Author Archive

the adoption issue part 2

Posted: February 17, 2018 at 8:04 am

so what do you do if you get 20 applications for the same 2 year old border collie and none of them feel like they are the right one for that dog?
do you pick the one that seems closest, and hope for the best?
or do you say no to all and hope the right match will come?

that’s a tough one. if you need to get animals adopted so you can take in more…maybe you do ask the dog to settle for less.
maybe you take a chance?
maybe you re-think your criteria and adjust your expectations?
or maybe not. I don’t know.

for me personally..adoption is not the end game. I set up saints as a sanctuary meaning if the animals do not find homes…they have a nice and comfortable home here where they can stay.

I am desperate to find stella a great home. not because I don’t like stella, I actually love her, a lot.
but she is taking up the entranceway space and I want zander to have that space and he can’t have it because stella has parked her butt in there.

I know stella is not good with other dogs, and I don’t 100% trust her with cats. I don’t think she is a good match for a home with small kids or a home who works all day either because she suffers from anxiety and has a minor bite history if she feels cornered when she is anxious. she is far too active for an elderly or disabled person and she is a huge barker which puts condo’s and townhouses out too.
so which of these things do I cross off her not to do list?
for me it is none.
if 20 of the wrong homes apply for her, then it becomes 20 no’s.
no one is going to be happy if the wrong animal goes into the wrong home.

I am not saying I have to like everybody..i have adopted animals into homes where the personalities of the people rub me the wrong way, and they are not anyone I would miss not ever seeing again. the home and the family and the lifestyle matched the animals needs and I knew they would be well loved and cared for. people have different relationships with their animals than they do with other people. as long as they are dedicated, truthful, will provide an appropriate home where the animal will be loved and receive proper medical care and the animal’s emotional and physical needs will be a high priority…I don’t need to be BBF’s with the new home. but conversely just to be honest..i have also said no to staff, volunteers, friends and family if I feel the animal needs something different than that particular home. its not just a good home..it needs to be the right home.

also as an aside… in adopting to folks where our personalities don’t match….I do have to be able to work with that home in case there are issues or the animal needs help in the future.
so what do I do if what seems to be the perfect home for the animal but I know there is no way I can work together with the family in the future if needed?
that is a hard one too. I have gone thru this a couple of times over the past couple of decades and those animals are beyond my safety net if the families decide not to adhere to the contract and to re-home on their own.
I am learning to say no here too. to me our safety net is critical so our animals never find themselves in a horrible situation without our ability to help them again.

finding homes for homeless animals is not about taking undue risks and chances..these animals have already suffered thru the unhappy consequences of this. most did not get here having had perfect lives in the perfect homes…most got here because their lives sucked in some significant way.
almost all animals who come here find a reasonable amount of happiness and a great deal of security, predictability, comfort and concern where the animals come first. and for most of them settling for maybe a little bit less than perfect here, is far better than settling for a lot less of perfect out in the human world…where they don’t come first, where they actually keep sliding farther and farther down the priority list in a home that never really suited them to begin with.

now sometimes I really don’t have all the answers and sometimes I really am unsure if this is the right home for the animaol or not. and sometimes I will take a chance, I will take the risk but ONLY if I am 100% convinced that not only will this family put this animal’s needs and happiness to the forefront BUT will also be 100% willing to return the animal to us if we have made a mistake in meeting both the family’s and the animal’s needs.

every adoption failure lands at my feet. my failure hurts them.
so I guess what I am saying in both of these posts is…fielding adoptions is a huge responsibility..it affects the animal’s life forever.
I am sorry there are hoops for humans to jump thru and I am sorry sometimes there are hurt feelings when the answer is no.
but all of us in rescue truly are doing the very best that we can for these animals we have dedicated our lives to…we want them to find that perfect for them home.
we struggle thru the decision making, we struggle thru the same process as potential homes. sometimes the right YES!! match is there before us and sometimes for whatever reason, the answer is no.

saints welcomes….(by erin)

Posted: February 16, 2018 at 6:45 pm

Meet our two newest Saints! Bambi is a five year old beautiful cat who has chronic diarrhea and IBS, and frequently cannot get to the litter box in time. This is less than ideal for a young couple trying to start a family. Cuddles is a 17 year old Shih Tzu/Bichon X transferred from Squamish Animal Control, his family is dealing with some very tragic circumstances and could not keep him. Welcome to Saints Bambi and Cuddles!

addressing the adoption issue

Posted: February 14, 2018 at 6:01 pm

if you want to seriously hurt someone’s feelings or make an enemy for life..say no to an adoption application.
no means you are a shitty home or not good enough to adopt one of our precious babes….wrong.
no only means that this particular animal needed something different.
you theoretically could have 20 people apply for the very same dog….lets say a 2 yr old border collie.
3 homes end up on the short list…
home 1…both parents work all day and have 2 school aged children but go for long hikes on the weekend and like to go to the park in the evenings. the dog will be a full family member and go with them on vacations to their cottage and to all of their children’s soccer games and practices. this will be the family’s first dog but they have done their research and waited until they felt the entire family was ready. they are willing to hire a dog walker to walk the dog mid day on work days.
home 2 is retired and home all day. they are in their early 60’s’s, still very active and healthy and their previous much loved and greatly missed 16 yr old border collie just recently died of old age.
home 3 is a single work from home mid 30’s female who has been involved in dog sports for the past 5 yrs. she currently has an 10 yr old border collie that she does agility with but this dog is slowing down and she thinks her aging dog would like a friend and companion.

