Life (and death) at SAINTS

Posted: December 30, 2008 at 3:53 am

i just wanted to add that I think it’s okay for marion to question what is happening with Bridgette and other animals at saints. For someone who has never been to saints it really sounds like all we do is keep dying animals from dying. but when you come to saints and see all the animals that were dumped, given up on and didn’t think they had a chance or weren’t worth one, your mind can’t help but be changed.
I’ll probably repeat things carol has said in previous posts, but this was too long for me to put in a comment and it’s quarter to 4 in the morning, i’m sleepy and i don’t want to edit out things carol already talked about.

SAINTS doesn’t exist to keep old animals around for as long as possible, we try to give them the best quality of life for as long as possible.
You can’t just look at an ill animal and decide right away that it has no hope and needs to die. What if Carol had decided to euthanize Bridgette the first day the xrays came back with her lungs looking like a mess. We still need to wait and see if it was caused by health issues that can be tamed with a simple daily medication or if it something bigger and badder and we need to consider euthanasia as her better option. Hasty decisions are often poor and ill thought out and I don’t think should be mixed with issues regarding life or death.

Since it’s beginnings over 4 years ago saints has made the ‘right’ decision 121 times in the animal’s ‘best interest’.
121 euthanasias, that’s 121 times deciding whether the animal’s life is a burden or a benefit to themselves (not to Carol).
SAINTS’ animals take over Carol’s bed, they eat her dinner, they disrupt her movies, life, dinner with family and friends…… There is no part of Carol being considered in most decisions at SAINTS (we often try to persuade her otherwise!!!).

Carol’s standards and levels of quality of life and care are pretty freaking high. I don’t think that the SPCA would have come here and looked SAINTS over thoroughly before deciding to place 17 special needs animals from a seizure here. And not that the SPCA is a gold stamp of approval to say saints is perfect.
We have a wonderful mass of supporters who agree with what we do here and many who have come the whole way out to little old Mission to see what we do and to meet the wonderful and amazing animals that live at SAINTS.

I really do encourage anyone who doubts the standards and levels of quality of life and care to come and visit – and that really is meant in the most sincere way, really! I can happily say that one of the best things that has happened in my life has been discovering SAINTS. Call SAINTS, 604-826-8319 or email carol at carol@saintsrescue.ca to arrange a tour (she going to kill me for telling people to call her as that phone rings off the hook anyways). but do it, come out and see the wacky animals that she is always posting about, you really really won’t regret it.

Anyways, I orginally started this post just post the following which is on one of our webpages. Carol wrote it, i think sometime in 2006 as a blog entry and I thought it could help people understand Life at SAINTS so I added it to the About Us section of the website.

We aren’t afraid of death at SAINTS, it really happens too much to be afraid!!

Nicole

“Life at SAINTS
For those who choose to provide palliative care to the SAINTS animals, it is a rocky road of joy, and sadness and hopefully, peace. The peace comes when deep in your heart you know that you helped that animal find peace too. Death is not the heart breaking monster, life is. It is their barren lives and the possibility of their lonely cold deaths, unwanted and unloved that is the real monsterous thing. Once they come to us, whether for a week or a year or even a moment in time, we have slayed that lonely monster and bandished it forever from them. The SAINTS do not die in lonely backyards, or cold, cement kennels, or shelter back rooms, or afraid in sterile vet clinics with strangers around them…they die in our arms with our tears upon their face. And that moment of death means nothing, except the gentle end of this life that they had. And with us, the life that they had as they meet the final end is one that is warm, and loved, and full of peace. This is what we focus on, and what we remember each and every time we bear witness to their passing. Their death is our loss, and yes it wounds our hearts, but it is a little wound that heals quickly because it is a wound knowingly accepted to give them a life that they felt was cherished. People ask me does it get easier…and honestly, it depends…did we meet our goal and were they happy, did they have enough time to feel truly loved, did we plan their end well enough to meet their needs and how deeply did they bury themselves in our hearts til we got there. They never really leave us, we carry them each and every day and they help us to find what we need to be there for the next one. Thinking of all of this and remembering each life’s ending as I wrap my heart around them, and mostly remembering every single smile upon their face before they left us…that is how I get thru each day and not fear tomorrow.   Carol Hine”

