I have not been able to take more holiday from work so we have just had to manage as best we can.

Sarah, a very old lab arrived on Saturday night. She is nearly blind and deaf & nowhere else could be found to take her otherwise she would have been put to sleep. Clearly Fiona is best placed to take another Dog at this time (not). I will get her picture posted as soon as I can. Sarah is spending most of her time in the bedroom asleep.

There has been another litter of 10 from the Loch Lomond Pigs. We have had to have some areas fenced up in Percy Pigs field to take some of the Loch Lomond Pigs - One area has been built so far which has cost about £800. Pig proof fencing is not cheap - the pig wire must extend about a foot into the ground & for that you need to hire diggers and people who know how to drive them.  If anyone wants to help us with the cost of this please do get in touch.  We need further areas to be built so additional costs are just around the corner.

The Muck heap has been moved - again this is not cheap & has cost about £750

We have also just paid the last 3 months feed bills which were in excess of £15,000. Yes, I had to increase our mortgage yet again.

The Horses & Cows have at last gone out into the fields for their Summer grazing. This was very late this year as the weather has been too wet. But they are out now & having a fantastic time !!

Finally, we are expecting calls from the farmers at any time to say that their Hay is ready to be collected from the fields. This is about the best way we have of saving money as each bale collected this way saves the Sanctuary about £2 & as we use 12-15 a day - well it soon adds up. Unfortunately most of the hay we collect is collected by Fiona & I and with just 2 people doing this it is a killer. Last year we were very grateful to Matt & Leigh who helped out - but we really need 6 - 8 people for each "collection" - that way it is bearable. Clearly with Fiona's knee we are going to need a lot of help this year if we are to make the kind of savings we need to make.

I have put posters up at work which invite people to join the "Hay Team" (geddit?) The idea being that they put their name down & then when we get the call for hay we e mail everyone in the hay team & if a few can make it that day - that's great. Clearly for it to work we need about 20-25 people in the team & then if 5 can make it when the call goes out... you see how it works? - Thanks to Matt, Divina & Jo for joining so far

There is no notice with Hay - we just get the call & may get 24 hours at best - so it cannot be planned for. If you would like to be in the Hay Team, please e mail us.

If you are reading this and are not a member of the Sanctuary please do have a think about joining. Whatever amount you choose to donate on a monthly basis will be very much appreciated and go 100% towards the feed costs of the rescues which currently stands at £5200 per month. We have 160 members today & we really need to get the number up to 300 if we are to stand a chance of succeeding longer term. Not 1p of any donation goes in admin, or salaries or any other "expense" - it all goes to the animals. If anyone has any ideas about how to increase awareness, please go ahead & do it! - We can't do 'things' as we are doing the work here - which is monumental.

10th June - Fiona update

Fiona has had the fracture in her knee joint repaired & hopes to be home later this week. The operation appears to have gone well. Thank you to all who have sent well wishes & cards.
Thank you to Rob who has been collecting the food from Sainsburies to feed the Pigs whilst I am off work holding the fort here. This is all the more important now as the Piglets are growing with alarming speed. Brian is still the smallest, about half the size of some of the really big ones !

1st  June - Update

Fiona arrived home safely from hospital. The news is that the knee replacement is cracked and needs a further operation to repair it in a weeks time.

28th May - Bad News

Unfortunately we must cancel the Open Day planned for next Sunday 1st June. Fiona's knee is playing up after a fall and she is having an exploratory operation today. Fiona had a knee replacement when she was 17 & her right knee cap was removed. She has learned to cope with the continual pain & discomfort it brings, making her athletic achievements even harder to comprehend. However following the recent fall, something is not right, hence the need for this operation. I was off work this week anyway to help ahead of the Open Day. I will keep this page updated with any news.

On top of everything else, yesterday Fiona took in 79 X battery hens due for slaughter today. I will get a video of them posted to youtube as soon as I can.

23rd May - Loch Lomond Pigs Update

Two of the little boy pigs have now been re-homed with Cliff & Jane who run the Fern Tor Vegan/Veggie Guest House in Devon - see their website here
We managed to get the boys into two large animal carriers which just about went into the back of Cliff's car and they set off for their new life ! - see here for the pictures of them in Devon

So far we have just had the two litters, but we have another 2 months to wait until we are "out of the woods" as the gestation period is about 3 months.

18th May - Blue Tongue

Blue Tongue Disease hit the UK news last year when cases of the disease were recorded in Suffolk. The midge that carries the disease has been spreading north from Africa and was bound to reach these shores at some point. Of the animals here, the disease impacts Sheep, Goats & Cows. Last week we were called by the vet to say that the vaccine was now available for animals in the "danger zone" and so we collected 70 doses on Friday night. On Saturday we injected all of the Sheep, Goats & Cows. The Cows will need a second dose in 3 weeks time.

The Goats were mostly good, the Cows were somewhat tricky - if you know the Cows here you will know how big they are & they were not keen to have an injection & of course unlike Sheep, you can't just hold them down whilst you do it !

The Sheep & Goats who live across the road in Percy's field were somewhat harder to catch! Thanks goes to Andy who helped Martin catch them.  There are a lot of vets busy dishing out the vaccine in this area so I would not be at all surprised if there is an outbreak somewhere that will hit the news soon.

The cost of the vaccine was £5 per animal, although because we were able to administer the injections ourselves it was 85p per animal ! (+ needles & syringes). If you want to help us cover the cost of this, please do get in touch.

Next Dog Walk is next Sunday ! - Please mail me if you would like to come - weather is supposed to be sunny - so bring your waterproofs !

