Rescue Journal

17 years of good work

Carol  ·  Mar. 12, 2021

A couple of days ago I was sad. I was feeling like we are not good enough, our shabby little shelter, our staff and volunteers working so hard. We don't have a state of the art shelter, we don't wear nice matching uniforms, we just wear whatever old clothes can take a beating here. We aren't anyone's idea of a shining example of modern animal welfare with a fleet of feet in a head office organizing the job, here we just wake up and do it, whatever comes.

Tonight as I drove home in tears because we just lost Brooklyn at the emergency clinic, I realized something else.

SAINTS is like a tattered old book and inside that ratty cover is 1000 animal stories. Today Brook wrote her last words on our pages. For 17 years, every single day, year after year we have cared for approx 150 animals either on site or in foster care. There has never been a day of only 20 or 30 or 50 animals on our plate, Every single day we have had over 100 animals to care for on any and every given day. And we couldn't afford a shiny new shelter on any of those days, we were too busy paying for staff to care for them, vets to help them feel well, food, shelter, utilities to light up their buildings and keep them warm, clean and dry. Sometimes I fall asleep designing the shelter of my dreams. But dreams are only good for passing thru the night, not so perfect shelter reality steps in during daylight.

Every wall, door frame, window ledge is banged up and chipped. Almost every square inch inside and out is set up for the animals who live here. We give them donated leather recliners and love seats and beds, we give them donated TV's, we give them a daily army of people who love them and serve them, and worry about them and when they pass away, shed tears for them when they are no longer here.. And we have done that for a thousand animals too old, too broken, too difficult for others to manage. We didn't just take one or two at a time, 100+of them every day have always had really big problems.

A few months ago were parvo puppies, we saved them all. Two weeks ago it was a 4 yr old paraplegic frenchie who needed ten thousand dollars of surgery and today she can walk. Last night it was Brooklyn who suffered a major cardiac event, many thousands of dollars and 24 hours later, we lost and she is dead. Tonight it is Whiggy who is in the ER in a major asthma attack. She will cost a few thousand dollars too and we will worry until we know she will make it thru. But we can pay their medical bills because our army of big and small donors have made sure that we are able to.

But here is the thing, this may be a shabby little shelter, but we do countless really good things, every day. We take in the lost ones, the ones whose needs are too great, we bust our butts to give them a good home which meets their needs and we give them a family here for as long as they need. We can do this because we did a few really smart things, we own this shabby property, no one can make us leave, we found some really good, committed and dedicated people to join our animal caregiving team, and we always, always put each and every individual animals needs as our number one priority.

So yes maybe we aren't shiny enough for new age animal welfare but all the dings and bangs in our paint, the 17 years of 24/7 treating each and every animal like they are our family, no matter what, says that we really do care about every animal's welfare here. We have done this over and over, each one loved, cherished, cared for, homes found or tears when lost, one thousand times, so many times.

Inside these tattered walls are the stories of 1000 animals who made our shabby little shelter their home, some for weeks, some for months, some for the rest of their lives. Today Brooklyn wrote her very last page in her years of SAINTS life.

Today I realized that all of that tattered, shabbiness that I was secretly ashamed of is really just our blood, sweat, laughter, love, dreams, fears and tears, mixed up so beautifully together with theirs. We bought them a home, it isn't a mansion but we filled it with love AND responsible care. We filled it with animals who deserved better from life and found some of that better here.

I will no longer be sad for what we are not, but for Brook and all the 999+ others, I am so very thankful for what we are. We are the tattered servants in a tattered shelter home for tattered and greatly loved animal souls..

Thank you Brook, rest in peace sweet girl.

