so lets talk about the crazy factor

Posted: April 2, 2009 at 3:17 pm

of which i am so terribly afraid. and there is a really good reason for this..the second i am viewed as a real nut case, there goes my credibility, there goes any possibility to make a positive change. all of the work we have done, all of the value in being themselves that animals might have gained goes flying right out the window, the minute i am regulated to insane.

if i had a pristine, tradional shelter with the animals packed into sterile stainless steel cages with pretty little blankets and toys in their beds and a couple of nice walks every day…if i locked the door at 5 pm and turned off the lights and went home to a regular home and left them alone for the night….THAT people could understand.

but living here with them, letting many of them sleep on my bed, feeding them girl guide cookies and pizza, giving them movie nights…letting them pee and poop on my floors a hundred times a day??? taking them for walks thru the mud and pond and letting them roll in horse poop and bring that mess right back in the house again???

no one cares that we clean it up..it is weird that we even think it is ok. i live with approx…30 dogs and 30 cats inside my house…many are incontinent, many of them are sick, some of them look with their skin issues kind of gross…even if they look better than they did.

its not normal. it is not the way it is acceptably done, it is hard to wrap your head around….it is kind of crazy.

the thing is…i don’t feel crazy unless i compare myself to what others expect. it is just me and them and what they need and how i can give it to them.

i think it is crazy to rescue an animal and then stick them in a cage…they do not like this. it upsets them. why would i want them unhappy?

i think it is nutz to kill an animal because their bladder happens to leak…give them a nice area to live in where it is easy to clean up. i think it is odd to have a dog whose feet rarely touch the ground. they like running in fields and rolling in poop and barking their faces off chasing sticks into the pond.

i think a homeless dog appreciates sharing your bed, it must make them feel a little less homeless and a little more loved instead.

i do think living with 30 cats and 30 dogs all in one space is a bit much…i would like to live with about a dozen of each. but…if i kept to a dozen, where would the other ones go? if there is only a few of us to take so many how many times can we say no.

so…even tho i don’t like it…i push the envelope…i squeeze in one more about to die who has no where else to go. i don’t regret tony..he needed the meds that we know to give…i don’t regret little maggie who came in from TG today..she needs palliative care which i happen to know a lot about. i don’t regret winter or diablo because they are such really nice cats, who cares if they are missing body parts..they think they are just fine.

but what i think is a good thing for these guys, is viewed as a rule as crazy.

and here is the other thing..it is personal for me. these guys share my bed, my dinner, my laughter and tears. it is what makes it good for them here. and in order to share them with the world so maybe thoughts about aging and illness might change…i have to share my personal life too…staff, volunteers, visitors and camera crews get to see where i sleep and who i sleep with. they get to see that beagle poop on my floor or the ringworm dog on my bed. they can see that fruitloop cat spray my wall if they look at the right moment in time. they can see the 101 diabetic syringes in the bowl on my dresser next to the stacks of medical food and other various meds.

they see i have no animal free space..that i in fact live in an animal shelter that even on the cleanest days still smells like 61 bodies live here.

my daughter brought out her high school students and some of the teachers today for a tour. the kids like playing with the cow, the pig and the goat. they like freaking out when a horse goes pee or a llama has a poop. they have a good time here and then they go to rocko’s for  a two pound hamburger for lunch.

she asked me last night not to let them know that i live here..she said she gets it and she is really proud of what i do. but they won’t get it and she doesn’t want to try to explain it to them because she doesn’t know how.

what she didn’t say was…she wants them to like me because she loves me and she doesn’t want them to think i am weird.

so i just skipped the bedroom part of the tour and left it at that.