11th May - Summerhill Garden Centre

This weekend was a tough one for me as usually my partner, Martin, helps me with the workload at the weekends as he is at work during the week. This weekend however we were offered the chance to 'market' the Sanctuary at 'Summerhills Garden Centre' which is just off the A127 at Billericay & this is something we very much wanted to do! Clearly, only one of us could attend as someone has to do the work here. I decided to stay here as I needed to fit my training in as well as look after the animals & missing a days training would upset my schedule as I train for the Boddington 50K in July. (I ran 24 miles today in 2 hrs 44 !)

A big thank you to Karen & Andy who brought their exhibition stand and printed all the pictures that went on it as well as organising the balloon gas canister and getting the balloons and labels made up ! Also thanks to Rob, Graham, Marie & Chris who attended the stall over the weekend to help hand out leaflets.

The Helium Balloons were a hit with the younger shoppers (& some of the older ones too!) and apart from a mild panic caused when a few exploded accidentally all the others were handed out successfully & - as far as we know - none of the children were carried off by a gust of wind - not even the very tiny ones!

Over 500 leaflets were handed out over the weekend and hopefully this will generate some interest in the work of the Sanctuary. It would be lovely to know if anyone reading this is doing so as a direct result of getting a leaflet from Summerhill. Perhaps if you are, you could send me a mail on the link above ! If you received a copy of Percy Bears adventure story, you may like to read another one - if you go to Percy's page HERE you can click on the links to go to the "adventures" pages.

Whilst the main objective of the stall was to raise awareness of the rescued animals at the Sanctuary, we did receive donations totaling £185 over the weekend which will go towards this months feed bill. Thank you to everyone who made a donation - we really appreciate it.

Finally, a big thank you to Nick and his team at Summerhill Garden Centre for letting us have the stall this weekend. Everyone was very friendly and Nick has asked us back later in the year to do another awareness weekend. As soon as we have fixed a date we will let you know

9th May - Litter No 2

A second Sow (Beauty) from the Loch Lomond rescue has tonight given birth to 6 piglets - all different colours!  Martin & I have just come in from assembling a 2nd emergency pen area inside the female pigs stable. Bessy's litter are all doing well & even though they are only a week or so old, the size difference between them & the new piglets is quite amazing. No pics yet & probably not this weekend as Martin has the stall to attend on Saturday & Sunday at Summer Hill's Garden Centre (off the A127 - see 17th April entry below).

Quick thank you to Andi who gave us a days help on Bank Holiday Monday this week to help with the field fencing maintenance and to help cut the vegetation back Percy Pigs field and the other Large White Pigs.  At this time of year the grass at the edge grows quickly & if it touches the electric rope, it shorts the battery & then if the battery goes flat the Pigs can get out. Keeping the undergrowth cut is back breaking & has to be done by hand as a strimmer is not any good as the cable gets caught all the time on the wire of the actual fence which the electric rope sits a few inches in front of (tried that!)

6th May - Duck Trouble

From the entry of 29th April below you may recall we ended up having to put the two small Ducks in a hutch for their own safety. Clearly this is not ideal & so we tried them again on the Pond on Sunday. Again there was a fight with the existing Ducks, but it seemed to quieten down again after a few minutes. When dusk arrived we went to see where they were & they were both gone. The area around the pond is very overgrown now & makes a great hiding place ! - On putting the Hens away Martin found the brown & white Duck had again made for one of the Chicken houses & was nesting down. But there was no sign of his partner. A few suspicious Duck noises in the undergrowth soon however led him to locate & catch the other Duck but not without leading him a merry dance through several thousand nettles ! Both were nested down in the Chicken house that night. However it gets worse ! Monday night & there is no sign of either Duck. Eventually Martin located them behind the chicken houses in a dry ditch with is absolutely impenetrable as it is a mix of hawthorn, blackthorn & blackberry. As he approached they retreated further into the dense undergrowth until they were no longer visible - this thicket is probably about 60 foot long & 20 feet wide - nothing can get in other than a Duck, or of course ... a Fox.

What to do? - In the end Martin decided to run an extension off the electric fence at about 6 inches off the ground along the length of the thicket on the side that adjoins the school where 8 of the Horses live. This would at least prevent a fox getting in from that side. So at about half ten, he set about the work by torchlight - well at least it wasn't raining. Finishing at about half 11 (there were a lot of nettles to be cut down so that they were not touching the cable as that would short the circuit). Just on the off chance, he checked the chicken house again one more time (all the chickens were roosting in the other house & their door was already shut) & there, in the straw, were both Ducks looking up as if to say "what? - what do you want?" !!!! Typical !!

So that was fun ! - Tonight they were missing again, but appeared by the chicken shed (soon to be called the Duck shed) at about 9:30pm.  So hopefully this will become their pattern of behavior until such time as they learn to co-exist with the others on the pond.

5th May

Piglet pics uploaded HERE

2nd May - April Dog Walk Pics uploaded

Here

1st May - Oh Dear

Bessy the largest of the Pigs rescued from Loch Lomond has given birth to 8 piglets this afternoon. The risk always existed that the females were pregnant as they had previously been kept together. Fiona had just got back from a 15 mile run & went down the stables to start the afternoon jobs when she saw what had happened. The 11 females are all living together in a large stable & Bessy's babies were all over the place ! Fiona had to quickly construct a pen within the stable using sheep hurdles lined with aviary panels (as the gaps in the sheep hurdles are wide enough for a piglet to crawl through) & then somehow get Bessy & her babies into it. This was achieved with some difficulty.

Clearly this is an absolute disaster as if all the females are pregnant, then we will soon have considerably more Pigs than we started with.

