Thursday 28 November 2019

Hold On To The Bad Times... But Focus On The Good....

Rescue is hard, there are some amazing highs, and then some huge emotional lows, a lot like a rollarcoaster. I often find all I can do is hang on, and try and enjoy the ride. I have to make decisions everyday that affects living creatures, and I always want to make sure these are the right decisions. However, sometimes, it goes wrong, and that is one of the toughest moments... the what if moment.

Sadly two of the "Nuts" died on Sunday, it was a tragic accident involving a cockroach, which had been sprayed at some point with pesticide. The pups being pups found this one, small roach, which cost them their lives. Their small bodies couldn't fight the poison, and they died.

Now, this would have been tough enough if it had happened here, but it happened in a foster home. A "safe" place that I had decided to send them to, where there are loving people, small people to play with and all the love they could want. I sent them there, me I made that decision, and it went wrong. If I had made a different one, they would still be here.

I do not blame the foster family at all, it was a tragic accident that could have happened anywhere, but that doesn't make me feel any better. I failed those pups, the buck stops with me, my rescue, my decisions, my mistakes. I took a day to cry, get angry, and cry some more. Death in rescue is more common than people realize, many rescuers do not share the mortality rate, or harsh reality of loss, but you know me, transparency is key to a good rescue. So, although my heart is heavy, and those tears rolled down my cheeks, The reality is all the tears in the world is not bringing them back, we have to learn and move on.

RIP Nuts

Sunday 3 November 2019

Here We Go Again

Just to be clear I am in Gran Canaria, which is a small island of the coast of Africa, and is classified as part of Spain. It is not outer Mongolia, we are in the EU and have the same laws and treatments for dogs as the UK. Yet the moment one of my dogs so much as sneezes some people and UK vets scream "foreign" disease.

We don't have any weird and wonderful diseases, in fact the UK has issues and diseases that we do not have here. We have brown fleas, ticks, and worms just like the UK, however, some UK vets like to scare adopters by making out these three easily treated things are ..... FOREIGN!!!!!

The timescale between a dog coming into my kennels and reaching its new home is quite long, therefore, all my nasty foreign bugs are well and truly dealt with. Take worms for example, every dog is wormed on entry, due to the turnover of dogs, they are wormed frequently. Off I go wormers and hotdogs in hand ensuring that every dog is treated, and when a new dog enters, it all starts again. 

Then as per the law the dogs leaving are wormed the day before travel by a VET which is recorded in their passport. But it seems as always I am lying, my vet is lying, and the only one telling the truth is he UK vet. Ticks is another one, we test and treat on the same day, therefore, the crossover of ticks being on the dogs and infecting them is impossible. The dogs are then treated every month until they leave.

The snap test results are in the passport/cartilla but again we are all lying over here, and the UK vets are of course telling the truth. So, if you have a dog that was tested here, was negative, treated and wormed, all by a professional, qualified vet, yet then tested positive in the UK over 8 weeks after leaving our sunny shores, maybe just maybe the worms and tick was... wait for it...... from the UK.....

Why is that so hard to understand, or believe, oh yes that is because there is always money involved, and the blame game needs to happen. Not just oh well my dog has worms, lets get it a worming tablet, oh they have been bitten by a tick, lets pop them on antibiotics for 30 days. Both very easy treatments, both very affordable.

Sadly when a UK vet gets involved the affordable bit flies out the window along with any common sense.  That is when I get the emails, the blame, and of course the bills. I am prepared to pay for GC ticks and worms, but not UK ones, sadly that is you guys problem. As much as I cannot save every dog, I cannot also be held responsible for every tick, flea and worm in the world.

Friday 18 October 2019

What Have I done!

I have some epic ideas, well I think they are epic, and then usually after a while I think oh god what have I done. This happened the other day, I had an idea a while ago. It took a while to create, and plan and when it finally came together, I announced it, that is when I sat and cried, and had sick in my mouth.

You may be wondering what on earth caused such a reaction, well it was the volunteer program! To some this may seem like the most amazing idea in the world, to me it fills me with dread. I am letting complete strangers into my world, and releasing them back into the real world, armed with so much ammunition.

Now, this can go either way, as I know from experience, they will either understand, support, and become a voice for my charity. Or they will not understand, and use the whole experience against me. Trust me this has happened in the past, which is why I'm nervous.

