For the past year I have been talking to the staff about "the big picture" in rescue. The Big Picture is thousands of tiny puzzle pieces that all have to fit in one particular and unique spot to create the whole. You can't just shove a bunch of shit together and think it will work cuz...it won't.
This week we had 3 dogs go in for eye enucleations, 2 at the shelter and one from foster. We had little Dynamite at Boundary Bay Specialty Hospital for both a mass and bladder stone removal because his heart is so terribly bad. We still have to get Hannah in to see the specialists too...her insides are so mixed up and deformed and she is needing a spay surgery which is going to be really difficult. Almost all of the animals at SAINTS or in foster care have ongoing medical issues that need ongoing and continued follow up plus daily care..diabetics, IVD's, dry eyes, glaucoma, skin issues, debilitating arthritis, cardiac, kidney and liver disease..just to name a few. Plus we have the behavioral animals..the grumpies, the terrifieds, the ones with messed up heads, they need special care plans, medications and their environments controlled and adjusted so they can be as good as they can be as much as they can be too.
So those are some of the puzzle pieces, each animal with its own unique and individual shape that needs something(s) very unique and specific to each and every one. But the puzzle pieces don't stop there..there are the buildings and areas they live in that must be not only clean and comfortable but appropriate to each one. There is the equipment they need, collars and leashes, halters and muzzles, pill poppers, stretchers, wheelchairs, xpens, raised beds, orthopedic or cooling beds, hip lifters, gates and fences, air conditioners, dehumidifiers,fridges, microwaves, washers, dryers, tractors, wheelbarrows, stall forks, fans, fireplaces, furnaces and extra heaters. Along with this are decisions to be made, when to repair something if broken, when to toss away and replace. And lets not forget the utilities, hydro, water, electricity, internet, the roofs on all of the buildings and sheds and the fields that provide grass for the grazing animals, the gravel roads that provide access for the large delivery trucks of hay, shavings, feed and supplies too and really important...how are we going to pay for it all at the end of the day. There relationships to be fostered with our service and supply providers, our vet clinics, the municipality, our neighbors, our lawyers, our accountants, and insurence folks, our volunteers, our staff, board members, adopters, fosters, surrendering families, donors and followers.
Each one a single special puzzle piece in the picture of SAINTS.
I know people around here get tired of me insisting some things be done certain ways, I am sure my pickiness about tidyness, straight lines, not wasting stuff, or avoiding having to do things over and over drives everyone at some point insane.
But here is the thing that we must never forget....we made a promise to these animals that in rescuing them, we would make their lives better. And as very important as each and every one of them are..and how they are the real center of SAINTS...all of the other pieces hidden in the background are what gives them what they need at SAINTS.
There are literally thousands of pieces to SAINTS, and if just one piece is missing, lost or destroyed, we end up with a flawed picture with a very noticeable hole.
Each animal here is important.
Each person has an important and irreplaceable role.
Each tiny and annoying or ignored detail has the ability to create a big black hole.
The responsibility can be crushing and overwhelming...but we absolutely need to focus on both the big and the small and keep going.
There is a Big Picture out there where animals are vulnerable and at risk because humans don't really consider their care and welfare, their lives and their feelings, as important as our own. We want it to be all about the warm and fuzzy not so much about the down and dirty and oftimes heartbreaking hard work. We want them to make us feel good without having to risk the painful, the inconvenient, the boring, seemingly inconsequential or difficult bits...and yet all of that is part of the bigger picture too.
The big picture starts with a promise to do better...and then it grows and grows, and grows into something so very much bigger.
Yeah...I feel like I am part of one of the smaller pictures, that hopefully contributes to the very large Saints "collage" portrait....and I am very grateful for this gift.