If you are able to help us we now need to think about making several new areas for the pigs to live in across the road where Percy Pig lives. These will all need to be fenced properly & we will need more fencing units (£70 approx) & decent car batteries to run them from (£40). We will also need Pig Arc's (£200) & clearly the feed bill is heading north. Raising funds to rescue animals is just the start of what is likely to be massively more expensive operation

If you know of any other rescues that would consider taking a "family" (i.e. mother & babies) then please get in touch. The 9 original boys are living together fine & will simply move into a paddock as soon as this can be arranged. - a Video of them is here - the light is not good as this was taken this evening

29th April - Small Chaps Arrive

I received a phone call from someone who was having trouble finding a new home for a number of small animals, namely 5 Degus, a Chinchilla & 3 Ducks. They arrived at the weekend.  The Degus are all boys & live happily together in a large cage. If you are not familiar with what Degus are you can read about them here. The Chinchilla is fine and the Ducks are - well problematic actually. People think if you have a pond, you can just put them on it & they will be fine. If they are the only Ducks this is probably true, but we already have Ducks here & introducing new ones is not always easy. One chap is fine however - he is a big Muscovy Duck & has taken up residence on the tiny island in the middle of the pond. There is a house on the island (in need of repair!) which he roosts on top of at night. I don't think he is in very good condition as when he swims he almost sinks to the point that only his neck & head emerge from the water - hence his new name "Sub Duck". (it looks a bit "up periscope"). Hopefully when he gains condition & has a good preen of his feathers his stance in the water will improve to the more traditional appearance of floating! - Otherwise he is fine. Now the other two Ducks are very much smaller - tiny in fact & of course the current incumbents were not at all impressed at having "visitors". There are 3 green IndianX  ducks who are one gang & there are another 2 larger Indian runner Ducks who the 3 green ones "tolerate", but are not really on speaking terms with. At first after the initial skirmish things quitened down - however we were alerted by the Dogs at 10 pm that night that something was going on out there. One of the small Ducks had somehow got out of the pond area - which is fenced - into the garden & was in the hedgerow clearly lost & making a racket. He had attracted the unwanted attention of three Cats who were moving in for a closer look. The torchlight distracted them & we caught Mr small duck & took him to the safety of a large unused hutch. His friend was still on the pond, so that ended that nights adventure. The next night, the other small Duck also squeezed out & we found him nesting with the Chickens in one of the Chicken Houses. We decided to put him with the other one (they were delighted to see each other) & now we need to check the pond fencing to try & secure wherever it is they are getting out - fairly sure they are not flying - although the possibility exists. This job will have to wait to the weekend. In the meantime they are together & safe& swimming in a bowl !

28th April - Brucina

I received a phone call from the Maldon Dog Warden today to ask me if I would help. The Council will pay for stray dogs to be kenneled for 7 days only & then they are killed if not homed. There was one very old girl there who was on day 7 & the warden felt she still had some life & love to give & so asked me if I would take her. How could I say no? She arrived this afternoon & moved in with the oldies gang in the house. She is a lab cross - by the way the Warden had already contacted all the big charities to see if they could help, but apparently it was a terrible line & they couldn't really hear, or they were washing their hair or something - or something like that. She looks very much like Bruce, so we called her Brucina ! - She cannot stop wagging her tail. She is asleep now as I type this
Please help us

27th April - April Dog Walk

In spite of the weather forecast which said heavy rain, it was actually quite warm & the most rain we had was a few light spots - which was a result ! Maddie, Tallulah, Tessy, Rolly, Katie, Bruce, Amber, Mutley & Cassie together with their companions enjoyed a walk over to St Lawrence Church and Back. Everyone coped well apart from Tessy who was not as fit as she thought she was ! - She was too excited at the beginning & used all her energy up. We took it very easy on the way back & she was carried for some time - but at 65 pounds this was not easy ! Some pictures were taken which I will publish as soon as possible.

Everyone had a nice day & there were plenty of baked potatoes & curry to tuck into back at base. £90 was raised for the rescued animals.

The next walk will be the last Sunday in May - It's a £10 donation per person and if you would like to attend, just let me know

26th April - Another day, another Horse !

Jingle's owner was unable to keep him anymore but all the large rescue organisations she approached were unable to help. Faced with the prospect of having Jingle put to sleep Fiona was asked if she would take him.  Jingle travelled up from Wales today & arrived safely this afternoon. We have uploaded a video of his arrival - it's only a minute & can be seen here

Clearly if anyone would like to sponsor Jingle on a monthly basis - or any of the rescued animals - we would love to hear from you. You could come & visit him on the Open Day - see below

23rd April - Open Day

The Summer Open Day this year will be on Sunday June 1st from Noon. Please let me know if you would like to attend by sending me an email (so we can adjust the catering etc). If you have not been before, I will let you have directions.

Also, this Sunday is April's Charity Dog Walk - if you would like to walk a rescued Dog in the countryside for a few hours & have a bite to eat afterwards, please let me know - so I can let the Dogs know !

19th April - Pig Update

They have all had a good sleep & last night we worked out who was a boy & who was a girl & then split them between the two stables they are living in. There are 9 boys & 11 girls.

18th April - Loch Lomond Pigs Arrive

The Pigs all arrived this afternoon. We have uploaded 3 videos of their arrival to youtube which you can see at these links:

Part 1Part 2Part 3

Please get in touch of you would like to help with their ongoing care. - Thank you

17th April - Stall Opportunity at local Garden Centre

We have been offered the chance to man a stall at Summerhill Garden Centre which is just off the A127 at Billericay/Basildon on May 10th & 11th. If anyone is interested in helping out, please get in touch. Clearly only either Martin or I can attend, as at least one of us has to be here to look after and see to the animals. Martin popped down there in his lunch hour today to talk to the Manager there and basically they will allow us to set up a table behind the tills & hand out literature to any interested parties who are on their way out of the centre. It is a big centre & in May is bound to be very busy. As you know we have zero funds for "marketing" the work of Tower Hill Stables, and so an opportunity like this cannot be passed up.

