Author Archive


Posted: March 22, 2019 at 9:56 pm

Do you know who these eyes belong to? I dont mean who specifically (though huge bonus if you can name them ;)) I mean what species do they belong to?

Pretty easy right? But, do you know why they are so different?

Cats eyes are built to maximize depth perception because evolutionarily speaking they ambush their prey at night. Theres all these studies that show vertical pupils maximize blur so cats are more efficient at hunting. But, did you know big cats like tigers have round pupils? They are chasers, not ambushers so they dont need to judge distance so accurately. 

Prey animals on the other hand need to have a panoramic view so they can see danger coming. This is also why their eyes are on the sides of their head, not on the front like a cats. But, did you know that some animals with horizontal pupils actually rotate the eyeball as they raise and lower their heads to keep the line of the pupil the same as the ground? So the eyeball is always level regardless of the position of the head. Isnt that crazy? Its crazy! I am so gonna film a horses eye just as soon as I can. 

Fun fact: Not long ago I got an email from a lady in the film industry. I had to read it a few times to understand what she was asking me. She wanted to know if she could bring in some tigers to film on our property. No I am not kidding. Yes I thought about it, who wouldnt want to see tigers! But relocate our animals while they filmed? Or keep them safely on the other side of the fence? Ummm, Im gonna go with no, thats not in their best interest. And dont even get me started on using animals for entertainment purposes! But, it was an interesting email, a welcome break from the norm. So when you are at SAINTS next, take a look around the barnyard and think of tigers 😉 Oh and try to guess whose eyes these are! 


Posted: March 20, 2019 at 7:13 am

The SAINTS aviary is home to four pairs of birds. 

Charlie and Annie took awhile to really get close, Charlie only had eyes for Chickie and I am sure losing her was hard for him. He and Annie have since bonded, they are a couple now. Annie lays an egg almost every day. I feel guilty when I take it, but I cant leave it, we are not in the business of making more chickens. The other day it was Charlie that had been sitting on the egg. Imagine how shitty I felt taking that egg after he wandered out to eat. I felt like a monster! An egg-thieving meanie. What the hell do you do?

Paris has been with us for many years. When Janelle found London, it was like fate was stepping in. Paris took some time to accept London and all his advances, but she has and they are a pair. London often brings pieces of straw to Paris to help build a nest, which is really cute, but again, we do not want baby birds. Luckily for me, Paris only laid eggs once. Now they go through all the motions of courtship, or maybe they just truly love each other and it doesnt matter that no babies are going to come along. 

Oslo and Lisbon are best friends. Pretty sure they are brother and sister too. Now that Liz can fly, they go all over the place! These two are content, happy, friendly, ringneck doves, who love each other just the way they are.

Blueberry and Jack lived with us for years, until Jacks passing in 2017. Blueberry was devastated so Carol quickly called around to other shelters to see if anyone had a lone budgie. Pi came along, and soon these two were inseparable. The go everywhere together. The odd time they arent together, they are in constant communication, calling to each other. Usually they go from perch to perch, room to room, one after the other. Definitely a matched pair.

The aviary is like the rabbit room, such zen spaces. If you take the time to get to know even the smallest Saints, you will be amazed by them just as we are. Everyone needs a friend, and we have tried really hard to make that happen for our animals, offering them the best life possible.

Luck? Or timing?

Posted: March 18, 2019 at 6:15 am

Cats and their diseases! Or…not?

We took in Ariel, believing her to be a Feline Leukemia kitten. She tested positive early on, so we took all the precautions and treated her as such. Ariel lives with the rabbits, no other cats. As she got a bit older, we retested her prior to her spay surgery. The test was negative. Negative! Not getting too excited, we waited another couple of months. And we retested, again. Guess what? Negative! Its official! So, how can this happen? Ariel’s mom could have been FeLV+, and passed down some of the virus but over time Ariel was able to fight it off. Ariel could have been exposed to the virus at any time prior to being surrendered to the New West shelter, therefore would have tested positive until she had time enough to overcome the infection, which can (and in her case did) take many months. Very lucky girl! 


