A behind the scenes look at our work
Just a quick note as many people have been asking after me... I'm in the counting house counting up the pennies. Yes I am in the background currently in total overload. As you know I have many hats and over the last 5 weeks 2 members of staff have left and they are being replaced with 3 part timers. We have had a change in Directors with Stuart 'retiring' but not from our Rescue and Hayleycakes stepping up. Helen and SarahK have formed a Fundraising team ...watch this space. My mothers' frailties have developed so that she can hardly use her hands now due to a neurological issue stemming from her crumbling cervical spinal, her mobility has also been affected. Everything about caring for our elders is retention of their dignity. On top of this I have spent every minute doing the Rescue accounts analysis and this was followed by the annual accounts for the kennels, followed by the VAT return for the kennels. Over the last 10 days I have been deep in a detailed audit of all our giftaidable income that I manage. We are looking to optimise every penny we can. The latter has meant bedtimes of midnight and 1am's and I am always up everyday of the week 6.45 am so just carrying a very heavy toll lately. One of my personal dogs Max is very elderly and falls a lot and needs hand feeding. Max like my mother...when the spirit is in those preparation stages to leave, they are going through a withdrawal stage where even food in their mouth is rejected in its harshness to touch, so Max will only tolerate one moist food which I have to cut into very thin strips. My mother is practically living on vitamin shakes, egg custards, creme carmel and trifle! One of my other dogs Marcus is clearly affected by my being out at my mother's half the week and very needy.Due to the frosts we have had to leave the completion of the paddock so the project currently is building a new isolation kennel at the back of the house. Eddie and I are arguing which one has the pleasure to take the old one to the dump... The grounds are screaming at me and yesterday we have began on the flower beds but frosts have been part of their delay. We have reorganised the parking on site to avoid cars destroying to flowers and the congestion of double parking. We look around and it is hard to see what we spent the last year doing as we seem to be back to scratch but a lot of the projects we did were foundation projects and the results will show in making forward projects easier and notable. 2020 was in many ways our darkest year we lost 4 beautiful trees and their carnage still litters our site. 2021 we will plant new and we are preparing for that over the coming months. It is 4 years on the 27th April since I moved on site and took up the kennel reigns. Those who came to Gatwick when in previous ownership note the many changes we made in those early days and continue to make day on day and week on week. Charlie & SarahK always believed Gatwick would become ours: It HAD TO become ours. Major projects are like restoring a mortally wounded old battle ship. New people who come on site enjoy our dogs and the improved facilities are a platform which primarily are designed around our dog's needs. I want to say I was incredulous early last year when we as a Rescue and as a Kennel business was cruelly criticized in a derogatory, unbalanced and frankly naïve, thoughtless way by a faction within. People that just didn't have the credentials to in anyway grasp the essence and subtilty of our core values. Their methods revealed them for what they were, social media nagging groups... then insinuating victimhood! Gossip, innuendo, undermining decisions and communication; sabotaging existing dog regimes. When it became more overt - constant challenging which frankly on many occasions was then putting our dogs and families at risk, it came to a head. It was bullying tactics: Many people go through this in the modern social media era and hence I mention it. We will meet it again no doubt but wow does it feels like freedom and joy and our attention is exclusively our dogs. Our Rescue work is about healing, it needs patience and intervention at key moments not before and not after but in the NOW. The first and last signature note of a Rescuer is EMPATHY. These people had no empathy, theirs began with E but ended with O. Our inspector came in shortly after and was full of adoration at the progress we had made and moved the kennels from 2 star to 4 star and stated she only needed to visit bi-annually from now on. We also had a terrible dog warden locally who put many of our dogs at risk and they has now been sacked. 2020 has flushed out negative forces which is the sign of the times we live through with self opinionated gods. Hopefully they too have moved on and making invaluable contributions elsewhere. Its been a good winter and we now emerge into sunshine and new horizons. Our Team is rock solid and are simply rooted in our 'just cause', and it is lovely to engage and witness their endeavours. Our depth of the appreciation of our dogs brings us together, our dogs needs shine through. Our connections within the Rescue world, dog services, the police and veterinary teams we work shoulder to shoulder with never ceases to amaze me. Yes this week I felt my heart sing as it did last year for the work we all are involved with and I felt that depth of belief last year and now I am realising that belief was real and witnessed by all those who care. I am so proud of the intense dedication and sheer hard endeavours of all those volunteers and staff who have given their all to our dogs. We have so many Giants within our Rescue who I can only salute and deeply adore as individuals. The passion. The compassion. The sensitivity. The courage. The respect. The sacrifice. None of our work/ our mission would be possible without those who contribute financially and make it happen. We are really needing that support now as we walk beside so many of our longstay dogs that our Rescue has a large 'sanctuary' element to it. Too many Giants within to ever mention but in whatever ways people can help they do. Friends who have walked the walk for many many years always adding in ideas, gifting love and support to our many frailer dogs. We had so many new arrivals join us over this year; many have are playing key roles and are sharing such insights. My Giants are the ones who seek no acknowledgment and are so obviously self actualised in their endeavours with our dogs always learning from each encounter and working shoulder to shoulder with others in each dog's best interests making their VITAL contribution to our dogs. Our model of Dog Rescue is universal care and love of all our dogs and acknowledging our homers take on that chain of care as honoured members of our extended family. It is simplistic but meets the core needs of our dogs so they develop self-confidence, self belief, trust in humans and other dogs from impoverish roots. Where a volunteer or staff member (who are also volunteers) see a need, we grow as a team and each as individual, to acquire the sensitivity to meet that need. We never set ourselves up as harsh critics over others endeavours, we grasp the essence and see and appreciate how our dogs have grown in stature. This is how we succeed we operate out of love and when a volunteer stumbles we rush forwards to help them stand up. When an approach isn't working we explore and discover the key to unlock potential, most often it comes from our dogs who have out grown that level and are ready for the next step. We are ever looking from the perspective of our dog's. Our focus is on our dogs bliss!
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