We will need volunteers to cover the stall between 9 & 5 on both days - clearly if you can do a morning or an afternoon that would be fine too. Please mail me if you are interested in helping.

16th April - Pigs on the move !

The Pigs will arrive in Manchester Thursday evening where they will spend the night. On Friday a 2nd transporter will drive up to fetch them to arrive at the Sanctuary Friday afternoon afternoon. We will try & get a video of their arrival & post it to youtube.

Thanks again to all who have helped and pledged funds towards this rescue - the "initial" rescue costs are covered, but clearly the on-going costs of looking after these animals are significant, so if you do want to help, please get in touch

11th April - Pig Rescue Update

Spoke to the transporter today & he says that there is a suitable lorry going up to Stirling on Wednesday next week - so all being well, that will be the day the operation starts. The owners have been informed by the transporter direct. Stay tuned for further news

10th April - More Electric Fence problems !

Unfortunately the electric fence in Percy Pig's field is not on the mains & is powered by a car battery. The battery charge lasts for between 4 & 8 weeks depending on how much vegetation grows up & touches the wire, as this causes a "short". Yesterday, we realised that there was no charge in the battery & this is OK for a day or so, but after this, the large white pigs will realise that there is no charge in the wire and will get out of their paddock - this is not an ideal situation - 6 x 400 lb+ Pigs wandering on the loose in that field is not ideal ! We had about 5 car batteries in various states of charge, but now we find that they have all had it & will not take any further charge. We left one battery on trickle charge for 48 hours, but still nothing. To secure the Pigs safety we had to take a battery out of the car! - not ideal, but when you a desperate...

If anyone has any car batteries in their garage or workshop that will hold a charge & live near enough to the Sanctuary (or Brentwood where Martin works) to drop it off, I would be grateful to hear from you - Thank you

8th April - Wish List Update

The Sanctuary wish list has been updated, prompted by the final collapse of our wheel barrow & this morning the broom snapped after many years service ! We have other brooms but they are not decent yard brooms & are too 'soft' for the kind of work they get here ! If you can help with any of the items we would be very grateful - thank you

7th April - Fencing Problems !

Unfortunately, the Horse's electric fencing developed a fault about 6 weeks ago & we have not had time to repair it (can't think why...) The Horses are segregated into different "school turn out areas" and areas of 'hard standing' during the Winter months when they are not able to be in the fields. They are divided into different groups depending on their age & compatibility. The electric fencing stops them from getting into each others areas. Normally just having the electric rope there is enough of a deterrent, but they are not daft & after a while when the realise there is no 'sting' if they accidentally touch it, they "test" the integrity of the fence by leaning on it - just a little bit & then more & more each day until eventually of course it gives way & the next thing you know they are all over each others areas!

This is in fact what happened at the weekend. They do not do each other any harm, but if, as was the case, the youngsters are in with the oldies, it means that the oldies will not get the appropriate amount of feed, as the young ones will take more than their fair share. Electric fencing doesn't last forever & trying to determine where the "fault" is can be laborious. Even with a fence tester, it can take a long time & given that the electric rope was old we decided to bite the bullet & renew it. This isn't cheap as we needed 400 meters & that cost £80. Plus it was time to renew all the broken insulating nails & also get three more "handles - i.e. electric elasticated rope that has a fencing handle used to stretch across a gateway. I was shocked as these were £17 each !

They were all well behaved & went back into their appropriate areas & the fence repair was a success !

On a different subject - thanks to Rob & Andi who helped Martin repair one of the field shelters a few weekends ago - the horses have been giving it some severe hammer & it was in danger of falling to pieces ! - The roof was falling off too.  The main repair has been done and at some point we will get round to finishing it off, as the interior walls need reinforcing and the gap along the apex of the roof needs covering with roofing felt - but the main thing is that it is stable now - no pun intended !

6th April - Pig Update

The lorry was not available for the job this weekend, and so we are now hoping that the journey will be undertaken next weekend. I will update this page as soon as any news is available - thanks to all who continue to help towards this project

3rd April - Pig Update

Have spoken to the transporter this evening & they will be doing the job very soon now. there is a chance it will be this weekend, if not the following. I will update this page as soon as I know any more. Thank you to all who have helped & if anyone else wants to help with funding, please get in touch - thank you

1st April - Pig Rescue Update

Firstly, thank you to everyone who has pledged or sent funds to help with this rescue. I have spoken to the owner again today & confirmed that there are 21 Pigs in all. I will endeavor to speak to the transporter tomorrow to see if we can agree a date for the move.

If anyone wants to help with further funding for the project as well of course with the on-going care of the animals, please do send us a mail. I will update this page as soon as there is anything to report.

31st March - Pig Rescue

A few weeks ago, an email appeal was circulated by SWAP (South West Animal Protection) on behalf of Mavis at Blaikiewell Animal Sanctuary regarding approximately 20 pigs in the Loch Lomond area of Scotland who were going to be slaughtered on April 4th unless homes could be found for them.

A number of people had contacted the owner, but as the deadline approached, nothing firm had been arranged. Also, some people who had offered were now rescinding their help & the owner was starting to get a little frustrated. At the end of the day & as much as we might dislike the facts, he is entitled to have the pigs slaughtered at any time. The most important thing at this stage is NOT to annoy the current owner - that will achieve absolutely nothing other than increase the likelihood of loosing the animals.

