Enucleation

Posted: January 15, 2019 at 8:17 pm

We knew when we said yes to Theo, that she would need surgery. The shelter she came from up in Smithers sent her to a specialist, who thought it likely that Theo’s eye problem was due to melanoma, the eye would have to be removed. Today was Theo’s surgery day. Removing an eye is called enucleation. 

Theo is quite possibly THE sweetest cat. She is a tiny lil thing, a real love bug. And shes only 10 years old. Cancer doesn’t care. At her first vet appointment, it looked like there was lymph node involvement as well, so it was a real relief to hear today that it wasnt a lumpy lymph node at all, it was an unrelated simple cyst. Our vet asked me if she should send the eyeball to the specialist to know for sure if it was melanoma or not. I figured, nah, its out now, whether there’s cancer in it or not doesnt make a difference to Theo, it cant tell us if its spread, it cant tell us shes cancer free. Dr. Federici was thrilled to be able to keep the eye and dissect it herself (pardon me while I throw up in my own mouth just thinking about it)! So Theo’s cyst came out, her left eye came out, and they pulled two molars as well. Shes had half her teeth removed sometime in the past, so now shes really low on chompers! The clinic said she came out of sedation purring. She feels so much better, you can tell already! Second chances baby, its what we do. 

 

Epic and Magical

Posted: January 14, 2019 at 7:46 pm

Carol is in Disneyland still, I think they come back tomorrow. It looks like they are having a great time. Disneyland with her daughter and granddaughter? Who cares how much something like that costs. Worth it. I took my daughter there this summer. We loved it, and she will have those memories for the rest of her life, just her and I. Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth they say. Magical. The place of epic family vacations. I don’t doubt all of that is true. But do you know what else is epic and magical? Our animal sanctuary. A few weeks ago one of our volunteers Tamaira said to me, that she thought there was just something magical about SAINTS. And shes right. Its more than picking up poop, more than just going to work, or heading in for your volunteer shift. Its about being a part of something so special, so meaningful. It is something that just…completes you, y’know? This gets lost sometimes, the meaning behind it all. Through the never ending mountains of laundry. Slogging behind the wheelbarrow going up the ramp to the bin over and over in the rain. The grooming. Walking. Feeding. Cleaning. Pushing your ridiculously heavy cart through the grocery store, people wondering why you could possibly need that much bleach, or that many cans of food. Collecting donation jars from around town. Mailing tax receipts. Answering email. Sourcing out the best price for something. Picking up something. Delivering something. Sometimes it seems thats all you are doing. But its not. Its not. 

Worry Warts

Posted: January 13, 2019 at 7:20 pm

The list of current worries is getting to be lengthy. It seems to be that we lose 4 or 5 Saints that we expect to lose, then 1 that we don’t see coming. Godderick was one of the unexpected losses of late. Back up a bit and Allie, Phoebe, SageGertie, Lincoln, Jack the budgie, Odie, Harley all come to mind. Complete shocks intermingled with known palliatives. It is no easier to lose someone when you know it’s coming. It sucks to not have time to say goodbye. But it also sucks to count down to the vet appointment. There’s no “better” way I don’t think (obviously the less pain and confusion and the quicker the better for the animal in question) It sucks ass pretty equally for the rest of us. On our current house worry list is:

Andy

Squirt 

Molly2 

Keats 

Conan

In the barn :

Cinder

Edwina

Little

Raven

For rabbits we are watching:

Logan

And in the MP  

Noelle

Other than these guys, we have others we are keeping an eye on but they don’t seem to be making any giant leaps into frailville but holy shit do we lose sleep over missing something. Carol talks about a crystal ball. Would it be better to have one? I think it would be brutal. Like the saying Live Everyday As Though It’s Your Last. What if there’s nothing we can do? Would you want to know? It’s not that we like surprises (we don’t). Unpredictable is just that. Sneaky. 

Looking at Squirt and Andy and knowing, not just thinking but KNOWING their time is coming? These two who have been with us for so long, they are such a part of us. They are creeping (albeit slowly) towards that finish line. Our two puppy mill survivors who weren’t given a fair shot right out of the gate. But I honestly think we have done/are doing right by these two. I bet if asked they would talk about the friends they’ve made over the years. Who remembers that EPIC photo of Squirt, Odie and Benny? (ps if you have it post it in the comments will ya) They’d talk about how much further they have come than they ever thought they could. Who remembers Andy with with his bestie Jesse? I wonder if Squirt and Andy would be happy with the way their lives turned out to be. I think so. I hope so. 

