Volunteer Maggie Calloway with the affectionate cows who live at the SAINTS shelter in Mission.

An oasis for elderly animals

SAINTS is the only animal shelter in Canada focused on caring for senior and disabled animals.

A white flash comes bounding up, the ragged moose plush toy in its mouth thrust forward inviting a tug-of-war with the exuberance typical of a hyperactive puppy.

Mystic looks like any other two-year-old Samoyed-mix. She’s playful, affectionate, and frisky. She’s also palliative.

Like most of the animals at Senior Animals In Need Today Society (SAINTS), Mystic’s days are short-numbered. Her previous owners gave her up when they learned she has a fatal genetic condition.

“If you can’t handle it, own up to it and get your animal someplace safe,” says Maggie Calloway, a SAINTS volunteer.

The little farm houses over 100 animals just north of municipal hall off Stave Lake Road and is a facility for elderly and disabled animals. Unwanted and unloved anymore, these dogs, cats, rabbits, cows, pigs, and other creatures find a new lease on life at SAINTS, with a roof over their heads, regular veterinary care, and all the animal companionship they could ever want.

The animals’ ailments range from genetic conditions to sickness, disease, disabilities, blindness, or just old age. Yet they live and play like any other animal, and it’s clear they long for human contact.

SAINTS was started by Carol Hine in December 2004, who shares a small house, barn, and three outbuildings with dozens of animals. There is a field for the horses, cows, and donkey, and there’s even a pond with plenty of mud for the pigs.

Calloway says the purpose of the shelter is to create as natural an environment as possible for the animals to enjoy.

Many of the farm animals come from animal cruelty cases or situations where they’d simply be euthanized.

One very friendly pig who comes over for a sniff was rescued after falling into the Pitt River and nearly drowned, says Calloway. Hence the name, Brad Pitt.

Although SAINTS seems to have plenty of room, the shelter is operating at capacity.

SAINTS annual costs run about $200,000, which includes veterinarian checkups, food, maintenance, security cameras, and equipment. Although there are three paid employees to do chores and care for the animals, they rely mainly on a huge contingent of loyal volunteers.

Soon they will need to upgrade the perimeter fencing at a cost of $16,000 to keep animals from getting out or predators from getting in (although SAINTS has one llama, which is a fierce defender of the property).

Calloway started an initiative last fall called 1,000 Saints, a program which aims to get 1,000 people willing to donate $25 a month. She said the goal is to get stable funding so their work can continue. And while the organization has survived for seven years, it hasn’t been easy.

“We actually lurk from crisis to crisis,” she said, adding the generosity of donors keeps them afloat.

To learn more about SAINTS and visit the animals, there will be an open house June 23-24 at the farm, located 33860 Dlugosh Ave. For more information e-mail carol@saintsrescue.ca or call 604-826-8319.

Just Posted

Woman charged in Abbotsford mall stabbing served time for 2001 killing

Victim in Edmonton killing was stabbed eight times with kitchen knife

Trial date scheduled for man charged with killing Abbotsford officer

Oscar Arfmann slated to go to trial in New Westminster in January 2019

Mission to host We’re Your Neighbours immigration forum

Baltej Dhillon will be the guest speaker at the event set for March 17

Trial begins for man charged with 2010 murder of Mandy Johnson

Langley single mom was fatally shot while in vehicle in Abbotsford

Victoria-bound passengers left at Abbotsford airport

YXX staffers receive praise for help to passengers; airline criticized

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

Premier offers condolences to family of boy, 15, killed in Vancouver crossfire

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

VIDEO: Explorers uncover Canada’s deepest cave in Fernie

The cave, named Bisaro Anima, was confirmed to have broken the record on New Year’s Day

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

League’s all-stars hit the ice in Langley

PJHL hosts top junior B players for all-star game

Ex-BC Liberal staffer focused on ‘favourable’ ethnic communities in scandal: lawyer

Former communications director Brian Bonney’s sentencing hearing for breach of trust is underway

Council tells TransLink commission to make sure road pricing is fair

Maple Ridge tells road pricing commission to make sure system is fair

Sunwing vacation passengers left at Abbotsford airport

YXX staffers receive praise for help to passengers; airline criticized

Most Read