Monday, October 26, 2009

Happy Feet…Or something!

Big changes seem to be on the horizon. Let’s hope I am up for the challenge.

What is up?

Well, possibly a new “big kid” job as my friend Sarah would call it. I’m a mix of scared and excited. Scared because I’ll be leaving my comfort zone, which is weird. To say I have grown comfy at my big brother job but I have. I’d be lying if I said otherwise.

The job offer is exciting because they want me to be creative, innovative, fresh, bring a new perspective and they want me to show them how to bring energy conservation to their clients!

The best part is they don’t want me to be an engineer, they have real ones and they don’t need me to be one! This would be my very first job where I don’t have to be an engineer or some type of suedo-engineer. Yea! I can just be me, save the environment, save energy girl, who just so happens to be crazy about animals.

So let’s hope they make me a job offer soon!!!

Gosh, I will be really sad if they decide not to… guess that means I want the job, YIKES!

If you are curious as to where this leaves the whole vet school dream? It is still alive and well, sorta. I think I am just a bit tired of the whole hoping for something to happen or waiting for my life to begin based on some ADCOMS picking me. Plus what is the reality of vet school, tons and tons of work which I would honestly welcome but it does scare the pants off of me!

Granted this didn’t stop me from applying to KSU and ISU this cycle. So, we will see if the stars wink on that notion this year. I won’t know anything until August 2010 and honestly I think I’m a long shot. So why not move forward in the meantime.

Who knows I may even take up running, like Chrystal (wink, wink). Well, at least I could follow her in my Jeep! Way to go girl:)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dark Side of Rescue Work

I will try to do this post justice but it may come out all wrong.

It has been a few days since Melody our 8month old bottle goat was killed. Fortunately I have some amazing friends, fantastic sister, and very understanding and caring husband aka 007. So I would say I am healing. I feel a bit guilty about that, doesn’t seem as if I have grieved long enough or been sad long enough.

Maybe it is my rational scientific brain or it’s the constant grounding I receive from my support group. I can’t really say. However, I have learned a few things from all of this and I would like to share them with you.

First, grief over the loss of a pet regardless of the type is perfectly natural, probably innately human. For some it last a short time and others can experience grief for years. I also have learned that grief associated with a tragic event can be complex and it is best to allow your mind to process the images you are trying to forget. By doing so you are able to accept what happened and then start to let it go, the images are no longer holding you down. A therapist who specializes in pet loss explained this to me.

Second, one must let go of guilt. It will eat you alive and all of the “woulda, shoulda, coulda” you can come up with won’t turn back time. I have found this to be true across the board regardless if your pet died tragically, you had to make the choice to have it euthanized, or there was a behavior issue related problem that could not be corrected. The last I see as the hardest and something that rescue workers face way too often.

By the time a pet gets to me chances are the damage has been done, my job is to see if I can repair that damage and help the pet trust again, in human kindness. I would say I am successful more than I fail. However, I will be the first to admit that I have the privilege to select the projects I take on. I do not run a shelter that receives city our county funds and must take in everything. So I can hedge my bets so to speak and pick the cases that will probably end happily.

However, the dark side of rescue is the reality that you maybe called upon to make a judgment call based on behavior and that will always result in guilty feelings at least for me. I constantly debate a case and I network like a fool. I work with as many people as I can find to see if someone has learned something new that has worked. I have this inability to accept failure. In reality it really isn’t my failure at all or my success. It is just reality and reality sucks sometimes. This leads me to number three…

Third, for people like me who lump ourselves into the control freak category it is easier for our brains to believe we are responsible than to accept the reality that we are not in control of the world. Yea, this one rocked me to my core. Re-read it because not only is this true but it will help with the guilt.

There is a line from an episode of Law and Order; “You can do everything right, and still have a bad outcome.”

Now does this mean I believe I did everything right? No, but I will learn from this and I will make damn sure this never happens again.

Fourth or finally, I know that I must for my own sake open my heart up again. I am a big believer that my path is guided and many along that path are helping me. I entered rescue work and am trying to become a veterinarian because of this fact. My step into rescue work was propelled by the wish to honor a dear pet that had only been in my life maybe six months. Still he left a pawmark and he pushed me forward, his name was Sampson and he was by far the coolest cat I have ever had the pleasure to share space and time with.