If you know me at all, you know that I believe everything happens for a reason. On Friday I decided to do a blood sugar curve on Shadow and Zoe, the two diabetic cats in the medical room. Zoe was due for a curve as her insulin level had been bumped up recently. I dont normally curve on a Friday but for whatever reason the stars aligned and rather than push it to early this coming week I elected to just go for it. Zoe checked out still slightly high, but its to be expected as shes fighting an infection as well. But Shadow…I could have killed him had I gave him insulin that morning. Doing an insulin curve means the first reading is prior to giving insulin. Shadows first reading of the day was low, it was the reading of a non-diabetic cat. Had he gotten his scheduled injection he would have gone hypoglycemic and potentially died. See what I mean? Luck? Timing? I dont care, I am counting it as a win. Andrea and Carol have been checking Shadow on and off all weekend, his blood sugars are stable and he has not received insulin in 3 days. He is reversing! How does THIS happen? Its the type of insulin we use. Carol prefers Lantus for cats, its what we have used for as long as I can remember. Tinsel is another one of our diabetics who reversed and years later is still in remission of her diabetes. Yay Shadow! 

Tido has found his perfect home! Told you it would happen for him! Staff member Janette took Tido home for the weekend to see how he fit in with her crew. Chai (Janettes other dog) is still being a bit standoffish but she will come around. Chai loved Snickers, and Tido is such a gentle soul it will take no time at all for her to fall for him just as Janette has. Exciting! Congratulations all! 

A letter from Michelle about her beloved Spot

Posted: March 17, 2019 at 6:47 pm

Spot became a Saint on October 26 2015. He and Magee were transferred from Mission’s Animal Control that day. Less than two months later Spot moved into his forever home with Michelle and her family. Sadly Spot passed away late last week. Michelle (Spot’s mom) sent this email:

     Hi Carol, It is with a sad and heavy heart I am writing to tell you we had to say goodbye to Spot last night. We knew his time was getting closer and yesterday he let us know that he was ready. Spot was a one-in-a-million dog. He was smart and funny and LOVED puppies which earned him the nick name “Grandpa Spot”. I only wish our paths had crossed sooner and I hope Spot knows how very very loved he was in his last few years with us.He is leaving a huge hole in our world, but he will be in our hearts forever. Spot passed peacefully surrounded by the people and dogs that loved him and he loved. May his beautiful, special soul rest in peace. Until our paths cross again…Love always to my very special boy.

Michelle, we are so very sorry for your loss. Spot truly was a lucky boy to have found his way to you.


Brooklyn gets a home

Posted: March 14, 2019 at 8:07 pm

Sometimes (but lets be honest, not often) an animal comes into SAINTS and we think, Oh, Theyll get a home no problem, just a matter of time. Tido and Theo for example. Genuinely lovely animals anyone would be lucky to welcome home. Theo found her forever home, and we just know Tido will too. Other animals…well, we figure they will live out their lives at our sanctuary. Brooklyn was one of these animals. 

I was there the day Brooklyn came in. Remember I told you I deal with incoming animals from the public? Yeah, Brook was one that came in through me. A bulldog with skin allergies, owned by an elderly couple who were starting to drop the ball on her care. Other family members tried to help but skin dogs need such a tight, specific care plan, there is no room for dropping any kind of balls and not doing it. The meds had been stopped and by the time Brooklyn came to us she was a mess. She was all kinds of gross, eyes, ears, mouth, skin, everywhere was infected. It took us awhile, but we got her under control. Brooklyn in good health is still a mess. Still had plenty of roadblocks to steer away most folks. Bulldogs are just bred weird! Her jaw is misshapen, doesnt really close properly, teeth stick out to the sides like an alligators. Her shoulders and hips are arthritic, she hardly likes to walk far enough to go outside to pee. So here we have a dog who needs a special diet. Daily medication. Baths. Has mobility issues. Pees in the house. Snores louder than the TV. And along comes this family. 

