i am posting an open question blog.

Posted: August 7, 2010 at 3:06 pm

anyone can ask me about anything, personally. you can’t ask me about other people or events surrounding other people. but you can ask me for clarification about my actions, my beliefs, my philosophys.

so if for example, you were wondering about a statement made about me…like…do i add years to their ages or manufacture health issues?…
you could ask that…”carol…do you add years to their ages or manufacture health issues that are not real?”
or you could ask..”carol, do you support volunteers or staff developing relationships with the saints animals?” you could ask what is my philosophy surrounding cookies for the animals, you can even ask me point blank if i am a control freak but expect a long and complex answer to that one!…i have no problem with folks honestly asking questions and seeking to understand me or saints, i think that is way better than coming up with a whole bunch of assumptions and judgements from fantasy land.
so if folks want to know something that i can freely and ethically discuss…which means either my own or saints actions, policies, philosophies and practices…(but please, not personal issues involving others) then ask away..the comments are open to appropriate and respectful dialog.

49 Comments on "i am posting an open question blog."

  • Chris T says

    I have a question. I noticed in the blog that you posted from the other person that you were referred to as the ‘founder.’ You are absolutely the ‘founder’ of SAINTS – you conceived of the idea and provided the material means to bring it to life. All of this got me thinking about something called “Founder’s Syndrome” – check it out on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Founder's_syndrome

    So, my question is how much do you think SAINTS is affected by Founder’s Syndrome?

  • Sheila says

    I’m not going to ask a question. But make a very long comment.  

    I believe that most of the volunteers don’ t know me because  i’m not often up at Saints. Bear with me as I talk about myself. 17 years ago I started working in family business – there was 4 of us – 2 brothers and two sisters.  We all have equal shares in a company that ran successfully (by this I mean we produced 18 million board feet of western red cedar a year. We weren’t the biggest out there by any means but we  certainly made a tidy profit at the end of the day).  We are the second generation running the company and usually family businesses don’t succeed after the first – or so we were told that by people who were impressed that we had made it more successful than when My father ran the company.  Most second generation families don’t make it because the siblings don ‘t get that there can only be ONE BOSS.  There was one boss in our company  – my younger brother.  The hardest thing for me to do was to (in my own head) not challenge him for that position.  It wouldn’t ‘ t have worked if I had.  We actually learned to work efficiently as a team – each of us looking after our own area but it was one person who made the major decisions as to what direction the company was taking.  We discussed the large decisions and he actually did listen to us.  We had huge fights sometimes … And we didn’t do formal board meetings.  To a run a successful enterprise it is important to run a united front with one person being the captain.   17 years later I don’t have to worry about my personal finances or my retirement and that is because we all worked in unison with the same goals in mind.  Take that premise and apply it to any organization – larger, smaller or let’s say a charitable rescue with a board of directors – one boss and one board of directors working unison without outward strife.

    I did sit on Carol ‘s board her first year and so did Leila – who is one quarter of the 4 siblings. We quit after the first year because we didn’t ‘t always see things her way.   One of the statements Leila made to Carol when she quit was that she needed to have a board that was of like mind has her.  Please reread the above if you don ‘t understand why Leila would say that to her.  5 years later I still have arguments with Carol and we both consider Carol a close friend despite some of our differences.  Why because even though Carol can be controlling and arrogant – we both immensely respect the work she does.  In the end it is not about Carol’s personality but about the shelter and the animals and whether that is done ethically and above board.  5 years later I constantly have to ask myself about who protects the animals from the friggin rescuers.  I never ask myself that about Carol.   Carol doesn’t give out false phone numbers when she tAkes an animal, or charge a brokers price, or give animals to people with alzheimers, or breed, or adopt out an animal with health issues 2 days after she gets them, or rotate between fosters, or refuse to take back dogs she has adopted out but declare on a public board that she always takes her animals back, or try to bathe a dog with trust issues in the first week and then say it is aggressive because it tried to bite, and no I am not at the shelter 24 hours 7 days a week. But I do trust my judgement and my abilities to read people.  Carol is no SAINT but she happens to be one of the most ethical, honest person I have ever met.  

    And I will end this is with the worst insult Carol ever gave me was that the animal I was most like was Suzie the shark – tries to tell me that it isn’t an insult and then two days later talks on the blog about how ugly Suzie is when she is pissed.  How is that a compliment

  • Rae says

    Awesome response Sheila…..and I think little Suzie is a very confident dog, that’s a compliment 🙂

  • amy says

    carol, do you support volunteers or staff developing relationships with the saints animals? Or believe the animals only like them as they provide cookies?

    Curious as I read the previous post and hey, you wanted questions!

  • Chris T says

    My link does not work. I will try again:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Founder%27s_syndrome

  • amy says

    Chris T, this definition so completely describes the manager of a group home for developmentally and disabled individuals I once worked for. Wow, had no idea it was considered a syndrome. Completely nails her and her replacement (who she hired of course!)

  • Carol says

    lol…in my own defence sheila…while i did hone my controlling instincts quite well on my own..my arrogence has a genetically long history in my family…it is generational!
    and being suzie is a compliment! i adore that little fiesty dog.

    i had to do a web search for founders syndrome chris cuz the link did not say.
    my thoughts on this are as follows….it seems to me that this is one of the pitfalls of having the ability to create something truly special…it does become like a child to you…very personal. i guess the question becomes when is the child old enough to live life on its own…did you provide the bases… the guidence, the ethics, the commottment, the strength and honor for the child to make it thru life without you?

    my intention is to eventually retire (within the next 8 yrs)..my hope is that saints will continue on past me, that saints can one day stand strong on it’s own.

    do i think we are there yet? no. do i think we can get there? yes.
    do i think it will be easy for me to hand the responsibility over? absolutely not.
    but will i do it? yes i will because i do know that it will be best for the future senior animals if i do.

