8. Oct, 2015

Summer at our home for waifs and strays

Life at our home for waifs and strays isn’t always easy but it’s certainly rewarding. Animals, whether they are sick or not, have a habit of tugging at my heart strings. Just like children! When I say animals, I mean every kind of animal. The four legged kind especially!

     During the summer months life here was more than a little hectic. I think ‘as busy as a beaver’ describes it well. Our family of hens have expanded to almost full capacity, ranging from the featherless battery bunch to the six musketeers. The musketeers were all rescued barn hens, who’d never seen daylight. These so called free range hens cope quite well despite having lived in cramped conditions (nine hens into a square metre) and having undergone beak trimming. For those of you who are not familiar with this process, the top and bottom part of the beaks are removed with a hot blade or infra-red burner. This practice is banned in many European countries but is still legal in the UK.

      Many a time I have come home from the ward to find an extra hen or two or an injured bird, lamb, or cat in the garden. I found a polecat on two occasions and a ferret! No two days are ever the same! We even find injured or sick hedgehogs from time to time, especially in my kind and unassuming husband’s workshop.

      However, there was one occasion, during a storm, when I heard the most pitiful sound coming from the garden. It wasn’t quite daylight and the wind bellowed around our home. I raced out and battled through the rain in the direction of the cries. There was more than one! It was coming from the other side of our garden gate and without thinking, I forced it open. There, I discovered three trembling puppies.

       Despite ringing around all the usual places, animal shelter, RSPCA, the local vets etc, no-one, it seemed, had registered the puppies missing. As the day progressed, the puppies became boisterous with their now full bellies and a roof over their heads. But how on earth were we going to keep dogs, in a home full of freedom fighting hens?

        It was many hours later and with relief, that someone claimed the puppies. The storm had torn down the door of the shed where they lived and obviously they were frightened, so ran away. Thank heavens they ran to the right place!

        And so, although we never turn down an animal, it always worries me when we bite off more than we can chew! Well that’s when we stay calm, and a solution can always be found.