Hello and welcome to the August issue of the My Lovely Horse Rescue newsletter!
It’s been a whole year since we first graced your inbox – what better way to mark the occasion than to celebrate the safe arrival of two more foals – our cover-boy Cassio, born at MLHR Cork on 19 July, and Ophelia born on 21 July at the main MLHR farm. They will know love, kindness and care every day of their lives.
July was a scorcher and with the MLHR House Raffle the heat was on right up until ticket sales closed on 28 July! While we may not have reached our intended target, we are delighted with the result, as is the lucky person who won over €155,000! We will be able to make so many improvements with the money raised. To all who entered the competition, rallying behind it, sharing stories and posts, we and the animals thank you for your generosity and kindess.
In July we took 24 animals into our care and 8 were adopted. We held two Doggie Adoption Days, the first on 16 July at the Pucklane Café in Whitehall and the second on the 31 July at Goats Gruff in Dublin’s Strawberry Beds. These Adoption Days give people an opportunity to meet some of the dogs in our care who are want nothing more than their forever couch and cuddles.
Keep an eye on My Lovely Dog Rescue throughout the month for news of upcoming events and in this issue’s Adopting and Fostering section you can meet some of the dogs and cats ready for their fresh starts.
There is always plenty of cleaning, painting and repairing to be done seeing as fences = perfect bum-scratch posts for ponies! There is also lots of grooming and cuddling to be done and as the saying goes, many hands make light work! In July volunteers from Guideware, AXA XL, Sales Force and Mastercard visited the main MLHR for Corporate Charity Days. If your company would like to get involved please email [email protected]
And so we turn to August – our Story of the Month focuses on international rescues. In our Arrivals Lounge we welcome Cassio while our in our Departures Lounge, we say farewell to Christian and Iris.
We have news from My Lovely Pig Rescue, our new Birthday Greetings section and so much more!
We are here for the animals because time and time again you are here for us. We sincerely thank you for subscribing, we have loved sharing our stories with you over the last 12 months and we are very much looking forward to the next 12!
International Animal Welfare & Rescue – A little history of the frontline for the voiceless
This month we featured two international rescues for our chosen rescue of the month, Kitten Lady in the States and Egypt Equine Aid. The work that goes on every single day all over the world on behalf of so many animal species is just unbelievable. On every continent and across every geographical region there are animals in danger and so very often it is from human related activities. Animals pay a heavy price for our consumption and greed so it always gives us hope to see the efforts of other like minded people as they battle daily to save animals lives and to bring awareness to their ongoing plight.
Loving and showing compassion to animals is not a modern phenomenon. Our ancestors too chose to have animals share their lives with them, loved them and indeed mourned them deeply when they died.
The Romans buried their dogs as we often do today and even gave them tombstones with inscriptions like this one:
‘’My eyes were wet with tears little dog when I bore thee to the grave…in sadness have I buried thee….What a loved companion have we lost ‘’ This was found on the tombstone of Patricus, in Italy, obviously a much beloved family member.
Our old friend Pythagoras, who most of us know through his famous theorem that we spent many hours sweating over to retain in our teenage brains (the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides – didn’t even have to look that up when writing this, it just popped right out all these years later) was big into respecting animals and believed they had souls. He was a vegetarian all those years ago and apparently used to buy animals from markets in order to be able to set them free. Of course at the same time hundreds of animals were being killed in lavish spectacles in the Colosseum but then we too are full of paradoxes in our modern day society as to which animals we love and honour and which we do not.
From about the 1600’s on we see a great increase, certainly across Europe in the area of philosophical discussions about animals, their sentience and their treatment in society. By the late 1700’s and early 1800’s animal welfare and laws to coincide with their protection got truly under way and SPCA’s were formed. It was actually an Irishman, Richard ‘Humanity Dick’ Martin, who pioneered the world’s first piece of animal welfare legislation. Apparently he was quite a character and used to lock people into the old Granuaile Castle in the lake behind Ballynahinch Castle if he saw them hitting an animal. He fought hugely against things like bear-baiting, dog and cock fighting and all his efforts for better welfare for animals resulted eventually in Martin’s Act of 1822 called the ‘Ill Treatment of Cattle’ which passed in the House of Commons.
