Rescue Journal

looking for insights and opinions here...

Carol  ·  Mar. 9, 2009

three afternoons shifts and a headache. afternoon shifts suck unless you wake up with a headache. the obvious benefit is if you are smart and determined you could theoretically take some tylenol and safely go back to bed (after you clean up the mess, feed and poke the diabetics, fold your laundry you put thru last night, and write out the barn bedtime feed schedule for the staff)

of course, theory and reality rarely match. we'll see.

edith is still limping, fluke is still limping, and now chico is limping too. that is alot of limping animals unless i look at it like this...there are somewhere around 400 very old and crippled feet around here so i guess 3/400 is not too surprizing.

i don't know if anyone is interested or not, but i am thinking of trying to find some time to write and flog a few articles on dealing with some of the issues surrounding palliative, senior and special needs care.

my real issue on this is my credentials....experiential is not as noteworthy as researched based.

but the advantage if i don't choke up and worry too much about if people will take them seriously is....i spend alot of my time answering very long emails or phone calls with very long responses on all of the same things...pain control, incontinence, quality of life and making the end of life decision.

IF i just sat down and wrote out my thoughts in a more, organized and formal way, i could learn maybe to cut and paste or even have helpful hints articles on the website somewhere to direct folks to read. i have also actually been thinking of a caregivers handbook to help them focus on issues vs problems and finding solutions and support.
anyway...i am thinking on this...please be brutally honest and tell me your thoughts on the pro's and the con' can be my survey group before i invest too much time and energy in something that maybe won't fly. i really don't need to be wasting my time around here.... honesty helps time win over ego...time is strictly finite, ego is not.

anyway...give this some serious thought and don't be shy would be surprised what one little thought might bring to mind for me and help me avoid a giant mistake or a big waste of time....or invest in something worthwhile.

oh and 5 responses are not good enough on this...there are 200 unique readers of this blog on a daily basis...not a huge amount but if the lurkers post in...200 pro and con opinions is more helpful in figuring this out than just 5.

thx you guys, i really appreciate your honest thoughts on this.



OH MY FREAKING GOD vadie!!!! i forgot to call you AGAIN!!!!!!!

here is the other reality folks...vadie has email me at least 3 times, maybe more over a period of several months...she is very patient.

and i keep forgetting to get back to her and now (blushing profusely) i have even forgotten the questions!(but i did just remember that i actually forgot again.)

gawd i suck, how can you still even be nice to me????


hi carol, you have a great idea. though I to wonder where you find the time for something like that...but then again when you think of all the time added together to re answer a question again and again would add up too.
I know myself I have asked Carol, for her opinion as I have senior pups and not sure of what tests to get done.... yes i could ask my vet..but I feel I know and trust Carol more then the Vet I go to(don't get me wrong I like my vet but in the almost 4 yrs up here in terrace i may have seen him maybe 10 times, not much in my opinion)
if I could go to a reference area "easily" to learn about some of the vet est what we should a be asking as our furry friend get older...i would love it(the whole "search to I drop" thing on the internet scares me) sometimes it is faster just to ask some one. and I like the personal touch.

by the way Carol....i will catch up to you when we come down for the "wish for whiskers" fundraiser. Huuummmmm that should give me some extra time to add to my list of questions(wink wink) but then again that might give you time to just send a huge PDF file.LOL


I'd read it and use it. Also don't forget I'm an editor and technical writer. Call me if you actually start in on this.


By "research", I didnt necessarily mean yours. :)

There are always new drugs... new therapies... new theories... ideas... treatments...

Having your info in electronic format allows for easier updates and additions and wouldnt cost a thing.

And yes, I think it would be valuable... very valuable-- assuming you could spare the time of course.

Just make sure your/SAINTS behind is covered from a legal perspective; it be some kind of sad if sharing generously resulted in something ugly.


"so is it worthwhile or have enough value to even attempt? "

Oh yes...a million times yes! I think you answered your own question in the second paragraph of message #29.

While it's accessible to get info from one's Vet on senior/palliative care, it's also vitally important to receive that information from a heart. ( not that Vets don't have a heart....) But coming from someone living day in and day out with it, <i>means</i> more. It certainly would to me anyhow.

