Author Archive

Our much loved Rudy passed gently from this life today.

Posted: July 6, 2019 at 3:23 pm

The staff, volunteers, our vet and even today’s large double tour groups all in one way or another paid homage to the end of life for this wonderful old horse.
The other farm animals were aware of what was happening and Dixie, Raven, Skye and Emily were all upset at his passing. His human friends stood by his side and whispered their love to him in their goodbyes.
He was surrounded by loving care…he was surrounded by many different loving spirits in many shapes and sizes, some with 2 legs, others with four but all of them there for him at the end

when an animal passes from here, it is not just the humans who grieve, many of the other animals also mourn.

We are a family, we celebrate together and we share the sadness of loss too.

Rudy was a great horse, he was kind, he was gentle, he was beautiful too. And he had a bit of a sense of humor.

the vision of him in my head that I will forever carry is Rudy ready and waiting to go back into the barn for supper. Standing by the gate was never quite enough to get real and FULL attention so to ensure that he really got his important point across..that it was dinner time NOW…..Rudy would put both of his feet on the bottom rung of the gate, then he would move them both up another rung and there he would stand, tall and dignified impossible to miss or ignore.

Rudy, you were truly an awesome and one of a kind horse!

fly free sweet boy.

The Almighty Dollar.

Posted: July 4, 2019 at 10:54 pm

Do you know what I hate about rescue?
I just don’t think that the almighty dollar should be any kind of consideration when helping helpless sick animals..or people for that matter.
And do you know what truly bugs me about money?
Its not real…it is just flimsy paper with numbers and pictures that we made up to be something important.
But it is all make believe, we built our entire world, enslaved almost every living life in the search of monopoly money.
Do you know what is really real?
People, Animals, wild and domestic, Insects, ButterFlies, Birds, Fish, Turtles and Bees, Trees, Plants, The layers of earth beneath our feet, the oceans, the rivers, the lakes…the earth upon which we live and breathe.

I hate worrying about paying the bills. I hate the endless juggling each month to balance the books. I hate animals being held hostage for how much money they are worth and conversely losing their lives once they are deemed cost ineffective and virtually worthless.
Some smart person said that money is the root of all evil…I think I agree.

But here is the reality of this world and rescue…it constantly costs money.
So there we are forced into the role of perpetual beggers….asking for handouts over and over and over again just so we can pay the bills for our rescued animal friends.
People say we are saints or angels because we care for our animals so well. They applaud us because we treat our animals with great care and even greater respect.
And do you know why we do it? Because it is right. There is so much wrong with this sometimes dark dreary world…being kind, responsible and respectful to senior and special needs homeless animals, brings in a little more light.
We really care about them, we really try to do the best that we can and we do this because somehow or another, we actually can.

But we are not heroes for what we give to these incredible beings, of course we should be caring for them..this should be completely normal, we used them to get whatever it was that we wanted so of course we should pay them back with kind and responsible care. But we are heroes in one regard… because day after day, year after year, decade after decade we do what we hate more than anything in the world…we perpetually search for that flimsy paper with pictures and numbers that honestly is not even real…just so we can pay the bills which in this utterly weird and twisted world, are frankly somedays heart stopping real.

( i like this photo of what’s really real much better!)

Floating Hope

Posted: July 2, 2019 at 8:28 pm

Part of what we do here is learning to keep hope optimistically floating while still looking at what might be reality straight in the eye.
Rudy is not well. He is 33 and a half years old, that’s pretty old for a horse. He lost one of his eyes last year but recovered from the surgery well. And he has been dealing with a melanoma and arthritis for many years now but has been able to keep happily trucking on.

Last weekend Rudy suddenly went down unexpectedly, he was out flat and we thought he might never get up. He did get up a couple of times but then went right back down again, it didn’t look like a colic so we had no idea what was going on. We called out the vets on an emergency visit and discovered that Rudy was bleeding internally. We think he may have a tumor that is intermittently bleeding out. But there is also a slim possibility that Rudy is having a GI bleed from his arthritis meds. We did some blood work that has confirmed that he has been bleeding unbeknownst to us for a while. We started him on antibiotics and ulcer meds and are holding his arthritis meds to see how he does.

