I am so glad Xmas and New year is over!

We had a record number of people coming to adopt pets as soon as the holiday finished which was wonderful and this week we seem to be getting back to a normal routine.

I don’t know if any of you remember the story of Glen who was a resident dog at the shelter? Cross Kelpie Glen came to us about 6 years ago at the age of 18 months. He had been a farm dog who had spent much of his life locked in a shed as he had proved unsuitable for working with sheep. It wasn’t long before we realised that his behaviour was very unusual and that he appeared to have a canine version of Autism. As time went by we realised that he would be very hard to rehome,if not impossible.We could not let him off the lead as he would run bllndly away from us and we feared he would find his way off the property which in sheep country can have a disastrous result for a wandering dog. He struggled to engage with people, not even the staff with whom he had daily contact could overcome that problem and with other dogs he could be overbearing. He would not attack other dogs (or cats) but he would stare at them with his piercing, wild eyes without moving for indefinite periods of time and it was hard to take his focus away.Like many ex farm collies he would chase cars and we had to exercise him when there were no visitors to the shelter otherwise we were scared he would come to harm. He was terribly dirty in his kennel and that did not improve over the ensuing years he lived here. After six years we had come to the conclusion that Gen was here to stay.In the last eighteen months there had been some improvement in his behaviour, we could finally allow him a free run in the fields and he would return to us, he started to gain confidence and to engage a little with the staff although he was still far from normal.
Then one day last year a lady contacted us about fostering Glen with a view to adopting him. She knew his problems and was an experienced dog owner who had also fostered many traumatised rescued dogs and brought them round enough to be placed for adoption. We had our doubts abut Glens ability to adapt to life in a private home but it was too good a chance to miss so we decided to give it ago. For three months Linda struggled with Glen but he improved with many of his issues and we were all very hopeful for his future. Unfortunately his downfall was his aggression towards vehicles and in spite of the other improvements to his behaviour, Linda felt she could no longer cope with his barking and lunging at cars. Glen was returned to the shelter but this time I decided he could live with the other resident dogs in the house. I did not have the heart to put him back in his old kennel after three months of living in a home, and thankfully the other dogs accepted the newcomer. Ben the collie particularly likes Glen, he likes to chase him when he runs after a ball.Ben has never been interested in chasing balls – he feels it is a silly thing to do and a waste of effort! Chasing another dog, however, is much more fun and is the only time Lazy old Ben moves out of his basket.

The three months during which time Linda worked hard with Glen has resulted in tremendous changes in the 8 years old dog. He is now house trained and well behaved in a home environment, enjoying his snoozes in an open dog crate where he feels secure and safe. In fact he is no trouble at all nowadays and that is all thanks to someone who had the time and patience to work with a dog with great behavioural issues. The traffic problem does not arise as this property is very rural and during our opening hours Glen stays in the house/garden where he appears to be perfectly content. We are saddened that he could not stay with Linda but grateful to her for changing the life of this 8 years old dog.

There have been reports that we are about to experience extreme weather conditions – snow and blizzards as bad as they were six years ago. Well six years ago we were snowed in and struggled terribly throughout that time to get feed and water to the horses in the fields. It is a huge problem when pipes and hoses are frozen so we purchased a water bowser which can be pulled by tractor down to the river. It can then be filled and hey presto we have water for the horses. Well, since that winter we have not used the bowser even once as our winters have become warmer. Perhaps, if the meteorological office reports are correct, it will have another outing very soon. Not that I am hoping for frozen conditions here, on the contrary I am hoping that once again the forecasts are wrong, but at least we are more prepared than we were last time. Storage is always an issue here so we plan to pack our horse trailer with extra hay. We should not need to use the trailer over the next month or so. I just hope we will not hear of any equine emergencies in the meantime.

Due to the number of cat and kitten adoptions we are down to just two kittens waiting for adoption and thankfully we have had no more reports of unwanted litters (long may that last) two of our older cats in the conservatory have also been reserved. They are Pwd and Poppy who are more recent arrivals; the elderly and longterm residents are too settled and content here to move on. 8 years old Pwd came in when her owner died around 4 months ago and middle aged Poppy was an unwanted pet due to her independent nature. Poppy has been with us for about 2 years so we are thrilled to bit that she has finally found a home.These lucky cats will be going to the same home. A few pairs of cats have been adopted lately including youngsters Bella and Bobby I think of you want two cats, it is always best to adopt at the same time so they settle in together,rather than taking one, letting it adapt to his/her territory and then bringing another in which does not always work as well. Often when the first cat has established himself in the home a newcomer will be regarded as an usurper to whom he/she will give short sharp shrift (as I typed that last sentence I had to check on the word shrift as it looked odd and I realised it was a long time since I had heard it used ! Had I made it up?). Out came the dictionary but there it was – meaning curt response. Huge sigh of relief came from me as I realised that I wasn’t starting to compile a whole new language known only to myself.

Finally I hope you all enjoyed your Xmas holiday and New Year celebrations (if you had any?)and let’s hope 2017 will bring good things to all of us and especially for the animals.Maybe this year will bring us the miracle we need to start the new animal facilities. Hope springs eternal!

PS: Do you know that someone locally contacted the Cattle movement office to say that we were keeping unlicensed cattle here ! We had ONE registered and ear-tagged old bullock here for two weeks whilst we searched for a good pet home for him. Some people have nothing better to do with their time.