Hello and welcome to the October issue of the My Lovely Horse Rescue newsletter!
A walk in the fields on a crisp Autumn afternoon can be breathtaking. The leaves are gorgeous shades of yellow, auburn, caramel and crimson. In the midst of it all are the animals, living in safety, with shelter and full tummies, content in one another’s company. It’s MLHR Hygge at its finest and reminds us that the simple things in life matter the most. With the busyness of September, October completely snuck up on us. There’s something cosy and magical about this time of year. The cold may be creeping in but we’ve been making the most of those glorious afternoon sunsets before the clocks change.
September kicked off with our weekend at Electric Picnic in Co. Laois We had so many people visit My Lovely Horse Ranch to talk about our work, to donate, and to spend time with our equine ambassadors Harvey, Oreo and Matt Damon before they retired to the very swish Stradbally Stables for their sleepover. Our human fundraising crew was ably assisted by canine comrades Ivy, Harvey, Henry, Charlie Watts, Frankie and Harold.
We had a fantastic time at Pups in the Park at Marlay on 10 and 11 September. It was an energising celebration of all things canine. We took part in the Charity Focus discussions with Irish Guide Dogs, PAWS and Husky Rescue Ireland discussing the challenges and rewards involved in our work.
It was quite a shock to get a call from the Pound the morning after Pups in the Park advising us that 8 dogs, lurchers and collies, were on their final hours and were to be put sleep by the end of the day if homes could not be found for them.
We pulled out all the stops and managed to save all 8 of these beautiful dogs, bringing the number of animals taken into our care in September to 22. We are so relieved they are safe and loved and we will find them their forever homes. If you would like to foster or adopt a dog, please visit My Lovely Dog Rescue.
The baby boom at My Lovely Horse Rescue Cork has tapered off (for now!) and it’s amazing to see how much the junior members of the herd have bonded. They are progressing well, particularly those who came to us as orphan foals. It’s wonderful to see them grow strong and confident. You can spend many a peaceful hour just observing them, how they communicate with one another and the subtle (and some not-so-subtle) ways the older members of the herd teach the youngsters how to be horses. It truly is time well spent.
Regular readers will know that babies Lilly and her sister Nora were surrendered to My Lovely Pig Rescue in June. Nora was heavily pregnant and, within days of her arrival, gave birth to five healthy piglets. Unbeknownst to everyone, Lilly was also pregnant.
In the early hours of 2 October Lilly gave birth to five healthy piglets and we are delighted to share our first piglet-cam image of this beautiful family, snuggled up, warm and resting peacefully.
And so … onward to October – our Story of the Month focuses on Hibernation in Ireland. In our Arrivals Lounge we welcome little Brian the kitten into our care. Over in our Departures Lounge we say a very sad goodbye to Joan the pig.
With just weeks to go, we have some Halloween Hints and tips for keeping your animal companions safe. We have the latest fashion must-haves from My Lovely Charity Shop, you can see who is celebrating a milestone this month in our Birthday Greetings section and our Behind the Scenes section is just what you need to brighten darker days.
We are here for the animals because you are here for us. We hope you enjoy this issue. Thank you for subscribing!
If we were to ask you to name some of the mammals who hibernate here in Ireland for the Winter, how many do you think might be on your list, two, five, ten more?
Well you might be surprised to find out that only two species of mammals hibernate here each Winter, our cute spiky friend the hedgehog and our other nocturnal and often misunderstood friend the bat.
Everybody else that you might have thought to put on your list like squirrels, badgers, foxes, they all stay up with the rest of us to slog it through the cold and wet.
Hibernation is all about energy conservation. The Winter is a long and arduous time for our animal friends as they try to stay warm and dry and find food. So some of them have evolved to fatten themselves up as much as possible and then bed down for a long Winter’s nap, awakening to the warmth of Spring and the new abundance of food sources. Hedgehogs are doing that right now so if you have any in your garden give them a helping hand. They like wet cat food (NOT fish based) and dry food pellets mixed in too and if you’re lucky you’ll hear the delicious sounds of their contented munching in your gardens.They need to reach a weight of around 600g before nodding off in order to make it to Spring.