these have all been thoroughly checked out and are all great homes.
two of them are going to get a no.

and how do you decide which great home gets the dog?
you look at the dog and what he or she needs.
if the dog adores kids and likes going out on new and exciting adventures with the family…home 1 might be best.
if the dog suffers from mild separation anxiety home 2 or 3 might be a better match.
if the dog thinks a lot and has a ton of energy, home 3 is a good match.
if the dog has emotional or health issues and prefers quiet stability and predictability then home 2 might suit him or her more.

three great homes…one homeless dog.
you do your best to match the right dog to the right home.
its not rocket science,,it is far more complicated and there is no tried and true mathematical formula.
sometimes it is just a gut thing…yep, that’s the right home for you.

Pricilla is taking harry home as a foster….she is absolutely perfect for him.
Jess and Jeff are taking pogo home as a foster…..we think this is a perfect match for pogo too.

not the brightest little star in the sky today

Posted: February 12, 2018 at 8:47 am

so..first day back to work, bright eyed and bushy tailed.
not really, disrupted sleep, woke up with a headache and an upset stomach.
but I took some Tylenol and gravol and soldiered on to work.

except I am not back to work until tomorrow. ooops.

ok then…

updates
emma and pugsly went off to their new home.
foster dog rocky is not feeling well.
new ferret in…his name is garret and he was dumped in the driveway of the barn where one of our staff has her horses.
shyla has progressed to the point where she can now join the barn dogs.
the chi’s are back today for a couple of weeks.
Floyd or senior duck is looking better with the extra TLC.
we lost sweet hope, our bunny, yesterday.
gus is not quite as cranky as he was.
huge thx to the guys this weekend for fixing the door handle, moving the sheep shelter and portable fencing.
huge thx to everyone else for a really good weekend, the animals had lots of cuddles and fun and their living areas were clean and comfortable.
and I shall finish realigning my brain from a work to a saints day.

hope has passed away (by erin)

Posted: February 11, 2018 at 6:09 pm

Our beautiful big girl Hope passed away peacefully this afternoon. Hope, Faith and Sullivan came to SAINTS back in 2013, they were rabbits bred to be meat, saved by The Small Animal Rescue Society of BC, transferred to us shortly after. Hope and Faith were the very best of friends, they were never far from each other. It was discovered that Hope required a highly specialized dental surgery that included ongoing and invasive aftercare, but as she never did become comfortable being handled, we decided that it would not be fair to put her through all that, it was kinder to let her go. Tonight Faith has Sullivan for company, but she will be missing Hope, as will we, for a long time to come. Thank you Coastal Rivers Pet Hospital for your care of our sweet bun.

emma and pugsly went off to their new homes (by erin)

Posted: February 7, 2018 at 6:29 pm

Look who got adopted today! John drove down from the interior today to pick up the newest members of the family, Pugsley and Emma! John and Joan have other pugs at home, even other special needs pugs, and they just knew our two would fit right in. All of us adored these two dogs, we are really going to miss them but could not be happier! Congratulations Pugsley and Emma, on finding your forever family!

here’s to the future

Posted: February 6, 2018 at 7:40 am

its been a couple of weeks of me laying low which has been a total drag. I do have a couple of easy things planned for today so hopefully I am actually up to these minimal tasks.

this brings to mind my constant preoccupation with getting saints up to speed without me at the helm. I realize now that saints can actually function really well on a day to day basis without me. this is because we have such great volunteers and staff. the single greatest asset any charitable organization can have is the quality and commitment of the people who truly are dedicated to the well being of the organization and it’s mission statement.
we have that.

what I am a little foggy about tho is avoiding the double bubble syndrome once I am no longer here.

an example of the double bubble syndrome is one I see in my paid career for the past 25 years. it is the disconnect between policy and procedures, strategic planning, reaching the “ideal” and the actual reality of on the ground working. I think this happens in many organizations..separate bubbles for the thinkers and do’ers. and it creates conflict, misunderstandings and an us against them set of rules.

I am in a unique position of living in one single bubble that services both saints worlds and my commitment to both is equal. I see how the board is working so hard and with such pure, uncomplicated interest to move saints forward into the future. and I see how every single day the staff and volunteers strive in every possible way to make each day here as good as it can possibly be for every single animal.
it is mind blowing and humbling in the extreme.
I get to see not only some of the extreme strengths that each of us have individually..but I see some of our limitations too. and it is those limitations that move me to the core of my soul. because I see over and over how we each struggle and strive despite those limitations to keep moving forward. collectively I get to see how each of us is growing and getting better and better at this oddly undefinable place in saints.

so this morning I am thinking…we need not just celebrate our strengths..but we need to celebrate our limitations too. because it is our limitations that are actually moving us forward to a bigger and better and brighter future.
the day we think we know it all..that we have it all perfectly together, is the day we start to stagnant. but as long as we are all committed together to recognizing and embracing our limitations… we will be a cohesive single bubble team whose only goal is to step it up and do better.

hanging out, hanging in

Posted: February 4, 2018 at 3:47 pm

i am slowly getting better..i can actually somewhat breathe again but still become breathless when moving around. I have the steroid shakes and tremors, and the steroid sleep deprivation and am in a foggy steroid induced bad mood.
but I can breathe again so that is good.

zander has gone off to the vets, he has had vomiting and diarrhea for the past 24 hours.

