Having a sanctuary with 60 animals in it, sounds like a wonderful thing, and in many ways it is. These guys are lucky in so many ways, they aren't in a cage, they aren't ignored, they aren't de-valued, and they aren't dead (all of which were real possibilities or realities before they came to SAINTS) Here, they get to have really good cookies, and brownies and picnics and some of them get to slop around in the mud pit (ex pond) to their hearts content. They get many hugs and kisses and someone is "seeing" and talking to "them" (the real them, the "person" inside them) every single day.
But there are downsides too. There are alot of animals here to care for. There are alot of leaking little buggers who leak on somebody elses bed (theirs or mine, grhh) they need more frequent bathing because not only may someone have leaked on their bed during the night, but they themselves might have too. They bring the mud back to the house with them and leave that laying around for someone to lay in too. They roll in dirt and grass and they roll in horse poop in the evenings and they need more bathing to stay clean. But both water and human bathers are in short supply (we won't even talk about the tiny bathroom that the big guys can't fit into.)
Everyone needs more walks and more brushing and more one on one time just for them. Some like Buddy and Sissy and Romeo, need a strict and consistent diet, and that will never happen here with all the free feeding bowls full of mixed and donated food. Sometimes someone can get sick, and if they are normally quiet, it might get missed as we are constantly distracted by whatever is happening at any particular moment by a score of others who are underfoot. Sometimes we see something odd, and we go hmmm??? but it still does not twig us to look a bit further.
Like on Sunday night. Panda's mouth is getting sore again, and I knew this, and was watching to see if this time was going to be the bad time (Panda is FIV, all of his teeth are gone and there is not much left for us to do for him medically anymore because nothing works) One of these days, Panda is not going to slide back onto the good side of the sore mouth line, and I am going to have to help him go. Anyway, don't ask me why (or at least not on sunday night because I was in dumb daze on sunday night), but Panda came flying onto my bed, dived under the blankets, peed on me and then darted out. What the hell was that???? I got up, nattering and complaining and went and slept on the couch, fussing the whole way there about giant quilts that take up whole washer loads in laundry mats and frigging cats who pee on me in my sleep. By monday morning, I was over it...but by monday night I was on guard when I went to bed. Last night, he flew back up onto the bed, ran across both my pillows and flew under the bed again. The was urine, streaked across the pillow...the light bulb went on, this has nothing to do with his mouth, this has to do with a sick cat. He is off to the vet this morning at 8:30 if i can find him, he has gone into hiding because he knows i am on to him now. I am worried that his bladder is obstructed with crystals and I better have not been in stupid mode for too long for the vet to fix this.
I always feel guilty when I miss stuff, and I know I have 60 good reasons for missing it in the first place. But this is the downside to multiple animal sanctuary care, there are always more of them then there are of you and the odds are that you are going to drop the ball more times than once.
Part of the reason I am always so desperate to get help up here, is not just to make the work easier (altho that is nice too). It is to get the animals the extra hands to touch them, and eyes to see them, and hearts to love them so they are less likely to get sick and be missed, so they can be clean, and brushed and shiny, and not be waiting for someone to have a moment to give them a hug on the off chance they will have some time. SAINTS will only ever be as good as the care that the animals receive and both they and I want them to have more.
That is the real sadness about any place like SAINTS, is too many for too few. And for those that say don't take in so many...well walk around and pick who should have turned away...not Daisy, not Suzie, not Saul, or any of the guys like Phil who are now hanging on the windchime tree either. All of the saints who come here, need here, they just need here to be better. So i have figured out three things this morning, Panda is sick, we need more humans up here on a more regular basis, and somehow we have to stop the world from ignoring and tossing them away in the first place...i just have to figure out how we can get there.