December 31, 2006

SAINTS welcomes “Handsome Dexter”

Filed under: General — Carol @ 9:55 pm

he is just like a chocolate coated shamus and watching this very old and wrecked dog waiting in the freezing pond for someone to please throw him another stick, just melts you into a pile of goo. gosh he is sweet. he had  THREE field runs today and he keeps going to the back gate hoping for more. he has a large malignant mass on his hip so he is not with us for long but boy are we gonna spoil him rotten for every second that we can! Dex is a doll, he lets me wrap him up in fleecy’s and he really likes deb’s banana bread too. my kind of guy, i love labs, they live right up until the very last moment.

December 30, 2006

i just got off the phone with a lady with a biting pom.

Filed under: General — Carol @ 8:46 pm

the dog is too young for us (barely over a year old) and i feel quite badly because i am willing to bet that whatever happens next is not going to be good despite the advice i gave for seeking appropriate help and solutions.

biting dogs are such a huge issue for all of us. i find it one of the saddest issues of all.  all dogs bite. it is a normal, natural behavior for them when they are angry, stressed, afraid, or over stimulated. the problem with biting dogs, is not that they bite in the first place, it is our complete lack of understanding that under certain circumstances all dogs will bite. how the dog bites is another thing all together. one lady told me her dog bit her child in the face and drew blood…this is a death sentence for any dog being surrendered to a public pound or shelter. in fact, the very happy, over excited dog leapt up to lick the childs face and clipped the child above the eye with her tooth because her mouth was open at the fateful moment of contact. viciousness? no, poor manners? yes. not exactly the best reason to kill the dog, teaching her to sit to say hello could have fixed the problem just as easily.

then there is the dog that grabs someones hand or arm in their mouth. maybe they leave a dent, but rarely do they puncture (unless said person freaks out and starts screaming and pulling their hand away, then the dog bites down harder to hang on, that is an automatic reaction not a vicious act) murphy does this to me all the time, many times a day. it is what i call the “I am so full” response. dogs that do this are so full of something, happiness, need, excitement, nervousness, anxiety, wanting to belong or play but not quite sure how, so they grab you because they just can’t find another way to express themselves and everything is filling them up too full. so they use their mouth to release and express this. still not a good reason to die. a little bit of confidence building, alittle bit of guidence to help them to feel successful at meeting their needs in more appropriate ways and once again, the issue goes away.

then there is air snapping with no contact or nipping, front teeth, little damage, this is primarily a warning to stop doing whatever you are doing that they don’t like…lot’s of dogs do this during grooming, nail trims or vet exams. not great behavior but usually accepted because we can see the reason behind it. this would fit jack, cedric, muphy, copper, and norton too. jack and cedric are managable with stuffing their faces with timbits, copper and  murphy need muzzles, norton needs a muzzle and a ton of drugs.

there is always a reason behind a bite, just because a human doesn’t see it does not make the bite unprovoked. and all bites are not created equal. most are simple “F off’s”  very few are precursors to killing someone. most dogs bite out of pain or fear , because of hearing or visual deficencies, because of misunderstandings/miscommunications or simple heat of the moment anger. some have high prey drives and will take down a running or screaming target, a very, very few are mentally unstable and that is a different story all together.

i have euth’d dangerous dogs who could seriously injure a human or kill another animal, duke, emmit, bear and angel were not safe inside this world and i let them go. those dogs are rare…i have seen those 4 out of many hundreds. radar bit because he was just too old and in too much pain and felt just too vulnerable in the end and he protected himself in this place of strangers, the only way that he had left. i let him go too, he needed to be free.

