December 31, 2009

we filled a void today

Filed under: General — Nicole @ 11:30 pm

since Codi passed away last month, our house has seemed eerily quiet and empty.
a senior mixed breed dog was pulled from animal control by another rescue, thank you bonnie, and they only had a temp 2 week foster home for her.
i read her story once and knew i was in trouble. she looked and sounded so much like my old Honey.

So we welcome Honey Bear (yes, same name, but we think we are going to change it – she’s deaf so it won’t matter to her) in to our home in Vancouver and the SAINTS family.

She is adorable and reminds me of when Lexi would get her annual shave down and look like a puppy again.
She is quite emaciated and has a very weak back end and a few lumps and bumps. I thought she would be quiet and frightened when she arrived here but she quickly motored around the entire place, found the toilet really fast and likes to drink from it. The cats all met her and she was great and they weren’t scared which is good for them.
I wasn’t going to introduce her to the crazy clan until tomorrow, but i brought her down tonight and all has gone well so far. A couple sniffs and everyone is laying around like the lazy lumps they are.

and mo, don’t worry, i am working on the cat pages, a few more hours of work left and they’ll be all finished. i just need to find a wee bit of time.

bad night

Filed under: General — Carol @ 7:51 am

daphne coughed all night long. i gave her extra lasix..i gave her extra torb. it occurred to me very early this morning that maybe she was overheated and felt confined in her sweater so i stripped both her and shadow and turned on the ceiling fan…i am waiting to see if that settles daphne’s cough. please let it be just something that simple and ridiculously easy cuz otherwise…..

i realized last night that eddy’s face looks just like eddy munster…is that not weird?

tula and bitsy are turning into bathroom seeking freaks.

tula is such a very nice cat…she is funny and perky and interested in things. she is interactive, she is chatty, and she is very, very pretty. she is here because she made 2 big mistakes in a row….she pissed off the neighbors by hanging out on the family’s townhouse complex roof and she bit AAC when they received the complaint and tried to remove her from where she wanted to be. the AC officer told the family she was dangerous and needed to be PTS. the family ended up in one of our vet clinics totally traumatized and sobbing about having to put their lovely little cat to sleep. the vets called us and tula came here. tula was 13.

there is a thread on brindle again about owner surrenders and biting dogs…ok, so this has nothing to do with tula cuz she is a cat.
but we do have owner surrenders here of biting dogs, and other dogs who don’t bite but really needed surrendering…..animals suffering from lack of attention, lack of medical care, lack of even the basics of responsible care….animals about to get knocked off because suddenly they actually came to the attention of their owners and their owners said…shit man…you are a real mess and i don’t want you around me any more.

and the unspoken rescue feeling is….”ethical” rescue does not take owner surrenders. their owners messed them up so let the owners deal with the problems. ok…let’s expect a drunk to act sober…let’s expect a thief to guard the crown jewels, or a liar to tell the truth, or a cheat to play an honest game of anything.

it is not going to happen by any stretch of the imagination. irresponsible people do not become suddenly responsible because we tell them to. so then what is the answer?…let them put their own wrecked dog down….that will teach them a lesson? really?…who tells anyone they have never met, to end the life of an animal they have not met either???? (there were pages of “humanely euthanize chyna” advice on brindle…folks were even offering to pick her up and do it for her…huh????!!!! chyna only needed some medical care)…..plus…. they didn’t care about that animal’s life for how many years and now they will care about ending the problems by ending their lives altogether?

highly unlikely.

another suggestion was make them pay a “HUGE” surrender fee…ok, that is going to happen too..the animal is worth little to nothing to these people. and since when does rescue hold animals lives as hostage for big money anyway? shit, nothing pisses me off more than anything than someone offering me money to try to get me to make some room around here for some desperate dog in need.

i turn owner surrenders away a lot…esp. in the last few weeks…i bet i have turned away at least a dozen dogs (even one whose owner out and out asked if i would change my mind if they would pay me?” yeah…NO!!!

i do try to take from the pounds and the shelters first..and hey if an owner surrender is in dire straits..i will try to take that one next. animals really do need rescuing from many different places. last on my list to help are animals already in rescue…they have already been “rescued” so why do they need to take up space here?

and here is something that some folks don’t know about rescue but you learn it when you have been around for awhile…..when you “rescue” an animal…you just signed a contract in blood (theirs and yours) that you will be there for them for THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.

let me spell this out clearly, what exactly this means….

it means…if you take in an animal and then adopt them out and the adoption EVER fails…the animal comes directly back to your shelter or house.

it means…if one of your animals EVER ends up in a pound or another shelter…you go and get it immediately and take it back to your shelter or your house.

it means if you accidently take in a pain in the ass animal that no one ever wants…that you keep and WANT that pain in the ass animal forever yourself.

animals in rescue NEVER become as disposable as unrescued animals out in the general public.

over the years i have ended up with quite a few theoretically “adoptable” animals that no one will ever adopt (they accumulate over time)…oh well…that is to be expected….they can’t all be easy, happy fairy tales…some are just a bit more difficult than that. BUT rescue’s job does not depend on convenience and ease, it depends on the words of promise we give.
anyway…tula is a really nice 14 yr old cat now…both she and i would be really happy if in this new year she could find the home of her dreams.

