On the whole the last 2 months have been quite Groundhog Day-ish. The usual routine of walking, feeding, exercising dogs, cleaning up after dogs and keeping their home in a state fit to keep them in the manner to which they have been accustomed.
We had a foster dog for about 3 weeks. She was Trixie, a lovely lurcher who is desperate to love and be loved – she is especially fond of men. She is now in Surrey with her rescuer and is still looking for a permanent home. Thank you so much Lucy Blight for doing a mammoth transport run. If you would like to offer Trixie a forever home, you can see her on Lurcher SOS. Here she is with my Freya:
The home dogs are all fine – even those who have ongoing conditions – like Grace’s SLO and Freya’s long list of minor ailments that accompany old age.
Tom, our Springer, had a bit of a stroke a few weeks ago but is doing fine considering. He has recovered all his mobility but still gets confused. The worrying thing is that he goes out into the garden via the dog door and then just stands there – even if it’s raining. So I have to be vigilant and check where he is all the time.
Quite a bit of my time has been spent trying to recover lost and stolen dogs. There is such heart-ache for families when their dogs go missing and the chances of getting them back if they are not micro-chipped are minimal. I am particularly concerned about a little Chihuahua girl, called Tia, who was stolen from her garden in Cardiff in July. We’ve had several leads but so far no dog. Her young owner is so, so upset – understandably. Here is a picture of Tia who is long-haired, dark fawn and white:
Do you remember Amos, the elderly Labrador that I took out of the pound and took to Hollyhedge Animal Sanctuary? He went straight into a foster home and was immediately adopted. Have a great end of life, Amos!
Do you find that you spend quite a bit of time on Facebook looking at images of abused and homeless dogs not only in the UK but in Spain, Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus and further afield? I use Facebook only for rescue work and so these horrific images scroll relentlessly down my screen. I feel so helpless. Yes, I could offer to sponsor and re-home one dog but that wouldn’t solve anything. Like you, I sign various e-petitions. I wonder if they are effective. So much cruelty in the world can be depressing for us all but must be so much worse for those brave people who work at saving these dogs from abuse. They are the true rescuers.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the direction of Kim’s Home. Our activities have been rather dispersed recently: looking for lost and stolen dogs; fostering for other rescues; organising transport runs for pound dogs and other rescues’ dogs, getting dogs out of pounds into rescue but not so much getting dogs from gypsy/traveller sites into Kim’s Home or to rescue. It has become a full-time job. However, I am doing very little to fund all these activities. What’s more when I do receive donations – and there are a few loyal supporters of Kim’s Home who regularly make donations – I tend to use the funds to make donations to organisations like Strayaid, Strayaction to buy their waifs and strays and get them to rescue and to buy other dogs out of trouble. Very little of the money that is donated to Kim’s Home actually goes on Kim’s Home dogs. So a slight amendment to activities is called for, I think.
Back to the mission statement:
1. To provide lifelong sanctuary to elderly and/or abused dogs who cannot be rehomed in a caring, comfortable home with good food, appropriate veterinary treatment and exercise
2. To provide temporary sanctuary to sighthounds in need – whether homeless, sick, abused, threatened with euthanasia – while waiting for rescue place or forever home
3. To care for sick hounds and rehabilitate abused hounds so that they can be rehomed
4. To neuter and microchip all hounds before re-homing in order to prevent irresponsible breeding and to promote responsible ownership
5. To promote awareness via the website of the often cruel conditions of working sighthounds – notably Greyhounds, Lurchers, Salukis and Whippets- with a view to educating the public and improving the lives of the dogs
6. To liaise with local dog pounds and gypsy/traveller sites in order to transfer needy dogs to rescue or to the sanctuary
7. To liaise with other rescues and online forums to locate dogs in need and to find rescue places or homes for dogs who have the potential to be pet dogs
And I have to go back to this. If dogs are in a rescue, then they have already been rescued. They just need a forever home but they don’t need me – unless they are very old and so unlikely to be rehomed and could come here. What I should be doing – as I was doing for 15 years – is finding the dogs who have not been rescued and who probably won’t be rescued and then either offering them a home with us or passing them to good rescue organisations.
My role model for Kim’s Home was the late Angela Hogan who ran Tailends – a sanctuary for elderly dogs. Angela stayed true to her mission – she did not have more than 12 dogs in at one time and she took in only dogs who were likely to enjoy being part of a big family of dogs. And that’s what I must do. So I am going back to trawling the pounds and gypsy/traveller sites to find dogs in trouble. And I shall also keep an eye on the vile traffic of dogs on Gumtree and other online sites to get vulnerable sighthounds away from a cruel working/breeding life. I shall continue to warn folk every day of the dangers of offering their not-so-beloved pets as Free To Good Home on these sites.
