A Life in the Day at Kim’s Home
People often say to me that they wish they could have as many dogs as I have. Or they say that I am living their dream and that it must be so much fun. Well, yes, it is, but more for the dogs than for me perhaps.
Our day starts about 7 (now that I’m retired we take it easy). The alarm goes off earlier but the dogs know that we ignore that. The signal that the day is going to start is when I reach out to pick up my glasses. I do it so quietly but I can never fool Zeb. He is instantly on his feet, whooping around the bedroom waking the others and telling them that there is another glorious day ahead.
So we all troop downstairs and they whoosh into the garden to do the necessary. I mop up the 2 wees and occasional poo that are on the dog room floor. I don’t know who does this but I have my suspicions. And one day I’ll catch them………..Then they all stay in the dog room while I go upstairs and do a minimal “toilette” and get dressed.
Next it’s the ceremony of the collars, leads, harnesses and coats. It takes ages with 15 dogs even though they are very good and don’t wriggle much. Check: poo bags, balls and toys, long line, treats, phone, keys. Off to open up the van, then let them into the front garden, pick up all the leads and herd them into the van. Crossing the pavement is always a fraught moment – just in case a neighbouring cat pops up. It’s only happened once in 12 years and there were no casualties – though it took me a while to find Zak.
If it’s the weekend, we all go down to a closed 3 acre field, but on weekdays Freya and Dolly stay at home while the rest of us drive down to the river. Today it’s the river and so we drive the few miles in the van and park next to the river walk. I pick up the leads and get them out of the van with some semblance of order. Then the good, responsive dogs are let off lead. I keep the 2 young Salukis on for a while longer. They need my full attention, but first I must pick up all the poos that some save for the walk rather than the garden.
Finally I let the Red Arrows – Lucy and Nell – explode from their leads and see them shoot off chasing each other noisily. Zoe usually joins in – it’s an exclusive Saluki club. I put Hebe Whippet back on lead – the Salukis sometimes bully her. And off we go. After about half a mile along the river with running, sniffing, mooching, Tom chasing and losing his ball, Griff and Bayleaf swimming after their balls in the summer, we drop down to a playing field where Griff chases his rope ball and Hebe plays with her Space Hopper. The young Salukis are still running. We then move along to a wild meadow where they all have mad runs – though Griff does most of his digging projects here. Ruby tries desperately to persuade Bayleaf to organise a big run for all of them by leaping at his head. Sometimes it works. Next I have to get Lucy and Nell back on lead. No easy job. Lucy is not so bad because she has a long line and I can get her quite easily. Nell is a horror though and will avoid me as if I habitually beat her! I need to get her on lead though because she barks at men and we could meet some on the way back.
If I see someone I don’t know with a dog, I put Bayleaf, Nell and Lucy on lead. If it’s a Labrador type I’ll put Emma and Griff on too. If it’s a terrier, I’ll put George on lead. If it’s a crowd of dogs, I’ll put most of them back on lead. So our walks are a constant stop/start of leads on/off. People assume I must be very healthy because of all the dog-walking but, no, it’s a trudge with many stops for crowd control. The dogs do all the exercising.
On the way back to the van an hour or so later (depending on weather and season – it can sometimes be 2 hours), we usually meet friends: Linda with her 5 terriers and Cavaliers. My dogs love them all. And Shayla is particularly fond of Linda. If Nell is on lead, all is well. If she isn’t, then I often have to apologise to any passing man about the barking. Most understand but some don’t. Being shouted at is an occupational hazard for me, alas. It happens even if my dogs are on lead and an unruly off-lead dog runs into us. It’s always my fault apparently.
Back at the van all the dogs jump in. Nell will jump in on her own – so at least she doesn’t faff around for hours like Lucy used to. And so we drive home.
