Hello and welcome to the December issue of the My Lovely Horse Rescue newsletter! 2022 has flown by and it has been one of the busiest years on record for MLHR and MLPR.
This month we are taking a look back at 2022, acknowledging the milestones we have reached and holding space to honour the loss of many of our animal friends this year. The MLHR Remembrance Tree has arrived at the main MLHR farm. The names of our much-loved and much-missed companions will soon adorn the tree along with the names of our supporters’ companions. If you are would like to include the name of your companion please visit our website for details.
Our Christmas cards are now available on our the My Lovely Horse Rescue website. This year they feature some of the longer-term MLHR Animals who are a huge part of the MLHR meet and greet team. We sadly said goodbye to our beautiful friend Harvey on 22 November.
Harvey was a key member of the team. He was an incredible dog who overcame the many obstacles life sent his way and who stole the hearts of everyone he met with his affection, his beautiful singing voice, and the waggiest of tails. Harvey was one in a million and we will miss him always.
Our Behind the Scenes section takes on a decidedly Christmassy theme with gifts galore for the animals. Over at My Lovely Charity Shop and My Lovely Tack Shack we have all you need for Christmas for the horse (or horse-lover) in your life. We will be shaking our buckets on Dublin’s Grafton Street over the coming weekends raising much needed funds for the animals. If you’re popping to the shops, please do swing by and say hello!
We would like to thank you, our readers, for your unwavering support throughout the year. Thank you for taking the time to leave such kind and encouarging comments, for sharing our stories, our message and for supporting our fundraising campaigns. We are here for the animals because you are here for us. We look forward to bringing you more news in the New Year.
A lot can happen in a year. Whether you are sad to see the end of 2022 or you are more than ready for a fresh start, it’s good to take stock of how far you have come. To round out the year we are sharing some of our highlights from 2022. We kicked off January with a farm visit from our wonderful friends at Virgin Media News whose report on our work and our Winter Appeal highlighted the support we need on an ongoing basis to get care for animals in need through these harsh winters.
In February our Valentine’s issue celebrated the friendship bonds and companionship between animals in our care. MLPR launched a Pig Awareness Campaign with Ethical Farming Ireland and we were delighted to see billboards promoting our message and the showing the reality of life for commercially bred pigs in Ireland.
In the first three months of 2022 we took in a staggering 115 animals, among them, little Neo whose arrival in March set hearts aflutter. This tiny baby boy was being sold in a pub. Some wonderful people came to his aid and brought him to us where they knew he would always be protected. He is living happily at My Lovely Pig Rescue. Just look at how much he has grown in 9 months.
In April we rescued 14 innocent dogs from the pound, launched My Lovely Dog Rescue and held our first Doggie Adoption Days. MLHR Director Eóin Cullen, and co-founders Martina Kenny and Deborah Kenny addressed the Oireachteas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine on the deteriorating Equine crisis in Ireland, the need for greater enforcement of Animal Welfare legislation and for breaches of legislation to carry significant fines and/or prosecution.
Our baby boom kicked off in May with 6 foals born into safety. We rescued another 12 dogs from a sad and wholly preventable demise.
The Women’s Mini Marathon was awash with orange t-shirts in June as our supporters and volunteers pounded the pavements to raise funds for MLHR. Two of our co-founders Martina and Deborah Kenny were honoured to accept the Mayor’s Award for MLHR’s Outstanding Contribution to Animal Welfare in Kilkenny. Over at MLPR Nora gave birth to 5 happy and healthy piglets who, 6 months on, are thriving comedic bundles of curiosity.
In July, we could hardly contain our excitement as the winner of the MLHR House Raffle walked away with a phenomenal and life-changing €155,000! We held two Doggie Adoption Days and found ourselves head, neck and heels in a heatwave, spending days smearing the animals in suncream, applying cold head presses, doling out ice pops and topping up wallows. August marked the First Anniversary of the MLHR Newsletter and we welcomed the first cohort of the new MLHR Dog Team. If you have some time to dedicate to the dogs in our care, we would love to hear from you!
In September we hit the road to Stradbally for our first Electric Picnic in 2 years and we had a ball at Pups in the Park, Ireland’s Ultimate Dog day out! My Lovely Pig Rescue launched a You Tube Channel giving an insight into the work of the rescue and the life of volunteers. Ever generous with their time and spirit, the amazing TELUS International Team worked their magic and utterly transformed the main farm in October while over at MLPR we were in awe of our amazing new mum Lilly and her perfect piglets, born into love and safety.
