July 15, 2013

carol on aging

Filed under: deep thought for the day — Carol @ 9:57 pm

Sheila suggested I write some caring for geriatric posts on the facebook site for folks. I don’t know how to post on there and not too into learning either. so I think I could post some stuff on here and if it is of any value, someone can link it to facebook if they want.

here we go…

Aging Dogs

Dogs live in the moment. What is going to happen in 5 minutes or 5 days or 5 weeks is not their concern. This is the one real benefit to them in living with humans. We can use our common sense and know how to protect them in their future.

Dogs are aging to greater years then they ever have before. At SAINTS we have small dogs living to almost 20, and even have (had) large dogs live into their very late teens. But the truth of the matter is, even tho the dogs are living longer, their bodies are still wearing out. Al, Manny, and Maude by living until 17, 18 and 19 years old, were the human equivalent of over one hundred. 16 year old dogs depending on size are well into their 80′s and 90′s.

We need to think about this and really understand what it means.

We humans who love our dogs so passionately sometimes forget what aging means. We would never expect our 90 yr old granny to take a long hike or run with us. The problem with dogs is they do not know they are 90 so they will go along with us where ever we decide, even if it is a bad idea. We believe they love those long hikes so well that to deny them would be unkind.

When I was in my 20′s and 30′s, I loved downhill skiing. Now I am in my 50′s and pretty arthritic, it would be stupid to try to go back to the slopes. Even if I didn’t break something, for the next week or so I would not be moving too well. Living is hard on the body, and aging bodies feel the pain of previous living pretty damn well.

I am forever counseling our folks to not let the old dogs over do it. Just getting them in and out of our vehicles can hurt them. Long, slow walks are still very far away from home. We have had volunteers here that I had to let go, they just could not comprehend that it was not safe to walk our old dogs for miles down the road. “The dogs like it,” they say. Well of course they do because dogs live only for today. But when tomorrow comes and we wore them out, over stretched their arthritic joints and atrophied muscles, when we stressed their hearts and their lungs,,who pays the price for that hour of fun? They do of course.

Crash loves going down to the bottom field and chasing Buddy around. But Crash is a crippled moron, he simply can’t do that anymore so he has to stay up at the house. Is Crash pining away because he can’t go down and chase Buddy? Absolutely not, he just waits for Buddy to come home and then follows him around the house or the yard, barking his head off like he always does. And at the end of the day and the next day too, Crash can still walk.

I watch people with old dogs, throwing balls and encouraging their old dogs to jump and run. Look how joyful they are, well that joy may not last.
I think they are actually encouraging their dogs to suffer a major injury from which they might not recover. We can still play ball with our old dogs, but they don’t have to run hard or jump high. They will still enjoy a scaled down version that won’t hurt them. It is the ball and us together that they love, it is not the sprained back or torn knee, or hurt hip that is fun.

If we look at our 14, 15, 16, 17 year old dogs and think about how their age compares with humans. We realize that they do need extra concern and care to keep them healthy and well. They are not going to figure it out on their own. They need us to think ahead.

The other thing we can do for our aging dogs is actually admit they are aging. This means they need things like glucosamine, and cartrophen then regular doses of anti-inflammatories and finally even opiates for pain control. Don’t wait until the dog is so crippled with arthritis that even the most in denial person can’t ignore it anymore. Keep those joints healthy and comfortably moving by being proactive and helping them before its too late and the damage is done.

Dogs do not grow old over night. It is an insidious process. We know this, we only have to look at ourselves to feel age creeping up. Our job is to help our dogs age comfortably by understanding the aging process and taking steps to minimize the effects.

If we want our dogs to age well then we have to help them. Find the things that they like to do and help them do them in a safe and comfortable way. And when the time comes to slow things down a bit, don’t feel like you are taking something they love away. Replace it with something else just as fun or exciting that won’t cause them undue stress or pain.

Dogs live in the moment, but we want them to happily live for many tomorrows. All we have to do is think about it and come up with a plan to help them to continue to live really well..even when they are ancient and grey.

 photo crash-1.jpg

March 1, 2013

the lonely road.

