Author Archive

picking your own new home.

Posted: May 23, 2019 at 5:24 pm

we picked up little taylor from the airport last night..i think she was a bit shell shocked. it was a long trip down from yellowknife, waaay up north. once she got home, she was nervous and shy but sweet. today she was better but still a bit shy.

i got the brainstorm idea to introduce her to alex..

they were about the same size, same age..might be fun!
so i introduced them..it went fine. they liked each other.
but taylor also wanted to meet nova and the rest of my guys. i was a bit nervous, nova is sweet but she is also a 90 pound uncoordinated, extremely playful dorky puppy.

i did not want taylor squished or overwhelmed. taylor was pretty sure she wanted to take the risk so what the heck..i opened the gate to the big dog yard.
and taylor moved in…i think it might be permanent.
the big dog area has 3 things that taylor REALLY likes….REAL grass to roll around in over and over…a big giant king sized bed to jump on and off of and roll around some more. PLUS not one but two (nova and hannah) energetic large breed puppies to chase and play keep away with.

this afternoon taylor is no longer shy…she picked where and who she wanted to hang out with and my bed room crew just grew once again. i love it when dogs get to make their own choices.
welcome taylor..glad you are happy…i think…depends how much you happy maniacs continue to disrupt my sleep!

new saints

Posted: May 22, 2019 at 9:23 am

Saints welcomes hannah, a sweet 11 month old BC or aussiX. hannah came to us because of a congenital malformation, her bladder drains into her vaginal area, she is missing an urethra so she leaks urine. this is non repairable. hannah is a very sweet dog and she quickly became nova’s best friend. i have to say with all of the oldies here, the youthful abandon of joyful and continuous play is a bit of a treat. i got such great pleasure watching nova and hannah playing catch me if you can and king of the castle on the shavings pile and romping and running thru the pond. last night at bedtime it was several hours of me getting jostled around as they wrestled and played bitey face on the bed. even alex eventually became tired of barking at them and climbed over top of me to squeeze into a safe spot on the very edge of the bed. i think even mystic and luna are somewhat grateful to hannah, nova finally has a young friend which gets them off the hook for entertaining her. they like me just get out of their way and let that youthful joyfulness wear itself out.

speaking of alex, he is doing so well. there is no doubt that he gets easily wound up and barks his fool head off. but he has a good and gentle soul and even tho he sounds quite vicious when chasing after nova and hannah, he is actually just playing…loudly. there has been absolutely no sign of aggression, he listens really well (as long as he isn’t drowning me out with barking!) he is an affectionate and cuddly little guy with a bit of anxiety but the great thing about him is when he starts to feel overwhelmed, he comes to me for a shoulder massage to help him calm himself down. alex reminds me of the ADDH kid who wants everyone to love him but who actually annoys the shit out of everyone he comes in contact with. and the sad thing is these kids (and dogs) can feel that negative energy no matter how well we try to mask it. it just makes everything worse for them. it took me a long time to learn to really love the unlovable, the pain in the ass, the annoying as all get outs. but believe me when i say…when these irritating misfits begin to feel unconditional love and truly feel they have value..their world changes dramatically…for the better.

new dog arriving today from the north…apparently her name is Tay-Tay…i think we will just call her taylor. taylor is terrified of men and is a terrier mix about 8 yrs old. tammy and i are picking her up at YVR this evening.

loving alex.

Posted: May 7, 2019 at 8:28 pm

they say you shouldn’t attribute human emotions to animals..they have a fancy name for it…anthropomorphism. it is apparently a bad thing, that’s why they gave it a serious (ie difficult to pronounce) name.
except here is the thing..i have lived with literally thousands of animals in my rescue career.
and they have emotions…fear, love, hate, anger, joy, grief, envy, compassion…i have seen it…they feel complicated shit inside them just like we do.

i find myself in conflict when i am trying to tell one of their stories. i want to tell their story with their feelings without adding my own. and that is a hard thing to do. mostly i kind of guess based on what one would reasonably expect any living creature to feel under a certain set of circumstances.
so am i anthropomorphizing?…maybe…i don’t think so but you can each decide.

the last dog who rocked my soul to my socks was clyde. clyde was many years ago and i eventually euthanized him because he was dangerous. but that didn’t mean that i hadn’t seen into his soul and despite the danger he presented…deep inside there was a really good dog. i should have probably euthanized him sooner before disaster struck. but once i saw him, i loved him, broken beyond repair that he was.

now alex has come in. there is no fear that alex will follow in clyde’s footsteps. while he has a bite history, he is not an unpredictable time bomb like clyde was. and alex is not broken beyond repair…he is just beat up and bruised by what life has tossed at him, he has great potential to heal.
alex has moved my soul in much the same way as clyde. alex is a very good dog with a bunch of unhappy shit going on in his soul and head.

