Monday, October 27, 2014

Our poor Outsider....It was like a horror film!

The day after we lost of dear Geri we had an invite from our lovely friends Ray and  Nikki to see their super new house in the campo and have a bite to eat with them.  We knew it would do us good, especially being around their gorgeous little children, who are always very free and easy with their cuddles.  So we took them up on  their kind invitation. Sitting round the dinner table we were chatting about the different animals that have come into our lives, and Alan stated that we hadn't had any stray animals around for a while.... hmmmm sods law or what! After a lovely relaxing time we them we set off home.  As we approached our house we often hear the dogs barking or howling, of course they recognise the car, however this was different, more urgent!

It was Carlos and  Miliko mainly, they were on our big front terrace, Blue and Arthur of course joined in with the commotion, as thats what they do, in true mastin style. Alan went out to check what was going on and called me frantically.  There was a kitten, and it wasn't one of ours.  She had obviously been out over the fence, made her way through the alpacas and somehow jumped up a high wall that led to our big terrace. Miliko can only open his  mouth 18ms due to an accident when he was just a month old. How on eath he manages to catch and suck birds, and even frogs is beyond us, but he does.  I didn't think he could harm the kitten with his mouth but he has strong paws and legs and she was only tiny.  Carlos on the other hand, is the most nervous and gentle dog you could imagine, but he is a hunter, and it's in his blood.  I'm not sure what he would do if he was able to get to our kittens when they are tiny.  I hope we never find out.

Anyway the kitten had no fear and ran towards the dogs and jumped down into their terrace.  It was so lucky Alan was there, he managed to keep them back until I could rush to help, whilst he got stung twice on the head.  Poor Alan, the wasps love the taste of him! Pure panic must have set in and she leapt onto the wall where there is a huge drop the other side.  Eventually she must have realized she needed to trust us and Alan held up a plank of wood up to her and she gingerly crept down it, onto Alan's shoulder, and into my arms.

At this time we had 3 adult cats and 9 kittens that had developed into one big happy family, with the two females feeding whoever needed feeding, and not just their own.  So we put the little kitten down beside them, and it was obvious to us she was possibly only a couple of weeks older than the rest of them. She sat on her own for a while and gingerly a couple of the kittens would get close to her, and would run back to their safety again. We knew she would be ok and safe if she stayed with the rest of the kittens.  By the following morning she was one of the family, and being allowed milk from Meeny and Mo like the rest were.

Outsider is the slighter larger, black'ish cat on the left.

Stuck well in, and in the middle

So that's how the little girl came into our lives.  I'm sorry that should have been a blog post in its own right but I've had a bit of a difficult sumer health wise, and I'm just so behind however I'm feeling so much better now, I'm going to try my very best to get you all up to date.  You'll be sick of my posts soon!

As most of you know we have holiday rentals where we live, and because we hadn't named this years kittens, for the simple reason that 4 of them were almost identical and there were NINE of them, so most of our guests would tell us the names they gave them. This little kitten  had be named 'Outsider' by one guest, as of course she was, and the name stuck.

Outsider visits the new baby alpaca

Our little Outsider was a gorgeous girl, extremely pretty as looked though someone had dabbed a little bit of orange on her black fur, and she had the loudest strangest meow I have ever heard of in a cat, let alone a kitten.  She was very tactile and was one of our cuddliest kittens. Suddenly one morning in the beginning of October, we found heartache yet again!

I was out with Carlos and  Miliko on the big terace, and I heard a noise.  I thought at first it was one of the chickens in what we call the indoor outdoor garden.  Once they are let out of their chicken room they roam where ever they like.  Apart from too close to the dogs, they're not daft! Miliko was very intersted in what or who was making the strange noise.  He stood trying to see through the window with his one leg that's shorter than  the other just dangling, bless him.  I looked and spotted Outsider lying on the table,  nothing unual there but I could see there was something not quite right about her. 

Ok now this is where it be comes rather like a horror film.  I have decided to be totally honest about what happened, so please think about if you want to read the details of our dear little Outsiders final hours, or hour!

I rushed round to see her and I could immediately see something was wrong, but I couldn't tell what. She was fine the evening before when I fed them all. My mind was racing.  Did she have a chest infection? Had she hurt herself?  She she eaten something poisonous? I called to Alan and explained something wasn't right with Outsider. He realised straight away also.  I picked her up in my arms and she slumped over to one side, so I tried laying her on the floor.  She seemed to have no strength in her legs.  We felt her all over and couldn't work out what if anything was painful.  All the time she was making an awful crying noise.  The other kittens wanted to see her but we managed to keep them away. We were nervous she may have had a disease that could possibly wipe them all out!

Alan suggested we take her into the casita in a bucket with a blanket.  We thought she was dying and it was just a matter of time.  We were gutted! Alan phoned Andres to see if we could take her to the surgery but he was out and he would be back later.  We would do what we could to keep her calm and relaxed and of course help if at all possible.  We tried her with a little water in a syringe in case she had heat stroke and was dehydrated. She took it and she began to try and be sick although nothing came up. She was clambering to get out of the bucket to we let her out and she threw herself violently at the wall, and ran around as though she was possessed by something.  I picked her up to try and calm her down but she bit me hard.  I cried out in pain and Alan managed to prise her mouth open to enable me to release my thumb.  She was so desperate and I couldn't help her, what a dreadful feeling that was. We tried a few times with the water hoping that maybe if she was sick the problem would be resolved.  All the time her breathing was becoming more and more laboured. Time was running out... fast! 