Robbie is better, he too had some kind of GI upset but the meds are kicking in and helping him. we had to xpen him tho because he is a gross little dog who would not stop licking the other dogs butts which wasn’t helping his stomach issues.

I am totally in love with newbies…cody, Minnie and shooter…super lovely and very sweet souls, so glad we are able to be here for them.

we are having some flooding issues..when it rains, it pours..cats, dogs and water too.

hopefully another couple of days and I will be back to normal which while still isn’t great, it’s a helluvalot better than these past couple of weeks.
I think hope is floating for me too,

updates

Posted: January 31, 2018 at 9:37 pm

i am still quite ill but here a few quick updates before I get too far behind,

newbies in…

echo..senior cat with only one kidney who is currently a little bit pissed off.

gus..a cranky and biting little guy with a mouthful of rotten teeth.

cody..a 15 yr old cat given away on craigs list who has spent the last three months hiding underneath the porch of his new home.

updates on other newbie-ishes…
pugsly and emma the pugs have a great home as soon as their medicals are done.

koji the blind little puppy looks like he also may have found a wonderful home.

Minnie saw the surgeon…she is a good candidate for a full right hip replacement…hopefully we can get this one which is the worst one= done soon.

shooter the beagle/pug has settled in well.

our new and much awaited pig Amelia has not arrived yet. there has been a complicated problem which both AC and SAINTS are trying to work thru.

other stuff

the replacement of the rotting, falling down fence is almost complete…I have been too sick to inspect it…hopefully I can in the next day or two but I heard it looks great.

lots of recent vet visits….remus is home, still having problems with his bowels. pugsley had his dental..emma still needs hers.
pogo had her dental. angel and aura had their rechecks. both brat and bear have skin infections and are now on meds…the good news is bear does not currently have cancer…YAY! but… sadly little buddy does. floyd has not been well…he is quite an elderly duck now. we have started him on pain meds and he seems to be feeling better. hope the bunny is still being evaluated for the effectiveness of her pain control plan…she is becoming upset during medication times so we are looking at trying a change in administration and see how she tolerates it.

and I think that is most of the news.

here’s the story of a pig named Amy…

Posted: January 27, 2018 at 4:14 pm

who I met briefly a week ago before this damn plague laid me low.

I don’t know what her true name was..but I named her Amelia Dearheart because she was very brave and smart. Amy was living at a notorious local hoarder..the SPCA periodically sweeps in and removes animals in distress and this person goes out and gets more, it is a vicious circle…and now apparently has added the breeding of more innocent babes to the ranks of ill cared for.
Amy had babies and was hungry…she soon lost her milk. Amy and babies were desperate so she broke thru the fences in search of food.
I came across them when AC and RCMP officers were attempting to keep mom and the babes safely off the highway. I stopped and offered to help which was graciously accepted. I was actually working and didn’t have much time so help from me meant calling the saints staff and volunteers and sending them down to ground zero.
Mission accomplished mom and babes were safely contained. Mom and babes were sent to McClary’s Auction to await the 96 hours required for the pigs owners to reclaim. Reclaimation did not occur.

Now here is the part of the story where reality sets in. The chances of finding pet homes for 10 farm pigs is nil. SAINTS cannot take in 10 more farm pigs and try to find them homes…because the reality is..we would get stuck with them and we simply do not have room for 10 more adult farm pigs (those babes will grow up all too soon.)
there are a couple of different ways to look at this…
firstly most farm pigs die crappy deaths…some die in slaughter houses, some starve to death in filthy hoarder sheds. very few find the magical dream of Esther the wonder pig.
so Amy and her babies were not going to starve to death in a wet and filthy hoarder shed, nor were they going to be hit by cars along the Lougheed Highway. They at least were now warm, dry and well fed and that’s as good as it was probably going to get for them.

except we are rescuers…we see them… we help them whenever we can.

all this week this has been eating away at me. how can we make it work? The holding period is up, the auction date is looming closer and closer.

and more reality…you cannot always find a way to make it work. if we were super-people, heroes with super powers, or even average people with lots of money and tons of land. but we aren’t.
we have three small acres and over 100 animals,,,sometimes you simply cannot deny the obvious math.

and so you do the despicable..you give AC the names of other farm rescues and hope against hope that some will save some of the babes knowing that probably won’t happen because they will have the same issues as we do regarding resources and space.

but Amy is safe. I am waiting to hear back from the hauler regarding transferring her to SAINTS.
and I am sick, sick, sick inside my soul because I am turning my back on her babes.