so here is his story, complete with anthropomorphizing…and you can decide if what i think has happened to him emotionally is complete BS.

alex is a 6 yr old multipoo…he knows sit, down, stay. he knows how to dance for a treat, shake a paw, and roll over. someone had him and loved him enough to teach him stuff. so i know at some point, he had a good home.
but alex ended up in a california shelter (i have no idea why..lost as stray? abandoned by his family? only alex knows). the LA shelters are not like our BC shelters that hold maybe 20 dogs? the california shelters hold hundreds of dogs. so there is this little once loved pet in a building filled with hundreds of barking, distraught, upset dogs and his family was no where in sight.
i know he was afraid, in fact i know he was terrified. who in their right mind of any species wouldn’t be?
alex was lucky, he didn’t end up in a barrel full of dead dogs in the shelter back room. but he did end up in a crate in a van full of other stressed out dogs and drove a thousand miles to a pet store adoption event in canada. and alex was lucky again because he was adopted…(i am guessing but i bet his adoption fee was somewhere around $400.)

but alex didn’t feel all that lucky, i think he felt “holy shit, where am I? who are you? what is happening to me? why is everything so unfamiliar, confusing, scary???”
three weeks into the adoption alex was barking in the hedge thru the fence at the neighbor…more stranger danger!!
his new mom didn’t like him doing that so when he ignored her to stop, she reached in to grab him and alex went kungfu mighty with his teeth up and down both arms. this was not exactly the future therapy dog she envisioned.

so alex came to saints. and i look at him and i see this poor wee little bastard who has been tossed away, traumatized in the worst possible ways, sucked into the rescue train with little regard to what he was feeling emotionally, mentally, spiritually and then set up with almost perfect finesse to fail.
and here i go anthropomorphizing again..i can clearly see what he needs to heal.

he needs kindness and patience. he needs to be loved at this very minute for who he is..not for who he could or should be. he needs predictability and stability in this kindness, patience and love.
and one day, that little dog who trusted in life, trusted in his family, basked in the fun and joy of learning tricks with someone he loved..he will come back again.
he just needs some time and understanding with a bit of anthropomorphizing to see things thru his lens in life….these past few months for him have not been pretty.

welcome to saints sweetie.

molly has passed away

Posted: May 2, 2019 at 7:31 am

she had so many health issues stacked against her and yet on sunday she won the luck of the draw and went home with tracy, one of saints dedicated volunteers. we are so sad that molly and tracy did not have more time together but molly had a home at the very end of her life, she had a best friend whose tears anointed her with love as she passed gently away. thank you tracy for loving her. our deepest condolences on your loss.

Conan has passed away

Posted: April 28, 2019 at 4:04 pm

you can’t help but admire a cat who is so horribly horrible in so many ways and yet is perfectly happy in his utter horribleness.
that was conan the barbarian, the most uncivilized, intentionally destructive, bad boy biker cat that i have ever met.
he sprayed everywhere..counters, toasters and stoves. Heck he would jump up on the counter while you were doing dishes and spray 2 inches away from your nose.
he knocked pictures off of walls, stuff off of the counters, he would grab you by his sharp teeth and claws when he felt like it and wasn’t above terrorizing the other cats when he was bored.
conan did not care about manners, or cooperation, or following civilized rules…he LOVED being a barbarian and it perfectly suited him too.

and i have to say…in some really twisted way, i too loved his barbarian ways. you just had to love a cat who had so much fun being a total badass.

all of that changed a couple of years ago..conan started to get old. he stopped whacking cats, dogs and people as they walked by. he stopped wrecking stuff, even his commitment to spraying urine everywhere possible started to wane. and this past year now that he was in his very late teens, he has been such a gentle and loving cat, his motor constantly purring, his head gently butting your face. no longer interested in creating havoc all over the place.

conan was an incredible cat, he had the strength of the mighty but even the mighty can’t forever fight off ancient old age. today conan said he was done, he was ready to rest and so we took him into the vets.
conan passed peacefully from this world. i truly hope where ever he goes next he gets to rabblerouse to his hearts content.

i love you conan and will so very much miss you….you were a one in a million cat.

2 saints passed away yesterday.

