June 23, 2017

A Perfect Send-Off

Posted in Haven Blog tagged , , , , , at 10:18 am by havenoftheheart

Norman was a majestic show jumper that got injured and was retired. He spent 5 years as a ‘riding for the disabled’ horse but unfortunately he became totally lame and was to be put down, at which point I took him on and brought him to the Haven. That was 7 years ago.

In happened one faithful night on June 20, Norman was fine until he decided to roll as he always did, but as he pushed off with his hind legs to stand up, his stifle joint and patella ruptured so once standing he was unable to move. Unable to walk to the barn with his friends for his dinner, we brought dinner to him which included a dozen carrots, three scoops of senior grain, a large bucket of soaked Timothy Alfalfa cubes and two flakes of hay, not to mention the two apples since this would be his last meal.

By the time the vet arrived it was about to get dark and I asked her to give him a strong dose of pain med. Dear Norman was so thoroughly enjoying his food that I did not want to interrupt his pleasure. I asked Dr. Mulder the veterinarian if she would mind waiting until he finished his meal. Two hours of steady munching he was still working away at his ration. It was now approaching 11 p.m. and we knew a final decision had to be made, but not before I drove back down to the barn to bring bales of soft bedding so that he might land softly once the deed was done. Some pre-euthanasia sedation. Norman still nibbling away. Some more sedation but his appetite continued. As midnight drew near a catheter was put into his vein. A series of 60 ml syringes filled with pentobarbital were neatly placed side by side. As I stroked his forehead and kissed his eyes and nose he nudged into me as though he couldn’t get close enough when suddenly he went limp and sat back to drop gently onto the bedding prepared for him.

It was a perfect ending to a perfect retirement for one of the most noble beings I had ever known.

I was very lucky that the vet who arrived was patient, kind and caring. I knew that euthanasia was the only option for poor Norman, while many people just want to get on with the job and get it over with, I felt that Norman had a right to live his death as peacefully and calmly as possible. He too had to resign himself to the inevitable and wind up his life with tranquility and pleasure in a world where he knew he was loved.

So Dr. Amanda Mulder waited patiently, reassuring me that there was no alternative outcome. She treated Norman with the utmost respect and kindness and delivered a smooth painless death with dignity. For that I am truly grateful.

– Ursula


Norman had always loved his food


Norman and Quincy – Best Friends Forever


A video of Norman is on Facebook.

April 16, 2017

Munchkin Matters

Posted in Haven Blog at 5:04 pm by havenoftheheart

A few months ago I took in a kitten that nobody wanted, what else is new?

I named her Munchkin because she was born small and deformed. She has tiny Bassett hound-like legs like a dwarf, but most serious of all, she was born with facial bone deformity. Due to malformation of the facial bone, she could not eat properly and her right eye was forced shut, so technically she was blind in one eye.  In order for her to lead a normal life, she would need facial reconstruction. That was when my “Ursula’s logic” kicked in, of course Munchkin was going to get her operation, even if it drained our struggling budget. Her challenges became my challenges. Munchkin matters!

A highly-skilled veterinary surgeon performed the reconstruction surgery, during which her jaw had to be cut, saliva and tear duct glands had to be relocated. Gold plates were inserted to form eye socket.  It was a highly specialized procedure that was costly but worthwhile.  As you can see from the pre- and post-surgery photos (warning: graphic images), the surgery deemed a huge success.

I hope you share my logic in helping animals, I am very grateful for your well wishes and financial support, your donation is much appreciated.  Munchkin may be small in stature but her will to live towers over all adversities. When Munchkin says she matters, we should all listen. Just look at her now!

“Because they exist they have value and deserve to be here.” ~ Ursula Hart

February 3, 2017

Meet Sylvester The Enforcer

Posted in Haven Blog tagged , , at 6:14 pm by havenoftheheart

He was one of three day old kittens that the local shelter had called me about.

At first I said I could not take them but agreed to take a look anyway. Three tiny kittens, one smokey grey, one tabby/white and one much smaller, black and white, whose head just flopped motionless to one side. The shelter manager asked if I would consider just taking the two stronger ones as she did not think the tiny one would make it. Well… I took all three.