    BUT…

    just because someone WANTS to take over, does not mean they are CAPABLE of taking over. the people i know now right at this minute who are CAPABLE of taking over, do not WANT to take over.
    and there in lies the problem…we are not a multimillion dollar industry who can attract the best of the best with the offer of some really good money.
    we can’t offer much more than a lifetime of unpaid service and a whole bunch of headaches.

    it takes some pretty special kind of people to be here for all of the right reasons..if they are here for the wrong ones, they don’t do any of us, especially the animals any favors at all.

    figuring this out as been a real issue for me…time is running out so i have 2 plans in place..the continuation of saints as a sanctuary independent of me if there is enough time left to me to accomplish this or…saints becoming something different that helps senior animals…like a trust fund that can be accessed to make senior animals with health issues in shelters and pounds more adoptable by addressing their medical needs.

    i can’t say at this point which will be the final direction of saints because it simply is too soon to see which way we are heading.

    but the one thing i do know is that for me personally..one day i will be done with this..one day i will be too tired and negative to care well for saints anymore…or even if that doesn’t ever happen..one day i will be dead as a door nail..that is a certainty.

    i am lucky that i have been in rescue as long as i have…i see very well the risks and devastation of becoming a dinosaur and working past your competency.
    AND as a nurse, i see every day, lives that end without warning…i am smart enough to know that part of growing up is the eventual ability and necessity to let something or someone you love, go.

    sorry..i didn’t actually answer your question…how much does founders syndrome affect saints?

    i guess it depends where you see us in our developement..are we still in our infancy or are we now fully mature?
    i don’t really think we are mature yet…we do not have the reliable resources or infrasture. but i do think we are getting there…despite what folks think, the board and i do not always agree and neither do we always disagree..but we do discuss, and each of us does really try to do what is best for saints, not ourselves individually.

    saints does have a team approach…but there is clearly one person in charge and is fully responsible..and right now that is me. one day it will be someone different…but i think there will always be one person at the top who accepts where the buck actually stops..i really don’t think you can parcel bits of it off..but then that is just my view right now. the future may hold an entirely different view…and frankly, i don’t think i will care because at that point it will have nothing to do with me….i will either be dead or doing something else that i love just as well. however and when i leave saints, i will find something else to fill my time with…be it dead or doing something else.

    so anyway, to answer your question… do we suffer from founders syndrome?…as long as i am here we probably do, i think it is a currently necessary given…how long it is necessary depends on what happens with us over the next couple of years.

  • Tammy says

    Hey Carol.
    Will someone be moving into the suite in the shop?

  • Carol says

    lol..i deleted the rest..sorry, it was pushing the rules of engagement!

    no one is moving into the suite. it is strictly for overnight guests and visitors to use.

  • Tammy says

    That’s great that the suite will be there for you to get away from time to time. Also I know Frodo loves hanging in the shop and suite.

  • Carol says

    stop..you can’t win. i am controlling the delete button..it is the advantage to being a controlling kind of person.

    and yes frodo does love the shop..which is a good thing cuz tonight i noticed his trailer needs cleaning…i will do it on my lunch break tomorrow so don’t worry about it, i am on it for him.

    oh shit..i forgot..new cat in…see new post.

  • Tammy says

    I can wait until you are away from the delete button.
    They are honest questions that I am curious about.
    Don’t worry about Frodo’s trailer, I will shine it up for him.
    Looking forward to meeting the new cat.

  • Chris T says

    Are questions being deleted?

    Amy – it is very common for this kind of thing to happen in non-profits. In order to prevent it there needs to be open and transparent leadership.This begins with the board of directors. Board members should be there because they bring particular skills. Passion is good but you need accountants and lawyers, HR people etc. One should not get to be on a board because they are friends or colleagues of the founder or because they have been hand-picked. When the board that I work for needed new members they went to volunteer vancouver looking for people with specific skills. It has been really good because now we have people who can actually help in meeting the mission and the mandate.

  • Carol says

    do i support staff and volunteers having relationships with the animals…and do i think animals only like them if they provide cookies?

    yes i support people developing HEALTHY relationships with the animals. this means that whatever bonds are formed, are based on mutual respect and genuine liking. i do not support the use of the saints animals to create dependent relationships to fill human emotional holes.

    so as an example…cole’s love of mo and her love of him was based on cole’s choices and needs and not mo’s. and yes she fed him treats every weekend, but she fed all of the dogs equal numbers of treats. her view was to make them all happy not just her and cole.

    do i think they only like people who give them treats..no i do not. i think the opposite is true. if a relationship is only based on getting food..then that animal views humans as only a food source…i think they need more of a relationship with us than that.

    my objection is not to giving the animals treats. my objection is to people carrying treats around in their pockets..when there are treats in the pockets, all of the animals know they are there and they get quite pushy and rude because they cannot forget that there are treats in there.

    if treats are to be given, i want it to be a conscious choice that involves an actual physical action to stop and go and get one (or two)…”oh..you look like you need a treat so i will go and get you one”…i do not want it to be an expectation that humans carry a never ending supply of treats on their person…in dogs it becomes extremely annoying and for 1000 pound farm animals crowding to get close to your pockets, it is extremely annoying and dangerous too.

    and finally…i do not want the animals of saints manipulated by food. i do it when they first arrive to help them find something good about this place. but after that..a treat is for free..no expectations, no hidden agendas, i will as easily and often give a treat to a pain in the ass animal as i will to one of my favorites. a treat is food that tastes good to them and that they don’t get all of the time..that is why it is called a treat. it is not a tool to make them like me more than another by giving it to them all of the time..i trust them enough to figure that one out on their own depending on what they decide they need….(besides treats, which they do think they need all of the time…see…even the animals and i sometimes, on certain things, completely disagree.)

  • amy says

    Thanks Chris and I so agree with you. A board member should have particular skills and an impartial view to what is going on within the organization. And the guts to speak up for those who cannot do it for themselves. Thankfully the group home where I worked finally got it together unfortunately right before it was dissolved.

    Carol, I can understand your view that treats should not be stuffed in volunteer/staff pockets. In my home with my aged and middle aged dog treats are doled out when the one needs medication 3x a day and sits nicely while I inject, or when one or the other displays a behaviour we want to reinforce.

    If your staff member was bonding and reaping the rewards of such interactions how could you explain them away as ‘she/he thought it was me, or it was the (non-existant) cookies in his/her pockets?’