Carol that we know this will not be a saints story book and i do not want to work too hard at it to make it something even remotely brilliant...feel free to offer new thoughts on the revised and clarified content of carol's newest thought. just remember two things...carol is lazy and it will be plain and simple, so is it worthwhile or have enough value to even attempt?


geez tracey don't scare the crap out of me...i don't want to freaking do research to learn even more to write the thing...that's WORK!

i just want to offer suggestions on managing an incontinent dog, quieting a midnight yowling 20 yr old cat, talk about mobility aides like ramps, slings, and comfort measures like gel foam water proof pressure beds, differentiating between anxiety related to pain or stress or loss of hearing or sight and actual dementia because real dementia in aging animals is not as common as one thinks. i want to talk about pica issues (senior dogs who suddenly eat everything and anything insight...including food bags, pine cones, tin foil) what causes it and how you can manage it (before they get a gut obstuction)
i want to write about the challenges AND the hardships of fatique, frustration, resentment and hopelessness that sometimes we all feel in being caregivers...because if they read it in the guide then maybe it is ok to feel like that sometimes too. and just knowing it is ok might take some of the guilt away.

nothing deep, profound and earth shattering, just a practical road map to help guide thru the shadows and uncertainties of being responsible for someone you love who is old or sick.

i think i should have been clearer about what i was thinking of...i am like the down and dirty heloise of helpful hints, NOT a brilliant ivory tower research queen.

pleaseeee, lower your expectations...i am LAZY, don't make me really work here.


I would think that the content has the potential to be fairly dynamic (updates in treatments, new meds, protocals, new experiences, updated research etc.).

Instead of investing funds in professionally printing material that could become outdated, I think the previous suggestion of an "ebook" available in PDF for download makes the most sense. This also eliminates any associated production / fulfillment / postage costs, and is available for anyone, anywhere at anytime.

Anyhoo, another $0.02 to chew on!


I would think that the content has the potential to be fairly dynamic (updates in treatments, new meds, protocals, new experiences, updated research etc.).

Instead of investing funds in professionally printing material that could become outdated, I think the previous suggestion of an "ebook" available in PDF for download makes the most sense. This also eliminates any associated production / fulfillment / postage costs, and is available for anyone, anywhere at anytime.

Anyhoo, another $0.02 to chew on!


I think it's a great idea as well. I always google an animal's issues before going to the vet so that I know what to tell, ask, expect, etc. Having a 'one-stop' info center for aging animals would be great, provided people "read" it.

I'm sure you deal with this multiple times per day ... oftentimes when people are frustrated, overwhelmed, or just plain pissed off enough to make a phone call, they're not really looking for advice. What they want is for you to say "Oh! You poor thing! You've done all you can! Give me your address and I'll come pick up your problem with no guilt for you whatsoever!" Those people, I'm afraid, aren't going to read Anything, no matter how easy it is to find or how simple it is to read.

For those of us who actually care about our animals, though, it'd be wonderful. What to watch for or expect in your aging (whomever). What behaviors / symptoms to tell your vet about. Treatments to research. How to remove ground-in diarrhea from the rug you just cleaned. I'd hope you'd include a page with stats on daily/weekly/monthly shelter deaths - so that they know what happens to 15-year-old Fluffy when she gets dumped in a cage at animal control, and that, no, if you move away, your guinea pig will not survive 'in the wild.'

I know that my own animals have benefitted from my reading your blog, not because they get different medical care but because I have so much more patience for the problems they start to have. Reading about all you deal with as just part of the day has made me much more accepting of blindness, deafness and incontinence here at home. I'd never dump any of them of course, but I don't get as annoyed as I used to and I'm very grateful to you for that. Each time I'm cleaning up something disgusting, I remind myself "Carol does this one hundred and fifty two times per day". Suddenly makes my issues seem VERY small.


just to clarify....i do not want to write stories or a novel here...i want to provide something of possible a 50 or 100 page caregivers guide that will folks care for their senior and palliative pets, answer some questions, give them a basic background of info re issues to discuss with their vets and B....maybe get me out of some extra ongoing repetitive question and answer work.

i do not want to be personally rich or famous( shit man i can barely handle my infamous-ness as it is)...i do not even want to use it to raise funds for saints, we can not make money on sharing info to make some animals life or death easier, that is just wrong...i just want another avenue to help senior and special needs animals that does not involve my hands on their actual bodies.(ok that is selfish, but it is absolutely true)

as to the time thing...heh..i could plug along at it instead of blogging so would not take me long to fill up 100 pages about anything relating to caring for senior or palliative animals....i have alot of thoughts on these things.

the point re: possible vet inclusion to double check what i write is a very good idea.

to finance printing et el? grants are available for projects that benefit the community.
as to the value of the opinions posted...i fail to see the relevance of if folks like me or not...i am honest with my kids and i adore them, why would i lie or mislead someone i like or love....and my foes are more likely to NOT tell me the truth cuz they would not be too keen to see me succeed.
i personally think a good portion of those who read this blog may NOT like me...they might just want to keep track of what i am doing. and who can blame is out here so why not take a quick peek?
can i have a copy of leilas volunteer manual please? we need one and it will save us having to do the work.


Are you crazy - you don't have time. Just save your answers to the repeating questions on microsoft word so they are easily pulled up and when someone phones - get the question - ask for their email and then email the saved response. Also writing books for fundraising doesn't generate enough money for the amount of work that is required. Ask anyone who tries to sell them how many they have hanging around 2 years later. Ask Leila - who is a pretty good writer - how her volunteer manual is going.


I would love to see some your experiences in print. I love how you write with honesty and flowers and parades about the joys of rescue.


yup, Im one of the daily lurkers too. I like the idea of a pdf link to look up various topics as the need arose (and you could attach them to requests as someone else had noted) I tend to read more for interest and curiosity on how you manage with all you have to go through and plus I like your brutal honesty. Some day I know I'll have to face the same challenges you face day after day, time after time and I know I'll be looking for answers from a source I can trust to be honest..


You asked for everyone to comment and for people to be brutally honest and so I will:

First, it’s hard to get brutally honest responses from a fan club, so you might wish to voice your question to a more generic audience where you have fans, foes, and those who don’t have a clue who you are. Heck, you might even want to get the opinions of those who know you but who DO hold some sort of animal-related credentials, such as vets.

Second, I think the idea of either cut-and-paste answers or, even better, pdf files that you can send to people who email you is an excellent idea and in the long run, a real time saver. There is no point reinventing the wheel – if you’ve answered the question once, and the same answer is required for the next inquiry, why write it out all over again? Go for it!

Third, I think the idea of a BOOK (rather than a series of pamphlets or pdf files or “form letter” answers that can be cut and pasted) needs to be carefully weighed for its pros and cons and you need to ask yourself a ton of questions, such as:

a) Who is your audience – just those who have a connection to SAINTS? Or those involved in rescue? Or the general public?

b) Is it going to be an e-book or a print book? If a print book, will you self-publish or find a publisher? If an e-book, do you have the computer skills or know someone who does?

c) How will it be marketed in order to make it worthwhile both in terms of your time and the cost of producing it? How much will it cost to produce?

d) What legal issues will you need to contend with? For example, do brand names of medications have to be avoided because they are copyright? If, as some have suggested here, you either combined it with some blog entries or did a separate book of stories from your blog, will all the pieces used be just from your own authorship or will you be using the comments of others? (Words belong to the author, so copyright permission is needed if you are using comments or blog entries posted by anyone other than yourself). Are there tax implications?

e) – and perhaps this is the biggy – Given how you often say you are already stretched to the limit – do you really have (or can you make) the time, even if it is time well spent?

Barbara DeMott

Oops, sorry for the errors in my post. My 20 year old cat was sitting on my lap when I was using my lap top.... I couldn't see around her!
I think you would make a wonderful contribution, Carol. It is just a wonderful idea.


A most excellent idea - very organized. ;) When pet guardians are faced with new challenges with their beloveds health, having practical guidelines to follow along with possible diagnostics to discuss with their is empowering and helps make the journey easier. Knowledge is good; sharing it is even better.

Just Do It. :) (that would be a stolen slogan)

Linda Tyler

Another lurker here - I love this idea! What an awesome contribution to the caregiving of senior animals and I agree it could end up being a very good source of funding...WIN/WIN. One thing that does come to mind though is that I would definitely suggest checking with a lawyer first to make sure you do whatever you need to do from a liability perspective.

Good luck Carol!


Some pdf fact sheets on various topics would be helpful (and timesaving for you) for attaching to email responses or giving to prospective adopters.


Some pdf fact sheets on various topics would be helpful (and timesaving for you) for attaching to email responses or giving to prospective adopters.


Yes, yes, yes! Experience is everything...particularly with animals.

You should definitely share your wisdom, not only for the nuts and bolts of how to care for senior animals but, more importantly, to impart the idea that these animals should be considered as fellow beings with intrinsic worth.

Simply by writing about helping senior animals you are contributing to a paradigm shift...that senior animals deserve to BE helped...not simply disposed of when their bodily needs become inconvenient.


Lurker here - I love this idea. I respect what you have to say and love the blog because it is so honest. I'd be VERY interested in paying for/reading your articles as my pets age and I get into situations with them that I don't know how to deal with.


As one of the daily lurkers, I'd be thrilled if you'd publish a book, be it of your blogs or of your practical, day-to-day advice on animal care. I think it would be valuable for people and, if done right, could provide at least a small income stream for SAINTS.

Yay Carol!


Hi from a lurker...I would love to read about the care senior cats need . And of course dealing with the things seniors typically get..cancer and renal failure.Experience is extremely valuable. Also what you think of different pain meds for cats. I really enjoy your site. You write from the heart and with the truth of daily living. Thanks from someone who recently nursed 6 elderly cats through illnesses and the end. That was tough must be one hell of a person to go through the loss over and over again.
Thank you...Barbara

cheryl and stef

Fantastic Idea, we are always looking on websites for Why does my dog have these symptoms. How to control this and what do I give him for this pain...Please at least I would know it is coming from a legit person, and not just some unknown that thinks knows it all . And then I would have more knowledge when asking my vet what should happen next...We are getting to that point in our pets life that we would really benefit alot from your expert advice. They are all starting to get older... Start writing...


This is a great idea Carol, would save you tons of time and would also give potential senior animal adopters, owners a chance to see what is really involved for proper care and living with seniors. If it was a link or page on your website, people could be asked for a donation to Saints if they found the information useful to them. You have a medical background and daily experience so this does count for reasonable credentials. As long as you can be clear that the information given is to go hand in hand with vet care and not a way for people to avoid trips to the vet, and that the information given is based on your experience, it should be enough of a disclaimer that no one can suggest you are doing more than helping people live more successfully with their seniors.
I look forward to reading the articles!

Barbara DeMott

Hi Carol,
I have a fair amount of writing skills too (oublished a book and a few article,etc.) I am also writing some short articles for a rescue in LA. I would be happy to do editing or whatever.


I think this a a fantastic idea Carol...and as for credentials one thing I've learned in life is that a person can have all the education possible but without practical experience they know jack-squat really lol.


Aside from saving yourself oodles of time by setting up a site to which you can refer those with questions, I think you have a great opportunity to bring something unique to animal lovers.

Combining solid experience and suggestions with anecdotal tales of the lives of the animals at SAINTS could serve many functions:

1) Sharing experience with those facing challenges with senior and special needs animals;
2) Educating in general that an animal's intrinsic value does not diminish with age;
3) Sharing laughter and tears via the stories of the creatures that find themselves at SAINTS.

Changing societal views on animals in general can only be done that those with a natural affinity with pen (or keyboard). I know many people who do wonderful things in the world of animal welfare, sheltering, rescue etc., but their gift does not extend to the written word.

You have a gift for both animal care and the written word, and those gifts combined put you in a position to have tremendous positive impact on the lives of more animals than only those in the care of SAINTS.

Good luck!


an ebook is the way to go! Doesn't cost you anything and people can pay and download it!

I think it's a fantastic idea! My two loves are 6 years old and 3 (a pup still,lol) so while we're not in the market for a book like that yet, certainly down the road it would be a great thing to have!

Btw, I would rather get a book written by someone's who has experience by living it daily, then by someone who has simply studied it.
And let's face it, I like the way you talk, straight forward and down to earth!

Marie Bellemare

I am so hoping for this Carol (not that you have the time but like you mentioned, it would save you from repeating and repeating and repeating)... I have been learning so much just by reading the blog regularly, your writings Carol and your sharing your daily experience are priceless... I feel that this could be one of the way to get back a micro portion of all that you share with us humans) I would be the first in line to buy that book Carol !!! and I totally agree with what Chris T said about your qualifications... I have searched a lot to find someone who had serious knowledge of senior animals and Carol, so far I haven't come accross someone who contributed to my experience with my senior dogs more than you did - and that's my passion, caring for senior dogs.... Marie

Chris T

I think it would be a good very good idea. Even if you just do your stream of consciousness thing, I know how how to cut and paste and could do the first edit. Deb could then do a second edit to fix all of my mistakes. We seriously could help you with this.

We could set up a website, flog the book and have 'chat times' with Carol or a bulletin board, like brindle but not brindle (if you know what I mean) dedicated to senior animals.

I think it is a great idea and a great way to reach more people with good information.

As for your qualifications all I would say is look around at who dispenses all sorts of advice - what are their qualifications?

You are a nurse, you have medical knowledge, you have common sense and you have way more experience than most out there.

The blog could also be turned into a book. It would be a bestseller. It just needs some cleaning up, formatting and some kind of structure. It would be a great way to raise considerable funds for SAINTS.