Friday, February 27, 2009

Pet Projects is having an adoption fair this Saturday

Have you been thinking about enriching your life by adopting a homeless kitty? Are you one of the really clever ones who understands what great companions that cats really are? Then you might just have found a really meaningful way to spend your Saturday afternoon this weekend.
P.E.T. PROJECTS is holding an adoption fair tomorrow at the Wood's Harbour Fire Hall. ( Its been a long time since I've been down that way, but I believe that after you pass Barrington on the 103, if you look for the exit that takes you to the 3, that will get you there, after you pass Doctor's Cove and Shag Harbour )
If you will recall, this is the same great group of folks who rescued Noah and Caesar. If like me, you have a soft spot for senior sweeties, they have another sweet senior dog, Noogie listed as a courtesy post on their site.
Any of these great cats would be worth the drive, even without the very modest minimum donation of $25.00 that they are asking for these purrfect pets. Not only that, but its a great chance to meet the folks from Pet Projects and see if helping out as a volunteer would be a good fit for you.
Best of all, Beauty, Bessie , Boo , Gemma , Kit Kat , Leo , Lexie , Mama Mia , Mr. Fancy Pants , Oh! Henry , Skittles , Snickers or Stanley Dude might just turn out to be the kindred spirit you have been looking for!

The Proof of the Pudding

From the article in this morning's Herald " MVI's Kicked Into Reverse"
The Chronicle Herald ran a series of articles over the past couple of years drawing attention to the MVI program’s flaws.
The Service Nova Scotia minister said Thursday that the changes to the inspection system were motivated by the public.
"The government has heard the concerns of Nova Scotians . . . and the industry, which prompted the redesign," Richard Hurlburt told reporters

I know I sound like a stuck record, but the way ahead for any meaningful change is always paved by voter feedback. Its as true for those concerned about animal issues as it is for those who were justifiably concerned about the imbalances in the NS Motor Vehicle Inspection system.
We give our politicians the power to govern and legislate change when we elect them. Does that mean our job is done after the election? Of course not. They are politicians, not psychics. In between elections, voter feedback is the best tool we have to ensure that our elected officials respond to the issues that concern us most.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A pinch in time

While I was rummaging around on the web looking for something else, I noticed an article on the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies site, that talked about the very real possibility that Quebec is considering mandatory Breeder registration.
Why are they doing that? Their provincial election followed hot on the heel of three big puppy mill seizures that are likely only the very tip of the iceberg there. At the height of the election, a petition in support of this.... with over 55,000 names on it was presented to the government.
If there is one thing that politicians respond to, it is voter feedback. Less than a year ago, we had a shining example of that here in NS. When the NS municipalities tried to sneak BSL in under the guise of a municipal housekeeping bill ( Bill 138 ), a grassroots surge of irate animal loving voters soon put the brakes to that. The bill passed, but not until the offending clauses 6-8 were removed from the document.
Ontario has already passed new legislation that includes fines of up to $60,000 and lifetime bans on ownership for those who abuse animals. If Quebec passes similar legislation, where WILL those puppy mills go? Will they close up shop? Will they pick a better path? Of course not.
Even this middle aged granny isn't naive enough to think that we don't already have puppy mills here in the Maritimes. Like selling drugs, its a nasty lucrative business that offers too many temptations to the unscrupulous.
We are famous here in the Maritimes for our hospitality .... for our scenery .... for our culture and our heritage. Do we want to become better known as the new puppy mill capitol of Canada?
Should we wait until our provincial SPCA is swamped by puppy mill operations that have set up shop in a more forgiving legislative climate? Should we wait for the next provincial election to let the MLA's in our Constituencies know how we feel about the issue?
Or should we start now,by letting our politicians know that this is an issue of great importance to the animal loving community. Democracy only works when we, as voters, let our representatives know what we expect. Silence is not golden ... it is a rusty old anchor that will keep the ship from sailing into better and safer waters.
It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds. - Samuel Adams

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Very Special Offer from the Yarmouth SPCA

