Little

Posted: January 28, 2019 at 7:47 am

You all know by now that we lost our Little. Short story is that she bloated, which can be lethal even if it happens just the one time. Here is the longer story of our beautiful sheep named Little. Mah gave birth to triplets just after we took her in as a Saint. Triplets are rare, and the mothers resources are spread three ways, so perhaps they did not have the same beginning as a single birth would have. Little, Bo and Peep were born indoors, we had them in the shop as they were born in February, still wintertime. Yet 6 days after birth, they got pneumonia. This fact becomes important later on in my story. When a ruminant eats, the food ferments in the rumen (a part of the stomach), bloat happens when the gas from the fermenting hay or grass cannot escape the rumen. Little has been bloating on and off her whole life, but pretty regularly in the past few months. We had the vets come numerous times. We changed her diet. We tried everything we and they could think of, but nothing seemed to make a difference, so we continued to treat the bloat as it happened with anti-gas. It worked, and was safe to use as much as needed. Back in November Janette and I took Little over to Agwest for an ultrasound. There were suspicious areas in and around her lungs. Abscesses? Tumours? Foreign object? We decided to go with the most likely cause and treat her with an extended, heavy dose of antibiotics, then recheck those areas to see if there was a change. The vet came out last week and did a mobile ultrasound, then compared the findings to the last one. Unfortunately the weird areas had not diminished at all, they had in fact gotten slightly larger. At the time we thought this meant that whatever the problem was, it was not due to an infection. Talking it over with the vet we elected to go with the next step, which was to rule out anything super crazy, like a foreign object that she couldnt pass, maybe it kept trying to come back up the pipe like the food does. The area on ultrasound was just this kind of shady blotch…what if it was a piece of a plastic bag? Or a ball of baling twine? We wanted to be sure. I was going to book the next step, a scope for Little, done at Agwest, early this week. But Friday afternoon, Little began to bloat. Janette treated her as normal with the anti-gas, and Little seemed pretty much normal in the morning, ran from the stall to the field like she always does. But as the day wore on, and Little kept eating, she bloated bladly.  We treated her again with anti-gas, but it kept coming back up. We called the vet out as an emergency, but he was already at one. Little could not get in enough air, she passed out and died right there. The vet came as soon as he could, and he confirmed her death. He then offered to do a necropsy on Little, to get us some answers. We said yes. I would like to take a moment to explain. Normally, we do not really need to know. Usually our animals are senior, and we have a pretty good idea of why things happen. But Little was only two years old. We only recently lost her brother Bo to a urethra blockage, he too was too young to lose, but it happened, and there was no way we could have prevented it. But if Little HAD eaten say a plastic bag or some baling twine…that is a lesson we need to learn from. The vets were not sure what was causing the on and off bloat over such a long time either, so I am sure there was scientific curiosity as well. Dr, Brent did a necropsy on Little and shared his findings with us. Her one lung was completely destroyed. It had walled off infection pockets the size of eggs. The lung would not have been able to work at all. The nerve that controls the digestive system of a ruminant passes right next to the lungs and heart of the animal. So as the infection got worse, Littles lung would press on the nerve that controls the rumen, causing it to stop and not allow the air inside to escape, in turn causing the bloat. No amount of antibiotics could have fixed this. There was nothing we or the vet or anyone could have done. In hindsight, I suppose we could have euthanized her earlier, but I cannot imagine having to make that decision on a two year old sweet sheep who did so well most every day. There is no way we could have seen the problem with any machine or test, it would have been just a guess. But I wish she hadnt died like that. I wish she hadnt struggled for even a moment. Everyone deserves a peaceful end. Little is missed terribly, by us, by her sister, by her mom, by the other sheep and Deedee too. And we will carry on with very heavy hearts. 

exploiting the exploited.

