December 31, 2008

ending 2008 on a good note…

Filed under: General — Carol @ 10:40 pm

murphy has just gone home with laura and lana. i have had yet another of my soul mate black dogs stolen from me but this time he goes to some place wonderful! yay murphy! yay laura!!! yay lana!!!  all of you are going to be so happy!!!!!!

(too bad they didn’t pick noisebox jewel, that would have made me and the neighbors REALLY happy!…but they did let me win in scrabble.)

bridgette

Filed under: General — Carol @ 5:28 pm

the lasix moved enough fluid out of the lungs to get a good view of her chest. she has a very large and advanced medialstinal tumour between the lungs and the heart. bridgette is now palliative care. her new wheelchair arrived today so she had about half an hour of toodling around while nicole got it all adjusted properly. she did pretty good for her first time in it but was tired because today was a very long day for her.

we will continue with the lasix for now, added steriods to slow down the tumour growth and reduce inflammation. the vet gave me a prn anticholenergic for any midnight respiratory crises and pain meds to cover any discomfort she might have. we will watch her carefully for when she is ready to go and help her when she asks.

serena and babes are back from the vet and none too impressed with humans right now.

ronnie and mother theresa both had an antibiotic injection today, hopefully they will both feel good again for awhile.

it has been a very tough end of the year, have a toast for us tonight wishing 2009 will be better for all.

a happy and safe new years to everyone.

December 30, 2008

kai

Filed under: General — Carol @ 5:55 pm

some stuff just makes me angry so deep down that i want to scream. kai is the one who has brought my rage to the surface today.

we get these dogs, sight unseen…just a call that says someone needs you and we try to squeeze them in.

sometimes they come with no history…just a number assigned from whatever pound they were in. but their stories unfold to some degree as we get to know them.

here is what i learned about kai today, and it is breaking my heart. several years ago, kai, an unneutered spanielX ate a bone. i don’t know if he got it from the garbage because he was hungry or if someone just tossed it to him and didn’t care.

it got stuck in the roof of his mouth, wedged between the teeth and across the palate. and there it stayed, day after day, month after month, year after year…festering painfully thru the flesh and right up thru the bone.

it hurt him…and no one saw and no one cared.

eventually the bone broke off, (there is still a calcified piece attached to one tooth) and all that was left was a huge hole in the bone at the roof of his mouth and open sore and painful tissue. it took time but it did partially heal into scar tissue everywhere except where the hole was. that stayed open for many more years making him sneeze and feel like he was choking whenever he tried to eat.

i don’t know if kai was a street dog or a backyard breeders stud, all i know is that for a very long time that dog lived totally alone. no one loved him, no one cared, no one once took pity on him and tried to help him out.

finally he ended up in a pound where so many animals are killed every day that their lifeless bodies are disposed of in overflowing bins.

kai didn’t die there, ace of hearts got him out before that final indignity and sent him up here.

so for almost four weeks, kai has had pain meds, he has had antibiotics, he has had a full belly, several warm beds and me following him around to wrap him in fleece. he has had my soft hands touch him, and renee’s soft hands touch him, and carrie’s soft hands touch him and laura’s soft hands touch him and many other soft hands touch him in love.

was it enough? could it ever have been enough?

i just don’t know.

rest in peace little kai, i am so very sorry your life was so hard.

 

Kai (Abe)

Filed under: photos — Nicole @ 2:12 pm

Posting this for Carol as she won’t be home until late this evening.

kai
Little Kai (formerly Abe from Ace of Hearts in California) was euthanized today.
The vets discovered a hole in his palate caused by a foreign body that had never been removed.
It wasn’t surgically repairable at this stage in his life and the decision was made to let him pass. Carol was with him when he passed away.

it was a tough night

Filed under: General — Carol @ 7:53 am

chyna was all shivery and pathetic looking with this weak little moist sounding cough. i had to keep wrapping her in extra fleeces and heating the magic bags up for her to keep her warm.