Filed under: deep thought for the day — Carol @ 6:03 pm

i stand at a crossroads.
behind me are many homes,
many promises,
broken.

to my right
and to my left,
there lies two roads
empty.

before me
is darkness.
the end of it all.
nothing.

is this my life?
is this where it led?
to loneliness?
to emptiness?

if i had the words
i would cry out,
i am more than this.
i am more than nothingness.

 photo crash-1.jpg

May 25, 2012

the tree

Filed under: deep thought for the day — Carol @ 6:03 am

a palliative client told me yesterday to imagine a giant tree trunk and call it faith and all of the branches that are straight and crooked and big and small and reaching towards north, south, east and west are all of the different religons and the millions of leaves on all of the branches are people and the deep roots holding that tree strong and nourishing all of the leaves is god. for those that believe, belief is in the unseen root of the tree.

and that is why i love my job… people are amazing to me.

we are all on the same journey..for some it is longer or shorter but the end is the same….we are eventually going to the very same and final place, the very last moment of our life on earth days.
what comes after?
none of us knows…could be nothing or everything.

but we do know that we do have today and we can hold precious and take very good care of right now. and that is a choice we can make..just to live every day well.

and this is why i love rescue..the animals continually amaze me too. they come here old, sick and betrayed. we give them kindness, patience…some meds, good food, clean beds, toys to play with and they will find some joy in their day.

if we choose to, we all can feel joyful today.

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July 3, 2011

9 deaths in 6 weeks is brutal on everyone.

Filed under: deep thought for the day — Carol @ 8:34 am

you start waiting for the next shoe to drop.

mo has a theory on why we sometimes run into these periods when death becomes a frequent visitor….she thinks when they pass away a door opens to somewhere and the ones close to the end feel the pull towards that open door.

maybe..or maybe it is just coincidence…with so many sick and elderly animals living here, maybe some of their lives just run out close together…their lives will not go on forever..maybe they just end in bunches because their time was just over.

i like mo’s theory tho…if there is a door, then it has to go somewhere..right? so maybe our guys are somewhere pretty special..that place of freedom and warm, pure, spiritual light.

it wouldn’t surprize me if there was something really interesting behind that door that draws the animals to it in groups. last night i had to shut everyone in really early cuz they were all being doornobs and reacting together to every freaking thing in the world. not only do my neighbors appreciate quiet evenings, but i do too so i got mad at them all and just shut them all in.
hah…group freak out is over…let the group nap time begin.

i can control that kind of group activity by shutting my doors…but that other door is not something that i have any control of..it opens and closes as it determines….i have no say.

i watched “the black swan” last night, i have had it for a while but was not ready to watch it til last night.i found it interesting because it was so clearly about how the lead dancer perceived her world….how she saw her reality.
is that not how we all really are? we perceive our worlds, our ways? if we are positive thinkers we perceive the world positively, negative thinkers see a negative world..throw in a mental illness and the vision becomes even more blurred and unsure..our minds have so much power over every day.

i think that is something that i have learned from rescue..that it is the perception of one’s life that determines how happy it can be. and i think animals are easier to convince to be happy than humans are…their wants and needs are simpler.

cash.. the little de-clawed cat that was attacked by a dog over in the school yard last week…is doing really well. what a sweet girl… she is a roller and a tummy rub lover. she wants to feel safe, loved and happy. the swelling on her neck is slowly going down and she is finally eating a bit on her own. now there is a spirit with strength in adversity….de-clawed, lost out in the unfamilar world, beaten and injured by a big dog, in the clinic on iv’s and in pain, finally moved into a saints medical room pen…and one week later she purrs and rolls and rubs her head in our hands….she just has to be a positive thinking cat.

i have said it before and i will say it again….we are responsible for how we shape the world around us. i think the black swan, had no choices…her mental illness took over. but the rest of us do have choices we make every day…to be happy or sad, to be cheerful or angry, to be helpful or obstructive, …to seek out and promote goodness or wallow alone in blaming and dark.

i have all of those days here…lately, with all of the recent deaths…more than enough of the sadness. and in some ways i am a victim of others emotional being…if the animals or the people around me are unhappy…it filters out to me. but…i am responsible for the world i shape around me. and i want saints to be filled with positive energy so i learn to let it go…to work it out….to have my occasional meltdown and freak out so that at the end of the day (or the week!)…i can again perceive the world around me the way i want it to be….full of wonderful elderly and sometimes sick animals who are enjoying living…and full of amazingly generous and kind hearted people who on the whole…(except for the bad days…phoebe!)…actually think positively like me.

hmmm..ok…i think that was a weird post….sorry…but it was a weird and thought provoking movie!