They make their nests out of dead leaves under brambles, log piles or garden sheds. If you accidentally uncover a hibernating hedgehog then just cover him over again. Don’t wake him up or move him as he will come out of hibernation and this will eat into his energy reserves for the rest of the Winter. Once you’ve covered him up you can always leave plates of food nearby so that if he does wake up he won’t have far to go to refill before he pops off into his deep sleep again.
Remember to feed the young ones too especially at this time of year or they simply will not make it through the long Winter months. If you’re worried about a hedgehog then contact our friends at Hedgehog Rescue Dublin or at the Hogsprickle for advice. A hedgehog wobbling or staggering like he’s drunk, lying still out in the open, visibly injured or trapped, skinny looking in Autumn needs our help so contact the experts immediately and be the one to make that difference in his life.
Our Bat friends too will also be preparing soon for Winter. We know that many people have a fear of bats and it’s really just because we don’t understand them properly and we tend to only see them flying round at night when we can’t be sure how near they are to us. Their portrayal in the media and movies hasn’t much helped their cause either. But we just love them and find them quite fascinating. If you are worried about a few bats around your area then stop for a moment and think of anyone living near Bracken cave, San Antonio, Texas. This is home to the biggest bat colony in the world with more than 15 million Mexican free-tailed bats in residence. You’ve never quite seen anything like it as they emerge from the cave and soar upwards into the sky, it’s just mesmerising to watch.
Our bats here will be looking for a cosy roost to hibernate in. They will choose hollows in trees, holes in old brick walls or indeed your roof, anywhere they can have a constant temperature and be free of damp or frost. You can buy bat boxes for them and place them on trees in your garden, on a balcony or roof. Best to place them in a sheltered spot that gets the sun during the day. Once they settle into one then you must not disturb them.
If you have any worries then please contact our great friend Susan at Bat Rehabilitation Ireland for advice and help.
Remember all our friends too who will not be sleeping through the cold months ahead. We know that wild animals are best left alone to live their lives as unhampered by humans as possible. Unfortunately nowadays our modern lives are continuously encroaching into theirs and so we owe them our help when they need it. If you have any concerns about the health or wellbeing of any of our wonderful wildlife then contact your local wildlife rescue or message our page and we will put you in touch with someone who can help. We need our wildlife for our own continued survival so lets be there for them all this Winter.
Arrivals – The Life of Little Brian
As the evenings start to shorten and darken and the colder days and nights set in, it’s hard to think about all the baby animals still being born out there and having to cope with this harsher weather.
Cats, being the extremely fertile creatures that they are, are of course still breeding. Probably why Bastet, the Egyptian Goddess of fertility was depicted with a cat’s head and a slender female body. So there are still litters of kittens waking up all over the country, their poor Moms trying to feed them and feed themselves while keeping everyone safe from all kinds of harm. It’s such an immense struggle and we are, as always, in awe of the dedication and love which cats give to their tiny babies.
So when little Brian, barely a week old, was brought to us a couple of days ago, our hearts just melted for the poor fellow. So young to be separated from his Mom, his eyes not even open and already full of gunk and who knows when his last feed of milk was. But our Brian is a fighter and though very sickly he has since started taking milk, little and often and as you can see from the video is just about the cutest little guy ever. He’s loved and protected now and we really wish we could let his Mom know that he’s safe.
As Brian snuggles down warm and cosy in the MLHR cattery, we wonder where his Mom and siblings are and we hope so much that wherever that is, life is being kind to them. Please always spare a thought for cats, especially ferals. They have such hard lives and yet they are some of the most amazing little beings that we have ever had the honour of knowing. And as always, spread the message, neuter, neuter, neuter and spay spay spay. There really is no other solution to the absolutely enormous problem of thousands upon thousands of unwanted litters each year. We must all play our part to help these fantastic creatures. As Leonardo da Vinci said ‘The smallest feline is a masterpiece ‘ and we couldn’t agree more.