In November, MLPR welcomed volunteers from Galway, Wicklow, Dublin and Meath who worked tirelessly to drive 200 yards of posts and build 3 shelters to keep the pigs safe and secure and warm over the coming months. In the space of three weeks, MLPR rescued three separate families of piglets. Already at capacity and it has been quite a shock to learn that FOUR of the girls rescued are heavily pregnant and due to farrow in the next 2-3 weeks. Plans and preparations are afoot to build individual enclosures for our Mamas giving them the safety and privacy they need. It will be a PIGMAS we will never forget. If you would like to sponsor these Mamas and babies please click here. If you are in a position to donate building materials please send us a message via My Lovely Pig Rescue.
And so to December … we have launched our Adopt Don’t Shop campaign to raise awareness of the dog crisis in Ireland. With the help of some familiar faces, we are urging people not to shop but rather to adopt or foster animal companions. Rescues all over the country are full to capacity with animals who long for and so deserve their forever couch.
Dr Bobby Ortiz, Vet and dear friend of MLHR said it best “Nearly all of the thousands of rescued dogs I have met are loving, attentive and well-adjusted […]. Just like all animals they take dedicated work and training […] but I strongly believe that the work you put in is repaid 200% in love for the second chance you are providing them with.”
So this Christmas we are sending out a very special message to everyone.
It is a message of love, of hope and of making dreams come true.
Our message is simple and it saves lives.
Adopt don’t shop.
We all have a part to play in changing the fate of our country’s dogs and putting an end to the horrendous breeding Ireland has become famous for.
We are all part of the problem until we are all part of the solution.
As long as you, your family, your friends, your work colleagues continue to buy dogs, then dogs will continue to live horrific lives, to be bred until they drop, to be dumped and left to die alone when they are of no more use. Right now, thousands of puppies and their poor Moms are being bred in terrible places all over this country to provide families with a Christmas puppy. Don’t be a part of this.
We are all so much better than this, Ireland is so much better than this.
Let’s show the world how much we truly love dogs.
Dogs are just like us, each one individual and unique with so much love to give.
All they want is a home to call their own and a family they can love, protect and be safe with forever.
It just takes a special human to recognise that.
We need to remember that there are no broken dogs, just a really broken system.
So let’s keep spreading that message,
Adopt Don’t Shop
So someday soon we will celebrate a truly wonderful Christmas where no dog will be left in a pound and all the rescue kennels will be empty
Now that’s real Christmas magic
Wishing you and all of yours a very Happy Christmas from everyone here at My Lovely Horse Rescue.
Northern Exposure – Adventures with our Arctic Friends
To you and I the Arctic regions are an unforgiving wilderness, with glistening snow as far as the eye can see, the blinding whiteness of an ice covered land where nature truly is Queen. But it is also home to so many wonderful creatures who have adapted over the millennia to
A stark landscape, frozen over for most of the year, its climate forbidding for all but the hardiest of creatures, just like the Snowy Owl. A majestic bird, nomadic in nature and truly a sight to behold as he glides over the frozen wastes in search of prey below. Snowy owls eat small creatures like lemmings, tiny, cute rodents who themselves feed mostly on mosses and grasses and are superbly adapted for digging in the snow to find berries and roots. Lemmings don’t hibernate but live in complex tunnel systems deep under the snow, complete with sleeping areas, ensuites and nesting rooms. Hotel Arctica at your service.
The most famous of Arctic animals is of course the Polar Bear, Ursus Maritimus in latin or Nanook as he is known to the Inuit people. Polar bears usually live solitary lives, coming together to mate, with the mother then rearing the cubs on her own. They are born blind and helpless in a den she has made in the snow and where she stays, fasting herself but nursing them until they are sturdy enough to venture out. They stay with her for about two and half years until she either pushes them away or abandons them. Sometimes, if there are two cubs, they will then stick together for some months after their mother has left them, travelling together and sharing their food and taking comfort in each other until eventually they make their own way in their world.
“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing wax—
Of cabbages—and kings—
And why the sea is boiling hot—
And whether pigs have wings.”
This is of course from Alice in ‘Through the Looking Glass’ which was the inspiration behind John Lennon’s song ‘I am the Walrus’…Goo goo g’joob.
The wondrous Walrus is a fearsome creature to behold with his large tusks which can be as long as one metre in length. Walruses can live up to 30 years in the wild and the mothers nurse their young for up to a year. For much of the time they hang out together in huge numbers, thousands of them laid out along rocky beaches and outcrops eating a smorgasbord of marine creatures. In March of last year we had our own Wally the Walrus who was seen off the west coast of Ireland. He was thought to possibly have fallen asleep on an iceberg that then drifted all the way south to our shores. After taking in the Irish coastal attractions for a while, Wally then toured Wales, Devon, France and the Scilly Isles before finally being spotted back up north in Iceland in late September, much to the relief of everyone who’d been following his European tour.