combine this with a raging sinus headache that made my head explode every time i had to bend down (and you bend down alot around here…picking up dogs, cats, poop, turning dogs, changing their beds and reaching down to give them their meds.) i couldn’t take anything til after 9 pm cuz i was still on call for work….that sucked.

when i went to bed last night, i lay there thinking about that always hovering question…how much is this all about me? and i know realistically it is about me too because i am their primary caregiver. so i started thinking, what would i do if i could just decide things on how they worked best for me?

well, honestly?…i’d want to nuke 38 of the animals here. that is my list of saintly ones who suck out more than their fair reasonable share of work, of worry, of resources, of care…some of the ones on this list i love deeply. but if i think with my head about what would work better for me…we would be 38 less.

unfortunately, none of the 38 would agree at this moment in time so they win…the game is not over til they call it quits.

i was also thinking that part of the trouble with folks not getting what saints really means is…to some degree the blog. because it is basically a diary of daily thoughts and events…it is pretty much always written in the thick of things. i write when i am worried, i write when i am mad, i write when i am frightened and sad. i write when i think something is funny or touching and i try really hard to write accurately what is really happening here.

and it changes constantly…spritely is in horrible pain, her leg is a mess, the vets are coming to put her down…ooops her pain is resolving, she is starting to weight bear, the appointment is cancelled…jeezus freaking christ spritely, quit running around!!!!

crises after crises, resolution after resolution, a miracle tossed in here and there and then, boom…no miracle appears…jesse’s leg fractures within a couple of days of warning and in the blink of an eye, the queen has gone away.

we fight off the inevitable for oka for months, he plays with his freaking logs and destroys 5 gallon water containers and slowly starts losing weight til one day he can’t get up on his own and on the day he finally lets go, he still wants to play with his ball.

dexter died shopping the shelves, looking for treats because fly season arrived and his open and draining tumour was ripe for maggots to breed. i didn’t want him to die because of gross little maggots would soon be living on him, i wanted him to die because he said he was done.

i rarely get what i want around here, i am lucky if i can find a spot in my own bed. but this place for me is that this place is where everything is about them.

i am anal about the staff’s working hours…i want all of the basic animal care/.cleaning done by 12:30 so for the next four and a half hours both staff persons have time for doing individual animal things…they get run in the fields, brushed, bathed, cuddled, taken to the vet and groomers. they get treats, played with, one on one time and extra project jobs to make their lives better. we could realistically cut our weekly wages by half if we just cared about providing basic standards of care.

i know i don’t have to justify, but i do feel the need to explain…saints isn’t just about what is read on the blog…not even i can write down every single detail and thoughtful consideration that goes into life here each day. for me it is a mission to provide the absolute best that we can to each of them every day.

and everyone is right, you just can’t see that thru this blog, you have to live it here.

don’t bother calling the number that nicole posted…i haven’t gotten around to fixing the land line yet…if you want to come, send me an email or call my cell (339-5144)….saints is open with no closed doors to tours and visits with a pre-arranged date and time (and a reminder the day before cuz i usually forget anyway.)

Life (and death) at SAINTS

Filed under: General — Nicole @ 3:53 am

i just wanted to add that I think it’s okay for marion to question what is happening with Bridgette and other animals at saints. For someone who has never been to saints it really sounds like all we do is keep dying animals from dying. but when you come to saints and see all the animals that were dumped, given up on and didn’t think they had a chance or weren’t worth one, your mind can’t help but be changed.
I’ll probably repeat things carol has said in previous posts, but this was too long for me to put in a comment and it’s quarter to 4 in the morning, i’m sleepy and i don’t want to edit out things carol already talked about.

SAINTS doesn’t exist to keep old animals around for as long as possible, we try to give them the best quality of life for as long as possible.
You can’t just look at an ill animal and decide right away that it has no hope and needs to die. What if Carol had decided to euthanize Bridgette the first day the xrays came back with her lungs looking like a mess. We still need to wait and see if it was caused by health issues that can be tamed with a simple daily medication or if it something bigger and badder and we need to consider euthanasia as her better option. Hasty decisions are often poor and ill thought out and I don’t think should be mixed with issues regarding life or death.