June 17, 2011

in a perfect world…

Filed under: deep thought for the day — Carol @ 6:28 am

yada…yada…yada.

the riots in vancouver would never have happened if the people involved had real responsibilities, actual burdens in life that they were forced to carry. the world is a free oyster to the party-hearty..it can be gobbled up and shit right back out without a lot of thought in between.

but for the rest of us..life is actually about not only living but also about surviving and getting thru the days as best as we can.

i think where we run into trouble is this sense of entitlement we have….”life is supposed to be this way”…and we get angry, frustrated, resentful when it is not how we had imagined. and what do we actually do to make it the way that we want? do we whine, bitch, complain, give up?…do we judge, point fingers, sneer at the difficulties of others cuz we happen to be lucky enough to live in our version of the right answer world?

i like these two new little shih tzu’s…they remind me of two cheerful little old fat brothers going thru life as it comes. they have probably never caused one single ounce of unkind harm in their combined lives together….i think they view their life as no fault no foul..life just happens and then they get on with living it.

in a perfect world…shit doesn’t happen. but since life is not perfect and shit does in fact happen, they choose to instead of bemoaning this fact…to move on as best as they can.

there will always be homeless animals because animals depend on humans to survive and humans sometimes have difficult and challenging lives. people do get old and sick, people do lose their homes and their jobs, some people do get pets and not care for them well, and some people are so twisted and broken that they break all of the lives connected with them too.

and while i am the first to admit that no animal should ever have to come to saints..the fact remains that many, many do…and like these two fat boys at 13 and 15 with very few options..they are damn lucky that they were able to.

i have this vision of my perfect world inside my busy and over burdened head…and it begins when i can finally retire. until then…i have work to do. and that work involves standing at the cliff edge and offering an alternative path to their ends. this path isn’t always easy for any of us..but for those who would like to keep living, its the best they can get…at least for awhile.

these animals did not survive into their golden years without growing some flexible steel inside. they are not objects of pity, they are creatures with the will to meet and embrace their lives. and i am not going to waste either their or my time with anger, regrets or recriminations about what should or should not be.

i am just going to work off my ass off to help them feel loved, cherished and happy. that is how i work towards eventually finding a perfect world for us all today..tomorrow will come what may….and we will deal with getting thru that day as well as we can too.

in a perfect world, rioters and looters would be out saving animals, or feeding hungry children or minimizing suffering out in the real world.
until then..it is up to me and you.

May 24, 2011

the sands of time running out

Filed under: deep thought for the day — Carol @ 7:10 am

stripe really was an incredible cat not only did she manage to live into her early 20′s but she did it while remaining healthy. she hasn’t ever been sick a day in my memory (which i admit might be wrong..but i don’t honestly ever remember her ever being ill or a worry.) and even tho she was a bit thin and frail at the very end…it was nothing like 20 yr olds tigger and bond. as i was stroking her when she was being put down, i was thinking…wow she looked good for such an ancient cat….her body was doing ok (except for the arthritis)…it was inside her head that the out of time bomb quit its reliable ticking and finally blew up.

and you get used to her always being up there…you get used to adding on another year to her age without really thinking about it all that much. without even thinking about it…you just assume she will always be there forever.

now i wish i had opened a can of tuna in the last couple of days so she would have gotten the juice that she liked so much.

i am glad tho that she died. i don’t think she would have been happy living blind. and i am glad that she slipped into a coma during the night before i had to take her down to the vets the final time….she didn’t like the first trip in, being awake and alert and taken out of the house had freaked her out….this last time she didn’t care any more, in her head she was some place else.

i sit in an incongruent place as far as death goes…as a nurse and as a rescuer i am so used to death..it is almost comfortable. but there is a third part of me that is just simply carol…she is the one who lives with them as her family and keeps getting robbed when death steals them away.

i want stripe back up on the fridge..i want prudence back on my bed, i want larry too-tooting around and making me laugh, i want tyra stealing the cat food bowls off of the shelves, and i want spritely back running around in the fields….i want cole back, and bill back, and tula back and marilla and all of the others.

and here is the downside to senior and special needs animals..you are given this incredible gift of knowing and loving and sharing life with these amazing generous and larger than life spirits..and then poof…their time runs out and there is suddenly this empty spot in your life that they once filled with their warm, gentle light.

