Looking back over the year, it has been been busier than ever and many lives have been saved! Although lots of cats have been rescued and re-homed, the main focus has been on fox rescue as there are so very many here in London needing help-it is never-ending. This has been very rewarding although there are as many sad endings as happy ones but we always have to try.
Among the day to day rescues, there have been quite a few dramatic ones!
I was called one morning by my mechanic who was worried about a fox who had been sitting virtually motionless on a high wall for hours. She was seemingly unbothered by people around her. When I arrived, it became apparent that something was very wrong-she looked to be staring into space as if she was in a trance or blind.
When I tried to catch her, as usually happens, her instincts took over and she tried very hard to not be caught! She was hurling herself everywhere although didn’t seem to be able to see. I cornered her in some bushes but had to cut away a big hole with secateurs and although I was doing it as quietly as possible, she was soon off again, this time at full speed.
It was a real sprint for us both-through a housing estate and out into the mews, quite some distance with me running after her in hot pursuit with my net. It seemed impossible.
Then suddenly she was running towards some removal men so I shouted STOP THAT FOX!’ Luckily they jumped into action and blocked her escape route so I was able to catch her almost in mid air with my net!
I took her home so we could both calm down a bit from our marathon then drove her to the Fox Project where we agreed she could not see. We called her Kathy.
After a week, despite everybody’s best efforts, she was really up against it with multiple health problems including both neurological and systemic issues and it was all too much for her to cope with. It was such sad news but Kathy spent her last few days sleeping for England in a warm bed surrounded by love and care with everybody rooting for her. This is every bit as important as those who we save-peace, love and dignity when she needed it. Sleep tight Kathy.
In October, I was just leaving to drive to the airport for a rescue trip to Spain when I had an urgent call about a fox who was reported as having a broken leg but that often happens if a fox is limping-it isn’t usually broken. Anyway, almost a week later with daily (and nightly) long distance coordination from Spain with my volunteer team (plus getting pest control called off) the fox was finally caught! As suspected, the leg wasn’t broken and it was a happy ending for this lucky fox!
While in Spain, I found a pair of abandoned kittens in a very precarious place-over the years, I had previously neutered up to 30 cats on the site but there were no survivors.
My friend Alex from El Jardinet dels Gats offered to take them for me so I decided to go back and get the kittens straight away as the weather looked like it was getting stormy. I dragged my poor mum along although where they live is treacherous-they live in big rocks, going out to sea quite far away from land. I could only find one of the kittens as the weather was looking ominous. I could not take one without the other and the fishermen started to leave saying the storm was coming.
It is quite dangerous to walk along in good weather but then the most horrendous storm started-the water just fell from the sky and we were soaked through to our underwear in two seconds. The sea was crashing over our heads too and the wind blew us off our feet. There was fork lightning and thunder. It was absolutely terrifying. One minute later, I honestly think we would have been swept off the long narrow wall we were walking along the top of to get back.
We were leaving the next day but thankfully, fellow rescuer Irina went back and found them-it was a wonder that they had survived the storm-such a drama! They are still in foster care with Nelly and are the luckiest kittens!
We were able to help this young fox who was rescued from Oxford Circus by animal rights activists who were demonstrating outside the Canada Goose store. He was running around in a panic and in danger of being hit by a car and luckily they were able to grab it and sit with it on their lap for an hour and a half while trying to find help. I was tied up with other fox emergencies but luckily some of my volunteers were able to get there with a carrier and drive him to the emergency vets. They found nothing particularly wrong with him and thought he could be released but I suspected Toxoplasmosis and was not happy to release him, especially at Oxford Circus so we have kept him in care and are treating him.
We were told about this vixen who was very poorly with mange but she proved very elusive. It is so difficult to catch them when they are very mobile and as she was in such a bad way, we were not sure she had survived but perseverance paid off and several days later, she was caught. She has been our care since and is making a great recovery.
We were contacted about this poorly fox with mange in South London recently-it was a long-shot as we didn’t even know the name of the park he had been seen in but we worked it out and were able to get help to him! He was humanely trapped, taken for treatment and safely released last weekend looking so much better!
There have also been quite a few pigeons! With the help of my friend Paul, I can now always rescue a pigeon knowing it will get the very best of care-it is such a relief. This is Snotty, one of our recent releases and so called because when I picked him up and brought him home, he blew snot up my bathroom wall. He didn’t mean to be so rude-he was suffering from a bacterial infection! Paul nursed him through this and gave him the most wonderful care but it was time for him to get back to the real world and join his pigeon posse! I caught up with him again just recently with his flock-he was released with a ring on his leg so I can recognise him.
I am in the process of buying new equipment which will help a lot. We need extra fox-proof carriers so I can equip volunteers. There is also an Amazon wish-list here should anyone like to donate-if this link doesn’t work, please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your support and here’s to many more rescued animals in 2018!