A Happy Ending for Hamish and Dougal – thanks to you!
New photos of Hamish, Dougal and William at Hillside! (August 2013) - thanks to Rich at Hillside. The boys are settling in wonderfully at their new home - thanks only to your generosity and supporter Heidi Stephenson's determination to save them. Read her account of their rescue below.
|The boys at Hillside!||Wonderful William!|
|Handsome Hamish!||Dashing Dougal!|
Hamish and Dougal’s Lucky Escape
Viva! supporter Heidi Stephenson was so touched by the plight of two Highland cattle that she knew she had to save them. She came to us with her plan – and we love it when a plan comes together! With her determination and drive – and your generosity – Hamish and Dougal have arrived at Hillside Animal Sanctuary to start their new lives.
Read Heidi’s message below:
Message to Viva! supporters from Heidi Stephenson:
"Thanks to generous, kind-hearted Viva! supporters (and the wonderful Hillside Animal Sanctuary who have given them a permanent home), Hamish and Dougal finally made their long journey to freedom – and a natural life – on Monday, August 20th.
It all happened a month earlier than expected (due to the timing of their DEFRA TB checks) but everything ran to perfect plan – and the boys were incredibly calm, and well-behaved throughout.
Richard, their driver, (from Manningtree Horse Transport in Essex, who gave the best quote by far, and who were able to offer the boys the most comfortable ride in their deluxe horse-lorry,) arrived here in Totnes on Monday afternoon to rest and pick me up, before we made our way 3 hours west, to Cape Cornwall, where the boys have been living.
To avoid arriving in Norfolk at the crack of dawn, with no-one around, and more importantly to steer clear of both the day-time heat and holiday traffic, we travelled throughout the night, setting off just after 9pm (having loaded the boys as late as possible, under artificial light in their barn in the end, as the light dropped really quickly) – finally pulling into Hillside at 7.05am.
442 miles in a steady 9 hours, quite literally across the country, from coast to coast, (Hillside’s West Runton site, where the boys are now living, is on the sea in north Norfolk) - it was quite something!
Hamish and Dougal were nose to tail throughout, occasionally swapping sides, (which we certainly felt, as they’re big boys now!) but they were surprisingly contented. They had a munch of some haylage periodically, Hamish had a little lie down for a couple of hours, but apart from that they stood, feet firmly planted in their woodchip, backsides pressed to the front carriage, facing out towards the back doors, and swaying in motion with the vehicle. (We had a handy little infra-red camera to watch them on throughout.)
I’d been a bit worried that Dougal might use his horns if he got stressed, and scratch the walls or head-butt his brother perhaps, but he was as good as gold (Even if he did, quite understandably, resist wearing the oatmeal-coloured socks I’d brought along for his tips!).
When we eventually got to West Runton we were greeted by Anne Vincent, the sanctuary manager and the rest of her team (they start work between 6 and 7am) – and the boys were unloaded into a huge, airy, dove-filled barn – to spend their first 21 days in a comfortable quarantine. (Just in case they might happen to have anything that could be passed on to the other sanctuary animals.)
Dougal immediately started exploring, introducing himself across some bars to two old horses who were taking a pasture break to avoid laminitis – and both headed for their water buckets and the fresh piles of hay that had been left out for them. (They got nuts and a heavier feed later that day when their stomachs had had a chance to settle.)
From their barn they can see right out across to a field where there are two old girls of 20 and 18 respectively (a Holstein and an Irish Black) and a little Highlander like themselves, called Tiny. Within a few hours they were all lowing across to each other.
On September 11th they’ll be heading out to their pastures new – a beautiful meadow, bordered by shaded woodland, on the outer edges of the sanctuary, where they’ll join a small herd of 5 other Highlanders initially. (Hillside also has a larger herd of 19, whom they may end up with later.)
Saying goodbye was, of course, incredibly hard. Both the boys came over to have their faces stroked and their foreheads scratched, both of them looked me in the eye as if to say “thank you” - and both of them called out as I headed up the hill to the railway station at West Runton.
It’s been a long, special journey, in more ways than one, but I know that they couldn’t be in better, more caring hands now. May their days be long and happy, thanks to Viva!!"