    Many people apparently want to come and help out at Saints, and it is obvious bonds are formed for whatever reason. How can you see that as a negative? Is not the goal of Saints to provide a loving home for the animals you take in? If love comes from a staff member or volunteer how can you negate that? Isn’t that what Saints is all about? You work all day the average day outside the home. Your volunteers and staff are there for the animals when you aren’t. It saddens me that you do not give them the respect they deserve.

    Yes, you control the delete button but can you sit down and think about what this former staff member has said and see any truth in it? That is my question.

    I am only someone who has visited once but has sent whatever money I could your way. I want to feel justified in supporting Saints. Delete or to not delete?

  • Carol says

    questions are not being deleted…extra comments that could be taken as adding fuel to an unneccessary fire, are. there are people here that are protective of saints and myself and that is sometimes a difficult and helpless spot to be in esp. when i won’t let them say what they want to say here.
    the rules were clear…respectful and appropriate dialog.

    as to boards of directors..boards are usually chosen by founders that will meet the needs of the organization.
    what i currently personally look at is… people who value senior and special needs animals, people whose personal ethics and values are similar to mine and people who have a demonstrated investment of positive committment to the wellbeing of not only saints, but the animals first and foremost. people who i know, should i die tomorrow, will do their very best to ensure the animals come to no harm.

    i do not look for people to agree with me all of the time, believe it or not, i actually do need different perspectives because i am well aware that my perspectives alone could be flawed. but i do need people who are personally invested here because this is not simply a business venture…it is about responsibility, respect and dignity for 140 lives.

    we hire lawyers and accountants to keep our ducks in a row…i ask people i respect and trust to help care for the animals.

    i know one day the board will be comprised of more emotionally distant professionals..but right now we are professional enough..we do all have successful careers and various skills besides our ties to saints..our board consists in their outside professional lives of one successful private business owner, one government administrator, one professional banker, one registered and practicing nurse, one registered and practicing animal vet technologist, one masters level educator in animal welfare with the SPCA, and one animal welfare events coordinator with the VHS.

    we ain’t just hill billy’s without much to offer to saints.

  • Chris T says

    Carol – I was not insulting the SAINTS board in any way. I was responding to Amy’s point about the group home she worked in. I was also discussing what has worked well for the NP where I am the ED. Of course everyone has skills. I do think your board would benefit from a lawyer and and an accountant who also have commitments to animals. Given that you have paid staff, an HR person would also be very helpful.

  • Carol says

    amy…i am not going to go into specifics or defending myself against the accusations of others.

    there are very deep bonds formed here between both staff and volunteers and the animals..just because someone says i do not allow it does not make that true.

    i do set limits on somethings, sometimes. phoebe is a perfect example. intially tammy concentrated on her too much and that became a management problem because tammy could not be on site without phoebe with her constantly or phoebe drove the rest of us insane. once i explained what was happening to phoebe..tammy began to make phoebe get used to her spending time with the other animals too, she was not just for phoebe’s obsessive and exclusive use.

    i asked another volunteer to leave a couple of years ago because she repeatedly put an cardiac dog at risk by taking him to places he was not physically well enough to go to.

    i have asked other volunteers to leave here too…NOT because they were friends with any particular animal but because they repeatedly caused disruption and strife with personal agendas and politicking around here.

    i have fired staff and volunteers for not following the rules and for animals being neglected or injured.

    this is my JOB…to protect the best interests of saints and saints animals. it is my job to ensure that staff and volunteers adhere to a respectful and positive code of personal conduct. it is my job to make sure that the animals, staff and volunteers are able be here safely in a non toxic environment.

    it is my job to take care responsible and ethical of saints..it is not my job to be trying to be popular and well liked and adored by the entire world.

    there are people out there who do not like me, there are people out there that are very angry with me, there are people out there who truly believe that because of this, i am not fit to be running saints.
    except….the bottom line is…saints is doing the job that we have said we would do and we are doing it quite well…so honestly, it is just common sense..how utterly mean and horrible at this can i in reality be????

    does not saints, the contentment of the animals, the continued support of the long term staff and volunteers who do happen to like it here, somewhat speak for itself in this?

  • Tammy says

    The people (both staff and volunteers) who are at SAINTS on a regular basis for the animals know that Carol’s interest is about the heath and happiness of the animals. She doesn’t do something (or take action)unless she has thought it through. She constantly has to look at the big picture, all the animals at SAINTS and how something might affect them all. Most other people up there probably don’t see the big picture when they think of something, they may just see a part of SAINTS and how an action will affect that area. I myself have been guilty of that thinking.
    Whether or not we agree with a decision Carol makes, once we question it we then understand why the decision was made, because it was the best decision for the whole of SAINTS not just the area we are thinking about.
    The people who are up at SAINTS (whether its staff or volunteers) that do not “get it” are not up there for the animals but for some other agenda of their own. When things do not go the way they want, rather than try to understand what is going on they become bitter and angry. They may strike out and this only hurts the very animals they claim to care so much about.
    Not to mention the negative energy that gets thrown at SAINTS and that bullshit that Carol has to deal with when people decide to “stir the pot” takes away from the SAINTS animals. Carol then has to use time and energy to deal with the crap, time and energy that she could use towards the animals.

  • francesca Wilson says

    The commitment given by Carol to SAINTS is for me beyond reproach. The care that happens there is outstanding by Carol and the volunteers. For Carol to have to deal with this awful negativity is distressing. With so much work she does and then on top of everything to have to defend what goes on at SAINTS is not fair. I feel privileged to even be a small part of things there.
    francesca

  • Brandy says

    Carol, reading your blog over the past couple of years I see the number of animals has grown substantially, and many of them live in the house with you. What do you see as the maximum number of cats and dogs who can comfortably and safely inhabit your fairly small home? What do you see as the maximum number of pasture animals your 1 – 2 acres of pasture can support (I know the property is 3 or 4 acres, but I’m subtracting the space taken by buildings, driveways, pond, etc.)
    Also, you’ve done quite a bit of building and renovations in the past few years – the suite, the MP room, various out buildings – have these all been done with a building permit to ensure they meet code and zoning laws? And lastly, on the city’s website, the bylaws pertaining to animals give two options for places wanting to keep more than three dogs (hobby kennel- max of 8 dogs – and traditional kennel with individual runs for each dog) – have you legally obtained a variance to allow the type of shelter you run, and are you zoned for this type of operation?