 

 

Professionals

Posted: January 12, 2019 at 9:16 pm

If you get paid to do it, that means you are considered a professional at your job. I pick up poo for a living. I am an excrement inspector. A feces custodian. An ordure concierge! Hahaha! Actually I do do (pun totally intended) a lot of other things too. Most things I do at work are related directly to the animals. I dont do an awful lot outside of animal care. Structural maintenance for example, not my forte. So when the doors on the MP building started growing mold, I asked Carol if I could go buy new ones. She says yes, go down to Rona and get the new doors. So I go to Rona armed with my measurements. The guy says, what way do the doors open, standing from the outside? Fuck me, do you think I could answer? Nope. Its menopause I swear, I cant do complex thinking anymore (yknow, super difficult stuff like what way does the door swing…the door you open 778 times a day, every day). Anyways, regardless of whether they are left or right hand swing, the measurements are not common he says, thats a custom job, super expensive, youd be better off opening the wall bigger to fit a regular sized door. Well shit. Now I am way out of my league. Luckily, SAINTS has a volunteer carpenter, Steven. Steven helps out in the barn most often, but he is looking to help us with odd jobs etc, carpentry type stuff, whenever it comes up. Perfect. Hey Steven, wanna talk about what needs to be done and lets see how we can go about it? Of course he says. So today we meet up and I show him what I am thinking… Cut the header above the door, or trim the door, but the door will be metal and I dont have the tools to cut metal doors, might just be easier to cut the wall above the damn door to make the new one fit, maybe, but I dont really know, what do you think? Steven looks at the doors. Like really looks at them. And he says we should find out why they are wet. I thought it was condensation. Thank fuck Steven is a professional. He knows what he is looking at and how to fix it. It isnt condensation. The frickin roof is leaking. The poor MP building has been pieced together, and where the peaked roof ends and the flat roof of the sundeck begins (the doors right below this joint are the doors in question), the shingles are letting water back up and leak down the walls, into the top of the door frame, and in turn the doors. Steven thinks he can fix the doors. We caught it early enough that the wooden doors arent soft and mushy (other than this one part that fell off the bottom of one, but it can be fixed). He can stop the leaking. He figures we can get a few more years out of these doors, they just need some tlc, then paint to seal them, and of course the shingles fixed so the water stops running right down the wall. All of which he is willing and able to do. So you see, Steven saved the day (or he will save the day, next time he comes out). He will be saving us about $500 (just for the doors) and if I had gone ahead and bought them, the actual problem wouldnt have been found. I would have put a bandaid on it. A very expensive bandaid. Lesson learned. Ask a professional. Every time. Not a professional shit picker upper either. You know what the real bugger of it is? Every fucking thing that I did today, I did with my damn pants on backwards and didn’t notice til I got home. Stupid menopause.

heads up to weekend warriors..

Posted: January 11, 2019 at 7:28 pm

i am out of town this weekend (going to disneyland with jenn and family.) Andrea and renee have my number in case of emergency. mario and collin will be joining the kitchen crew again this weekend because we are all away. have a great weekend..give lots of tender loving care to our crippled crew and to all of you…A VERY HUGE THANK YOU!!!

Barking Babies and Petcurean

Posted: January 11, 2019 at 7:06 am

Arnie did the donation pick up from Barking Babies earlier this week. This is what he wrote me:

Nancy collected the $150.00 from her sale.  She was a little disappointed because she collected more last year.  But She had not looked in a sealed envelope from Anthea and there was $200.00 in it.  So Nancy really collected $350.00 for us, certainly nothing to feel bad about and she doesn’t even know it. The envelope with the $200.00 cash in it had a message hand written on the outside of it.  Here is what it said: 

Dear saints, Thank you for loving these precious animals.  

Please find enclosed a gift in memory of my maltese, Sparkle who passed away in our house fire. 

Hope to someday visit your amazing organization.

