29th June - Hay Trough Paid For !
Thank you to all who helped us with the costs of getting the new hay trough - we have now had donations in to cover the entire cost !! - see it here in case you missed this story - check out the video link on that page too !
16th June - Marathon Champion of Lapland !
Set in and around Rovaniemi - the largest city (by area) in Europe - in the North of Finland (Lapland) the Santa Claus Marathon is a tough event. The course is on & off road and is hilly. When Fiona won Halstead in 2007, setting a new course record (which still stands), she was the first ever lady to go under 3 hours as Halstead is a tough course - BUT not as tough as the Santa Claus Marathon !
Fiona ran most of the way with the man who won the race. He was from Helsinki & a 2 hour 30 runner. He had gone to Rovaniemi to set a new men's course record, as that stood at 2 hours 47 mins, however he only just managed to finish in just under 3 hours - 2: 59 odd and Fiona finished a few minutes behind him in 3:03.
Despite the 26 degree heat and the strong wind, Fiona managed to set a new ladies course record, shaving eleven & a half minutes off the previous one set by a French woman last year when conditions for running were more favorable.
That's 2 marathon wins & 2 course records set ! - Not bad for a Vegan gal with a knee replacement is it?
What a fantastic result !!
Considering all the bad luck that has plagued Fiona these past months, the disappointment on missing out of running Geneva & then catching flu ahead of the Essex Championship Marathon & then the heartache of the loss of Max the horse who Fiona has cared for for 30 years, it is surprising that she felt able to run at all - let alone achieve this kind of result on top of her colossal workload here.
We had not publicised that Fiona was going to do this race in Lapland as the "pressure of expectation" to do well, would have been crushing on top of everything else, so we kept it quiet and Fiona slipped out of the Country on Friday evening
and raced on Saturday night in Lapland - well I say night, of course it's 24 hour sunshine in Lapland this time of year - the land of the midnight sun! - Fiona said it was hard to sleep with the sun blazing down all night ! - a most bizarre experience indeed.
Fiona is now not only the 'Marathon Champion' of Lapland, but also the fastest female marathon runner ever within the Arctic Circle - that's cool in several ways ;0)
Fiona ran in her Vegan Runners top & spoke to a number of people who were interested in her lifestyle choice. Certainly a good way to spread the message of a cruelty free lifestyle as Fiona is living proof that being Vegan is not detrimental to top performance in endurance sport.
Fiona's win made the headlines of the National Newspaper in Finland & of course a Vegan winning the marathon in a country so dominated by hunting, shooting & fishing is news indeed.
Fiona only went to this marathon to promote her Vegan lifestyle & it was touch & go in the last few days as she really has been at rock bottom. However she was determined to make a statement and in memory of Max decided to go for it in the hope that her effort might make a difference for some animal somewhere that is not loved as much as he was.
If you would like to retrospectively sponsor Fiona for the race, please do get in touch & we do hope you understand why we didn't announce this on the website in advance.
The PayPal is firstname.lastname@example.org or by cheque payable to Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary, at Asheldham, Essex, CM0 7DZ
All donations 100% towards the feed bills
3rd June - Mastiff Rescue
Lyla the Mastiff has been languishing at a kennels for a staggering 8 years - nearly her whole life & has not been "allowed" to be re-homed by the kennel owner. To cut to the chase the "owner" is now unwell & the opportunity has been taken to get her out & to here so at least she can enjoy a short time out of a kennel environment & with others of her kind.
I picked her up after work today & we introduced her to the gang this evening - see pictures here.
1st June - Dandelion Arrives
A few days ago Fiona was asked whether she would be able to help with a female Ewe who was being thrown off of the grazing where her owners had had her for the past few years. She arrived today - see here for pics & more details
25th May - More abuse
With all the recent upset hanging heavily on Fiona, she has somehow found the strength to carry on & get back into a rigorous training routine to perhaps do a different marathon later in the year.
As those who have been here will know, the roads are not that wide round here & running around 100 miles a week on them is fraught with danger - Fiona does her speed work on the treadmill, but needs to put the long runs in on the road.