April 27, 2011

the yin and the yang

Filed under: deep thought for the day — Carol @ 7:22 pm

how many of you run into people…friends, family, co-oworkers, clients, aquaintences…who aren’t very responsible pet people? does it drive you insane? do you feel like yelling and screaming or knocking their (or your) head against the wall? does it over-power your relationship to the point of no return?

ok..well then sorry..you’ve got a problem here.

getting mad at folks who are light years behind you in the evolution of animal care is not only pointless…it is counterproductive. the sad truth is that they are probably comfortably sitting where most of the rest of the world is at.

we cannot expect the whole world around us to change in an instant just because we happen to tell it to. evolution takes time, it takes absorbing new information and creating new ways of thinking to grab hold and really take root.

and pathways that are littered with anger, with drips of blood from bruised ego’s and noses, blackend eyes that are sporting frozen ice packs and very long memories of unkind and hurtful words are pathways that get bogged down….evolution just can’t move forward with a bunch of toxic garbage blocking the road.

i am in a unique position…as a nurse i go into hundreds of people’s homes. and i see many things…not all of them great. but as a nurse, my job is not to judge folks..my job is to competently and respectfully provide nursing care…it is what i am being paid for. i had to learn that there are appropriate times to let animal welfare take a back seat. i had to learn to separate and concentrate on just one thing….what was i there for today.

and that doesn’t mean i am a helpless victim either. i can open the door to safe, non threatening and appropriate conversations that respect thoughts and beliefs that are different from me.
if i took on the oft times frequent role of 24/7 rescuer conquistador..you can bet i would be out of a job and rightly so.
we don’t have to beat people over the head. people don’t have to agree with us, they are not obligated to listen to us, they have a right not to be educated (or indoctrinated) by us..they have a right to choose to travel their own road to possible ( or not) future enlightenment.

i hate to say this…(cuz i do think i have all of the right answers)…but i might not really have all of the answers that i so think i do…. this remote possibility exists.
so i try to share stories, thoughts or ideas in my rescue work, toss out a few non threatening seeds and maybe or maybe not they will eventually grow.

and the thing is that it is not my job to stand around, staring and judging and MAKE those innocent damn seeds really grow.

i see myself as a one who sows possibilities and has faith and yet accepts the realistic understanding that one day they may or may not actually grow.

this is how i can be neck deep in rescue and not wallow in anger….and it is how i separate my paid nursing job from my volunteer rescue job and remain gainfully employed so i can pay the freaking huge mortgage that houses a hundred or more rescued animals too.

this is called balance (aka…the yin and the yang)…and it is just as important in non rescue as it is in the rescue world.
i try to make myself remember (sometimes i do forget tho)…be patient, be kind, be respectful…keep the doors wide open…rome was not built in a day.

May 15, 2009

the new bed

Filed under: deep thought for the day — Carol @ 6:39 am

is big…i was able to easily adjust my position easily thru out the night despite 9 dogs sleeping with me. it is not as comfortable as my old bed…i miss that shifting memory foam topper thing. this one has memory foam built in but it is not quite the same. i had to get up at midnight and take something for pain..my back is working itself up into a real mess which the bed is not going to fix for me.

and it felt weird to not be so high up in the air..i lost the tall double maple bed frame, and the box spring is a low profile too…so i am closer to the floor than i used to be which just feels weird.

BUT more of the dogs are able to jump up and down without using the spa stairs, so that is good for them i suppose.

anyway…it will take some getting used to but i think it is basically ok.

today i will be singing…”on my own….” cuz renee took the day off today. i was hoping to get to the mess out in the mp, medical, and shop areas plus do a dump run…but i might not. angelina is here but we are still down one.
just a reminder about this weekend…i am working and no laura or lana on saturday (they are doing the adopt a block for saints thing)…kathy k is on a road trip with cuddles so i THINK it is just lynne and mo here to care for the animals…is anyone else planning on coming?

my deep thought for the day.

when you truly devote a good portion of your  life to something you really believe in…there is always something that still needs doing, something to worry about. you never start or finish a day without some big weight on your shoulders to carry where ever you go, whatever else you are doing. and that is ok…as long as you are ok too.

folks think i don’t take care of myself (and in somethings, i don’t) but on the whole i take care of me in the things that i really need…like peace and tranquility inside me.

this place freaking sucks sometimes, the work is never ending and so is the stress, and so are the things to worry and think about.

BUT…when the animals are asleep on my very big bed, or safely content out in the fields, or gathered around for a cookie or an apple or in a home where they belong and are happily chewing on someone else’s shoes…my life is good.

does someone want to take phoebe, jewel, jesse, niko, james bond, diablo, webster, timmy, lucky, dusty, marty and 4lane home and make my life absolutely freaking almost perfect????

March 24, 2009

my deep thought for the day

Filed under: deep thought for the day — Carol @ 5:57 am

the rock joined the door screamers looking for their dinner last night..he actually ate some of their naturopathic-immune booster laced food…he must have been really hungry.

i checked lahanie ;last night when i got home..all was well. no apparent bad effects from his drugged induced sleepiness yesterday

i made the mistake of watching “the boy in the striped pajamas” last night. i just couldn’t sleep afterwards. i was trying to figure out what makes individuals and whole populations of family loving people so utterly mean..is it fear, is it ignorance, is it just something dark and ugly in all of humanity?

i finally decided it was our ability to lie and then make ourselves believe. small lies, big lies…it really doesn’t matter…it is our tendency to re-write the past and present and manipulate it to our needs that makes us the darkest and most dangerous and deadly species this planet has ever seen.

anyway, after the movie, i was profoundly disturbed..i was thinking of the small lie protected unkindness with the animals i see, or the massive horrific global atrocities that i read…i felt more than ashamed or sickened…i felt like i just didn’t want to be human…i felt being human was dishonest and dirty.

i know there is alot of  true goodness is in the world and i know alot of goodness is really just well constructed lies and i know how much just plain mean-ness is cloaked in said or written supposed honesty, but basically is still self-serving human lies.

we lie so much now, we really don’t even know what truth is anymore.

why isn’t lying illegal? why doesn’t the “church” teach that lies will consign us all to hell right here on earth? i think it is because as a species it is basically ingrained in our genes….and lying is just too easy and convenient a way to fulfill our endless needs.

i want to be a dog…intrinsic to their species…complete honesty in what they want and need.

November 19, 2007

deep thought 457

Filed under: deep thought for the day — Carol @ 11:44 pm

there is an element to rescue that is mostly beyond me. it is just one of those things that i am not good at. maybe i would be if i wasn’t neck deep in animals that have no where else to go. or maybe not.

it is the people aspect, the part that requires such care. and i am careless in this regard for a few different reasons. one is the rebel in me that just has to circumvent road blocks (i am like copper in this.) and the other is because i detest being held captive (and i know why caged animals fight to be free.) and the third reason is because i say what i think because why think something but not say it? (sigh, this would be phoebe)

and maybe the biggest reason has nothing to do with me. maybe i was put here on this earth to do this, or maybe i fell into it by mistake. maybe i built a road with no exits or a room without any doors.

which is truth i might never know, but what i do know is i am here now and i have alot of things that i have to do. and all of them revolve around the animals at saints that live here because no one invites them to live somewhere else.

we are here together, i and the leaky, defective and crippled crew, and this means that they get all the best of me and there is nothing much left over for anything else.

dr. phil would say this is a bad thing, better balance would be a good way to go….but then i think dr. phil is a dork and i don’t think i am capable of part time or hobby or convenient comittments…or maybe i just don’t want to be.

this is my deep thought tonight, and it really is not anything new. but tonight i see it a bit clearer than i usually do. i might not be good at some important things, but i am pretty good at others.

next life i will ask for ALL of the trump cards and then i can be good at it all.