until people understand that a bite is not just a bite, it is a message that is sent with plenty of warning and a great deal of meaning if we just open our eyes and see…it is a clue to a puzzle to be unraveled before a decision can accurately by made, it is a symptom of a sick, or stressed, or angry  or unhappy, or poorly behaved dog. it is also the symptom in many cases of a home that is making alot of mistakes. people like this lady will continue to put her dog, and others at risk because her pom made the mistake of actually behaving like a dog and telling her to buzz off when she was shaking the dog by her collar while angry. (try that once with me, and i might bite someone too.) and every time she punishes her dog in this way, it becomes easier and easier for that dog to bite back. she got away with it for a year but she is not getting away with it any longer. and sadly it is the dog that will probavbly in the end lose it’s life, apparently it is ok for people to be rude and unkind and violent and sometimes stupid  but a dog must always be sweet and gentle in return. it is the human double standard thing.

well some dogs make it out of these situations, mosquito mike found a great home when his family was going to nuke him for being a misunderstood and spoiled rotten jerk. thomas found a wonderful home where he would never be backed into a corner and forced by pain  to bite again, cush’s family love him and think he is a great little dog and he has never had to bite anyone since he was shown that people have great cookies and are fun to meet. potato ed got a second chance because his new home was prepared to give ed what he needed. who knows? phoebe may someday find a home too where she never feels the need to bite someone and if she doesn’t, she can stay here where she doesn’t feel the need to bite anyone either.

 there are very few people or rescues that will take on any dog with a history of biting. sadly many of our wonderful saints have that inaccurate mark against them, they don’t bite here because they don’t need to. if norton needs his nails trimmed, he goes to the vet to be sedated, if andy needs his hair cut, we sedate and muzzle him and get it done. but i would never kill our cute little disney dog cuz the act of being held against his will and shaved terrifes him to the point of striking back. we will just keep him safe while we do it. i no longer stupidly stick my face close to murphy’s when he is in the middle of a mental melt down and i try to prevent jazz from stealing stuff in the first place, but if she does manage to get some illicit treasure, it is hers til i can trick her into looking the other way.

i hope this lady gets some help for herself even more than for her dog. because if she doesn’t, she will kill this one and get another and she will probably mess up the next one too.

 lucky for murphy that when he was very stressed and upset upon arrival, and leapt up at my face and bit my nose drawing blood, i knew that it wasn’t murphy who made the mistake, it was me. and i have not made that mistake with him again. lucky for jazz that when i insisted on taking her stolen bootie away from her, despite her very clear warnings, that i accepted the bite as payment for ignoring her and pushing her past where she clearly did not want to go. lucky for cush that i recognized his biting was not so much biting as an extreme nervous reaction to visitors entering his home and he did not have a clue how to politely say hello because no one in his entire 8 years of life had ever bothered to teach him that saying hello nicely was a rewarding thing to do.

sometimes i feel so sorry for dogs who live in a human world that cannot view another species except by human standards. if we could view them as themselves maybe we wouldn’t mess them up in the first place. that is where i think respect begins and where there is respect, harmony and happiness usually follow.


A very quiet but good day at SAINTS

Filed under: General — Jean @ 4:31 pm

Well after all the hordes of visitors over the past week, today was the quietest Saturday I’ve ever seen – just Julie, Mo and me. Julie cleaned the house, Mo cleaned the barn, and I did a bunch of Jill-of-all-trades jobs.  The dogs got a run in the lower meadow (twice!), Phoebe and Frodo got a ride in my car (NOT at the same time – I learned that the hard way!), Copper wore his daisy collar to explore the meadow, Cole and Moses hung out in and around the barn with Mo’s dogs for the better part of the day, Petunia grunted and chattered and enjoyed some fresh spinach leaves, and it was a beautiful bright and crisp day – a perfect day to be at SAINTS.

Colton the guinea pig came home from his visit to the vet to be neutered.  He is sulking, I believe, but otherwise seems okay.

Jackie was falling about , walking strangely on one of her back legs, and seemed agitated, so Mo and I decided to phone Carol.  Following Carol’s suggestion, I spent half an hour trying to get Jackie to go to sleep on Carol’s bed.  At first it seemed to work, but suddenly she decided she would NOT have a nap and went into her full-fledged  mechanical dog routine (it may have had something to do with the Kitchen Sink Cookie I pilfered from Carol’s kitchen), so I think she’s 100% okay again.  