The Yarmouth SPCA has a very special offer for two of the great pets in its care for qualified adopters. Like so many other lovely pets that "sit on the shelf" there is absolutely nothing wrong with either of them They are just quiet and unassuming adult pets who have been overlooked time after time.
Jelly Bean is a lovely adult female kitty who has been at the shelter since last September. She's spayed .... she's vaccinated .... she's housetrained and she's absolutely beautiful. She reminds me a lot of my own Kitty Bear when she was younger. For those of you who are unfamiliar with my lovely eldercat, she is by our best reckoning at least sixteen and still a force to be reckoned with.
Synder is a friendly, neutered adult fellow who has also been at the shelter way too long. He is a very handsome Lab mix with really striking soulful eyes. He is very clean in his run so they are sure he would be easy to house train. It has been my experience that adult dogs house train ever so much quicker than the youngsters. He's not used to children and so they are recommending he go to a home with older children only. There's a 'no cat' tag on his petfinder listing ... but there are a whole world of folks out there who only want to have ONE pet in a house and not the petting zoo that this middle aged granny shares space with : ))))
The Yarmouth SPCA is quite fond of these two and is going to underwrite the adoption fees for either of these sweethearts .... for qualified adopters of course. I have always really liked that about them .... that they understand it is the screening process and not the adoption fee that ensures that their adopters can be trusted to take good care of their adoptees.

A Very Happy Tail

Every now and then I get a nice little email from someone who has just found their new best friend through The NS Homeless Pet Project. Promoting pet adoption is the whole point of the site and I'm always thrilled to hear when it has helped.
Last night there was a wonderful email waiting in my inbox from Sasha's new Mom. For those of you who don't remember, last month I did a little post about her in LA Shelter is looking for help for a brave little survivor. Sasha needed, and will still need, a lot of help recovering from her horrible old life as a puppy machine. Her new Mom is absolutely smitten with her and fully prepared to carry on with everything Sasha will need to make a full recovery. I was moved to tears at the hope and joy and love that underpinned every word from Sasha's new Mom.
I know I say it all the time in the pet blogs, but the uninitiated cannot possibly imagine how much love and devotion a rescued pet has for those who open their homes and their hearts and give them a second chance. Not everyone's story is as dramatic as Sasha's .... which is a blessing because not every new "Mom" or "Dad" has the resources that will be needed for someone like Sasha.
Have a wonderful life little girl.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Betty gets a second chance
Abandoned, aging Shitsue gets lots of love from Valerie Shaw and Mitzi
by Heather Killen/Spectator
Valerie Shaw holds Betty, the ailing and aging Shitsue she rescue with the help of the Companion Animal Protection Society. At right is Mitzi who seems to have welcomed the new family member. Heather Killen
Betty, a one-eyed Shitsue, was given a second chance and is now in seventh heaven.
Valerie Shaw had been thinking about getting another dog for about a year and had decided that when the time came, she would adopt a dog from the Companion Animal Protection Society.
Last year she had taken Mitzi, her 11 year-old Pomeranian, to Nahleen Ashton for grooming. Knowing Ashton was a CAPS volunteer, Shaw asked if they had any small dogs that needed homes.
“She said there was one, but that I probably wouldn’t want her,” said Shaw. “The dog was in pretty bad shape and they hadn’t decided what they could do for her.”
Betty, a 10-year-old Shitsue, had been taken into care after being abandoned by her owner. She was deaf, had abscessed teeth and cataracts and had an eye infection that had gone untreated. Her eye was so severely abscessed it would have to be removed.
“She was so matted and dirty, they had to shave her,” said Shaw. “But as soon as I saw her, I fell in love with her.”
Due to the dog’s age and her grave condition, CAPS members debated whether it was humane to put her through surgery, or better to have her put to sleep. They finally decided to give Betty a second chance and Valerie quickly adopted her.
“I think she’s been through enough,” said Shaw. “It’s about time she has enough to eat, and a good home where she can live out the rest of her days.”
Being an only-child-dog, Mitzi’s nose was a bit out of place for the first little while, according to Shaw. But the two little dogs quickly made friends.
She added that these days, Betty loves her walks and looks forward to getting a treat every time she comes back in the house. Even though she probably has limited vision in her remaining eye, Shaw said she doesn’t seem too affected.
“She can find what she wants,” she said. “At Christmas she had a great time under the tree, sniffing out her presents. She knew there were treats in her sock and she could sniff it out every time.”
Anna Clark, CAPS chair, said she wishes that more people would really take a long look at all sides before choosing to bring home a pet. Not everyone is able to provide animals with the time, care, and attention they deserve.
“Too often we see animals that are suffering from simple things that were left unattended and have become terribly serious,” she said. “There’s a lot more to owning a pet than just picking one up at the flea market.”
Clark can list a number of neglected animals that have come through her doors over the years. In each case something simple had been initially left untreated, and the animal was left to suffer with increasingly severe symptoms.
She added that most people don’t realize how much time and work is needed to care for an animal. And many don’t realize how expensive pets are and don’t budget for unforeseen expenses.
“Animals get sick, or they become injured and veterinary bills quickly add up,” she said. “Even if they used the pickle jar routine and set aside spare change. Or maybe don’t rent the movie, or go to dinner one night each week. Instead set the money aside in case something comes up.
”Animals should be spayed or neutered to cut down on the number of unwanted and neglected pets, she said. And if a pet wanders off, the first place to call is the local animal control officer. Radio stations are also good resources as local stations often advertise lost and found animals.
“There are so many beautiful animals that end up in the pound every year,” she said. “You can’t imagine. And nobody seems to look for them. How can anyone not look for a pet? It’s not a bad thing to admit that you don’t have the time or money for an animal, but think about it before you bring one home.
The Companion Animal Protection Society is looking for people willing to volunteer as foster families for the animals taken into care. There is no animal shelter in Annapolis County, and CAPS relies on volunteers.
Volunteers are also needed for the many fundraisers CAPS holds throughout the year, for more information on CAPS visit
Anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis knows what high regard I hold CAPS in. They are living proof of the positive changes that can be made by a really determined group in a really short time.
My very own Henry, who was the subject of such admiration this morning, came from CAPS. In all honesty I didn't find him on Petfinder but made his acquaintance the day he was brought into CAPS' care from the pound, when I popped into the vets to pick up cat food. Like all the dogs who come into CAPS care, he was in 'quarantine' for ten days. I knew this and still looked for him everyday when I was doing site updates until he popped up on petfinder.
The thing I really liked about CAPS is that they were completely honest about him and didn't sugar coat anything just to get him adopted. As it happens, any of the odd little bits ... like housetraining and resource guarding, were easily handled. I'm not saying I'm a perfect pet owner, but Henry might not have had a chance to show his best self if he had been adopted to an more inexperienced person. I may not be a professional dog trainer but at fifty four I do understand that when it comes to our pets, Love is NOT all they need.
Thats why responsible rescues and shelters have adoption screening. They're not being mean. They're not being difficult. They are just making sure that there is a good fit for both the adoptee and the hopeful adopter.
Responsible rescues go the full disclosure route about each and every pet in their care. They know that glossing things over to boost adoptions is never the path to success. That is an unhappy road that can have devasting consequences - the animals lose confidence and someone else will have to pick up the pieces.
So don't complain about the screening process ... appreciate it for the safety net that it is for both adopters and adoptees.
If you ever find yourself in the valley, you should try to plan ahead enough to make arrangements to visit CAPS wonderful cat cottages. They are a shining example of cage free housing and Anna deserves to be very proud of them. They are immaculate .... as a result of the hours of work each day that Anna refers to as their 'chores'.
Anyone wanting to treat themselves to a visit can make arrangements by contacting CAPS