A series of further e mails were send out as a desperate appeal to help the Pigs, and whilst a few had been offered homes in various parts of the UK  (but with no transport arranged) , I realised that unless a single co-ordinated effort was made to save all of them, we would probably loose the lot.

Loch Lomond is 1000 odd mile round trip to Essex & further for the homes in the West Country that had offered - however the logistics of sending more than one vehicle all that way would be frightening & certainly the fuel costs of having several vehicles go, each collecting one or two piggies would be ludicrous.

So, I telephoned the owner, and explained that I would arrange to send a single lorry to collect them all and bring them to Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary, from where a number could be sent onto other Sanctuaries as and when arrangements could be made. Clearly I have no room for more pigs, but can always squeeze a few in. On a temporary basis I would just have to find the space in the stables for all of them.

I have spoken to a reliable animal carrier & of course you cannot do these things on the fly - there are rules and regulations surrounding the movement of livestock & the appropriate licences and permits must be in place ahead of any travel, otherwise DEFRA will have a field day & the animals will loose their lives. Additionally rules changes made only yesterday mean now that the animals will need to be vetted on the journey - this needs to be arranged by the transporter. The journey is a long one and will cost over £600 in diesel ALONE. Add to this the overnight stay that will be required, the paperwork, the 2 days work for the driver + insurance & wear & tear on the vehicle, plus the water stops etc & I do not expect to see much change out of £1500.

Clearly the initial costs are one thing, there will also be the on-going cost of care of the Pigs for the rest of their lives - which could be 15 years! depending on how old they are already - assuming a £5 per week per Pig (conservative estimate & assuming they are small) that's £4000 over their life for EACH one saved.

Consequently, we would be very grateful to hear from anyone who wants to help with the costs of this project. Both in terms of securing the funds to make the initial rescue a reality, but also in terms of the ongoing care please consider sponsoring a rescued Pig ! Any amount on a monthly basis will be a help - even a £1

If you would like to help, and so far about 10 people have done so, please contact me by e mail, or you can send money via PayPal to fiona@towerhillstables.com or by cheque payable to Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary at: Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary, Asheldham, Essex, CM0 7DZ

I will update this page with news of the rescue as it unfolds

Thank you

29th March - Advert in the Asian Voice Magazine

Just a quick line to let you know that one of our supporters has kindly paid for a quarter page advert to appear in this weekly magazine. We are very grateful for the help as we simply do not have any budget to spend on marketing. - Thank you from all the Gang !

You can see the advert here

28th March - Leaflets

If anyone would like me to send them some leaflets detailing the work of the Sanctuary which you can distribute to friends, family, colleagues or hand out at any stalls you may be doing (or someone you know may be doing) with the aim of engendering additional support the rescued animals, please let me know & I will arrange to send you some. Thank you

27th March - Dog Walk Now not going ahead !

Unfortunately, the weather looks to be so bad this weekend, and the bridle path is so thick with mud we had decided to pull this weekends planned walk. Hopefully the weather will be better in April. Please let anyone who you know may have been planning to attend know.

26th March - Dog Walk

Don't forget that the Dog Walks are now on the last Sunday in the month, so this Sunday 30th is one ! - Meet at 11 am outside the Sanctuary - for details see here. Please let me know if you are coming so we can adjust the catering accordingly

22nd March - John Morgan arrives

John is 26 years old and is a Morgan Horse - see here for details of the breed. His owner died and the daughter and wife were looking after him but was not able to cope, as they were frightened of him. Many people had offered to take John on the basis that they wanted to make him pull gigs as that is one of the main things people do with Morgan horses - at 26 I find this disgusting - John is way too old to be working, yet you can see the shaft marks down the side of his body where the gig has been attached - signs of heavy & recent work. I am appalled that people find this acceptable. I offered to take John to spare him this fate. He had a companion, a Shetland who I also offered to take so they wouldn't be parted, but they are planning to sell him as he is younger :0(

I had to arrange for our local transporter to fetch John (at our cost) and he arrived yesterday. He is underweight & very nervous. He is however tucking into his food. It will take him a few days to realise that we are not going to harness him into a gig & make him canter up & down the road & then I hope he will settle down to the retirement routine the other Horses & animals enjoy. I have stabled John next to Martin (my partner) who has moved into a stable on the hope that it qualifies him as "retired" - eheh

Pictures will be posted asap

13th March - Cattle Crush

Further to the entry below of 30th Jan about Marinka the crippled Cow having to see the Farrier and the vet, we have managed to acquire a 2nd hand Cattle Crush. In order to see to Marinka's poorly foot we had to have the vet out to sedate her enough for the Farrier to do his work - This is clearly expensive and as Marinka is likely to need further and regular treatment, it is not really an option to get the Vet to pay a visit each time. So we were advised to obtain a Cattle Crush which is a piece of equipment found where Cattle are handled. It is literally a very heavy crate which secures the Cow concerned whilst you carry out whatever work is necessary - i.e. trimming the feet, or administering medication. We looked at a new one, but at £1800 this was not ideal. However our feed merchant managed to locate an old one which he transported to us last weekend. It was £300. It is a great piece of kit and will come in useful when we next need to treat Marinka. Also as we have other cattle it will be useful should they ever need to be confined. Unlike the average Horse, Cows are not happy to stand still whilst someone treats or trims their feet. They use their head like a battering ram & can inflict significant damage. Also they can be very handy with their hind legs & clearly taking a kick is something we must avoid to stay well enough to see to all the rescued animals.

