Tower Hill Stables – Awesome Sanctuary!

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Happy Birthday Luke

Chapter 24 continues from last week:

As soon as the red car turned out of the cul-de-sac Luke ran home to get his rucksack.  He grabbed harnesses and leads from the hook in the kitchen and tossed them to Joe.

“Can you put these on Curly and Squirt?”  Dudley started barking and wagging his tail.  “Sorry boy, not this time.”  He hitched his heavy rucksack onto his back and returned to the garden for the sheep.  He was in such a hurry he didn’t close the door properly and Dudley followed him out.

Joe handed Luke the leads.  “Are you sure about this?”

“Got no choice,” he said sadly, “gotta keep Curly and Squirt safe.”  Dudley jumped up and pleaded to go with them.

“Not this time boy, I’m sorry.”  He crouched down to give his dog a hug.  “Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon.  Look after Scratcher for me okay?” Dudley licked his knee.  Luke looked at Joe. “Stay in touch on the walkie-talkies.”

He led Dudley back into the kitchen and closed the door properly, but before he could make his getaway, he heard Dad’s car.

“They’re home!” He snatched up the leads and looked frantically for somewhere to hide.

“The garage!” said Joe.

Thankfully the side door wasn’t locked but getting them all in was easier said than done.  Partially blocking the doorway was some kind of large structure, covered in an old sheet.  They heard Mum and Dad’s voices; they heard the gate hinges squeak.  There was nothing they could do but give up.  Luke tucked his rucksack behind the rose bush just as his parents entered the garden.

“Oh, you’ve seen it!” said Mum, disappointed.

“Seen what?”

“He hasn’t,” said Dad, peering over their heads through the open door, “it’s still covered.”

Luke looked back at the mysterious structure.  “What?”

Mum and Dad smiled at each other and then at Luke.  “Happy Birthday.”

Luke looked at Joe.  He’d completely forgotten.

“Happy Birthday Luke,” said Joe with a big grin.

“Did you remember?”

“No,” he laughed.

Luke looked back at his parents, “but it’s not my birthday ’til tomorrow.  Is it?”

“No, but we thought we’d do it today because I’ve got to work tomorrow.  Is Jared home?”

“Yeah, he’s upstairs.”

“I’ll get him,” said Mum.

“I’ll get the stuff out the car,” said Dad.

“Presents from Aunt Clara?” asked Luke.  He was surprised because Aunt Clara usually just sent a card.

“Not exactly,” said Dad as he disappeared through the open gate.

Luke didn’t know what to think.

When everyone was back, Dad put two boxes on the ground in front of him.  “Happy Birthday Luke,” he said again, and stood back.  “Open them.”

Luke stepped forward and did as he was told.  Inside each box were two red hens.  He stared at them in disbelief. “But you said no.”

“I had to,” said Mum, “we wanted it to be a surprise.”

The chickens climbed out of their boxes and one of them chased Dudley back into the kitchen.

“And that’s not all,” said Dad. “Marian, Jared, Joe, follow me please.”

Joe looked at Luke, shrugged and then followed the rest of them into the garage.  Luke removed the sheep’s harnesses and crouched down to introduce himself to the new chickens.

“Try to herd them to the bottom of the garden,” said Mum, “I’m opening the gate wide.”

Luke did his best but with little success.  He could get one to head in the right direction, but as soon as he returned for another the first one would run back towards the house.  As it turned out, though, that didn’t matter.  What happened next sent them all running towards the damson patch at top speed, closely followed by Curly and Squirt. Through the wide open gate came four people slowly carrying a large, wooden triangular prism. They bent their knees and lowered it onto the concrete base vacated by the old greenhouse.

“It’s a chicken house!” said Mum excitedly, “Dad made it.”

“You made it?” Luke was overwhelmed.  “All by yourself?”

Dad laughed.  “Yes.  It took me a while but, yes, all by myself.”

“It’s marvellous,” said Luke, walking around the new house, running his hand along the smooth wood.  “Absolutely marvellous.”

“Glad you approve,” said Dad.  He looked at Mum and smiled.

“Thanks Dad,” said Luke warmly.  “I love it!”

“Can we see inside?” asked Mum.

“Yes.  Okay.  You unbolt these and then you use these handles to lift this off.”  Dad detached one end of the house so that a person could climb inside if he crouched.  “These shelves are the nesting boxes – you fill them with soft wood shavings – and they can perch on the front of them when they go to bed.  They’ll be able to see out the window from there.”  Dad was proud of the house, Luke could tell.  “Put shavings on the floor as well and then it’ll be easy to sweep out in the mornings.”

“Easy,” Luke agreed.

“When it’s all clean you put the end back on by slotting it in like this.  Here, you have a go.”

Luke tried but it was too heavy.

“That’s alright, I’ll help you,” Mum promised.

“And then, when that’s bolted back on, you leave the hatch open all day so the chickens can come and go as they please.  Close it at night when they’ve gone to bed to keep predators out.”

Luke nodded.  “I will.”  He couldn’t stop grinning.

“Now, about Curly and Squirt,” said Dad, and Luke’s face fell.  “I’ve spoken to Fred and you were right, they can’t go back to the allotments.” Luke held his breath.  “So they’ll have to stay here.”

Luke could hardly believe it.  “Really?”

“Yes. We’ll make the old shed into their stable.”

Luke looked at Joe.  “Good idea,” he said tentatively.

“And the damson patch really isn’t big enough for them so they can share the whole garden with the chickens.”

“Really?  What about your flowers?”

“Well, as your mum pointed out, I’ve still got the front garden.”  Mum squeezed his hand.

“Thank you thank you thank you,” said Luke, “this is the best birthday ever!”

Dad nodded.  “You’re very welcome.”

Luke gazed at the new chicken house.  “How many chickens would fit in here?” he asked.

“The plan said up to twelve,” said Dad.

“Marvellous,” said Luke, “absolutely marvellous.”

And they all lived happily ever after 😀

If you’re late to the party and want to catch up, you can find all the Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er chapters here 🙂

Have a great day ❤ 

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vegan, vegan children, veggie kids, animals, animal rights, juvenile fiction, chickens, sheep, vegan children’s story, animal rescue, birds,

Ten past four

For the whole story click here 😀

Chapter 24 continues:

Isabel peered through the shed window and smiled.  “Looking good!” she said.

“What time is it?”  Luke was slightly anxious.

“Ten past four,” said Isabel.

“Where the heck is Tania?  She said she’d be here by three!”

“Actually, you told her to be here by three.  What she actually said was, I don’t know how long it’ll take.”

“Well she didn’t say it would take this long!”

Joe came out of the house.  “I’ve just seen Jared from your bedroom window.  He’s at the bottom of the cul-de-sac!”

“Quick! Into the shed!” said Luke, panicking.

Isabel didn’t move.  “We haven’t done anything yet,” she said, “there’s no need to hide.”  At that moment her phone received a text.  “It’s Tania.  She says they’re five minutes out.”

“Joe, go and see where Jared is!”

“You go and see where Jared is.”

Luke went to see where Jared was and got to the back door just in time to hear the front door slam.  He stepped quietly into the kitchen and listened.  Jared’s heavy boots took the stairs two at a time and within seconds of them reaching the top, loud music blared from his room.  Luke ran back to the damson patch.

“It’s alright.  He’s in his room with his music on.“

“What if he looks out his window?” asked Joe.

“He won’t.  Look, his curtains are drawn.  He’s obivlious.”

Isabel resisted the temptation to correct him and smiled.  “I can hear a car!”

They all ran out into the cul-de-sac.  Tania’s dad’s car had just pulled up.  Mr Spriggs and Tania got out and Luke approached them hurriedly.

“Hello.”

“Hello,” said Mr Spriggs brightly, “you must be Luke,” and he stretched out his right hand.  Luke smiled and shook it without saying anything.

Tania was beaming.  “Shall we take the chickens through?” she asked.

“Yeah, quick as we can,” said Luke, “this way.”  Tania handed one box each to her eager friends and they carried them carefully up the drive towards the back garden gate.

“Would you mind if I use your toilet?” asked Tania’s dad.

“Daaad!”

Mr Spriggs ignored his daughter and looked hopefully at Luke.

Luke couldn’t risk anyone going inside and alerting Jared.  “Er, sorry,” he said, “I don’t have a key to the house.”

“You don’t?”

“No.  I did have one, but I dropped it when I was … when I went…” he said, awkwardly.  “I don’t know where I dropped it.”

“Oh.”

Joe felt bad for the man.  “I saw on telly that it’s good for compost heaps.”

Mr Spriggs raised his eyebrows, “and you’ve got a compost heap?”

Luke pointed to the far end of the garden and Mr Spriggs ran down there.

“Oh good grief!” said Tania to her shoes.

Isabel looked at her watch.  Half past four.  “Come on,” she said, “let’s show the chicks their new home.”

They were beautiful.  Three of them were orange and gold, with red crowns.  One of them was a soft grey and the other a dark red-brown with black at the tips of her feathers.  As soon as they were out of their boxes they ran away to explore.  The one with black-tipped feathers seemed to be the boldest.  Wherever she went the others followed, but if any of them got too close to her she reprimanded them with a quick peck to the head.

“We should call her Boudicca,” suggested Tania.

Curly and Squirt were very interested in the newcomers but when they approached for a closer look, Boudicca saw them off with a squawk and a frenzied flap of her wings.  The grey hen kept getting told off too.

“Aw, poor baby,” said Isabel, “they’re picking on her.”

“She’s alright,” said Joe, “Look – she’s keeping her distance from Boudicca and Frosty now.”

“Frosty?”

“The one with the white face.”

“Okay,” Isabel smiled, “and the grey one’s Millie.”

“Why?”

“I just like it.”

“What shall we name the other two?”

Everybody looked at Luke.

He grinned.  “Kes and Neelix.”

“Neelix is a boy’s name,” said Tania.

“Doesn’t have to be,” argued Luke.  “Neelix is the speckled one.  She looks like Neelix.”

Mr Spriggs watched from the other side of the fence.  “A splendid bunch,” he said smiling.  “You’ve got them a nice set-up here.”

“Thanks,” said Luke, “thanks for pickin’ ’em up for us.”