Departures – Joan RIP
We would like to say our own farewell here in the newsletter to gentle Joan who left us on Sept 16th and tell you a bit about her and why she and every one of our pigs is so important to us.
Joan had lived for three years with Cathy and her wonderful team at My Lovely Pig Rescue who are based about 20 mins from our main rescue farm in Kildare. Cathy has become our resident expert in pig care and welfare and over the years has built up such a great knowledge and understanding of these wonderful creatures. They are so misunderstood and badly treated in this country. Playful, friendly, sensitive, intelligent, loving and optimistic creatures, they love life and really want to live it to the full.
Joan had bad arthritis which required medication but she made the best of it and kept mobile every day. She loved heading out from her stall into the sunshine and listening to all the sounds from the rest of the farm animals and seeing what antics they were all getting upto. She loved her human friends too and it was our joy to look after her everyday.
When animals no longer have a proper quality of life, then we as their human guardians must be willing to make that final decision for them. It’s never easy and our hearts are always heavy doing it but it’s our duty and the last kindness we can bestow upon them. A life in bed is not the life for a pig and so we gave her lots of extra love and care and all her favourite treats as she slowed down and her end was near. We made sure she knew how much she was loved and that she was warm and comfortable. Then we called our vet and stayed with her as she went on her way. To express our love for Joan we really can’t say it any better than the words used earlier this month by My Lovely Pig Rescue:
‘So thank you Joan for being in our lives, for your funny little noises, your strong heart and gorgeous soul. We love you forever.’
The number of people making donations on a monthly basis now represents a fifth of all donations MLHR receives. Most donations range from €2 to €20 a month and we are so grateful for every cent. Some of our supporters opt to donate weekly, quarterly or annually and our text donation number makes it easy to donate €4 at a time convenient to you.
Life is unpredictable and with the rising cost of living, we are all keeping an eye on our monthly spending. A regular donation might not be affordable right now and you might want to cancel a scheduled donation. That’s absolutely no problem. You can do this either by logging in on our website using the links provided in your donation receipt email or you can contact us directly and we will be able to make the change for you.
Did you know that we can also partially or fully refund a recent recurring donation? Please let us know if this is something you would like us to do. Unfortunately, disputing a payment with a bank leads to the bank charging MLHR exorbitant chargeback fees. They don’t notify us of this nor do they give us to the opportunity to make any requested changes. We’re more than happy to help you in any way we can so please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
We love helping the animals in our care celebrate their milestones! This month, our birthday girls are Lilly and Dora!
Not only is Lilly celebrating her 21st birthday this month, but 5th October marks her first anniversary at MLHR. Lilly and her son Charlie were surrendered into our care last year after their owner passed away.
Lilly is a retired racehorse but these days she enjoys taking life at her own pace. She spends most of her time in the field with our older crew and is happy to have her supermash meal brought out to her in her favourite green bucket. Happy Birthday Lilly!
Dora has been resident at My Lovely Pig Rescue since 2019. She had endured unthinkable trauma and over time we have worked to help her heal from the visible cuts and scars on her body and the deep emotional pain she’s been carrying. She has transformed from a terrified pig to a happy personable pig. She is closely bonded with Tadhg and Sam and they make a gorgeous little family. The boys will be only too happy to help Dora celebrate!
Last month we asked our Volunteers to sum up what volunterring means to them. This month we are sharing what it is like to be a Volunteer. My Lovely Pig Rescue produced a short but very sweet video giving you an insight into the kinds of jobs Volunteers do and how Rescue work has changed them.
If you are interested in volunteering with My Lovely Horse Rescue please email [email protected] If you are in the Cork area, My Lovely Horse Rescue Cork is seeking volunteers over the age of 18 who have equine knowledge and can help handling youngsters, assisting our vets and farriers and transporting. If you would like to volunteer with My Lovely Pig Rescue, please send a private message through the Facebook page.
Here at My Lovely Charity Shop we are whole-heartedly embracing the Hygge – oh the romance of Autumn all things warm, cosy and comfortable. We have everything you need to keep you snug, scarves, pashminas, throws, now all you need is a couch and a pumpkin-spice latté!