The amount of abuse she always gets always frustrates & disappoints me as whilst some car/van/tractor drivers are prepared to give her room as they pass, others seem to find it amusing to play "chicken with the runner" often forcing Fiona to leap out of the way at the last minute.
I would however like to express my thanks to the kind lady - well I understand that it was the female of the species from Fiona's description - who went out of her way to wind her window down in Tillingham & yell at Fiona to "Get off the ****ing road you slag".
Fiona didn't recognise the old crone who saw fit to levy this abuse, but I have pieced together a photofit of what this wizened old harbinger looks like - HERE
22nd May - New Hay Trough Arrives
Further to the Hay Trough Appeal below (12th May) we raised just over £600 so far towards the £846 cost of the trough (inc Vat & Delivery) and the trough was dropped off on Saturday.
Thank you to all who helped & if anyone reading would be kind enough to help us with the outstanding amount, please do get in touch - the appeal page is HERE A short video of the trough arriving has been uploaded at the foot of the Appeal Page
16th May - Goodbye Mr Max
As you may know, Fiona was at rock bottom following the disaster detailed below - with her not being able to compete in the marathon she had trained so incredibly hard for and sadly on Friday she was dealt another crushing body blow with the departure of her best friend Mr Max the horse who she has cared for for over 30 years.
Max was 40, a good age for a cob, but he has been part of Fiona's life for such a long time, she cannot really remember a time when he was not there. Fiona loves all animals of course, but Mr Max was very special - very special indeed. He was there when Fiona had to deal with Cancer when she was young and the reason she was determined to overcome it.
We have known that something has not been quite right with Max for the past 2 weeks. He is usually a very naughty pony - a typical thelwell pony in fact - very pushy & very cute with it ! - he was however a little off colour & Fiona knew in her heart of hearts that something was happening. He was in perfect condition - as the vet commented, but it seems that something neurological was happening as he was loosing the ability to move his limbs - some stiffness due to old age is part of the course, but on Friday he sat down & would not get up.
Fiona tried everything to get him up, even rolling him over on her own in front of an astonished vet who didn't think Fiona would be able to physically achieve that. However after the vet & Fiona had tried everything from boosters to pain killers it was clear that Max was ready to go.
As you may recall we nearly lost him last November with a severe colic but despite the vet wanting to put him to sleep then, Fiona knew he was not ready & contrary to vet advise furthger pain killers were administered & by morning he had made a full recovery. Previous to that, he had had another bad colic about 4 years ago & again the vet (another one) had suggested his chances were slight, but he was a fighter & came back from that near miss, However there comes a time from which recovery is not possible for all of us, man or beast.
Fiona's mum was with her when the vet put him to rest and it was a very quiet affair for Max.
30 years is a long relationship to have with an animal & to loose Max on top of where Fiona is already has utterly crushed her seemingly to the point of no return. She is distraught and would not leave his body all Friday night. This is our blackest hour
If you have sent a donation in the last few days for any of the appeals & haven't had a personal reply yet - this has been the reason. I am very sorry & will catch up with the e mails as soon as I can
About a year ago we moved over to mostly using LARGE bales of hay that are delivered by a large farm vehicle as each weighs about half a ton! - We still use small (normal) bales to make up the hay nets etc, but with most of the horses living outside it made sense to have 4 of these large bales brought in once a week. They then act as "feed stations" and can be grazed 24/7 by the Horses & Cows which is perfect for their digestive systems.
Unfortunately we have to have these large bales "free standing" as we don't have troughs big enough to take them. This results in a percentage of the hay being wasted and "trodden in" which is unfortunate, but it has been a necessary evil of "coping" - The labour saving of not having to manually put small bales daily out for 30 odd horses has been considerable - as I am sure you can imagine.
However, as part of our on-going improvement program we are going to get a very large hay trough which will take 2 of these massive bales - two would be better, but we can't actually afford one !
We have done our research & found that, as expected, these things are not cheap !
We do have some small troughs & feeders here, but those, despite being £300 a piece will only hold 2 normal bales & in the few years we have had them, the Horses & Cows have all but "mullered" them - they are just not strong enough to cope.