Posted: April 27, 2019 at 6:33 am

yoda suddenly stopped eating and was sleeping a lot. renee took him in to the clinic and sadly he was in severe kidney failure. because it came on so fast we did try rehydrating him with fluids and giving anti nausea meds but there was no positive effect after 24 hours so renee took him back for euthanization. she said he passed peacefully away with his head on her shoulder. yoda loved cuddles and he loved food, he had plenty of both here.
rest in peace yoda…you were super cute, had a ton of character and will be greatly missed.

we also lost stanley who really has been hanging by a thread since he came in. he had some significant health issues, diabetes and severe dental disease. surgery was not a viable option due to his age and body condition. yesterday it all caught up with him and he nose dived and crashed.
stanley was a great cat, a strong cat..he had survived what would have brought most of us to our knees. his last few months consisted of a full belly, his choice of several clean and very soft beds, a quiet and comfortable companionship with the other cats, and very many human hands and hearts who loved him well.
rest in peace stanley, life may not have always been kind to you but you lived it with dignity and a truly gentle soul.

a sad day at saints.

Posted: April 11, 2019 at 6:19 pm

life and death..just one breath between.

peeps passed away today. that poor little tiny chick had every challenge stacked against him and yet he tried so hard. but sometimes the fight, the will to live, is just not enough.
rest in peace tiny mighty mite.

andy passed peacefully away today. he had been with us for 14 yrs. he came in as a unsocialized feral little dog and as far as humans were concerned, that is how he stayed. but andy was happy here, he spent his life not only safe and well loved but also respected for who he was and accepted for who he couldn’t be.
andy has had many dog friends over the years..lexi he thought was his mother, cole he thought of as his father, copper became his older brother and jesse was just his hero in the extreme.
for the last few years andy basked in the warmth of his friendship with kyah and marin.

it is interesting living with a dog for so many years who truly distrusted humans. just taking andy in for vet checks and grooming required significant pre-planning including large doses of sedatives. but every step of the way of andy’s life with us was about his physical and emotional comfort, his feelings of security and safety, the friendships and relationships that were important to him, his happiness and his choices to live the way that he chose to live.

love is not a two way street. all of the humans here loved andy dearly even tho none of us were greatly loved by him in return. but within the context of andy’s comfort..he knew he could trust us to not only provide what he needed but to shelve our own needs for a reciprocal love…and just let andy be andy

andy has given me a great deal of joy over the years…he was a square peg living in a world of round holes…but he found his perfect fit here.

we will so miss our little disney dog…..love you to the moon and back andy.

Squirt has passed peacefully away.

Posted: March 11, 2019 at 6:02 pm

Squirt came to SAINTS Feb 15 2008, we believe he was a puppy mill survivor. We guessed at his age..4? 5? 6? not a youngster but not an old fart either.
For the first while, Squirt hid in his crate in the corner of one of the back rooms. We gave him food and water in his crate and it took time for him to soldier up a little bit of courage to explore.
Eventually, with a lot of time and patience Squirt became a very good friend to staff and volunteers but if strangers were in the house Squirt always retreated to his small crate and would wait for them to leave before he would come back out again. We used to tell folks not to be concerned when Squirt stopped hiding at their arrival and started nipping at their heels as he chased them out the door. This was always the very last step in Squirt accepting them as a new friend. Getting ankle bit from our little man was a very good sign that a new friendship was forming.
When Squirt first arrived he was beyond terrified but with one tiny step at a time he sometimes became a little more brave. Below is one of SAINTS favorite stories of Squirts very first attempt at braveness.

Posted: March 4, 2008 at 12:48 pm

Setting the stage:

midnight…Maudie asleep in the laundry area oblivious to the closing of the gate. The characters will speak in human voices so you can actually understand them.

The Gate

2am all is quiet but the watchers are watching.

Suddenly an intruder is detected at the gate to the sleeping areas of the privileged. Sir Cuddles springs into action, leaping from the bed and sounding the alarm. General Albert Spice joins him and together they hold off the intruder.

“GET BACK YOU BEAST” shouts Sir Cuddles to the frantic and gate climbing husky.

“The Gate is closed, go away” orders the general in a tone that brooks no argument.

“please, please….” begs Maudie, “please let me in, I need to be in there, please open the gate!”

“NO!” they both scream “THE GATE IS CLOSED! YOU CANNOT COME IN!”

Maudie loses her mind, and despite the two mean and unfeeling poodles, she starts to climb the gate.

” Send reinforcements! the bitch is scaling the gate!!!”

Suddenly out of the darkness appears Squirt (who apparently is sometimes brave) and he joins the other two in holding off the intruder.

The battle is fierce, the little trio stand their ground, refusing to give an inch.

Finally Maude sinks to the ground in defeat, still on the wrong side of the gate.

She begins to sob, “oh…will no one help me, will no one let me in???”

And in the darkness, a figure appears in a very ugly bathrobe. The tiny army respectfully gives way, the gate swings open and Maude dashes past to her bed, finally safe at last.