Since it’s beginnings over 4 years ago saints has made the ‘right’ decision 121 times in the animal’s ‘best interest’.
121 euthanasias, that’s 121 times deciding whether the animal’s life is a burden or a benefit to themselves (not to Carol).
SAINTS’ animals take over Carol’s bed, they eat her dinner, they disrupt her movies, life, dinner with family and friends…… There is no part of Carol being considered in most decisions at SAINTS (we often try to persuade her otherwise!!!).

Carol’s standards and levels of quality of life and care are pretty freaking high. I don’t think that the SPCA would have come here and looked SAINTS over thoroughly before deciding to place 17 special needs animals from a seizure here. And not that the SPCA is a gold stamp of approval to say saints is perfect.
We have a wonderful mass of supporters who agree with what we do here and many who have come the whole way out to little old Mission to see what we do and to meet the wonderful and amazing animals that live at SAINTS.

I really do encourage anyone who doubts the standards and levels of quality of life and care to come and visit – and that really is meant in the most sincere way, really! I can happily say that one of the best things that has happened in my life has been discovering SAINTS. Call SAINTS, 604-826-8319 or email carol at carol@saintsrescue.ca to arrange a tour (she going to kill me for telling people to call her as that phone rings off the hook anyways). but do it, come out and see the wacky animals that she is always posting about, you really really won’t regret it.

Anyways, I orginally started this post just post the following which is on one of our webpages. Carol wrote it, i think sometime in 2006 as a blog entry and I thought it could help people understand Life at SAINTS so I added it to the About Us section of the website.

We aren’t afraid of death at SAINTS, it really happens too much to be afraid!!

Nicole

“Life at SAINTS
For those who choose to provide palliative care to the SAINTS animals, it is a rocky road of joy, and sadness and hopefully, peace. The peace comes when deep in your heart you know that you helped that animal find peace too. Death is not the heart breaking monster, life is. It is their barren lives and the possibility of their lonely cold deaths, unwanted and unloved that is the real monsterous thing. Once they come to us, whether for a week or a year or even a moment in time, we have slayed that lonely monster and bandished it forever from them. The SAINTS do not die in lonely backyards, or cold, cement kennels, or shelter back rooms, or afraid in sterile vet clinics with strangers around them…they die in our arms with our tears upon their face. And that moment of death means nothing, except the gentle end of this life that they had. And with us, the life that they had as they meet the final end is one that is warm, and loved, and full of peace. This is what we focus on, and what we remember each and every time we bear witness to their passing. Their death is our loss, and yes it wounds our hearts, but it is a little wound that heals quickly because it is a wound knowingly accepted to give them a life that they felt was cherished. People ask me does it get easier…and honestly, it depends…did we meet our goal and were they happy, did they have enough time to feel truly loved, did we plan their end well enough to meet their needs and how deeply did they bury themselves in our hearts til we got there. They never really leave us, we carry them each and every day and they help us to find what we need to be there for the next one. Thinking of all of this and remembering each life’s ending as I wrap my heart around them, and mostly remembering every single smile upon their face before they left us…that is how I get thru each day and not fear tomorrow.   Carol Hine”

December 29, 2008

i have been stewing all day

Filed under: General — Carol @ 7:15 pm

about the differing standards of quality of care and alas, it is your rescue,  remark.

i suppose my crazy time isn’t quite done yet…oh well.

i have three dogs and several cats here that i am really worried about. i am trying to figure out their puzzles and not let them down. chyna is a no-brainer, she is only 2 yrs old. we had a specialist come out from the emergency clinic to endoscope her. by the time he got here, the mass of fabric in her esophagus had started to move thru the small bowel…so we wait to see if she obstructs further down before cutting her open to take it out…it might pass on its own. but we will go and get it if she runs into trouble again.

i had a long talk with the vet today regarding bridgette…she is good, doesn’t seem the least bit ill with the new dose of lasix. on wednsday when we repeat the xrays, maybe we will know more..the pathology came back on the aspirate sample…no infection…maybe cardiac or hernia  inflammatory response…maybe tumour based…inconclusive.