We have however found just the ticket - a really strong trough that will last for a considerable number of years - alas, with all things of quality it comes with a hefty price tag, but I think it will make a huge difference to the animals and will start saving hay from the day it arrives.
8th May - Marathon hopes Dashed
Through no fault of her own, Fiona is unable to take part in the Geneva marathon & as you can probably imagine, training an average of 18 miles a day (on top of all the animal work) in all weathers, including Christmas day - for the past 4 months and then not to be able to compete has left Fiona in a state of shock and severe upset
The first disaster was that poor Fiona's mum who was to travel with her, twisted her knee about 2 weeks back & it has been so bad that in the past week, the swelling & pain has meant that she has had to go into hospital as the ligament may need to be repaired surgically.
As you may know, Fiona has a knee replacement herself & to travel to Geneva alone would represent a significant risk as if she got into difficulties with it - as can happen during the hammering she gives it during a race - she would be in a right mess to be there alone - it would be unacceptable in fact, as of course for Fiona there is no "few weeks" rest following a marathon like every other athlete running at her level - she has to be well enough to see to the 400 animals here the very next day - At the end of the day - the animals come first & we have to ensure that we can be there for them 24/7.
For a few days we did contemplate whether it may be feasible for Fiona to do this alone, but any insane thoughts we may have had on that front were truly smashed to smithereens when I started to come down with flu like symptoms on Tuesday of this week. By Thursday I was not very good at all & coupled with being a man, clearly incapable of looking after the Sanctuary alone. So that was that.
It also appears that today Fiona may be showing signs of illness too - so that puts an end to her considering any alternative marathons.
Avoiding illness is generally a good idea, but for Fiona it is absolutely critical as she can only do what she does in peak condition - I cannot begin to describe the measures we go to to avoid colds - we have been successful all winter - no colds for over a year in fact, however working in an office as I do it is very very difficult not to catch what is going round & I do happen to know that there are a lot of people off there at the moment with this sort of condition. I have managed to miss the last few bouts of flu that folk at work have had by keeping my distance from people coughing, not breathing around people with colds - for up to an hour sometimes ;0) & avoiding door handles & hand rails insofar as is possible - but clearly I was caught out - despite taking the week off ahead of Fiona's race.
Thank you to all who sponsored Fiona, clearly if you would like your sponsorships returned, just drop us a line.
Fiona is now considering her plans as she will be leading Team Vegan in the Great North Run later this year - and may well do a marathon following that.
The BIG news is that Fiona is considering taking up an offer of a place on a race which has been described as the toughest foot endurance event in the World ! - Yes, the Marathon Des Sables.
Never heard of it? - well you might soon as James Cracknell did it this year & a film will be out on TV about it later this year.
What is it? - Well it's 156 miles - across the Saraha - in 6 days - in temperatures of up to 49 degrees & you have to carry all your food...
Now that's a marathon & a half - stay tuned for more details on that
28th April - Fiona set to run the Geneva Marathon
As some may know, Fiona was set to run the London Marathon, but when an opportunity presented itself for her to race in Geneva - with several Vegan Runners already participating in London, Fiona decided to go for it as a further opportunity to raise awareness for the Sanctuary & the Vegan cause
Her training for a Spring race occurs in the worst part of the year & Fiona has been running an average of 18 miles a day for many months now! - Given the animal workload as well as her disability (no kneecap & a knee replacement) this is a ridiculously tough, if not ludicrously tough assignment !
See this special page HERE for more details & also details of how to sponsor Fiona
27th April - :0(
Following an overnight stay at the vets, they called us to say that despite the administration of antibiotics, pain killers & hydration - Sadie had continued to deteriorate in the night. Her condition had come on in literally 3 days & the vet said that it had probably be harboring for some time & had just reached the point where it had suddenly overwhelmed poor little Sadie.
Unfortunately we had to make the horrible decision to let her go & Martin went to the vets after work to be with her. She was very weak and went to sleep peacefully. We are both very upset as she had only been here a very short time & it has been a shock to see such a rapid deterioration. The vet suspected that it was some form of mouth cancer :0(
We also took in another old girl at the weekend - Sally the JR. She is 16 and is doing well. Sally's owner died & his wife had to move into a flat & couldn't have a dog. The plan was to leave Sally in the garden !
