Category Archives: Rescue Life


2014 to the Extreme – Amy’s Take on BCFS Year One

As I sit down to write this, I’ve just received the news that the family wishing to adopt Muffin has been approved for her adoption. They want to bring her home the next day. Which happens to be 2014 New Years Eve.

muffin shih tzu year end adoptionFor Beaver Creek Farm Sanctuary, the animal rescue charity Brent and I co-founded, its the end of BCFS year one and the beginning of another. Muffin’s good fortune and impeccable timing is just too perfect an example of what was, for me, 2014-to-the-extreme.  Cheers, fears and tears all in one and the same (never simple) event.

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chiropractic care for dogs with Dr. Tracy Drynan

Chiropractic Care for Chichi Does Wonders

Our little Beaver Creek foster dog, Chichi is a rescued chihuahua, ten years young.  During the time he has been here on the farm, he has showed every desire to romp and play with the other dogs, and very much wants to receive the cuddles most lap dogs of his nature enjoy.

The problem is, he hurts. You can tell from his body language. It makes him so conflicted – wanting to be cuddled, yet snappy if a finger hovered in a sensitive area – which happened to the area most people naturally gravitate to, his upper torso and shoulders.

But that was before we brought Chichi to Dr. Tracy Drynan, B.P.H.E., D.C. Doctor of Chiropractic. She was referred to us by our good friend, and volunteer professional Laura Arseneau of Four Paws Wellness.  With 30 years of experience helping people and animals, Dr. Dryan saw it too. She could tell Chichi was holding pain that was likely chronic, and unrecognized for what it was until we brought him to her. Here’s what happened next …

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eulogy for a rescued dog from lebanon

Eulogy for a Rescue … Nobody’s Dog

Nobody’s Dogs are euthanized, unwanted, every day, all over the world. These dogs are abandoned to a horrible fate, because nobody loves Nobody’s Dog.

No responsibility is taken for Nobody’s Dog and no one is a voice for Nobody’s Dog. Nobody stands up and says “yes, that dog is mine.” Nobody says “I love that dog.” Nobody’s Dog is destroyed someplace cold, terrifying and alone.

Droopy came to Beaver Creek Farm Sanctuary as Nobody’s Dog and he’d been Nobody’s Dog for a long time. When he walked out of his shipping crate at the farm, after a 28 hour journey from Lebanon, I gasped with shock at his appearance. He was skeleton thin; red rashed bleeding skin stretched taut over his small frame. He trotted out and glanced around not quite sure what he would find.  We were just as shocked as Droopy. Continue reading

The Idea of Rescue

I feel like I’ve been priming a pump on a machine for over a year and the engine is finally starting to turn over. Or maybe I’ve given birth to my first child and she’s ready to take her first few tentative steps on her own. Or maybe, I just bought my first house, started my first job, got my first paycheque and met the love of my life. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. That’s how I feel about my dream coming true. My dream to start a successful animal rescue is breathing, running and spinning in new directions. I’ve made some good and bad decisions. I’ve found allies in strange places and had to break a few hearts along the way, but BCFS is a ball rolling forward. My biggest fear realized when people entered the picture. People the ones who hurt and the ones who help are often difficult to tell a part. People the ones that couldn’t be trusted and the ones who stood by me. And then there came strangers. Oh dear. Strangers, but they didn’t stay strangers for long and I began to meet some wonderful people. Then, the most amazing thing happened – these strange wonderful people became friends, not just with me, but with each other.

Morning Smiles

My idea of a good life.

It seems bad things happen all at once. I even read an article in Oprah about it once aptly called “Surviving Rumble Strips”. The article suggests that bad things all happen together to push us over an edge or out of a comfort zone to help us grow and learn. They offer steps to help survive these series of catastrophes and learn to cope better in the future. In summary the steps are:

Step 1:  Apply the Breaks. Slow down. Do only the basics.

Step 2: Was everything really bad or was there something good to learn? What was the good thing?

Step 3: Sleep on it. Some days are not great for making decisions.

Step 4: Recognize the enjoy life’s surprises (like finding an article on coping with stress while under stress).

I’m sharing this because I’ve been going through my own speed bumps between health, family, Splash and the rescue. I’ve hit the rumble strips frequently in the past week and I kept trying to apply the steps to learn and grown. In a moment of weakness I thought: why am I working so hard? I could be at the beach drinking wine with my toes in the sand rather than sweating in the mud and heat covered in dirt.

And then something small and wonderful happened:

Taz verses Mush

I was tired and fighting a throat infection at 1 am while dragging my green rubber boots out to the barn to clean stalls and care for the horses after I got off working my twelve hour shift at midnight. I usually take Taz (my eight pound shih poo) with me when I work on stalls because she likes to stare at the cats, she has too much energy and she makes me laugh.

I crouched down to pet one of the barn cats when Taz charged up from behind me and came face to face with a cantankerous old neutered male we call Mush. The big grey cat was laying on his side in the driveway letting me rub his belly at the time of the insult. Several moments after having a Taz’s  face push into Mush’s face,  Mush leisurely stretched and stood up to give Taz a big cuddle.

He rubbed his head into Taz’s face and then rubbed his whole body along Taz’s whole body ending with his tail going around her neck ending with the tip tickling her nose. The funniest part was Taz froze in shock. She didn’t move. She didn’t whine or bark. She stood stock still under the feline hug and I laughed. I laughed hard because Taz is the mighty cat hunter who spends all her time staring out the window barking at the cats, because Taz firmly believes cats are on this earth to be chased and not cuddled.


