Thursday, 28 April 2011

It's Just Not Bunny

Admittedly this post is a few days late but technology at home let me down at the weekend, so please forgive!

Easter week proved to be eggtastic (yes, the pun was necessary!). We had the most phenomenal occurrence......a total of 8 cats out of 12 in the cattery were either reserved or went to new homes! I can honestly tell you this has never happened before and is simply astonishing.

Easter week also saw our funny little imp Ruben, the dog, finally go to a forever home. He had taken a while to be rehomed because we had to make gradual introductions to his new mum, and of course find the right new home for him. But after tragically loosing his original owner at just 12 months of age he very luckily landed on his paws, twice - finding fantastic foster parents and finding a fantastic forever mum.

Our bunnies didn't miss out on the Easter action either - thanks to their 'fairy bunny mother' and another lovely lady we received enough enrichment treats for them all to have one each. When you consider we have some 30 rabbits that is pretty awesome! Thank you both so much, it was an absolute pleasure to hand them all out and watch them get so excited - Treacle positively pounced, the swine!

On Easter Saturday we held our second annual Treasure Hunt round Chorlton Park. I naively thought we'd have a great turn out what with the weather being so glorious, but it had quite the opposite effect. We even hoicked along our 'Hutch is Not Enough' demo, thinking we'd have a big audience, but no. Nonetheless, we all enjoyed sitting out and sunning ourselves, oh, and raising double the amount we did last year with a fantastic £200! - a superb result thanks to all the volunteers and supporters. (Check out the picture above.)

But undoubtedly the highlight of the week was going to visit our boy Spike in his new home. Spike, bless him, looked like he was going to be with us a while, largely because he is an 8 year old greying staffie cross, who, whilst having the most wonderful disposition, didn't take the best photo. But as it turned out a chance enquiry to the office about dog adoption and a gushing 'review' of him meant that we rehomed him before we even put him up for adoption.

Spike was so happily settled after just 10 days that you'd have thought he had lived there all his life. His new owners had nothing but positive things to share. He already had a favourite room in the house, knew where his toys are kept, knew where the treat box is kept and gets upset on a morning when his bed is hung out out to air and is being spoilt rotten - he'd had a roast dinner that day - lucky boy!

But above all, he really loves his new owners. This is how strong his attachment is already - his mum walks with a stick, and when she takes him out he walks slowly and gently on the lead by her side, he genuinely seems to know he needs to do this for her, whilst with his dad he strides strongly and confidently along. In fact, even on their first meeting, when they all went out for a walk, Spike stopped to give her a chance to catch up. I think some things are meant to be and this is definitely one of them. Just the stuff of magic and it was just the best thing to see him in his new home so utterly happy.

So, this week has seen us cramming a week of work into 3 days. We have had quite a lot to fit in, as usual, including quite a few new admissions to sort out, but thanks to the help of our volunteers, Mel and I are coping, in our own way, which essentially means we look dazed and confused most of the time!

But without doubt we are missing our Catherine. It is our second full week without her and each have seemed so long. Mel and I have had to face up to, and get on with, doing things we don't like - mine is spending endless hours driving around doing collections/vet trips etc whilst Mel's (by her own admission) is having to be extra organised. She's doing good too, but I think we would both much rather be doing what we do best.

So, we are looking forward to another, most welcome, bank holiday weekend and to the Doggy Fun Swim Fundraiser. We are all really excited because it is booked out!!!! I'm so looking forward to seeing so many doggy friends enjoying the experience - pictures will most definitely be forthcoming. And I can't thank everyone enough getting involved and supporting this genius idea of Sue and Simon at SooZoo.

