Author Archive

just a quick update at saints

Posted: March 27, 2020 at 6:33 am

its been busy here.
we are still down 2 staff.
skye colicked 2 days ago. frost colicked yesterday.
charlotte is not well.
mitzy’s biopsy came back..non cancerous..yay!
sadly stella’s also came back but with terrible news and she is now palliative.
new dog buttons wants to be held 24/7 and barks a lot when he is not sleeping which is most of the night.
so far everyone else is ok but the staff here are without a doubt getting tired.
looks like a long road ahead of us which totally sucks.
we will keep hanging in and doing the best we can.
HUGE thanks to our staff and volunteers at the front lines in caring for our SAINTS.

My thoughts on COVID 19

Posted: March 23, 2020 at 8:09 pm

I am 61, have bad lungs and work in health care. Yes I worry about COVID. I worry about me, my family. I worry about my patients, my co
workers, and I worry about the people and animals at SAINTS.
This is a difficult time, it is scary waiting for the big shoe to drop.
Many of the nurses I work with are scared. They don’t know what this virus will mean to them, to their families and friends. None of us do but we are all afraid it might be bad.
Everyone I know is worried and none of us have that crystal ball to tell us what to expect.

I have been thinking about this a lot. About how to cope with this much uncertainty. And I don’t have any answers except two things that continue to stand in front of me.
I am a nurse and because of that i have a job to do.
And I am a rescuer and that gives me my second job to do.

Come what may, we all have jobs to do right now. To be nurses, to be rescuers, to be parents, partners, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, doctors, grocery clerks, pharmacists, gas station attendants, daycare providers, police officers, paramedics, firefighters, correctional officers, scientists, cleaners..whatever.
We have to do our jobs a little bit differently, with a lot more stress. We have to self isolate and live with a little less freedom, with a little bit more caution and responsibility than maybe we once had.

But come what may, one day this too will pass. And maybe we learned some things along this current frightening path.
Our communities matter, our families matter, you and I matter. Our earth, our environment and the animals who dwell here with us matter.
We can make a difference, we can make things better.
We just have to do our jobs the best that we can.

Gideon knew that.


Posted: February 21, 2020 at 10:24 am

Many years ago, long before SAINTS, i worked with other rescues as a volunteer. One of them became my mentor, i learned so much about what was good and right with rescue and what was ugly and hurtful in rescue and this set me on my course that has led to today. My mentor and I had a huge falling out and I became persona non grata and while my personal feelings about her didnt change, my professional view most certainly did, we had become the yin and the yang.

When I opened SAINTS I was told that when she heard the name of my new rescue she laughed and said “of course she named her rescue that, she always thought she was a saint.”
I never defended myself against this until today. and my defense is not to clear me or my so long ago agenda, it is to protect SAINTS because this is important for all of us to understand.

The saints here are the animals, and the name was chosen because I believe they are saintly. Many of these animals have had brutal lives, many have been used, abused, neglected and betrayed. from the moment of their births until their ultimate deaths their sole purpose was to endure the fickle fingers of mankind. And no matter how badly used were they, no matter how much suffering they endured, every single one of them laid down their anger, their hurt, their feelings of betrayal and found at least someone to love and trust again here.

Not one single human saint has ever stepped foot on SAINTS, we can’t be saints, we are too much human. We bring our baggage of past experience with us. We can try to keep that sometimes toxic luggage locked but occasionally it leaks out the seams. We do not easily trust, we turn our backs on forgiveness, we rarely take responsibility for the angst we sometimes create. Its not that we are bad or evil people, it is that we are flawed, frightened and over thinking human beings.
This is why we can never be saints, but animals can. We cannot diverse ourselves fully of the past and historically we sometimes make the same mistakes. Animals live in today and if today is better than yesterday, animals can embrace and enjoy it, they accept that life just got better and are happy with that.

But for some reason we humans want more, we are not always satisfied when we are surrounded by good things, we sometimes need to start rewriting history, making it more in line with how we think it SHOULD be. Its not because we want to hurt others, its because we hurt inside ourselves and we need someone else to blame.

My mentor’s rescue went deep into the dark side and I am sure she had a long list of those that were to blame.

But what she never understood but was able thru example teach me were these 3 things..humans and ALL living things universally are naturally flawed and each of us are individually responsible for our own personal flaws and finally we humans have choices, and when we choose we are responsible for those choices we make.

The difference between animals and humans? animals don’t get choices. They just get us and that’s why they get to be saints.

Doc was euthanized.

Posted: February 8, 2020 at 3:23 pm

We lost Doc yesterday. He was Chewy’s best friend and a huge favorite with all of the barn folks.
He came in back in 2012 underweight, stunted, covered in lice. It took a while to build he back up to the beautiful and healthy goat he should always of been.
Doc was not just lovely on the outside, he was so sweet and kind on the inside too. He stoically stood by Chewie and became his best friend even tho Chewie is a total jerk at times.
Chewie is sad and lost without his faithful buddy today. The barn folks are doing the best they can to love him up and let him know they understand.