I feel a weird and uncertain push yet again and it’s strange and I don’t care for it too much. However, I am listening and well maybe it is my little friend telling me she is ok. Maybe I am weird or odd but I believe in stuff like that.

So, I have been watching the sale barn to see if anyone brings in some goats with the hope of giving them a cushy life at the ranch. Yep, I want to try again and my sister who sent Melody to me has already put me on the list to receive a bottle baby goat if any of her momma goats need help.


This is from St. Theresa’s Prayer and somehow it helped me.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be, may you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pit of Dispair...not what I planned to write about.

Heavy heart, heavy soul, tired. That sums things up in a nut shell. It has been one of those weeks, months, maybe even years. We all have them and some how we survive. I guess that is what we are doing these days surviving.

So why so blue? Well there has been some good moments and some horrific tragedies that no matter what I do I can't seem to make sense of them or to let go.

What am I talking about?

I guess putting it down on paper (I mean the www) makes it just a bit too real.

How do I say this and have it make the impact I feel.

My baby bottle goat passed away. If you don't have a pet well, then you don't understand. Or maybe you do,I don't know. It's all mixed up. Add to that equation that she was killed in a horrific and tragic event. I don't know if I even want to explain.

Seems I can't get things right.

First my one of my cats Merlin was attacked by one of our foster dogs, I named the dog Roger. He's a goof and I would have never guessed that he would hurt anyone or anything. However, I have either gotten soft, too busy, or to0 confident; I can't figure out which.

Merlin was saved by Dr. L and us being able to get him to her in a timely manner. We also got to him quickly. He slipped out of the house and was intercepted by Roger and had some help from another foster dog. It was a mess. I never ever wanted to go through that again.

We talked, we talked, and we talked. Because I am the forever optimist I assume that it was something I had done and that Roger could be fixed. This is where I realize that the ground is slipping out below my feet. I can't save them all and I need more awareness to this fact.

But I read other blogs and I get WAY to many subscriptions to big name rescue groups and if they can rehab the Vick dogs than why can't I "fix" Roger?

So we talked and talked some more and then took Roger to a farmer who then was never home so Roger kept coming back to us. I guess the guys really not a farmer because he's never home. Roger got lonely and showed up.

Merlin got better and I forgot. I am way too good at that.

Roger improves like 99% of the dogs who come through our rescue program. He learns manners, he starts slowly to fit into the pack that we have well established. He learns "sit" which is a huge accomplishment for him because he is way too hyper.

I forgive him, somehow. Because Merlin is fine and I tend to forget. WHY!!!

We have had another foster dog here and this is going to make our program sound like a huge freaking disaster organization, which I swear it is not. However, I have well (we) have made some crappy choices because remember I am the perpetual optimist and I don't realize that I can't help them all. A friend reaches out with a dog with "issues" and I think I can fix him, because that is what I do. I fix.

He's been at the ranch almost 5 and half months. His name is Mic and he's a handsome boy but he does have issues and we work on them. He's aggressive to other dogs and he quickly learns that behavior is not allowed by us or the pack. I could explain how our pack works but just know it is similar to the Dog Whisperer but with some other ideas tossed in. It has worked very well for us and we have rehabed a bunch of dogs. I am not trying to make an excuse just maybe give some background.

I am told in passing by 007 that Mic doesn't care for Roger. Ok, I don't really give it much thought because both are doing great with my pack and well I love to see all the dogs happy and playing. So one day when of course 007 isn't home I opt to let Mic out at the same time Roger is out. Mic was fine, sitting in his run with his tale wagging. It was a sunny day everything was fine.

I let Mic out and he runs full throttle towards Roger who doesn't even see him coming. He goes for his neck and he's fast. He pins him and they tumble all legs, tails, and fur. I try all the techniques I've learned to separate two fighting dogs. My pack can't help and I wouldn't let them if they even wanted to. Nothing stops Mic.

One key thing to point out is that you never stick your hand or limb into a dog fight because it will get bitten. I know this and self preservation takes a hold of me but the other side of my brain engages and realizes I can pull them apart if I get a leash around Mic's back end. I use a long leash and he never knows what is pulling him back. He's snapping at the force pulling him away from his target. I get him to his kennel and he walks right in. Sits down and looks up at me as if to say, "that was a great walk, thanks". I am speechless.