“You’re very welcome.  I hope your mum feels better soon.  Is she back from the hospital yet?”

“Er, no.”  Luke glanced anxiously at Isabel who mouthed ‘ten to five’.  “But I think she might be home any minute an’ she told me in no certain terms that I have to be quiet and not have any friends round when she gets back.”

“Quite right!” said Mr Spriggs, “come on Tania, let’s make a move.”

“Er, can I cadge a lift?” asked Isabel.

“Of course.”

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This chapter concludes on Monday but if you don’t want to wait you can finish it by clicking here now 😀

Have a great weekend 😀 

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vegan, vegan children, veggie kids, animals, animal rights, juvenile fiction, chickens, sheep, vegan children’s story, animal rescue, birds,

Getting the chickens

For the story so far click here 😀

Chapter 24 continues:

Tania’s dad pulled in to the car park at Butcher’s Field, the ironically named rendezvous for the chicken rescuers.

“You wait here,” said Tania, “I’ll go and get the chickens.”

“Where from?”

“I’ll ask the woman with the clipboard.”

“Alright.  I’m going to look for the toilets,” said her dad, “I’ll be back in a few minutes hopefully.”

“A toilet Dad, not a tree,” she reminded him.

He laughed and they went their separate ways.  When she reached the clipboard woman, Tania waited a polite distance behind the man who was talking to her, but she still couldn’t help overhearing their conversation.

“You a bit thin on the ground this year?” he asked.

“Yeah, because of the charge,” the woman told him.

“What charge?”

“She’s charging for them now.”

“Really?”

“Yes unfortunately.  She didn’t charge before.  Just wanted to save them.  But now she says she can’t afford to keep letting them go for nothing.”

“Why?  What brought that on?”

“She says she’s losing money ’cause she could get at least 50p each for them if she sent them to slaughter.”

“No!”

“Yep.  Nine thousand birds at 50p each is £4,500!”  The man just frowned and shook his head.  “So she tells us she wants to charge people for them, thinks it’s perfectly reasonable, and who can’t afford 50p?  But of course that’s not what we signed up for.  We don’t want to fund animal farming.  You pay to release one animal and that money’s used to enslave another.”

“Exactly.”

“But if we say no, there’s thousands of birds we could have saved going to slaughter.  So we had a vote and decided, fourteen to six, in favour of going ahead.  The six who voted against it resigned from the group.”

The man shook his head again.  “So you’ve had to raise another four and a half thousand on top of your usual costs?”

Clipboard woman nodded.

“You’re an amazing woman Sheila,” he said, “I don’t know how you work with someone like that.”

“When you have to, you do,” she said, smiling.

He started to turn away but she reached out and touched his arm.  “Er, Mike.”

“Yeah?”

“That’s just between us okay?”

He nodded, “see ya Sheila,” and walked away.

Tania approached.

“Hello love,” said the woman.  She looked tired but she smiled.

Tania smiled back and gave her name.  The woman looked down her list.

“You’re taking five?” she asked.

“That’s right.”

The woman looked around.  “You on your own?”

“No,” said Tania, “my dad’s here.  That’s our car over there.  The red one.”

“Have you brought carriers?”

“No sorry, we didn’t know …”

“That’s okay, we’ve got boxes,” the woman smiled again.  “You wait by the car and someone will bring them over in a minute.”

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Story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait, you can read it here now 😀

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vegan, vegan children, veggie kids, animals, animal rights, juvenile fiction, chickens, sheep, vegan children’s story, animal rescue, birds,

Wandering off

For all the Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er chapters, click here 😀

Chapter 24 continues from Tuesday:

Mum smiled.  “Looking good.  Do you want some furniture?  I’ve got a couple of deck chairs and a coffee table you can have.”

“Yeah, maybe,” said Luke, smiling, “thanks Mum.”

“I’ve got some old curtains as well, if you want privacy,” she offered.

“Why? You can’t see in the shed window from the house can you?”

“No, of course not.”

“Okay, good.”

“So you do want privacy.  Top secret stuff is it?”

“No, course not, well …. we just don’t wanna be watched, that’s all.”

“I quite understand,” said Mum, trying to suppress a smile. “Do you want lunch?  I could bring some sandwiches down here if you like.”

Luke shook his head.  “Thanks, yeah, but no, we’ll come up to the house for ’em.”

******

FRIDAY 13 JUNE

When Luke got home from school there was no one else there.  The house was silent.

“Dudley? D’you want to go outside?” he asked when he stepped into the kitchen.  The clang of an upended stainless steel water bowl was preceded by the sound of four clawed paws hitting the floor.  Dudley was at the back door in seconds.

As they walked to the allotments Luke and his oldest friend talked everything over.  Well, Luke talked, Dudley couldn’t get a word in edgeways.  Luke had always been grateful for good listeners.  The best, he’d found, were those who didn’t try to push their own opinions into the discussion; those who let him get out all his jumbled thoughts and feelings without comment or judgement; those who just listened.  That left Mum out.  And Dad.  At one time Luke’s first port of call when he needed to clear his head or puzzle a dilemma was the damson patch.  The rabbits’ listening skills were second to none.  Sadly Ash and Rusty had grown old and passed away in recent months.  Scratcher was still around but she’d moved into the house for company and was often so busy rearranging soft furnishings that it was hard to get her undivided attention.  That very morning she’d spent half an hour dragging the back doormat into the dining room.  She seemed to prefer it there, no one knew why.  Thankfully Dudley was always ready to lend an ear.

“Tomorrow’s C-Day,” said Luke, as if Dudley didn’t already know.  “Mum an’ Dad are goin’ to London to help Aunt Clara move so that’s perfect timing.  We should be able to get the chickens all tucked in before they get back.  As long as Tania’s dad gets ’em here in time.  She told him to go early but he said it was a long drive so he doesn’t know how long it’ll take.”

Tania had told her dad a white lie.  She didn’t want to but Luke reminded her the chickens would be killed if she didn’t.  She told him that Luke’s mum had an ingrowing toenail and his dad had to take her to hospital to have it removed so they wouldn’t be able to pick up the chickens they were adopting.  She asked him if he’d mind doing it instead and he kindly agreed. Tania’s dad had never met Luke’s parents and with any luck he never would.
Luke arrived with Dudley at the allotments, unlocked the gate and walked between the immaculate plots en route to his own.  The weird thing was, some of them didn’t look quite as immaculate as usual. What was yesterday a neat row of cabbages, now looked as though it had been trampled by a football team.  Some were strewn across the path and a couple of them had rolled under someone else’s bean poles.  The carrots on an adjacent plot had also been rudely and prematurely unearthed.  Dudley attempted to investigate but Luke wouldn’t let him.

“Dudley no!”  Luke wound the lead more tightly around his hand.  “If anyone sees you doin’ that they’ll think you made this mess.  An’ they’ll blame me!”

In fact the blame was fast approaching Luke’s position, as he soon realised.  The trail of destruction led all the way back to his own plot, at which the gate was swinging open.  There was no sign of Curly and Squirt.

“Curly! Squirt!” he called frantically.  He rushed to the shed and looked inside; he looked behind it and under the bushes.  They were gone.  Dudley started sniffing eagerly.  He seemed to be onto something.  “Where are they boy?” Luke let go of the lead.  “Find them boy, find Curly and Squirt!”  Dudley followed his nose across the grass to the open gate, out of the gate and along the path until he arrived back at the scattered carrots.  He loved carrots.

“No!  Stop it Dudley!  We’ve got to find Curly and Squirt!”

“Young man,” Luke was startled by the deep voice behind him.  He turned to face Allotment Committee Man, otherwise known as Mr Fred Tipton.  “I believe these belong to you.”  Mr Tipton offered Luke one end of a long piece of rope.  At its other end stood a very curly haired ewe, accompanied by her son.

“Thank you!” said Luke, “where have you been?” he asked them, “you had me worried sick!”

“Where they’ve been,” said Mr Tipton, “is all over these garden plots.  They’ve done a heck of a lot of damage.”

“I’m really sorry about that,” said Luke, “I’ll put ’em back now.  It won’t happen again.”

“No it won’t because you won’t be keeping them here any more.”

“What?  That’s not fair, it wasn’t my fault!”

“Whose fault was it then?”

“I don’t know.  Whoever opened the gate!”

“Who checked on them this morning?”

“Me.  But I bolted the gate!  I know I did!  I always bolt the gate!”

“You must have forgotten today.”

“I didn’t!” Luke insisted. “Somebody else must have let ’em out!  On purpose to get me in trouble!”

“They’re your responsib…”

“Somebody who wants an allotment!  Whoever’s next on your waitin’ list – they’ve got motive!”

Mr Tipton shook his head.  “I can’t run the risk of this happening again.”

“It won’t,” said Luke pleadingly, “I’ll get a lock, so no one else can open it!  Please don’t make us leave!”

“I’m sorry, the decision’s been made.  No more animals are to be kept on these allotments.”

Luke, Curly, Little Squirt and Dudley walked slowly home.  They cut through the park and Luke racked his brains for inspiration.  Would Mum and Dad let him keep the sheep at home?  After all, the garden was big enough.  And there was nowhere else they could go.  Plus, it wasn’t his fault.  He’d bolted the gate that morning, he knew he had. Someone else had let them out, whatever Mr Tipton said.

Half way across the playing field his cogitation was interrupted by someone calling his name.

“Walker!  Nice sheep!”

A group of boys by the swings laughed but Luke ignored them. He had more important things to worry about.

“Got kicked off the allotments did ya?”  They all laughed again, even louder.  Luke kept walking.

“You should’ve kept the gate shut!”

This voice he recognised.  Luke stopped and looked across at the laughing boys.  At that moment he knew.  Butler did it!

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Story continues on Monday but if you don’t want to wait you can read it here now 😀

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vegan, vegan children’s stories, humour, animals, animal rights, animal rescue, vegan children, veggie kids, vegetarian, animal farming, chickens, birds

Getting ready

For all the Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er chapters, click here 😀

Chapter 24 continues from yesterday:

Joe changed the subject.  “How do we tell them we want to adopt some. Is there an email address?”

“Er, … oh no, it says we have to phone this number.  We’ve got to talk to them.”

“The farmer?”