As the 1800’s rolled on, many European countries enacted their first animal welfare laws and welfare organisations were founded, the first being the RSPCA in the UK in 1824 followed by similar groups in Germany in 1837 and Switzerland in 1844.
Art and Literature too begin to influence society at large as to the conditions that animals are kept in and our treatment of them. William Hogarth, a famous English painter, painted the ‘Four Stages of Cruelty’ In 1851. This depicts children committing cruelty against animals progressing into adults who commit cruelty against other humans. This idea is so well accepted nowadays and his paintings were ahead of their time. 1877 saw the publication of ‘Black Beauty’ by Anna Sewell, the first English novel to be written from the perspective of a non-human animal. A classic now it is actually considered to have had an effect on reducing cruelty to horses. For example the use of bearing reins in horses, which can be really painful, was highlighted in the book and soon fell out of favor in society.
Then we come to the twentieth century and the explosion of animal welfare groups, for farm animals, for companion ones and soon too for all the amazing wildlife within Europe and within the vast forest and mountain ranges which have become more explored around the world. Now there must surely almost be a welfare or rescue group for nearly every well known animal out there. It is a sad indication as to our world today that every animal species needs saving and the awful truth is that it is from us that they actually need that saving. Rescues are set up by ordinary people in a passionate and desperate attempt to save lives. Most are run by volunteers and the ratio of volunteers to staff is always greater.
Oftentimes it is not planned as in the case of Egypt Equine Aid where an Australian couple went on holiday to Egypt and came home with the images of abused and overworked horses haunting their thoughts. So they do the seemingly impossible, they sell their home and everything they have and head back to Egypt to set up a rescue.
Hannah Shaw aka Kitten Lady started over a decade ago by fostering local strays and posting helpful tips online. Now she has over a million followers online, runs her own nursery for kittens and the non profit Orphan Kitten Club supporting other feline rescues.
The world has come a long way since the time of Pythagoras but we have such a long way to go and so many animals yet to save. We at MLHR are so proud to belong to this crazy tribe.
Once you begin on the path of animal rescue there is no turning back. It consumes you body and soul, inhabiting your every waking moment and even the twilight hours of your dreams. But when you get the call there is no other thought in your head than that of the urgency and the need and the creature who is waiting patiently for that one human who will not turn away or think they are too busy. That one human who will find them and wrap them in their arms and take them to a place of safety and say ‘never again, not on my watch’.
So a huge salute to all animal rescuers out there, those who paved the way from years past and fought the supreme uphill battle to get animal welfare on the agenda in the first place and all those who fight the good fight now. The way we treat animals tells us a lot about ourselves as individuals and as nations and we all need to play our part and help change the world for better for all the animals who we are lucky enough to share it with.
As Gandhi said ‘The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.’
Arrivals – Cassio
So let’s just say it again – we are totally in love with all our Kerry Bog ponies. They continue to fascinate us and we are learning so much about them and their special ways. They came to us some months ago through a welfare seizure and many of the mares who were pregnant have now had their babies. The most recent arrival is Cassio whose mom Remy thankfully finally decided to give birth!. She was well overdue, big as a house and we were wondering if she was ever going to give birth!
Little Cassio came out strong and very well developed. As you can see from the video he has a lovely strong neck and firm rounded rump. He’s already quite confident and that is Kelly, our volunteer farm manager at MLHR Cork, with him in the video. She is getting him to trust her early on by using his Mom as a guide.
‘It helps to teach young foals through their mothers that we’re ok and not a threat. It’s all done slowly and at their pace, not holding them, not intrusive, just impressioning gently with Mom there all the time to offer reassurance.’
Cassio’s mom, Remy, is the matriarch of the Kerry Bog herd. She is a wonderful, gentle mare and so friendly. She loves bum scratches and often nearly falls over you as she’s curving round to get more scratches.
The Kerry Bogs are very independent, so intelligent, versatile and have a great sensibility. They are very loving and very hardy little ponies too. Cassio’s birth was an easy one and Remy was fabulous throughout. These ponies are used to life in the bogs and being able to look after themselves.
“We love each and everyone of our Kerry Bogs and we value the fact that they are such amazing ponies and we have this chance to get to know them. It’s been an amazing learning experience for all our volunteers and we’re honoured to have a selection of this rare breed in our care,’’ says Kelly who readily admits that after all her years of looking after and training horses, these guys have very much made their way into a very special place in her heart.