When the virtual and everyday reality overlap

I'm a big believer in routines. I'm not referring to the rigidity of a schedule, but rather a set pattern that keeps this multi pet household organized while giving the cats and dogs the security of knowing what to expect.
Having a regular rhythm to the day does not mean one is in a rut. Rather, it liberates ones mind to focus on bigger and broader issues.
For Ruby and Henry, this means that our 'big' hike of the day is after an earlier morning stroll with McG and of course my morning coffee. This morning we weren't a hundred feet west of my mailbox when a car was coming along. When Miss Ruby first came here, she wanted to leap out at every car and truck that went by ..... something that I am sure you would understand I was quick to discourage. So I have her trained to sit whenever she sees a car .... we really don't get enough traffic on our back roads for that to slow us down and I believe it is just ever so much safer than the leaping and lunging bits. I'm old school enough that love isn't all we need .... we need to teach our 'furkids' well so that they can be safe in the world.
But I'm getting off track here ..... the car stopped and the lady driving asked for directions. When she complemented Ruby and Henry for being such lovely dogs, I was quick to let her know they had been adopted from rescue. I consider them to be great ambassadors and take every chance I get to put the word out : )))))
As it happens, as soon as she told me she had two Irish wolfhounds, I put two and two together and we very quickly realized that we had already met in the virtual world. Its (almost ... ha ha ) always a treat to meet someone who reads this middle aged granny's blog and I have no doubt that we will meet again.
After all, I'm not a drama queen. While I do know that people from 'away' read this blog, the main reason it exists is to try to raise the consciousness of folks in my own province, in the hopes that they will lend their voice and support to the animal loving community here in NS.
So it was nice to meet you today. PS We got diverted in our chat so I did not get a chance to tell you that Jacques has been adotped!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Assumption is the mother of some very unhappy tails