Posted: January 23, 2019 at 8:11 pm

One of the biggest battles i have engaged in over the years is protecting our animals from at least the most overt forms of exploitation. These guys have been exploited by humanity up the yinyang.
lets be clear… all animals that have anything to do with human beings are exploited. we exploit them for food, for profit, for companionship, for therapy and assistance, for entertainment, for teaching opportunities, for feel good warm and fuzzies. we exploit them to stoke our ego’s, to engage in control, for power, for righteousness*(the proverbial hero vs the asshole.) we want to be the best animal whisperers, the most fantastic furry guru’s, with a click and a pocketful of treats, a jar of coconut oil, and a fridge full of raw food we are animal cure-all’s. when we use them or their stories to further our own personal or professional or social or rescue related ends…we are using them. lets call a spade a spade.
we need to acknowledge that we all do this in one way or another.
omg, the weight of even our rescue expectations in animal relationships is crushing.\
thank god they don’t know they are being exploited..they are really nice and trusting in that way.

and i guess they in turn exploit us too…they sure suck half my dinner and most of my bed out of me just with a yearning look in their eyes. they have the staff and volunteers jumping backwards and forwards to meet their physical and emotional needs in every possible way.

but here is the thing..shyla in her most manipulative posturing pose to get something she wants out of me…is doing it solely because she thinks she needs something from me.
what i try to protect her from is not from humans using her to fulfill some deep seeded maternal nuturing need (me) or to fulfill some even deeper seeded do-gooding or social justice need (also me,) my job is to protect her from anyone trying to use her or her story to personally impress somebody.

i live with these guys. they are not pure magical lights. they are as messed up, as tattered, as selfish and self serving as we are in mankind. the difference being..they are vulnerable, they are victims, they have absolutely no personal power unless we in our almighty-ness decide to give it to them.
now what IS magical about animals (and very small children) is what they help us to feel.
that gentle warm rush of softness that enters thru our eyes and slides into our spirits.
no one else may at that moment see it, or feel it and they don’t need to for us to still feel that gift.

in order to stop exploiting animals to simply benefit how other people see us…we need to understand this. animals exist for their very own purpose. just like i exist for my own purpose.
we may travel along together, for awhile. but their purpose is not to improve my purpose and i can’t possibly improve their purpose which i think may be to bring such a warm and gentle surge of softness into my spirit.
but their real purpose is to be themselves..and the real purpose for me is to be a better person myself.

Busy as bees

Posted: January 23, 2019 at 7:38 pm

Renee, Sheila, Carol and I had a meeting today. They are trying to give Renee and I the tools we will need to slowly take on more responsibility as Carol transitions into retirement. Its very interesting learning the behind the scenes board of directors stuff going on constantly in the background, it feels like a security blanket, this group of people so dedicated to SAINTS. Every one of us (all of us, including you, whether you are volunteer, donor, staff, board member or Carol herself) is a part of the future of SAINTS, we all have such different strengths and ideas to bring to the table. Renee and I have a lot to learn, but we are committed and we will give it our all. 

Little had her repeat ultrasound. Agwest has a portable machine, its really a marvel of technology. The questionable area in her chest is still there. If anything, its bigger. So the antibiotics did not work, meaning it is not an infection. Process of elimination, next up is to send a scope down to see if it is a possible foreign body causing havoc. If it is something like that, we can remove it (hopefully). If not, we will just continue to treat her bloat episodes as they happen, until (if) the quality of her life is affected. Our team of vets have a few more ideas up their sleeves to try to relieve the gas buildup, we shall see. 

Ariel was spayed and vaccinated, and came home today. She is feeling pretty good actually! She is a lover of being under blankets, tucks herself right in. Ariel doesnt care that she is a cat and her friends are rabbits. 

Mikey was neutered and tattooed. Once healed he should be available for adoption, hes so cute and friendly, very personable lil guy. 

Tido has a dental surgery scheduled for tomorrow. He too should be able to land a great home soon, he is really sweet, I dont think he has a mean bone in his body! 

I am working on a possible forever home for Whiskey. I am being very thorough and taking my time to ensure I make the right decision for her. Keep you posted!

Angel update!

Posted: January 22, 2019 at 6:06 am

From Angels family:

Angel is doing amazing! 

She is eating well and will certainly monitor us in the kitchen when it’s meal time as you can see from the photo! She is a snuggle bug and we’ve discovered she likes to snooze UNDERNEATH the covers with us! She will be in bed with us (and Hunter our dog) allllll night! 
She loves her self-warming bed (see photo) and it’s often her favourite place to be after a meal. 
 