I fed them every half hour, stimulated them and nurtured them. The little black and white whom I named Sylvester was half the size of the others but he was the most demanding and ornery. He loved the bottle once he was strong enough to latch on and was the most vocal and reluctant to give it up. In fact the others were able to lick softened food within a month and were weaned off the bottle at seven weeks but little Sylvester demanded the bottle until he was almost 16 weeks of age. He was grumpy with strangers and bossy with other animals but was attached to me like an apron string.

Eventually all three were adopted out but sadly all three came back one by one for a variety of reasons. I placed them into the cat barn in the hopes of finding them another home. The two brothers, Nigel and Benjamin, adjusted well to the cat barn but Sylvester did not like being one of many. In fact he was much more comfortable amongst dogs whom he was able to keep in line. He would make a point of spending all night sitting by the gate in the outside enclosure wailing miserably until the wee hours of the morning until I’d venture out and bring him into the house where he wanted to stay in my bedroom. Unfortunately it was already occupied by other very old cats whom Sylvester proceeded to tyrannize. Consequently off to the cat barn he would be banished once again.

Patiently he waited, once the old house cats had crossed the Rainbow Bridge, Sylvester finally joined the house gang where he keeps all of the canine clan mustered and in respectful form. After more than a decade and a half, one of his brothers Nigel succumbed to kidney failure but Benjamin and the much smaller but feisty Sylvester still toddle on keeping us all entertained and on our toes.

Beware of Cat – Sylvester The Enforcer is on duty!


January 17, 2017

I am strong when I’m on your shoulders

Posted in Haven Blog tagged , , , at 3:17 pm by havenoftheheart

urshenryHenry has been with us for MANY years charming visitors with his extreme affection, clinging to shoulders, nibbling on ears and hair and giving plenty of wet kisses with his tongue. Sadly Henry succumbed to kidney failure late last night just a few minutes before midnight. He was next to me on a pillow.

Henry had been battling this old age ailment on and off for several years. We used to feed him a very costly liquid diet designed for renal failure cats but for no known reason the manufacturer halted its production. In spite of fluid therapy and constant monitoring Henry’s frail body succumbed. There’s a rift in my heart.

Oddly I had a call from a rescuer in North Cyprus quite early this morning asking for help in relocating 57 cats as she is returning to Canada and has only space for her dogs. We will try to help her find homes for them. If there’s a Henry look-alike amongst the group I know where he’ll end up.

Rest in peace, my darling boy.

December 21, 2016

Osmo’s Christmas Wish Has Come True!

Posted in Haven Blog tagged , , , , , , at 3:25 pm by havenoftheheart

A Forever Home at last!!!

Osmo came from Northern Ontario and made his way south back in May, since then his life has been in limbo until now. Osmo was first placed in a local shelter but staff soon realized that a shelter was not the right environment for him. This boy was full of anxiety, terrified outdoors and unfortunately had issues that needed to be addressed. After six weeks of searching, a wonderful rescue group in Milton stepped up, took him into their care and placed him in foster. Unfortunately, this little guy is an extreme flight risk and that is exactly what he did, he bolted from his foster home and was on the run for nearly 2 months.

We never gave up hope. There was a lot of support from the community where he went missing with search and rescue efforts. There were Denise Gillis, Laura McKibbon Caron and wonderful people from AID 4 Paws, France Lajeunesse and Helena Brown, just to name a few, whose tireless efforts in locating and securing Osmo were phenomenal. The effort finally paid off and Osmo was rescued off the street. Another hurdle overcome.

Next hurdle: At this point, the rescue group had no more available fosters but they graciously surrendered Osmo into our care at Haven of the Heart, where our volunteer Erika Longman fostered Osmo and helped him along with his fear issues, prepping him for a chance of a forever home.

To make a long story even longer, we want to thank the people who have had a “paw” in helping Osmo get to his safe haven and ultimately his new loving home. So, thank you to the staff at Caledon Animal Shelter for looking after Osmo for six weeks while they searched for a rescue group to take him in. Thank you to the Milton rescue who pulled him from the shelter, vetted him and fostered him for 7+ weeks. Thank you, Erika for fostering and training him, Denise for tirelessly doing home checks no matter how far they were from her home. Last but not least, thank you to Pam and Matt for taking on a special-need dog, welcoming him into their lives and loving him for who he is.

It’s been a long tough journey for Osmo the dog, but love finally conquered all. Osmo is home!

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