Rescue Journal

sometimes i get stuck...

Carol  ·  Apr. 25, 2012

frozen silent with the words i want to say blocking any other possible words, like a log jam. and i try to figure out why is there that word jam that keeps me silent?

nicole forwarded me an email to answer from a super nice, caring, senior dog loving lady from back east. she wants to start a senior dog sanctuary and is asking for some advice.

what i want to say is..don't do it, run for the hills..either you will totally suck at it and screw up a bunch of old dogs will be pretty good at it and totally screw up the rest of your own life.

i can't write her that..not the least bit helpful at all. and why the heck do i feel this very real need to say this anyway? i adore old and wrecked dogs and i am not unhappy living my life this way.

the email sits unanswered and when i have nothing else to worry about...i ponder why this is so.

maybe it is because i am afraid to be responsible for whatever choices she makes? maybe i am afraid that whatever words i finally get out may sway her either way.

her email was lovely..long, well written, compassionate and caring and there seemed to be a sweet innocence there.

my kids recently got their hands on a photo of me when i was nineteen....i was so young and pretty. i was thinking if someone had told me 35 years ago that when i was middle aged, i would one day be very competently nursing sick people and old animals and had a sanctuary like saints....i would have been so excited and happy for me. not only is it a great way to dedicate my life but even then, i loved being with animals as much as i possibly could.

so why do i wish i could go back 30 odd years and say...carol..don't even think it!

and i think it is this..i have learned to live past the dream of rescue and live in the reality. but the dream was so pretty, so pure, so childlike and the adult version is different. it is harder, it is dirtier, it makes me feel incapable and inadequate frequently..i am filled with doubts, second guessing each thing...even an innocent email about starting a rescue dream.

i really should answer that email sometime today but i have no idea what to say...i don't regret this rescue road but i am not sure i should have gotten on it in the first place....maybe if i hadn't, i could still be more like that sweet and innocent nineteen year old where the reality of dreams seemed so beautiful and were luckily far away?



Direct her to the "rescue 101" blog posts (this is category on the right-side). There was a short period of time when I was helping to categorize your blog posts. This is when I had more time so it did not last long. I just tagged this post as Rescue 101. But there are 25 posts in there that will give her a good start and you don't have to worry about trying to tell her everything in an email. Just tell her to read your blog and she wiull pretty quickly get a good idea about what it takes to start, run and maintain a senior animals sanctuary.


Carol - I agree with Alison. Direct this lady to your most recent blog, and share all the wonderful, attached comments. There's so much wisdom in both and should give her a realistic view of what kind of commitment she's about to make. If we all got discouraged by the realities of life, none of us would have accomplished anything. It's a good thing we can't see ahead 30 or 40 years in our lives, because it would dampen the enthusiasm and energy of our youth. And more often than not, we move forward blindly in life, making decisions at the time with the best information we have. Some of those decisions are good, others not. I have no time for regrets though, because life is to be lived in the moment. When we all look back, we can then see what we've actually accomplished, and you have accomplished incredible things. Maybe this lady back east will do the same.

Bunny Horne

Carol, you are still filled with INNOCENCE, it's all the "reality" crap that gets in the way of our innocence (bills, no water, too much water, fund raising an on and on). Your work with those senior and sometimes broken animals remains pure and innocent. I have heard, while I don't know from personal experience, that this is how your human patients perceive you as well.
Sometimes the shit of the world makes us all feel like life is so overwhelming and that we have lost our innocence - then I spend 3 hours on a Sunday with the barn guys and the weekend warrior team of dogs and my innocence is renewed. On my trek home I feel mentally refreshed and I have a different view of the world for at least a short time. Your so called broken and elderly animals make everything right with the world again. I too feel that if I had a home or property I would love nothing more than to adopt a whole bunch of the SAINTS to spend my time with - hanging with Brad for the day or playing ball with Al or Jelly would bring joy to my life.
The woman in the east may be an excellent provider to senior animals, as you are with the SAINTS, and she should not be discouraged. You can perhaps help to educate her on the potential disappoinments and pitfalls so that she is "prepared" and doesn't start something she can't finish - resulting in her chosen animals being rejected and abandoned one more time.
Encouragement and education are probably key and you are capable of offering both. Have you reconsidered the concept of seminars/webinars on the subject of senior rescue. You are "funny" and have a way with words - you really should rethink that.


lol..speak of the i got a group email and it looks like she has asked every rescue in north america for advice, she is pretty determined to get a response!...ha..maybe someone wiser than me will take the time to respond!


9 years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Some people look at thia as a death sentence. I looked at as just another challange of life. I think the lady from the east will make it in old dog rescue if she is up to the challenge. Us easterners are a tough bunch full of piss and vinegar. Lord knows we need an old dog rescue. I am a shelter volunteer and sometimes wish I could bring them all home or better yet wish they were my dogs long before they ever hit the shelter.


When we are young we look at the future all bright and shiny, we don’t foresee the problems, the heartache, the highs and the lows. This is the way of life for us all, it has to be this way or the burden, the thought of what lay ahead would defeat us at the very start.
I have had a good life, for the most part I have had interesting, challenging jobs, met people who have shaped our world, for good and evil, have a supportive family and great friends. I have loved deeply and sometimes lost.
But I, like you, have not skated through life on the surface, been vacuous and self absorbed, and because of this have many scars on my heart and soul to prove it. But the total of it all has brought us to where we are today, independent, strong and amazingly effective. Some say getting old means having to step aside, I say just try to make me!


Maybe you should simply direct her to this post for now. Very well written :)