We are not sure what happened with Doc. We think his age was somewhere between 12-15 yrs. We are awaiting an autopsy report to shed some light on his heartbreaking loss.
Rest in Peace Doc, you were greatly loved and will be greatly missed. Keep an eye out for Chewie, he misses his very good friend.

We lost Vinny today

Posted: February 4, 2020 at 4:56 pm

He was 17 yrs old, over 100 in human years and old dogs like old humans have old brittle bones. Vinny slipped and fell and fractured his femur yesterday. He was too old and weak to survive the surgery and healing time. We are all absolutely heartbroken to have lost such a gentle and sweet natured friend.
Here is what i wrote about Vinny when he arrived here, his skin was a mess and we were able to help him with that.

March 2017
so saints welcomes vinny, he came in last evening and he is a very sweet and gentle dog.
and he is a mess.
his skin is terrible.
he has a vet appointment on Wednesday but we have already started him on treatments and meds. the vets can tweak them as needed but he needed help right away so to hold him until we can get him in, we started him out on our standard skin dog program.
hopefully he will feel better in a couple of days.

vinny is about 14 years old…supposedly a shepherd/husky. hard to see either of those breeds in him right now, he looks like one of those dogs you see on the internet being rescued in third world countries…missing so much of their hair that it is always a pleasant surprise at the end of the videos to see them months after rescue and looking like real dogs again.
vinny’s family got him about three years ago and have been unable to successfully manage his allergies and his skin just kept getting worse.
lucky for him we have had so much experience with severe skin dogs that we should be able to get him under control fairly soon.

anyway..vinny is here, he is a great dog

I was totally right way back then, Vinny was a really great dog.

three years later, all we can say is Vinny… we all so very much love you and are so very, very sad today.

Ode to the difficult dogs

Posted: February 2, 2020 at 10:48 am

Almost exactly 6 years ago, Luna arrived in our midst. She was barely a year old with a history of poor socialization, biting, destructiveness, fearfulness and an inability to be housetrained. She was also at risk of death because her 3rd and last family no longer could cope with her and in trying to surrender her to the local shelter were told given her issues, she would be euthanized upon admission.
One year old? already 3 homes? no wonder she was such a mess.
And so Luna came bringing chaos, frustration and regret in her wake.

For the first few weeks to months I alternated between hope and despair. Everything about her was so very disruptive here. She snuck up on people and bit them in the ass, she grabbed the dogs tails with her very sharp teeth and pissed them off. She tore the trim off of windows and doors. She threw herself at me until my arms and hands were a mass of deep bleeding scratches and she wouldn’t stop. Everything she did, she did big and she did wrong.

So here we are 6 years later and Luna is still a bit of an odd duck dog. She won’t let strangers anywhere near her, barking as she runs off. The staff still won’t do some necessary things for her like apply monthly flea control, because she gets that not to be trusted look in her eye that they may regret doing what they just did. having said that, I can do anything to her for one simple reason, Luna loves me and trusts me with her entire body and soul/
She and I have a one in a million kind of relationship, we melt into puddles of emotional goo just looking at each other. It is true and endless love.

It takes Luna months to years to really trust others around here. Everyone wants to hold her and cuddle her and be her good friend. Luna moves slowly on this, while she no longer bites, she still keeps an emotional distance until she is ready to trust a new friend. But if folks are patient and give her the space to feel safe, eventually she will grace them with her affection.
Luna is without a doubt the most loving and loyal dog I have ever been blessed to know.

She was never an easy dog but she was so very much more. She was a dog who had been emotionally battered trying to fit into a world for which she was was ill prepared. She failed over and over and over again in finding acceptance.
And here she is 6 years later, happy, loved, safe and secure while shining her blinding light into the darkest recesses of my sometimes cynical soul. She brings me the gift of pure joy every day.
Luna got the chance to become what every lost and lonely dog dreams of….
to become a truly great, great dog and an incredible best, best friend.
Luna was a difficult dog, lucky, lucky me, because of her my life is blessed.

Know your limits

Posted: January 19, 2020 at 9:03 am

Why can’t we help every animal who needs us? What is one more? and one more? and one more? and one more?
There is always one more, ten more, 100 more, 1000 more..endless more.
And if rescues don’t learn to say no, the rescues cease to be rescue and become something terrible.
SAINTS works to its max…we help every single animal we possibly can and then we say no.
We struggle every day to meet the needs of the animals in our care, to give them clean beds, full bowls, enough safe space and proper medical care.
We are not magicians that can wave our magic wands and make money appear to pay our bills or conjure up a bigger and better place.
We make every inch and dollar stretch as far as it can and when it has stretched to its maximum we acknowledge this.

However, let me tell you a story about an animal we had to say no to. Because it is not always just rescue that can step up and help an animal, sometimes individual people can too.

