Rescue Journal

continuing on about accountability...

Carol  ·  Apr. 8, 2010

i decided to euthanize archie today. he was spiralling into almost continuous seizure activity and he was not fully recovering inbetween. this became a moral issue for me, our sweet little archie was 18 years old. we finally after months of trying got his skin issues under control. we removed all of his diseased and rotten teeth and left him few to chew with. we had done everything humanly possible to help him find some comfort in his old age.

i don't know what caused the seizures..i think the ivermectin was a good possiblity even if it started long after what the research says it should and did not disappear with stopping the drug. i don't think anyone has done any real research on the neurological toxic affects of ivermectin on 10 pound 18 year old dogs...mostly because 18 year olds are not alive to develop demodex in that ancient part of their lives.
2 of our vets who saw him voted for a brain lesion, and the two visiting from a emergency clinic yesterday said maybe meningitis or encephalitis (sarah who put him down today said it looked like a brain lesion the way he was acting, but it could have been a hepatic encephalitis too given his age....(ie seizure activity as a part of end stage liver disease)

the only way to know for sure was to do an autopsy...bottom line, we cannot afford it and knowing would make no difference because none of the above were fixable or treatable either in an 18 yr old currently suffering dog, the decison to let him go had to be made.

archie's death has totally bummed me out on so many different levels. first and foremost because i really did care deeply for him and i am going to miss him.

it is also bumming me out because now i am questioning...what is the point? you can fix 10 things on these old broken bodies and then something else critically important just totally craps out.

i don't even know why we struggle anymore..why i make myself sick worrying about how to pay for what it takes to provide them with proper care. mo and i figured it out today...we made just over $10,000 at the fundraiser...we owed $17,000 in vet care.

of that $10,000...$2000 went to caspar's emergency care, $7000 went to only one of our vets (and that only paid half of the current/updated bill) and $1000 paid for barn feed, supplies and special diets. in the past 2 weeks we have spent another $5000 over and above that original vet cost.
the vet bills don't stop, the hydro/electric bills don't stop, the costs of insurence and staff wages do not stop, the feed bills and cleaning supply costs do not just all rolls together into this ever increasing snowball of money that has to be paid to someone somehow.

why am i killing myself to try to make it all work out if they are all going to die anyway no matter what we do to save matter if we do find the right answer for today's problem, tomorrow's is just waiting to mess it all up again.

oh archie..i don't regret having you here and trying to make you feel better. i just am not sure anymore if it would have made that much difference to you if you only lived 17 and not 18 years.

i am accountable for the decisions i make, but how can i ever know if i really make the right ones?

love you archie, rest in peace, the difficulties in life, stay here with the living and i am glad that you are now free.




Thanks for saying that, Colleen. I do enjoy all of the animals at Saints, but Doris is special to me.


I think Karena expresses what really matters best: "Did I do enough? I don’t know, probably not. Can I afford it? Definitely not. I can only answer one. Did I do something? Yes."

That's really the crux of the matter. Did you DO something? And you do every minute of everyday. Most people don't do anything to help anybody. And, in the end, the fact that you cared enough to TRY and figure out how to make someone's life better...well...that's one of the greatest gifts you could give to anybody...especially the old and dispossessed.

Tannis also makes a wonderful point which I am always harping on. Why do rescue people always feel the most guilty?!!! They are the ones saving more lives in a year than 95% of the population and, yet, they are the ones questioning their ethics and actions. It's absurd, really. And nothing infuriates me more than when we get a call or an e-mail accusing us of not caring or of failing animals because we can't take on another animal who doesn't get along with the baby, inflames allergies, pees outside the litterbox, doesn't match the couch, etc. These people absolve themselves of any sort of guilt by transferring it to the rescuers. What a crazy world we live in.


"So if Saints enlightens the public in any way about the
human imposed needless suffering of society’s animals, while also shining the light on a chance to make a positive difference, even if only on the end zone, it is wholly worth it’s weight in gold"

Nicely said! I echo Kim!( And I see you and Doris out there on walks is evident she and you adore each other. She struts and sparkles when with you! )


I forgot to add, in response to your wondering if S.A.I.N.T.S. is worth it... well, today, I was walking Reggie and a man gestured towards Saints and asked me if it was a kennel, in a slightly negative tone. A few of the dogs were barking. Anyhooo, I said "Nope, it's a sanctuary for old and often abused animals. They are here so they won't have to die in the S.P.C.A.
Well, the man's expression shifted with new understanding, and he said only, "oh."
So if Saints enlightens the public in any way about the
human imposed needless suffering of society's animals, while also shining the light on a chance to make a positive difference, even if only on the end zone, it is wholly worth it's weight in gold.


