Tuesday 29 January 2019

511 Days and Counting!

One of my white cats got cancer some years ago, and I made the decision to have her ears removed to save her life. The vet and I discussed the options, and at the time he told me it would buy her 500 days. I thought this was very precise, but shrugged it off as a guess.

The cat made a great recovery, all the cancer was removed, she adapted to no ears, in reality she didn't care at all. A week ago, a growth appeared on her face, I knew what it was but said nooooo its just due to the cold weather WTF does that even mean.

I took her to see the vet and he confirmed what I already knew the cancer was back, he asked if it had been 500 days, and I looked at him confused then remembered his words. I checked and it had been 506 days since her operation. How the hell can cancer be that precise, how the hell did it know!

I asked if anything could be done, and sadly no was the answer, I could remove half her face, but then it would appear somewhere else, all I can do is watch and wait. I am angry at the moment as why should she die just because cancer says so, why should she suffer because after 500 days the universe deems it is her time.

It is now 511 days, and literally every day I pray she has more, I want her to reach 550 and then 600 and then 700. Sadly, I know this won't happen, the cancer is spreading, and it is aggressive. For now I am taking every day as a success, one more that she says fuck you to cancer.

When the time is right I will let her go but for now she is fighting it, and I am making sure that she doesn't give up. Why is life so cruel, why is being an adult so hard, I think today I will go and make a blanket fort, and play with crayons, and forget all about the shit world we live in. 

Sunday 27 January 2019

Living Abroad makes or Breaks You!

Many people ask why I moved abroad, do I like it, and would I ever go back to the UK. I moved for many reasons, do I like it, yes, or I would not still be here, moving anywhere is possible, and would I ever go back, hell no. Many things change when you move abroad, and I believe the ability to make these changes is what determines whether you stay, or leave for the life you had before.

You need to embrace the fact that you are living in a different country, not want it to be your old life in the sun. In the first few years it is like being on a roller coaster of emotions, with highs and lows. You either  hang on tight, grow and develop, embracing your new way of life, or fall off and admit defeat.

As you begin to build a new life, you evolve, and change, some people love this change and others struggle. I have lived on this beautiful rock for over 13 years now, and my life has changed so much. The top things that have changed are:

My ability to blag a conversation in two languages, there are many times when I randomly say words, in the wrong language at the wrong time. I can however, say every swear words perfectly.

You learn to never get attached to people, and although this may seem odd as everyone likes to have some friends, far too many people are passing through. many of my friends have left, and every time, you know you will never see them again. People that were once a huge part of your life, move on, and pretty soon you are forgotten, left behind on the rock they once called home.

Normality has been removed from my life, "normal" is what we are told we must conform to, but why? I have learnt there are many other ways to do things in life, which work, and may not seem correct to many, but hey I don't care. As you are thrown into many difficult situations living abroad, you learn so much about yourself, and how strong you can be on a daily basis.

Nostalgia can be a bitch, and it creeps up on you when you least expect it, it may be a smell, or a song. It transports you back to an old life, one that was not all bad, just one that you may have outgrown. You will get an overwhelming feeling of being homesick, not for the place, but for the people that you miss.

Change is something that I have learnt to embrace, as for your new life to work you must grab change and let it happen, or it will destroy your dreams. Everything changes when you move abroad, and if you think it doesn't you are pretty naive.

There are many things that I miss about the UK, however, I am far happier here than I ever was. My life has changed so much from the endless lunches with friends, to the expensive shoes and cars. You soon learn what and who is important in life, and if you get the chance then grab it with both hands, and hold on tight as it will be one hell of a journey, but worth every moment.

Monday 21 January 2019

Got To Love A Bargain!

Money is always tight, and feeding the sheer quantity of animals that I have is always hard. Don't get me wrong, they are always fed, in fact over fed according to different vets who tell me my animals are fat... Hey I'm Irish, we are feeders! However, finding the funds does cause me stress, and worry so when I am offered a bargain, who am I to say no.