I will get a picture of the crush published as soon as possible & clearly if anyone wants to help towards it's cost, please do contact me. You can even donate by PayPal using fiona@towerhillstables.com - thank you from Marinka & all the Gang X

Oh - & just to update the news below about Bank of New York Mellon doubling what Divina had raised at the fun run.... the policy has just changed, now they will only do this for registered charities & as a 'not-for-profit' organisation we are not worthy. So that's that £250 down the drain + the last Dog walk money had been submitted to "match funding" - another £250 now not coming. :0(

10th March - Brentwood Fun Run

This year Sanctuary supporter Divina again participated in the Fun Run on Sunday and has raised over £300 for the animals. Divina has said that she will ask her employers (Bank of New York Mellon) to match what she has raised through their match funding scheme (up to £250) and this will mean a total of £550 will have been raised to help towards the feed costs - We will publish some pictures as soon as we can. Thank you from all the Gang XX

9th March - Thanks

A big thank you to everyone who helped us last week with some of the jobs - neither of us are better yet, but a lot better than we were at the beginning of last week. We would like to thank in particular, Matt, Andi, Rob, Garry, Karen & Andy who all put themselves out to help us physically last week.

3rd March - Trouble

Fiona is very ill with pneumonia and I have the worst case of flu I can recall having in my life - we are struggling here - can anyone do Sainsburies for us? - this means collecting the food at the back door in Brentwood & bringing it over here. It then needs to be unwrapped etc - this is something I usually do every day after work. call me on 07720 732081 if you want to help & I'll tell you what to do - thanks

27th February - Brentwood Fun Run

This year the Brentwood Fun Run will be on 9th March and we have been contacted by Sanctuary Supporter Divina who will be competing in the event together with her Mum and are collecting sponsorships which will be donated to the animals at the Sanctuary. Divina works for the Bank of New York Mellon and will be asking them to double what she raises (up to £250) as this is something they do for their staff once a year. 

Divina & her Mum competed in the event last year too - see here.

If anyone would like to contact Divina to pledge sponsorship please e mail her at grove.divina@yahoo.co.uk

Over £100 has been pledged so far & if we can get the figure to £250, that will be "matched" by her employers - a great way to help towards donating £500 which is a significant sum.

Divina and her Mum will be sporting a specially designed Sanctuary top which you can see here The main design is on the back, as the competitors "Race Number" has to go on the front. You can click on the small images at the bottom of the picture to view the reverse & side profiles !

24th February - Dog Walk

The walk went well today & the weather was better than expected - which was nice. To see the pictures & find a link to the video of the Dogs taking a drink at the halfway point click HERE

21st February - Dog Walk

Please don't forget the Dog walk on Sunday ! - see 26th Jan below & previous references

20th February - Barrow gives up

Unfortunately the smaller of our two stable barrows has given up the ghost and collapsed into several pieces ! It has been previously repaired a number of times, but the rust has finally won. It is difficult to manage without the right equipment and barrows play an essential role - they are not however ordinary barrows, as your typical garden wheel barrow is not really any good in this situation - we have been donated barrows in the past, but the volume of muck that they need to be able to cope with is such that they are not of any practical use - they are just too small - which means the work takes twice as long as you need to take twice as many trips to the muck heap etc. With this many animals every second counts.

The last one we bought 4 years ago was £150 & is this model here This is not where we got it from but it is this exact model. As you can see it is about £200 now. This barrow is still working, although the front pipes have snapped & it is held together with wood & string ! - but is still working OK. The other barrow, and the one that has now collapsed was like this one here. Again we did not get it from here but this is the same model. This one is a little smaller & is easier to get in & out of the stables as it has a single wheel.

If anyone has a barrow like this they are not using or if any is able to get us one to replace the broken one I would be very grateful

19th February - Sad News

Sadly, 'White Cat' has gone to sleep today. She was a very old girl and was deaf. White Cat came to live at the Sanctuary about 7 years ago & had always been a very friendly Cat. She had recently taken to sleeping in an old rabbit hutch that no-one was living in. It was just in the stables with the door open & she would sleep in the sleeping quarters part. She will be dearly missed.

15th Feb - Weekly Feed

I have updated the monthly feed costs page & added some pictures of the feed lorry with its weekly load - this will give you some idea of the quantities of feed we get through ! - Shockingly the cost are now in excess of £4400 per month & this is inspite of being able to feed all the Pigs for FREE - more details on the costs page. The cost of crops has gone through the roof and we are feeling the effects. - see the page HERE

11th Feb - Thanks

I would just like to express my thanks to the lady in the out of control 4 wheel drive car who nearly killed me whilst I was out running today. I quite understand how important that text was to get sent, & I sincerely apologise for being such a nuisance on the highway by having the temerity to run on the road at the same time that she needed to send a text and drive at the same time. I also would like to thank the man who thought it was amusing to flick cigarette ash in my face as he passed by in his car. Final thanks of the day goes to Tallulah the recently rescued Staffie who has tonight eaten Martin's only decent pair of black work shoes - a lovely pair that fitted perfectly that we found in a charity shop a few months ago. All in all a good day

10th Feb - Magazine Article

I have been asked to prepare a short article for the next copy of Lifescape magazine. I decided to focus on the Dogs living in the house as it is probably hard to comprehend what it must be like to have 30 Dogs all living in the house with you ! Here are a few pictures of some of the Dogs and me in the kitchen.

6th Feb - Pigs in Space (... well the "wrong" space at least..)