There is only one thing harder than putting a dearly loved animal down, and that is trying to keep them going when they steadily go downhill.
But it is still so hard to try and determine the "right" moment to do this. I struggled for some time when making this decision for my dog, Kayla. Then one day it hit me- there would NEVER be a "right" time.
You did your best to try and remedy every little/big thing wrong with Archie. But that old Grandfather clock is relentless.


Dear Archie.....I bet you're looking down and saying look at the goddam Big Bud already taking over my bed! You were such a gentle boy and so cute with your sideways tongue...may you rest in peace on a big comfy bed all to yourself.


oh archie..i don’t regret having you here and trying to make you feel better. i just am not sure anymore if it would have made that much difference to you if you only lived 17 and not 18 years.

I think I get what you are saying here Carol. And I think maybe the more we grow and learn and get experienced at things the more plausible it is that we change the way we do things ... and if you do change not to regret the path that took there ... Although I am by no means a rescue I don't regret how I have changed and how I view how we look after our senior animals. I know we wouldn't have taken the same path today that we took with Scotty.

Although I am glad you removed his teeth...teeth for me have always been an issue so I think it is such a big issue for animals too.


Carol, how wonderful that Archie had someone who truly cared about him, loved him, and let him go when it was his time.

My goodness, when will you stop beating yourself up!!!! It is not all for nothing. You and all those who make SAINTS possible are providing the most important thing of all - LOVE - and to provide it when all others have given up is truly the greatest gift!

Each and every resident of SAINTS knows what love is, has the freedom to be who they are - finally, and they are given back their dignity. You are special in what you do and you accomplish what seems to many to be impossible. One thing always remains the same, though. The animals are the ones that benefit.


The posts on accountability have really moved me today. I've tried being accountable for some animals in need and it's really hard! It's physically, emotionally and financially draining. I can see why people fear accountability so much and I have an incredible amount of respect for you because of your willingness to take that upon yourself. My limited experiences left me with mostly unanswered questions. Did I do enough? I don't know, probably not. Can I afford it? Definitely not. I can only answer one. Did I do something? Yes. Archie and all the others previous passed on with someone that loved them enough to be accountable. They all felt lucky in the end. Please give Griffin a scratch behind his ears for me!


You are way tooooo hard on your self, you do more for animals then anyone i have ever met, but ya, your shelter is like know other i have ever heard of.... but yes i know how you feel, think alot of us do with are own animals, I put my cat down last year, he was 19 and frale, been puking for three years all the time, kidney failer, could of done injections on him, i chose not to and to put him down, he was pooing and peeing everywhere, but had been doing that for three years... so i put him down, still regret it to,,,, had soo much pressure from everyone for the last two years to do it, he was stressing me out sooo bad, anyway i still now think i could of waited longer...I feel guilty about rescueing chance... and not keeping him with me, fell in love with him, but money was a huge issue here, and time,have three aging animals here already, two pomeraineans, that both have alot of health issues right from the start, one is a rescue pom , got her at 7 years of age, the other i bought from a top breeder.(will never do that again), will take rescues in from now on, but i do love my poms, my breed of choice... but after chance, think it will be peakanese's... love them all though, will take any of them in really, but got my favorits, anyway what i am trying to say, seem like the more we try to help, the more we feel guilty about! WHY IS THAT?? you do more then most, yet probably get critized more and have more guilt! Ha, if people vent on your decisions, its because they feel inadiqaut, ( i can't spell) don't listen to others, you know you are doing alot for the animals, and more then one person can, from what i can see, you have alot of the town of mission behind you and its growing!!! keep up with who you are and what you are doing, look at your empire!! Its growing!! And the animals need you, don't question your self so much, your doing good from what i can see, thank god for people like you!! And that goes to for all your volenteers!!! keep up the good work, and don't be soo hard on your self, but ya i know its dam hard when you fall in love with these critters, chance broke my heart in one week... buy the way just saw the pictures of him in the pink pet stroller with the cows!!! lol, glad to see the stroller is getting used with him, but sorry its not a boy colour, it was bought for my two poms who are girls, and now they have a double pet stroller... my brother wouldn't even walk with me with that stroller when i went to visit him... lol, glad to see its being used for chance...
Ps, you are doing the hardest rescue of all... taking in sick and aging animals, how heard breaking is that... its huge, most people ignore that kind of rescue just for that reason, but they all say thank god for people like you... so, its your calling in life abviously, because you can do it, most can't... I know you vent on your blogs, and we all love to read it to, once we get involved with what your doing here... just wanted to give you a pep talk.. we all need one, none of us are invisable...

Mauro Salles

You gave him security, comfort and love, and you will love him forever. He had everything he needed to be happy and finally you released him from suffering, the supreme goodness and the most sacred service.


carol, you would not have done any differently by archie, you gave him what he needed, loved him and in the end it was all not for nothing. do not beat yourself up over it. his time had come and you said goodbye. he died being loved, as do all the saints. rest in peace little man. you were very sweet.