When I left, all the dogs were napping quietly, the barn guys were grazing, and all felt right with the world.



the problem with deaf dogs

Filed under: General — Carol @ 6:55 am

is that they cannot hear. or maybe they can hear somethings but choose not to listen. like michael last night. he had parked himself in my bedroom on his favorite soft bed over against the dresser. it is quiet, it is private, it is out of the way of many wandering feet. norton however parked himself in the doorway on a quilt, not so private, not so soft and pretty much in everyone’s way. i can step over him, maude can leap past him and the cats can easily walk around him because they are small and bendable. michael however cannot do any of the above, he is too old, too wrecked, too stiff and too crippled.

michael wakes up at 2 am and wants to go for a wander and see’s norton is blocking his way. so he politely (for michael) tells him to move. norton can’t or pretends he can’t, hear him. (i really have a hard time figuring out who truly is deaf and who maybe is just uncooperative) michael tries again, louder, and norton keeps sleeping (or pretending to ) finally michael starts yelling at him, “get out of the F%3#’ing way, you stupid, short legged hound dog!!!!!” which has no effect on norton either but does happen to wake up the rest of us. anyway, i will give michael credit, he picks his battles and apparently this one just wasn’t worth it. he finally admitted defeat and grumbling non stop, turned himself around and around and flopped back to bed with a heave of disgust, “GD! stupid, freaking, moronic, deaf, old, dumb, freaking floppy ear’d  dog,….. grrhhh, and hmmmph!” and with that michael went back to sleep.

there is so much drama and angst in my bedroom at night.

December 29, 2006

little lost sandy

Filed under: General — Nicole @ 8:14 pm

So I was planning on writing a post on Sandy this morning, but was slightly distracted by her disappearing act. She was on a walk at a park near my house when a little dog approached her to quickly and she backed out of her collar and took off out of the park. After driving my neighbourhood for over 3 hours, my mother called and said i should come home. I instantly started crying thinking that VAS had called and that they had found her, dead. Thankfully my mother corrected me before i really lost it. Sandy was sitting on the door step when she came back from driving around. I have no idea how she made it back to our house in one piece as she’s only been here 6 days. Anyways, her paws are sore and I’m sure her muscles are aching, but other than that she’s alright. (Thank you so much, Deb, Chris and everyone at VAS)
Now to my real update on her. When I first brought her home she was a little ‘uneasy’ around the cats. At first she was scared of one of my cats and then it turned to a look like she was wanting to chase her. Eventually that has passed and last night one of my cats was sleeping on her (she didn’t know there was a dog under the blanket).
We also had a 2 year old over yesterday, at first I didn’t let Sandy near him, but she wasn’t bothered too much by the loud shreaking that was ocassionally coming from him. I’m sure she could feel a little of my stress, but she was great, even gave him a little kiss.
She loves to sleep on the bed and curls up into a tiny ball like a cat and she’s also a great passenger in the car. She’s shy of strangers on the street, but in the house, she demands attention from anyone new.
I just can’t imagine the situation someone would have to be in to let her go as she an amazing gem of a dog (like all SAINTS), but I am so happy she found her way to SAINTS.

all is well tonight.

Filed under: General — Carol @ 7:32 pm

it was a good day today. erika and rob came, cleaned the barn, poop scooped the top pasture, and built a seriously great gate to keep the donkeys out of trouble. i left them a bunch of odd scrap wood (i was sure we had way more good stuff around here) and rob built this fabulous gate…thx guys!