As I wheeled the barrow of food across the road today towards Percy's field, I saw that the Pigs were out of their paddock & wandering loose ! - This is never an ideal sight as it means that the electric fence has failed. The field in which the Large Pigs live is itself fenced & within that there are a number of paddocks which are fenced themselves - so there are 2 fences to get through before the road for safety purposes. The inner paddocks have an electric rope running round the inside connected to a fencing unit & car battery which prevents the Pigs from "exploring".

It is not a big shock to touch the wire, I do it all the time climbing in & out, but it is enough of a sting to ensure that the Pigs stay safely in their paddock rather than allow them to get out & get onto the highway - which would be a disaster.

Unfortunately, one of the Pigs had been playing with an old crate in the night & had managed to position it on the cable, making the cable touch the ground. In this state the battery will discharge in a few hours - & this is what had happened. Sensing this, the Pig gang had pushed through the paddock fence & were mucking about in the area between the paddock & the external fence.

Food is about all you can use to coax them back into the right place, as these Pigs are very large & you cannot lead them like horses! Securing them back in I had to source a charged battery - we try & keep a spare charged up for situations like this. Unfortunately, even when the new battery was connected, the fencing unit didn't work. Somehow the main unit itself had also packed up !  I called our feed merchant who had new units in stock & he was able to drop one off later in the day. This was fitted up (by torch light) and worked !!

After the Pigs have eaten, they tend to sleep, so there was little danger of another expedition until the following day - allowing time for the repairs !

The new unit was about £70 - not a great deal in the scheme of things, but another unexpected expense for us to find on top of this months vets bills which have topped £1000.

If you are able to help - even a few pounds will be very much appreciated, please drop me a line or you can donate via PayPal using fiona@towerhillstables.com

Thank you

3rd Feb - Peter the Horse

Peter is a Dutch Warmblood who arrived a few days ago. Peter was purchased from a dealer as a riding horse, but unfortunately it transpired that he has a few problems and is not able to be ridden. To read about what happened click here

1st Feb - Some New Pics Posted

Mrs Hen surveys the scene here (select the orange button on the new page)
Feral Cats Primrose & Meekie make a nest here
Sweetie the Chinchilla and a Carrot here (scroll down the new page)

31st Jan - New Hutch Pics

Re the 25th Jan entry below - the new hutches are here !

30th Jan - Marinka sees the Vet & Farrier

Marinka is a crippled Cow who we rescued from slaughter some years ago now. She has a deformity in her front legs which means she is unable to stand properly. The effect of this is that she spends a lot of time on her front elbows. She can walk about & is a very very strong willed Cow - as we were about to find out...

One of the issues with her deformity is that her weight is not applied to her front feet properly & this has resulted in an over growth of her front hooves. Our new blacksmith Paul came to see Marinka last week with a view to clipping her hooves, however she would not let anyone near her. Although she has no horns, she is very handy with her hind legs & also uses her head like a battering ram with great effect ! So we decided to ask the Vet to come & sedate her so that Paul could work on her feet. Today the Vet arrived, but Marinka would not let him inject her ! - in the end we had to construct a means of holding her as still as possible with a gate & some ropes whilst the sedation injection was given. It took 4 of us to achieve this. However Marinka did not want to stop fighting the drug & refused to become drowsy. In the end it took 4 times the recommended dose to calm her enough for her feet to be trimmed ! Even then she was still trying to kick. She is so incredible strong.

The bad news is that one of her feet is infected and will need to be bathed daily in a special solution. Clearly we cannot have the vet out every day to sedate her & so we have to look at getting hold of something called a cattle crush. This is essentially a big & very heavy unit into which the Cow goes & then it closes up & prevents her from using her head or feet as weapons whilst you can carry out the necessary procedure. A new one is £1800 - so we are clearly looking for a 2nd hand one. Our feed merchant is looking out for disused ones at the farms he delivers food to, so we have fingers crossed that he finds one quick & also that it is cheap !!

In the meantime I am washing her foot as best as I can & keeping it clean. If anyone wants to help with the costs of helping Marinka get well, please contact me - thanks

26th Jan - Dog Walk Announcement

As many people have expressed an interest in coming to the Dog Walks, we have decided to standardise the event as the last Sunday in the month (apart from December when it will be the last but one!). This way everyone will have plenty of notice as to when they are as I know this has been a reason some people were unable to attend last time. So the next event will be 24th Feb.

Another Horse is coming tomorrow - his name is Peter and I will let you know about him after he arrives.

25th Jan - Nice Surprise

Thank you to Karen & Andy who called over today to deliver 2 brand new & rather splendid 2 storey hutches for either rabbits or Guinea pigs. Andy very kindly assembled the hutches (which were flat pack) and Karen assisted with the unwrapping of bread from Sainsbury which was much appreciated.

I will post some pictures of the new hutches together with their occupants as soon as possible. I am very grateful to both Karen & Andy for donating these to the Sanctuary, their new residents love them !

20th Jan - Dog Walk & Horse Rescue Update

The Dog walk was a success today & even the rain held off. Seven supporters & Martin took 10 of the Dogs (including 3 visiting Dogs) across the fields to trek about 5 miles to St Lawrence Church and back. A number of packets of biscuits were consumed at the halfway point, mostly by the Dogs !

It was the first time out for Tallulah (see 10th Jan) & also for Buddy the Spaniel who arrived last week. They were both well behaved, unlike Poppy who took Keith on a merry dance covering about 45 miles to everyone else's 5 ! eheh

If anyone wants to help towards this campaign, please do get in touch. Donations can be made by PayPal if you prefer using fiona@towerhillstables.com as the email address.