Sally was rescued & we were asked if we could fit her in. Sally has been kept outside all her life & is now getting used to being allowed indoors - although prefers to sleep on the patio. This is fine in the mild weather, but we will get her used to being indoors with the oldies gang as soon as possible.
26th April - Sadie at the vets
Sadie only arrived here on 11th April (see below) and appeared to be fine for the first week,
but then started to deteriorate. She was having difficulty eating and her mouth started to smell very bad this weekend. Fiona took her to the vet this evening where I met her after work. The vet has kept Sadie in and will run tests.
She is about 16 and we are waiting for the blood test results. The vet said they will call in the morning. We are hoping that it is an infection that can be treated rather than a symptom of something more significant going on :0(
Clearly we don't know Sadie's history, nor the reason she was "thrown out" of her original home - it could be that there is some known problem with her & that the potential vet costs were a contributory factor to her being dumped. We will clearly do whatever we can for the little mite.
22nd April - Helen runs on Sunday !
Helen Watkinson has raised a fantastic £683 so far in sponsorships for the London Marathon which she runs - all being well - on Sunday ! - You can see Helen's page HERE Please sponsor Helen if you can ! - Thank you very much
20th April- Hank leaves the Sanctuary for the first and last time
Update by Fiona:
Today was a very sad day. Hank had to be taken away from the Sanctuary where he had lived and been loved for more than 10 years. We are all very sad. He died of natural causes.
It was a beautiful morning and all the animals were enjoying the sun when the lorry arrived. The man who came was very nice, as nice as anyone could be under the circumstances. We had purposely left Driver's body near to Hank overnight so he knew exactly what was happening and he could see where Hank went in the hopes that he could say his goodbyes and gain closure on the loss of his brother. Daisy, one of the other cows, was very distressed too and very vocally said her goodbyes to Hank. He went with a bouquet of white lilies and roses on top of him as I do not like the animals to travel alone as anonymous entities on their final journey. The man who came offered us two options for him, the less expensive one was to have his body sent for rendering, the other was to have him cremated. We decided to have him cremated as it would not sit right with my sensibilities to think of his beautiful body being stripped in some horrendous procedure and used for glue & gelatin.
When the lorry back came down I received such a shock as there was a beautiful, big white horse already on board. He had been shot earlier that morning. In some ways it helped to know that Hank's body would not have to travel alone in the back of that big, sterile, cold, metal box but I felt so sad seeing such beautiful creatures laying there on top of each other motionless. I just wanted to see them get up and gallop off and play together in the long grass with the Spring sun on their backs and the wind in their manes. The man who came explained that some people actually chose to have healthy horses put to sleep if they cannot be ridden or are not wanted any more. It brought the memories flooding back of all the 'friends' we have lost over the years and would have done anything to save and how cruel and ruthless some people can be.
We said our last goodbyes to Hank and the lorry left. It seems very empty without him. He was so very big and so very friendly and gentle. I hand reared him from a baby, he has never left the safety of the Sanctuary in all his years and Driver has never been away from his side in all that time. In such a short space of time he has gone - 24 hours ago he was here and happy sitting in the sun in his shelter on a lovely bed of straw with Driver.
The only thing I can tell myself to make the situation any better is that at least he had 10 years of happiness and that if we hadn't taken the huge step of taking him and his brother in, he would never have know any of the lovely summers grazing in the fields, munching his haylage, carrots and feeds and most of all no fear and total security and tranquility. Safe from those who would use, abuse and exploit him and those like him.
God bless you Hank and safe journey over the rainbow.
Just for the sake of clarity - as someone has asked us why we had Hank killed - we didn't - he died of natural causes aged 10.
11th April - Sadie Arrives
We took a call about a small dog called Sadie who was about 15 years old, a bit blind & deaf & was in need of a place to call home! Poor little thing - see Sadie's page HERE
On another subject - if you are looking for pet insurance - click on the compare banner above & if you go on to take out a policy, the company will send £10 to the Sanctuary ! - Costs you nothing extra.