    These are the sorts of questions board members are responsible for asking, at least on other boards I’m familiar with. I’d like to know if Saints has protected itself so a change of politicians or inspectors can’t suddenly threaten the safety of the animals.

  • Jenn says

    I think it is important for people to understand what is my mother has built with SAINTS, how she built it and why she built it.

    She volunteered for a local rescue and fostered for the SPCA for years. She always found herself fosterering the most elderly and sick animals because due to her nursing background and work in the geriatrics unit of the hospital she really understood and was able to care for these animals that no one else could: incontinent animals, animals with cancer, animals who siezure, diabetic animals … etc. I say animals that no else could but also lets face it, animals no one elese WOULD … I remember one time she took this dog in that has the worse skin problems I have ever seen. Worse then Buddy and Sissy, worse than Molly … It was bad. At the other shelter no one would touch him. He was yeasty and smelly, old and wrecked. I am sure he was up for euth. My mom brought him home and loved that old stinky dog. Kissed him and cuddled him and he became a different dog. Not only did his outside improve but he also because happy, playful and confident. He felt loved and felt valued. She found him a great forever home where he was adored and worshiped. THAT is what my mom does for these animals. It is so special to see. It really is all about the ANIMALS for her. That is why she started saints, donated her home and LIFE to saints because of these animals … and she is going to do everything in her power to make sure that those animals are safe, loved, and well cared for, for the REST OF THEIR LIVES. She will not let them be exploited by others for their own needs.

    She does not hoard them or get jealous of other people’s relationships with them, be it volunteers, fosters, or staff. She allows when it is safe and in the best interest of the animal and person to have one-on-one time, go for trips to macdonalds, sleep overs, be fostered or even adopted. These decisions have nothing to do with my mother’s personal feelings. It is solely about the welfare of the animal.

    Because saints conists of large open areas with many animals, having treats can be dangerous for the dogs and people. I myself nearly had my foot broken my Percy trying to get treats from me and the dogs can get agressive with one another or even with you when they all want treats. Other dogs and animals need to be managed in terms of the number of walks they can recieve, how far they can or cannot go, if it is raining and they get wet they must be dried immediately.When something happens, like too many treats are given out (last year the horses got too many apples) OR someone left a gate open and an animal got into something it shouldn’t (horses got into the goat food) it my MOM who must get up in the middle of the night to check on them, walk them make sure they don’t collic. So yes there is a bigger picture that people do not see. There are health and medical issues that people do not fully understand. There are safety issues too. And the buck stops at my MOM. She is the one who is responsible and accountable. She is one that must look at how ONE decision can have a ripple effect … there is hindsight and then there is forsight …

    She is the most generous person I know; allowing those in need to live there for free (be it animal or person). She is also the strongest and most resillent personal I know. When she is sick and injured she does not stay in bed like most people resting and healing: a broken ankle. pnemonia, whatever, she still whips around that place caring for the animals. She never has a day off. She is doing an amazing job with the ANIMALS> may not be perfect with some of the people issues but then again she is not in it to help the people who are there for the wrong reasons. If someone makes a mistake or goes against the rules (which are there for the safety of the animals and people) my MOm tells them in a way like “Hey, don’t do that and this is why.” She is to the point. It is about the animals. PERIOD. I have seen her give people multiple chances. She never belittles them she only explains. If they take it personally and then lash out at her repretation I can only wonder why there were here in the first place. So I can only shake my head at how quickly others judge my mother. And I wonder what their motives are? If it only about the welfare of the animals then I think they should come out and visit saints an they will see a facitility in which every room and building is built with the care and welbeing of the animals there. However if it is a personalily conflict with my mother than I would like to invite them walk a day in my mother’s shoes.

  • Carol says

    brandy, it is not the actual numbers so much that determine how or where we are full…it is the types, personalities, needs of the mix of the individuals and the groups as a whole that determines if i think we can help one more. and it depends on the personality and needs of the one trying to get in too. i could have 5 of a bad mix of dogs and have a total disaster or i could have 20 of relatively easy and laid back kind of dogs and it is a dream around here.

    as to the bylaws etc…we have following a full inspection by both the bylaw dept. and animal control a kennel and business license that legally allows us to go about our business of rescuing animals.

    as to the numbers of farm animals..we have too many for the size of the property so this means if i want them to have access to free pasture grazing land and not be living in mud up to their ankles..i have to ensure that we not only rotate the grazing areas but that i am prepared to maintain and repair the pasture areas every year. most owned horses in our society are shelf dwellers who move from stall to wood chipped paddock and back..most people do not have the land available for them to be out grazing on pastures and therefore rely on boarding stables. most cows never step out of a barn and touch their feet to real ground. our guys actually have the choices to go between upper field and riding ring (where the majority of the shelters are) or between the lower pasture and the riding ring so they never feel like they are confined in a single area without choice.

    we actually built the weather shelters and barns in the riding ring so the animals did not lose any pasture area. every animal has an inside, clean and dry stall area to go into at night..none of them are forced to stay out in bad weather,none of them are picked on or bullied by others, they all get along peacefully.

    20 acres would be nice but i doubt very much any of them feel the lack simply because their caregivers make sure that what they do have is good.

    the great thing about the saints board of directors is..they know well what their responsibility to saints and the animals is. and unlike other boards who are not hands on..our directors are here with their sleeves rolled up and actively working for and with the animals , they know exactly what caring for these animals entails.

  • William says

    While it’s wonderful that Carol’s daughter and friends have come to her defense, they are understandably biased.

    My questions are

    1) What is your relationship with other private rescues? ( I ask because while it is wonderful that you have the support of your community, I also believe it is important to have the support of one’s peers )

    2) Why do you rarely do “home checks” on animals that are adopted out? ( you mentioned that in an entry )

    3) How often are the board meetings and is the public invited to attend?