5 Comments on "Life (and death) at SAINTS"

  • Chris T says

    I agree completely with Nicole. Carol has helped us decide the care for Mabel, a former SAINT we adopted. Mabel had a cancer tumour on her leg and it was growing and infected. We were desperate to make sure that the little dictator be with us (and well) for as long as possible. With this in mind, I called Carol one day and told her we were thinking of having Mabel’s front leg amputated (we were a little desperate) to which she responded with: “Are you freaking kidding? You can’t amputate a 17 year old dog’s leg, even if it is full of cancer.” Ok then. We then had a long discussion about how best to manage Mabel’s care. Mabel was in no way ready to go. She was still barking for food and to go out and doing her walks around our property.

    We determined that the best course was for us to leave it uncovered and let Mabel try and keep it clean. We had her to the vet and got metacam and tramadol to manage her pain and life went on for several more months. Mabel was comfortable and happy for the most part. She enjoyed another great summer and autumn at our house.

    Things began to slowly deteriorate. We then made the decision that when Mabel was no longer interested in food and barking for it we would know her time had come. Mabel lived to eat and could eat 4-5 times in the space of 4 hours. Once this stopped we knew then that her time had come. We took her in and the vet said we had made the right choice as her pain was currently managed but would not have been in a couple of days.

    The lesson here is that it is about the dog – is she comfortable and does she have quality of life – in this case Mabel did. When she could no longer enjoy the things in her life that made her happy and the spectre of pain was looming we made the decision. And, yes, we called Carol.

    If you are interested in Mabel’s story here is a link to my blog:
    http://shihtzustaff.wordpress.com/2008/11/27/our-mabel-mae/

  • Tracey says

    I believe that not enough people(and organizations as well) really and truly understand that their lives are all that these animals have. We have no right to take it away from them when we want, but we have the responsibility to make it easier when they are ready and willing to give them up.

    Does this mean “life at all costs”? Of course not. But it does mean that those that care for animals are tasked with carefully evaluating each and every individual animal and their unique, individual situation.

    Every being is entitled to every week… every day… every hour of living that they were meant to have and I have nothing but respect for those who have to face these decisions more frequently than is natural and who do so like the friend they are considering is the only animal on the planet, because, for that moment, it is true.

    I have seen animal-loving people and animal-indifferent people make contrite decisions of ending an animal’s life veiled in “it’s what was best” when it really wasn’t what was best at all, but rather what was convenient and easy, or simply the limit of what their own human sensibilities could handle.

    Thanks to Carol and SAINTS, and the many other groups and their volunteers, and every individual human who takes the responsibility of ending a life with the severity, compassion, and consideration that every being deserves.

  • Marion says

    I am sorry you took offense to my post on your blog. I was looking for a local senior dog rescue to donate to and was simply taken back by some of the things I read on your blog and made a comment. When looking for a place to donate one has to find a place that matches their own values and philosophies. Best to you in the new year.

  • Carol says

    i totally agree marion, it is the donors responsibility to ensure they are comfortable in supporting any charity. we all do things a little bit differently, we believe in different things. it is ok, your comment caught me at a difficult and emotional time of trying to get things right for some of these guys.

  • lynne says

    marion, you could not have picked a better pla ce than saints to donate to. i have been volunteering there for 2 years and i have seen all the love carol has put into the animals and she is completely honest when she expresses her feelings. maybe too honest those animals could have not landed in a better place. warmth, beds, good food, love, caring hugs, vet care people loving them, except for having their own home they are all very happy and cared for.

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