December 30, 2009

today i am being a highly emotional being.

Filed under: General — Carol @ 5:53 pm

i had a couple of small panic attacks today. you know the feeling…the gut full of huge butterflies, the tight feeling in your chest. it is the danger signal…not everything is all right in your world. i got it into my head that lilly was the reason so i tried to call her foster mom to see how things were going….everything is A OK. i checked on toni and yuki, all is under control there too. i had an email on spot…still a few issues being worked on with him but his family are on top of it all so i don’t need to worry about him either.

i came home for lunch, angie is under the weather but nothing too worrisome yet…so ok then…all is as well can be expected with all of the saints.
i had another one this afternoon, right after a complex care conference on one of the new patients i have been struggling with to meet his needs since his homecare admission. even tho it was a struggle i still did a good job with him.

so what is bugging me? is it working 9 out of 10 days during the busy holiday season? am i just tired, am i just PMS’ing or getting weird and menopausal again?
who freaking knows.

anyway, when i got home tonight this is how my arrival went. i could see jerry, caspar, daphne 2 and shadow all quietly and patiently waiting on the dog room futon for me. they never lay there together unless they are waiting for me to come home. it was nice to see that my homecoming was something they were looking forward to.

when i got into the main house…everyone got up and came over to say hi to me…jewel was so happy, she started rolling at my feet. molly got her hello and so did tyra, maude, squirt and cole. phoebe got up to say hello still partially covered by her blanket. reggie waited by his gate for me to bend over and rub his face, rose and max followed me here and there to get their faces rubbed too. buddy and sissy ran over to say hi and lucas still laying on the couch smiled big and wide. webster asked me to please hurry up and open the dog door flap and then stopped to rub against me to say thx for that.
while i am typing, max is stealing computer paper from the cubby next to me because he likes to rip it up when he is happy.

my butterflies are gone, my chest is no longer tight..i have 2 much needed days off and in my world tonight, all is right. (i think)

blah, blah, blah…perceptions part 2

Filed under: General — Carol @ 7:12 am

pain itself is a complex issue…take the spine..you can be in excrutiating pain from mild to moderate spinal disease and no pain at all with some kinds of severe. your spinal pain could present in your back or it could present in your left arm or right hip.

true hereditary wobblers disease and progressive mylopathies are relatively painless…it is the destruction of the mylon sheaths and nerve endings that lead to progressive weakness and disability…dead nerves do not feel pain. but there still can be pain…as the body compensates for a deadening back end and hips…more pressure is put on surrounding structures like muscle groups and weight bearing joints which are moved, pulled and stressed in ways they were not meant to be by a progessive parathesia (numbness and weakness.)

so dogs like ozzie who felt no actual pain in her progressive paralysis and would bomb around like a maniac dragging her back end…did still feel discomfort because her back end was not supposed to flop around like it did so supporting muscles trying to carry the extra load, like her elbows and front end carried more stress and weight than they were actually designed to do.

mechanical wobblers caused by traumatic injury high in the cervical (neck) area and resulting arthritis are painful…the nerves are not so much silently dying, leading to paralysis…they are actually dying under pressure and further traumatized from arthritic changes, increased swelling and friction/inflammation…and that freaking well hurts.

pain is not something easily predictable on how or where it occurs…dogs with hip dysplagia have more pain in their elbows and spine than they do in their actual hips because the elbow joints/spinal muscles and joints have to take over a huge load in continuing mobility and again, they were not designed for this.

when we put sadie down because we could not control her pain from her massive neck and chest tumour..the pain that was the real problem was not in her neck and chest..it was in her head. that tumour was pressing on a nerve was somehow connected to her brain and gave that poor sweet dog an excrutiating headache that no pain medication could reach.

jewel, who has generalized spinal disease has three different types of pain to be managed. she has inflammation from inflamed nerves, muscles, discs…she has neuropathic pain from misfiring nerves, and she has muscle pain from muscle spasms that contract to try to protect the injured areas and leave her feeling overall really stiff and sore.