Anthea 

How nice is that? Thank you Barking Babies, Nancy, and Anthea, and of course volunteer extraordinaire Arnie! Then I open my email and see that a lady named Bella Bucchiotti nominated SAINTS to receive a 500lb donation from Petcurean! Petcurean wrote to me to inform us, and also to let us choose the food to be donated. This is so generous and thoughtful. Thank you Bella and Petcurean! 

 

From there…to here

Posted: January 8, 2019 at 7:57 pm

How do they get from wherever they were…to here? The animals I mean. Trixie came from Chilliwacks CARE center. Was she a stray? Surrendered? I dont know, I never asked. But how does a dog like this find herself homeless? Trixie had a family. I guarantee that. She has impeccable manners. Ive met some polite dogs but this one, Trixie? She takes the cake hands down. Someone spent alot of time teaching her things, she knows tricks, she waits to be invited into a room, she listens, and by listens I mean the first time, not waiting til it suits her like certain other dogs (ELLA!) Trixie didnt deserve to get ditched by her family. Whether she was surrendered or picked up as a stray wandering around, it equals the same thing. Someone, somewhere, failed her. They failed HER. No fault of her own. Can you even imagine? Having your family abandon you at this stage in your life? So unfair. So unbelievably unfair. Yet it happens, over and over again. Trixie loves people, all people, whatever they are doing. She would make a wonderful pet! Wanting to just be there. Included. Part of a family who cares. Forever. But Trixie is 10 years old. She has degenerative disc disease. She needs daily pain control. Eventually, she may have trouble walking. Who would willingly take that on? She should have had a good home. She should have had a family who loved her and would do whatever she needed as she ages. She should have had a promise. Maybe she did. Yet she is so far away from that promise now.

I am bitter. Can you tell? Trixie isnt. She is happy. She loves life. She is happy to go for walks, happy to get attention, happy to just hang out, even if we just sit there. Does she remember her life before? Maybe it wasnt all that great. Maybe it isnt worth remembering. Or maybe animals see things differently and dont dwell on what was, or may have been. Maybe animals are much better at living in the moment than we are. We fail them so often it seems it would be better that way. I dont know. What I do know, is that while I have no fucking idea how she got from there to here, she is here now. And her life now is worth living. Its up to us to make sure of that.

Trixie-woo, we got you.

A+ for effort!

Posted: January 5, 2019 at 6:01 pm

Oscar came to SAINTS several years ago. He originally came from a good home, had been there loved and cared for since a small puppy. But at 4 months of age, Oscar was already biting, and not in play.
His original name was Oliver and by the time he was 4 years old, he was literally a menace. With a new baby on the way, the family surrendered him to a trainer in the hopes that his issues could be worked out and a suitable home found.
After a couple of months, the trainer deemed Oliver non rehabbable..I believe her actual words were..’he’s crazy.”

And so Oliver was kicked out of Alberta and shipped to BC to become our newest broken saint. I am going to be honest, none of us liked him, he was a total vicious jerk. Luckily he was little which meant altho he might continually puncture, he wasn’t likely to kill any of us.
The first 2 priorities were A) to keep us and Oliver safe and B) to find some way to love this biting little monster.

I changed his name to Oscar the Grouch and it worked, it made him more endearing. As much as he is a total pain in the butt…all of us totally adore him (albeit from a safe distance.)

Several years later, Oscar still does not like to be touched and he will turn into a raging demon if anyone lays any hands on him to provide any kind of care. This means we heavily sedate him at home several times a year to transport him into the vets for full knocked out sedation for grooming, exams, ear and eye cleaning. We ordered special kevlar (bullet proof) gloves for when we absolutely do have to handle him and he still bites thru them!
Now Oscar is perfectly happy (as long as no one is goofing around with him.) He hangs out with the MP dogs, goes for walks and runs in the fields and occasionally still manages to attacks someones feet but we all wear thick shoes in his vicinity. We feel badly having to sedate him several times during the year tho but he has to have at least some basic physical care.

So today the saints staff and volunteers found a safe way to clean up Oscars eye boogers. They popped him in the shower, sprayed his face down and were able to rub around his eyes in an attempt to clean them. I am not sure exactly how effective it was, but Oscar wasn’t upset and no one was bleeding. KUDOS to everyone involved for thinking outside the box in providing our biggest little grouch some much needed care!