“No, Wixham Animal Action.”  Isabel was concerned.  “They’re not going to let us adopt without parental consent are they?”

“You do it,” said Luke.

“Me?”  Tania was apprehensive.

“Yeah, you’re good at soundin’ grown up.  Like when you did that impression of Mrs Tyler.  You sounded just like her.”

Tania smiled.  “Okay,” she said, picking up her phone, “what’s the number?”

While she waited for the call to be answered her heart beat hard and fast.  She turned away from the others so they wouldn’t make her laugh.

“Hello?” said the woman who eventually picked up.

“Oh, hello,” said Tania in her best Mrs Tyler voice.  “I would like to adopt some rescued chickens please.”

“Oh great, hang on a minute, let me get a pen. ….. Right, how many can you take?”

“Erm,” Tania looked at the others and mouthed ‘how many?’ but they didn’t understand her.  She put the phone on speaker.

“We like people to take at least three,” the woman advised, “because they’re sociable creatures.  Wouldn’t be happy on their own.”

“Oh yes of course,” said Tania, looking at the others for a sign.

“Shall I put you down for three?” the woman suggested, “or have you got room for more?”

Luke held up his open right hand.

“Five?” said Tania uncertainly.

Luke nodded.

“Five?” asked the woman.

“Yes,” Tania smiled, “five please.”

“Good.  Okay, now do you have a garden and a house for them?”

“A house?”

“A chicken house for them to sleep in.”

“Oh yes, a shed.”

“It’ll need nesting boxes and perches.  And it’ll need to be fox-proof,” the woman explained.

Luke nodded at Tania.

“Yes,” she said, “it will be.”

“Okay then, I’ll just take your name, address and phone number and then we’ll get back to you on the thirteenth to give you a pick up location and time.”

“Pick them up?”

“Yes. Is that a problem?”

“No no, that’ll be fine,” said Tania with feigned confidence.  “Absolutely fine.”

******

SATURDAY 7 JUNE

When the doorbell rang Luke rushed to answer it.

“Expecting someone?” asked Mum.

“Joe and the others.”

“Oh.  Will you be going out?” she called after him.  She’d been hoping to have the house to herself so she could give it a good spring clean.

Luke returned from the front door with his friends in tow.  “We’ll be in the garden,” he told his mother as they headed for the back door, “where’s Dad?”

“Working in the garage.”

“Okay, thanks.”

Mum was relieved until she remembered, “oh but you can’t go in there!” she shouted after him as he approached the garage door.  Luke stopped and looked back as Mum rushed down the garden path in her slippers.  “What do you want Dad for?” she asked, “he’s busy, doesn’t want to be disturbed.”

“Just wanted to borrow a screwdriver.”

“Okay, I’ll get it.  Flathead?”

“Phillips.”

“Okay.”  She entered the garage and closed the door behind her.

“Dad’s a bit grumpy,” Luke explained to his friends.  They nodded.  Moments later Mum emerged with the screwdriver and the Society resumed course for the damson patch.  They entered the shed.

“Not bad,” said Isabel.  “It’s solid.  Bit dusty but we can sweep it out no problem.  This’ll make a good chicken house.”

“Let’s put this on,” said Tania, “where do you want it?”

Luke showed her the hole he’d hammered in the wall years ago to make a door for the rabbits.  “Down here,” he said, moving the boxes that were blocking it.

“Perfect, that’s just the right size,” said Tania, holding the new cat flap up against it.  “Once we’ve got this on, the chickens can go in and out during the day and at night you can lock it closed to keep them safe.”

“Great,” said Luke, smiling, “thanks.”  He handed Tania the screwdriver and she got to work.

The others swept the floor, dusted off the cobwebs and cleaned the window.  In less than an hour, the shed was almost fit for purpose.

“What are you going to do about bedding?” asked Isabel.

“I’ll get straw from the bale in Curly and Squirt’s shed.”

“I thought it was better to use shavings.”

“Straw’s all I’ve got, it’ll have to do.”

“That’ll be fine,” said Tania. “What about nesting boxes?”

“Ahh,” said Luke, smiling.  He opened the door and went outside for a moment.  When he came back he was dragging an old rabbit hutch.  “This was what Butler kept Scratcher in before I rescued her,” he explained.  “When he left it out for the dustmen I went and got it.”  It was in good clean condition.  Luke opened the doors.  “I’ll take the doors off and make a straw bed on both sides.  They can lay their eggs in there if they want to.”

“There’s only room for two though,” said Isabel.

“Three,” said Luke, “I’m sure three of ’em could fit comfortably in there, and they’re not likely to all wanna lay an egg at the same time are they?”

“Actually,” said Joe, “don’t take the doors off.  If you open them wide and fix them open, the chicks can perch on them.”

“Good thinking!” Luke agreed, “What can we fix ’em with?”

At that moment Mum put her head round the door.  “Ready for lunch?” she asked. “Ooh, this looks tidy.  You have been busy.”

“Muuum!  This is a private meeting!” Luke escorted her back outside.

“What are you up to in there?” she asked, “is it going to be your HQ?”

“Er, yeah, that’s right,” it was as good a cover as any.

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Story continues tomorrow 😀

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vegan, vegan children’s stories, humour, animals, animal rights, animal rescue, vegan children, veggie kids, vegetarian, animal farming, chickens, birds

Emergency Meeting

For all the Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er chapters, click here 😀

Chapter 24 continues:

SUNDAY 1 JUNE

An emergency meeting of the Secret Society was held in Luke’s bedroom.

“Did anybody’s parents say yes?” asked Luke. Everyone shook their heads.

“My dad said they’d ruin the garden,” said Tania.

“Yeah, that’s what my mum said,” agreed Isabel.

“Joe?  What did yours say?”

“Didn’t ask them.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

“Why not?” Luke was more than a little affronted.

“To keep ’em at mine I mean, I don’t know what my lot would do to ’em.”

Luke nodded.  “There’s on’y one thing we can do then.”

“What?”

“Keep ’em at mine.”

“I thought your mum said no,” said Tania.

“Yeah but the way I see it, I’ve got the perfect place for ’em: the damson patch.  It’s fenced, it’s got a shed, and the rabbits don’t live there any more.”

“But if your mum said no …”

“It’s really overgrown now so I don’t think they’d notice.”

“They’re bound to tidy it up one day,” warned Joe, “they’ll see ’em eventually.”

“Yeah but not straight away.”

“But when they do – what will you do then?”

“By then I’ll have proved that I’m lookin’ after ’em properly, and still gettin’ all my homework done, and lookin’ after the other animals.  I’ll have proved her wrong so she’ll have to let me keep ’em.”

The others shook their heads again.

“You’ll never get away with it,” said Isabel, “even if you do at first you’ll be in a heck of a lot of trouble when they do find out.”

Luke shrugged.  “I’ve been in trouble before.”

“Ookaay.  It’s your funeral.”  Isabel opened her laptop.  “What’s that address again?”

When they reached Wixham Animal Action’s website, the chicken re-homing appeal was on the front page.

“It says here there’s nine thousand!”

“Nine thousand?  That’s a big farm!  Is it closing down?” asked Tania.

“Erm …. no.  They’re just getting new hens.”

“Why?”

“Says here it’s the law.  Hens can’t be more than seventy two weeks old because after that their eggs aren’t good enough for supermarkets.”

“So they replace them with new ones?”

“Yeah.  Look, it says they would normally go to slaughter at seventy two weeks but this farmer doesn’t want them to be killed.”

“Why is he a farmer then?” asked Luke.  Isabel continued to read silently.  “Why is he a farmer if he don’t like killin’ animals?” Luke asked again.

“She.  Well, they.  It’s a family farm,” explained Isabel.  “Look at this picture – it’s an organic free-range farm.  The chickens look happy don’t they?”

“Yeah but they’re still gonna be killed.”

“Well she’s trying to get them re-homed so they won’t be killed.”

“Let me get this straight,” Luke’s hackles were up.  “These are nice farmers who don’t want their chickens to be killed so every seventy two weeks – what’s that, a year and a half? – they’ve got to find homes for nine thousand birds?”

“Yes.”

“But if they can’t find enough homes they go to slaughter anyway?”

“Yes but that’s why …”

“And then they breed another nine thousand new chickens who are gonna need homes the next year otherwise they’ll go to slaughter as well.”

“Yes.”

“So this’ll happen every other year.”

“Erm, I guess so – yeah, it says here they’ve done it eight times before.”

“And in all that time it never occurred to ’em that the best way to make sure your birds don’t get slaughtered is to stop bein’ chicken farmers!”

Isabel did her best to zone him out while she continued to read.  “Well, the farmer says that most people won’t go vegan so if she closed down her high welfare, organic, free range farm, people would just buy their eggs from low-welfare factory farms and that would be much worse for the chickens.”

“That’s a rather defeatist attitude,” said Tania.

“She says you should blame the consumer not the farmer,” added Isabel, “if consumers didn’t buy them the farmers wouldn’t produce them.”

“Of course,” said Tania, “the farmers are blameless!” and she winked at Luke.  Luke sighed.

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Story continues tomorrow 😀

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vegan, vegan children’s stories, humour, animals, animal rights, animal rescue, vegan children, veggie kids, vegetarian, animal farming

Luke Walker Chapter 24 starts here!

For all the Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er chapters, click here 😀

Chapter Twenty Four:
Rescue

SATURDAY 31 MAY

“Can I wait for you at the park?”

“No.”

“Can I wait at the library?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Because I’m not going to be long.”

“I won’t be long either.”

“Luke.  I’ve just got a couple of things to get in here and then we’re going straight home.  I haven’t got time to run around after you.”

Luke hated shopping.  It was so boring.  “I’m waitin’ outside then.”

“Fine.  But don’t go anywhere.”

The health food shop was small and crowded so he was glad that at least he didn’t have to follow Mum in.  However, time never passed quickly for a person waiting.  After standing there for a couple of minutes he decided to read the posters on the window.  One in particular interested him very much.

As soon as Mum came out of the shop Luke rushed to help her.  “I’ll carry that for you.”

“Oh. Thank you.”  They walked back to the car.  “I got a big peanut butter this time.  You boys get through it so quickly.”

“Great.”

“And I found some mushroom and leek pies that look good.  They’re organic and gluten-free.”

“Great.”