I check Roger over, he has a few puncture wounds, nothing too deep. His neck is fine. I call our Vet and give him some meds I have on hand based on her instructions. I put him in his run and call 007. He's upset, can you blame him, but I swear I had no idea. He goes in to the Vet the next morning for some injectable drugs and more meds.

Mic has been with us while his owner gets her life established here in KS. We have also seeked out an adoptive home for him but have yet to find one. Now I am truly grateful we never did. I ask 007 to talk to his owner and handle it. He does and Mic is no longer at the ranch. He is a classic case of a dog who has been through hell and back and the scars are so deep I can't repair them. We place the next step back on the owner because it is ultimately her decision. You can guess what she has chosen to-do. Honestly I believe it is the right choice. He is a dog that no one can trust and that isn't what a pet should be.

Roger recovers and is back to his mischievous self digging small trenches in my yard in a matter of days. He is fine and remember I have forgave him and now I feel guilty for Mic's actions.

I get soft, lazy, tired, you name it. I let my guard down or I don't engage my brain I have no idea. What the hell I did wrong but thinking sure wasn't apart of it.

We begin to leave Melody our bottle goat out to graze when all the dogs are out. She's a distance off from their normal play area and we stay outside with her and them. Going in and out of the house. Sometimes I let Roger be out at the same time and he seems to ignore her. At first we made a point to always put Roger up when she was out but he barks a lot when everyone but him is out playing.

So I give in.

We have just returned from a really great meal out. I let Melody out and 007 takes her to her spot to graze. She is happy as a clam munching on clover in her little spot. Meanwhile I let Roger out and he happily runs off to romp and play with the other dogs. I watch and I wait he has no interest in her and I never give it a second thought.

Maybe I do somewhere deep in my gut, maybe. It is all starting to blurr already.

007 and I decided to take a nap because we are wiped out from a crazy week and we have just pigged out on BBQ. Everyone looks happy and fine.

I wake-up about 6pm and Melody is still happily out grazing. I have on flip flops and my bathrobe over my pj's so I don't want to go get her. 007 is still asleep and I am annoyed. Why? I just am because we have wasted our time off on a nap.

Never mind the fact that we both needed the nap but I am cranky. Maybe it's that feeling that something bad is about to happen and I just can't shake it. I don't know. Hard to say.

I wake him up to talk about the current delay in the remodel projects. We disagree, we argue, we work it out. It takes us awhile but we do fine. However, it isn't until 8pm or later that I realize that I never went and got Melody.

I freak, 007 runs out of the house and I look for better shoes. He screams bring towels and I know.

I know... it will never be as it was.

Roger has hurt her, very badly.

She is still alive but won't be for long.

I freeze. My mind goes blank. It then begins to function again and I know I can't do a thing for her.

I try to call Dr. L but her phone is off and it's late. I call another vet and another. I finally get a hold of one who specializes in goats in the tri-county area. He tells me what I already know.

I can do nothing to save her.

I have caused her death.

She is 8months old and has never done anything wrong except maybe eat my geranium's. She is a doll baby and Roger has torn her up. I can't stitch her back together, I can't ease her pain.

She is in shock. I keep her warm and listen to her heart fade and I cry huge sobs and I can't stop it.

I am broken. I am grieving and I can't fix any of it. I don't even want to ease my pain.

This week alone I have been unable to save a Tameran monkey named Santos, one of the baby rabbits, and Melody. It has been exhausting.

The baby rabbit probably died of complications from a bacterial infection, which wild bunnies are prone to. The monkey, Santos, died after suffering a stroke five days prior. We did an MRI prior to his death. Hoping against all odds that it was a mass and maybe just maybe we could fix it.


Because that is what I do "I fix," and I don't mess up. I can't. How did all of this happen and what is the lesson and what is the punishment.

Roger leaves tomorrow and all I can think of is, "murder". He betrayed my trust but I failed him as well. I didn't protect him from himself. I was suppose to but I didn't.

I want to reverse the clock and go back in time and fix all of this but I can't. My only solace in all of this is the belief that they are no longer suffering. That someone greater than me has made them whole again and some how again what I believe now, will actually make me whole again soon as well.

Sorry this is so sad but I had to write it all down and put it out there. They say it begins when you start to accept, the healing that is.