Comments

Lenore Henry

This post touched me in so many ways and I would love to share the experience that both my husband and I had as former volunteers at SAINTS for over seven years. Magical is the first word that comes to mind when I think of SAINTS. The staff and volunteers go above and beyond for the same reason - to help with the care of the animals who have (luckily) ended up on SAINTS’ doorstep. Many of the animals arrive after a death in the family or their person has gone into long term care and are welcomed with open hearts while they adjust to their new circumstances. There were days that were heartbreaking when one of the beloved animals would lose their fight but all the animals there are treated with so much respect, care and love until their last breath. On those sad days some of us would sit in the Memorial Garden to remember those animals that were no longer at SAINTS and listen to the wind chimes sing in the wind. I remember not that long ago, Carol had said after losing dear Nakita that “sometimes we don’t get a tomorrow” which is so very true but just look at how many tomorrows SAINTS has given to all the animals that might not have known another tomorrow. SAINTS is family, pure and simple and what matters most is not in the outside details but from the love it continues to give back to the animals who call it home. Lenore ❤️

Christine

When people come to saints they feel the love that is there.

Sym

Beautifully written, Carol. Thank you and all your staff for pouring out your love, understanding, helping hands and medical attention to the animals. The way I see things is it is never the exterior that tells the story ... it is the inside and what I see and hear, nothing but Hearts of Gold, love, affection and truly caring for the lives passing through Saints Rescue. Bless you and all your staff for giving the animals the best place ever. Thank You.

Sherry Marr

All those animals know is that they feel safe and loved by you. All the shiny undented stuff in the world cant compare to that. Keep shining and thank you.

Lisa

Carol,
I have been lucky enough to know a few SAINTS (Sid and Rocky) and see the kind of sanctuary you all have created, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, I would say it has more heart than most of the fancy new shelters I can think of. The operative word for SAINTS is love, and that, to the animals, means much more than any fancy pants shelter ever could.

Helga

All our guys are a validation, a vindication of what we do. Fraidy yikking to be noticed, Echo and Mollie asking to be petted. The fact that life for them would have been - there would have been no life for them.
These are lives and souls that have a reason and a purpose. Saints is not about fame and acclamtion and glory. It is about each creature having a right to humane treatment, validation and love.

Jan Laurin

I am so pleased that so many have seen and shared your vision and supported you over these many years.

Susan

What’s important is the great amount of heart and caring you all show to the beautiful sweet spirits like Brooklyn (AKA Bubs to us) 💗 We will be forever grateful to have had her in our home and lives for 2 years. Everyday Bubs was a blessing and a joy and we will forever remember her and love her 🐾

Tara

Your little Shelter is perfect in my eyes and I’m happy to support your worthy cause, as well as spread the word. I can’t imagine all the hard work, joy and heartache that goes on at SAINTS and I admire everyone who makes the magic happen. Hugs to you on a tough day after an extra tough year ❤️

Sharon

Carol
you write so eloquently ....... the vision you had is eloquent ! It is not what is seen that counts, but all that we cannot 'see' .. which is LOVE .... SO MUCH LOVE !! Thank you for your creation of SAINTS ........ for living the very best qualities of life ..... I can but imagine the cost to you in ways unseen for bringing SAINTS into reality .... for bringing it this far ..... for your inspiration to provide a space for others to LOVE all those animals (souls) that come to SAINTS. and thank you to all those who serve. Blessings be your rewards .............

Lynda

The souls in your care do not care what it looks like, they care about the warmth, both physical & emotional, the aura of love & compassion. The safety of their surroundings. That's what counts.

Lynn

Dear, dear Carol. One of my favourite people ever. Thank you for every minute, every second, every day. You and the SAINTS team give me such joy and hope. God bless you all.

Brenda

Thanks for this Carol. I’ve been feeling a bit tattered and shabby myself lately...this post made my heart smile ....❤️

Johanna Hickey

That is a beautiful post, Carol. Thank you so much for all you and your staff and volunteers do at Saints. I am eternally grateful for all the amazing dogs you brought into my life. There was Benson ( Mighty Mouse) who started the journey, then Pipper, Milo, Squeaky Joy, and Charlie all of whom still live on in my heart. And I still have the everlasting Jimmy who I hope will live on and on. I can’t thank you enough for all the joy that these Saints has brought into my life.
All the best to everyone and take good care of yourselves. A big thank you for all you are doing

Jane

It isn't the story of polished perfection that creates such forces of love and loyalty. Tattered equals magic. I'd take shabby over polished any day. Miss you Brooklyn. Glad we had a moment before you passed. 💙