December 24, 2014

The Spirit of Christmas

Posted in Haven Blog tagged , , , at 1:10 pm by havenoftheheart


“Give me not delightful baubles

Nor splendor to enthrall me

Give me but a world in which

The hush of peace will call me

To share in love and brotherhood

The wonders of this earth

And with all of God’s dear creatures

The glory of His Birth.”

May the spirit of Christmas be with you not just throughout the Festive Season, but for all the days to come.

Love, Ursula Hart and the Haven waifs


December 22, 2014

Tinsel – A Christmas Tail

Posted in Haven Blog tagged , , , , at 2:21 pm by havenoftheheart

(From the Haven’s Archive 1991)

If dogs had nine lives, then Tinsel has only eight to her credit.  Tinsel was one of five tiny four-week old pitbull terrier pups found in a farmer’s field.  The pups were clinging to the frozen body of their mother, who had been shot.  A caring neighbour brought us the pups in early December 1991.

Having been deprived of proper care, these little pups were severely emaciated and full of parasites.  With treatment this can easily be rectified.  After several dewormings and plenty of good food, all the pups grew rapidly and became the picture of health – all except Tinsel. Her body remained gaunt but her potbelly grew and grew. I knew that something was terribly wrong, so off to the vet she went.

Numerous blood tests, X-rays and ultrasound revealed nothing conclusive except an extraordinary high white blood cell count.  The only solution would be expensive exploratory surgery. Although the tiniest of the lot, Tinsel was so full of energy and love that I could not deny her a chance to live.  I knew she wanted to live!

The surgery revealed an abscess the size of a grapefruit behind the umbilical cord. An infection must have set in when she was born and left untreated, it continued to spread. To make things worse, the abscess ruptured during surgery, filling the entire abdominal cavity with the most putrid, fowl smelling pus.  Both vets who wereperforming the surgery, turned to me and pleaded with me to allow them to let her go. “There is no hope! It will take well over an hour to clean her up.  She’ll never make it!  Even if she were to pull through the surgery, she’ll be dead in the morning.”

But their pleadings and rationalization met a deaf ear.  I saw Tinsel breathing steadily and I remembered the twinkle in her eye.  I could not allow anyone playing God with the life of this little puppy.  Had God wanted her to die, it would have happened before she came to the Haven. Over and over I heard them say to me: “Do you realize how much this is going to cost? And she’ll never pull through! Just think of what youcould do with all that money!” I did think. I thought of Tinsel. I did not see this as failure, but as a victory half won.  “She’ll make it” was my reply.

And make it, she did, with flying colors.  To this day the two vets at the nearby clinic still call it the Christmas Miracle.  Tinsel has since been adopted out to a wonderful home along with her littermate, Tweedy.  The last time that I saw her, she was a compact, turbo-charged puppy, who had grown from a tiny handful to a whopping seventy pounds.

My little Tinsel was undoubtely my most expensive but also my most treasured Christmas present ever.  Merry Christmas, Tinsel!


Tinsel (1991 – 2005)

December 21, 2014

Warm Thoughts on a Winter Day

Posted in Haven Blog tagged , , , , , , at 1:59 pm by havenoftheheart


Dearest Friends,

As I write this note, snow is falling softly, casting a white veil on our reposing earth. The dogs are anxious to head out to play while the cats are watching from their cozy beds near the hearth. Only the arrival of bold blue jays at the feeders persuade them to leave their plush beds and line up at the windows, tails quivering and mouths trembling.

Many thanks for your generosity to our waifs. Your donations are greatly appreciated. Please note our new mailing address as 1219 Concession Road 3 Adjala, R.R.1, Palgrave, Ontario L0N 1P0. Yes indeed we have relocated every one of our nearly 300 waifs to a larger and newer facility just around the corner. It was a gargantuan task that look many months to complete and is slowly coming to fruition. We have wonderful new buildings for our horses and farm animals and cozy new places for our cats and dogs. By Christmas we should have a large riding arena completed which we will use as a loafing arena for our very old horses during foul weather conditions. This way they can exercise themselves without being exposed to freezing rain and blustery winds. It shall be a dream come true.

It’s been a good year all in all even though we did lose a number of our canine and feline geriatric babes. Winston, a flame and white tabby and Dexter, a long-haired grey and white were both in their mid 20’s when they passed on. TomTom, a feral tom cat who befriended me several years ago whilst in need of medical treatment has had a relapse. His tumor has returned and his recovery lies in limbo. In early spring we said goodbye to my beloved sidekick Ben, a beautiful shepherd collie who had been with me since 1998. Then in October my most beloved little Jack Russell, Bullseye succumbed to renal failure. He had been with me since the mid ’90s. Bully had a most colourful history of adoptions and returns that ranged from brief overnighters to several months at best. Although Bully gave the impression of being the most endearing little pup, he was all terror when challenged and would fight to the death if confronted. I could devote an entire book to the little gaffer’s antics that would always culminate with his return to us. After at least half a dozen unsuccessful adoptions and the most unbelievable tales of woe I decided to keep the little imp with us at the Haven where he obviously wanted to be. He was always there, happy, tail wagging, bouncing into our arms. He had a good long life with us and its hard to think of him as gone.

Our adoptions have been slow but steady. It isn’t always easy to find new homes for aging pets. Thanks to one of our volunteers, Mimi who manages our website, our animals can be viewed online. Mimi is not only a good friend of many years but also a longtime owner of numerous haven waifs.

Once again my most heartfelt gratitude for your kind assistance. Blessings and love from all furry, feathered, two and four legged waifs and their human keepers.

– Ursula

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