Brooklyn won the lottery none of us even knew she had a ticket for! We are all in awe of this family, they think she is wonderful (she is!) and we think they are pretty wonderful themselves. They saw Brooklyn for who she is. They knew she could be a valued family member again. Roadblocks? Nah, not to them. We are still early in the trial period, but so far, so good!

A day in the life.

Posted: March 7, 2019 at 8:33 pm

Look at this picture. Really look at it. 

Can you imagine living in there? That is a rabbit hutch. It is split down the middle so the two rabbits who lived there could not actually touch. One rabbit lived on each side. 

Day after day those two rabbits lived in that hutch. No outside time. No vet care. No contact with each other. Very little contact with people. In the baking heat of the summer. In the freezing cold of winter. They knew nothing outside of their boxes. They would have known the other was there though. Did they communicate through the wall? Did they know each other inside and out even though they had never met? 

7 years.

84 months.

364 weeks. 

2548 days. 

I cant even wrap my head around spending one hour in there. With enough room to turn around, but not much else. Looking out at the world through the wire. What did they see? Children playing in the backyard? Lawn chairs and butterflies and sunshine? Did they huddle against the back wall during storms? Did predators stalk them in the night? This is not a life worth living. 

Why is SAINTS so important? Why do we pull together and involve more people, more donors, more volunteers to help sustain us for the future? Why do those of us involved with SAINTS feel it, right down to the bone? Why do we lay awake at night, worried about this one, or that one? Why do we take such pride in our little 3 acre sanctuary? Why does being involved with SAINTS become part of who we are? Why do we give it everything we’ve got? Because the Dumbledores and Snapes of the world need us to. Who else would willingly take in two senior rabbits, both of whom needed immediate and extensive vet care? Who else would commit to these two rabbits for the rest of their lives, knowing they would have little adoption prospects and having that not matter? 

We saved their lives. THATS what we do. We dont just provide food, and vet care, and a roof. We provide a life worth living. And that…is everything. 

Snape and Dumbledore have that, now. Thanks to you.


The loss of Violet Rose

Posted: February 24, 2019 at 9:07 pm

Jamie is one of the strongest people I know. She is one of those people who gives her whole heart to the dogs she takes home. Over and over her heart is broken, shattered in a thousand pieces. You see, Jamie and Darrell only take home certain dogs. They won’t foster a dog who has a chance with someone else, but the ones that can’t go home with just anyone. Jamie takes dogs home that she knows are going to break her heart one day. Days like today. 

Violet came to SAINTS Feb 1, 2017. A stray the other shelter said, matted, nails growing into the pads of her feet. Eye infections, and a mouth with so many rotten teeth the vet said it was one of the worst ones ever seen. Violet spent about six weeks at our shelter before Jamie took her home. We don’t know what Violet’s life was like before she was picked up by animal control. We know her last two years though, these last two years, she had everything. Last night Violet had a seizure and was rushed to emerg. Testing revealed a pancreatic cancer, one that lowered her blood sugars causing seizures. The clinic stabilized Violet but there was no way to fix this. No way to treat it. There was no choice but to let her go.

Violet had Jamie and Darrell’s hearts from the word go. Love at first sight. Violet said to Jamie … Will you love me for the rest of my life? And Jamie replied, No, I am going to love you for the rest of mine.

Hugs to you and yours Jamie and Darrell. Violet was truly one of the lucky ones ❤️

Visitors, newbies and a name game

Posted: February 23, 2019 at 8:31 pm

Johanna is on holidays, her dogs are with us until she’s back. These guys are so funny, all three are quirky sweet souls who are busy busy (then naptime) then busy busy (then another nap). They are certainly aging though, more naps than busy busy now, it wasn’t always this way. I guess as we grow old we nap more? Maybe. We also get all cute and wrinkly. Lookit Lizzy. Lookit her. Adorable! 