I was at the feed store one day when we were discussing hay, now he has a million different types, and you can often find me in there, stroking and smelling different bales. Yes I am a little crazy, but there is nothing better than the smell of hay, well closely followed by melting Tar, but you get the idea.

The feed guy imports English hay, but it is really expensive, so I have to gaze at those bales from afar! On this occasion he asked me to come and look at his hay, as the Spanish wouldn't buy it due to something horrible being in the bales. He was making sound like there was some weird creature, or fungus in the bales, rambling on and on about it hurting people, and no one could go near the bales, and would I look to see what it was as I was foreign.

Of course being foreign meant I was an expert on all things weird in hay bales! But as soon as I got near I knew what the problem was, thistles, The bales were riddled with thistles, and of course the Spanish had no idea what they were. In their eyes the bales were bad, and this poor guy thought he was going to be left with a huge pile of hay he couldn't sell.

We begun negotiating, and the price got lower and lower, and just as we agreed the price my phone went off, dog disaster 101.... as I begun to walk off shouting ok over my shoulder, he asked how many I wanted, me being me, and not really listening shouted back "total" . Yep I had just agreed to take them all, not actually knowing what ALL meant.

A few days later the feed arrived, which is a huge task anyway, it all needs off loading, sorting and storing. Not a task for the weak, or faint hearted, but like with everything it is dig your heels in grit your teeth and get on with it. On the lorry was 125 bales of the "bad hay" not too bad I thought.

After over an hour of moving 125 bales of hay I cursed my decision to agree to take them as I was tired, hot, and a little scarred from thistles! I was just leaning on the wall admiring my neatly staked pile of hay, when I heard a lorry.

This was unusual, so off I went to the gates to see the feed lorry had returned, at this point my heart sank. FUCK...... he had more, and I mean a whole lorry load. I literally had no idea where he was going to put them, and no energy to move them, so I did what any normal person does, I told him to tip them out onto the middle of the property.

After this decision was made I knew it was stupid, but a bit like agreeing to buy them "ALL" it was done, and I had a huge pile of hay bales in the middle of the property

For three days I ignored the pile, people were commenting, and I simply went what hay, I cannot see it, therefore it does not exist. The reality was it needed moving.

All I can say is I love my builders, as they got the task of moving a further 278 bales of hay. Yes I did the pitiful, I am weak, I am a girl and I cannot do it line, but hey we all need that line at some point in our lives! Hay all moved, bargain achieved, I would love to say I will listen in the future, but I know it will happen again :)

Wednesday 16 January 2019

One Hot Potato and a Pair of Pliers!

I have many roosters here, which can be noisy and at times stressful when they decide to cross each others boundaries and fight. Most of the time they stay in different areas, ensuring that no blood is spilt , but yesterday an almighty fight broke out, and if you have ever seen two roosters fight it is brutal.

They have spurs on their back legs, and in ninja style moves they leap up into the air and crash down on their oppositions head, causing high impact damage. Although athletic, and slightly fascinating how they can perform that maneuver, the damage they do is extreme.

Two of the rooster truly hate each other, and will stalk each other, circling, wings flapping, glaring at each other with beady eyes, so I decided yesterday I had enough. It was time to microwave the potato and grab the pliers, sounds bizarre, yep well nothing in my life is normal.

Years ago I discovered the most amazing thing to with a hot potato, other than smoother it with butter and cheese. Yep, you guessed it you can remove roosters spurs with a hot potato! There are other options including ripping them out, but this causes huge amounts of blood, using a hacksaw, however, I manage to grate my own thumb when using a cheese grater, so a hacksaw would likely kill me.

So, you need to microwave the potato until boiling hot, as in so hot it could be the suns surface temperature, ram it on the end of the spur, wait five minutes, then gently pull off the top spur with the pliers, which reveals a smaller non lethal spur underneath.

The first time I ever did this I did think WTF am I doing, sat on the floor with a rooster who is trying to eat the potato, burning my hands. However, it works, it really does, and it is so easy and painless for the rooster. I may have had third degree burns, but they were fine.