7th April - Sponsorship Updates !
Helen Watkinson has raised £176 so far and is training hard still for the London Marathon on 25th April - Helens page is HERE if you would like to sponsor her. Supporter Linda Gregory is going to do a sponsored parachute jump on 15th May to jointly celebrate her birthday and hopefully raise some funds for the rescued animals ! - We have set up a page where you can read about the jump, see some pics and also sponsor online. Linda's page is HERE
Fiona was recently asked to be in a film that the Vegan Society are making and had to take a day out of her busy schedule to facilitate the filming. (I took holiday from work to cover the jobs here). The feedback from the production team was excellent and we are hoping that Fiona's work will reach a wider audience through the film when it comes out later this year.
Fiona has been also training VERY hard for her next marathon too which will be in May! She has been running over 100 miles a week for the past 10 weeks & her long Sunday runs have been not less than 27 miles for the past 10 Sundays ! - On top of all the animal work I can tell you that's a TOUGH one - stay tuned for further updates...
We took a Dog in who we have called Jemimah. She was very thin and had been used as a breeding bitch and a baiting dog by frankly very evil people. They use the baiting dogs to get the fighting dogs worked up and poor Jemimah is covered in scars. She has also had some teeth pulled out so she can't do too much dammage to the fighting dogs & worst of all she has had her own tongue bitten off. As a consequence she is a messy eater, and needs special care.
I will update the dogs page with pictures as soon as I get a chance to take some. She has made good progress and has gained weight. She sleeps cuddled up with Pickles and the epeleptic Staffie Poppy.
25th March - Fiona wins another award
Thank you to all who voted for Fiona in the 2010 Stop Cruelty to Animals awards organised by Tino from the Future is Vegan website.
Fiona won £50 as a winner in the animal rights category! The funds will go towards trying to clear Daisy's outstanding vets bill which we are struggling with.
The other winner in this category was Jane Shepherd who runs the Algernon Trust!
23rd March - Builders in !
We are already planning ahead for next Winter's turnout arrangements, and to that end we have builders in at the moment preparing another area of hard standing (concrete) next to the area we had prepared last year on what used to be the lawn !
We are also having a new concrete path laid round the front to run alongside the feed sheds. The ground is so muddy it has become almost impossible to wheel a barrow & so a concrete path will make all the difference.
We are having to push ahead with these projects & fund them ourselves (borrow!) as unless they are started now, the time passes & before you know whats happened, the nights are drawing in again !! The charity FACE (Fight Animal Cruelty Everywhere) has donated £500 towards this particular project & we need to find another £1900 to complete it.
Next on the project agenda is a massive project to dig out the main school and concrete it (£15,000) and to dig out & re do the lower school with wood chips & repair the fencing & drains where necessary another £5000 ! - we will be doing a major appeal for this in a few months as this is a lot of cash ! However it will make the world of difference for the animals and make it easier to manage the muck !
21st pm - Sally-Anne update
Sally-Anne finished her race today at the Reading Half Marathon & has raised a fantastic £1300 for the rescued animals at the Sanctuary ! This is the most Sally-Anne has raised for a sponsored event, and will make a real difference to the Sanctuary which struggles to find the monthly £5300 we need to feed everyone. A big thank you to all who supported & sponsored Sally-Anne.
Supporter Helen Watkinson will be running the London Marathon to raise funds for the animals on 25th April - see Helen's page here
Thank you also to Ian and his menagerie of helpers (Jen, Cath, Beth, Amy, Sophie & Lucy) who came over today to help with a bonfire and to muck out a field shelter !
21st am - Good Luck Sally-Anne!
Today Sally-Anne runs the Reading half Marathon and has so far raised over £1000 for the rescued animals at the Sanctuary ! - See her page HERE
19th March - Sunlight is good for you !
We recently wrote to a company called Sunlight who are the UK's market leader in textile rental & laundry services !! Why did we write to them? - well you see Martin had noticed that the company where he works had started to use very good quality rubber backed floor protectors in the common areas of the building. He thought that these would be perfect for sanctuary as you can imagine 36 sets of muddy paws in & out of the house - having rubber backed high quality rugs down would make a real difference. So we wrote to the company who made them (Sunlight) to see if they would ever be throwing away any old ones & asked if we could have any.