Rudy hasn’t gone back down again so that is good, and he is no longer passing blood clots in his stool. His appetite really hasn’t picked up much, through out the day he is only eating a few handfuls of food.
He doesn’t seem to be suffering or in any kind of distress, he is a little slower than usual but still is interested in going out to the pasture and hanging out with his friends.
Thursday the vets will come back to repeat his blood work and see if his blood cells are improving. Until then we wait and watch for any signs or clues on how Rudy is feeling.

We don’t know if this is a life ending event with cancer hiding inside, or if this is just a bump in his road with a treatable bleeding ulcer.
We hope on friday when the blood results come back that the vets tell us he is on the mend. But we know that this may not be what they tell us, they may say that Rudy’s life is coming to an end.
We truly hope that hope floats knowing that it might also be about to sink.
But whatever happens later this week, one thing we know for sure, we will stand beside him for as long as he needs.
Love you sweet boy.

The First Saint

Posted: June 28, 2019 at 8:31 am

There are so many stories here, past and present and many more to come in the future. But one story changed the world for a thousand animals and that was the story of Wee Hopeful Bug.
I can’t even share an actual photo of her with you, my computer has crashed so many times and so many absolutely precious photos have been lost so you will have to use your imaginations to see the true face of this sweet tiny cat who meant so much.

Many years ago a litter of kittens were rescued, unfortunately the babes came down with distemper. Only two survived, Hope and Romeo but they did not escape unscathed. Both were afflicted with chronic and severe Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Every possible avenue of treatment was explored and tried but the kittens remained incontinent and leaked feces all over the place. The original rescuer was unable to manage this and so she turned them over to another rescue which at that time, i happened to run. When they arrived they were both about half grown, romeo who was less affected was of normal size but Hope whose bowels were totally destroyed was the size of a 2 month old and hence the name change to Wee Hopeful Bug. In the end this rescue also could not manage them, one day the volunteers said to me that the disgusting mess these two made was not fair to the volunteers or the other cats. They were right of course but once Hopey and Romeo had been “saved” as tiny babies, what was to be done with them now? No one was going to want them, no one was willing to take them on so what were we supposed to do?

You really can’t go knocking off half grown survivors who were happy, affectionate, playful and interactive just because they made a terrible mess so I bit the bullet and took them home. And yes they were terribly difficult to live with but they were cheerful and happy and I fell in love but…. my family did not and who could blame them?
I watched them mature, Romeo became a regular sized cat, Hopey grew very little. At full growth she was the size of a three month old kitten which made me love and want to protect her even more. I watched her chase leaves across the patio, and twist ties across the kitchen floor. She tolerated me bathing and combing feces several times a day from her sparse and unhealthy coat. I would wrap her butt end in towels so she could cuddle up on my chest…I loved that little broken cat with a fierce mothering passion.

Eventually I moved on from that rescue for various reasons, but I was cognizant of the fact that Wee Hopeful Bug and Romeo had No place in this world where they could really belong. They did not fit into a family home, they did not fit into a rescue or a shelter. Were they destined to be unwelcome and unwanted where ever they went in this world?

And so SAINTS was born to give a home to a tiny little cat who constantly leaked liquid stool out her bum. SAINTS was the home she belonged to, SAINTS was the home that she always deserved, a home that no one could ever say was not 100% hers.

Wee Hopeful Bug died within a couple of years after SAINTS birth. She died in her sleep, I never saw it coming, I never had a chance to say good bye or give her that last final kiss. She is the only SAINTS animal buried here, underneath an ancient tree in the bottom field. She is and always will be the spirit of SAINTS that moves us and guides us. She was a gift to me and to all of the animals who have come here since.
This is the only picture I have left of her, a painting I commissioned after she passed away.
here you can see Wee Hopeful Bug, the very first Saint.
She was tiny.
She was mighty…
and she changed the world for 1000 broken animals and made it a better place.

The Big Picture

Posted: June 22, 2019 at 8:01 pm

For the past year I have been talking to the staff about “the big picture” in rescue. The Big Picture is thousands of tiny puzzle pieces that all have to fit in one particular and unique spot to create the whole. You can’t just shove a bunch of shit together and think it will work cuz…it won’t.
This week we had 3 dogs go in for eye enucleations, 2 at the shelter and one from foster. We had little Dynamite at Boundary Bay Specialty Hospital for both a mass and bladder stone removal because his heart is so terribly bad. We still have to get Hannah in to see the specialists too…her insides are so mixed up and deformed and she is needing a spay surgery which is going to be really difficult. Almost all of the animals at SAINTS or in foster care have ongoing medical issues that need ongoing and continued follow up plus daily care..diabetics, IVD’s, dry eyes, glaucoma, skin issues, debilitating arthritis, cardiac, kidney and liver disease..just to name a few. Plus we have the behavioral animals..the grumpies, the terrifieds, the ones with messed up heads, they need special care plans, medications and their environments controlled and adjusted so they can be as good as they can be as much as they can be too.