it was a really busy day at work but coming home was so nice. eva had gone nutz in the house and it just gleamed, the barn was spotless, jean had moved all the barn guys to bed so all i had to do was feed and medicate them. jean called and said tunie was hungry and should she feed her…luckily i am smarter than tunie and i said just give her half a scoop cuz that pig got up when i got home doing her “i am very hungry” thing thinking i didn’t know that jean had just fed her. i gave her the other half a scoop and some carrots, apples and graham crackers (thx cathy and john!) and she was happy as a pig can be. carl slipped into gideons stall while i was feeding him and took the opportunity while gideon was busy to have a good long roll in the shavings at gideons feet. that horse is so phenomenolly kind and patient and understanding. carl quite enjoyed himself but now his coat is all messy again. spritely’s leg still looks good, i try to be grateful each night and not waste the good times with worry.

lexie and tyra are happily sleeping in the kitchen. they just live for the evenings when i let them join me in there. all the other dogs are sleeping, some are wrapped in fleeces. i tried to wrap tally but it just excites him and he gets up out of his chair to follow me around and tell me that this is just so exciting, and thank you so much! sigh,  so, no fleece for tally, he is too silly to fully appreciate that he is supposed to stay still to really enjoy it. he finally went back to his chair to watch for my next attempt. not going to happen buddy, you are sleeping fleeceless.

phoebe is wrapped up like a mummy and the chi’s are still baking by the fire (that can’t be good for their skin) but they like it so what the heck. cedric looks very handsome in his bright red sweater and wilbur is stunning in his faux diamond studded collar.

and best of all today is sandy who scared us all to death by panicking at the park when a strange dog approached her and slipped her collar and ran. she is such a smart dog, nicole was out looking for her for hours and deb mobilized VAS troops for her search too, but sandy being a very good dog managed to find her way home again on her own. knowing nicole, sandy probably followed the trail of her tears. i told nicole that if that dog had gotten hit by a car, i would have killed her (sandy, not nicole) cuz nicole has suffered enough heartache lately and sandy better not cause her more! anyway, all is well that ends so well and both nicole and sandy are safe tonight.

December 28, 2006

real rescue is…

Filed under: General — Carol @ 1:17 pm

not being afraid to take a risk. not being afraid to rescue someone you may not like or that scares you alittle too.

when i was driving along lougheed hwy today, i saw fred quietly standing in the middle of the road with his head held high. “Holy crap”, i thought as i swerved around him, “that’s a chinese lizard dragon thing” and i kept going because i do not particulary like lizards, they scare me. and then the guilt started, what kind of rescuer was i to leave that cold-blooded scaley thing in the middle of the road. i pulled a U’ie and went back for him, sick that maybe he was already squished.

i grabbed a paper bag and a handful of paper towels, i put out my hand to stop traffic on the highway and i ran across the road to grab him.

fred was a rubber life like childs toy.

real rescue is not being afraid to be an absolute fool sometimes too.

saints welcomes fred. i am going to glue little magnets to his feet and stick him on my fridge to remind me that i can be utterly stupid on occasion but it is the thought behind the stupidity that counts.

goodness and value

Filed under: General — Carol @ 7:02 am

as humans, quite often, we see what we want to see.

we see sweet little blind wilbur, bravely circumventing countless obstacles, detouring around many legs, patiently manuvering to get closer to “the cookie”. we pick him up and his little tail starts wagging and he begins licking our faces so very happy to have been noticed.

we see wrecked little cedric, patiently staring at us thru the wire, teeth chattering in excitement. we see his poor litttle three legged hobble as he moves closer to us, and feel his warm and grateful head rub deeply into our hand as he says hello.

we see gentle tally curled up in his chair, or moses moving in close for a snuggle or cole singing a song of hello.

we see all of this and we melt and we feel warm inside and we love them.

and then there are the phoebe’s and the murphy’s and the buddy’s, and the swinger’s and the norton’s. and we see the chaos, and the noise, and the growling or the snapping. we see them guarding their spaces, or irritated with each other, unsharing or uncaring, or a little bit twisted but certainly not nice. and we look past them or want them to go to sleep or be quiet or whatever but please just get out of the way of our warm and fuzzy moment.

and it is not fair. because i have seen sweet little wilbur hanging from the rottweilers neck, i have seen cedric knock jack off her feet because she came too close to his bed, i have seen moses yell at the other dogs, and cole stop their fun, and i have even seen sweet and gentle tally tell a new dog to buzz off and find somewhere else to live.

beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but goodness and value are too. the animals here are far from perfect, they all have their goodness, and their not so greatness, wrapped up inside them.

i have seen murphy, gently lick jacks face when cedric has been mean to her. i have felt his warm face in my hand as he welcomes me home. i have held buddy in my arms had recieved his kisses and been whacked by his tiny feet when he decided he wants to play. i have seen swingers concern for spritely and norton’s tongue has gently given me one small, shy kiss each night when i come home, and i have held the sleeping phoebe in my arms and felt her softness and her gratitude for being loved.

the whole point of saints is loving and caring knowing full well who we care for. it is in accepting and finding value in everyone, easy or not. it is about the real wonder inside of all the creatures  here which includes the good, the bad and the annoying.

do you want to know why i really do rescue? the real hidden truth underneath it all? it is because if i can love them all, in all their imperfections and value who they all really are thru and thru…then maybe, in all my imperfections, i can be just as valued and worthwhile and loved in all my goodness and not so greatness too.

December 27, 2006

one of those moments….

Filed under: General — Carol @ 10:08 pm

i was concentrating pretty heavily on answering a thought provoking email when i felt soft and gentle paws reach up onto my leg. distractedly,  i thought it was one of the cats and i finished typing a sentence before i looked down. there,  looking up at me with the sweetest little face, waiting, was sissy. gosh she is adorable in a wierd and wrecked sort of way. so tiny, so innocent, so sweetly gentle in her quiet bid for a cuddle. i picked her up and she laid her cheek against my lips, inviting me to give her a kiss. she snuggled in for a moment or two. when she was done getting what she wanted, i set her back down and she went back to her place by the fire. she just gave and took a moment but it was enough to make us both feel good and loved.

I had a (weird) dream..

Filed under: General — Jean @ 8:52 am

Maybe it was a result of the article on messy rooms that I read before bed last night (see my comment in the post below), but I had a most vivid and weird dream last night of a totally organized, clean and tidy SAINTS. 

In the laundry area was a fancy antique dining table, all laid out with crystal and fine china while Carol whipped up a storm in the kitchen.  The front hallway was…just a front hallway – a few coats and a few leashes and Michael the troll. 

The rabbit room was an office, complete with an office person and a volunteer task board (what needs doing, who is going to do it, check mark when completed – that was SO vivid I even saw Mo’s name beside “clean the barn” and my own beside “poop scooping”!).  And the rabbit room was in the room BEHIND the current rabbit room, with a doorway to a beautiful garden out back (in the riding ring???) – where there were trees and bushes and bunnies hoping around, all looking suspiciously like Maple, the lop that Carol thinks is the SAINTS animal I’m most like.

 The warehouse was just that – a warehouse with half of it filled with hay, and the other half with shelves and shelves and cupboards and cupboards of animal feed and animal supplies. And we obviously hadn’t told the tenants, because they were outside with an old truck, looking in with a very confused expression on their faces!

And the garage was virtually empty!  Carol’s van was in there (except it was hooked up to a wagon of some sort!) and there was a workbench and a half dozen snowblowers.

I don’t know what happened to the laundry or the idea of a multipurpose room – I think there was a room behind the garage that I never went into in my dream. 

And then there was the scary parts of the dream.  Firstly, the people to animal ratio:  there were people everywhere, but not a whole lot of animals in sight.  And that leads to the scariest part of the dream: In the big dog area, behind the fence, were quiet, well-behaved dogs lined up side by side (I remember andy and copper and tally – not sure who else) - like stuffies!! No life, just sitting there looking cute. And no matter what I did, I couldn’t get them to move or bark or show excitement. Copper just looked at me, head high, brown eyes staring and accusing. 

I guess the moral of the dream was that orderliness has its price.  While having a little less chaos would be nice, the real heart of SAINTS is the life it holds.  And life is chaotic.