Rescue Journal

so much to think about..

Carol  ·  Jun. 19, 2009

it is no wonder my brain turns to mush. i think on the day i die if they dissect my head they will find my mind kicked the bucket in self defence.

"no, no...don't make me think anymore..i can't do it..let me rest!"


what am pondering on?...oh..many, many things.


i am officially on holidays now and am busily planning my multiple strategies to be fully ready for the open house next have no conception of how much stuff there is to do! quite scares the crap out of me.
AND.....i am worrying about money and paying the vet bills and busily adding up who is owed what, when was their last payment, who got paid the most last time and who got paid the least...trying to work it all out as fairly and responsibly as i can. i am anxiously awaiting the receipt of the GST refund which is a large part of the payments i have planned to make. i am trying to anticipate how much in donations will come in from the open house and some of the other smaller things (like the mail) and adding up what is in the bank but still needs to come out from various bills that i have already paid.

and while i am thinking about the vet bills..i am starting to think that if we have already this year spent $40,000, how much more are we going to spend?...another 20, 30, 40...60 thousand dollars? it all depends on what animals come in with what medical issues and how we end up managing those medical issues for the short or long term...if they are chronic or acute or if they die quickly or live here for a long all effects the size of the vet bills.

for instance in animal deaths alone is the past 4 weeks...just before death care (while we try to stave off death in the first place), during death care (euthanization) and after death care (cremation)..we have probably spent around $5000 (this is in addition to our regular medical care for those who are not at the end of life's road.) that is a lot of money in a short period of time to meet our responsibilities to the animals who have ended their lives with us.
so i have been doing some thinking around continuity of care, cost of providing care and logistics around that care and if we could do something different but might work even better financially for saints (we are a charitable organization that provides medical care to homeless and unwanted animals...we don't have a profit margin, they are not our beloved family pets..they are welfare receipients and we basically are their welfare agency providing their care)

i have these thoughts running thru my look into opening our own private (saints sanctuary and foster animals only) medical (not surgical, we would still send those out) clinic...contract a part time vet on salary to manage the chronic and basic acute health care of our animals from here.... do their assessments and their exams, including bloodwork, prescribe their medications (and order them in at cost) and order their treatments, moniter them for changes both good and bad. and leave the techno stuff like xrays and surgeries to be sent out to our clinic vets (at least in the beginning, who knows if the future might hold an xray machine and a surgical suite)

our current vets have practices to run and pay for, their time with us in the clinics or away from the clinic to be here... costs both them and us time and money.... soooo....what more $200 house call fees, no more $45 per animal exam, no more $200 euthanizations, no more mark up on medications, no more scrambling for appointments when clinics are busy, no more gas to and from 2 or 3 clinics a day. no more rushing around to pick up meds or special diets...just a straight salary and ordering/paying wholesale for the things that we need.

it is starting to make sense to me...if we are non profit, we need to find a way to provide non profit medical care. we just can't afford to keep doing what we are doing to the extent we are doing it without coming up with a better and more cost effective way. or...we could just stop helping as many sick animals as we do to keep costs down too....but that's not really the point of this particular rescue.

the other issue around this, is providing specialized palliative and geriatric is a specialty all on its own. you do not medically treat a terminally ill or very ancient animal the same as you do a young, healthy 2 year old. it is not really fair to the animal to treat them the same....different lives, different needs, different recovery times, different time line left for them to live, and a different focus on HOW WELL they will live.

anyway..i had a discussion with one of our vets today, and he is going to look into the BCVMA regulations around a sanctuary having it's own in-house vet clinic with it's own vet on staff, which is different than one serving the general public.

and maybe this is not something we can move on for a year or two or five...but maybe eventually we can. and so i am thinking and pondering and stretching my brain to sample some of the possibilities that might be available to us in the future to provide more consistent and comprehensive and affordable medical care that matches with our philosophies and beliefs surrounding senior and palliative care.

the direct result of thinking is sometimes a dream is born. start acting on that dream with all of the research and planning and plain hard work..and maybe one day that dream becomes reality.

i am pretty sure that is how it works, or at least it did when i long ago start thinking senior and special needs sanctuary.

but oh, the thought of another giant dream becoming reality..hurts my tired and overused head.

and finally..i am pondering on the ficklemindedness and untruthfullness of humans and their ability to make a pawn out of a tiny, living and breathing and feeling thing. and why? don't ask me, i don't know. all i know is if you give something away..gee whiz, it ain't yours anymore.

apparently..jerry's past owner who gave the dog away to a person who gave the dog away to another person, who gave the dog away to another person who then surrendered the dog to saints...has contacted the police and is claiming the dog was stolen....from whom? each person who had the dog, gave away the dog...and while i have the dog..he is still here, he hasn't been stolen from me.

so who is the thief here? person one, two, three or four? cuz i sure as hell know it certainly ain't me.

i think no one is a thief...i think someone along the line changed their mind for whatever reason (lets hope it is not because they actually miss having a tormented dog in the trunk of their car.)

whatever...jerry might be a twisted little bugger but he has really good reasons to be twisted and i happen to love him, twistedness and all.

we might be in for a fight for what is best for jerry's life, oh well, every animal has its own unique and special needs...sigh, and maybe i will next have to start hurting my brain and worrying about legal fees.

thinking about rescue SUCKS.



what if you become a 'practicum' teaching on site hospital area? It would be a great way for vet students to learn about different animals and their needs, it would be hands on as well.
maybe you can team up with a vet school and have the onsite vet place as part of the school.
does that make sense and make it more do-able quicker?

Amy Dalgliesh

You might look into the cost of a mobile veterinary clinic (my vet has a LaBoit). I have no idea how much they run, but it would probably beat the cost of retrofitting or building something. Plus, as plans change, all you have to do is move it. Figured I'd toss it out there to add to the other things rolling around in the gray matter...


no problem tracey..will let you know...i already know some of the costs cuz dave told me.... 2 decent surgical lights are about $8000 and the anesthetic machine alone is almost 10 still would need sterilization autoclaves, surgical instruments, oxygen equipment, cardiac monitering, the surgical table and i don't think doing surgery without an available xray machine is a very good idea...crap man an IV pole is over $800 so the above stuff would cost an arm and a leg. plus because it is a sterile area, you'd probably need some kind of pressurized airflow system to keep common germ air out AND you HAVE to keep that room sterile at all times...tough to do in a shelter.
that is why i am thinking send the surgeries out...why pay thru the nose to reinvent the wheel.


Carol, would you be so kind as to share what you find out about the regulations surrounding an on-site vet? It is something we have been toying with as well (we are on pace for a record vet year of $80,000+... YIKES!).

I think it is a very awesome idea. I would love it even more if we could set up a proper, regulated surgical suite for S/N.

I love it when you get thinking; but I am sorry that it hurts your brain :)