Departures – Christian
Christian came to us nearly three years ago from the horse pound. Like so many who come to us through this route, he was young, he was scared and everything in his life was so unstable. We often wonder about the lives that horses like Christian have led before they get to us. They may have known some love and gentleness at times depending on who owned them or they may never have known a quiet word or a soft touch. Whatever secrets they might have to tell remain untold but one thing that almost every horse shares is the ability to move beyond the past and look into a brighter future. Christian was only a two year old and had so much to look forward to.
The rescue farm is a busy place as you can imagine and Christian was a timid little guy at first. It takes time for many of our horses to find their feet, find their place in the herd, even just find where they like to hang out on the yard. Some like the haybarn where it’s comfy, obviously always full of hay and they can really keep a close eye on the feed room from there too. Others prefer the more open space of the drystanding areas or just mooching around from place to place. Christian liked the fields and you could slowly see his personality beginning to develop as he came out of his shell.
Once he was fit and well he went out on a couple of fosters and that really helped him to gain confidence about who he was and where his life was going. Animals need this development just like humans do so that they become well grounded individuals. Then our wonderful volunteer trainer Anne took him on to get him some basic handling and start him on his road to becoming a wonderful riding pony. He came on so well under her guidance and you could see the real Christian begin to emerge. He is five years old now and such a fabulous looking pony. He has a mystical quality about him and at times he looks like something that might walk out of the woods of Lothlorien with one of the fairy folk on his back. We can’t believe that it took so long for him to be adopted but finally his day came.
A lovely young girl came with her family to the rescue farm to see all our horses and find her special one. We showed her Christian first and then she walked on with us and her parents to see others but always we could see her watching Christian and in the end there was never a choice to be made. Christian was for her and she was for him. So off our beautiful boy went to his forever home.
As luck would have it, one of our UCD vets Anna just happened to be at the lovely equestrian yard in the Dublin mountains where Christian is to live and saw him arriving off the box that day. She told us later that she couldn’t believe he was so calm and happy stepping out and as she watched him settling in, she felt an unbelievable joy within herself. Our vets rarely get to see our horses arrive in their new homes and it was definitely a very special moment for Anna and indeed for us hearing her tell it with such feeling. Days and moments like this remind us of why we do what we do and why it is beyond important to keep going.
Arrivals – Iris
What is it about black cats that people just don’t like? Why is it that black cats or kittens are always the ones left till last to find homes? We simply can’t understand it but every year it’s exactly the same and we know other rescues have similar issues. So when little Iris came to us last September we knew it might take some time to find her forever home. It ended up taking over ten months which is really long for us to rehome a cat.
Poor little Iris. She was black, she was quiet and she was very, very shy. She wasn’t one of the feistier cats, the ones who come out to play with potential adopters and who sit there at the front of the cattery looking all cute and cuddly. It’s as if they know the drill and that this is how to get people to fall in love with them and take them home. Iris didn’t know this drill. She didn’t know how to make people fall in love with her. She would hide out in the back, keeping a low profile, barely peeking out at all. While all the others were purring and saying ‘adopt me, adopt me’ it was like she was saying ‘oh don’t even look at me, I’m nervous of you and everyone’.
This of course made her even more lovable to us so we kept posting her in the hopes that someone would see her and understand that she needed her own special home too.
Finally, a lovely lady from Wexford arrived. She lived in a pretty cottage in the countryside and had another cat who lived outside a lot. She thought Iris was just perfect and she had plenty of space so Iris, who needed a quiet home but also one where she could access the outside too, would be able to venture out when ready.
So Iris left us the other day and we are so happy for her. After all those months of waiting and hoping, Iris got her happy ending and we couldn’t be happier for her.
In July My Lovely Pig Rescue welcomed pupils from Willow Park School in Dublin in preparation for the launch of our Group Educational Days. My Lovely Pig Rescue is a sanctuary for neglected, unwanted and abused animals but it is also a unique centre for education, home to pigs of all breeds and ages. We never stop learning about (and from) these intelligent, loving and gentle animals. It is a joy to build relationships with them and to observe them at rest or at play, living the safe, happy, and peaceful lives they deserve, free to their express their natural pig behaviours.
