Animal Padre's
Christians Against All Animal Abuse
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From Autumn 2010 Issue

Opening Of ‘Avalon’ Horse Sanctuary

– Report By Doreen:

On July 5th l998 the first Greyhound Sanctuary named ‘Avalon’ was opened in Ireland. It is situated at Flesk, Gurteeny, Woodford, Co. Galway This was made possible by Mrs. Johanna Wothke, the founder and president of a German animal welfare organisation called Pro Animale fur Tiere in Not e.V.

This year the organisation acquired more land and built a Horse Sanctuary nearby. We received an e-mail at the end of August inviting us again over to Ireland. This was asking if my husband Rev. James Thompson was well and fit enough to travel after all these years, and would he like to take part in the opening with Johanna, and to bless the Sanctuary.

This we gladly accepted and on 24th September flew from Liverpool to Cork and were met by Darius holding his little Pro Animale notice as we entered the waiting area. A three-hour drive followed with the scenery becoming very beautiful around Loch Derg which seemed to be a holiday area.

We stayed with a lovely Irish family in Gurteeny, in quite a big farmhouse, with fields all around, they had about sixteen very healthy looking cows in one field, three teenage children and two huge dogs. At six o’clock we were called for and taken to Mountshannon by the loch, where Johanna was staying and the German contingent. She arranged an evening meal there each evening when all her visitors met together socially.

The 25th September proved to be a fine day, a little cloudy, but we saw the sun. We all gathered in the Horse Sanctuary Compound for the ceremony, several horses in the stables around, and some held by trainers alongside a semi-circle of seventy people. Both Johanna looking very gracious and James in his white clergy attire with green stole gave good speeches.

After this the horses left the stables and trotted out of a gate into the country lanes, a beautiful site. They later returned to a huge field nearby and were exercised round the field by five Polish workmen. What a display, and what a good job being done looking after these animals from when they came in. Everyone eventually found his or her way to the caring quarters in the Greyhound area where a vegetarian buffet had been laid on. We were doing our best with the different languages, the workers as well as Irish included Polish, Russian and German.

Next day we were driven to a church in Woodford and enjoyed the service. In the afternoon we walked down the lanes to the sanctuary again, and then in the evening another vegetarian meal together in Mountshannon, where we were shown on a laptop more of Johanna’s plans for the future in Poland.

Next morning we were picked up by a Russian driver for a rather quiet three-hour drive, back to the airport. He was a good driver. We were sad to leave the happy family we’d stayed with who were so kind to us in many ways, a very restful home.

Cork is a very large city with a new and pleasant airport. On taking off it was very clear and sunny, so got a good view of the surrounding area. Waiting for us in a misty Liverpool were our kind friends from the Wirral waiting to hear all about our venture.

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