30. Dec, 2016

A year in our lives

It’s been some time since I wrote an update on our home for waifs and strays. Well here it is at along last.

The year began with chaos! A new intake of rescued battery hens with hardly a feather between them and an unwanted small dog! The hens I could deal with but the dog was a totally different story! We never wanted a dog, we never looked for a dog but she found us nevertheless, on Christmas day 2015.

The following three months were very stressful. I can look back now and see where I could have made things better, quicker. The cats took an instant dislike to Lolo, who, on the other hand, took a great interest in them, showing the whites of her almost toothless mouth. Although I shouldn’t say this, her missing teeth were probably her saving grace.

Despite their aging years, the cats soon put the wee dog in her place. They would take it in turns to whack her across the face whenever she went near them, their food or the sofa. Our once peaceful home was now a thing of the past. This dog meant business and meant to stay. And despite all attempts to find her a new home, she gradually grew on me. But it was no easy task, especially as it took a lot longer for her to bond with my kind and unassuming husband. It was in May, when a home had finally been found for her and after careful consideration, and for better or worse, we decided to give her a forever home with us, our cats and the hens.

Well things did improve. Lolo now gets on well with the cats (well most of them anyway) and is perfectly behaved around the hens. By the time summer came, we had settled down to a new way of life at our home for waifs and strays.

A variety of animals appeared at our home during the summer months. Some required help whilst others were just passing through, grabbing a meal on the way. One of the sad cases was that of a young gull and it was Lolo who found her down on the beach. She circled the bird, making no sound but drawing our attention to it.  The gull couldn’t fly and there was no obvious injury, so we took her to the small animal hospital in the woods.

Botulism!’ said the vet. ‘We’re seeing more and more of it lately. They catch it from rotten food and maggots.’ Thankfully, he told us there was no risk to humans.

     On December 7th this year, we were told to lock our hens in for 30 days. This was due to an outbreak of bird flu across 14 countries including France and Germany. The reason for keeping them in is to protect them from wild birds and migrating birds, possibly infected, coming up the estuary. Well it has been 24 days now and the girls are coping well. Thankfully, they have a large greenhouse, attached to their coop so plenty of room for them to scratch and play.

      Christmas has come and almost gone. My family from Australia came to stay and are all musicians. We held a small concert on Christmas Eve for friends and family and everyone who came, took part. There was poetry and prose, singing, dancing, piano and guitar playing, African drums and harmonicas. It was amazing.

     The house is quite again now. The piano beckons for me to touch its keys and I smile. The guitars wait patiently on their stands and I close my eyes and remember the sound that came from them only days ago. My dear sister and her family have returned to Australia and a new year lays waiting for me and my kind and unassuming husband. I long to pick up my pen and write again. The wee dog sleeps by the fire and I feel blessed.

A happy new year to you all!

Remember that it is later than you think so make the most of your lives and strive to be happy and healthy.