if a hernia, the vet said to leave it alone and not try to repair…she has compensated for it so don’t rock the boat…if it is cancerous? the question becomes how well we can protect her from a sudden respiratory crises? i will have to have the answer for that one.

kai? such a very big worry. the abx’s and pain meds are helping…he is more alert, more interactive, he holds his head up higher when he walks so now we can actually see his face. but he still has a long way to go before i consider his having a good quality of life. will we get the answers we need tomorrow when he has his assessment? will we finally be able to decide how to proceed in his plan of care because we have the basic information we need? hopefully.

toby is still toby but toby is getting so frail…20 years old is very old for a cat. ronnie is sick again, that last convenia injection only lasted for just over a month. is his time coming now too? has his FeLV  progressed too far?

how are mom and babes faring at the vets? the 2 little girls, stella and sidney were fixed today. all of them are still lighting up the black light to some degree but the vet said their ringworm is very much improved, just a couple of more weeks of treatment and they should be clear. will spaying/neutering/vaccinating them set them back? or has their immune system recovered enough wellness to fend off this one last attack?

so i worry about all this stuff…who is not feeling well, what can we do about it? who is nearing the end of the road? who needs some extra help?

and folks think this is easy? that untangling thread upon thread of clue upon clue and trying to come up with the right answer is something i lightly do?

i freaking well hate it. i hate being responsible, i hate the buck stopping here. i hate being the one who has to decide…is it treatment or is it torture? is their suffering time limited or will it continue? if it is limited, how do i reduce that suffering to something minimal until the medications begin to work? do they still value their life and what can we do to make it even more enjoyable for them?

it is ALL about them, but shit, being all about them means that i have to find all of the right answers for them too.

so much easier and less stressful to just turn them off… too old? dead… too sick? dead…too much worry and work to care for? dead and dead again.

do you know what it means to see and feel pierce thru your heart, jewel scream and freeze in pain for more than 21 days? do you know of the desperation and the doubts and the fear that plagues you as you keep looking to find a way out? i so wanted to end it…but i couldn’t because somehow i knew there was the right combo of meds for her…i have seen it too many times with my human patients, this struggle to find the right drugs.

and do you also know what it is like to see jewel today pushing her torpedo body thru 3 feet of snow, rolling around on her bed and groaning in pleasure, swimming in the pond, carrying her ball around, yelling to get what she wants? yelling to be first because she is the all important JEWEL?….do you think it feels good?…it does… but it is forever overshadowed by the knowledge that one day this combo of meds will no longer work and there just aren’t any other roads to follow….on the day that jewel’s pain comes back, it signals the end of this life that she embraces so fully.

palliative and end of life care is not something you do half assed. you give it every single thing that you have got. you put your fears and sorrows away, you shoulder your guilts for decisions gone wrong, you pull every single thing the animals ever say to you altogether and try to make sense out of it for them. they have suffered for a long, long time before they got here.

they suffered in silence surrounded by humans too busy, too selfish, too cheap, too squeamish or weak and lazy to really care. and for that suffering they endured the answer is not to bring them here and put an end to them and their suffering like turning off a light. poof…all gone, you are in a better place now….this is the nice way of saying, all gone, now you are dead.

saints means that we look for the answers if and when we can find them and if and when we do…we give them those answers as a gift of feeling well and happy again for awhile.

and if we can’t, we let them go.

don’t even get me started on how much it hurts to reach THAT final decision. but i reach it over and over again…how many times this year alone did i hold them and say,  ‘i am sorry, there is no other way” …did i do it 30 times this year?…more???… has anyone else had to pick death over life 30 times for animals they loved  in one single year?

don’t talk to me about quality of life and standards of care…talk to our vets who have stood behind every single decision we have ever made about searching for answers and letting them go.

suffering at saints is different than suffering in other places because we have the medical care and expertise to minimize any actual suffering while we search.

it is me who suffers (and not all that silently.) there are no drugs to erase my pain, physical and emotional, as i take this roller coaster journey with them.

and at the bottom of all of this is the single thought that really pisses me off…i shouldn’t have to be here for them. they shouldn’t need me to advocate, struggle and give them a chance…they should not need me….they should not need me…they should not ever, ever have needed me. but they do.
life has not been fair or kind or respectful to them….until they came here.

it is all about them, and it is all about me too because sometimes i am all they have.

waking up in a panic, gives you a headache.