    I wonder if this blog entry you began could be made into a sticky at the top? Some people may not visit here every day and will miss the opportunity to ask a question. You do a fair bit of blogging and it could very well become buried.

    I and my wife attended your recent open house event and were absolutely amazed at the sheer volume of animals stuffed and squished here and there throughout the property. Not ideal by any means, but perhaps better than a shelter.

    Thank you for your time.

  • Renee says

    As a staff person who is there five days a week for almost four years, I believe I have a pretty good grasp of who Carol is and how she runs SAINTS. Carol has the animals best interests at heart, she has never changed the age or medical issues of the animals as I have ofter read the emails sent to her by people wanting to surrender their animals. I personally have a very special relationship with Jesse and Carol supports this 100 percent. I also took 4lane home for many weekends and again Carol supported this. Nothing makes her happier then hearing happy stories when she comes home at lunch about people bonding with the animals and having those special moments with them. Carol and I do not always agree but she always takes my opinions into consideration and she never acts like its only her way that will work. Carol has created something beautiful with SAINTS and it through her wisdom, knowledge and hard work that it has become the amazing place it is today.

  • Carol says

    lol william..jolting questions.

    i have good relationships with some rescues but no so good with others.
    i do have good relationships with all of the animal controls and the spca too.
    i almost always do home checks on the farm animals…i am looking for very specific things in them. i sometimes do home checks on companion animals depending on a number of things. most of our companion animals are adopted by friends of saints or volunteers that i know or know of quite well. sometimes they are referrals with excellent references from our vets because they have a long term relationship with them. most times when strangers come here to adopt an animal, i have already spent many emails and several telephone calls, getting to know and understand how they think and feel..by the time they get her and spend another couple of hours with me i am either totally comfortable with trusting them with the care and responsibility or i am not. if i am not..it is a no go and i do feel badly for taking up so much of their time, but if it is yes, then i truly do know that i never have to worry about that animal ever again.
    i do not need to see someones home to get a feel for the person inside…what i do need is time to invest and spend with them..it is easier for me to do that here.

    we have board meetings as we need them…we have one coming up soon to discuss the future planning for saints, the last formal one was in june..but keep in mind the board of directors not only are here together to discuss various things as they arise but we also speak to each other almost daily on the phone with updates or questions or concerns or if i am looking for advice. the volunteers and staff are always free to attend..sometimes i specifically ask them to because we are discussing issues that affect everyone here. i don’t usually post public notices for the community to attend because it honestly hasn’t occured to me that they would want to unless it was something that might affect them.

    and i am assuming your words of “stuffed” and “squished’ mean saints is not quite what you think it should be…well honestly it is not exactly what i would like it to be either ( i would like for it to be smaller) but until we care for our senior and sick animals a bit better in our society, the options for these guys are pretty slim. we are the only senior and special needs sanctuary available to them..it puts a huge strain on us personally and our resources..maybe one day that too will change for the better….hopefully when people do visit saints, they are able to see the possibilities if senior animals were valued a bit more…that might lead to some positive change and make saints eventually obsolete.
    that is my wish for one day.
    i would be happy if one day it did.

  • Carol says

    i do just want to say something here…support from family and actual saints volunteers maybe considered to be biased…but please grant them the courtesy of having feelings and pretty knowledgable, hands on views on what really does go on inside here.

    no one here is a puppet, no one here is a mindless slave…everyone here is here by choice and all of them agree with some things and disagree about other things but they all are respectful of the issues and constraints that as a society we have to face.

    we all want the ideal but at this point in time, we try to do the best we can with reality.
    i think we need to be respectful of their opinions and feelings, they have earned the right by their committment and caring work here to speak freely how they feel about saints too.

  • Sheila says

    I think something should be made really clear here – everyone on the board of directors (except one person and that person is involved in the pet industry) met Carol because they started out as volunteers. Every friend that has come to Carol’s defense met her because they came to get involved with SAINTS. So if they became friends with her it is because they like her and what she does at SAINTS.

    I am the volunteer Chair of what is called the community council at my local shelter and we are voted in by the community. You can guess how many people who are members actually show up at the AGM and vote us in. The one’s who last on the council are the one’s who started off as volunteers at the shelter because they are invested in the shelter. The lawyers and the accountants and the business people don’t last because they are not invested in that shelter and that is because they have not been a dog walker or a cat foster coordinator etc, I have become friends with the people that have sat on the council with me because we have mutually worked toward a common goal – I don’t see what is wrong with being friends with the volunteers and the board of directors.

    And lastly I was told once be a very wise person – that people will leave the shelter as volunteers/and or staff not because of the issues around the animals but because they have a personality issue with someone (but it is easier to say it is because of the animals) And I have seen this happen time again at my local shelter – so I am not surprised to see that SAINTS has the same issues.

    And I lied lastly – although I don’t run a rescue – I do foster and I don’t do home checks because I can spend two to three hours with a person and the animal up for adoption together to figure out whether a person is insincere or a liar or an inapporpriate guardian. Talking to the person on the phone isn’t enough because you can’t see the face and body language. I do understand that some rescues don’t have the ability to read people and therefore do need the checklist in hand and the homecheck. Believe me if the person tells me they have fence and they don’t I can figure if it is the truth – because insincerity is pretty hard to hide – and if they don’t want a dog on their brand new woodend floor I don’t need to see the floor and hear them say it to not figure out how tolerant a person is going to be. For me spending a lot of time with the person and my foster together and listen and pay attention I find most of what I need to know. Sorry but it always astounds me what people won’t pick up through conversation – like a house tells you if you are a good owner or not more than spending time with the person and the animal up for adoption together.

  • Tammy says

    I don’t consider myself biased about my opinion of SAINTS.
    When SAINTS and Carol come under attack I will go to the front lines to defend them because my opinion is based on being a volunteer for over three years, going up to SAINTS several times a week, and witnessing first hand the incredible work that goes on there. If it wasn’t such an honorable place I wouldn’t have spent such a great deal of time there. Is everything at SAINTS perfect, is Carol perfect? Hell no, that would be unrealistic. However Carol does an amazing job with the animals and SAINTS is a one of a kind place (in my opinion). No one’s perfect, that’s just a little lie they tell themselves because they cannot deal with reality.