“The shop lady says they’re lovely.”

“I bet they are.”

Mrs Walker was pleased that Luke seemed in a better mood than he was ten minutes earlier but there was something odd about him.  “You alright Luke?” she asked.

“Yeah,” he said absent-mindedly, “jus’ thinkin’ about … the pies.”

“Really?”

“Mmm?  Yeah. ….. Er, Mum?”

“Yes?”

“Can we rescue some chickens?”

“No.”

“I’d look after ’em – you wouldn’t have to do anything.”

“Don’t you think you’ve got enough on your plate?”  He shook his head but she continued.  “You’ve already got Curly and Squirt to look after, and Scratcher, and Dudley.”

“I could do it!”

“Plus you get a lot more homework than you used to.”  She started the car.

“Please!”

“No.”

“They’ll kill ’em if we don’t take ’em!”

“I said no!”

When her son dropped the argument Mrs Walker assumed the matter was settled.  But really, she should have known better.

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Story continues tomorrow 😀

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vegan, vegan children’s stories, humour, animals, animal rights, animal rescue, vegan children, veggie kids, vegetarian

Chickpea runs away!

This story really needs to be told.  Pre-order the book here to help with production costs ❤

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animals, farmed animals, cows, animal rescue, animal rights, books, children’s books, vegan, vegetarian, vegan children’s books, illustrated books, illustrations

 

73 cows

Get a hanky, this will melt your heart 🙂

Thank God for Jay and Katja, may all the animal farmers follow in their footsteps.

And please support Hillside who gave sanctuary to all 73 cows 😀

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/293352305″>73 Cows</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/lockwoodfilm”>Alex Lockwood</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

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vegan, vegetarian, vegan organic, vegan farming, animals, cows, animal rescue

 

Unprepared

For all the Luke Walker stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter 12 continues from yesterday:

*******

They weren’t prepared for what they found.  Parked in the field, alongside the still confined sheep, was a double decker lorry.

The top deck was already full of sheep.  The farmer was there, with his dogs, talking to the lorry driver.  It was clear to the boys what was about to happen.  That’s why they were locked up there.  They were waiting for transport.  Waiting to be taken to their deaths.  Luke and Joe stood frozen at the bus shelter. They dropped their bags of apples.

“The lorry must be late,” said Joe in a husky whisper.

“Why?”

“Coz they haven’t been fed for two days, they must’ve not known it was gonna be that long.”

“It’s not late!” snapped Luke angrily, “look how clean an’ shiny that lorry is!  I bet they don’t wanna get their lorry dirty – they don’t want no poo and wee in their lorry so they don’t let ’em eat or drink before the journey.  Their last journey!”

Joe felt a lump in his throat and his heart ached.

“That’s horrible!” he said desperately, “what can we do?  We’ve got to do something!”

Luke’s eyes started to sting as he watched them send in the dogs to herd the hungry sheep onto the lorry. He picked up the biggest stone he could find and threw it as hard as he could at the lorry’s windscreen across the road.  It missed.

“There’s nothin’ we can do!” he said, grabbing his bag of apples, “unless you’ve got a thousand pounds to pay the farmer for ’em, and a hundred allotments to keep ’em on!”

Still they hated themselves for doing nothing and walked away in silent misery.

***

Friday morning at breakfast, Luke’s dad observed how cold and wet it was.

“It’s big coat weather already,” he told his wife, “it’s amazing how quick the temperature drops once September arrives.”

“Sometimes,” Mum agreed, “it’ll probably be warm again tomorrow.”  She looked at her boys.  “Your big coats need a wash to freshen them up,” she remembered, “so you’ll have to wear an extra jumper under your summer jackets for now.”

“I’m not wearin’ that wool jumper!” said Luke firmly.

“Luke, it’s cold.  If your Dad says it’s cold then you know it is.  He’s usually hotter than the rest of us.”

“Than you,” Dad corrected her.

“Yeah,” Jared agreed, “you’re the one who’s always cold,” he laughed.

“Well then, there you go, so if Dad thinks it’s cold …”

“I’m not wearin’ that jumper!  Take it back an’ get your money back!  We’re not givin’ money to farmers!”

Everyone stopped eating.  Dad was not impressed.

“Luke Eugene Walker, how dare you speak to your mother like that?  Apologise right now!”  He spoke in that slow, quiet, angry way that meant you’d gone too far.  Luke realised he shouldn’t be taking it out on Mum.

“Sorry,” he said quietly, “but I don’t want you to pay money to sheep farmers.  I hate farmers!”

Mum’s response was gentle.

“Luke, clearly something has upset you, but the fact remains, as I told you, that wool isn’t cruel.  It doesn’t hurt them to be sheared.”

Luke tried to explain it to her in a way she would understand.

“It doesn’t make any difference,” he said, “they kill ’em anyway.”

“Not for wool they don’t.  They kill animals for leather but not for wool.”

“They kill ’em anyway,” Luke said again, “they make money out of ’em for wool; then they kill ’em and make money out of ’em for meat.  They kill ’em for money and they’re horrible, nasty, evil, criminal murderers and I don’t want you to give them any of our money!”

Nobody could argue with that.

“Okay,” said Mum, “I’ll take it back today.”

***

Joe gave Luke back the books and pens he’d left in his garden the day before.

“I forgot them last night,” he apologised.

“Me too,” said Luke, taking possession of three brand new, very soggy, text books, and two exercise books in which a lot of his work had dissolved.

“Put them on the radiator,” Joe suggested helpfully.

“Yeah,” said Luke.

The bell rang and they went their separate ways.

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The story concludes on Monday but if you don’t want to wait you can finish it here now 🙂

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vegan, vegetarian, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s books, animals, animal rights, animal protection, animal rescue, vegan children, veggie kids, sheep, sheep farming, wool

A brilliant plan

For all the Luke Walker stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter 12 continues from yesterday:

*******

On their way home from school Luke and Joe discussed the Christmas concert.

“I don’t wanna be in it,” said Joe.

“You could just ‘ave a small part,” Luke suggested, “then we’d be together.”

“Oh yeah,” said Joe, but his heart wasn’t in it.  He was terrified at the thought of being on stage; of being watched by people.  Luke sympathised and racked his brains for a way that Joe could be part of the production without actually having to be on stage.  Then it came to him.

“You could be the scenery painter!” he said with great satisfaction.  “Then you’d ‘ave to be there, paintin’ the scenes while we’re rehearsin’.  Then I could chat to you when it’s not my scene and I could help you.  I could fetch your pens and paints and brushes.  You could tell ’em I’m your assistant so they don’t send me back to lessons when it’s not my scene.”

It was a brilliant plan.  Joe was as happy about it as Luke.

They ducked into Joe’s house for sheep food.  His mum was in the kitchen.

“Hello Joe, oh, and hello Luke.  Are we returning the favour tonight then?” she asked.

“What d’you mean?” said Joe, trying to think of a way to entice her from the kitchen.

“Is Luke staying here for tea today?”

“Oh, er, no. Thank you,” said Luke, “I’ve jus’ come to borra somethin’.”

That gave Joe an idea.

“Yeah, I want to lend ‘im my book about trains,” he said, “ya know, the one Auntie Sue gave me.”

“Okay,” said his mum without looking up from the potatoes she was peeling.

“on’y,” said Joe, tentatively, “I don’t know where it is.  Could you find it for me?”

“Haven’t I got enough to do?” she said indignantly, “what else do you want – shall I tie your shoelaces? Shall I clean your teeth for you?”

Joe shook his head.

“Find it yourself you cheeky beggar!” she concluded, and that was that.

The boys stepped back outside.  It was no use.  She’d started the dinner which meant she’d be in there for at least another hour.

“Sorry,” said Joe, “we’ll have to get somethin’ from yours again.”

“There’s nothin’ left to take,” said Luke, “Mum said we’ll have to have tinned veg ’til she can get to the shops again and coz she thinks I took it for Curly and Squirt and the damsons – typical! They always blame me! – she won’t let me watch telly for a week!”

The boys looked at each other and thought hard.  There had to be a way to get something to eat for those poor starving sheep.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” said Luke, not for the first time.  Then he had a thought.  An idea.  A good one.  It might be tricky but it was do-able.

“Remember that farm behind the pony field, next to the rec?”

“Yes,” said Joe.

“They grow salads and things, in them plastic tunnels.”

“Mmm,” said Joe, nervously.

“So, I’ve seen ’em, them tunnels, all they ‘ave to do is water ’em twice a day.  The rest of the time there’s no one in ’em.”

“But they’ve got them big dogs,”

“Okay, well, we’ll take a couple o’ dog toys, and then you can distract …”

Joe shook his head.

“I don’t want to distract.”

“Okay, I’ll distract ’em and you can go into the tunnels to get the salad.”

“That’s stealin’.”

“To save lives!” Luke reminded him, “and anyway, they’ve prob’ly got hundreds o’ lettuces and cucumbers, they won’t miss a few.”

Taking Joe’s silence as tacit consent, Luke continued.

“First, we’ll go to mine to get the dog toys; and a bag; then we’ll go to the farm and I’ll climb in to play with the dogs; as soon as I’ve got their ‘ttention, you sneak into the …”

Joe laughed.

“What?” said Luke, annoyed that his great plan was a source of amusement.

“Look over there,” said Joe, pointing to the bottom of his garden.

There stood two heavily laden apple trees.

“Or,” said Luke, “we could take some apples.”

They emptied the contents of their school bags behind the water butt and replaced them with apples. With no time to lose, they headed to the muddy paddock.

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The story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole chapter here now 🙂

**********************************

vegan, vegetarian, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s books, animals, animal rights, animal protection, animal rescue, vegan children, veggie kids, sheep, sheep farming, wool

Make sure no one’s watching

For all the Luke Walker stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter 12 continues from yesterday:

*******

When they got to the bus stop they stood under the shelter and looked carefully in every direction to make sure no one was watching.  Then they hurried across the road and emptied their bags into the muddy paddock.  The sheep didn’t trust the boys and they crowded against the opposite fence.

“These’ll give ’em water as well as food,” said Luke, “I hope they like ’em.”  He was a little disappointed that they didn’t seem too keen to tuck in.