Upstairs in My Lovely Tack Shack, we have a a huge selection of rugs in a range of sizes, perfect for keeping horses, ponies and goats cosy in the cold. Stop in for a browse – you never know what you might find! Open Tuesday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at 81 JKL Street, Edenderry, Co. Offaly.
Last month, the Minister of State for Law Reform announced that steps are being taken to combat the importation, sale and distribution of illegal fireworks in Ireland. The fact is that high hazard fireworks – bangers, rockets, and roman candles – have already flooded the streets and have been heard night after night in cities, towns and villages across Ireland since August.
Detonating bangers and the ear-splitting shriek of rockets are an unwelcome intrusion on our quiet evenings. For those of us with sensory sensitivies or for vulnerable members of our community, the sudden noise and unpredictable and intermittent flashing can cause extreme fear and agitation. For animals, (many of whom have significantly greater hearing ranges than humans) fireworks can send them into fight or flight mode. They don’t understand what the noise is or where it is coming from. They just know they need to escape it.
Every year we hear reports of animals who, spooked by fireworks, bolted from the safety of their home, yard or field. Some animals fall into the wrong hands on what is arguably the worst night of the year for animal cruelty. Other animals have become injured or lost their lives trying to escape what is to them, a very real and present danger. We’ll never forget rescuing MLHR Devon from a Dublin field one Halloween night. It took our Volunteers hours to coax this tiny injured and terrified foal to safety as fireworks boomed around him.
As Halloween approaches, we’re asking our supporters to put measures in place to keep their animal companions safe. This can be as simple as stabling equines, goats and other field-living animals and keeping cats and dogs inside in a safe place where doors and windows are secured.
If you have dog companions, it’s advisable to walk them earlier in the day. It’s important to bear in mind that that toilet accidents may happen in your home, even with a well toilet-trained dog, if they are too fearful to go out into their own back garden.
Leaving the radio or TV on can be comforting for animals (Spotify has some tried and tested calming playlists for cats and dogs). Providing activities or favourite treats can distract them also. Some behaviourists recommend gradually desensitising an animal over several weeks to sounds which cause distress such as fireworks, traffic, thunder or household appliances. You begin by playing a particular sound at the lowest volume possible several times a day and monitoring the animal for any sign of upset. You only progress if the animal is content stopping if they show even subtle signs of fear.
Whether your companion is accustomed to being around people or in crowds or not, seemingly simple things can be stressful. If the sound of the doorbell is a trigger for a dog on a normal day, the constant ringing of the bell at Halloween will be upsetting.
There’s a lot to like about Halloween and we don’t want to rain on (and ruin) anyone’s parade. We’re big fans of pumpkin-carving, bobbing for apples, and many of us grown-ups relish the prospect of dressing up. Animals may not recognise you, close family members or friends in costume and become confused, afraid and overwhelmed. On the subject of costumes, the welfare of your companion should always come first. You might consider whether putting a Halloween costume on your companion is something that they would want for themselves.
Animals are family members and we understandably want to involve them in our activities but we implore you to please let them sit these festivities out. If you are trick-or-treating or attending a fireworks display, please leave them in the safety and comfort of their own home and keep the human treats, especially chocolate and any choking hazards, away from animals.
As always, MLHR will,be standing by to provide assistance to animals in need on Halloween night. We urge you to report any acts of cruelty to us and to the Gardaí. If you can safely take video footage this will be key to prosecuting animal abusers. Please do what you can to help feral or straying cats, dogs and other animals to safety.
Finally, it’s important to remember that fireworks pose a threat to animals long after they have fizzled out. They are explosives packed with hazardous chemicals and ingesting firework debris could have fatal consequences for curious cats and dogs. If you come across firework debris while out and about, please pick it up and bin it, both for the environment and for the safety of your neighbourhood animals.
We wish you and the animals in your life a Happy Halloween! Have fun, be safe and spectacularly spooky!
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, some are funny, some are tender and some just show how content the animals in our care are, living the peaceful lives they always deserved. Here are some ‘behind the scenes’ videos and photos from the farms this month.
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!
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]