“i don’t know how you do this”…i hear it a hundred times a week…and no one really knows how i do this…it is easy, i do it because it feels right to me.

i told the producer today that i lied yesterday..i couldn’t just ignore it and hope it went away. today i am ashamed not because angel has ringworm and lays on my bed… i am ashamed that i felt i had to lie about it to protect myself from what other people think.

i think everyone should think like i do…if they did, there would be no homeless senior and sick animals in need.  but they don’t and there’s the rub..i live the life i do because society as a whole does not think like me. and i want it both ways…i want to do the work i do that is so different in every respect than most folks can even conceive AND i want to be considered “normal” while i do it so no one thinks i am crazy.

i never want to be thought of as a saint that just makes me feel squirmy…but i do want to be thought of as sane… there is some dignity in sanity.

14 Comments on "so lets talk about the crazy factor"

  • Linda says

    every one of us human beings are a little dysfunctional in our own personal way. Thank goodness. Wouldn’t it be horrible if we were all the same?

    “Normal” is a setting on the dryer, it does not reflect people.

    Other rescues may offer the perfectly clean cages and toys to a few animals.

    You offer a caring, loving HOME to many.

    Dont worry so much about what other people think.

  • Barbara DeMott says

    You should get in touch with Violet at Happy Cat Haven, Gibsons, BC. She lives with roughly 60 cats (elderly, needing help, unadoptable,etc) in her home. She recently was photographed in her “crazy cat lady” t-shirt in the local newspaper for her 80th birthday. She runs the most efficient, clean rescue I know and has singlehandedly eradicated the feral cat problem on the Sunshine Coast. She has an enormous following and is widely respected.

  • Pat Jones says

    Hi I would,nt worry about what people think the animals
    Love being with you and thats the important thing.
    I don,t think there is anything wrong with sleeping
    with 6 or 7 dogs as long as you have a spot.
    I think the school kids would have thought that was neat,being able to do that, and everyone tells a fib once in awhile. THANK GOODNESS the animals have you!!
    Pat

  • dawn says

    I have huge amounts of respect for what you do.

    In my eyes it is the ones who dump their friends in their moment of need that are insane. They are the ones that need to have their head examined, not you.
    Not everyone can live as you do & that’s fine, but they must respect you for your decisions.

    Keep up the great work you are doing. I hope for all the animals, one day more people will understand why you do what you do..

  • Colleen says

    “its not normal. it is not the way it is acceptably done, it is hard to wrap your head around….it is kind of crazy.”

    No, it’s not normal conditions for “shelter” animals. Thank gawd.

    It’s not acceptably done because society/establishment hasn’t reached that higher plain yet.

    As far as “wrapping your head around it”…there seems to be only those that truly, unconditionally, treasure the animals in their lives, and those that don’t. But, hang on a sec. One of those kids today may have really REALLY thought about the life of the animals you have there. Maybe one did not have a 2 pound hamburger after looking into Percy’s heavenly eyes. Maybe Ellie or Tunie changed a view.

    Not crazy Carol. Not in one little teeny tiny wee fraction.

    I think there should be a mandatory visit to S.A.I.N.T.S. for every child in Canada. ( Animal Compassion/Rights/Welfare 101 should be taught in Kindergarten and up….JMO )

  • Heidi says

    If you look at people that have changed the world for the better, initially they were thought of to be crazy, but when people started to understand, become enlightened, educated, then these same people became world icons, leaders. Some even have a day dedicated to them. Thank God Christopher Columbus never gave in to those who thought he was crazy for believing the world to be round. I totaly respect you for what you do and how you do it. Actualy, Bobbie, June, and I were talking on the way back, they have’t been out before and the whole rescue/shelter thing is new to them. They never asked how you could live like that but we all said, we wished we could. We are too selfish to do that. We all admired you for being brave enough to do that. As for sleeping with that many animals, I know I would , I even let Trev up on my once very expensive and nice comforter when he was all yucky with the skin infections. He has even vomited on it but I don’t care. I can always get another comforter but I have only one go around to make Trev happy.