With seven pets, I'm a fairly regular visitor to my vet clinic. In the normal run of things, everyone gets in at least once a year for their checkup ... and I"m old school enough that my 'kids' all get vaccinated. As anyone with pets knows, there are also all the unpredictable bits that can pop up at anytime. Its part and parcel of having pets and for most people its par for the course. Its as much a part of responsible pet ownership as good food, obedience training, socialization and of course living indoors with the other members of the 'pack". If one goes to the SPCANS home page, the Best Friends site and even the homeless pet site, there is no shortage of practical information about HOW to be a responsible pet owner.
But all the how to's overlook a couple of very important details. It isn't just the 'impulse pets' that wind up homeless. ( The need for humane education in the public school system is a separate rant for another day. As are the people who never read the 'how to pick an appropriate pet articles' or the 'what it actually costs to properly care for a pet" brochures)
People who consider themselves to be excellent caregivers often overlook one very important detail - nobody lives forever. Four years ago, I am sure that Clive's owner never dreamed that he would pass away before he was forty. Like so very many other pet owners, absolutely no provision had been made for this contingency. Happily for Clive, I was the 'girl who can't say no" at the time. (And no .... before the keyboards catch on fire I haven't lost my compassion. The homeless pet site was born of the understanding that I personally cannot adopt every pet in need. So rather than have the ctv newsvan in my dooryard some night while the spca hauls a hundred pets out of my house, the site is meant to promote pet adoption on a broader canvas. If I learned one thing during all my years in the military, it is that no man, or woman, is an island )
But I am wandering far afield here. Just this week, a great dog like Caesar was almost killed because that was the only plan his former owner could think of when he moved out of his own house. Although it is still perfectly legal to take a perfectly healthy adoptable pet in to be killed ( lets not sugar coat it ), that is an option that reeks of poor planning .
Pets do not bring our human hangups to the table and it is the height of misguided vanity to assume that because our pets have loved us that they would be incapable of bonding with a new caregiver.
So how DO we do the responsible thing and ensure that our pets futures are protected if the worst should happen?
  • You can create a legal pet trust and specify the terms. While at one time, this wouldn't have stood up in court, these are becoming more common now. It involves some work now, and periodic updating over time. But it is a legal document that specifies who your caregiver, and the alternate, will be. It should specify the care expected and the sums that will be available for the caregiver. For your pets' protection, it is best to assign the balance of the trust to your favourite non profit animal rescue after the pet has gone over the bridge. Any meaningful document has to be discussed with and agreed upon, with the caregiver(s) of choice.
  • You can specify anything in your will. It is possible to make the person you leave your home to responsible for your pets. Make sure that the executor of your will has crystal clear instructions about this.
  • Most pets adopted from reputable rescues or breeders have a lifetime safety net ... which is in itself the best argument I can think of for NOT getting pets from the free sites and backyard breeders or the neighbour who was too stupid to spay the dog or cat. In all fairness, if you are depending on this as a plan b, you should discuss this with the rescue in advance. In addition, your will should include some material provision to assist with this.
  • The BC SPCA offers another great choice - their Pet Survivor Care program. In a nutshell, participants are guaranteed that their pets will be fostered and rehomed. It is a legal agreement that requires a donation, but it does offer a lot of "peace of mind" bang for the buck.
  • The Ottawa Humane society has a Pet Stewardship program that takes a slightly different tack. The contract for this involves a ten year, $25,000 insurance plan that makes the Ottawa Humane society the recipient. The funds from this are used to foster and/ or rehome the pet(s) in the event the pet owner is disabled or passes away. Of all of the choices out there, this is the one I really liked. (And wished it was available here) It really offers peace of mind without asking for $25,000 ( or higher ) donations as the BC SPCA does. IMHO it is more of an achievable objective for more pet owners, and it is the sincere hope of this middle aged granny that if the society continues on its wonderful 'new path' that this is something they will consider implementing province wide in the future.