Something suddenly clicked.  Could she have something stuck in her throat?  We could not have managed to look until now, now it was near the end.  Alan prised her mouth open.  "I can see something" he said urgently.  At first he wasn't sure if it was a stick or a piece of plastic.  "Quick, get my tweezers!" I replied. He ran and came back with  my tweezers, the inevitable was getting closer, we had only seconds.  He got the tweezers in  and he pulled.  He pulled and pulled, it wasn't coming out. At the moment she stopped breathing, we were too damn late!  Why oh why hadn't I thought of that before!  Although I know we wouldn't have got her to open her mouth. She was gone, but there was still the thought if we could get out the foreign body out maybe she would begin to breath again. So I held her tightly and Alan pulled.  We then realised that there had actually been a   nasty smell around her, but we couldn't work out what it could be, then we realised .... the foreign object was in fact a dead mouse.  What Alan was pulling was the tail.  Could we still do it? Goodness knows how  big it was, but as Alan pulled as hard as he could the tail came away from the body. That was it, we could do no more.

It really was like a horror film. She was so desperate to tell us she was in distress,  crying and literally throwing herself about, whilst she was slowly suffocating.  It was one of the worst things we have had to deal with.  We realised that even if we had taken her straight to the vet, we would not have made it in time. There are those awful moments though, where you say "What if we had managed to look inside her mouth earlier?" and "what if I had heard her her crying sooner?"  We will never know.  We only know we hope we never have to go through anything like that again. 

When we told our vet what happened he was as philosophical as always and said "As a predator, her hunter spirit was stronger than her. She couldn't avoid to try swallow her prey. It's the Law of Nature. I'm sorry so much. You have done everything was in your hands." 

He always tries extremely hard to find the right words.
RIP Outsider. We loved having you in our lives,  we wish it had been for longer.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Well what a beautiful little surprise!

At very long last we have some awesome news to share. Our big beautiful Bermuda the alpaca, gave birth to a stunning baby girl on the 29th September. 

Now most of our longer term holiday bookings have finished, we are still enjoying overnight and weekend breaks from families living in Spain and wanting a little getaway. That means we  can enjoy a bit of television between guests, for the first time in months. Even though the most exciting channel we can receive by far, is channel 4. The rest are strange programmes with Judge Judy doing her thing most of the day! So on Monday 29th we decided to watch some tv for an hour.  Rumour has it that alpacas give birth in the morning, or up until early afternoon, but Alan checked on Bermuda at 5.30pm ... as you do, and when we  came down at 6.30 he looked out and very calmly said “There’s a baby!”  A baby?  A baby what?  He was so calm he couldn’t possibly mean a baby alpaca? He bloody did!  He grabbed a towel and the iodine, and I grabbed the camera, and the first photo is literally the first moment I saw her.  She was already dry and sat cushed beside her mum.  Bermuda must have had her, moments after we had gone indoors, typical! She  had delivered the placenta too. As we got closer to the cria she leapt up and she walked extemely well, we couldn’t believe it.  Alan and I went inside the paddock to check her cord, and to see what sex she was.  The cord was long but not bleeding, and we were shocked to see it was a little girl.  The only females born to any of our girls have been Lily's two that have died. Once we were happy that all was good we left her with Bermuda and within 2 or 3 minutes of looking for the milk supply, she found it.  

Naming Bermuda's baby was also one of Alan's crowdfunder rewards, and he contacted Russ and told him the good news a couple of days after the baby was born, and when we were feeling positive that everything was going well. After a little while he  came back with the name Gabi.  The story behind it is that Russ is originally from  Brighton in the UK where we were from also.  The nickname of the Brighton and Hove Albion  football team is The Seagulls.  The Spanish word for seagull is 'gaviota' and in Spain you pronounce the 'v' as a 'b' , so she is our little Gabi, and we love it!   

I must admit this last week or so, we have realised that this is so different to Lily’s little fella, Milagro, which still breaks our heart, but we must try, as hard as it is to put that behind us and move on. I have to admit when Gabi was born and Alan disappeared to find the scales, I saw Lily look at Gabi, and it upset me so much, I don't mind telling you I shed some tears.  It was just all too much.  I was worried something would happen to her, plus I knew how broken hearted Lily was, and I could tell the way that she looked at her, she was missing her baby terribly!  

Gabi weighed 7 kilos the day she was born, so not very big, but she is putting on weight beautifully. We are still weighing her every other day, however she's getting stronger now and she's not so keen on  being picked up, although when we do I'm lucky enough to get a nibble on the nose from her.  We are now feeling very blessed!

Since then she has certainly been giving Bermuda the run around! At dusk we like to sit and watch her discretely as she pronks around the paddock.  Chasing kittens, kicking buckets and darting between her mum and Aunite's Lily and Cassandra. I must try and get a video of this, so please check back again in a few days to see if I have been able to add one.

She is a little beauty!