So, spurs removed they can go and fight till their hearts content not causing extreme damage to one another. I suppose if I gather enough spurs, I could make a necklace from it, to ensure that the few remaining people who think I'm normal may change their minds!

Monday 14 January 2019

I Am No Steven Spielberg

Videoing has become the latest way to get people to interact with rescue pages, and for some it's a huge success, for me it makes me cringe. I keep trying to dip my toe into the world of video, but too be honest I hate it. I can see the benefits, I can see that some people love it, but simply put my video skills are shit.

When my student was here, she embraced the "live video" and would "go live" on FB at every opportunity. She was amazing at it, and the supporters response was great, everyone loved them, she didn't swear once, and her voice was normal.

Me, however, whenever I video my voice seems to hit a new level, to the point I think I could shatter glass. I actually have no idea where the hell the high pitch annoying voice comes from, maybe I am possessed, and this is the demon trying to escape.

So, I agreed to video the dogs, NEVER live video, the thought of that makes me have cold sweats. However, I thought videoing, what could go wrong, and OMG they are so bad. Everything I thought would be wrong with me videoing is in fact correct.

Firstly, I move a lot, and I forget I'm videoing, so when I move to see what the dogs are doing the phone, obviously spins round with me. It is like watching something on constant fast forward. There is also the silence, because in my mind silence is better than me swearing constantly, in the high pitch demonic voice reserved for video moments.

However, the silence sort of makes the video creepy, like some weird stalker videoing dogs. Then there is the epic moment when I think I will do something nice, like a kick a ball for the dogs, and my football kicking skills are nearly as good as my video skills, so of course this is going to end badly! Kicks ball..... misses dogs head by millimeters... scares the crap out of other dogs... ends video.

The response on the whole is good from my awful videos, but there are also some stupid comments (arent there always) Like people asking how I control the dogs as I "keep them all loose" , or the typical "oh my god do these dogs need rescuing, look at the state of where they live"

So, against my better judgement I will continue with the bad videos, for the dogs as people do like to see them. Hopefully in time my skills will improve, the haters will hate, and the idiots will comment, but hey that is animal rescue!

Saturday 12 January 2019

Top Worst Messages to Receive

I receive a lot of messages, some very good, and others that leave me shaking my head in disbelief. I tend to either laugh, or rant, depending on how my day has gone. Here are just a few of what I receive every day:

  • I sent you a message, half an hour ago, and you have not bothered to get back to me, Can you not be bothered? Do you not want to find homes for the dogs?
Come on people, I run a rescue, which means that your message is in a queue of over 50 other messages. I will get to them after I have fed, cleaned, done vets, pounds, police, oh and worked, eaten, and cared for my family. 

  • An adoption fee? why? you got the dog for free, surely you are giving it away?
Yep, I might have got that dog for "free" but the moment it enters I have to feed it, care for it, get it ready for adoption and often transport it. Yes I get reduced rates at the vets, and the food is donated, but they still have so much spent on them, the least you can do is pay an adoption fee towards these costs. 

  • OMG! I love "fifi" but cannot take her until the children have had their vaccinations, school trips, and we are back off holiday, and I have checked my social calendar for the year. So, can you "hold" her for say six months! 
Short answer....... NO

Long answer.... there is no benefit with keeping a dof in kennels longer than needed. The longer the dogs stay in kennels, the more chance they have of being attacked. They are also taking up a space, which means another dog cannot be saved. 

Sarcastic answer..... Do you actually have time for a dog? 

  • I REALLY want to adopt a dog, my last one I gave away as my girlfriend was allergic/ my landlord told me to get rid of it/ I had a baby! 
I understand that life is tough, and we have to make decisions that are hard, however, you gave  a dog away for a crap reason. So, no you won't be adopting from me. 