A very nice man called me to say, no problem - we'll send 20 or so !!! and so they did. They are brilliant and just what we need - and they are not even worn ones !! - so that's a bit of good news!
Sunlight's website is HERE & there is a contact button on the page, so if you have time please drop them a line to say thank you for helping us!
13th March - Appeal for Suzanne's dogs
6th March - Helen to run London for the animals
Helen Watkinson is set to run the London Marathon on Sunday 25th April, to raise much needed funds for the rescued animals at the Sanctuary. This will be Helen's 2nd marathon and we wish her all the best for a good run on the day.
If you would like to sponsor Helen for the event, please have a look at this page HERE where you can see pictures and also make a donation by Paypal. The details are there too if you would prefer to send a cheque. Don't forget that Sally Anne Ryan will be competing in the Reading Half Marathon on 21st March to raise funds for the gang - you can sponsor Sally HERE.
Stay tuned also to hear about another supporter who will be making her first parachute jump and is hoping to raise funds for the animals too !
Fiona will, all being well, be hoping to race in London in April too - more on that later.
This week has been a dry week and some of the waterlogged ground has started to dry out which makes life a lot easier. We still have a long way to go, but at least the days are starting to lengthen which is a big help too. (Cue: thunder & lightening...) We are still without power in the stables & if anyone reading is or knows an animal friendly electrician we would very much like to hear from you.
Our tractor was serviced a few weeks ago & it was great to have her up & running again as we realy can't manage without one. They had to replace the ignition system & upgrade the alternator ...still waiting for the bill - eek! Today's news is that the clutch has gone. It never rains does it.
Re below & the Pigs Out entry - big thanks to Irene who sent us funds to get a new battery !! - Thank you very much !!
Also thank you to all who have helped with the cost of Daisy's final vets bill. The actual bill was much larger than anticipated & we have set up a new Chip In page in the hope that people may send a pound (or a dollar) to help with this bill - the page is HERE
3rd March - House of Lords
Fiona recieved her award at the House of Lords today, and everything went very well. We are waiting to see if anything comes out about it in the media - if you see anything, please do get in touch!
See the pictures of Fiona with Jenny Seagrove here
27th - Pigs out !
Not on strike, but the Pigs across the road decided to go walkabout after their electric fence battery ran down ! They are in paddocks within the field, so only got out of their paddocks & not out of the field, but we needed to get them back to their areas to maintain the harmony, as the different family groups can cause upset when meeting Pigs they don't know ! Fiona had to effect a repair herself on Friday & get the "wanderers" back, and overnight, unfortunately a few more got out again. We have no spare battery and are waiting for the local garage to sort out a few old ones that are no good for cars, but still capable of holding a charge for a few months. - To keep buying new car batteries every few months is an expensive business.
Ian came over from Chelmsford to help me fix the fencing insofar as we could & there were no more escapees today (touch wood). Hopefully the garage will come up with a battery for us soon !
25th Feb - House of Lords
Next Wednesday 3rd March, all being well, Fiona is due to pick up an award at the House of Lords being presented for her outstanding efforts & achievements in the field of Animal Welfare.
Ingrid Tarrant & Wendy Turner will be there along with many other folk including the likes of Anne Widdcombe MP, Anthea Turner, Lorraine Chase, John Altman, Jenny Seagrove & possibly even Fred E. Bear.
OK Magazine will be there along with the Press, so hopefully it will be an opportunity to get Fiona's work and incredible achievements out to a wider audience.
Clearly I shall not be able to attend as I will be taking a day off work to look after the gang here at Sanctuary HQ !
The awards have been arranged by Wetnose Animal Aid who exist to raise funds for animal causes.