So those are some of the puzzle pieces, each animal with its own unique and individual shape that needs something(s) very unique and specific to each and every one. But the puzzle pieces don’t stop there..there are the buildings and areas they live in that must be not only clean and comfortable but appropriate to each one. There is the equipment they need, collars and leashes, halters and muzzles, pill poppers, stretchers, wheelchairs, xpens, raised beds, orthopedic or cooling beds, hip lifters, gates and fences, air conditioners, dehumidifiers,fridges, microwaves, washers, dryers, tractors, wheelbarrows, stall forks, fans, fireplaces, furnaces and extra heaters. Along with this are decisions to be made, when to repair something if broken, when to toss away and replace. And lets not forget the utilities, hydro, water, electricity, internet, the roofs on all of the buildings and sheds and the fields that provide grass for the grazing animals, the gravel roads that provide access for the large delivery trucks of hay, shavings, feed and supplies too and really important…how are we going to pay for it all at the end of the day. There relationships to be fostered with our service and supply providers, our vet clinics, the municipality, our neighbors, our lawyers, our accountants, and insurence folks, our volunteers, our staff, board members, adopters, fosters, surrendering families, donors and followers.

Each one a single special puzzle piece in the picture of SAINTS.

I know people around here get tired of me insisting some things be done certain ways, I am sure my pickiness about tidyness, straight lines, not wasting stuff, or avoiding having to do things over and over drives everyone at some point insane.
But here is the thing that we must never forget….we made a promise to these animals that in rescuing them, we would make their lives better. And as very important as each and every one of them are..and how they are the real center of SAINTS…all of the other pieces hidden in the background are what gives them what they need at SAINTS.

There are literally thousands of pieces to SAINTS, and if just one piece is missing, lost or destroyed, we end up with a flawed picture with a very noticeable hole.
Each animal here is important.
Each person has an important and irreplaceable role.
Each tiny and annoying or ignored detail has the ability to create a big black hole.
The responsibility can be crushing and overwhelming…but we absolutely need to focus on both the big and the small and keep going.
There is a Big Picture out there where animals are vulnerable and at risk because humans don’t really consider their care and welfare, their lives and their feelings, as important as our own. We want it to be all about the warm and fuzzy not so much about the down and dirty and oftimes heartbreaking hard work. We want them to make us feel good without having to risk the painful, the inconvenient, the boring, seemingly inconsequential or difficult bits…and yet all of that is part of the bigger picture too.

The big picture starts with a promise to do better…and then it grows and grows, and grows into something so very much bigger.

This weekend is our annual Open House!

Posted: June 14, 2019 at 6:49 pm

It is also our 15th year anniversary since the beginning of this oftimes crazy journey of providing safe haven to more than a thousand crippled or broken souls.
Every year is challenging in some way or another. Every year has at some point brought me to tears, filled me with doubts.

And yet every year we pull up our socks, deal with what must be dealt with, face the struggles, find the solutions and keep going on.
We have to, we have grown past the choice to stop.
We have proven that the work we do here is immensely valuable to the senior and special needs animals who fall thru the cracks in traditional animal welfare. Unadoptable used to mean death, now it means something different like thinking outside the box. Incontinent, elderly, sick, even palliative or misfit homeless animals now have a chance at a good quality of life being valued for who they are, what they have survived, what they continue to struggle thru.
They no longer have to be close to perfect to be worth saving, in fact they can be totally wrecked, they can cost thousands of dollars in vet bills, they can be deaf, blind, crippled and leaking with maybe not the sunniest personality, we don’t care. They have incredible value to us because of their valuelessness,

All my life I wanted a fair world…none of us are perfect and many of us are really messed up in lot’s of ways…so why do the animals have to be perfect..why do they have to be cute, or healthy, or even all that nice?
Why do they have to be more perfect than me or you?

Here is a photo of Mocha, little Miss incontinent bark at everything face with no eyes and Mr. Humpy, incontinent Ben with useless back legs..I think they are perfect..all of us at SAINTS think they are perfect..despite it all, with some love, respect, and good medical care..they both are happy and have survived and continue to live a very good quality of life..