Last month’s heatwave was tough for all of us but the pigs were more than happy to be hand-fed ice pops (we went through 120 per day!) to be pampered with cold head-presses and sloppy iced-feeds. We take every precaution in the heat to keep the pigs safe and cool and continually monitor them for signs of heat stress. Their wallow water is replenished around the clock and to give them respite from the intense heat of the day, we construct extra shades around the paddocks.
Pigs have glands on their skin that secrete natural oils with a reddish-brown tint. It is commonly seen in pink pigs like our gorgeous Sam and is known as ‘pig rust’. When ‘pig rust’ mixes with suncream it turns pink. While it could be mistaken for sunburn, rest assured that all of the pigs in our care are lathered in sun cream and receive regular top-ups throughout the day to protect their skin.
It takes two bottles of sun cream to give Sam full coverage. After his morning application, Sam found a comfortable spot to settle down for a nap in the shade. As you can see from the video, he thoroughly enjoyed My Lovely Pig Rescue’s founder Cathy giving him a mud massage, an extra measure to keep his brain cool and prevent him from developing heatstroke.
If you’d like to meet more of the pigs in our care, click here.
Did You Know?
Allergies and Buttercup Burn
We might be on the downward slide to Autumn but for those of us at the mercy of the pollen count, we are still very much on our guard, armed with a stash of antihistamines, tissues and haybands. We humans are not alone. Did You Know that horses also battle with seasonal allergies and reactions to pollen and other plant substances? A major culprit is the seemingly benign buttercup which can cause severe irritation to horses particularly those with pink skin on their noses and mouths, like our beautiful friend Sidney.
If you are plagued with allergies, you will recognise the telltale symptoms of sneezing, stuffy nose, red or watery eyes and that unscratchable itch in the throat, mouth, and ears. In horses, symptoms of allergies can similarly include coughing or sneezing and watering eyes but buttercup burn can cause rashes or hives, blisters around the mouth, inflammation of the mucous membranes and swelling of the parotid salivary gland.
Buttercups contain ranunculin, an organic compound which breaks down into a bitter and toxic oil called protoanemonin if the leaves of the buttercup are crushed or become bruised in any way. If protoanemonin comes into contact with skin (human or animal) it can lead to painful blistering and irritation (we don’t recommend putting this to the test!).
According to Teagasc, most buttercup plants emerge from seed in the autumn or winter and in most cases action is only taken to remove buttercups after the flower appears. By this time, new seeds have already been produced for the following year.
Buttercups are reported to have an extremely bitter taste and while horses may not actively seek them out, pollen from the buttercups can be blown onto the surrounding grazing areas in breezy weather conditions making it hard for the horse to avoid ingesting or inhaling the pollen and irritating their nostrils.
According to the British Horse Trust, buttercup poisoning is rare but overexposure can cause drooling and gastric problems like diarrhoea or colic.
Thankfully, unlike our old foe Ragwort, buttercups lose their bitter taste and toxicity when they are cut and dried so will be harmless if ingested in hay.
Preventative measures can include horses wearing a Horse Pollen Nose Net though it might be more straightforward to monitor animals for signs of irritation, apply a topical cream to soothe the skin and stable horses for a few days to give the symptoms a chance to clear and the skin to heal. They’ll be back to their velvety snoots in no time!
What better way to mark the occasion of the newsletter’s first anniversary than to launch our new Birthday Greetings section.
We care for animals at all stages of their lives. Here are some of the animals celebrating their special day in August.
In July we saved more dogs from an unthinkable end in the pound and our video shows the moment five of these dogs arrived safely into our care. Some of the dogs went straight to foster homes, others are awaiting their turn and we need your help to secure foster homes for them, for a minimum of 1-2 months in the Meath/Kildare/Dublin area.
If you are in a position to help, please email your name, your location, the number of people in your home (and their ages) and details of any other animals living with you to [email protected]
If you wish to foster, you must have a secure garden with no cats or other small animals and you must not be away from home for long periods (4 hours or more) during the day. If you are renting, you will need confirmation from the property owner that you are permitted to have animals at the property. Can you open your heart and your home to one of these beautiful dogs?