“I think they’re frightened of us,” Joe suggested, “p’rhaps we should go back over the road and watch from there.”

Luke agreed and within a few minutes the sheep bravely and hungrily partook.  The boys were extremely relieved.

“That’s good,” said Joe, “we’ll jus’ feed ’em every day ’til they let ’em out.”

“Yeah, but tomorrow we’ll get the food from your house or my mum’ll catch on.”

“Okay.”

Then they went to visit Curly and Squirt, before popping in to Joe’s house to tell his mum that he was going to tea at Luke’s.

***

On Thursday Mr Beardsley said that Year 5 were going to be responsible for the Christmas concert this year.  He said they were going to put on a musical production of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

“… so for any of you who are aspiring singers or actors, the auditions are being held on Friday after school.”

This was interesting.  It was a good story.  The Muppet Christmas Carol was one of Luke’s favourite films.  He’d never thought of himself as an actor and the idea of performing did not really appeal to him. However, when Jared was in the school play a couple of years ago he said they had to rehearse so much that he missed loads of lessons.

“What parts?” he blurted out suddenly without thinking.  Mr Beardsley was writing on the board.

“I’m sorry?”

Luke felt a bit embarrassed.

“er, sorry, what parts are in the play?”

“Oh, er, well, lots.  Scrooge, Scrooge’s nephew, Bob Cratchit, the Spirits, Tiny Tim, …”

“They’re all boy parts,” said Tania Spriggs, one of the new girls.  She was understandably disgruntled.

“Oh, there’s lots of girls’ parts too,” said Mr Beardsley, trying to think of one. “Oh, er, there’s Mrs Cratchit, and er, the Cratchit daughters, and Scrooge’s sister, Scrooge’s nephew’s wife,” he was on a roll now.  But then he realised he wasn’t.  He couldn’t think of any more.

Tania huffed.

“The wife, the sister, the daughter!  All minor roles!” she said, dispirited, “I look forward to a school play with a strong female lead!”

“I tell you what, talk to Ms Robinson at the auditions.  She’s adapting the story into a script so I’m sure she’ll make sure there’s plenty of good roles to be had for both sexes.”

Luke gave it some more thought.  He liked the idea of being one of the spirits.  The really scary one.

Mr Beardsley resumed writing on the board.  Maths.  Again.  Luke pictured himself as the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come.  He’d have a long, black, hooded cape; his face would be painted white with black cavernous eyes; he’d have sharp talons for fingernails and …

“Luke. What’s next?”

Luke, brought abruptly from his reverie, had no idea what was being asked of him.  His bewilderment was visible.  Mr Beardsley banged the pen on the board to draw Luke’s attention to the sum written there.

“Four thousand, two hundred and seventy nine divided by twenty two.  Long division.  Max did the first part.  What’s next?”

Luke shook his head.  He really hated it when someone interrupted his train of thought.  He was in the middle of something.  What was it?  He turned to ask Joe but Joe wasn’t there.  Oh yes, the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, that was the part for him.  Then he had another thought.  If Joe was in it too they’d be together again.  He wondered what part Joe would like.  Mr Beardsley moved on to Katia.  She didn’t know either.

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The story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole chapter here now 🙂

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vegan, vegetarian, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s books, animals, animal rights, animal protection, animal rescue, vegan children, veggie kids, sheep, sheep farming

Some calls may be recorded

For all the Luke Walker stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter 12 continues from yesterday:

*******

“Oh no!  He prob’ly dint tell no one he’d locked the sheep up without food ‘n’ water, and if he’s dead, no one’ll know they’re here, and they’ll starve to death!”  His eyes were wide with alarm.

“Call the RSPCA!” said Joe suddenly, “this is cruelty to animals, lockin’ em up without food or water!  The RSPCA’ll rescue ’em!”

“Yesss!” said Luke and the two of them rushed back to his house.

Luke found the number in the phone book and decided, for privacy, to use the phone in his mum’s bedroom.  He put it on speaker so that Joe could hear.  It rang for a few seconds before being answered by a recorded message.

“Thank you for calling the RSPCA.  Please note some calls may be recorded for training and monitoring purposes.  To proceed press 1 now.”

Luke pressed 1.

“Thank you.  Please say your postcode.”

Luke was flummoxed.

“What’s my postcode?” he mouthed to Joe.

Joe shrugged.

The recording tried again.

“Please say your postcode out loud or key it into the keypad.”

Luke pressed some random keys.

“Thank you.  Now please key in your house number.”

He pressed the seven and the one.

“Thank you.  Your address is 71 Broomhill Drive, Glasgow, Scotland.  If this is correct press 1; if this is incorrect press 2; press 3 to return to the main menu.”

Luke was exasperated.  No, it wasn’t correct but he wasn’t going to tell them that or he’d have to start all over again.  He pressed 1.

“Thank you.  Now say your name out loud.”

“Robin Locksley.”

“Thank you.  If you have called because of an animal in distress, please choose between the following options: If you’re worried about a dog in a hot car, press 1.  If you’ve found an abandoned …”

Luke threw his head back in frustration.

“We ‘aven’t got time for this!  Jus’ let me talk ta someone!”

“It’s a good job you’re not on a mobile,” Joe agreed, “Janet’s always runnin’ out of credit on hers.”

The machine listed several options before concluding with:

“For anything else, please hold for an operator.”

“Finally,” Luke mouthed and the ring tone began again.  After a minute or so, a live person answered.

“Thank you for calling the RSPCA.  How may I help you?”

“There’s some sheep locked in a muddy paddock with no food or water,” Luke told her.

“Are they in distress?”

“Wun’t you be distressed if you hadn’t eaten anythin’ for a whole day an’ night?  Or drunken anythin’?”

“It’s only been one day?”

“And a night.  More ‘n that now,” Luke said.

“Are they injured?  Do they look like they’ve been abused or neglected.”

“Well, no, they don’t seem to be injured.”

“I’m sorry but I don’t think any of our inspectors will come out if they’re not injured or in distress.”

“They haven’t had anythin’ to drink or eat since yesterday! They’re really hungry and they’re locked in there!  You’ve got to let ’em out!”

“I’m sorry.  Perhaps you can ask the farmer to check on them.  Do you know who the sheep belong to?”

“We think the farmer might be dead.”

“Who are you talking to?” Mum stood in the doorway.

Luke disconnected the call.

“Nobody.  We was jus’ pretendin’,” he thought it best not to involve Mum.

“I heard a woman’s voice.  Who were you talking to?” she persisted.

“Somebody.  Don’t matter who.”

“I beg your pardon? You’re in my room, using my phone and I insist you tell me who you were speaking to!”

Luke looked momentarily at the floor and then back at her.

“Joe’s mum,” he lied again, “she said Joe could stay for tea.  We’re goin’ to check on Curly and Squirt.”

Mrs Walker decided to pretend she believed him.

“Okay,” she consented, “back by six please.  And in future, ask before you use the phone.”

While Mum stayed in her room to sort the laundry, Luke and Joe rushed downstairs.

“We’ll feed ’em ourselves!” Luke decided.

He handed a shopping bag to Joe and opened the fridge.  Luckily, Mum had just been shopping.

“Take these,” he said, “and these, and these,” and he handed him about twenty carrots, two cucumbers, a cabbage, a lettuce and sixteen apples.  The bag was heavy.  Luke grabbed another one to share Joe’s burden and they left.

*******************************

The story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole chapter here now 🙂

**********************************

vegan, vegetarian, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s books, animals, animal rights, animal protection, animal rescue, vegan children, veggie kids, sheep, sheep farming

At the end of the day …

For all the Luke Walker stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter 12 continues from last Friday:

*******

At the end of the day Luke couldn’t find Joe so he walked home alone feeling very sorry for himself.  Then he saw something which took his mind off it.  Across the road sheep were being rounded up with two dogs and a quad bike.  They looked scared and tried to run in all directions but the dogs and the motorbike kept heading them off so that in the end they had no choice but to enter a fenced paddock at the edge of the field.  Unlike the grassy field, this paddock was nothing but mud.  There was nothing to eat and nothing to drink.  Luke watched from the bus shelter as the quad bike rider locked the gate, ordered the dogs onto the back of the bike, and then rode away.  When they were out of sight Luke went over to the sheep.  There were thirty or forty of them who recoiled as he approached.  Luke wanted to release them but wondered if he should.  He couldn’t understand why the farmer would lock them in there like that without even a water trough, but maybe the sheep needed some medicine that had to be taken on an empty stomach.  It would be wrong to act without knowing all the facts.  He felt it best to come back and check on them later and decide then what to do.

***

Luke opened the back door, dropped his book bag on the kitchen floor, kicked off his shoes and reached for the biscuit tin.

“Erm, did you forget something?” said Mum, suddenly appearing from the pantry.

Luke stuck his feet back in his shoes and shuffled them out of the kitchen.

“Sohhy,” he said, his mouth full of gingernut.

“Don’t tread the heels down!” she reminded him wearily, “and that’s not what I meant.”

He looked back, confused, and then noticed his book bag.

“Sorry,” he said again, picked it up and started to walk away.

“That’s not what I meant,” she said again, in a sort of sing-songy tone of voice.

Luke stood still.  He was tired.  It had been a long day.  Could she not just tell him what she meant?  Did they have to go through this trial and error game every time?  He turned to look at her.

“What?” he asked, “what did you mean?”

Mum gave him a look which meant he should modify his look.  He did.  Then she told him.

“Shouldn’t you ask before you take a biscuit?”

“Can I have a biscuit please?”

“You may have two biscuits,” she said smiling, “how was your first day back?  Did you like your new teacher?”

Luke slumped into a chair in the dining room.

“He’s alright,” he said unenthusiastically.

“He?  I thought you’d be with Ms Robinson this year.”

“Yeah.  So did I.”

“So, how come you’re not?  Who are you with?  Mr Green?”

“No.  A new one.  Mr Beardsley.”

“Oh.  What’s he like?”

Luke appreciated his mother’s interest but really wasn’t in the mood to recap the day’s events.

“He’s alright,” he said again, “I’ve got to do me homework,” and he lifted himself sluggishly from the chair and headed upstairs to cover his new books.

***

On Wednesday afternoon Luke was able to find Joe at the end of school.