No matter what road one goes down, one thing is painfully evident. There is more to being a responsible pet owner than living in the moment. There was an old saying when I was in the military that is still true. Assumption is the mother of all screw ups. We can't assume that our friends and family will step up to the plate if something happens to us. We can't assume that nothing will ever happen to us. Its our job to make some sort of provision, so that we are not leaving the ones we love so very much in the lurch. Otherwise, you CAN assume there could be some very Unhappy Tails.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Treading water or swimming for safety

One of the greatest blessings in my life is that my adult daughter and I are very close. Not geographically at the moment, as she lives up in Ontario with her husband and my lovely granddaughter. But, thanks to an "all you can eat' long distance plan, at least we can still chat as if we just lived five minutes apart.
That doesn't mean that she was a saint or even a model student in high school. To be completely fair, I know there were many times when it was a great embarrassment to be my child. I was marching to my own beat long before it was fashionable and was often regarded as being eccentric and an oddity.
How did we get past all that? Did we develop amnesia? Of course not. We just finally recognized that we couldn't rewrite history. That in turn liberated us so that we could explore and appreciate the common ground we DO have. The payoff of course is the love and nurturing support that we have, and will, provide for each other for the rest of our lives.
At the end of the day I believe that is the key to building any successful relationship. We don't need to forget, nor do we need to forgive. What we need to do is find enough common ground to move forward. Otherwise, the relationship just 'treads water' until it is exhausted and sinks, instead of swimming for the safety of the shore.
This time last year, who would have imagined that we would actually be engaged in positive communication with and support for the society? Yet within the space of one short year, we have gone from railing against injustice to the pleasure of seeing so very many positive changes.
We don't need to forget what happened to appreciate the progress that has been made. We don't need to forgive the past fact we should never be so hard that we can dismiss what happened. Forgive and forget is a fantasy that is beyond most people, myself included.
What we can do is recognize that if the society could make a deliberate and conscious decision to pick a better path, that it may very well be possible for Cape Breton to turn a new leaf. We have already seen glimmers of this from the online BOD minutes ( last month , When opportunites knock , brought the ugly gas chamber issue out into the light of day) to the increased petfinder listings for the CB branch to the first queries into opening another branch on the island.
There is no way to ever undo the harm that has been done directly and indirectly by the CB branch. No one should ever be asked to forgive and forget the multitude of horror stories that abound. But at some point, if only for the sake of the animals, everyone is going to have to find a way to move forward. Otherwise, we will just be caught on a treadmill of criticism that stonewalls the participants while maintaining the status quo.
At the end of the day, forging a new relationship with the cb branch could create a better future for the animals in Cape Breton. Indeed, it is the only thing that will. So we need to decide whether we need to get even or we need to make a difference. Somehow I suspect we won't get to do both.
An eye for an eye would make the whole world blind Mahatma Ghandi

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Update about Caesar

Remember Caesar? The sweet retriever mix who was slated to be killed today? He has been adopted :)))))))))))))))

Another Update about Shelby

Do you remember last month when there was a Lost Black Lab named Shelby ? Its always nice when a story has a happy ending .... but Shelby hasn't quite hit her 'happily ever after' yet. For those who were interested in her story when she was lost in the storm, Shelby is now available for adoption from NS Labrador Rescue. Years ago my own Lab Max was an escape artist and when he moved to Greenwood with me I had to replace all the old fashioned screen door handles on my first house with something that he COULDN'T open by himself : )))
It is always the unusual bits about our pets that we wind up bragging about, hmmmm?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A few home truths

From the Cape Breton Post
Two men arrested in animal cruelty case The Cape Breton Post
BADDECK — The RCMP arrested two men in connection with the recent abandonment of five puppies in the woods near Middle River.The two Wagmatcook men have since been released from custody on a promise to appear. One of the men will appear in youth court in Baddeck, while the other will appear in provincial court in Baddeck. Both are scheduled in court, April 20.Two of the collie mix puppies died in sub-zero temperatures, estimated at minus-30 C, while the three female survivors were taken to Baddeck Veterinary Clinic for treatment.*For more, see Monday’s Cape Breton Post.

From this morning's Herald
Arrests made after pups abandoned Sun. Feb 15 - 5:19 AM
BADDECK — The RCMP have arrested two men after a trapper recently found five puppies abandoned in sub-zero temperatures amid a clump of alder bushes in rural Cape Breton.
Two of the pups died there.
Police say the two men from Wagmatcook were released from custody Saturday. Both are scheduled to appear in court on April 20.
Meanwhile, the three puppies that survived have found new homes.
The five mixed-breed pups, believed to be about three months old, were found in Middle River area on Tuesday.
The temperature at the time was -30 C.
Const. Aaron Brown of the Baddeck RCMP says the three survivors — named Daisy, Mazy and Wags — have all been adopted.
It’s unclear how or when the puppies ended up in the woods. The survivors were suffering from hypothermia, malnutrition, dehydration and puncture wounds.
The Canadian Press
This horrible story has highlighted some real home truths.