Wolves are the enigmatic creatures from which all our canine pooches are descended yet their wildness truly sets them apart. There is something strange and unknowable in their eyes and the sound of their howling calls out to our own inner, primitive roots
Canus lupus arctos, to give them their proper latin title, often called the white or polar wolf, live in what is known as the High Arctic Tundra. They spend all their lives above the ‘treeline’ in that part of the world where trees cannot grow. They prey on muskoxen and arctic hares and are elusive creatures which only adds to their magic and mystery.
What a wonderful world the Arctic is where all these creatures roam and make their lives under the frozen skies and the shimmering northern lights. Let’s spare a thought for each of them this Winter and send much love their way as our own nights grow colder and we too, like them, find the challenges of each day that bit harder.
The same starry skies cover both our worlds and though they may seem so very different to us and so far away in every sense, we have to remember that they are doing just as we do, living, breathing, working hard to survive and raise their young until their little ones too are ready to go out into the world and have families of their own.
So when old St Nick passes overhead in a few weeks time and the sound of his sleigh bells ring merry and bright on a cold Christmas night, let’s hope he drops a few gifts their way too.
Arrivals – Piglets
Pigs are so misunderstood and their gentle natures so unappreciated. We humans have taken these very special creatures and we have bred them until they no longer resemble what they once were and now we use them selfishly for our own wants and desires.
We cannot tell you how much we truly love pigs, how much joy we get from watching their daily lives, how loving they are and how much love they have to give to us and to each other.
Now we are finding pigs dumped everywhere. Left to fend for themselves in bogs and forests as we head into Winter. These pigs are not like their forebears. They don’t have the same coats to protect against the harsh cold that wild boars have. They are so prone to getting pneumonia. We did that to them through our breeding choices so that we could have large and fast developing pigs ideal for slaughter.
These pigs would surely have died of the cold even if they had managed to survive against starvation and dog attacks and whatever else might have come their way..
Look how tiny the younger ones are. Imagine them running around in a strange wood, cold and afraid. The numbers being found dumped are growing. What will happen when we just can’t take anymore?
For now all these precious lives are safe but we haven’t even begun to feel the true cold of Winter yet and who knows how many more are out there right now, being secretly unloaded out of trailers and left behind.. Pigs are wonderful, sensitive creatures, highly sociable and very clever. We need to look at them differently and let some of their sunshine into our lives. We would all be better for it.
Departures – RIP Diva
So many animals die every day and no one spares them a moment’s thought. So we are always so moved when anyone takes the time to truly mourn the passing of their animal friend and talk about his /her personality and why they were so important.
Diva came to live at My Lovely Pig Rescue when she was already an old gal but still with so much life to live and love to give. She came from Dublin Zoo who really wanted her to live her golden days somewhere she would be cherished and feel safe.
She had a lot of health issues, we all do the older we get but with time, patience and great medical care from our vets she overcame each one. She became such an important part of our family and she enjoyed all the attention she got, the scratches, the treats for nibbling, the cosy body warmers made for her each Winter, the constant love and affection.
But sadly this Winter was just not gonna be one that she would make it through and we said goodbye to her before she became too weak and sick. Our whole world has changed without her. Our farmyard is so very different without her and we wish we could see her chase people around just one more time. Diva will always be with us and like all of our animals she has left us with such a truer understanding of the importance of our relationships with every creature that we are fortunate and privileged to share this beautiful planet with.
Love you forever Diva
We hope you enjoy our December ‘Behind the Scenes’ photos. We had so much fun bringing Christmas cheer to our curious crew!
Our appeal to raise €16,000 is progressing well and with just €9,483 left to raise, we are hoping for our very own Christmas miracle! We would really appreciate if you could share our post. MLHR and other rescues are doing everything they can to save as many dogs’ lives as possible and we are urging people not to shop but to instead foster or adopt one of the wonderful dogs in our care.
We are still recruiting Volunteers to join our Dog Team at the main MLHR farm in Kildare to assist with cleaning, walking and spending quality 1:1 time with the dogs. If you would like to foster, adopt or join the Dog Team please contact [email protected].
The festive season is well underway in My Lovely Charity Shop. Our decorations are up, we’re playing festive tunes – but not too many – we have our Christmas gift table laden with wonderful presents for you and your loved ones and we have our lovely Xmas hamper to win full of prosecco, chocolates and so many other goodies. So do drop by, we would love to see you. We’re open from Tuesday to Saturday 10 – 5.30. Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas from everyone on our team.
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]