As the silence once again falls and peace reigns again, the poodles grumble to themselves…
”she woke HER up again, that’s why we lost”
”yes, but did you see how brave was the little Squirt?”

Squirt was euthanized at home by one of our most trusted vets, he was not afraid. Today as he was slipping off into a deep sleep on Renee’s lap, Tang came up to him and gave him a gentle head butt, they had been trusted friends for many years. Squirt had many friends not just amongst SAINTS people but with his SAINTS animal family too.
Squirt has been so well loved here for more than a decade by all of the staff and volunteers. We were his family and this was his home and Squirt was happy here.
Rest in peace our dear little friend, the kitchen will never be the same but we will all carry you in our hearts forever.

We hope Benny, Odie, Cuddles, Albert Spice and all of your other past friends who you loved so well will greet and cuddle with you on the other side…(maybe even Maude if she has forgiven you for obstructing her that fateful gate night!)

mo’s roxy has passed away

Posted: March 8, 2019 at 6:55 pm

she wasn’t technically a saint but in reality she was. roxy had been coming to saints with mo since we opened in 2005. every weekend she would join the saintly crew out in the barn, in the fields, at our picnics and work parties she has been a fixture at saints for 14 years.
i watched mo with her these past few months as roxy began the slow but steady slide towards the end of her life. and what i saw was such a soft and gentle kindness, a deep and rich caring as mo helped roxy navigate the difficult waters of extreme old age.
i will remember roxy in her kick ass youth completely owning and embracing her weekends at saints. and i will remember watching mo gently guide her old and sometimes bewildered best friend, hand feeding her the best of treats to make sure she got enough to eat.
i know mo’s heart is broken over the loss of her dearest friend, but i also know that roxy had the very best life that any dog could have been given.
rest in peace roxy, you were a truly great dog and hugs to mo who carries so many memories of loving this very special dog.

shyla as an onion is up for adoption

Posted: March 2, 2019 at 9:58 pm

onions are my favorite analogy for pretty much everything. i used it not too long ago at a conference as an example: pet overpopulation being the whole and all the contributating factors (poverty. culture, available resources etc) as being the various layers (but still an onion too.)

so today i am using the onion analogy to describe shyla.
shyla as we see her and know her is the whole onion but she has many layers too.
here are the contributing factors:
layer one…whoever bred a husky to a border collie was astronomically stupid! i remember from science class that if you added 2 positives together you got a negative…hah shyla in a nutshell.
husky’s are smart, fantastically athletic, big thinkers and problem solvers in their own right and border collies while totally different in many ways… in these particular respects are exactly the same.
breed one of each of these greatly positive dogs together and you get shyla…a hyper anxious neurotic genius!
layer 2…shyla chained to a dog house for most of her life. oh freaking yay..plenty of time for her to feel frustrated, fearful, anxious and problem solve all sorts of not very good solutions.
layer 3..force breed an already shy, anxious, fearful and powerless dog and keep her chained while she is stuck and unable to escape from 3 consecutive litters of puppies..now lets not be surprised that she totally hates any and all puppies and thinks they should die.
layer 4..don’t feed her enough, keep her thin..she thinks she is starving and now all food belongs to her and she is not willing to share.

and then there are the layers of shyla herself…shyla is the whole onion with multiple layers of not so great shyla stuff.
layer 1 is the aggressive dog who wants to charge at people she doesn’t know well and bite them if she can, (she is not allowed to and in her defense she does use her front teeth and has decent bite inhibition to prevent breaking the skin)
layer 2 is the under socialized bully who sucks at making k9 friends and totally goes freaking ape-shit if she thinks they are anywhere near her…like walking past her window!
layer 3 is the fearful/terrified dog who cowers or runs at unexpected noises or movements or if she gets yelled at when she is doing something really mean…like screaming at rocket or vinny and scaring the crap out of them when they are sleeping!
layer 4 is the master manipulator who with a delightful yet devilish twinkle in her eye intentionally acts submissively sweet to get you to laugh and play with her.
layer 5 is the sneaky trickster who steals your shoes off your feet and lays on them to prevent you from leaving the room.
and finally the core of this dog…an adorably smart, funny, sweet, freaking jerk who totally and completely worships the ground you walk on…and i bet she is manipulating me in this regard too!

all 6 layers are shyla thru and thru..an onion in all of her glory.
as you peel away the layers, your eyes will sting and tears will flow but her overpowering essence adds some weird kind of intoxicating rich flavor forced down your throat and deep into your soul.

a total freaking nutcase….. very well loved but geez i wish she would get a very great home… somewhere else!