Filed under: General — Carol @ 7:30 am

i woke this morning to coughing and quiet gagging…i came out of bed running expecting to find bridgette in distress too full of fluid to breathe anymore…she is fine, happy as a little clam.

chyna is not…there are many, many small little puddles of foaming water on the floor …so chyna which part of that raggedy anne doll is stuck inside of you? she is off to the vet in a few minutes to get whatever is obstructing her gut out of her. the clinic is going to love me today.

also serena and the babes are going into our other clinic for a couple of days…spay and neuter time finally, and then they are ready for adoption.

fingers crossed that all goes well for all of our saints heading for surgery today…it is always stressful cuz anything could go wrong and i won’t relax til they are all home again.

and chyna, eating toys is bad.

December 28, 2008

hello??? crazy person here!!!!

Filed under: General — Carol @ 8:16 pm

i came to terms with my particular brand of unique (but basically harmless) insanity years ago. it is why i can actually write an honest blog…i can be warm and compassionate and intelligent and insightful and heroic and cranky and stupid and lazy and crazy at any given time, and it is real. shit man…it is who i am. i am like the perfect, non perfect person…i don’t have to hide myself anymore.

and i have earned the right to be not so great or to be all out nutty some of the time…i put it right out there enough times for anyone to see…my unique brand of honesty.
so crazy person is here again for a very brief spell…what the freaking hell are people actually thinking???? can you make yourself possibly look any more petty than taking pot shots when a dog who has been running loose for almost 6 months  is finally found? can you publically imply more clearly that you think that someone is a liar and fabricated the entire warm and fuzzy story that the dog is now safe? could you possibly toss around a few more sour grapes and graceless comments because someone else that you don’t like, actually did catch the dog?

this whole story was NEVER about that freaking lost dog, it was about personalities, and validations and egos and utter and totally complete insanity. i know this because it did not stop when the dog was finally found…it just turned a corner and entered a whole new level of bitter paranoia instead.

hello??? crazy person here but not so crazy to be unable to figure out a couple of things…like…there are lines you do not cross to the “bad” side of lunacy.

implying someone on a public message board is an out and out liar can get you sued.

demanding “proof” with pictures (want them date stamped and notarized too?) because why? you want to look even more like a suspicious fool?

like putting in writing whatever scary thoughts are actually in your head for other people to read and remember and maybe never forget?

do some of you folks actually even want to be respected in rescue? cuz if you do, you are going about it in all the wrong ways…some ways can actually really hurt you and your credibility!

trust the real crazy person here…put on a leash whenever you are out in public view…there are limits to crazy…learn them, memorize them, recite them in your sleep and until you have them down pat…try not to jump so enthusiastically off the sanity cliff until you have actually learned to fly.
crazy is fine, i do quite well but only because i most times remember the rules and i have worked really hard to perfect it to an art form of honestly me….most times (except for today) i am smart enough not to try to include anyone else in my personal  delusions….that is just asking for trouble.

those little bed guys

Filed under: General — Carol @ 7:30 am

cannot be part of my posse…posse’s follow the leader…these guys lose their minds and just frantically forge on ahead…they are a freaking swarm.

so last night they are going insane, crawling over top of each other to reach me, stopping and snarling for a quick, fun game of “lets pretend to eat each other alive and then swarm her again.”  murphy is a doorknob…he is laying in the middle of the bed wanting to play scary mini monster with them cuz it looked like fun but nervous about actually inviting one of those little buggers to latch onto his neck…soooo…

next thing i know, his mouth is chewing on half my pillow! “HEY! that’s mine! chew on one of THEM!”…. he thought about it for a second and then went to sleep instead.

ok, so he is not totally stupid.