    Many of the people who throw out an opinion of SAINTS or speak badly of the place or Carol have only been up there once or twice or have gotten their info second hand and take it for gospel. They don’t know the place, the animals or what really goes on day to day.
    There really isn’t anyone who can deal with everything she has to.
    There are people who think they could do a better job with running SAINTS and the animals. The reality is no they cannot. There is no one willing or capable of giving 24/7 of their lives to these unwanted and discarded animals. Not to mention working a full time job while dealing with the animal chaos. Giving up any personal time or vactions. That doesn’t exist when you have SAINTS. Your home is open all the time to people, strangers constantly walking through, everything is exposed.
    I just hope that the people reading this blog, the ones that sit and judge, the ones that for whatever petty reason want to hurt Carol (and by doing this you are hurting the animals) can at least sit there late at night in the dark, alone and admit (if only to themselves)that they are a mean and spiteful little person. That they could never run a place like SAINTS and that yes they do have personal issues to deal with. Unfortunately I doubt they will ever have the balls to admit that, even to themselves because in their little world they are perfect.

  • Mauro Salles says

    Carol, two considerations:

    (1) For SAINTS become a reality (and it is!!!), it is essential that there is someone with very strong personality. But strong personality has nothing to do with holiness or perfection, because in reality amplifies personal characteristics, both good and bad. In consequence, it is very difficult for people who maintain contact with you to remain “neutral”: either
    they will hate you, or will love and protect you until the last consequences. Are you aware of that? Why do you waste so much time responding to or “showing” personal attacks?

    (2) SAINTS grew very quickly and, it can be said, in an uncontrolled manner. You, as the stronger personality, tends to be dominant and in this there is nothing wrong or criminal, it is only a tragi-comic side effect that, yes, can fit perfectly into the “Founder’s Syndrome”. I think you know that and also know it is a NO TRIVIAL problem. “Remembering” that the animals are the most important thing and addressing a direct and practical question, I ask you: What will happen to them if you die now (after answering the questions, please)?

  • William says

    “want to hurt Carol (and by doing this you are hurting the animals)”

    Why is that retort consistently the same when someone is called to task when it involves animals?

    Why not try to understand someone who is looking in, and is having a difficult time deciphering. Some questions were asked and not answered. Or danced around to. Simple yes or no questions.

    This is no longer a friendly question and answer. It is now a “I know what I know and poop on you”.

    Carol, if not making this particular post a “sticky”, then perhaps a “Ask Carol Anything” box up top? Answered strictly by yourself of course!

  • Shelley says

    Why would rescuing an animal from a stockyard or broker ( whatever that is ) be considered to be “…something that goes against every fibre of a true rescuer’s creed… ” ?

    What is a true rescuer’s creed? Is it written down somewhere? If so, where is it? Can I read it?

    Is the pond at SAINTS full of manure run-off? If I fall in there, will I die?

    Am I allowed to ask more than one question in one post?

  • William says

    “I just hope that the people reading this blog, the ones that sit and judge, the ones that for whatever petty reason want to hurt Carol (and by doing this you are hurting the animals) can at least sit there late at night in the dark, alone and admit (if only to themselves)that they are a mean and spiteful little person. That they could never run a place like SAINTS and that yes they do have personal issues to deal with. Unfortunately I doubt they will ever have the balls to admit that, even to themselves because in their little world they are perfect.”

    I suppose everyone should be elated that you can contain and put your seething anger into words and not actions Tammy. LOL

    I applaud your commitment to Carol. Your devoted affection towards her does not go unnoticed.

    “Many of the people who throw out an opinion of SAINTS or speak badly of the place or Carol have only been up there once or twice or have gotten their info second hand and take it for gospel. They don’t know the place, the animals or what really goes on day to day.”

    I and my wife had a tour during the open house. Having been there only once, and my opinion ( seems not that it matters AT all! ) is that it is an organization run by well minded people who are quite simply over loaded. It’s not enough to speak of how society doesn’t value senior animals. It’s how the organization ( in this case Saints ) cares for and values their animals as individuals. Is each and every animals needs considered before a new one is admitted. In my limited opinion, it seems not. Sometimes “no” is the best you can do. Why squish and squeeze animals into corners that perhaps were never looked at as an animals habitat previously? The whole package/kit and kaboodle borders on “just not right”.

    “as to the bylaws etc…we have following a full inspection by both the bylaw dept. and animal control a kennel and business license that legally allows us to go about our business of rescuing animals.”

    Not trying to “stir the pot” as they say, but under what bylaw in Mission did you/saints, with 140 animals on 3 acres apply and receive a license for?

  • leila says

    So William are you suggesting that the 140 animals that you and your wife viewed at the SAINTS open house were not well cared for because it is over crowded?

  • Carol says

    i apologise..i have a headache and went to bed for awhile.,,it is apparently too late for the delete button…sorry about that..

    please don’t be angry. this is not supposed to have deteriorated into who is right or who is wrong.

    william..i did answer your question honestly. the city called me and said i had to have a licence..i went in, they gave me the paperwork..i filled it out there..they came and inspected and sent us the licence. that is the end of the story for me.

    can they come back and say oops sorry..someone has now complained about this so now you have to leave? i don’t know..maybe. i guess if someone really wants to shut us down, that is a very real possibility.

    i say no a lot…many times a week. i say no more than anyone else around here ever has to. there is no doubt that there are too many animals at saints..but while you see squished and stuffed…i see every animal with the choice of at least different clean, dry and comfortable beds (ie 3x more beds than animals so they can always find an empty one without having to look too hard) and 2 different rooms and an outside area for each group of animals to roam thru too. i see animals coming in here neglected and sick, with a bit of care and concern, feeling better, feeling happy again.