Superb. Can't wait!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Little miracles

In my blog yesterday I mentioned the 3 kittens we took in that were so young that they still had their umbilical cords attached. Well, today they have been with us exactly one week and by some utter miracle they are thriving (actually, I think foster mum Julia is entirely to blame for keeping such a close vigil). I have great pleasure in introducing Eric, Ernie and Jessica and this is what Julia says,

"The Babies are thriving. I've attached some photos and as you can see Ginger, (who I think is a little boy and is known as Eric) has started to open his eyes. When he arrived last Monday he weighed 140g today he weighs in at 183g. The larger black one who I think is also a boy and is known as Ernie weighed 137g last week and is now 195g and last but not least we have a little girl known as Jessica - after the lady that found them - last week she weighed 117g and now weighs a wopping 194g ( I might have got her weight wrong last time because that seems like an awfully big weight gain). All the cords are off now and as you can see from the photos they are really cute."

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Wishing you well

Watching the London Marathon as I write my blog is just what 'the doctor ordered'. Not because there are more bonkers people out there than me, but because of the inspirational stories behind so many runners. One of these runners is a friend of mine called Ellen. She is running to raise money for British Heart Foundation even though she has had major heart surgery herself at a young age. Frankly, she is lucky to be alive; she is simply a walking miracle. Today, this is what I need to perk me up after an exhausting 65 hour week.

So, my absence from the blog has just been through sheer bewilderment with workload, but I'm adjusting and coming back down to planet earth after a very intense week or so after our (full-time) Animal Welfare Co-ordinator Catherine had emergency surgery last week to save her life.

You can imagine it rocked us all, not least of all Catherine, and she is going to be out of action until the end of May. So, me and Mel (who works part-time) will be doing our best to fill her shoes, but after just one week I've already told Catherine she can have her job back! She knows how frustrating I find driving around, just cos I can't multi-task and do three things at once. But you don't realise how much driving around we actually do with the animals - I suppose it's the downside of not having an animal centre with animals all in one place - it certainly is ever so time consuming. But I have to say many of our foster mum's have been so great helping me out of late with vet runs and collections and I really could not have coped with them - you know who you are, thank you ever so much!

However, I'm pleased to report that Catherine is in good spirits, although she has a long way to go before she will back to full health, so we will be frequently visiting her and keeping her up-to-date with all the goings on (at her request), so let me tell you what's been happening.....

On a a great high note 3 of our dogs (bare in mind we have only 6 kennel spaces) have gone to new homes this week! We have already filled the kennel spaces, (it rarely takes long for news of spaces to get around the inspectorate) so we will hopefully be able to share more about them on our Facebook and Twitter pages later today.

This week we have had 4 wonderful updates on rehomed dogs of ours - one from last year, one from the beginning of the year, one from a month ago and one just 24 hours after adoption. Each and every update was simply magic to hear. Each and everyone so positive and so motivating. I can't thank the owners enough for letting us know that what we do really does make a difference.

This week we have reopened the cattery too, after just a 3 week brush with cat flu, thanks to Humphrey. Good job he is so bloomin' gorgeous! We have admitted 4 new cats into the cattery with 2 lined up next week for the last remaining spaces. We also admitted 3 newborn kittens thought to have been abandoned by their mum - so young they still had their umbilical chords attached - and they are still going strong! And we also admitted Lofty, pictured above. He was found near a post office in Salford. His mum and siblings could not be found, but he clearly was missing them....

Lofty's first night was not great. He wailed that unmistakable cry for his mother, for hours on end. But a few days on, and I received a wonderful update from his foster family yesterday letting me know that he has settled wonderfully well and decided to ditch the substitute cat milk and launch into wet food and is absolutely thriving and loving! Quite a remarkable change from the little hissy-spitty bundle that first arrived.

We sadly, however, had to have a kitten put to sleep this week. Ebony had very suddenly developed really quite progressive neurological problems. She was likely to get even worse and we didn't want her suffering, and even more of a troubling viewpoint is the reality that we have kittens that have grown up in our care that are now adults, such is the difficulty in finding enough homes.

It felt awful asking the vet to euthanize a kitten. A kitten. Just a horrible thing to have to do. Her foster mum was ever so understanding and supportive and I can't thank her enough. It just seems that at times we barely go a week or two without having to make such horrible decisions.