  • there are as many kind hearted animal lovers in Cape Breton as anywhere else. Why do I say that? Even though the RCMP have considerably more training in criminal investigation than the society cruelty investigators, there would have been no quick arrest without community support.

  • it should be no surprise that the vet clinic was flooded with adoption offers for the three surviving puppies. People always react quickly to any story that hits the mainstream media. Do you remember when the Herald did the two stories about SHAID's Home for the Holidays? The second story featured a cat named Sky who was adopted almost immediately afterward. Any successful adoption strategy has to include a partnership with the mainstream media.
  • the horror of the story is only magnified by the fact that one of those arrested will have to be tried in youth court. In a just world, everyone who hurt an animal would be successfully prosecuted, but in a truly perfect world the book would be thrown at any youth committing the same. To quote Margaret Mead - "one of the most dangerous things that can happen to a child is to kill or torture an animal and get away with it.
  • this is exactly the type of story that can be a catalyst for positive change. When people in Annapolis County discovered that impounded dogs were being shot, that stopped almost overnight. Why? Because it galvanized a caring and concerned group of animal lovers to form CAPS . At this time, all three counties in Cape Breton have only one SPCA branch to serve them. In fairness to the society, in the minutes from the January 12, 2009 BOD meeting an action item was to "contact vets in the Port Hawksbury/Port Hastings/Port Tupper area to get a sense of people in the area who might be interested in opening a SPCA branch as currently this appears to be an area without adequate coverage "
  • And last but not least, successful prosecution of this case would not only serve as a deterrent for the future but would provide a positive way for the society to present a better image in Cape Breton. At the end of the day who knows what wonderful things could come of that?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Sweet Way to Spend Valentine's Day

If you are looking for a very sweet and meaningful way to spend Valentine's Day, why not make time to attend Loving Lizards for Luke ..... a very special Reptile Expo and Silent Auction that is being sponsored by Ssafe Haven Society for Reptiles and Amphibians.

Kids of all ages love to have a chance to get up close and personal with lizards. That's why Denise of Ssafe Haven was inspired to organize this fundraiser for Luke. She was touched by Lukes' story ( for more details see a post that I did last month about this called,Lizards for Luke ) and so put her experience at organizing last fall's firsst ever Reptile Expo to good use for this occasion.

So after all the planning and work, the day is here. The expo starts at noon and goes until four. Admission is only $3.00 for adults and $2.00 for children.

Its going to be a fun time - there will be:
  • a fifty fifty draw
  • a Silent Auction

  • Face Painting

  • Games and Activities in the Kids Corner

  • And of course last but very definitely not least, the chance for a hands on reptile safari with the very knowledgeable volunteers from Ssafe Haven.

Where is it being held? At Fire Station Nine , which can be found at 1 Metropolitan Boulevard in Lower Sackville. Its beside the Sackville High School and is between First Lake Drive and Glendale Ave.
For driving directions, please refer to:
All in all, this a really great way to have a great time ... a really great way to help out a little guy in need .... and best of all - its a really great way to introduce your children to the reality that animal rescue really is powered by love.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dear Valentine

Dear Valentine,

You haven't met any of us yet, but we want you to know that we all have faith in you. You have such a kind heart just to be thinking of adopting your new best friend.

We are so very proud of you for even looking at us .... we are the homeless senior pets here in NS and most people don't give us a second glance. They don't think we have much time or love left to offer. Others worry that we might run up high vet bills.

But you are smarter than that. You know that we have been loyal and devoted friends for all of our lives. Most of us are even already housetrained. You know that we will make great companions right now.

You know that we like sleeping through the night as much as you do. We bring our own brand of Zen to any space we share and are pretty undemanding company.

Some of us have had a good life all along until lately. Some of us only ever dreamed of the good life that all pets should have. But none of us are the type to harbour a grudge. We don't bring the same hangups to the table that people do. Even if we weren't treated well....even if our hearts have been broken ... we are incurable optimists just waiting for a second chance at love.

Not everyone understands that, but we are really glad that you do. We are all old enough to be wise enough to really appreciate that.

We are also smart enough to know that we are the really lucky ones. Not every good senior pet in need makes it into rescue safely. Not every story has a happy ending. That's why we really appreciate how good people like you are changing the odds for homeless senior pets. It wasn't all that long ago that our chances would have been slim to none at all.

