Rescue Journal

past history

Carol  ·  Mar. 19, 2009

many of our animals have been in many different homes over their life times. when they are surrendered here by their current family, they are advised that this is the end of the road as far as their involvement goes. while i will gladly answer the occasional brief inquiry as to how that animal is doing..i just do not have the time or the inclination to participate any further than this.

sometimes, past owners pop up from several homes ago...they are understandably concerned and upset that despite whatever they thought was going to happen, their friend did not end up with a perfect life and instead ended up in a homeless senior animal sanctuary.

i have to be honest here...same rules still apply. once an animal is given away to whatever reality of life...that is it...the animal was still given away. so many people have begged me to please talk to them, let them come and visit, let them tell their stories so no guilt is applied to them.

we all have guilt and wonder in fear for the unhappy decisions we have made. i have them, i am sure you have is part of life. the issue becomes, can you or should you try to re-live, re-write or even re-pay that time in your life at the expense of the animal's current saints life?

in my mind you can't. it is over and done. the animals lived or died.... whatever, however they lived or died and that is the reality for them. if they are here...i certainly don't have the time to waste in re-hashing the past...i am too busy caring for them today to care too much about yesterday.

do you actually think that the previous families consider that maybe their dog ended up matted and cold and wet on a chain? or their sweet and gentle fluffy became a starving homeless street cat and was killed by a car or euthanized in a stainless steel shelter cage?

do ex-pony clubbers who upgraded to bigger and faster, envison the best friend of their childhood days starving to death in a field or upside down in slaughterhouse chains?

this is not always the reality...but if you think about how many horses are slaughtered, or cats are euthanized or dogs are neglected on chains...the odds become pretty good, that maybe the animal they once loved, did in fact end up that way.

lucky for the ones who end up in rescue...those fates they will no longer face. but just because they are in rescue, does not mean their previous owners now have an opportunity to assauge whatever fear or guilt they have.

basically, i just don't have time or the inclination to invest to make them feel untruthfully that everything was always ok.

make a decsion, make a choice and then accept the risk that sometimes unfortunately it becomes a not so great reality.

and be aware that with indulging in animal fairy tales....the animal eventually may have to pay the ultimate unhappy price.



You are absolutely right, Carol. If you let an animal go, you let an animal go. Done and done.


You are not bitter Carol you see reality :) I too often have ppl ask for updates and you are right they never offer any legit HELP they seek approval for a wrong and waste my time. Most of them get that precious F-word from me when I start to lose patience with them.

That being said I have all the time in the world (ok a bit of time) when requested, to give an update to those with terminal illness or other such circumstance in which they did right by their pet and not by themselves.


i am sorry...i am stuck on this...they are not calling or writing to HELP us, NONE of them EVER offered a single thing...they just want more from us than we are already giving, more time, more caring, more sympathy...but for THEM, not for the animals AND they still want some kind of emotional connection to the animal that they GAVE AWAY...i just do not have any of that emotional stuff for them, i already gave it away to the animals... and as for maintaining a freaking way..let go, let the animal get on with its life because they are not part of anyone elses life right now EXCEPT those of us at saints...WE are the ones shedding the actual blood sweat and tears for them not someone who just wants to be a part time good guy in the story of their life.

god, i sound bitter tonight. geez...i might need a baileys and hot chocolate.

anyway...updates are fair...emotionally burdening me even further is not.


I would agree with this approach Carol, but I do see how some opportunities would be missed. My only hope that the world will change for all sentient creatures is that human beings will evolve in consciousness. I think that happens with education, awareness and redemption.

I know you don't have the time to talk with a former owner, but what about giving them a chance to redeem themselves with actions and not words? Perhaps the option to sponsor their former pet? They won't get him/her back, but I'll bet that would weed out those who are really serious about making things right and those just looking for a quick fix to feel better. And you'd probably never hear from the latter again.


Don't worry babe.....I have had really bad experiances with animal recues,,,,(we won't mention names)....Look after your animals and we won't have to worry about places like yours.....but when i showed up there sceptally to do work i was ready to say NO... :(....I found a loving attmosphere where i shoulda givin my young 135 lb white german shepard too...who was getting too aggresive for my all the white hair everywhere.........I too am embarest to say i too gave a dog up for adoption....You do great work there.....I agree that previous owners are a pain in the a$$......but even the best of us get animals that weren't in the game plan......but still want a good life for them......alittle patients dear.....But alas my dog went to a little old man in langely who got mugged on one of his walks....and was a shut in til luke came into his he walks with confidence....with my old friend......I always wanted to see that dog I empathaize with previous owners......try and humour them.......maybe they'll donate somethin to the cause...... :) :)


thanks, that makes more sense ... I do see the difference between the quick update on the animal and the looking for forgiveness and grace..... people can get counselling for that. thank you for what you do for the animals... all the lives you have enriched....


the animals we get are not well cared for beloved pets...they were fun for awhile at best or out and out cases of neglect.
love is a funny thing to some folks...i have had previous owners ask me to identify their much beloved given away pet by their rotten teeth and foul breath...this i just don't get..if the teeth were rotten years ago...why weren't they fixed? why couldn't they get weight on the horse at 29 when i can get it on at 33? why was that dog crippled with immobility when they gave it up but now running around our pond?
great past owners do not come around looking for their pets very often...i too in my youth gave an animal away because my ex was a dick..if i could find him now and re-do it all... i would but 30 years later i know it is much too late.
maybe that's why i rescue now, to try to make it all up
but i know enough to know, i never can.
and honestly...knowing all that i know and even having been an offender myself...rarely would i ever consider giving an animal back to a previous home, they would have to "wow" me with their growth...most folks really don't grow that much...they still offer the same excuses instead of solutions...but it is the ability to find and build solutions that keep an animal safe.

quick, occasional updates are fine..i know if they are asking, there was some kind of bond there...but not the long drawn out and repeated conversations and history sharing..i just do not have enough time to fulfill their ongoing need for closure and amnesty. this would be their job to work on to grow...not mine,i am not a human counsellor or facilitator... my job is to care for that animal today.
people sometimes get my role mixed up.


You are absolutely right. People do want to believe that their pet gets a wonderful next home, but too often that is indeed a fairy tale. This is a very difficult subject.

Like all of us, I've made decisions that I didn't like - but at the time, under due consideration, you have to do what is best. Under those circumstances, in 1993 my exhusband and I sold our horses and moved to town. I did everything I could to try and get my guys good homes, but the fate of three of them I will never know. It still bothers me. In this country, too many horses abused, abandoned, sent to slaughter.

However, I found the fourth horse, 13 years later, at the pg equine rescue. So I sold my downtown house, bought some property, and my horse and I moved. he was lonely, so back to the rescue I went, and got him a friend. We had two wonderful years together. I had him buried here. We were so very very lucky. Thank god for the rescue - she had saved him from a meat truck. So happy endings do happen!

In hindsight - I should have kept the country property and the horses and let the ex go. But at that time, I did what I felt was best for the family - not necessarily the horses. Not all owners are negligent - but too many are. Have you ever been able to reconnect an animal with a loving ex-owner?

If the previos owner just want an update, that is really hard - you are really busy with the 100 you are caring for. Can they have the animal back if they are able and prepared to care for it appropriately? Thats a hard decision, again it depends on the circumstance.

I am currently looking for another equine buddy, but I want an older/companion one - I want my pets to go before me, so I never again have to worry about their fate if I cant keep them. Its a hard decision.