“What’s it like in Muz Robinson’s class?” he asked jealously.

“‘s’alright,” said Joe.

Luke was surprised to get such a tepid response but realised that Joe was just being considerate, not wanting to rub it in.  He appreciated that and gladly changed the subject.

“We need to go home by the main road,” he told his friend, “I’ve got to check on some sheep.”

When they got there Luke was very concerned to see they were just as he’d left them the day before.

“They must be so hungry,” he said, “and thirsty.”

The boys crossed the road.  Joe was equally worried.

“We should let ’em back into the field,” he suggested, “there’s grass; and a water trough.”

“Yeah, I think so too,” said Luke, “but I can’t open the gate coz o’ the padlock.”  He tugged pointlessly at the hardened steel lock.  “Where’s the farmer got to?  I thought he would ‘ave let ’em out by now.”

“P’rhaps he’s had an accident,” Joe said anxiously, “he might be dead!”

Luke hadn’t thought of that.

***********************************

The story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole chapter here now 🙂

**********************************

vegan, vegetarian, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s books, animals, animal rights, animal protection, animal rescue, vegan children, veggie kids, sheep, sheep farming

Not in Mrs Tebbut’s class anymore

For all the Luke Walker stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter 12 continues from yesterday:

*******

Tuesday came around as it was bound to, and Luke found himself back at school.  He was predictably annoyed about it but took solace in the fact that at least he wasn’t in Mrs Tebbut’s class anymore. Everyone knew Ms Robinson was the nicest teacher in school.  She never sent anyone to the headmaster or made anyone stand in the corner or made anyone do extra homework when they had trouble doing the normal amount of homework.  From what he’d heard, Luke felt sure she was the type of teacher who would sympathise with someone if they accidentally stapled their own finger.  And she certainly wasn’t the type of teacher to make someone eat all their mushy peas just because they’d asked for a big portion when they couldn’t possibly have known they would be so salty.

At ten to nine he and the rest of class 5 were allowed to enter the classroom.  There were a lot of unfamiliar faces and not enough desks or seats for everyone.  Those who could, found seats, others sat on the desks while some, mostly the children Luke had never seen before, just stood around in huddles.

“I know there’s not enough seats,” said Thomas, Ms Robinson’s teaching assistant, “but bear with us.  Ms Robinson and Mr Beardsley will be here in a minute and they’ll explain everything.”

“Who’s Mr Beardsley?” asked Katia.

“Ah, here he is.  Mr Beardsley, meet Year 5.”

At that moment a tall, thin man with very short, sandy hair and glasses walked into the room.  He wore a beige knitted waistcoat buttoned up over a white and beige checked shirt.  Luke was a little concerned.

“Good morning everyone,” said the man, “I’m Mr Beardsley and I’ll be teaching some of you this year.”

“Where’s Muz Robinson?” shouted Kenny.

“She’s still talking to the Headmaster, she’ll be here in a moment.”

Luke and Joe stood against the back wall feeling rather uneasy.  The room hummed with muffled mutterings.  Nobody knew what was going on.  A few minutes later Ms Robinson joined them.

“Sorry to keep you waiting class 5,” she said, “it’s all a bit last minute so I hope you’ll bear with us.”

“If they told us what needs bearin’ with, we might be able to,” whispered Luke.

Joe nodded.  Ms Robinson explained.

“Little Greatoak Primary school has closed due to insufficient attendance.  That is, the council has decided it’s too expensive to run a whole school when there are not enough pupils to fill it.”

Everyone was listening.

“So, all the children from Little Greatoak will be coming to school here from now on.”  She looked around at the new faces.  “Welcome to Gingham County Primary, we hope you’ll be very happy here.”

Luke, without understanding why, felt suddenly possessive of the school he’d never liked.

“Most classes have had the addition of three or four pupils,” Ms Robinson went on, “but Year 5 has been increased by twenty, making a class of fifty pupils which is far too many.”

Luke didn’t like the way this was going.

“So we’re going to have two Year 5 classes: Class 5A and Class 5B.  I will take Class 5B and Mr Beardsley – who has also joined us from Little Greatoak – will take Class 5A.”

It could not truthfully be said that Luke was good at maths but even he was quick to work out that, since half of fifty was twenty five, at least some of his old class would not be in Ms Robinson’s group.  Without realising it, he held his breath.

Mr Beardsley and Ms Robinson stood at the front of the class with open registers in their hands.  Ms Robinson continued.

“Class 5B,” she said, “we will be moving to the new mobile classroom next to the playground.  When I call your name, collect your bags and coats and wait for me in the cloakroom.”

Ms Robinson called the names on her register and, one by one, children left the room.  Luke realised with horror that the division had been done alphabetically.  Ms Robinson was taking the top of the alphabet.  Those at the bottom were being left with Mr Beardsley.  Joe Currant’s name was called.  Luke Walker’s was not.

***

The story continues on Monday but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole chapter here now 🙂

Have a lovely weekend 😀

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vegan, vegetarian, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s books, animals, animal rights, animal protection, animal rescue, vegan children, veggie kids, sheep, sheep farming

Tuvok knows best

For all the Luke Walker stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter Twelve begins here:

Luke Walker and the new teacher

“Search everyone’s quarters on decks five to seven.”

“It’s nillogical to search deck six …”

“No, you don’t say that.”

“Why not?”

“Coz you’re Tom Paris.”

“Paris knows when things aren’t logical.”

“No he doesn’t.  Paris don’t think like that.”

“But …”

“I’m Tuvok, you’re Paris,” Luke put his foot down, “say somethin’ like ‘no don’t search deck six coz it smells in there’.”

Joe shrugged.

“No, don’t search deck six, it smells in there coz that’s where Tuvok’s quarters is.”

“This is a serious situation Mr Paris!  My quarters do not smell and even if they did it is nillogical to leave an entire deck out of the search.  Search all quarters on decks five, six and seven.  Now!”

“Luke, come downstairs please,” Mum called, “I want you to try on your new school uniform.”

Luke pulled a face.  They would be back at school in three days and he had been trying not to think about it.

“Luuuke, now please.”

He reluctantly put down his tricorder and did as he was told.  In the living room Mum had all his new clothes laid out on the settee.  They looked horrible.  Two pairs of grey trousers with a smart crease pressed down the front; four white shirts folded and pinned with cardboard under the collars; five pairs of grey socks; one black sweatshirt with the name of his school written in gold across the front; one black jumper, and new shoes.  Luke looked suspiciously at the shoes.

“Are they leather?  I’m not wearin’ cow skin,” he insisted.

“I know they look like it but they’re not,” Mum assured him, “look.”

She showed him the label inside and Luke was satisfied that they were made of synthetic materials.

“If they can make shoes what look like leather and feel like leather and do the same job as leather without bein’ leather, why do they keep killin’ cows?”

“Beats me,” said Mum, she really didn’t have time to get into it right now.  “Okay, try these on.  If they don’t fit I’ll have to take them straight back and change them.”

Luke tried it all on and everything fitted perfectly.  Mum had a knack for choosing the right size which she was very glad about because it meant she didn’t have to take him with her when she went shopping.

“Oh, you do look smart,” she said proudly.

Luke scowled.

“I don’t like this,” he said, pulling at the black jumper, “it’s itchy.  What’s it made of?”

“Wool.”

“Sheep’s wool?”

“Lamb’s wool act…, oh Luke, don’t start.  Taking the wool doesn’t hurt the lamb, they have to have it sheared so they don’t get too hot.  It’s just like when you have your hair cut.  That doesn’t hurt does it?”

“How do you know?  Have you ever seen a sheep bein’ sheared?  Or a lamb?  I don’t think Squirt would like it.”

Mum looked at the ceiling and took a deep breath.

“Luke, you need a warm jumper for school.  Honestly, it doesn’t hurt them to have their hair cut.”

Luke didn’t know what to think.  He supposed there could be no harm if the sheep did need to have their wool cut off; if they didn’t want it themselves.  He decided to let it go for now, but he would have to find out more about it before making a final decision.  He tossed the jumper onto the settee and ran back upstairs.  He wanted Joe’s opinion.

Joe wasn’t sure.

“When Janet doesn’t know somethin’ she looks it up on the computer,” he said, “p’rhaps we should do that.”

“I bro…, erm, Dad’s computer doesn’t work anymore and Jared won’t let me use his.  Can we borra Janet’s?”

Joe laughed and shook his head.  Luke was stumped.

“We’ll ‘ave to investigate it ourselves,” he said eventually, “I’m not wearin’ that jumper ’til I know for sure it’s not hurtin’ anybody.”

************************

Chapter 12 continues tomorrow 🙂

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vegan, vegetarian, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s books, animals, animal rights, animal protection, animal rescue, vegan children, veggie kids

“Quickly! Before they see you!”

For all the Luke Walker stories so far click here 🙂

For the whole of Chapter 11 click here 🙂

Chapter 11 continued from yesterday:

The police car was between him and the officers so he kept his head down and crept up to the rear door. He tried the handle.  Nothing happened.  He tried it again.  It should have opened.  He’d seen Dad do it a hundred times.  A car’s back doors were only locked on the inside.  The black-haired lady looked out the window, shook her head and spoke almost inaudibly.

“What are you doing?  Go away!  Quickly!  Before they see you!”

Luke didn’t listen.  He was determined to rescue her.  This lady was a righteous warrior like himself; a fighter for justice; a fellow animal stick up for-er.  He would rescue her or die in the attempt.  He tried the door again.  It clicked open.  It was like dad’s car!

At that moment the ice cream van pulled up between the police car and the police officers, thus enlightening the black-haired lady on the reason for her arrest.  The ice cream seller leaned out his window to talk to the officers.

“Get out!  Quick!” Luke urged the lady.

The two of them ran as fast as they could back into the market and out the other side towards the trees.  When they reached cover they slumped down behind the trees and caught their breath.

“I’m sorry I got you in trouble Jessica,” said Luke.  The lady grinned.

“What’s your name?” she asked.

“Luke.”

“Not Luke Walker by any chance?”

“Yeah, how’d you know?”

“They’ve been calling your name on the Tannoy for the last hour and a half.”

“Oh yeah, that’s why I had to hide.”

The lady laughed.

