Rescue Journal

nicole told me yesterday that we are down 10 dogs in the past couple of weeks....

Carol  ·  May 2, 2011

really? let me think here....losses..prince, prudence, little mister, maude, blue...out to foster or adoption...sherlock, suzie, chica, eli..
ok, i am getting close...but who am i missing??

still..that is a lot of no longer here in the past week or two. and with only 2 coming in...theya and cherry. it is definitely feeling less crowded around here right now. i am liking it better.

but there is a price to pay for this. and i ain't paying it so much...the board is right now.

i don't think anyone really understood how many actual requests we get for admissions...and how many hard decisions need to get made. i have said no to a couple of their yes's and they have said no to a couple i would have said yes to. but..the bottom line is everyone is participating and giving it their very, very thoughtful best and this is good.

and the numbers are sliding downwards which is the common goal for all of us here and this is also good.

but i want everyone to fully appreciate what the board is going is an absolutely heartbreaking, soul bruising, time consuming and frustrating job....if my count is the same 2 week time period, they have had to make sometimes life and death decisions at least a dozen or more times....and really in the grand scheme of things? it is just the tip of the iceberg.

so have you (virtually) hugged one of our board members today? they got thrown into the fire of the most painful and difficult aspect of is not one most ever see but it is the one that many times hurts the most.

i am high five'ing all of you...thank you for taking this on..this has been a good change for all of us (especially me) at saints....but for you guys it probably big-time sucks.



don't apologise nicole..we need to talk about these things. it is great to think rescue is all warm and fuzzy and every animal in serious need will find help somewhere. but the sad reality is...most of them won't..there are far too many. if cowboy and sarcee's death opened a bunch of eyes and wounded a few souls..oh well..their lives and deaths do count for something, burying our heads in the proverbial happy sand doesn't do them any good.

as to maximum numbers...there isn't any. it is the mix that we have, it is the workload they require, it is the available space to meet their needs. and where the current vet bills stand. i could manage 100 dogs like theya but 5 phoebe's would put me right over the edge into insanity. we can afford one marvin but 100 of him would break the bank.

that is why each animal wanting to come in is looked at individually. if we had turned away theya who has fit in here so well and already brings such happineess and joy to this would have been a shame...if we had turned away marvin who needed us so badly..that too would have been terrible.

it is finding the balance between the animals needs wanting in and the animals already in our care and it is looking at each one individually. an across the board NO to everyone is just as irresponsible a rescue act as an across the board to everyone yes.

Nicole N

I feel very bad that I have brought up the Cowboy and Sarcee situation again. I did not mean to open wounds that our Board is feeling over the outcome of that situation... I wasn't thinking and I am sorry if I have made any of you feel that the decisions you had made were wrong. It was just the point in time that my eyes were opened up - and I wasn't necessarily believing that those two pups should come to SAINTS. BUT... with all the people on Facebook, etc., who were out there claiming they would have taken one of the culled sled dogs if they were given the option... well I just thought that one of those many would have come forward... and I gave them the chance. I posted the details of Cowboy and Sarcee on the Facebook sites of the people who had made the claim. but funny (NOT)... not a single peep!

Carol, out of curiosity, what is the maximum number of animals that saints SHOULD have.


there were some huge concerns over taking in cowboy and sarcee...2 old sled dogs, chained to outside houses their whole lives...could they safely assimilate into saints communal atmosphere? and if not, could we provide them with enough attention and quality of life in segregation from the others?

these two dogs were the boards first attempts at figuring out the in's and out's of possible admits...and it was a really difficult one to start with and totally unfair of me not to help them....and quite honestly? i was waffling back and forth between yes and no.

the board ended up after much struggling, and second guessing themselves...changing their mind..and cowboy and sarcee became a collective "yes"...sadly that same day the news came that they had been euthanized, 2 days before the original deadline..with our original no, there were no other options to seek so the family (who was in crises) let them go.

everyone felt truly terrible. i said let it go. it happens, try harder with the next ones to make sure every possible stone towards possible admission is not left unturned so no really does mean yourselves from second guessing decisions.
it is the only way not to carry the no's around for the rest of your life.

and bottom line?.... i still can't say if even the yes would have been the "right" vote....too many variables that we just did not know.

but i will tell you this...cowboy and sarcee will never be forgotten by any of us.