20th Feb - The price of Hay
As you can imagine, we use a lot of hay ! - about a year ago we switched over from using the small bales of hay to using very large half tonne bales which have to be delivered by a large farm vehicle which can carry 3 at a time, placing them either in the fields or in the winter turn-out areas. One of the key reasons for the change was to try & ease the workload for Fiona, as the small bales had to be barrowed each day from the store to the various places around the sanctuary & when you have to wheel up to 15 small bales a day, it is not only hard work (on top of all the other work) but also time consuming. So the large bales dotted around the place mean that the Horses and Cows have access to hay all the time - which is better for them as they are "trickle" feeders - their digestive systems work better if they are eating all the time.
Unfortunately, with the rotten weather, hay has been in increasing demand which has pushed the price up ! - we have seen the price nearly double in the past few months - I don't think the government take "hay prices" into account when calculating inflation ! (mind you I don't think they take anything that has actually 'gone up' into account when calculating inflation...)
So as we use a considerable volume of Hay we have seen the feed costs rise considerably this winter - which is all rather unfortunate.
We still use the small bales of hay to make up the hay nets for the stables & their price has risen considerably too.
So if you are not already a member of the Sanctuary, perhaps you might like to consider becoming a 'Hay Member'. This means that you can join the Sanctuary and sponsor the cost of a single bale of hay for the animals on a monthly basis.
For the small bales of hay - you can join as a "Standard Hay Member" for £3.85 a month - the cost of a small (standard) bale of hay. Or you can join as a "Mega Hay Member" for £35 a month - the cost of a Half Ton bale of hay !
You can of course join for any other amount - say £17.50 & be a "Half Ton Hay Member" or perhaps £4.70 a months to be a "Twin Standard Hay Member" - or you can work out your own scheme names based on multiples or divisions of the amounts ! - hours of fun with a calculator..
Whichever scheme you choose, 100% of your monthly donation will be spent on Hay. Nothing will be deducted to pay administration costs or any other expenses, There are no staff here & no salaries to pay so you can be sure that every penny you send is spent on the feed costs of the animals.
Joining the Hay Schemes is a simple as printing a form, filling it in & posting it to the Sanctuary - the form is here. If you cannot print it, mail me on the link at the top of this page & I will post you a copy - or if you bank on-line, you may find you can set up a standing order with the details on the form. Thank you - Fiona & the Gang (see the bales being delivered HERE)
14th February - Wedding List with a "Difference"
Supporters Marcia and Dave are planning to get married in June this year, but have asked all their friends and family not to buy them the traditional wedding presents ! Instead they would like people to send a donation to the animals at the Sanctuary ! What a lovely thought.
Please see HERE for further details, pictures and the buttons to may a "wedding donation" on behalf of Marcia and Dave
8th February - Sally-Anne Ryan runs for the Sanctuary
Sally-Anne will be running the Reading half marathon on Sunday 21st March in aid of the Sanctuary and hopes to raise as much money as possible for the gang ! - please have a look at this special page we have set up here where you can sponsor Sally-Anne online.
7th February - Percy Pig
Percy was rescued in 2002 when he was about 2 days old. He quickly became a favourite at the Sanctuary & most people who have been to the Open Days will have met him. Large White Pigs like Percy are bred for their enormous size and not longevity & their lifespan tends to be between 6 to 9 years. Percy had just turned 7 when he passed on last week in his Pig Ark which he shared with his friend CT.
Percy was the inspiration for the Sanctuary logo above and I have made a short video featuring some pictures of him when he was a baby & some when he was grown up. He will be very much missed and it is difficult to think of him gone. - The video is here
29th January - Daisy goes to sleep
I regret to inform you that Daisy was too ill to be saved and the vet put her to sleep.
I met Fiona at the vets after work as she drove over (30 miles) with Baron Daisy's brother who has been with her all her life (13 years) & had been pining for her. We felt it was right that they should see each other one last time.
When Baron came into the room where Daisy was, she managed to raise her head & they touched noses.
Daisy had cancer in her liver and a large abscess had developed on it's side. the vet said that she had been incredibly strong to walk into the surgery on her own feet. She said also that Boxers have amazing constitutions & can cope with a lot, and Daisy had been coping so well that we didn't know she was even unwell until last Friday. Her condition had progressed to the point where she was unable to cope with it any more.
The only other thing they offered was to do a biopsy, but this would have been painful for Daisy & would only have confirmed what we already knew.