“Oh, it all makes sense now.  It wasn’t the police, it was your family trying to find you.”

Realisation flickered across Luke’s features.

“Oh,” he said, feeling a little guilty for forgetting about Nan and Grandad.  “I’m sorry I got you in trouble,” he apologised again.

“Hey, listen, getting blamed for what you did won’t do my reputation any harm at all,” the lady said with a chuckle.  Luke smiled.

“Anyway,” she went on, “I’m free and clear now.  Thanks for rescuing me.”

Luke looked at the lady and thought she could be trusted.

“Would you like to join my secret society?” he asked.

“I like the sound of that!  Especially if this is the kind of stuff your secret society gets up to!”

“Good,” said Luke, “there’s on’y me an’ Joe so far but that’s good coz no one else knows about it.  So don’t tell anyone.”

“I won’t,” the lady agreed.

“Nobody.”

I won’t,” she laughingly assured him.

“How will I get in touch with you?” Luke asked.

The lady took a pen out of her pocket and wrote a phone number on the back of Luke’s hand.

“Any time, day or night, you can reach me on that number,” she said, standing up, “and my name’s Kris.” She smiled at his mild confusion. “I’d better get out of here before they start searching the woods.  Will you be alright?  Will you be able to find your people?”

“Yeah.”

“Go to the organisers’ table, they’ll be able to get hold of them for you.”

Luke wasn’t sure.

“Don’t worry, the police aren’t looking for you.  It’s safe.  Go and find your people,” she urged him and then she started away, going deeper into the trees.

“Oh, don’t forget your jacket,” Luke called after her.

“Keep it,” she said, smiling, and left.

Luke walked back through the market to the organisers’ table and informed them that he was Luke Walker.  Nan’s mobile was called and she and Grandad were there to fetch him in next to no time.  Nan ran at him, hugged him and then smacked his bum.

“You horrible boy!  Why would you do this to us?  We’ve been worried sick!  Where have you been?”

“I’m sorry,” he said sincerely, “I was jus’ shoppin’ and I lost track of time.”

“Shopping!  You weren’t supposed to go off by yourself!  You were supposed to stay with us!  You knew th…”

“What did you buy?” Grandad interrupted.

Luke looked at him and thought for a moment.

“A wheelbarra …” he said, turning full circle to look for it.  And there it was, lying on its side, just a few metres away.  “This one,” he added, going to fetch it.

“And a jacket by the look of it,” said Nan, a little calmer now.

“Oh yeah,” Luke smiled, “and a jacket.”

Come back tomorrow for Chapter 12 😀

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Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er (the first eight chapters); More Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er (chapters nine to sixteen); and Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er: my privut notebook are available from Amazon in the UK, Europe, the USA and Canada 🙂 but if you’d prefer to mail order them through us, get in touch 😀

  

vegan, vegetarian, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s books, animals, animal rights, animal protection, animal rescue, vegan children, veggie kids

Animal Sanctuary Poem Week: Day 5

Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare

The Broyle, Ringmer, East Sussex, BN8 5AJ, UK

Tel:  (01825) 840252

e:  info@raystede.org

Today I saw some horrible men

Who were happy in their pursuit

Of rabbits with their tiny dogs

Who were sent down the holes by the brutes.

These horrible men, these are the type

Who work at the pig farm or kill shed.

They hang and they slash, they pluck and they chop,

And afterwards sleep sound in their beds.

And while they sleep, these horrible men,

Some nice people smile and are friendly.

At their fundraiser for a good cause

They eat ham rolls and beef ravioli.

Horrible men, paid by the masses,

To torture and batter and kill.

The coins in those brutal, blood-stained hands

Are from Raystede’s blood-stained till.

I’m so sorry to have to write such a sad poem when we were in such a happy place looking at the other sanctuaries this week, but for the animals’ sake I have to draw your attention to this again.

It’s true that there are many animal charities which confine themselves to working for just one, or a couple of species – eg Cats’ Protection, Dogs Trust – but Raystede never used to be one of these.

Their website used to display the slogan: “We believe that every animal has the right to health, happiness and freedom from suffering” but since this campaign started they have taken it down.

Raystede was started in the 1950’s by a woman, born in 1902, who had convictions and compassion as strong as those of the other sanctuary hosts we’ve met this week.  She described herself as a ‘non-meat eater’ and, as she reiterated again and again, cared about ALL animals, without exception.  Miss M Raymonde-Hawkins wrote in her book Sensible Pets and Silly People,

“My own view, and that of every decent minded person, is that no animal should be caused to suffer at all for any reason.”

and

“Too often our entertainment, our food, our clothing and so-called sport are all at the expense of animals and a civilised society in years to come will look back with horror at the way that we have exploited animals during this century.”

She concluded her book with:

“Those of us who have grown old in the work and who have so little to encourage us for the future welfare of animals can at least only hope that having carried the banner so far, we can, in falling, fling it to the hosts behind to carry on the work and hope that they will be more successful than we have been during this century.”

She died in 1998 and the “hosts behind” dropped the banner.

They betrayed her.

They betrayed the animals.

Roll up your sleeves guys, looks like this is gonna take a while.

Let’s Shawshank them!

We can do this.

For as long as it takes.

For the sake of back-to-front Grace and Archie No-Tail  in Hugletts’ video, and all the billions of others, please join this campaign and tell Raystede to make their cafe vegan.

Write a letter a week (or email or phone call) until Raystede stops serving the products of animal cruelty.

Until they stop instigating unspeakable suffering.

Thank you so much.

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare

The Broyle,

Ringmer,

East Sussex,

BN8 5AJ,

UK

Tel:  (01825) 840252

e:  info@raystede.org

 

Animal Sanctuary Poem Week: Day 3

FRIEND farm Animal Rescue

East Peckham, Tonbridge, Kent

Marion and Mark made FRIEND

And such good friends they are,

To pigs and goats and cows and sheep

And turkeys and geese and more.

They give a gift to Death Row souls

The best gift they could give:

Forever freedom in paradise,

Now they can really live.

And they do more, they do for sure,

Showing how to go vegan, they teach.

They strive for a world where FRIEND’s needed no more,

To help future souls they can’t reach.

❤ 🙂 ❤

On a beautiful 10 acre site nestled in between the orchards and hop farms of rural Kent, established in 1994 with the purchase of a small lamb at a livestock market, FRIEND is a working animal sanctuary with around 100 former farm animals and companion animals.  Animals find their way there in all sorts of ways.  Some are rescued from places of abuse, some arrive following the death of their guardian.  Some despicable people abandon their animals by throwing them over the fence.  No matter how they get there, they are all welcome to live the rest of their lives as naturally as possible with little human interaction.

FRIEND provides a no kill, free roaming (as far as possible and safe) home to cows, sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys.  Their 30+ pigs live in their own paddock with wallows.  Some of their cats are feral and some are house dwellers.  All of their dogs love walking in the meadow.

Promoting veganism is an important part of what they do.  They are pleased to meet supporters at their summer open days and introduce them to the animals, who are of course the best ambassadors for a cruelty free life.  They do ask that no one brings dogs with them on their visit, as the sanctuary’s residents are free roaming.

They rely solely on donations from the public and put on events to raise money.  Financial donations are spent on food, bedding, essential equipment and veterinary bills.

Animal Sanctuary Poem Week: Day 2

Hugletts Wood Farm Animal Sanctuary

Dallington, East Sussex

Imagine a place where cows can live

Their whole lives out in peace.

They’re rescued from the dairy hell

But now live free from cheese.

Big and strong and vulnerable

They’re right where they should be,

A home of love with Wenda and Matt,

They’re even pleased to meet you and me.

Hugletts Wood is a vegan farm,

They grow vegetables and fruits.

The sale of these provides the funds

For their compassionate pursuits.

❤ 🙂 ❤

 

Hugletts Wood Farm provides sanctuary to cows and their friends.  A home for life to farm animals and birds, rescued from the misery of the meat and dairy industry and the horrors of the slaughterhouse.

Hugletts Wood farm is the only farm animal sanctuary in the UK that operates a dedicated Cow Protection Program.  It is also the only vegan farm in the UK that runs such a sanctuary.

They try to self-fund as much as possible, growing vegetables and fruits and producing a whole range of woodland products and natural Ahimsa compost but always welcome your support in whatever form it may take!

Wide-eyed Joe

Chapter 7 continues (For the first 6 chapters click here 🙂 )

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“…. She belongs to ‘erself. I think she should be allowed to keep belongin’ to ‘erself, don’t you?”  He looked at Joe earnestly.

Joe looked back, wide eyed.

“Yeah, I do.”

Luke smiled, Joe was with him.  But now he really had to think.  Where would the sheep be safe?  If they just left her to wander, someone else was bound to discover her and return her to the farm.  No, he couldn’t let that happen.  He had to get her to a place of safety where the farmer wouldn’t find her.  Joe gently stroked the sheep’s forehead.  Luke was thinking hard.  There had to be a way.  There was always a way if you thought hard enough.  And then it came to him.

“I’ve got it!” said Luke, “I know how we can save her!”

“What? What will we do?” asked Joe eagerly.

“You wait here with her,” Luke instructed, “keep ‘er here, out of sight.  I’ve got to go somewhere and I’ll be back quick as I can.”

“Where are you going?” asked Joe, a little nervous about having sole custody of the refugee.

“Don’t worry, I’ll be quick,” Luke assured him as he turned to run back along the lane towards the village.

Joe continued to stroke the sheep, telling her softly that it would be ok, that Luke had thought of something and he wouldn’t let her down.  Obviously comforted by this, she resumed munching the grass.

It started to rain. Just a few drops at first and then it settled in to a steady drizzle.

“Hurry up,” thought Joe as he became gradually wetter.

The sheep didn’t seem to mind.  Eventually, after almost an hour by Joe’s reckoning (seventeen and a half minutes), Luke returned.  He was smiling and had with him a piece of rope.

“Where ‘ave you been? What are we gonna do?” Joe asked as Luke tied the rope carefully around the sheep’s neck so that he could lead her.

“I’ve got a place where we can take ‘er,” Luke told him, “come on.”