Awesome Animals

Posted: January 4, 2019 at 9:25 pm

Sometimes animals come in and we all immediately fall in love. We cant wrap our heads around why they ended up at a shelter. Sometimes we are sure they’ll get a home right away. Sometimes we think…Oh as soon as the volunteers see him/her, shes gonna get scooped up. Other times we figure, Oh, as soon as the vet check check is done, they’ll get a home no problem. Or, Oh, soon as they go up on Petfinder, yep they’ve got it in the bag. Other shelters have these social media posts, they say THIS ANIMAL HAS BEEN IN THE SHELTER FOR 46 DAYS! 46 days? What the fuck? Now I get that not many people want to adopt palliatives. Or the blind. Or deaf. Or seniors with big medical issues. Or diabetics. Or paraplegics. Or incontinents. I honestly do understand. This level of care is not for everybody. I get it. But what about the ones that aren’t that much work? The ones with lots of life left to live and love left to give. What about them? Let me show you some numbers. 

Stella. 503.

Balto 496. 

Mocha 138

Lovey 691

Whiggy 2155

Charley 263

Boomer2 166

Those are days. Days those animals have spent in our shelter. Is that not shocking? Like blow your mind shocking? None of these animals are palliative. None are really old (with the exception of Balto maybe, and hes not super old, but old enough to need arthritis meds). So ok yeah, some of them require a particular home, they cant just fit in anywhere. Stella has a few no-can-do’s…she sucks with other animals and would need a kid free home. Mocha sucks with other dogs but with enough space would be ok with a non reactive cat, and damn is she a fun little asskicker! Lovey? Ok, not a huge fan of other animals but seriously. Whiggers? Aptly named but still a cool cat. Charley and Boomer? There is no reason these two are still waiting. Charley is FIV. So what? He is also loving and playful and a bit of a butt. Boomer has no logical reason why he hasn’t been scooped up. I am not even kidding. Why has no one seen this cat and thought he would make a nice addition? He is friendly. Clean. Healthy. A really all around great cat, yet here he sits. So if you are a volunteer and a tour comes through, be sure to point out our two wallflower cats Charley and Boomer. They could use the attention.

In other news, yet related to this topic sits Jax. Jax has been with us for 198 days. He did get a home awhile back, but was returned shortly after as it was not the right fit. One of our house volunteers (Jenny) has been through the wringer with Renee and I, getting herself approved as a permanent foster home for little Jax. We all agree that this is a truly sweet bond between these two and Jax, just like Bailey, is going to get his happily ever after story. So it looks like Sunday Is Jax and Jenny’s day, she will take him with her after her volunteer shift. Jax’s number will hold steady at 200. 200 days since becoming a Saint. 200 days sounds like a lot doesn’t it! Heres hoping for him to enjoy many many more than that as a much loved part of Jenny’s family. I can hear him squealing in delight already!

The boat in the pond

Posted: January 3, 2019 at 7:59 pm

In the lower field there is a boat. Its upside down, just kind of…there. Sometimes the pond water is high enough that the boat could damn near float (if it were right side up that is) and sometimes the boat is completely out of the water, beached, dry. We walk past the boat multiple times every day and we have for years. Years! How many dogs, horses, cows, pigs, llamas have walked past it, climbed up on it, jumped over it, ran around it (probably peed on it haha)? Can you imagine all the animals that boat has met? All the folks walking along with said animals? What has that boat seen? It has seen every single time Mystic chases the heron from the pond (don’t worry, the heron is not in any real danger, Mystic can’t sneak up on anyone). It saw that time Ellie played Hide and Seek (she won that one, btw). It saw Allie when she would lose herself and become hyperfocused on swimming and absolutely refuse to come out. Today it saw Vera barreling through the pond like she does every time (that dog is a bull in a China shop!) It saw the house dogs doing their morning lap with Lynne (and whatever that thing she was wearing on her head was? In Lynnes defence, it was freaking pouring all day, but I still have no idea what that was). That boat must have stories to tell. I know I’ve sat on it, had conversations on the phone it would have overheard. How the hell did that boat get there anyways? Should we name it?
*The photo is from a number of years ago, its the first one I found that has a shot of the boat in it. Hope Renee and Dionne dont mind I posted it 😉