Coats and collars and leads off. Hot towels if they are wet and cold. They settle in the dog room while I tack up Freya and Dolly. Into the van and off to the park we go. Often Griff, Grace and Hebe come too so that they can have more of a social life. We mooch round the park. Freya greets her public, rolls on the grass and has a good sniff about.
Back home to breakfast. This is a long preparation because in addition to biscuit with sardines/tripe etc this is the meal that is a vehicle for most of the medication and supplements. This is the current protocol: they all get fish oil; the older dogs get vitamins and minerals etc to head off arthritis. Freya gets Previcox, Propalin and often anti-biotics. Tom gets Vivitonin; Lucy gets Zylkene; Grace gets her SLO medication: high doses of Omega 3, Biotin and Nicotinamide; Dolly needs eye ointment.
Breakfast is an orderly meal with each dog standing by his/her bowl on a stand. 5 of them get fed in the passage way or sitting room. The other 10 eat in the dog room. No-one pinches food from anyone else – though Bayleaf and Zeb have to be watched carefully. If anything is left – Zoe is a fussy eater – it is shared out between the skinny dogs.
And then they are all allowed into the sitting room to flop onto their comfortable beds for some serious sleeping and recharging of batteries.
Now I can have my breakfast and get onto the Internet to pick up emails, messages, appeals, etc. I always check Doglost for anything going down in my area or for any sighthounds anywhere. Then it’s on to Gumtree and Preloved to look out for stolen dogs and to send emails to people offering their dogs Free To Good Home to warn them of the dangers. Very few people take any notice of this. Occasionally someone will reply and thank me for the warning and offer of help. Some folk respond with abusive messages.
Now I have a window of time to do the cleaning, clear the garden, put washing on/out. Living with so many dogs means that the washing machine never stops. It’s not that they are not house-trained. They are good in that department – apart from the phantom nocturnal wee-er. And Freya has no control over her bowels and has frequent UTIs which mean urinary incontinence too. I like to keep all their throws, bedding, cushions and towels fresh and clean. They all have white brushed cotton sheets on their night beds in my room – that might be an obvious sign of my insanity. But I think it’s so much easier to put cotton sheets into the machine every few days rather than have to wash thick squidgy mattresses that take ages to dry.
So cleaning, clearing, washing, shopping done, I can return to the computer to organise transport runs, liaise with pounds and rescues etc. This takes up a lot of my time.
And then it’s time to do the walking all over again. So we just re-run the morning process. We tend to linger longer in the park in the afternoon because there are more people about and Griff, Grace and Hebe love running with their non-family friends. If Freya says she’s up to it, we sometimes do a shorter walk down at the river and she comes too. That is physically very demanding for me – controlling 15 dogs, one of whom weighs over 30 kilos and needs support; another who freaks out if she sees a man and tries to do a runner. But I manage it about once a week because Freya loves it so much. Other days I drive the youngsters – the under 12s – to farm fields to let them have a good blast. We go to the beach only when I have a helper to share the burden.
Back home, collars, leads, coats etc off and a rest for them while I do things like grooming, tidying, cleaning – yes, that again! And yet the house never looks pristine. At least once a week I put a flea comb through all the dogs just to make sure that they haven’t brought any uninvited guests home. Quite often I have to bath Griff or Zoe – they are chief fox-poo rollers. Hebe and Ruby are also occasionally guilty of this. And sometimes we have routine or not-so-routine vet visits to fit in.
Back on the computer for an hour while I try to ignore the whines and whinges of those who assure me that they are dying of starvation – mostly Emma, Griff and Bayleaf. Though little Dolly can be quite bossy too. At 6 pm I give in and we all troop out to the dog room/kitchen for dinner. Dinner is usually an easy meal – no bowls, just raw meat on or off the bone handed out in order of arrival in the family. New dogs in soon learn this routine and don’t try to jump the queue or snatch. Everyone eats in the dog room. They all go off to a part of the room to eat in peace, often very, very close to one another but no growling or bad behaviour. This I find surprising but I suppose from the beginning I nip any anti-social behaviour in the bud with a sharp “UH-UH”. In 16 years we have never had a fight in the house. We’ve had plenty of tooth tears when they are out running and get over-excited but rarely any that warrant a stitch-up. They are very civilised, polite dogs on the whole.
Evening meal over, I tidy up the sitting room, refresh all the water bowls, encourage them to go to the garden to wee if necessary. And then like a herd of wildebeest we all make our way back to the sitting room. Once settled, I return to the kitchen to clear up – Griff is usually still there sucking blood out of the towels that I am about to throw into the washing machine. Quick wash of the floor to clear up any remains of the raw meat, thorough clean of all kitchen surfaces and then at last I can think of getting some food for myself. Quite honestly, I’m usually so tired by this time that I rarely make the effort to cook – sandwiches, fruit and chocolate do me fine.
Last job of the day: back on the computer to catch up with emails, to track dogs in trouble or in transit. I have to do my accounts, order dog equipment/food online, contact rescues about dogs stuck in the pound and in danger of being put to sleep. There are phone calls to make to gypsy contacts about dogs lost and stolen and about dogs that need moving from an abusive situation. It never stops. And I don’t do nearly as much as a proper rescue. Time on Facebook is just scrolling down through image after image of cruelty cases and feeling helpless that one can’t help them all.
At last I can snatch a couple of hours to relax. I don’t sit on a sofa – they are all occupied. I squeeze in between dogs on the floor on a memory foam bed and we spend a nice snuggly time. But I always have nail clippers and comb to hand to groom anyone who is in reach. They love this. Any attention is good when you are a member of such a big family, eh?
At about 11 we start the bedtime routine. All out into the garden for last wees. Freya a short walk round the back lane because she won’t wee in the garden. Last treats all round. I go upstairs to make their beds, put clean water down for them and make sure that all is well. If it’s very cold, some of them need fleece pyjamas because I always switch the heating off when we go to bed. And so about midnight it’s a mad stampede up to bed – I don’t know why they get so excited about bed time – it’s not like I read them a story or anything. They all settle in their own beds – no messing about. Tom sleeps on the landing in his bed, George just outside the door in his and Freya sleeps on the sofa in the dog room because she can’t manage the stairs any more.
I read for about an hour or so and then put the light out. Soon Grace will creep on to my bed. And not long after Hebe will sneak under the duvet. And so we all pass a peaceful night.
The alarm goes off at 6.45 and, in true Groundhog Day fashion, we do it all over again……and again……and again.
I suppose it’s one way for an arthritic old woman to spend her retirement. I worry constantly though that I’ll get ill and not be able to look after the dogs properly. Somewhere in my Documents is a list of where the dogs can go if I pop my clogs – so that my daughter knows what to do. I also worry that I’ll run out of money and then one day you will be able to see me in Cardiff City Centre – a bowed old hag in a grubby mack and dirty trainers with a Tesco’s trolley and a string of hungry dogs….
Still think I’m living the dream? I don’t suppose I’d have it any other way though – most of the time.
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
There has been lots of good news in the past few weeks and also some sad news.
Firstly the pound dogs who needed your help have all found wonderful homes:
Kim’s Home has also helped other pound dogs:
Kim’s Home paid £200 to get 2 dogs from Strayaid in Durham to rescue. Nancy, a Saluki cross, and Lola, an elderly Whippet cross, were given back-up by GRWE and have already found homes. Thank you, GRWE.
Molly, the elderly rough-coated lurcher who we featured here a couple of months ago, had to leave her foster home but luckily a forever home came up for her. Kim’s Home had the joy of organising a transport run from Sheffield to Orkney! It was so worth it though because Molly now has a fantastic home.
Laurie, the Kim’s Home foster, who arrived in an emaciated state at the beginning of May, has at last found his forever home with a couple in Bedfordshire who have other dogs for Laurie to play with and their own fields for him to run in. He has settled well and his new family are enchanted with him.
Nell, the nervous Saluki, who arrived last month, has decided to stay. She is really happy here and has become a bit of a clown. She runs well with Lucy (the only dog who will) and she feels like she should be family.
The sad news for this update is that we lost our dear Lily a couple of days ago. She came from a traveller/gypsy site 13 years and 4 months ago at the age of 8 months. So we’ve had a long and loving relationship with Lily. Fourteen was too young to die but there was nothing that could be done to save her. Sleep well, Lily – reunited at last with your Mum Suzi, your favourite running mate.
You can read all about her on the Dogs section of the website.
Thank you so much to our loyal supporters who donate money or items to help Kim’s Home carry on. Thanks especially to the support from Lisa at Health Mutt for the natural products that keep the dogs healthy and the fund-raising activities, and thanks to Martin Player for the organic raw meat, to the sponsors of the Kim’s Home residents. If only there were more of you, I could do so much more to help dogs in trouble.
Ways to donate can be found on the website HERE.
This rescue lark is never-ending, isn’t it? So we’ve had yet another busy month.
The good news is that Kim’s Home has managed to get some dogs out of the pound and off either to rescue or into homes. Sparky, a 14 year old GWP cross went to a lovely home in Oxfordshire. 2 elderly Jack Russells terriers, Jack and Jill, brother and sister, have gone to Hollyhedge sanctuary from where they will be rehomed. Kim’s Home supporters contributed to vet costs for a lurcher called Jazz. She is now in rescue and will be moving to a foster home when she’s had her vaccinations.
In a couple of weeks we shall be welcoming an elderly Whippet cross who is stuck in a northern pound. If she is healthy, she will be rehomed by GRWE. But, if she’s elderly and frail, she will join us at Kim’s Home.
Still to be sorted at the pound is Xena, a tiny, friendly, bouncy, 12 year old Staffie who has lingered unwanted for a long time. Surely someone can offer this beautiful girl a home for her last years?
And then there’s Casper, a 9 year old terrier, who has a mouth full of rotting teeth and who needs dental work before anyone would consider re-homing him. There is an appeal for him on Facebook. Please contribute if you can.
Molly, the 13 year old rough coated lurcher, still needs a permanent home. She is enjoying life in foster but can’t stay forever. She is cat-friendly.
And Laurie, the Deerhound/Saluki, who we are fostering for GRWE, is still here. He is now a model citizen and has calmed down a lot. He is very bright and will give his new people a lot of pleasure – where are you???? Here he is:
We have also taken in Nell this month. She is a young Saluki who was being sold on Gumtree for a very small price. Fortunately I got there before the working homes, thanks to alerts from Saluki-loving friends. She is terrified of men to the point where she will wee and poo if one approaches. So she’s going to be a long job. At Kim’s Home she is very happy, playful and affectionate. She loves running free and playing with the other young dogs.
All the Kim’s Home residents are doing fantastically well on their raw diet. Many, many thanks to Martin Player, our generous butcher, and to Lisa of Raw2Door for the wonderful food they are getting.
Kim’s Home hit the headlines this month and we featured on the front page and centrefold of the South Wales Echo. The article was not totally accurate but I am assured that all publicity is good publicity….hmmmm. Anyway here it is:
One of the most exciting and scary things to happen in July was that I actually got to go away. My son was getting married in Chicago and I really wanted to be there. So my lovely daughter volunteered to look after the dogs and my amazing friend, Caroline (Cardiff Canine Citizens) offered to help walk them. I was away only 3 days (most of that time spent on planes) and it worked out beautifully. All the dogs behaved. No-one was too freaked out. In fact they were perfectly happy. I don’t know – you devote your entire life and income to looking after these dogs and they hardly notice when you go away. There’s gratitude for you!!! I did get a fantastic welcome when I got back though. I asked Francesca how she found living my life for 3 days and she replied: “it was sheer drudgery!” Yep, that about sums it up. But I guess the dogs are all worth it.
Thank you to those who continue to support Kim’s Home. I just wish there were more of you. This is an expensive activity. The vet’s bills are the biggest expense. If you can help in any way, we would be very grateful. Details on how to donate are here: http://www.kimshome.org.uk/sponsor-donate/
Best wishes from all at Kim’s Home
June has been a sad month in some ways for Kim’s Home. Zak, our very elderly Whippet cross, became suddenly lame. His pain increased so quickly and dramatically that I arranged for x-rays. These showed a tumour in his shoulder which had cracked his scapula. There was no option but to let him slip away. We miss our worried little old fellow. He was a great cleaner-upper in the family and always dried up the other dogs and cleaned eyes, ears and wounds.
Then we had a request from a local pound to help with an elderly Cocker Spaniel, picked up as a stray, who had mammary tumours. I agreed and put an appeal on Facebook to raise funds for her operation. When I collected Shelley, as the pound had named her, it was obvious that the tumours were much more extensive than mammary tumours. They were huge and covered the area from in her armpit right to round her anal area. And it was obvious that the little dog was not well. My vet said he could have a try at removing the tumours so that she could enjoy some good times. However, we decided to x-ray her first in order to check for internal tumours. Our worst fears were confirmed – internal tumours, one as big as a tennis ball, were found in her abdomen. It seemed kindest to let her go while she was sleeping. That hurt a lot because Shelley was the sweetest, happiest dog you can imagine. For nearly 2 days my daughter and I gave that little dog as many cuddles as we could to make up for the neglect and cruelty that she had suffered. She was happy and waggy-tailed. She deserved so much better.
I would like to thank all the people who contributed to funds for Shelley’s operation. Sadly it was not to be, but everyone has said that the fund should be kept for the next needy case that comes along. Shelley’s story can be seen on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimsHomeForElderlyAbusedDogs?fref=ts
On a happier note, Kim’s Home has funded the release of 3 dogs from a northern pound this month. I paid donations to secure lurchers Blaze, Carly and Olly. Thanks to a wonderful team of volunteer transporters and GRWE, the dogs made the mammoth trip from Durham to Newquay in Cornwall. They can be seen on the St Francis website. Olly has already found a home as companion to Harvey who came from Durham last month.
Molly, an elderly rough-coated lurcher, who came from a northern pound has been fostered by a friend. She is now ready to find her permanent home or to come to Kim’s Home. If you think you could offer this beauty a home, please contact me.
Foster dog for GRWE, Laurie, is doing very well and is now ready for his forever home. He is up to full weight, neutered, vaccinated and civilised. He is young, boisterous, wicked, funny and will give his new home a lot of laughs. Is it you?
Meanwhile the remaining 14 Kim’s Home dogs are all doing well. Even wicked Lucy has stopped being a runaway fiend and has developed a rudimentary recall. And she has become such a happy, loving dog. Her bald patches have nearly grown over. Long may it last!
Thank you to everyone for your continuing support for Kim’s Home. It means a lot.
Wendy and the dogs
Kim’s Home has had quite a busy month so far. We attended a Vegan Fair in Cowbridge last Sunday. Most people had come for the food but we did meet some lovely people who made a big fuss of Ruby and Grace – my crowd-pullers.
All the dogs are doing really, really well on their raw food diet. I’ve even managed to be brave enough to leave off their mixer for breakfast. Their coats feel so much softer and shinier and they all smell so much fresher. Lisa of Raw2Door is my mentor as well as my supplier of raw food.
There have been a couple of health scares: Zoe has had a lump removed and we await the result of an analysis. Lucy is still bald but there are signs of hair regrowth. Her blood tests came back clear. I’m now hoping that her baldness and irritability are down to a vitamin D deficiency. She was kept in a shed in the dark and came to me at the end of December and has been wearing coats until recently. Now that she’s running around in the sunshine things are looking better.
Next week Kim’s Home is taking in a new foster dog. He is from Strayaid in Durham and was picked up as a starving stray. He was as skeletal as Biddy. Thanks to the good care he’s had at Strayaid, he has got over the worst. He’s only 9 months old and is coming to finish his convalescence. He is a GRWE dog and will be up for re-homing as soon as he’s well. So far he doesn’t have a name. Jan of GRWE has been tasked with that.
St Francis Dog Rescue in Newquay Cornwall has taken a lot of pound dogs from me over the last few months. They have all been successfully rehomed. Sue, the Manager, also took in Ripley from Strayaid. She contacted me last week to say that she could take in 2 more lurchers from Strayaid. Kim’s Home paid the donations to “spring” the dogs and so Sam and Harvey will be making the trip from Durham to Newquay on Sunday, 28th April. Organising that transport and the one for Skinny Lad was a challenge!
In my last blog I gave a list of things that Kim’s Home needed. Thank you so much to those of you who responded by sending various things. That was so helpful. And thank you too to you kind people who have sent money donations. It’s made things a lot easier. It has been a bit of a shock losing my salary and becoming a pensioner but your contributions are helping to make up some of the shortfall so that I can go on getting dogs out of trouble. I couldn’t do it without you.
So what’s been happening at Kim’s Home this month?
Well we’ve rescued 3 dogs. First was Ripley, a Saluki cross, who was brought into Strayaid in Durham as a stray. He wasn’t claimed and so, for a donation, he passed to Kim’s Home. Luckily for Ripley he had a place waiting for him at St Francis Rescue in Newquay Cornwall and from there he found a wonderful forever home.
Then came Tan, a cream, rough-coated Deerhound cross Lurcher. He came from a local gypsy/traveller site. Tan is about 6 years old and was being retired from a working life. He was offered to Kim’s Home and we agreed to find him a good home. He went straight to GRWE in Somerset.
Next there was Sid, advertised on Gumtree, and pictured looking very sad chained up to a fence. So Kim’s Home acquired him. He is only 8 months old but looked to have the cares of the world on his shoulders. He spent a night at Kim’s Home before travelling on to GRWE Somerset. He will soon find a wonderful home.
Biddy, a foster dog, who came originally from Strayaid as a skeletal waif, went off to her new home in Cornwall after spending nearly 4 months recuperating at Kim’s Home. She has gone off to live with 2 other sighthounds and together they make up the Benson Brindle Bunch of Bramble, Brady and Biddy. She seems very happy in her new home.
Lucy Locket, a three year old Saluki, is still here. She still has a skin problem and her nervousness is not yet sorted. So it will be a while longer before she is ready for a new home.
Kim’s Home is out and about in the Spring. First we shall be attending the Absolutely Fabulous Vegan Fair in Cowbridge on 21st April. Then on 27th May, Bank Holiday Monday, we shall be at the South Wales Dog Charity Fun Day at the beautiful Fonmon Castle. That will be a fantastic day for all the family – just check it out here: http://www.fonmoncharitydogshow.com/
Lots of good news on the food front for Kim’s Home dogs. First of all a Raw2Door company opened up in Cardiff. They supply great food and I have been able to move my dogs over to almost totally raw food. Have a look here at the great products they sell: http://www.raw2door.co.uk/raw-dog-food
Then a high class organic butcher in Cardiff was told about Kim’s Home and offered to supply good quality meat and bones for absolutely free. Thank you so much, Martin. http://www.martinplayer.com/ So the dogs are now really spoiled and should be super-fit from now on. They certainly love their new diet. And they nag me to give them dinner right from the moment we come home after the afternoon walk.
Such a lot of meat necessitated a chest freezer – and this was kindly donated by Bethan Williams via Freecycle. Thank you so much.
Someone suggested that I draw up a wish list of things that we need at Kim’s Home. Understandably some people are reluctant to give money to an organisation that they don’t really know. After all I could be spending the money on luxurious holidays and flash cars……………that makes me laugh somewhat wistfully since I haven’t had a holiday without dogs since 1997 and my flash car is a dog van. But it did seem sensible to give people the option of sending things rather than money. So this is the current list:
Solgar High Strength Fish oil capsules
Wormers (Drontal plus)
Slip leads (for transporting rescue dogs)
Cheap martingales (for transporting rescue dogs)
Biodegradable poo bags
Before I retired from my job in education last year, I stocked up on most things like beds, coats, fleece jumpers, towels, etc. But things wear out, get chewed and so there is always the need for something.
Finally, I should like to thank everyone who has supported Kim’s Home in a variety of ways. Without you I couldn’t go on doing this. Thank you very much.
Best wishes from Wendy and the Kim’s Home dogs
So what’s new in Kim’s Home?
Lucy, a Saluki, who came just before Christmas from a shed on an allotment in Durham, is not doing well. She seems to have a severe case of demodectic mange stemming from a weak immune system. I am hoping that this is the cumulative result of general neglect, having pups 5 months ago and then being spayed recently and that it will improve soon. She is having lots of supplements and no chemical treatment in order to boost her immune system. She has not been vaccinated. At the moment she is getting balder by the day. Please send her your best wishes for a speedy recovery.
Grace hasn’t been very well recently – though she seems to have rallied today. If you remember, Grace came 4 years ago in a state near to death because of malnutrition and hypothermia. We knew that this trauma had left its mark because she never grew a proper coat – just a fluffy undercoat. Last September she developed SLO – Symmetrical Lupoid Onychodystrophy, a condition whereby the nails all fall out painfully. She is in remission now and her claws are starting to grow back. But she will be on supplements and treatment every day for the rest of her life. Your donations will help with this. She’s been sick for the last 2 days but today ate her breakfast and it looks like all is well.
Emma, who was a feral dog and terrified of life, has become a bit of a diva and very attention-seeking. She’s a worrier and I can’t get her to put on weight but she’s happy and running like the wind and being very bossy with me.
Biddy, our GRWE foster is still here. She’s a beautiful gentle girl who is a good communicator. We shall miss her when she goes.
George – there’s been a breakthrough with George, our token Jack Russell Terrier. He was a dedicated chaser of joggers and cyclists. But he has learned that, if he doesn’t take off after them, he will get a sausage. And now he’s a reformed character. Terriers are so bright and learn so quickly.
Zak is getting very frail and demented. He still does 2 walks a day though and is generally in good health. He must be about 14 at least now.
Tom is another very old dog – between 14 and 15. He had a nice weekend walking with his former owner around the lake in Roath Park and then having cuddles and biscuits with her. She now lives in a care home and is delighted to see Tom every weekend – as are all the other residents.
Freya will be 14 next month – I can’t believe that she is still with us because she’s a big breed dog and has had problems for many years. But she seems to be getting stronger on her back legs. Some days are better than others. She can’t do the very long walks but she comes out twice a day. She has to sleep downstairs away from the family though –not because I can’t get her up the stairs but because she might try to come down in the night and would fall.
All the other Kim’s Home residents are fine. And, if they could, they would thank you for the support that they have had since we set up the website. It does help a lot.
The donations received this month have enabled me to buy out a Saluki cross from Strayaid. He was found as a stray in Bishop Auckland and thankfully not claimed. He has the chance of a good life now when he moves next weekend to St Francis Dogs Home in Newquay Cornwall. I still need volunteers for this trip, please: Durham to Cornwall – it’s a big one.
All the dogs are going to be very happy this week because their favourite person, Francesca, my daughter, is coming to stay for a few days. She spoils them rotten and they love her to bits.
That’s all for now, folks! Thanks again for all your support.