So what does Kim’s Home need from its supporters?
1. Supplements for the older dogs – particularly for arthritis. Freya is arthritic and a whole clutch of the dogs are in the 9-12 age bracket and need extra joint support so that they don’t get arthritis in old age.
We don’t use chemical stuff for worming, flea treatment etc – natural remedies work just as well. And we have some lovely natural products from a local business that produces their own ethical, cruelty-free treatments and supplements: Health Mutt. They have some good remedies for dogs who are scared of fireworks.
2. Grace has a condition called SLO (Symmetrical Lupoid Onychodystrophy) whereby her nails fall out painfully. This first happened in September 2012. There is no absolute cure – it’s an auto-immune condition but heavy doses of supplements do give the nails a fighting chance. Every day Grace has 2 double strength Omega 3 and Omega 6 capsules as well as Biotin and Nicotinamide. So far she has not lost any more nails. But the supplements will be for life – and are expensive.
3. Freya every day has Previcox for pain relief, anti-biotics to combat her regular urinary tract infections, Propalin to help with her urinary incontinence and other supplements to help a very old dog. She is doubly incontinent and that aspect can be expensive. Thanks to Karen Wall and Dog Mobility she has a special “nappy” and I just have to buy the incontinence pads. Here’s hoping the chemist doesn’t think they are for me! Tom will be on medication for the rest of his life. And Lucy is still taking natural remedies for her fears and aggression.
4. All the dogs have comfortable places to sleep day and night. The washing-machine never stops in this house as I refresh daily their covers, throws, towels, mats etc. Their night beds in my room are soft round snuggly beds to which I add a memory foam mattress. On top of that I put white brushed-cotton sheets because it’s so much easier to wash a cot sized sheet as soon as it starts to look grubby than it is to wash mattresses. So if you have any of these warm-feel sheets going spare, we would be grateful. They could be for single beds because I can cut them up.
5. Every dog has at least one coat and rain coat and collars and leads – so we have no needs in that department. When a new dog comes in, I use Kim’s Home funds to buy any necessary equipment for the dog – like the escape-proof harnesses that Lucy and Nell, aka the Red Arrows, have to have. And there are plenty of towels, throws, blankets etc. In fact it looks like Dunelm Mill here.
6. On the whole we do not need much food. The dogs are mostly raw-fed and thanks to the generosity of Martin Player we have plenty donated every week. Their other food is paid for by me and not Kim’s Home funds. The only non-raw food that we use regularly is Burns Lamb and Brown rice and Nature diet – so that is always welcome.
7. The insurance for these dogs costs £320 per month – and that also comes from my personal fortune aka my old-age pension <g>. I have considered stopping the insurance and just keeping the third party liability going – which I can do via the Dogs Trust – but it’s too risky. Some accidents can cause damage costing thousands of pounds. That’s never happened to us………. yet.
8. One of heaviest costs of running Kim’s Home is the cost of Diesel. I live in town and have to drive the dogs out of town twice a day every day to places where they can let off steam and gallop about. That means usually 2 medium drives and 2 short-ish drives. It all mounts up but, no, I’m not asking you to bring round some jerry-cans of diesel, thanks! I’d move to the country but how do you sell a house with 14 or 15 dogs in residence and where there are wall to wall dog beds?
9. Finally, if anyone knows of a field to borrow or rent near to Cardiff, I would be very grateful. Kim’s Home dogs are on the whole very well-behaved and greet their public politely twice a day on our walks. And then there are the wild ones – Nell and Lucy – who cannot be trusted to go off-lead in places where there might be other people. Lucy barks non-stop at dogs and Nell barks at men – because she is terrified of them. This is not good PR for Kim’s Home. So somewhere where these 2 could run safely with their mates not too far away would be great. We are fine on the weekends because I have access to a locked field and they can run until they drop then. But 2 days a week is not enough for a young Saluki.
We have something to look forward to in November. This year I had decided that I could not afford to take the dogs away on holiday in September as we usually do. But then I got really depressed at the thought of missing our beach runs. So I’ve booked a holiday at the end of November when it will cost only about half what it would have cost in September (again this is paid for me personally and not Kim’s Home). My daughter will help me take the dogs there. And I’ll be buying us balaclavas for protection on the wind-swept beaches. As usual we will be going to Four Acres part of the Little Dumpledale Farm complex, the best place in the world for a doggy holiday. I took 19 dogs one year. See if you can spot Kim’s Home dogs on the publicity photos.
Thank you to everyone who supports Kim’s Home in any way. We are truly grateful. Please keep your dogs safe during the firework season.
Wendy and the Kim’s Home Residents