She loves it when we have company over and will sit on anyone she pleases. Thank you very much for allowing Angel to be apart of our family. She is beautiful on the inside and out. 
 
Yay! Thanks so much for the update!

Penny

Posted: January 20, 2019 at 2:45 pm

We lost our sweet bantam chicken Penny earlier today. Volunteer Dionne was cleaning the aviary this morning and felt Penny just didn’t look right. Roane rushed Penny to our vet clinic Coastal Rivers. Dr. Borgmann examined Penny and believed she was likely fighting a losing battle against ovarian cancer. Penny came to us in the summer of 2017, with her sister Betsy, who we lost a bare two months later. Penny had lost some weight this past few weeks and was already booked in to the vet. There was nothing we could do. The kindest thing was to let her go peacefully, which we did. Penny was about six years old. She was such a sweet, fun, special girl. We will all miss her alot. Her feathered friends will miss her too, especially Charlie, who she roosted with when she wasn’t up on the perch with Paris. Chickens all have unique personalities, same as we do. They deserve a life worth living. Penny had a good life, we know that, but it doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye. 

MP girls

Posted: January 19, 2019 at 10:23 am

Ella the fearless. Until theres a storm. 

Clover the fearful. By far the shyer of the three NWT girls.

Vera the bull in a china shop. She looks like she should be dainty. She is not. 

Nadia, same body shape and similar walk to Clover. I think these two are closely related, they share a very close bond. 

Trixie the newest addition. A decidedly people-oriented dog. Unbelievably polite!  

I cant seem to add a video here, but I have one. I will see if I can put it on the Friends page. 

 

building bridges

Posted: January 17, 2019 at 6:34 pm

i think sometimes i drive the staff crazy.
last year the staff set up my room for me..it was nice but i said keats didn’t want his bed on the far side he wanted it next to me. finally they moved it for him but i said he wanted one bigger. they made it bigger.
keats had a bad night while i was gone, everyone thought he had a bladder infection…i said he was missing me. we took a urine spec to the vet, it was all clear, keats is settled at night again. i am home and at night i check in with him periodically in case he needs anything.
shyla apparently doesn’t eat when i am gone, she has to be handfed in order to eat.she eats fine when i am here but when i am not she feels more anxious.
on the weekends mo tells me, my dogs sometimes won’t hang out at the barn if i am on site. they are more interested in where i am and what i am doing.
today i was watching brooklyn, even tho she wasn’t scratching, i knew she was itchy. when i mentioned it to renee she took brooklyn right away and gave her a bath. brook is more settled and content tonight.

i think someone might think that i think the animals actually talk to me.

they do and they don’t but i am not crazy.
the relationships i have with the house or mp building animals are vastly different. it is the house animals that i have the strongest and deepest connection with, i live with them.

here is the thing…
i have been doing rescue for almost 20 years. its not an 8 hour day where i put in my time and then go home.
i live with them, i sleep with them, i eat with them. i talk with them, i touch them, i interact with them continually as part of their family.
there have been thousands of them over the years and not one or two or four at a time…there are 50 living in my house at any one time. i made my house a shelter but i also made it their home. and i became the one constant, never changing family in their time of stress and need.
i became their anchor in the storm.
and they became the links in the chain that binds me.
a chain without an anchor is subject to the waves of time and an anchor heeds the chain for purpose.
i went to disney, the happiest place on earth and i missed them and they missed me.

the connection i have to the animals here was forged thru deep caring but also from deep ponderings…i watch them all of the time. i have watched them all for 20 years. and somehow i started hearing them..not in words..maybe from vast experience, or from unconsciously reading subtle body language or maybe it is something more magical then even disney could conceive.
whatever it is..i hear them.
and my hearing them makes them feel safe.
and they hear me.
sometimes i think they hear me better than people even hear me.

i have said all along that the animals are a bridge.
i have just realized that i too am a bridge.
or maybe together we are a two way bridge.

i think we all have the ability to be bridges…connecting to each other.
but we have to want to connect, to understand the other or we are just a loose plank floating alone out to sea.

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.