15 years we have been at this, more than a thousand rescued souls.
The Open House is our annual celebration of a job very well done for the unadoptable animals of this world..

A chance for forgiveness…

Posted: June 6, 2019 at 6:22 am

Remember Alex? the little guy abandoned in a California mega shelter, shipped up to BC, adopted out quickly at a pet store adoption event, placed into a home unprepared for his emotional needs who re-directed and went biting kung foo mighty up and down the arms of his brand new mom during a stressful situation??
Poor Alex, set up to fail right from the very beginning.
So…Alex came to SAINTS stressed, anxious, over reactive and desperately unhappy with a pretty nasty biting history.
We set up some simple rules…don’t pick him up, don’t react to his over reactiveness…basically be respectful, give him space, be really nice and kind to him and let him unknot his knickers himself.
And he did.
I adore this little dog…loyal as loyal can be. He is very cooperative, very loving, he truly wants to please.
He gets a bit wound up and noisy when playing with the other dogs but they don’t seem to mind.
I took him up to my cabin for a quiet overnight. What a pleasure he was to hang out with..peaceful, quiet, affectionate and listened really well to any request I made (like come here, stay put, lets have a cuddle, here, let me lift you up to the bed, and please don’t chase the squirrels!) He is a dog who looks to you for direction, for support, for reassurance that he truly is a very good dog.

I am not saying that if ever again placed in highly stressful situations that Alex might not react and bite again. But the point dog should ever be forced to endure more than he or she can handle. Our job as guardians is to ensure we keep them safe and that means protecting them from being tossed off an emotional cliff.
Alex is a great little dog who has been to hell and back. So what if he fell off the edge for a bit and lost his little mind? Under the same absolutely powerless and terrifying circumstances, I might have done the same.
But I think we can forgive Alex for losing his mind and foundering around for a bit in dark terror if Alex can forgive we humans for tossing him into the abyss. Alex has forgiven us.
And what really matters is this…Alex has been able to re-find himself and his happy light….good job buddy, love you to the moon and all the way back again!
Welcome to a kinder, more considerate life.

Thank You!

Posted: June 5, 2019 at 8:09 pm

Skye has come home! Rick and his crew did a phenomenal job in bringing Skye back from the edge. I think Skye is the 3rd horse that Rick has helped us out with when they needed immediate help and we were shy on space. I am sure we will be knocking at Rick’s stable door again with the next one and he promised to let us back in!
But the time came to bring Skye to his now forever home with the rest of the SAINTS barnyard friends. I am telling you..this horse is heart stopping beautiful as he floats across the field. Such a far cry from that sad and broken old horse that the vets originally advised us to consider humane glad we decided to give him a chance.

Skye was originally a racehorse and I guess he is somewhat lucky…he did not end up in a slaughter house facing imminent death. But he has spent many years neglected physically, medically and emotionally. This was abuse to this gentle horse who had no choice about whose careless hands he fell into. Skye is one in a million…one in a million horses who actually found kindness, respect and compassion at the end.
We keep breeding them, selling them, trading them…getting every possible ounce of use out of them and their reward is a terror filled end.

But not Skye…it took a village…SAINTS, Rick, his staff, our staff and volunteers and all of you who support us as we save one innocent animal at a time.
Skye says Thank You!

When life becomes a burden to them….

Posted: June 4, 2019 at 3:45 pm

it is time to let them go.

Today both Caishen and Keats were assisted to gently and peacefully pass from the comfort of their favorite couch and bed.