  • Sheila says

    I am involved in doing humane education in the school system through the SPCA. I know that not everyone who reads this blog is a fan of the SPCA but having been a voluteer for them for the last 7 years I know where they shine and their program around humane education is one. Through its programs of bite free and kindness counts it teachs children how to be sympathetic and compassionate to all beings in this society. One thing I have learned through going into the schools and dealing with children from the age of 5 to 8 is that children are very different today in their awareness of the animals that live in our society. I believe that we are living in the beginnings of a revolution that will see huge changes in the next 50 years around our perception of animals. I don’t really believe that the people I meet through being a volunteer for the spca see what Carol does is outside what we call “normal”. What I see is the times they are a changing and the cbc knows it and that is why they do stories on sanctuaries like Carol and do puppy mill stories, and a expose on pet food and Oprah did a story on factory farming and why the citizens of California voted with the American Humane Society for changes on how animals are housed on farms.

  • Leila says

    Carol, I think you are crazy for sleeping with how many animals on your bed? I can’t sleep through the night with just half the animals we have here. 2 cats are too many for me. But then I have space issue – very big space issues. Thank god I only have Patty on the bed tonight. At least he stays in one place. Some people would think I am crazy.

    I agree with Sheila. I think the times “they are a changing” or otherwise CBC would never have come out to film your shelter. I believe we are on the precipice of change. You can see it in our young people. I represented LAPS at the Pedigree adoption campaign. It wasn’t the sweet old ladies of yester year generation supporting shelter animals. It was young educated people in the early 20s who were. Many of them have a different way of viewing the world which includes seing animals as sentient beings which isn’t/wasn’t present in our generation or the generation before.

    The times, they are a changing. You wouldn’t have the support you do if normal folks thought you were crazy. Places like Best Friends wouldn’t exist if times weren’t changing. You’re not crazy – you just don’t have space issues – well okay, you have no boundaries – maybe you are crazy.

  • Carol says

    it is not just the “crazy” factor that has me all stressed out about this filming…it is the emotionality of it too. i am a highly emotional person…this is a highly emotional place and yet we keep that emotionality tightly contained so it doesn’t overwhelm the animals, or visitors or even ourselves.

    we all feel the same thing here when suddenly it becomes apparent that life is drawing to an end.

    when the ferrier told me last week that spritely’s foot is deteriorating…mo felt what i felt as soon as i told her…laura knew toby was done before she heard the words…the ones that we still grieve for…wee hopeful bug, jazz, dexter, oka, swinger…the memories of sleeping in the field with jeanette, the hope we felt when the fire department came to her rescue..the day 30 of us carried her to a softer bed…2 weeks of emotional turmoil and struggle with hope egging us on and in the end? she is gone.

    these are the things that cameras can’t see….they see what is happening at a moment in time..the crazy, the cute, the sad, the whatever but… they can’t see the depth of the emotionality invested over a very long time and the sadness that it brings to us that we hold hidden inside.

    they asked me what made me sad…i said it was the the things on the outside that i couldn’t change…this wasn’t really true either…alot of my sadness comes from inside here while struggling to make it a happy place.

  • SteveO says

    Yes you are so very CrAzY…..but thats what we love about you…n the animals too….from what Ive seen about so called normal people…do with thier beloved old pets….sign me up too….I have no use for so called normal’s……has the loony bin got room for some of us too 😯 😯

  • Sheila says

    Carol I have to apologize I didn’t read your entry so much as I read the comments and my comment was a reaction to the comments… if that makes sense.(I think I just read the first paragraph and then went to the comments)I think that if you had told those students you lived there some wouldn’t get it and some would really get and then there would have been the group who wouldn’t have cared one way or another and thought nothing. I don’t know what it is like to be a mother but I do know what is like to be a daughter and I find that I am more critical, intolerant, harder on my family then on anyone else and in the process end up hurting my mother’s feeling more than I care to admit and yet I love her dearly.

  • Carol says

    you read the first paragraph and then went straight to comments???????
    lol i am wounded to the core (but impressed with your utter honesty!)

  • Sheila says

    Because when I first read the entry there were already 6 comments so I got blinded by the fact there were so many and then I got involved in thinking as I read the comments.

  • Lindsay says

    Ha ha! “‘Normal’ is a setting on a dryer.”

    I love it!!

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