So we made the tough decision to let her go. Baron growled at the vet when she started putting the anaesthetic in & I held her head until her eyes closed for the last time. We were all in tears.
Thank you to all who have helped towards the cost of Daisy's treatment, it really is very much appreciated. Donations are still very welcome to cover this cost - Paypal to email@example.com
We have cared for & lost scores of older Dogs, but it never gets any easier when they have to leave.
25th Daisy Dog Very Ill
Daisy & Baron (click link to see them) are brother & sister Boxers and were rescued around a year ago. They are very close to each other and live with the oldies gang at the Sanctuary. Daisy has been absolutely fine & has been bouncing around like a puppy most of the time. At the weekend however she went very quiet and has been not wanting to get up. We took her to the vet this morning and they are very concerned about her. She was treated for gastroenteritis but an X Ray has revealed that all is not as it should be inside. Daisy is having a scan tomorrow & so has stayed overnight at the vet.
We are all worried's about her & hope beyond hope that her condition is treatable. She is however 13 years old which is very old for a Boxer.
If you are able to help towards Daisy's vets bill, please do get in touch. Donations can be made by Paypal on the above link - thank you very much
17th January - Update
The past few weeks have been very difficult at the Sanctuary - the main problem being frozen pipes down the stables & into the school areas and in the Pig paddock areas. For about a week we have had to hand carry water to most of the outside animals & carrying water for 30 odd horses & some 45 Pigs is no laughing matter - particularly those across the road.
Now that the pipes have thawed we have quite a few burst stop taps, so need to order replacements (these are the on/off taps that are let into the pipework a few feet before each trough, so you can turn the water off trough by trough for cleaning & maintenance purposes - they are about £15 each!)
We made a video of the animals in the snow which you can see at this link here on YOU TUBE It has had some very nice feedback from those who have seen it so far. Also there was a quick weather report video by Martin you can see here Membership of the Sanctuary has actually increased a little over the Christmas period and we now have around 240 people supporting the sanctuary on a monthly basis through standing order or by auto monthly PayPal donations. We are still around £1600 a month short on meeting the feed bills and so still do need to find further support if we are to continue in the medium to long term - so please do pass the sanctuary details onto all your friends and contacts to see if they would be able to help towards the feed costs of the rescues. We took in another dog last week - another big dog - another Bull Mastiff just like Simon. In fact when we turned up to collect him from the vet where he had been castrated we thought it was Simon from a distance ! - He is however underweight and up close looks like an old man despite only being 18 months. He was due to be put to sleep last week & a volunteer at the kennels where he had been staying asked me if I could fit him in. It is very hard to say no & know that my decision would mean the end of his life, so despite being in the position we are in and with 35 Dogs in the house as it is, we said we would try & help him.
I have not had a chance to take pictures of him yet, but will do so soon.
Some sad news is that Maddie the Lurcher passed away last Thursday. She was the 3rd Dog we ever rescued, the first & second being Monty & Judy who are sadly no longer with us. If you came on any of the Sanctuary Dog walks, you will have met Maddie as she very much enjoyed them. I have updated her page with the details here
Looking forward to the Spring and Summer we have decided to rent some extra grazing for the horses. We have been offered a 3 acre paddock in Tillingham which is very close to where Fiona's Mum lives. Although this is additional expense for the Sanctuary it will be fantastic for some of the horses to have an additional field to graze and mean more grazing here for the ones remaining at Tower Hill Stables.
One other shadow hanging over us at the moment is the threat of increasing hay prices - we use about 100 - 110 bales a week & talking to one of our hay merchants on Saturday they are expecting prices to double by April - which could mean £6 a bale - the maths is frightening, so referring back to the earlier point of trying to increase membership we really need to do all we can to seek further support.
This week, Martin is doing a talk & presentation about the Sanctuary at the local WI group in Burnham, so hopefully that will spread the word a little more. Also in March, all being well, I am to be recognised with an award from the 'Wetnose Campaign' for work in Animal Welfare at the House of Commons presented by Joanna Lumley & Martin Shaw, so hopefully that will generate much needed publicity for the Sanctuary.