Chairmans Blog

Chairmans Blog - One Minute Before Midnight

30th December 2014 - By John Hicks

Life has been so busy that I missed the deadline for my blog this week and missed the week before completely. What is more this is going to be brief as I am snowed under with work. I will illustrate just 2 days as an example but these are no exception.

One minute to midnight on Christmas eve the phone rang and I immediately thought it was some idiot waking me to wish me happy Christmas. Thankfully I answered the call and it turned out to be about a cat that had been badly savaged by a dog. Needless to say I immediately got dressed and dashed out to deal with it. The poor creature had in fact been savaged some days before because the wounds were infected with maggots. I gave a pain killing injection and cleaned the wounds the best I could and gave it food and water. I arrived back home just after 2am. Sadly the next day when the vets arrived they decided it the wounds were so badly infected that antibiotics would not help and so they had to put it to sleep.

Later on Christmas day I had a call to say a litter of tiny puppies had been dumped in Mapusa market. On my arrival I found the puppies could not be more than 10 days old as their eyes were barely open. Two of the poor creatures were already dead and the others were in such appalling condition they were as good as dead. At least we were able to save them from further suffering. After all these years it still amazes me that people can be so callous.

I had not long been back home from the Mapusa market call when I had a call to say there was a dog in our village with a very bad maggot wound. After a long search I found the poor creature but it was terrified and although I spent over two hours trying to catch it in the end it ran off into thick undergrowth and I lost it. I have had no reports of it since and by now the poor creature will probably have died.

Tilly safe in her enclosure
Tilly safe in her enclosure

Yesterday the 29th December was another hectic day. I was meant to be in Mapusa market by 8.30 to check for dumped animals and to put up new signs about dumping animals in the market being illegal. However things were not to be! Somehow one of my staff managed to let a monkey escape despite the fact that we have double doors on all the pens to ensure this should not happen. As it was the money that had slipped out as the member of staff went to put her breakfast in was Tilly. Thankfully she is one of the few monkeys that would not attack anyone and so staff safety was not a concern. However like all monkeys she is amazingly intelligent and inquisitive so we had to run round making sure all our phones were locked away and the doors were all shut so she could not get in the house and destroy everything.

There was no worry about her running off because monkeys are very territorial and so this is her home and she would never leave but catching her is a little bit of a problem. She would willingly come up to us for treats but would snatch them so quickly that one stood no chance of grabbing her. For two hours she led us a merry dance and succeeded in breaking one of our bird feeders we have up for the nectar eating sunbirds. After two hours she just ran up to Negesh, one of the staff at the Tree House, and just jumped into his arms as if to say OK I've had my fun I'll go home now!

Bull darted three times to bring it down
Bull darted three times to bring it down

Once Tilly was safely away I went to the centre to deal with a mass of administration with Amit our new CEO who is proving to be a life saver. However before I could deal with a tenth of the things I needed to a call came in about a bull with an injury infected with maggots. We quickly put a team together and went racing off to catch it. This with a bad tempered bull is no easy matter and we decided we had to dart it. The first dart went in with no problem but it did not seem to affect it at all so I had to put a second dart in but again although it made it unsure on its feet it still would not go down. In the end I had to put a third dart in it but even with this it was trying not to give in. This is always a huge worry because it is a very fine line between getting the animal to drop so one can catch it and giving too much that would kill it. Thankfully eventually it did go down and we managed to rush up and get a rope around it before it could recover. We then had the hard task of lifting onto the vehicle to take it for treatment to the centre. In all this operation had taken almost 3 hours and we did not get back to the centre until after 2 pm.

Bull waiting to be put into the vehicle for treatment at the centre
Bull waiting to be put into the vehicle for treatment at the centre

Finally I got down to dealing with the dreaded paperwork but just as I was finishing a call came in about a calf that had serious injuries to its back legs in Candolim. I dashed off to deal with this taking Manthana one of our brilliant young vets. Because of the traffic it took over an hour to get there but when we arrived we found the calf in a pitiful state. The wounds were many days old and infected with maggots. One back leg was obviously broken and the other back leg probably broken but there was thick yellow puss coming out of the wounds, some of which were so bed that the bone was exposed. The suffering of this poor creature was immense and there was clearly nothing we could do other than to ease its suffering by putting it to sleep.

The traffic on the way home was horrendous and after I dropped Manthana home I was stuck in a traffic jam for an hour and did not arrive home until a little before 8pm. As you can see we have had a nice relaxing Christmas period!

Let's hope the New Year is better for all of us, especially for the animals.

All the best