Rescue Journal

story time

Alison  ·  Feb. 23, 2007

The Road to SAINTS

Lot's of people know bits of the story of how SAINTS came to be. Few know the story in it's entirety and maybe I will tell it all here, or maybe I won't.

I am pretty sure SAINTS is the result of a combination of a pre-menopausal meltdown and a life long tendency of living with a really over developed sense of responsibility. The latter is a nice way of saying "control freak".

I started bringing home old stray dogs when I was 10. The first was a funny black with white markings lab cross and probably about 10 years old. I felt so sorry for him because someone had cut off his tail. I was too young to realize that it was not cruelty, it was tail docking. Of course now I know it is the same thing. Anyway. I named him Spot (sorry, I was a kid!). He was my best friend for about a year and then he chased one of my Dad's elderly parishioners (or maybe it was the mailman or the motorcycle, i can't actually remember, Spot chased a few things, he was old, not dead) We had a fenced yard and I am not sure why the dog was never in it. So, my parents called the dog catcher to take him away (they said he would take Spot to "the farm"). I learned at 10 years old that you had to be big and strong to protect those you loved.

There followed years of animal rescuing, first on my own and then with an established group. As a young married mother, I drove my husband insane. And we continued to argue about the animals for almost thirty years of marriage. At one point I started my own shelter and people started to join me. And I tried really hard to share it but in the end I failed. When you build something you love and devote thousands of hours to nuture it and those that dwell within, and if you happen to know what you are doing and if you happen do it really well, if you add in your tendency to be a closet control freak, it becomes a recipe for disaster. It blew up, fuelled by politics and simple human nature. And suddenly I found myself grieving for the loss of my very first dream.

I was offered a job at Best Friends which I thought was a dream come true. But I listed the roadblocks before me, the needs of my grown family, my job, my finances, even the actual trip to get down there for the trial. I had thirty sick and senior foster animals and even if I took the job, how on earth was i going to get them there? I put the sickest ones at the vets, I sent some of the others to boarding, a great portion of the rest were cared for in my home by my friends and family. I drove to Seattle, and flew to Phoenix and drove from Phoenix to Utah alone. And as I drove thru that gorgous endless desert, I finally after an entire lifetime, found me. I could have whatever dreams I wanted as long as I was willing to do what was needed to get there. I did my two weeks at Best Friends, I learned alot and I also quickly realized I wasn't built for joining other people's dreams in progress. I went home and ended my marriage and I set both my husband and I free. We are actually good friends now, who'd have thought?

And I rented a moldly, single wide trailer, dumped thousands of dollars into lino floors and fencing. I built a new road and moved my ancient friends onto 5 acres of the first peace I had ever found. SAINTS was born. And Mo and Julie and Kathy and Sheila and Leila and Deb were the first to walk thru the door and help and have stayed, every step of the way.We have come a very long road from that moldy trailer high on a hill. I personally have made so many mistakes thru out my life and will probably continue to make even more. But the biggest one I have ever made was pretending I was something that I never was; normal.

I am made up of very many wonderful things and some not all that great things too. But most of all I am a self admitted and proud of it control freak. I love animals more than I can ever say. The only real regret that I have, is that Spot was loved by a child without power. He needed someone smarter, stronger, more determined than that. He needed me as I am now.

I don't believe life is a popularity contest, if it was, Miss Congeniality would be running the world. I think living the best life you can is tough and you need to be tough to live it well. Of course the problem with toughness is you have hide the hurt and softness inside.

I hope that utterly stupid rainbow bridge crap is real, cuz someday, I would love to find Spot there and tell him I am sorry.