  • I see that "fifi" says mix breed, what is the mix? 
If I knew the mix, I would put what it was, I write mix when we have no idea, and no I'm not guessing. Writing mix breed is better than writing "no fucking idea" 

  • OMG! (I get a lot of messages starting like that) those puppies, the ones thrown in the bin, what breed are they? how big will they be? 
REALLY! come on people they were thrown in a bin to die, the scumbag that threw them in there didn't leave a note detailing parents, and age. Again I am not guessing how big as often it is wrong, sadly female dogs get shagged by many many dogs all at the same time, so everything from a corgi to a pitbull could have had fun that day. That puppy is a MIX.... 

  • I see that "fifi" was dumped at the pound, is she toilet trained? doesnt chew? walks on a lead?  I want a dog that doesnt bark, chew, poop, or dig my garden.
The fact that I have no idea where the dogs come from, and that they are terrified when they come in shitting on the floor is normal. All dogs bark, it is normal, and many chew, wouldn't you being locked in a kennel for over 12 hours a day! I honestly do wonder what people really want from rescuing. 

Sunday 6 January 2019

You Are Living My Dream!

You are living my dream... REALLY! who the hell dreams of little sleep, no money, long hours, broken hearts and abuse all day long. If I got paid for every time someone has said that to me, I would be a millionaire. Don't get me wrong saving dogs, and watching them thrive in new homes is amazing, but god its tough.

The second most asked question, is "how do I start my own rescue" The honest answer is don't... or if you want to make sure you have money, lots and lots of money. Running a rescue regardless of the size is expensive, and donations do not flood in, as people might claim.

I have been doing this for over six years, and I have to work to help pay for my charity. There are months where everything I earn goes on supporting my rescue, which leaves my husband to support our family whilst I am "living the dream" This means that every waking moment I am thinking of ways to get more donations, how to fund raise, and try and not spend all my own money keeping my rescue a float. 

People have asked over the last few weeks if "barrybasuragate" has brought more followers, yes it has but very few are following the page to help. As my rescue grows so do the expenses, as I rescue more dogs, what I pay out increases. I am not complaining about having to pay into my own rescue, I'm simply explaining that "living the dream" comes at a cost.

There are so many passionate people out there that want to "help" and run rescues and save dogs. Great, but passion doesn't pay the bills. You also need to remember to look after yourself, both mentally and physically (something that took me a while to figure out) Without being healthy and mentally strong, you will not be able to run a rescue.

If you honestly want to run a rescue, I would say do it one dog at a time. Help one, make sure it is done right, and that dog has 100% of your time, energy and money. You will soon realize how much goes into just one dog, and consider if you could do that with 10, 20, 30, 40 more.

Remember that every decision that you make will affect an animal, and don't make sacrifices that you will regret later. Try and find someone that is good at what they do, and listen to their advise. Never think you are better, or more experienced because trust me you will never be. Take time to fully understand what you are getting into ... After all, even a nightmare can be called a "dream"

Tuesday 1 January 2019

Hellloooooo 2019!

WOW 2019 how did that happen! I always like to think of January the 1st as the first blank page of a 365 page book. I want to fill the Pet Pals GC book with happy tails, and grow our reader base as the year moves forward. I would love to say that all negative things are left behind in 2018, however, this is not true, but moving forward into 2019 I can say:

If you wronged me, I will never forget, however, I have moved on!
If you were posting shit about me, great that means I am so important in you life that I am on your mind!
If you don't like me, oh well, I really do not care!
If we are no longer speaking/working together that is due to a reason, or several!

Life is far too short for drama, backbiting and fake people, I know I do a great job, therefore, I am confident and comfortable with all of my decisions. In 2018 I achieved so much, and although there were low points, there were many incredible highs.

With the help of the UK team I rehomed 476 dogs, which is amazing, everyone that shares, donates, adopts, and supports has helped every one of these dogs. The UK team are incredible, and I have a team that I am so proud of, they give up their homes, lives, and sanity for my dogs. In 2018 there were some incredibly challenging cases, some brought happiness and others tears.

I took out the trash several times, getting rid of people that were simply not right for the UK team. Binning "wannabe rescues" and ensuring that I work with like minded people. These people are draining, and I only want positive people who think out of the box riding this journey with me.

So adios 2018...... hola 2019...... bring it on, I am ready for you!