Animal Updates

Faces only SAINTS could love by Rochelle Baker, The Times

Jenn  ·  Jul. 2, 2013

This is my favorite quote from this article published in the Abbotsford Times: "When they get into their senior years, there's something special about them and they need to be protected, honored and cared for," says Hine.

Full article available here

Carol Hine has a talent for loving creatures others have neglected or seem to have trouble caring about.

Take Bambi, for example - the dog that now happily resides at SAINTS, the Senior Animals In Need Today Society in Mission that's run by Hine.

The sweet little Shih Tzu mix was found abandoned, with her fur so matted that her rescuers couldn't tell at which end her head was located.

Her teeth were also so badly abscessed that most of them had to be removed.

Now the little dog's tongue constantly dangles from her mouth down her chin.

Hine's daughter lovingly calls her the "tongue slinger."

"Nobody wants to invest in Bambi because she's homely," says Hine.

"But I have enormous respect for any creature that's lived a long life and survived, human or animal."

As such, Bambi is just one of the more than 100 animals currently residing at Hine's end-of-life sanctuary for senior and special needs animals.

In addition to dogs, cats and rabbits, SAINTS shelters hogs, horses, ducks, a turkey, a donkey, goats and a llama among other things.

Another infamous resident at the sanctuary is Brad Pitt.

The 700-pound hog has a face only a mother could love, but his name is not necessarily ironic, said Hine.

Sunburned and abandoned, he had to be rescued by 12 people after getting stuck in the mud on the banks of the Pitt River.

"I think he's handsome. Once you get to know these animals they aren't ugly ducklings anymore," she says.

The demand on the SAINTS crew can be overwhelming.

The society isn't taking any new animals at the moment, because there isn't enough money to care for them.

Hine, who works fulltime as a community nurse, pays for the mortgage on the Mission property where she and the menagerie live.

But it costs about $200,000 a year to run SAINTS, which includes hefty bills for vet care, medicine, specialized feed and the four employees who care for the animals during the week.

All the money is raised by donations and regular fundraising activities organized by SAINTS' cadre of dedicated volunteers, some who commit every one of their weekends to the sanctuary.

Hine says SAINTS is basically a senior citizens home for animals.

Livingquarters in the houses, barns, outbuildings and pastures are all designed to meet the animal's specialized needs.

There are mud holes for the pigs and ponds for waterfowl. Plush beds and cushions for animals with mobility issues are ground level.

Little carpeted steps also help them gain access onto couches or furniture.

"Everything is set up so the animals feel like they are living in a home, so they don't feel like they're in shelter," says Hine.

Despite her commitment to providing unwanted animals a dignified end, Hine never prolongs their life if they are suffering.

"The second life becomes a burden, we euthanize them humanely because we want them to go peacefully," she says.

Given the SAINTS demographic, beloved animals pass on regularly but each is remembered with a wind chime or stone in the memorial garden.

But despite the tears shed when a favourite member dies, Hine and the SAINTS staff and volunteers are rewarded by their commitment to ensure elderly animals finish their lives in comfort and love.

"When they get into their senior years, there's something special about them and they need to be protected, honored and cared for," says Hine.

"People would think this is a sad place, but it's absolutely not the case."

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janet nicholson

Terrific article - people should be more aware of what you do to give these special animals a home - now I hope it brings in more regular donations!