Caishen came to us a few years ago, she was a semi feral sharpei who lived a very difficult and unstable life. By the time she came to SAINTS, she was about sixteen years old and she was distrustful of humans. Over the years we worked hard to ensure that we respected her boundaries while providing her with the opportunities to feel safe, comfortable and well cared for. We surgically removed her chronically scarred, inflamed, infected and painful ear canals to once and for all save her from painful ongoing ear infections that were so stressful for her. We met our goals for Caishen, we were able to provide her with a warm, dry, very comfortable home. We were able to meet her medical needs in a way that respected her fearful nature and made every attempt to minimize her trauma while still ensuring we met her medical needs. We were able to provide her with a compatible K9 family who became her friends and with whom she felt safe. Caring for unsocialized and feral animals is difficult, it takes a great deal of effort and thought to view the world from their eyes when attempting to meet their needs. Caishen has been slipping further and further into canine cognitive dysfunction over the past year, adding confusion to her fearfullness made her doubly challenging to care for. In the past few months, Caishen has become increasingly difficult to feed, she finally stopped eating altogether last week. It was also now impossible to give her pain or anti anxiety meds without forcing her during physical restraining since she would no longer take any food or treats, there was no way we were going to do this to her. We recently discovered a very large, fast growing mass on her hip, the vet felt it was probably cancerous but given her age and her increasing dementia, there was no point in confirming because we were not able to treat it. Life was becoming a burden for Caishen, there was no good outcome waiting around the corner, the challenges that she face were multiple and just too great. Today we decided to give her a quick injection sedation and let Caishen fall asleep on her favorite couch and then eventually assist her to gently pass away. Caishen passed from this life to the next without any fear.
I wish the world had been different for her…a kinder and more gentle life. But I am glad that in her twilight years, SAINTS was here to hold her safely and carefully in our minds and hearts and let her find comfort as best as she could with us and her good dog friends. Rest in peace sweet girl. You will be greatly missed but we are glad you are finally free.

It is doubly hard to lose 2 of our friends on the very same day but it was far more important that Keats and Caishen were able to pass from this world in the most comfortable and fear free way.

We have been living on tender hooks regarding Keats for several months now. His end of life was coming but Keats was terrified of being taken away from SAINTS. We absolutely could not risk a crises with hauling him out to the vets and risking that his last hours of his life were filled with terror and fear. We had to be able to pre-book his euthanization to ensure the vets could come here and help him to pass from home. We have booked several home euth. appointments for him during the past few months, canceling each one when the day arrived and we knew that at that moment Keats was not yet done. Keats was an amazing dog with a massive determination to get past any obstacle to do what he wanted which was to continue to live. It broke all of our hearts to see how crippled he was as he pushed past us and all of our fears to get out to the barn and eat horse poop, his most favorite thing of all! Keats thought we were all weanies as we cringed when he laid himself down on rocks and gravel while we tried to coax him to lay on the soft green grass..he had his own mind and made his own decisions. We have been upping and adding to his medication pain regime, achieving some success but were not able to halt the deterioration happening in his spine and hips. This past week has been very difficult for him sometimes getting stuck in odd places and at other times unable to untwist his legs as he tried to force them to cooperate and stand once again. The struggles were happening several times a day, he was now totally dependent upon us to ensure that he safely got from point A to B and back again when he chose. He was getting frustrated, he was getting tired and worst of all he was beginning to feel vulnerable, not like his strong willed determinedly independent self at all.
Keats passed gently from his bed today, he was not afraid.
it was your strength that we loved Keats, and it was your kind and gentle heart that we adored too. We are all going to so miss you, you were our hero in fur.

peanut war

Posted: May 29, 2019 at 10:21 am

whenever I am at the cottage for a day..i put out some peanuts for the squirrels and seed for the birds. I take any left overs back in before I leave to discourage rodents from finding a new food source and moving in.

this morning I was squirrel watching..there are 2 distinct populations…black and grey. they don’t like each other and always play game of thrones for control over my back yard.

so back to the peanuts…
I put out the dish on the fence for whoever found it first.
today was one of the little black guys.

black squirrel: “holy shit! it is peanut day!!”
he quickly grabs a peanut and runs off to bury it somewhere safe. he is back a couple of minutes later to grab another and off he went again.
I watched him grab almost a dozen peanuts one at a time, stashing each of them in a different place each time!
smart little squirrel.

with one of the last ones, as he was running down the fence with his prize, one of the grey squirrels showed up right in front, blocking his way!

grey squirrel: “whatcha got there buddy? could it be a peanut??”

black squirrel turned right around and hopped off the fence and ran off into the bush with grey squirrel in hot pursuit.

black squirrel led grey squirrel on a merry chase but still managed to stash his peanut someplace and grey squirrel knew there was a peanut stashed somewhere very close.

so while grey squirrel rummaged around in the underbrush looking for that particular peanut, black squirrel snuck back to the bowl three more times to empty it and stash the remainders.

peanut bowl is now empty.
final score…
black squirrel 11…grey squirrel 1 (maybe, not sure he actually found it.)

I just love watching the squirrels… some are way smarter than others and way better at peanut wars!