    to you saints looks like a difficult place to live, for these animals, it is not so terribly hard once they get the hang of things..these animals find kindness and caring, sometimes for the first time in their lives. these animals find a bit of fun, of affection, of being very special, they get the best of medical care so they can feel as well as they can….like any kind of living..there are tradeoffs….live in a dorm with lots of company and friends around you…live in a private home with peace and harmony instead. (i personally vote for the peace and harmony as my favorite)

    yes i deeply consider the others….where am i going to put a new one, what problems is this going to cause…what options do i have to remedy issues if they occur? which area will they best be suited to, which area has the room and what animals are already in there and what problems might occur with them too. and if the best laid plans fall to shit because i missed something important..what am i going to do with them next?

    it is not 140 dogs here..these numbers include chickens, rabbits, horses and pigs and all of the others. and we have areas that are full here…we have stretched as far it they can be stretched for whatever reason…be it numbers or personalities or needs.

    our numbers are actually quite stable…between adoptions, animals gone out to foster and actual deaths..that is where the next available space comes from if the animal needing to come is appropriate and a good mix for that spot.

    but william..not to be rude, not to be confrontational…but i have to ask you…if you object to how saints helps homeless senior and special needs animals…what are you going to do to help them instead?

    because while it is fine to say that we should be doing it differently after visiting us here..i know your average person finds this place overwhelming..it is overwhelming to me sometimes too…but…just saying that we should do it differently or by your standards alone, is not good enough to actually help any of them in any way shape or form.

    would you like to become more involved in helping these animals find good and responsible homes? would you like to help network with the pounds and the shelters to find them a better place to go?

    can you in any way help them so we don’t have to?

    it is ok not to like it here, it is ok not to agree, but if these things could translate into positive personal action to help them in a better way, then i think that is for them, a truly great thing.

    and selfishly, it gives me a bit of a break to maybe find what i would really like the best for here which is far less animals who need to come here.

  • Carol says

    hi shelley..no written creed that i am aware of, but that is truly the party line of most of the rescues. i aam not saying i disagree with them..it sounds great to have moral standards so high..it is just hard to put into practice when you actually physically are standing next to certain things.

    the pond is stream fed so it does have a supply of fresh water filtering thru…the manure pile is at the other end of the property and faces to the south, not sideways to the west. but ellie does occasionally poop in there and i have seen carl once take a pee in there too.

    i think the pond thing was a bit of pointless poke because the issues of its cleanliness became a target afterthought.

  • erin says

    excuse me william, are you suggesting that saints numbers are too high and that some of them shouldve been put down instead? who are you to decide theres too many animals? because her house doesnt look like your house? because she gave up her normal life to devote her home to those whove worn out their welcome in theirs? i guess if carol stacked up cages and things were neat and orderly and everybody was left alone in some outbuilding somewhere that would fit better in your mind of how things are supposed to be. i dont agree with every single thing carol does or says but shes doing something to help homeless and helpless animals, which is more than i can say for myself. why put another bed in the room and admit another animal in to lay on it? because she can. what are you doing to make the world a better place? i guess your not the type to volunteer at a shelter and pick up poo all day long. thats fine, but it doesnt mean you have to fling it either.

  • Louise says

    Erin, your comments match my thoughts exactly! The energy being spent on all this negativity could be put to better use/action and volunteer, donate, educate….anything to help the animals in this world who have been discarded for whatever reason. There are several rescues in BC but I have yet to find one that willingly takes on senior animals with medical issues, SAINTS is a very special place. Everyone has a right to their own opinion and have the right to ask questions but its time to move on and to focus on what is really important here and that is the animals.

  • Mo says

    I wasn’t going to post on this thread because it would sound defensive or bias.. but Carols post promted me ( thanks for that )

    At the end of the day everyone who volunteers , works at or supports SAINTS does it because they care about animals , there will always be disagreements about how it is done & opinions on if it is done right . We have a great group of people who assist in giving these guys the best that we can… if it isn’t perect in everyones eyes.. thats OK too.. cause nobody is perefect .

    I have been volunteering a long time & I am a member of the board. I have had many disagreements with Carol , we discuss things , I say my perspective ( Ok one time I yelled.. sorry ) , she states hers, we talk about how things may affect SAINTS and those already in it’s care.. I accept that the final decision is hers.. cuz as Carol stated I sure as heck don’t want to be the one making the life & death decisions she makes .. and that is exactly what it is a whole lot of the time… an animals life is at the end of that decision. Plus having to deal with all this type of stuff as well… No thanks … and if I totally disagreed.. I could leave that is my choice.

    I have also had many, many many deep bonding loving relationships with many many of the animals , one time it created a problem, Carol spoke with me about it.. and as hard as it was I needed to back off from that dog so she ( the dog I mean ) could be happy at SAINTS… I respected that and didn’t try to do things my way when she wasn’t looking , it was in the best interest of that dog , not mine , not Carols.. The dog.

    In memory of some of my past special friends… Moses, Dexter, Wilbur, Cole, Buddy, Sissy, Bill , Baby Jack, Tunie .. love you & miss you

    and my ongoing love affair with Molly, Jesse ( I am his week-end girlfriend ) Caspar, Chica ( who is new to creep out to the barn & into my heart) Herman , Edith, Gideon.. heck all the barn guys.. maybe not the chickens.. ( sorry guys )

    Hope Ziggy/Newton is settling in .. he had a blast yesterday & I have it on video … now to just figure out how to get it off the camera

  • Amy Dalgliesh says

    I grew up in a family that was squished and squeezed…bunk beds and a rollaway that had to be brought out everynight, knees bumping at the dinner table, hand-me-downs. But everyone of us had our physical and emotional needs met. Not one of us doubted the love and respect we held (and still hold) for each other. After reading/lurking for 3 years, I feel that I have come to know SAINTS and Carol. Many times, I have thought, wow, I don’t know if I could volunteer there, many other times I have wished to live closer so that I could. Both feelings came as a response to personality issues at the time, never because I felt that Carol and her crew weren’t doing their utmost to meet the animals needs, either physically or emotionally. To the contrary, I believe that those needs are what’s most important to all of them. Everyone of these animals knows they are loved AND respected, just as I did growing up….squished or not.