A big thank you to all who came along today & to everyone who is helping us keep going

Thank you

17th Jan - Rolly Polly, Gemma & Pasha arrive

Three more old Dogs save from the needle! Pasha is a very old German Shepherd. Gemma is a little white Yorkie Cross & Rolly Polly is an old Staffie who looks like she ought to be Puddings sister! All were due for the needle on Christmas Eve would you believe. They were saved & taken in by our Friend Debbie in Lincolnshire who looks after dozens of rescues. She keeps them for a few weeks to see how they cope with the other dogs in her care & if it looks like they will integrate OK with the old gang here, they are passed down. They all arrived today & are now all asleep on the bed !

Pictures will appear as soon as I get time.

16th Jan - Goodnight Simon

Today was a bad day - Simon the Horse was not at all well when I opened up this morning. He had got "cast" in his box & was unable to get up. Martin & I managed to pull him into a position where he could get up & he did. He had been fine the day before, but I knew today that something was wrong from his eyes. We put him out as usual with his best friend Herbie the miniature Shetland, but after a few minutes he went down. I made him a straw bed up outside & contacted the vet as I feared that he may either have a heart condition or colic.

The vet (Erik from House & Jackson) arrived shortly and after administering pain killers & performing an internal examination a severe stomach colic was diagnosed. Unfortunately, Simon's stomach was actually blocked and he started to discharge through his nose as Horses are unable to be sick. The vet explained that an operation was not his recommended course of action as Simon was 33 years old and given the severity of this colic the recommendation was to let Simon go to sleep. This is never an easy decision, but given the pain he had been in before the painkillers were injected it was the decision we had to make.

Simon came here last June, having been worked all his life. He at least had last Summer when he was able to graze on the lawn all day ! He was a very sweet boy & will be very much missed by all of us especially Herbie

12th Jan - Chloe & Cassie arrive

Chloe & Cassie are two cats aged 15 & 17 whose previous owners were unable to keep them anymore.  They will live in a room for the next six weeks or so, in order for them to become used to the surroundings & associate the room with food. As they are elderly I expect they will want to stay in the house most of the time. I will post their pictures as soon as I am able

11th Jan - Pudding unwell

Pudding the staffie is not at all well, she has a very runny nose and has been to the vet twice. She is on medication (£140 so far) and has to go back to House & Jackson (the vets) next week. She has slightly improved over the past few days, but the vet was not sure whether further examination (under anaesthetic) may be required if her condition doesn't improve in the next few days.

10th Jan - Tallulah arrives

Tallulah is only a puppy really, a staffie cross & has spent all her life in kennels. She is about 8 months & was facing the needle on Tuesday this week. A volunteer at the kennels asked us if we would be able to save her life. Tallulah is underweight & and very excited to be here. She is with Simon's gang and is sleeping in the same bed as Poppy. I will get a picture taken and posted asap.

Looks like we will be taking one of the poor horses from that place in Buckinghamshire - more details to follow soon.

3rd Jan - missing Goat shears located - update by Martin

The Goat shears are like a large pair of secateurs only with straight blades & as they are "sprung" they have a small rubber loop that keeps the blades closed & out of harms way...

They are used for clipping the Goats feet, however I put them down somewhere a few weeks ago and they became lost...

So, last night I decided to have a clear out & burned a load of rubbish & garden waste etc I started the fire after the outside animal jobs were clear at about 6 pm. Everything went swimmingly & I left it to die down. I always pop back out last thing to see that it is out & embers that are still glowing I stamp out. (Can you see where this is going yet?). So about half eleven I popped out & saw that the fire was mostly out, apart from 3 small areas that were still glowing. I stamped the first one out, then the second, but when I stamped on the third, something stuck into my foot !. I hobbled back indoors to see blood leaking out of the sole of my Wellington & I tentatively removed the boot to see that whatever it was I had stamped on was very sharp indeed & had punctured the sole plate of the wellingtons & also the ball of my stamping foot. OUCH. There was much blood ! I did what I could to stem the flow and downed a number of painkillers filled the gaping wound with antiseptic. The pain kept me awake most of the night & in the morning I had to attend the surgery to have it seen to properly. I can just about hobble about on one foot, but it means that the animal jobs are taking some considerable time longer than usual - typical (In case you are not aware Fiona has had to go to Berlin for a few days to sort out her next marathon and also to arrange a free operation for a Dog via a number of European welfare organisations that she deals with, so I am talking time off to help....)

I went to see the remains of the fire this morning to see what it was I had trodden on - there in the remains I spied 2 vicious looking blades pointing up to the sky. What on earth is that I thought - closer inspection revealed that they were the blade of the goat shears, opened up as the fire had burned the rubber loop away - they must have been scooped up with some rubbish & put in a sack. A) what are the chances of that? b) what are the chances of the blades ending up facing up? C) what are the chances of me stamping on that exact place?

I think it's called sods law.

1st January - 2008 - Dog Walk

Following the success of the previous 2 Dog walks we will hold a monthly walk throughout 2008. The next one will be on Sunday 20th January at 11 am. This gives the rescued Dogs a chance to go out for a walk with their friends which is something they have really enjoyed.
If you haven't seen the previous dog walk reports, we have a 5 mile route which is 95% off road and takes about 2 hours. Food and drinks are provided on the return to base camp!
If you have a Dog who is interested in attending, you can bring them along ! We ask for a donation of £10 per person to go towards the feed costs of the 27 Dogs at the Sanctuary who you can see here The first dog walk pics are here

Please get in touch if you would like to book a space/dog !

Further to below, the Christmas membership campaign has resulted in 4 new members so far, so thank you for helping to spread the word about the Sanctuary.


This page was last updated on: June 30, 2012
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