Also back for a visit is Maggie. Maggie’s mom has some health issues so we care for Maggie when she can’t. Maggie is interesting. She’s a literal nightmare to get in a crate to transport, like Kevlar gloves kind of nightmare. She is usually furious for a couple of hours , then she gets over herself and needs loves. She’s a beauty! 

We took in a new cat late this afternoon. We knew she was coming but didn’t realize it would be quite this soon, but oh well. Her name is Boots. We’ll get pictures soon, but Carol did the intake tonight as the staff had all gone home and she has .. Umm.. technical difficulties with her cell camera. The last cat we had named Boots was super sweet, and there was just something about her that pulled at me. I adored her. Tomorrow we will be taking in another cat, he’s coming from Haida Gwai. His name is Charlie but I think we should change it to Charles. In the MP there are three Charlie’s…Charlie the rooster, Charley the cat, and Charlie Johanna’s little guy. Plus Charley the doodle in foster care with Sheila and Leila. We usually have animals with the same name at the same time don’t get me wrong but five Saint Charlie’s? Right now we have Gus the sheep and Gus the dog, two canine Molly’s, Boomer the dog and Boomer the cat, Maggie the duck and Maggie the visiting cat. Can you recall any other past pairs? I can name a bunch that had the same name but at the same time, that’s tricky! 

Holy Updates Batman

Posted: February 19, 2019 at 8:47 pm

So much to tell you! 

Welcome Jenny! Her mom Sabine asked us quite some time ago if we would take Jenny in if she either passed or became otherwise unable to continue caring for her. Sabine has to now move into assisted living, and true to our word, we accepted Jenny this past weekend. She’s a senior girl but is in great shape, she gets along well with dogs and cats and hopefully in time we will be able to find her a stellar home of her own!

Theo found her very own home this weekend! She is such a sweet cat, we knew it would not take long for someone to fall for her! Yay Theo!

Tiny Tim is healing from surgery in the shop. Surgery from what you ask? Well, his penis would not retract, he’s had to have it sutured, not once, but twice. I asked him how he felt about living in the shop…. Temperature control, comfy bed, radio, he’s doing alright 🙂 

Lisbon had become a flyer! I’ve been worried about her, what kind of bird doesn’t fly? Her feathers looked fine, I didn’t see evidence of clipped wings but she did not seem to be able to get off the ground. Oslo is off exploring the aviary and here’s Liz, walking along the ground. Not a big deal ..  But weird. Until now. Now, she and Oslo are flying here there and everywhere! It’s so exciting! The aviary is so friendly and everyone speaks in such different voices, love it !

Have you ever watched someone poop and then cheer about it? Trixie had a rough week, she ate some rocks and after a vet visit and some xrays we’ve been feeling terrible for her… Nobody likes to have the runs! Today she had a perfect poop. And yes. I cheered.

Stanley had what we thought was a tooth abscess last week, a wound under his chin, turns out the vet believes it’s not an abscess at all but a tumor in his jaw. Meds and daily care and Stanley looks terrific! Poor guy, like he needs another problem on his plate. He’s a trooper! 

Noelle has perked up and is eating heartily again. Whew. Talk about 99 problems! Lymphoma and kidney disease. Either could kill her. We’ll use every trick in the book to help her feel as good as possible for as long as possible but there’s only so much anyone can do. Kidney failure sucks. It’s hard to watch. Hard to manage symptoms. I think they say that kidney values on bloodwork are only measured AFTER the kidneys lose 80% of function. So you are not in kidney failure until you are reduced to a measly 20% function. Man we take things for granted if they work, and only take notice when they are really really bad. Noelle’s kidneys suck. But she is beautiful inside and out.

Today I found a nail for a horseshoe in one of the dogs breakfast dishes. Now, either I didn’t look in the dish before I emptied the can of pedigree into it (which is possible) or the nail fell off something or someone into the dish in the three minutes it takes the dogs to eat (but as I’m the only one around and I most certainly do not carry horseshoe nails in my pockets I’m not sure how that could happen) or the nail was in the can of pedigree. Please tell me it was NOT in the can of dog food. Tell me that’s impossible. It’s not fucking possible .. Right? Right? 