  • laura says

    After reading all these attacks and feeling the neagative energy I can understand this saying “the more people I meet the more I like my dog” This is making me very sad…..but thanks Erin for the laugh about you can pick up poo, but it doesn’t mean you have to fling it!! This all needs to end it is doing nothing positive for Saints.

  • William says

    Conversations like this, when folks decide they need to defend, always end in the “what are you doing about it”. It’s a defense mechanism, I understand that quite clearly.

    But it does take away from any questions, negates any wondering and ultimately puts more doubt in the questioner’s mind. ( as well as other persons who wondered the same things ) It’s quite simply a “shush up and go away quietly please” stance.

    I will shush up and go away and perhaps be back another day, much to the dismay of some I am quite sure.

    I am a supporter of the idea of Saints. Who ultimately could not be? My concern, as a member of the community and a donator to different animal causes, ( and a 3 time donator to Saints ) is the sheer number of animals that are indeed squished and squeezed in. And the legality of it! My questions re the licensing was not fully answered. I will ask again. What type of business license/s was issued to Saints/Carol.

    To the lady who asked did I not think all 140 animals were cared for properly. Honestly, how is it possible to tend to the daily emotional needs of that many animals? Great food, wonderful medical care yes, but decent quality of emotional needs are not being met. I do believe that is a given.

  • Amy Dalgliesh says

    My first response was the touchy feely one. I had additional thoughts and this one is more to the point. If the shit hits the fan, ultimately Carol’s the one it’s going to blow back on. While others can make suggestions, which should be taken into account, it’s only fair that she makes the final decision on how to avoid it. Also to stay on a theme, the only bullshit these guys should be having to deal with is the kind that comes from Percy. If people want to know about SAINTS, read the blog (and see that Carol doesn’t candy-coat anything)or volunteer and learn first hand. It’s been my experience that Carol does answer questions, but I think that constantly answering on-going inane questions would take up invaluable time best spent caring for the animals…unless the person who suggested it wants to actually learn about SAINTS and volunteer to do the answering ;). I will wipe the rabid spittle off my face now and go on with my day.

  • Jenn Hine says

    let me end this thread with a few quotes that I think may speak to all concerned:

    “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston Churchill

    “Good judgment comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgment” – Rita Mae Brown

    My mother always told me that there is an opportunity in everything … let is use this as an opportunity for growth, reflection, and renewal.

  • Colleen B says

    This truly hurts me and I’ve spent all weekend trying to decide whether to post or not. But I do have a few things to say:

    First, Laura, there may be a silver lining to this conversation. Carol and the SAINTS crippled crew now know how hopelessly devoted so many people are to them.

    I spend my free weekend hours at SAINTS, like so many others who have posted and I certainly see things that I might do differently. But I don’t know the history, I don’t have the experience, and I haven’t invested my life the way one very selfless person has. Until you decide to personally pay the mortgage at SAINTS, or give your personal tax return towards SAINTS debt, or hold and kiss hundreds of animals while their heart beats for the last time, or eat, sleep and breathe the heartwarming and heartbreaking story of SAINTS every hour of every day…then no, I’m sorry, you don’t get to make the decisions.

    The other person’s blog post who spurred this whole conversation came from a place of hurt, and I can appreciate that. I don’t think it’s right and I don’t think it should have happened, but we can see it for what it is, let them do what they have to do to heal, and move on.

    And William, I can also appreciate what your critique is trying to accomplish. Everybody needs healthy, constructive criticism. And when criticism is healthy, it is followed by an idea or two for possible solutions. Have you visited a ‘normal’ shelter where the animals are locked in concrete cages and cower in the corners? I trust that when you visited SAINTS, you were greeted with many, many wagging tails (and one large jersey cow waiting to give you slobbery kisses) as I am every time I walk through the door. Your opinion does matter, but it is just that – an opinion. I have an opinion too, but that doesn’t dictate change. I encourage you to keep an open opinion, come for another tour of SAINTS if you so choose, so you may have another opportunity to fill your heart with the happiness that we all speak of.

    I took Larry home because I thought I could give him something more than what SAINTS had to offer. Do you know what he said? “Thanks, but no thanks.” And he happily toodled right back to SAINTS. When Larry made that decision to go back to SAINTS (yes, at SAINTS, animals get to decide!) Carol told me to be Larry’s most special best friend. If that’s not encouraging bonding relationships…

    Every single animal there is cared for not just physically, but emotionally and psychologically as well. There is constant evaluation and re-evaluation of what is right and best for each and every one of them. The animals are happy and loved, is that not the whole point? Sure beats their alternative option.

    I studied business in university, and with that came organizational behavior, human resources, and not-for profits. I don’t plan on preaching to anybody, because reality is different than what you and I and the textbooks idealize. I understand SAINTS as a registered charity and it’s accountability to community and stakeholders. But I first understand SAINTS’ accountability to the lives of the animals who are so very lucky to be there.

    Let’s not forget that SAINTS did not create these animals. SAINTS is not the irresponsible owner who dumped these animals. But SAINTS is here to pick up some of the pieces. Be very careful before you point your finger. And if you still choose to do so, ask yourself if you have a solution.

    I don’t mean to offend, and I truly hope that these comments are coming from a good place. But it is too easy to sit behind your computer and sling words when you have no idea how far they will reach.

    Is this the only blog post that people have read? Good grief, where are all these comments on the SAINTS success stories?

    And no, the pond will not kill you. I took a little swim the other weekend and I’m still alive.

  • Amy Dalgliesh says

    Eloquent as always, Colleen B

  • Colleen B says

    William, the emotional needs of the animals may not be met the way they are in the most perfect animal home or in my home, but they are met to a far greater degree than many homes, shelters, SPCAs and rescues. I ask YOU again, what is your solution and what alternative is there for the SAINTS animals?

    Your comments are hurting me. I cannot speak for SAINTS, or for Carol, or for the other volunteers or staff, but you’re hurting me. Please stop.

  • Nicole says

    Dear Blog readers. While Carol may control most of what saints is, I still created and maintain this blog and the website. As I have done in the past, I am stepping in. No more comments on this post. It is closed.