The rain ensured their independence by keeping other people indoors.  They walked back half way along the lane until they came to the back entrance of the allotments.  Luke opened the gate with a key and they went in.  He led his old friend and his new friend past many well-kept plots full of rows of cabbages and turnips and carrots and leeks and all sorts of plants that Luke didn’t recognise.  The sheep was keen to try a few.

“No! Stop ‘er!” Luke half-shouted as she bent her head to some turnip tops.

Joe stopped her just in time and the boys quickened their pace.  After a while the plots began to look a little untidy and, the further they walked, the more unkempt they became.  They stopped alongside Luke’s dad’s plot which was one of the unkempt because he hadn’t had it very long.

“Here we are!” said Luke happily to the sheep, “welcome to your new home Curly.”

“Really?” said Joe.

Yeah!” said Luke, “I think it suits her.”  Joe shook his head.

“Not the name, the place!  Won’t your dad go mad?”

“Why would he?” Luke asked, a little irritated that Joe was being so negative.

 Then Luke realised that from where he was standing, Joe couldn’t see what he and Curly could see.

“No, not here,” he said, “there!”

And he pointed to something behind his dad’s ramshackle shed.

Joe stepped forward to look.  The plot behind Luke’s dad’s plot had been abandoned some time ago and was quite overgrown.  The former tenant had erected post and rail fencing all around it so that she could keep her Shetland pony there.  And there was a big shed that she’d used as a stable.  Luke beamed.

“This is my plot!”

Joe’s jaw dropped.

“But how? …. When?”

“That’s where I went.  To the ‘lotment committee man’s house.  To rent this ‘lotment.”

“But how … I mean, don’t that cost loadsa money?”

Joe knew the answer to his question almost before he’d finished asking it.  Luke was so happy as he led Curly to her new home.

“Won’t ‘ave time for bike rides now anyway,” he said.

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The first eight chapters of Luke’s adventures sticking up for animals – only £4! Click the pic!

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vegan children’s story, children’s book, books, children, animals, sheep

Snow White and Rose Red remembered.

children's story

Once upon a time there were two beautiful girls called Snow White and Rose Red.  They were very unhappy because they were imprisoned in a large windowless shed with thousands of others like them.  They were cramped and miserable; they never saw daylight or felt the wind on their faces;  and the prison guards were rough and cruel.  Then one night, everything changed.

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As the wind blew and the rain poured down, someone came and lifted them out of their prison and carried them out into the night.

children's story

The beautiful girls were scared at first.  They tried to shelter their heads from the wind and rain, instinctively ducking under the chin of the person carrying them.  What was this cold, dark, wet outside world?  They had never seen it before and didn’t know what to think.

children's story

After hours and hours of jostling and jolting in the wind and rain; after feeling cold and wet and very very nervous; they arrived somewhere.  Somewhere new.  Somewhere unfamiliar.

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They explored with care.  They didn’t know what to make of it.  They didn’t know who to trust.  But they were curious.  They weren’t so desperate to get away anymore.  They started to wonder if this was, after all, something good.

children's story

As they settled in to their new surroundings they were approached by other individuals.  One of whom in particular, Mrs Teapot, became their devoted friend.

children's story

children's story

children's story

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And so they lived happily ever after 😀

The best friend anyone could want

3152619.large

Two best friends, Tillie and Phoebe, had a brilliant time, sneaking off to play when someone left the door open at their guardian’s house party.  But it all went horribly wrong when 4 year old Phoebe got stuck in a hole she couldn’t get out of.

She might have known she would be ok though, since 11 year old Tillie was with her.  Tillie stayed by Phoebe’s side for a week, leaving only for a quick runs to look for help each day before coming back to wait with her friend.

Residents witnessed Tillie running through a back yard several times over the course of the week, but they didn’t realize what was happening until a volunteer group called Pet Protectors put out a distress call on Facebook.  Pet Protectors soon received a lucky tip from someone who had seen Tillie several times.

Read more here, including the wonderful happy ending as the girls reunite with their guardian: http://www.care2.com/causes/old-dog-watches-over-trapped-buddy-for-a-week-until-help-arrives.html#ixzz3mYwGGtc5

Only a few hours left to enter the prize draw!

rescue rabbit

If you live in the UK and you’d like to adopt this little cutie, just think of a name for him or her and let me know in a comment on this or that post.

All suggested names (with name of suggester) will be put into a box tomorrow morning and one will be drawn out.

I’ll let you know then who the winner is 😀

Good luck 😀

NB: this secondhand soft toy has been rescued from Raystede charity shop and is hoping to find a loving new home.

Name the Bunny!

rescue rabbit

Rescue rabbits

Rescue rabbits

Lovely rabbits

With natural habits

Need spacious homes

With other rabbits.

If you’ve got love

And space for rabbits,

Don’t pay breeders

Hell no!  Dagnabbit!

So many need homes,

Save rescue rabbits!

At Raystede Animal Welfare Centre in East Sussex they take in around 1500 animals every year who need to be found new homes.  They work hard to make sure that each animal is matched up with the right family to give them the best new chance in life and they provide advice on how to take the best care of the animals.

This is undoubtedly the case for so many animal rescue organisations which is why it’s so important, if we are able to provide a happy home for a companion animal, that we rehome abandoned, neglected, rescued animals rather than buy from breeders and perpetuate the problem.

The chap pictured at the top of this post is, like other rabbits rescued by Raystede, looking for a new home.

He is such a sweetheart and anyone from the UK wishing to adopt him should comment on this post suggesting a name for him.  Then, on Friday, we will put all the suggested names in a box and draw out a winner.  The rescued bunny will be trusted to the loving care of the lucky prize winner to whom he will be promptly delivered 😀

E is for Elephant

E is for Elephant

Elephant    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  Largest living land animal with trunk and ivory tusks.

Our definition:  Elephants are large mammals of the family Elephantidae and the order Proboscidea.  Two species are traditionally recognised: the African elephant and the Asian elephant.  Male African elephants are the largest surviving terrestrial [land] animals and can reach a height of 4 metres and weigh 7,000 kg. All elephants have a long trunk, used for many purposes, particularly breathing, lifting water and grasping objects.  All African elephants, male and female, have tusks whereas only some Asian males have tusks. About 50% of Asian females have short tusks known as tushes – which have no pulp inside.  Usually in mammals tusks are enlarged canine teeth, but in elephants they are actually elongated incisors and are essentially no different from other teeth. One third of the tusk is actually hidden from view, embedded deep in the elephant’s head. This part of the tusk is a pulp cavity made up of tissue, blood and nerves. The visible, ivory part of the tusk is made of dentine with an outer layer of enamel.  Their tusks can serve as weapons and as tools for moving objects and digging. Elephants’ large ear flaps help to control their body temperature.  African elephants have larger ears and concave backs while Asian elephants have smaller ears and convex or level backs.

Elephants are herbivorous and can be found in different habitats including savannahs, forests, deserts and marshes. They prefer to stay near water. Females, known as cows, tend to live in family groups, which can consist of one female with her calves or several related females with offspring. The groups are led by an individual known as the matriarch, often the oldest cow. Elephants have a fission-fusion society in which multiple family groups come together to socialise. Males, known as bulls, leave their family groups when they reach puberty, and may live alone or with other males. Adult bulls mostly interact with family groups when looking for a mate. Calves are the centre of attention in their family groups and rely on their mothers for as long as three years. Elephants can live up to 70 years in the wild. They communicate by touch, sight, smell and sound; elephants use infrasound (low frequency sound), and seismic communication (sometimes called vibrational communication) over long distances. Elephant intelligence has been compared with that of primates and cetaceans. They have self-awareness and show empathy for dying or dead individuals of their kind.

African elephants are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, while the Asian elephant is classed as endangered. One of the biggest threats to elephant populations is the ivory trade, as the animals are poached for their ivory tusks. Other threats to wild elephants include habitat destruction and conflicts with local people.

Horribly, in addition to murdering them for their ivory, human beings have exploited elephants for entertainment in zoos and circuses for centuries; and now the military thinks they might be useful for sniffing out bombs!

Thank goodness for The Elephant Sanctuary, Tennessee, a natural habitat refuge developed specifically for African and Asian elephants, which is home to beautiful animals, rescued or retired from zoos and circuses, who can now live out their lives in a safe haven dedicated to their well-being.

elephant sanctuary

Friday April 11th

Today, on National Pet Day, I would like to introduce the newest member of our family:  Carly

Carly on the cold radiator

Carly used to live in a small cage by herself.  Her “owner” had had to go into a dementia care home and for Carly, who went with her, this meant being left alone in a small cage in a bedroom all day every day.  She was never allowed out of the cage and never had been.

Finally the lady was persuaded to allow Carly to find a new home, and Birdline of Parrot Rescue was called.  It was hoped that she would soon be in the company of other birds like her and would live a more meaningful, if still captive, life.

Sadly many more weeks past and Carly was still in her dull, solitary prison.  The bird rescue volunteers were so inundated with needy birds (100 a week coming into their care) that they had been unable to find room for Carly.

So she came to live with us.

When we opened the cage she remained inside it for two more days, nervously peeping through the open door occasionally.  But the next day she emerged.  She swooped and soared the length and breadth of the room.  A bit uncoordinated at first, well, she’d never done this before, but she was trying out her wings; finding out what she was capable of.  It was wonderful.  I assumed she would go back to her cage when she wanted something to eat or drink and intended to leave it permanently open so that she could come and go as she pleased.  But she has never been back in.  She went a whole day without eating and drinking rather than go back into that cage!  And who could blame her?

So I put food and drink on top of the bookcase for her.  When we put away the cage she relaxed, noticeably.  She sings along with music played for her, be it birdsong or classical music, TV theme music or sounds from nature.  She is still nervous of us but getting more comfortable I think, especially as she can perch so high out of everyone’s reach and keep an eye on us all 🙂

Usually, when we all go to bed at night, she has the living room to herself and flies around a little more before settling in a warm spot on the wireless router until morning.  But last night, 11 days after arriving here, she demonstrated how skilled she’s become at flying when she glided at an angle through the slightly open doorway of our bedroom and slept on a picture frame by our bed.  She clearly didn’t want to be left alone all night, and I guess she quite likes us 🙂

Carly in the bedroom

by the screen

art lover

perch by the window

stretch

Carly on the bookshelf

Carly in the kitchen

Birds don’t belong in cages.