Tiller is 3-4 years old. He will need some his training and would be better-suited to be the only dog in an adult-only home.
Polly is 3-4 years old. She is amazing with kids and other dogs. She loves her walks and is a very happy-go-lucky girl.
Bobby is 1 year old. He was terrified and shut down when he first arrived but has utterly transformed. He loves life, his walks, is great with other dogs.
Cats and Kittens
Cats need a safe, warm and dry environment, free from stress where they can snooze between 12 and 18 hours a day. They love routine and will need feeding at the same time every day. Snuggly beds are a must as is mental stimulation and play time. This month we would like to introduce you to Sarah and Kevin.
Sarah came into our care with her 3 babies and after rearing her family, she is ready for her own home. She had been living wild before her rescue so a safe outdoor home in a cosy barn or in a comfortable shelter in a yard would suit her nicely.
Kevin was rescued in June. His leg was dangling, obviously broken. An X-ray confirmed he had been shot with a pellet gun and his leg needed to be amputated. He is recovering well from his operation and ready for his new home. He is semi-feral so as with Sarah, a secure enviroment in which he can wander safely would be ideal.
If you would like to offer a home to Sarah or Kevin please text 087 2268240.
Our charity shop in Edenderry has had a makeover! We’ve been working hard to bring you the best shopping experience. We can’t wait to welcome you back to explore our collection of women’s, men’s and children’s fashion, shoes, hats and scarves, find some jewellery, glassware and china for your collection, browse through our books and find all your equestrian needs in our tack shack.
Join us for a ribbon cutting ceremony and tasty celebratory cake at our grand reopening on Saturday August 6th at 11am.
We are also now looking for Volunteers for our shop. Duties include sorting donations received, preparing stock for display, replenishing shelves and rails and assisting customers. Could you spare one day or one half-day a week? If so, please email [email protected] – we would love to hear from you.
CBD Science Ltd. has been incredibly generous in gifting products to the MLHR residents and in sponsorsing our newsletter. Their lavendar and eucalyptus healing salve is a particular favourite with the animals in our care. Not only does it smell amazing but it is made from natural and organic products, oils, and beeswax and is infused with 10% broad spectrum CBD – perfect for soothing irritated skin and scars.
Our donkey friend Gramps is prone to dry and lumpy skin on his nose and ears which can become cracked and sore. Since using this product we have seen huge improvements in Gramps’ skin and the lavendar and eucalyptus healing salve is now a part of his daily skin-care regime. It’s amazing on human skin too so please do check it out!
Our farmies work from morning until night to keep the farms running and all the animals cared for. Between cleaning, feeding preparation, medical treatments and call outs, they capture so many moments on camera, from the interesting, to the funny and tender. Here are some ‘behind the scenes’ videos and photos from the farm this month. Enjoy!
Witnessing an act of cruelty against a defenceless animal or seeing an animal running loose in the traffic is terrifying. In the heat of the moment, it can be hard to know what to do, who to contact, what information will be important to share. We are on hand 24/7 and our help is sought every day to rescue animals of all species who are straying, have been abandoned, or are the victims of neglect and abuse.
Under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013, only Authorised Officers (An Garda Síochána; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Inspectors; and County Councils/Local Authority Inspectors) are permitted to seize animals, to enter private property, to carry out investigations or to bring prosecutions.
MLHR assists Authorised Officers with their work and for this reason, it is vital that members of the public reporting incidents to MLHR also report to the relevant Authorised Officers so that we can liaise with and help them move animals out of harm’s way and into safety.
What you can do
1. Provide us with a description of the animal(s) at risk and the nature of the incident.
2. Send us a pin drop or accurate description of the location.
3. Take Photographs/Video footage but only if it is safe to do so.
4. Tell us which Authorised Officer or Garda station you have contacted.
How to make contact with Authorised Officers
• An Garda Síochána – A list of Garda stations is available online at https://www.garda.ie/en/contact-us/station-directory/
• Local Authorities (for incidents on Public land) https://www.gov.ie/en/help/departments/#local-authorities
• ISPCA for emergencies call 1890 515515 (Monday to Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.). Welfare concerns can http://www.ispca.ie/cruelty_complaint
• Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine – for incidents on private land phone 01 607 2379 or 0761 064 408 or email [email protected]