Taz will run up and down the fence line as Mush rolls around a foot from the fence. She’ll race through the house from one window to the next tracking kitten treks, like the cats should file a flight plan for walking. Taz is obsessed with cats, until the night the cat came and gave her a cuddle. My mighty hunter quivered once and froze. She held her stance tall and straight while feline whiskers ticked her nose. After Mush walked away Taz looked in me in exasperated delight and if she could talk I’m sure she’d tell me: I finally caught one!

scot taz

Splash Trots

The next morning I was feeling tired as I let the horses out into the paddocks for the day. Turtle and Splash were already outside when I brought a lollygagging Autumn to the fence. I let her go and she ambled peacefully into the “Rock Paddock” just west of the main gate. Splash was starting to follow her when Turtle shot out of the shelter at the far end of the field and raced over to join Autumn nearly clipping Splash along the way. Well, she must be feel better because once Splash was carefully through the gate she tossed her head, kicked up her heels and trotted vigorously around the Rock Paddock. I’ve never seen Splash kick up her heels before and I laughed as she dropped her head to graze. So many wonderful thoughts filled my head: the medication is working, she’s happy in her home, she’s familiar with her environment and she loves her equine family.

My girl

We’ve been talking to our vet Matt a great deal over the past week and I’m sure he’s getting tired of seeing our number pop up on his cell phone, but when we told him about Splash kicking up her heels he said she’ll be 50% happier after her painful eyes are gone. She’ll be a new horse. A new horse without any eyes, but the point is she’ll feel fantastic and she already has a leg up (ha ha horse jargon) because she’s used to being blind.


These are the little moments I treasure working with animals. When you ask why I expend all my energy and money towards them I will tell you they are my morning smiles.



I want to believe. I want to believe in humanity, but I’ve read far too much about the depths of our depravity. Blow torching cats as a delicacy in China. Wrapping duct tape around the noses and binding the paws of golden retrievers before throwing them in the ocean where they wash up on shore dead. Starving dogs and calling it art. Another species extinct because of the humans. Killing for entertainment. My heart is heavy with all this sadness.

To write a happy cheerful entry seems juxtaposed to my sad soul, so at this time I will leave my grief out in the open and continue to write letters and sign petitions to ban puppy mills, stop dog fighting and demand the humane treatment of farm animals. I’ll need a little solitude.

“If you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.”

― Jodi PicoultMy Sister’s Keeper

Animal Rescuer – Splash

I am an animal rescuer. Some folks don’t understand why I spend so much money and time trying to save the body, mind and souls of animals. Sometimes I feel like a warrior fighting a battle against evil. Saving animals from unspeakable human corruption is a simple and straight forward fight in a time of mass confusion. It’s so clear what is right and animals are always to darn grateful and appreciative of the help they get from people.

Turtle magic
Turtle magic

I don’t understand how people can damage animals. Do they not see the love, innocence and trust that animals have in humans?  Why would anyone want to hurt a loving soul? Money: the right to profit off the bodies of animals is the number one reason animals suffer. Puppy mills and commercial breeding facilities are a cesspool of infection, neglect, starvation and cruelty and these facilities continue to operate legally in Canada. Ontario just declined to ban puppy mills because it would infringe on a person’s right to profit and the current laws are good enough. People can be so disappointing.

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Frodo by Guest Writer Jennifer Standring

How I know that my dog really is more than just a dog.

I learned today that Frodo, our 12 year old Springer/Lab/Shepherd cross, is smarter than even I thought. This story also solidifies my perception of him as a grumpy old man.

I always knew he was smart. That is one of the reasons that I picked him to adopt.

Happy happy happy

He made up a game of his own when we first adopted him,  back when the cats, Hemingway and Edgar were still alive. As one or the other of the cats were sleeping on the end of the sofa, Frodo would rub his body up and down the sofa. You know how cute they are when they do that. “Petting himself”, we used to think. Alas no. Frodo loves his pats, but he’s no dummy. He was building up a static electric charge. When he felt prickly enough, he would touch the cat with his nose. The sleeping cat would get a shock that would jump him out of his nap, and frightened, he would BOLT. Frodo chased the cat, Anja (our equally brilliant and much-loved German Shepherd who has now also passed on) chased Frodo, funfunfun. In short, we are able to brag that our dog is so smart that he harnessed the power of static electricity for his own use.

Frodo also loves laughter and applause. If something ONCE made me laugh, he will remember it and use it again to elicit giggles. When he was 2, I took him to an agility class. Part of agility is “the table”, where the dog must jump on the table and lay still for a certain amount of time. Since the rest of an agility run is so active, we were encouraged to shower our dogs with treats and praise at this portion. After a couple of shots at this, Frodo was SO in love with the table that, when asked to go there, he jumped from 6 feet away, almost straight into the air, landed smack-dab in a “down” in the centre of the table looking at me with his tail wagging. The entire class erupted into laughter and applause, so of course Frodo performed the table exactly the same every time after that. Cutie.

Back to today. I am sick. I got cold in the bedroom last night with the fan going, so instead of making Brian uncomfortable, I came out to sleep on the sofa. Brian woke up at around 8 am. He and Frodo did their usual morning routine, and then Frodo went and laid down in front of the tv. Brian sat at his computer and watched the following scene unfold;

I, asleep on the sofa, started snoring. The snoring gradually gets louder. After what I am told was a scathingly dirty look, Frodo gets up from his spot in front of the tv stand, moves beside me, and sits beside the sofa. I snore. he pokes me with his nose. I shift. I snore. He pokes. Snore. Poke.

This goes on until I move sufficiently to stop snoring, and he lays down again and goes back to sleep.

NO one could read this and say that animals don’t have feelings. It’s obvious that they get annoyed just like we do. And they can be cranky old men too.