Posted: February 16, 2019 at 9:46 pm

Winter makes everything harder. We don’t have to shovel a whole lot, couple weeks a year maybe. Carol thinks snow is pretty. And it is, I guess, up on the mountains, yknow… Over there. Waaaay over there. In winter wheelbarrows are heavier. Paths are slippery. Frozen gates. Frozen latches. Frozen fingers. Frozen noses. Frozen water lines. Frozen drains.

The house water doesn’t freeze because someone’s in there using it. The shop water we leave on trickling so it can’t freeze. The MP water can’t be left on because it only drains into the front yard. It could make a skating rink out there, which old frail animals would not enjoy. The water pipes froze in the MP weeks ago. The first day it happened I hadn’t noticed yet, and dumped a dish of water into the sink, where it just sat, not draining. Dammit. Drains frozen too. I scooped out the water with a cup and carried on. One of the volunteers accidentally dumped a dish of water down the drain last weekend. Still had to be scooped up with a cup. Still frozen. Periodicly I was checking the taps, nothing. Then Thursday night Carol heard the water pump in the house crank up and start pumping like mad. Fuck she thought, probably burst a pipe somewhere. Off goes the breaker. Friday morning us staff make a plan to turn on the pump and slowly walk the property to locate said broken pipe. Shit, it’s probably underground. Double shit, what if its under ground under one of the buildings? I walked into the MP and holy mother of the shittiest shit you can imagine, the MP on the dog side has flooded! An inch of water had pooled all through Ella’s area and in the aviary. I checked everyone over, swearing the whole time. All the animals were fine. Whew! Ok so, Where’s this damn broken pipe? I walked into Clovers area and stared. The huge double sink was full to the brim. What in the actual fuck? I’m not a plumber (I’m a poo picker upper remember? ) I don’t know how this can happen. I checked the taps and thought they were off. How does water come back up a drain pipe? A pipe that doesn’t go anywhere but 10 feet from the building and rests in the grass? Renee and I worked like mad getting all that water up off the floor using every towel we have and trust me, we have alot of towels! I was wringing out the towels into buckets then putting them in laundry baskets. Without the water pump we cannot do laundry. The soaked towels would all go moldy long before I could get them through the washer in the eventual timeline of the water being turned back on. A quick email to the volunteers and help arrived in the form of Paula and Laura, with many others offering (and thank you each one of you, I LOVE how SAINTS folks come together when needed!) Paula took So. Much. Laundry. She washed, dried, folded and returned it in clean laundry baskets! It was like a total laundry fairy! Meanwhile Carol and Roane were trying to buy dehumidifiers to help dry out the building. Would you believe there’s wasn’t one to be found in the whole town? Shelagh managed to track some down where she lives, bought them and brought them out. The plumbers came. They cut the drain pipe just outside the wall and wooosh! the sinks drain. So, how did this happen I ask them? Well, he says, your drain is frozen. Last night it warmed up and the water lines thawed. The tap was left on and with the drain still plugged with ice, the sinks filled up and overflowed. No I said. No. I did not leave a tap on. We turn the taps on and off, they move freely. Plumber guy says, only one way to find out, let’s see what happens when we turn the water pump back on. I make sure all the taps are turned to the off position, then we wait. I am sure we will see water pouring from a broken tap. Or from the base of the faucet. Not a drop comes out. Not one single freaking drop. He looks at me. I look at him. See, he says. Tap got left on. He tries all the taps. They work perfectly. I try it. Water on. Water off. Fuck.

My fault. I cannot fathom I have done something so stupid. I am alot of things and not all of them good. Control freak. Picky. Insensitive. Bossy. But careless? AAAARG. Special thanks also to my coworkers who had to help me with the cleanup. And to my boss who understands that shit happens. Even the shittiest shit. At least no animals are any worse for wear. And it’s a cheap fix, comparitivly speaking.

Some dogs love the snow. The NWT girls sure do! I bet they love coming back into their warm (DRY) building after playing in it too.