Happily you know better and are part of a quiet little revolution that is working hard to save senior pets. You are part of the generation that is determined to make a difference. We are so grateful that your love and compassion transcends the old stereotypes.

We are so proud of you for understanding that adopting any of us would be a great way to teach your children the values of kindness and compassion. You're a great parent because you understand that more is "caught than taught". Involving them in the entire adoption journey will be a priceless life lesson they could never get from any book.

So we all hope that you have a lovely Valentine's Day and we all thank you from the very bottom of our hearts.

Love Kizzy , Pumpkin , Sheldon , Stewie , Benny , Sasha , Spirit, Noogie , Ceasar and Jensen

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Update on Caesar

P.E.T. PROJECTS has found a (very short term ) temporary berth for Ceasar for the moment. While that certainly isn't the new Forever Home that he will need, for now it will keep the 'headsmans' axe' at bay. His foster Mom thinks that he is just lovely even if he is plainly not used to cats : ))) He is definitely house trained and he got along very well with her dogs.
Dogs are so amazing .... if a person had been abandoned by the one they loved, would he or she be as trusting and affectionate as Ceasar 's foster Mom has found him to be?
I know I say this all the time on both blogs, but there would be more love than anyone could possibly imagine for someone kind enough to open their home and their heart to this sweet guy. He's housetrained, old enough to learn the ropes and still energetic enough to be a great hiking buddy right now. He is full of love and would shine with a second chance.

Monday, February 9, 2009

No way to repay an old friend

What a cold cold night it is out there. We just came back in from our after supper stroll and there was definitely no dawdling and leisurely sniffing of every last thing this evening.
McG had a really good day today ... which of course makes me very happy. Later this week we'll be back into my vet for another mini checkup. While I do get that there are no miracles afoot that doesn't mean that I would even consider jumping the gun. My vet and I know each other well enough that I will trust her to be the voice of reason if I don't or wont' recognize when its time. But until that day we will do what we can, while we can to make sure that the little man has the best quality of life possible.
So you can just imagine how livid I was to get an email about this fellow here. His name is Caesar and like McG, he is 11 years old. His owner has moved into a house with some other people and instead of 'putting them out' he has made an appointment to put Caesar down. What a horrible way to repay years of love and devotion.
P.E.T. PROJECTS is desperately trying to find a foster and / or a new home for this sweet guy. He is already neutered and Shelly was in to visit him today and said that he seemed very friendly. Poor guy is upset to be in a kennel and hasn't eaten since last friday.... imagine that, eh?
Caesar is a sweet old guy who deserves the chance to live the rest of his days in peace and dignity. If you , or someone you know , can offer this guy a safe berth , please call Pet Projects - the Society number is 875-2367. or call Shelley at 637-1560

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Its Good to See that Metro will be Open

I love our last hike of the evening. Its normally a pretty quiet time out here and with almost two acres, we can safely wander around the yard without taking any chances on our little country roads that have no sidewalks or streetlights. We're surrounded by woods, so there is always something interesting for the dogs to rummage around after.
It made me doubly happy tonight to have enough clear sky for a bit of star watching and for it to be (comparably) warmer out.
It made me even happier when we came back in to see this notice on the front door of the society webpage,
February 8, 2009: Please be advised that the Metro Shelter is not closed but has put security measures in place based on threats made to management. The Shelter Management Team has brought in security measures that will keep its staff, volunteers, and potential adopters safe. We still need support from the community in the form of people coming to the shelter to adopt.
Now of course the Metro Shelter won't be open tomorrow, because with its new, more user friendly hours Monday is the only day of the week it isn't open to the public. But its great to know that on Tuesday at ten, the shelter will be back to its usual Hours of Operation
Anyone who has been to the Metro Shelter lately knows that a lot more has changed than their hours. It took a lot of time and energy to turn things around .... and the payoff has been almost immediate in their improved adoption rate.
There is even a new facebook group I want to help the SPCANS METRO SHELTER to facilitate communications with everyone who wants to help out and/or donate.
Its a real shame that this situation has taken energy away from the animals ... after all ... someone will have to do the security..... police will have to spend time and resources trying to track down the threats .... not to mention the stress for the people at the shelter who have been working so hard (and effectively ) to change things for the better.
It certainly didn't improve Francesca's standing with the animal loving community ... in fact it pretty much vaporized what little sympathy had remained for her cause. The newest Brindi facebook group, Release Brindi but not to her owner would very likely not have been formed, had the threats not been made. Nor did it do anything positive for the potential outcome of the case.
Metro's adoptables are all 'innocent bystanders' who became homeless because their original guardians were unwilling or unable to care for them in a responsible fashion. At the end of the day, I hope that on Tuesday ... and every day thereafter ... people who are willing to be responsible, caring and nurturing guardians will keep coming to Metro to find their new best friends.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Valentines treats for everyone

This time next week it will be Valentine's Day. For those who work with food, flowers or chocolate, it is the busiest day on their calendar. Even Mother's Day plays a (close) second fiddle to this.