There are days when I think the volunteer program is a fantastic ideas, and there are other days where I simply sit with my head in my hands, thinking what the hell am I doing! I don'y have many volunteers, and the ones I do have are great. Sadly some have tried it, and it simply wasn't for them.

In the past I have had people come to "help" that have been well shall we say useless. Scared of big dogs, refusing to pick up shit covered bedding, hating cats, horses, anything bigger than a jack russel to be honest. They have spent the whole of their time with me telling me how I could "improve" my rescue and detailing what i am doing wrong.

Now don't get me wrong, we all do this to a point, we have all gone somewhere and said "oh I would so do this differently" because as an outsider you do see things differently. However, live that life, day in day out, on your own, surviving life and everything it throws at you, and things would be different. Volunteers have left bad mouthing me, my life, my rescue, and this in my opinion is not cool.

So, to say I'm nervous hell yeah, but as with everything in my life, I have committed to this stupid idea, and I will take the leap of faith that it will all be ok. A bit like when you leap out of a plane, and pray the parachute will open, same panic, same fear.

Friday 13 September 2019

Fostering is Not For Everyone

Fostering is something that many people think they can do, but the reality is it takes a special kind of person to be able to foster. I have an amazing team in the UK, which is growing, and everyone of them is unique and special.

Not everyone is cut out for fostering, which is fine, but leave the team with your head held high that you gave it a try, not do the typical "lets slag off the rescue on FB" because you could not deal with the reality of what fostering is actually about.

A lady joined the team recently, she was overwhelmed before the transport even begun, but we thought lets give her a chance. I have no idea what she thought fostering involved, and no matter how much you tell people, they never seem to listen.

There is a lot of information to take in, and a lot that needs to be learnt, however, my team are amazing, and are there for each other, and newbies every step of the way. One of the first things we try and teach newbies is I am VERY busy, so if you message me and I don't answer I am either dead, or busy. Therefore, message through our "foster group" there are always lurkers there from the team ready to help.

Nope, she just didn't get it, so message after message came through, and of course, some were ignored, and this caused her to post that I was ignoring her. All newbies foster mums are given as their first foster, what we call "an easy adopt" These are dogs that my grandson could rehome, designed to ease the new foster mum into the role, and to find their feet. All the usual questions were asked before her new foster dog arrived, which was great I want them to be prepared.

Typically this dog decided he had other ideas, and refused to pee on transport, causing him to have a urine infection coming off transport. Now the foster mums have a huge amount of knowledge and often treat things without rushing to the vet. They offered help, advise, and treatments ALL were ignored.

The newbie then begun posting how the dog had to go, her mental health was suffering, it was all too much. Now this dog is the sweetest, most loving dog on the planet, so I really couldn't see what the issue was. She kept posting how no one cared, and he was suffering, yet she had listened to NO ONE on the team.

We organised for him to be moved to another foster home, but as always these things take a few days. So, in the end the foster mum announced she was taking him to the vet, no one said not to, but we did advise that UK vets can sometimes be dramatic.

The day of the vets came, and typically it was an awful day for me, I was rushing my dying dog into the vets, whilst this lady was messaging me demanding money for the vets bill. I asked her to post in our group as I was driving, and stressed.

Oh she posted, a load of rubbish, stating that I had refused to pay the vets bill and that I didn't care. Now, as many of the foster mum's said the one thing I never refuse to do is pay for vets care. The long whingy post went on and on, one of the other foster mums stepped up, paid for the antibiotics, as the foster mum had refused to pay for them.

The wonderful UK vet gave a 5 day course of antibiotics WTF 5 days!!! but as always in the newbies eyes the vet was god I was satan, and she was suddenly a dog expert. When I asked her what the vet had said, she answered I have no idea, you need to call them.

Whilst the newbie was launching a full scale attack on me, I was sat on my vets floor, with my dying dog in my arms, tears rolling down my face. Thank god for my team, as they stepped in, sorted the mess, and left me to pick up the pieces of my heart that were broken all over the floor.

A few days later the dog was moved to another foster home, the newbie was removed from the group, and all was well in the world. Don't be silly of course it wasn't, rather than her going back to her life, she decided to rant on FB how my rescue was disgusting, I neglect my dogs, don't care, send sick dogs, don't pay vets bills.

I commented on her post, stating some FACTS, and as always she blocked me rather than face up to the fact she was lying for effect, and to get the oh poor you's on FB. Got to love people that slag you off, but are not grown up enough to have a discussion about it. She called my UK team useless, said they were little minions, and how none of us cared.

So, if you are considering fostering, remember it is daunting, hard work, and stressful, but it is also incredibly rewarding, and my team are amazing. They not only care about the dogs, but each other, and that is huge. If you decide fostering isn't for you, no worries, but please walk away with your held held high, knowing that you had tried. Don't be a drama llama..... as it just makes you look even worse!

Friday 6 September 2019

Surprisingly I do In Fact Have a Heart

The last few weeks have been hard, I have not only lost one of my own personal dogs, but a few adopted dogs have died. This is always heart breaking to read, they have amazing homes, and all the love they could ever want, but sadly the universe has other plans for them.

Something that struck me when I was reading all the lovely comments to the adopters, and foster mum's on the post's was no one ever asks If I am ok! Now, my husband does tell people that my heart is on a shelf in a jar in the office, and that there is simply a lump of rock in my chest!

Is that what people really think? that I don't feel the same grief, or hurt just as much as adopters and foster mums? For me loosing a dog at any stage is heart breaking, I sit I shed a tear, I sometimes even ugly cry, yet it seems that people either think that I don't care, or that I'm made of stone.

I had a heated discussion with a person about this subject recently, as a dog she had been looking after was killed by the new new owner's vet. I'm not going to say PTS as she was killed. After the event, the lady got in my face, and expressed her unhappiness that I had not asked her if she was ok quick enough.

I pointed out I had asked her the next day, yet she and many others had not asked me at all. Not once did the words come from anyone "are you ok?"

Grief and heartache can be shared, many people can feel the same emotion all at the same time, it is not exclusive to one person.  I'm not writing this blog to get  a flood of messages asking if I'm ok, far from it. As always it is a platform for me to express how I'm feeling, and to ponder why people seem to think I am made of stone, and that I don't hurt just as easily as other people.

Monday 2 September 2019

Just Keep Swimming!!

Someone messaged me yesterday and asked if he had done something wrong, as I had been quiet. Sadly at this time of year, I don't have the energy to lift my head, let alone type witty answers. You can always tell what time of year it is by my answer to people when they message, in the summer months the conversation goes like this:

"hi how are you?"


In the winter they go like this:

"hi how are you?"


There has been so much happening on top of the usual heat of the summer months, and august has been a decidedly shitty month. The summer months are tough, financially, mentally and physically. I am not getting any younger, and every year I feel the struggle more, and do wonder why I do this. On top of the relentless heat, there have been disastrous wild fires, arsehole businesses trying to shut us down, many things that have broken, including my heart. 

So, normal service will be resumed soon I promise, loads to moan and write about, too many dogs, too many cases, not enough money, but hey

"Rescue dogs they said, it would be fun they said" and to add that extra edge do it in the Canaries, where it is always complicated, and the weather hates you. 

Wednesday 14 August 2019

Six Months On....

A lot happens in six months, and they say time is a healer, and to a point it is, however, some scars never heal. Six months ago I was being thrown around a pen by a dog that wanted to kill me. I learnt so much from that day, things that I never thought about until I was bleeding out on my stable floor.

I learnt that I do bleed, that I can die, and that I'm not quite ready to go just yet. Before this I was crazy fearless, I would put myself into situations that were beyond stupid, I would face the biggest dogs, and believed that nothing would happen.

Everyday I am reminded of what happened, when I walk into the outside pen the images and memories come flooding back. As I play with the dogs, I am reminded of every moment when my head smashed against the floor, as the dog threw me from side to side. I relive the moment every day, is this healthy probably not, but it's there, and the mind is a strange thing.

My leg also reminds me of what happened, the surgeons did an incredible job, helped by the tattoo they put my leg back together. Visually it is amazing, yes I am missing part of my leg, and it looks odd, but it could have been far worse. I am also reminded of what happened by the pain.

My leg hurts all day, every day, there is no let up from the moment I get up, to the moment I go to sleep. Is it an unbearable pain, no, just a constant ache, a constant pain, Simple tasks like walking, changing gear or lifting objects intensify the pain.

So when people ask how my leg is, well its there, and it likes to remind me every day of what I put it through. Has it stopped me doing what I do, nope, I just do it slower, and with more caution.