Rescue Journal

another hard thing in rescue is...

Carol  ·  Sep. 26, 2009

writing a daily blog. sometimes it is hard not to have it run like some kind of endless, whining, depressing, crazy soap opera....i don't think that is so much my lack of imagination as it is sometimes the reality here. the sad will be written before the happy or funny, and the pissed right off will vent its frustration and bury the gratitude.

every day i am thankful for the support and the volunteers. everyday there is something happening that brings a smile..even on the rotten days the sun can still shine. so on those rainy, dreary, downer days..i am more likely to write about the 16 hours of wet than i am of that 30 second rainbow that i happened to see.

partly this is because, we all know how i feel about the fairy tale rescue. i think it is dangerous to make it sound all fluffy and clean. firstly, it takes away from the honest difficulty of a life dedicated to animals. secondly it encourages people to come on and do the same but like a used car salesman...the proverbial little old lady driven worries, no problems..just buy on in on a perfect deal...its fun, its rewarding, you get to wear some wings. and thirdly, and most importantly...mzaybe i am jaded, maybe i just truly do suck at this thing. but i don't think so...i don't think rescue is any easier or cleaner or less fraught with disaster anywhere else..i think rescuers sometimes hide (or pretend didn't happen) whatever they think might reflect badly on themselves. so they either rewrite it or ignore it altogether. you and i will only see or hear the positive, happy stuff....cuz rescue is always clean. (not just talking about floors here...also talking about intangible things)

anyway...that puts a lot of pressure on everyone else in rescue to be squeaky clean, happy ending, hero in the fairy tale with all of the right answers too. i don't mind living up or comparing myself to true blue perfect, if there was such a thing..but i am not too happy to be in comparison to half or no truths. that just pisses me off.

so here's the thing..unless you live here 24/7 or come here a helluvalot or can see right into my sometimes messed up don't know what truth i tell you or not.

i do try to be honest in what i wrote on this blog.

now having said is the cruncher thing...i am willing to bet that sometimes i lie to myself and don't even realize i am doing is a survival thing.

but i am going to try really hard not to lie to you or me about yesterday. it sucked.

i spent the morning talking to every single appilance dealer in maple ridge mission and abbotsford. i visited each store, i talked to the personnel, i was determined to pick the right washer and get it delivered before the current leaking, unfixable one rots the wall again.

i was overwhelmed with techno info which i hate under the best of circumstances..this washer has 232 moving parts, this one only has is direct drive one is not. the difference between commercial grade and commercial home use machines.

we have very little money right now..i have to be careful. by noon, i made the decision and headed home again. i got home at 1230...i still had not done the diabetics and we had a sensitive staff meeting at one where i was about to turn the world upside down around here.

nicole met me and told me as i poked the diabetics that colleen had told her that marty cried whwen she picked him up this morning...i filed this into...marty is getting close, keep an eye on him. the meeting went ok...but i know the staff are not happy and i am feeling burdened with trying to run a large sanctuary without some of the necessary skills.

tammy pops into the tail end of the meeting and says, "can you come and look at marty? he's not doing very well. i say "ok, be right there, almost done."

maybe 20-30 minutes later, i make it into the medical....his respirations are rapid, he is having trouble breathing. i call the vets and say we are on our way in, marty has reached the end of his road.

i had the carrier on my lap, i tell him, it's ok...nicole is trying to get by all of the road challenges in our way. tammy and meghann are in the back seat so i don't know what they could see, but suddenly..marty hit the crises...he just couldn't breathe. he threw himself around the carrier, panicking.

i left it too long...last night for the first time, i saw his respiration rate had started to slightly increase. i had other things on my mind like staffing issues and washing machines, boo and spritely. i thought at the time..the progression is beginning but i thought we still had time before i needed to act.

marty didn't have much time left and i was not focusing where i should be. marty died quickly...5 minutes maybe of not being able to breathe.

it is a shitty way to die, quick or not.

and it was entirely my fault.

so i can't grieve for him right now because i am too horrified by my part in how he died.

that is the truth of this rescue, yesterday. the washing machine and the staff meeting were more of a priority than marty for me. is too late carry knowing this around while i learn to live with it.


karen duncan

if only we could clone ourselves..We all have been there..big hug to you..he is at peace.
karen VOKRA


you know what carol you are only human. like others , i know you will beat yourself up over this and to be honest i probably would too. what is done is done you gave him all you could and loved him. nothing more can be asked because if you had not taken him, as with all the others, what would happen to them. i think we all know the answer to that. these animals all pass knowing you and lots of others loved them and working there i can see how loved and happy they are.


Thank you for your honesty. There is nothing I can say that will make this any easier for you - we both know that. 20/20 hindsight sucks sometimes. You did what was best considering the circumstances. I wish you wouldn't beat yourself up and I pray that you won't while at the same time knowing you will.

I had the same thing happen with our dog, Bella. I struggled with it for some time. Ultimately, I know that we would have given our lives for Bella and Bella for us. For whatever reason, it was her time and we were not the ones to make the decision - she did. She hid her pain and did her best to be herself until it was too late. I had heard about animals doing this when I was an ACO; now I have experienced it myself. I think it is their gift to us. That may be me trying to rationalize things, but I hope it is honest. One day I hope to be with Bella again and then I will know.

Thank you for doing what you do. I know in my heart that you were doing what was necessary at the time. I also know that while you may not always be doing something with a resident of SAINTS, they are always Number 1 in everything you do. I pray that God will ease your pain.


Me again - I know it's not the money the prevented you from leaving sooner, but if only we could clone ourselves we would see everything. You've watched so many and held their little paws through final minutes... I lost my best dog ever, and I've had so many, on the way to the vet. I was driving and not even able to pat him with his last breath...


Carol, you go above and beyond in the medical care you give your animals. I have felt the same guilt that you feel in delaying a vet trip. Vet expenses and trying to hold off until necessary is reality and we are only human. Chances are the vet wouldn't have been able to reverse his condition. You were with Marty in his final minutes and that's what counts. He died feeling loved and the time he shared with you through his final months or years cannot be taken for granted. Don't beat yourself up - easier said than done, I've been there too.