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January 2015 News
The intention was to update this website every three months but I simply have not had the time as 2014 has been such a busy year! For a start I had more hoglets to hand feed. At one point I had just weaned three litters of these babies when I was landed with another three lots - making 13 more to feed every two hours!
Help came out of the blue from 3 ladies, all from different parts of the county;
One was Sally, who has since proved indispensable by fostering dozens of hedgehogs for me over the year, she even took a litter of hoglets on holiday with her to syringe feed and she had never hand fed a hedgehog before.
The second lady to come forward to help was Doris who had hand reared hedgehogs for years, she turned up saying, “I know just what you are going through, been there, done that, got the t-shirt ... How many do you want me to take?”. Doris, like Sally, continued to help me out with these youngsters throughout the year.
The third young lady was Claire who runs Hogwarts Hedgehog Rescue in Sutton Coldfield. Claire got the bug for our prickly creatures when she brought hedgehogs to me two years ago, and like the other two ladies, heard of the mess I was in feeding baby hedgehogs around the clock for almost six weeks. I really was very tired. Like Sally, Claire had never hand-fed baby hogs before and took some babies home for herself and her partner Matt to feed, taking it in turns to do so.
Hand-feeding hoglets is a job and a half on its own, but when you have to clean out, weigh and inject a shed full of other patients, and also collect sick, injured and orphaned hogs from all over the place, not to mention the drive to the vets nearly every day, seeing to folks who kindly bring the animals to me, and answer one or the other phone which never seem to stop, and still see to 100 other things 19 hours of the day, 7 days of the week, 8 months of the year, life becomes, shall we say, busy?
So, you were sent from heaven Sally, Doris and Claire because I'm certain I could not have managed without you. Thank you all so very much.
The number of groups and societies who have asked me to give talks has grown in number, in fact I have bookings until December 2015! These talks take a big chunk out of my day but they not only provide much needed funds they also educate the general public on the plight of our native hedgehogs, a subject that very few people know anything about. Many people at my talks show a real interest by coming forward at the end to ask questions. I have given these talks all over the country to many different groups but by far the most unusual venue was at a prison where I was not only asked to give my powerpoint talk to the prisoners (who were very interested and many came up to shake my hand and to ask questions afterwards) but I was then given a tour of the prison. A really interesting day.
We have three Open Days every year now. The WMHR Annual Open Day in September at The White Horse Pub in Cheslyn Hay was our most successful to date. We also held two Bank Holiday Open Days at Hatherton Nurseries by invitation of the owner Margaret and her manager Dan (who always gets into the swing of things by spending all of his money on the raffle and allowing his face to be painted). Thank you to both venues very much indeed!
It was a good year with many more people coming forward to offer help. There are so many that I can't mention them all here, but my friend Annerley, who joined our team, has been invaluable. It is Annerley who produced our beautiful new website and has the knack of calming me down when I get myself in a mess in one way or another (which I often do!) mainly by laughing at me even before she has fixed the problem.
Besides the ever faithful group of friends such as Carol and Peter, Tony and Judy, Margaret and John (Cats Protection), Dave Roscoe, Richard and Lisa, Carol, Leslie, Sarah, Martin, Jackie and also all of the kind friends who collect hedgehogs from here, there and everywhere and bring them to me for treatment. The list of people who give up their time to help me is endless so I'm sorry if I've left anyone out.
Last but certainly not least is my wonderful team of Diane, Alex, Leigh and Charlotte, and we can't leave out my vet CRAIG and his team at E.C. STRAITON & PARTNERS (I've got to put that in capitals because as I have said many times, I could not possibly do this work without them).
The year 2014 was so full of events that it would need a book to write it all in. The one very sad event was losing Cellie, the very unusual and special tame hedgehog who helped me spread the word about the dangers our native hedghogs are facing and how we can help. I still have a little weep at night and even talk to his photograph and stroke the casket holding his ashes. Some of you will touch your temple and say “She has lost it” but anyone who has lost a dear pet will understand. At the time of losing him Claire sent me a beautiful arrangement of roses which had a red ribbon draped over it and printed on that ribbon in gold were the words; “Cellie will remain in your heart forever Joan”, to be sure, he will.
But I must not end on a sad note, we have 2015 to look forward to and I have the joys of visiting my new friend Jackie of Jackdaws Pet Shop fame, where I'm greeted with “What do you want?” from a scowling face then I spend an hour being treated to a mixture of insults, questionably clean jokes, endless cups of coffee, biscuits, sweets and if it’s around meal time, she will disappear without a word, leaving the shop empty then come back with lunch for me. On top of all this, Jackie has a bucket on the counter which she asks (well orders actually) her customers to put their copper in and when the bucket is full, Chris, with whom I spent Christmas day, bags it up then I pay it into the WMHR fundraising account. When full, the bucket holds £100!
So, the support for WMHR grows by the year and I know that when I need help, I only have to pick up the phone and I know help will be there, so all I can do now is wish you all a healthy and peaceful New Year.