for jewel..managing just one type of her three types of pain, does not really help her because the other two still hurt a lot. and not all pain meds work for all of the different types of pain, hence the combo of three different pain meds to get her comfortable again.
and by the way, we are struggling again to manage jewels pain…the medications do not cure her spinal disease…they just allow her to live with it comfortably…for awhile, til the meds no longer work.

i know i am always on about pain..but here is the interesting thing…. it is not so much how severe a pain is that affects quality of life. severe pain can totally ruin anyones day. but even mild chronic pain eventually becomes unbearable simply because of its constancy and the progessive physical and mental and emotional exhaustion it causes relentlessly day after day.

moden day vet medicine is still in the dark ages regarding pain management…the light is just starting to flicker on in this area of animal care. and if you think it is hard to find a progressive and proative pain control program for aging dogs…try cats…try horses…try pigs, cows and sheep..it is beyond frustrating because the research just is not there yet to support that not only do sick or senior animals suffer pain daily, but they suffer different types of pain and need different types of medications to address this.

i have sent folks trying to unload their animals here to their vets for pain consultations, they walk out of the clinic with metacam and call me a month later because it did not work…well gee, too little, too late…they needed something alot more comprehensive than that. and even when we hold their hands and suggest adding something simple like tramadol to an existing metacam dose for progressive arthritis, the vets balk. if they do not really understand pain issues because it is a new and opening up to the light science, then they are not going to feel comfortable exploring other options that a few years ago, did not exist.

this is why i love colleen…when i put amitripyline on the table as an option for jewel, 2 yrs ago….she had never used that drug in vet medicine for anything except for anxiety..she was more than willing to give it a try..found it works and now uses it for her other neuropathic pain clients.

this is such a critical issue, this is the core of many seniors/palliative quality of life…..

omg!!! eddy just projectile vomitted a wet, slimy hairball right onto my keyboard…gross!

anyway..it is so central to their comfort and wellbeing that they do deserve a little more consideration from us then just a brush off from the vet or ourselves…”oh, i don’t think he/she is in pain.”…really? might want to think about that one again.

repeating the best rule..imagine your body and what you want considered for you with the same kind of issues….you don’t want the brush off for what you might be feeling…do you?

later i will talk about balancing pain, meds etc gainst the risks of over sedation and other things (like GI bleeds, poor kidneys and livers)..now i have to get ready for work.

December 29, 2009

old age, end of life, animals are different than humans… perception barriers to responsible care

Filed under: General — Carol @ 6:15 pm

i have gotten a few emails lately…old dogs..already in a family…needing a space at saints…pain, health issues, incontinence, anxiety…not enough time, money, energy left in a busy life to deal with it.

so many times i hear….”oh i don’t think he/she is in pain.” when i start asking about the physical stuff that effects the behavioral stuff which is causing them to lose their homes.

if you want to think about a dog’s old body…think of your own body and how it might feel and sometimes let you down at 80, 90 or 100 years old.
the bodies work the same…hearts, lungs, kidneys, livers, muscles, joints, stomach and bowels they do the exact same things.

like humans…animals do have nerve endings…nerve endings sense pain. if you are too stiff and sore to get up from your bed, your bed is before too long, going to be wet because old bladders (animal or human) are not hugely elastic things.

if you hurt all the time…you do get tired of chronic pain..this affects your ability to think clearly, to have fun, to eat, to sleep, to move, what kind of mood you are in..it affects EVERYTHING in your life in a very real negative way.

just because an animal is old or sick does not mean they have to feel like crap. just because an animal is dying of cancer or end stage heart disease does not mean they don’t feel added and unnecessary discomfort and unwellness from a bladder infection, arthritis, a gastric upset that is totally unrelated to their cancer or cardiac disease.

old and/or sick bodies are not just one dimensional, single sided problems..they are multi-level complex and simple problems…some are easily fixed and some are not.

so the trick to caring for seniors and palliatives is to understand how their bodies and their minds in response to how their bodies are feeling, really work. to understand that some things are fixable and some things are not and to really understand the difference between the two.
we have to try really hard not only to be realistic in the types of invasive and frightening medical proceedures we put them thru..like only bother IF you can FIX what you happen to find. but we also have to ensure that we do not write them off completely because they are old or have some deadly disease over something really simple to fix (like a bladder infection or poorly controlled pain) that can hugely impact the quality of their daily life.

i think the bottom line in caring for a senior or sick animal is this…if you accept that you can have pain…please accept that they can too. of you accept that you could be fighting a terminal disease like cancer and feel crappy on a day that you developed a bladder infection too..then accept that the same thing could be true for them too…if you would like someone to pay attention and give some real thoughtful consideration to the different pain and illness problems that your life could singularly or in multiple handouts force upon you,,then maybe accept that your furry animal would like the same careful and thoughtful consideration of their various big or little or combination of both, problems too.

animal’s bodies work like ours, they feel like ours, they can have big things, little things, inbetween things go wrong…and those things can make the difference between feeling of wellness or illness for both of us. treat their bodies like you would like your body treated near the end of your life and you will probably always make the right decision in medical care for them.,,and i am willing to bet that you would like your pain controlled, your bladder infection cleared up even if you are really old or sick and dying of something else.

anyway…i sent off an email on the last one..suggesting some routine simple medical things that might allow the poor dog to stay in her home..happier and more comfortable for both she and her family.

missing cat in mission

Filed under: General — Carol @ 12:54 pm

doyle ave…just above saints.
spayed female…grey/white tabby with white sox and an orange spot on her nose. i think her name is toni (?)wearing a pink collar with bell, missing since yesterday morning. this little girl belongs to one of our staff member’s sister so contact saints if seen. thx.

a few photos while i make the new photo album

Filed under: General — Nicole @ 10:50 am

(it will still be a few days, so don’t start complaining this afternoon when it’s not up, Mo!)

Two of our beautiful cows: (please note that percy has his big boy face now)

Marshmellow

Fiona using Carley’s back to assist her in chewing on a ball (Carol, no comments allowed on Carley’s amazing sweater!)

December 28, 2009

sorry…not blogging tonight

Filed under: General — Carol @ 10:08 pm

just too damn tired…everyone is well tho and felix did ok at the vet…his chest is clearer.
going to bed.

the emails and calls for senior animals trying to get in….

Filed under: General — Carol @ 7:08 am

continue.
sigh…i still have not opened up admissions for the pounds and the shelters…even with the recent adoptions/fosters going out….the four out are still not enough to create any room.
oh well, sadly…there will eventually be some room..i am adding champ to my soon will be leaving list..that list is up to about half a dozen now. but no telling when any of them will decide they are ready to go.

if we keep feeding them pizza and mcdonalds and pepperoni’s… they may well decide not ever to go…why leave when the buffet selection is so good?!

i do have to say tho that little twisted reggie (who is not on that departing list)…is holding up admissions more than anyone else….i just cannot throw another dog into his current kitchen chaos mix……nina, please decide to come down out of the laundry area so i can stick him back in there!!!!!

(nina says NO!)

what a life…a little black poodle mix in a flourescent banana yellow sweater is single-handedly holding the whole desperate senior dog world at bay just because he is nutz.

oh and by the way…cole has finally stopped crying…day three of no coat to keep him warm and that freaking dog is again happy.

December 27, 2009

it is a baileys night tonight!

Filed under: General — Carol @ 6:47 pm

i bought myself a new pair of fleece pj bottoms and new terry slippers (i need a second pair when the first is in the wash) and i spent a grand total of $26 on both…very soft, very warm which is good cuz i am freezing tonight…hopefully those and the hot chocolate and baileys will soon warm me up….simple tastes for a simple soul…i could do a great commercial.

the vet called with 4lanes blood results….his liver is ok so his ataxia is not from there…kidneys are not great but he is going on 15 years old so no surprise in that either. so that leaves us with either a series of small strokes or a brain tumour. with the stroking theory he would be getting better…with the tumour theory, he would be getting worse.

he is starting to try to bite the other dogs again so i am thinking he is getting better……4lane is probably having small strokes.

i bought ellie a pair of giant dog boots today to help her little sore feet (she gets very thick and painful callous’s because she weight bears incorrectly due to her size, mis-aligning her knees)….not sure if she will let me put them on her and at least give them a fair chance (last year the winter coat fiasco was a good indication of how she feels about wearing things…. she did find mo’s coat in the barn today and re-decorated (ie tried to remove) the sleeve…ellie prefers sleeveless things) but as soon as i get a day off, i will sit down and discuss it with her. if she can understand some of what i am saying, (and trust me…ellie understands quite a bit even for an intelligent species like a pig) so she might decide to give it a shot….we’ll see….but ain’t no one going to be hanging around with a camera this time…i will save myself the embarrassment…just ellie mae and her little sore feet, the maybe helpful boots and me!

laura did a a mixed tour group today…she does such a great job and i think everyone really liked the place.
NO LAUNDRY TONIGHT!!!! i bet lynne took it all home…lynne… i can do laundry in the evenings as well as you can (hah! maybe even better cuz i am the laundry queen!!!)…you could have at least left half of it here for me…now i feel bad for blogging about it last night…but i did get it done pretty damn fast!

well…not so early day tomorrow..i start at 830 instead of 7 am…but i better go get the mp building done for tonight since my hot chocolate cup is empty and i am finally warm again….strike while the iron is hot (or at least the body is still warm!)