What's not to like about the day? Its a celebration of love, family and friendship that brightens us all and distracts us from our winter woes. I may be fifty four years old, but I can find no fault with any holiday devoted to love and of course chocolate.

Those who can ( and some who can't) spend quite a bit on their Valentine's now. When I was a girl it was more of a box of chocolates and flowers or a plant for Mom. The scale has certainly stepped up quite a bit .... and its possible to spend a limitless amount on the day.

Charitable groups around the world have come to recognize the fundraising potential of the Christmas holiday season and the really clever ones have made it very easy to give 'gifts of the heart' From goats and chickens to helping build a village well or school to funding endangered species, there are plenty of user friendly opportunities for donor gifts.

These are difficult days for many and that of course always affects the animals. Here in Nova Scotia there are many who will (of sad necessity) be celebrating a more frugal Valentines Day

For those of you with animal loving sweethearts, this would be a splendid time to consider celebrating the day by either making a donation to their favourite rescue or picking up one of the fundraising tidbits offered by rescues around NS:

Short of cash? Don't forget that every group around the province can use Canadian Tire money. And ask if your favourite group is set up to take Club Z point donations.

You'll notice that I didn't suggest that you give a pet for Valentine's day. I still think that when it comes to 'giving' a pet to somebody, especially someone outside of your own household, the better option is to give the Pet Promise Certificate that is on the Petfinder site. That way they, and the rescue, can work together to find the very best fit that will last for life. If however, you are hoping to adopt your family's new pet in time for Valentine's Day I heartily suggest you get that ball rolling today!

And of course, last but very definitely not least, please don't forget about the very special Loving Lizards for Luke which is being held next Saturday from 12:00 pm until 4:00 pm

They now have a locationfor this event, it will be held at Fire Station 9, 1 Metropolitan Boulevard, Lower Sackville beside Sackville High School, between First Lake Dr. and Glendale Ave.)

For driving directions, please refer to:

And as my own little valentine for all of you chocolate loving folks .... here is my very own recipe for brownies, which of course need to be kept well out of the reach of the furkids, especially the dawgs.

  • 1 cup melted margarine

  • 2 cups white sugar

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 tsp vanilla or vanilla extract

  • 1 cup All purpose flour ( I use unbleached flour and so take out an extra tbsp as unbleached is 'heavier')

  • 2/3 cup of cocoa

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp salt

Melt margarine. When cool, stir in sugar, eggs and vanilla. Sift flour with cocoa, baking powder and salt and add to egg mixture. Combine well and pour into a lightly greased 9 by 12 inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees until cooked. Hint .. the difference between great brownies and ho hum ones is usually only a matter of a couple of minutes. If you can smell them cooking its probably already past time to take them out : (((( Depending on your dish and your oven it shouldn't take much longer than ten minutes.

When the brownies have cooled to lukewarm ice them with:

  • 1 cup icing sugar

  • 1/2 cup cocoa

  • 1 heaping tbsp soft margarine

  • Hot coffee ... add only a few drops at a time so as to have icing and not drizzle

And of course if you are wondering what to get your pets, never forget that their very favourite thing is the time you make to spend with them doing anything at all : )))

Who, being loved, is poor? Oscar Wilde

Friday, February 6, 2009

Taking a new tack

Two days ago, I did up a little post called A bit of good news about McG and Cape Breton Puppies ..... where I was (yet again ) nagging about the fact that the Cape Breton SPCA was still only posting a few of its younger pets. So you can imagine how pleasantly suprised when I was doing site updates today to find that there were nine new adult dogs listed on their Petfinder page: Chex, Teddy B , Devlin, Houche, Warf, Bonett , Crayola, Mommacita, MAMA and one senior dog - Jensen is pictured here and they figure he is either 11 or 12. This is not the time to quibble about the fact that they should have given him a special needs tag because they have also said that Jensen is going blind. Its just pretty amazing that he's listed at all.
Every time I look at the news these days it seems like more NS jobs are vanishing into thin air. