The Hook

Posted: April 21, 2019 at 10:53 am

I started out volunteering at SAINTS ten years ago. Carol probably doesnt remember but she gave me my first introductory tour, just the two of us. Out in the barnyard I met Spritely, and I could feel Carols love for her in the way she spoke. That was my hook. That one day, that one tour, that one conversation. I became a regular volunteer immediately. Maybe a few months later, Spritely died. I remember standing in the driveway with a couple other volunteers, and Carol coming down the path between the MP and shop, bawling. I remember hugging her and how strong I thought she was, how many times had she been down this exact same path with this same shattered heart. I remember Lahanie and Percy in particular afterwards, calling out, the pain in their voices, the sheer desperate grief. My heart broke for them. I went home that day and fell apart in my husbands arms. He held me while I cried. Then he asked if I still wanted to be involved with SAINTS. He told me there would be more days like this. And there have been, for sure. The time between the tour with Carol and Spritely passing away, SAINTS had already become a part of who I am.

What was the hook that brought you in? When did things solidify for you that this wasnt just something to do outside of the house on Saturdays? What one time (or more than one?) really brought it all home to you? We are always curious what it is that brings people in, whether you are a volunteer, donor, blog reader or staff, and not just what cute face caught your eye but what particular thing reached into your chest and wrapped around your heart and is still there today? 

10 Comments on "The Hook"

  • Brenda says

    I initially read an article about Saints in Modern Dog Magazine, and I had also been toying with the idea of volunteering somewhere with animals….(as I looked after people at my fulltime job, and wanted to spend some time away from humans in general – my preference being surrounded by dogs!)
    Anyway…in those days you called Carol on the Saints “house phone” and set up a personal tour with her. There was no set volunteer schedule for weekends, and no weekend tours 12 years ago.
    I remember very clearly arriving for my tour. It was pouring rain, and I had brought a van full of donations (that I had purchased after looking at the Saints wishlist on the website. I was nervous and excited, and after unloading the van, Carol put on her boots and gave me a full tour of everything. I’ll never forget meeting Ellie May (princess pig). I’d never met a pig, and I could clearly see and feel their friendship.
    We ended the tour back in the house. That day the laundry was piled up to the ceiling in the laundry room as the washer had quit. The house smelled of urine and feces, and I thought it was the most wonderful place I’d ever seen. I spent a few hours hanging out with all the dogs and cats….not wanting to leave.
    Carol asked me if I still wanted to volunteer, and I said yes …but I clearly remember saying to her that my one concern was if my heart could take the inevitable losses/ deaths. She told me that she was certain that I would find Saints to be a happy place…not a sad one. I believed her, and started volunteering that week. You just showed up on the weekend and hoped someone else decided to come as well, in the good ole days. Anyway, that was over 12 years ago. Saints is my happy place. Sure there are sad moments when I have cried with Carol, and on my own, many times…but the over all feeling for me is still joy. My heart is very grateful to be involved in such an amazing place.
    My only regret is that I did not discover it earlier.

  • Lenore Henry says

    I think for Owen and myself it was a dog named Black Buddy. He was an SPCA cruelty seizure – an old black Lab with the most soulful eyes. We used to sit and stroke him when he was in the MP Room telling him what a handsome boy he was. He had terrible arthritis but seemed to never give up and would greet us with a wagging tail each time we visited him. He passed after a few months but I want to believe the time he spent at Saints made up for whatever situation he had come from. Six years later, there have been many more special Saints that have come and gone, bless all of their souls, but Black Buddy was the one that stole our hearts ❤️❤️…..

  • Ellen Nickerson says

    I started reading the blog a few years ago . I have shed many tears and much laughter as Carol would write of sad and happy times. Bulldogs are my favorite and donate when I can. The first thing I do every morning is go to my computer while my coffee is brewing and hope there is a new blog posting. I miss Carol but Erin is doing a wonderful job. Thanks for sharing.

  • Helga says

    I remember Liam the sheep. On a cold bucketing rainy day I was doing the rabbits when Carol rushed in and put a big puffy dog bed in an empty pen. Close behind her was an SPCA officer with a soaking wet young sheep limp in his arms.
    He laid Liam down and Carol kneeled down beside him rubbing him dry with towels, pulling clumps of mud out of his fleece. Liam didn’t make it much past a week. The image of him hanging like a rag in the arms of the officer stays with me. And Black Buddy too. He was so gentle leaning against your legs when you patted him.

  • Curt says

    Went on a tour with one of my prior roommates 2011(found Saints on web). First day of volunteering Carol chose Pat The Cat for me after asking who I could foster. The rest is history!

  • Ali says

    I went on a tour in 2010 after seeing a post on Craigslist about volunteering. I was looking for somewhere “hands on” to volunteer with animals.
    Ellie May was my hook. I was completely obsessed with her. I couldn’t believe I had lived my entire life ignorant of the fact that pigs were incredibly intelligent, sentient souls. Big game changer for me. Love at first sight ❤️🐷

    Pepper the Shitz has always held a special place in my heart. I had such a special bond with that little devil. His picture is on display on my makeup table for me to see every morning

  • Dawn says

    Her name was True and she was one of the best dogs I’ve ever had the pleasure of sharing my home with.

    I had been out to Mission AC to adopt a dog with my then husband, Nelson and True had been sharing a kennel. It broke my heart to leave her there but she had bumps and lumps and was senior, not what my family could afford to take home.

    The stars aligned that week, I had been reading an animal message board and It was Carol who posted a message asking if anyone was interested in fostering an old boxer girl who had been left behind at AC. It was meant to be – She lived for almost a year with me and my family. She set the path in front of me and I took it right to Saints, the rest is history.

  • Penny Veresh says

    For me it was Princess Leia, that strong-willed, feisty bunny. I had just retired and moved out to Mission and was researching someplace where I could volunteer with animals (the first love of my life). A friend of mine living in Victoria sent me the link to Saints and the following weekend, I went up on a tour with Laura. The first door we went through was into the bunny room, and I was hooked. I think Laura had already left to go into another area with the tour group and I was still hanging out with the bunnies, so had to hurry to catch up. I had just lost my own bunny to cancer a few weeks earlier, after having him for almost 10 years. On my first day of volunteering, I was kneeling on the ground trying to bond with Leia, and she bit me on the hand (a little nip asking me to please leave her alone). It was love at first bite for me! She was such a character. If her food and water bowls weren’t put back exactly where she wanted them, she’d tip them over and make a big mess. She had so much personality and certainly knew her own mind! Sadly she passed away many, many years ago but I still think of her. A lot of other bunnies have come into Saints since, and some have captured my heart as well, but Leia was my first Saints love.

  • Angela says

    I accidentally came across the SAINTS website when my two dogs were old. I’d had them since they were puppies and they only got better and better with every passing year. Carol’s writing made me laugh and touched my heart at the same time. I still remember the lovely Esther … although the timing wasn’t right (I was caring for my two seniors), I would have loved to adopt her. Since then, I’ve adopted several seniors. Such wonderful souls.

  • Lynne says

    I first came to saints many years ago throug blogs carol had posited in the local paper they were cute I thought I i need to go see this place I went there on a day they were cleaning up the backfield and I thought this is okay I was totally confused did not know who lived where and what was going on I think meeting Moses who died shortly afterwords left a lasting impression on my heart carol was in a bitchy mood due to having broken her ankle so it was love at first sight Lo I love her to bits now I hAve had 10 rescue dogs from saints so far loved them all I could not imagine my life withought saints it is like my second home

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