Several months ago SAINTS was asked to provide haven for a 35 year old horse named Tucker. Raven was still alive then and SAINTS had no room. Tucker was at the end of the road, homes for 35 year old horses are few. We knew this when we said no but there was nothing that we could do.

Three of our SAINTS volunteers with their own money, on their own time, stepped forward to help this ancient horse. They pay for his boarding at a stable not here, they pay for his food and his shavings, his bowls and his winter coats. In about 3 months he has been with them, they have paid about $4000 in vet bills to address his health issues. Later several more SAINTS volunteers came out to Tuckers stable and helped dig out his muddy paddock and wheelbarrow in new clean dry fill. Its been a tough road for them all, the weather, the mud, the mouth surgery, the colic, working to make Tucker more comfortable. Tucker could have come to SAINTS when Raven died but choices have to be made and Snowman needed us more. Tucker was safe.

SAINTS can never help every animal that tries to enter our gates. But sometimes individuals can work together to find a way.

Tucker spent several days in the vet hospital, the first time for dental surgery to relieve a very painful degenerative condition affecting his incisor teeth, the second time for nonresolving colic in the middle of that terrible freezing weather. HUge Thanks to Agwest vet group for taking such great care of him in his time of need.

Tucker is not a SAINT but he does have a few angels looking out for him.

We lost Ben today

Posted: January 13, 2020 at 11:18 pm

Two days ago he was sucking on Erin’s fingers as he drifted off to sleep, wrapped up in his blanket. He was safe, he was loved, he was happy.
48 hours later he was gone and we are left reeling from his sudden loss.

Benjamin was a frenchie, bred like other bull dog breeds to have pushed in faces, cork screw tails and massive chests. Along with that designer look came a host of health issues, elongated palates, too small respiratory passages, spina bifida, weak hearts and Ben had them all. For a year now he has been fully parapalegic, yesterday he went in respiratory distress and this morning he died in critical care of cardiac arrest.

Ben loved everyone, Ben loved his toys and his blankets and his treats. He went for walks in his wheelchair and in bad weather in his stroller with lynne and the other volunteers. he had many friends who loved him dearly and really enjoyed hanging out with him. Ben was a horribly bred dog, who never stood a chance for a normal life. But Ben had a huge heart and a generous soul and he lived the best life he could with what he had.

Rest in peace Benjamin you are dearly loved sweet, sweet dog.

Our deepest thanks to Boundary Bay staff and vets for trying so hard to save our boy.

Once Upon a Time…

Posted: January 10, 2020 at 6:00 pm

A puppy was born and she was an adorable puppy with the sweetest face and startling intelligent blue icy eyes. She came into the world safe in the care of her mother and the warmth of her brothers and sisters, innocent of the hardships awaiting her.
A dogs life is never their own, it belongs to their masters. A dogs life is never secure, it floats on the tides of human whims.
By the time this puppy was one year old her body was chained and that chain encircled her mind with frustration and fear.
It takes not long for a human to destroy the mind and spirit of a helpless animal.
After eight long years of living chained in anxious uncertainty, Shyla found her way here.
We will never undo the damage done to her, she is not a boat motor that with new parts can be easily repaired.
But for all of her quirks, her peaks and valleys, angry and anxious moments, and the shadowy way she views her world, we will love her.
because once upon a time she was an innocent puppy before she was broken into sharp jagged pieces in a careless world.

whatever it takes.

Posted: January 4, 2020 at 8:30 pm

several of our guys have gone out to foster or adoptive homes:
spenser, mick, ginger and peanut all won the home of your own lottery this week. as always there is a trial period but fingers crossed they all succeed.

snowman’s blood work came back, he is positive for cushings and has started treatment.

no new incomings for now. we have space but money for vet bills is concerning. our medical bills for 2019 were over $200,000.00 and our christmas donations this year were not as high as previous years. it is a bit of a worry. we are doing what we can to reduce costs around here without affecting the care of the animals we already are responsible for. better to tighten our belts before we hit a crises, a boy scout (and a rescue) must always be prepared.

and here is the thing, i don’t remember any time in rescue when worry wasn’t a part of every day living. some days are worse than others for sure but in rescue there are no guarantees on anything. it goes right back to the ripple in the pond or peeling the onion thing..there are layers to rescue that most folks can’t even conceive of. its a complicated and inter related series of untangling strings. if anyone ever tells you that the solutions to problems in rescue are easy, feel free to tell them, they are freaking crazy!
we are the proverbial beggars with a tin cup and every penny counts that comes in because it all adds up. but all the pennies going out add up too.
and the problem with tin cup begging is you never know how many pennies will be tossed in…might be a lot or maybe not. trust me, trying to run a rescue this big is fucking scary.

all i can say is that for 15 years, we have some how managed to make it work. 2020 might be starting out a bit tougher than usual but we will find ways to deal with it.
because here is the most important thing..we have to, we promised.
and we have kept our promise to all of them, in 2020 we will do the same, whatever it takes.