Our busy week finished yesterday with our attendance at Chorlton's Big Green Festival with a vintage stall. It was a fantastic day, with great weather and a huge turn out. It was a 10 hour day but worth every minute as we raised £580 from our stall! It is with great thanks to our shop staff and volunteers that we did so well. It was so uplifting raising so much money.

And next week is looking just as busy with adopted animals being returned: 2 rabbits (owner allergic) and 1 dog (change of circumstances) and two events going on. I'm just grateful we will (hopefully) have Good Friday and Easter Monday off to recover!

But back to the marathon runners.....good luck and thank you for raising my spirits and I hope that Ellen has a great day.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

"As weeks go, this one rates as a pretty good one."

In the last blog I hinted at some good news on the horizon, well, I can now reveal all!

This week 6, yes, 6 cats went to their new homes. This is quite a remarkable number given that we only have 11 cattery pens. It means we have a few spaces to fill, but alas there are symptoms of cat flu, again, brought in by Humphrey the Persian, who came into our care late last week. He must have been incubating the virus and now its coming out......groan. I really hope it isn't too serious because otherwise we'll be shut down for a few weeks and there are quite a few cats waiting to come in.

The good dog news is that our young collie x Matt, who had spent the best part of his life contained in an indoor kennel, went to his new home yesterday. The lad is a big, leggy gullah, but we love him, and we are keeping everything crossed he doesn't prove too much of a handful.

Probably the best news of the week is bunny related. At teatime Friday I received the call I'd been waiting that 9 case bunnies had finally been signed over. There were originally 10, but George the giant died in my home, in my husbands arms, just 2 days after being rescued last November. The relief that the remaining 9 are now ours to rehome is just awesome, and 4 have already been reserved. I can't tell you how wonderful this group of 9 are. Poppy and Pansy, pictured above, are 2 of the 9 and just such wonderful characters. I hope they, and the others, all find homes in no time.

But for me, the best news, was the miraculous recovery of Buzz bunny from major surgery on Friday. By rights he shouldn't have made it through, but he did and he is now recovering really well and hugely happy back in his familiar environs. Although he must be sore from the op wound he was still doing happy head shakes and plodding about when he got back 'home'. He has been eating for 3 and pooping for 4 so I think they'll be no stoping him now!

So, the other picture posted is of our gorgeous boy Bailey. From how well trained he is it seems that his owner must have really cared for him, that is until he moved into a property where animals were not allowed inside so he kept him tethered up outdoors 24/7 with very little shelter, attention and stimulation. Bailey is only 4 years old but terribly unfit, so this week hei started him on hydrotherapy sessions.

Simon the hydrotherapist has 2 rottis of his own and could say with confidence that Bailey has quite significant muscle tone loss on his rear, clearly as a result of a lack of exercising. It's so sad, and so avoidable, but at least we can help him with the swimming. Apparently, it wasn't long before he took to it and was jumping n to fetch toys! How wonderful. Bailey will be going up for adoption this week, but I fear he will be overlooked for quite some time; larger, older dogsusually are - such a crime because big boy is adorable.

What is also wonderful is that Simon and Sue, who run the canine hydrotherapy pool, have decided to dedicate a whole weekend of swims to raise money for our animals. The weekend of the Royal wedding will see all proceeds from swims go to us! We were bowled over when they told us and so now we are doing all we can to get all our dog friends to book in for a fun swim in the luxury 6m x 3m hydrotherapy pool - just £15 for one dog or £20 if two go in together. Check our website for more info. If your pooch loves swimming and/or fetch games then why not give it a go and help raise hundreds of pounds for our dogs in the process.

Well, hard sell overnd looking forward to the week ahead we have preps for our Annual General Meeting (mailshot to over 250 people) to attend to and our quarterly newsletter to distribute as well as preps for our demo in Manchester city centre next Saturday. We are outside Lush on Market Street (opposite M&S) spreading the message that a 'hutch is not enough'. If you fancy a giggle you'll be able to see me sat in a 'human hutch' dressed as a rabbit for the day! Just a typical week in our work, hey!