and one last may make everyone feel a bit better about this.

cowboy and sarcee were in a good home..yes they were sled dogs and yes they primarily lived chained to outside houses as most sled dogs not working was blind, one had spinal myleopathy and both were 12 yrs old. and their family still had them, cared for them and tried to find options for them..i strongly suspect they were well cared for and loved.

not too many sled dogs have that kind of maybe it was the right thing to let them both pass from a home that they knew and where they felt loved.


yes i do have to agree with you nicole n. when i read about cowboy and sarcee being euthanized it too made me have a lot of tears. and how many more that we never hear about. the world can be very cruel to our animals but a person can only do so much to help. it would be nice to save everyone but that is never going to happen so we just help as much as we can. the board is doing a great job and so are you dawn. it must be a great help to carol to not have to have this decision maing all on her own. i am up right now because i cant sleep so just thought i would find out what is going on at saints. la la la.


I too was devastated that Cowboy and Sarcee were not rescued by a foster home or forever home or a rescue. I don't think I want to know how many others this happens to. I really thought someone would have come forward. I don't envy your job of choosing who can come to SAINTS and who can't. You have my highest respect for a very difficult job. God Bless you!!

Carol Ann

Eli is doing great had a bath and his tail is carried high and Sweetie and Eli were curled up sleeping together today :) That should help cheer you up a bit.


Some hurts are too hard too face..I didn't like seeing the empty kuranda that Larry loved.. as much as I hate counting how many we have..I hate it more when we count how many have crossed ... I have a horrible knot in my stomach about counting No's.

Soo I am becoming a dog.. I will not look backwards I will (try) not to look forward.. I will live in this moment and face what it brings as best I can .


Rescue is a big responsibility, but nothing is as tough as making the decision to say yes or no. Thank you all so very much for taking on this tremendous responsibility.


I'm very happy to help where I can. Yes, it is hard.

We will keep trying to get the numbers down while helping the one who need it the most. I am doing all I can to find some of our SAINTS their forever home.



this has got to be one of the worst 'jobs' i have ever had, but it's also one of the most important ones.
we had 13 admission requests in 14 days. that is crazy.

oh and my number included merry and tyke as possibilities, but not eli.

Nicole N

How overwhelming. I am completely overwhelmed just reading this. I don't think I could ever make the "no" decisions - I don't know what it would do to me. As it is, it breaks my heart each time one of these little abandoned souls comes in. I don't think I have ever shed as many tears as I have since volunteering at SAINTS, and I have never been so aware of how many animals are abandoned, surrendered, abused, mistreated, unloved for years and years and years until they are one of the lucky ones to come to saints or another rescue out there, or to be adopted. And it seems I still have so very much to learn. Over the past 6 months I didn't give much thought about all the ones who don't make the cut so to speak - I was too overwhelmed with the emotions I felt for the ones coming in. The first time it really hit me was those two beautiful dogs - Cowboy and Sarcee. It never even dawned on me that they wouldn't find homes. But when the post came out that they were euthanized I think I cried for them for the rest of that day and then some. I wished so badly that there had been something I could have done for them, and the realization that there wasn't anything I could do made me feel so extremely helpless and empty. And I felt that because I knew about this, that I too let them down. I won't even get into the anger that I felt towards the owners who gave them up. Now today, to have my eyes opened up to all the ones we can't take definitely has bruised my soul... and I am not the one making any of these decisions. I can't imagine what kind of an impact it would have on those of you who sit on the board, or for you Carol. This to me should be listed on one of those tv shows "worlds worst jobs". Personally, I would rather give an elephant a rectal exam with my entire upper body buried up the elephant's rectum than have to make a 'no' decision. You are all much braver people than me. I thank you for making these decisions for those of us who are too weak to sit in your shoes.


I also hope your readers appreciate what a monumental step this is for a rescuer. I have NEVER known a rescuer to give up control of intake to a Board - it is just unthinkable to most. Carol, I applaud you for making such a difficult decision and allowing other people (whom I know you trust) to help make these life/death choices in order to keep making SAINTS better and better. In relation to your post yesterday about sinking into hoarding, etc. I think this is a very key component - having a group who cares deeply about the sanctuary decide who gets in and who doesn't rather than the burden falling on just one person. You continue to astonish and impress me, Carol!!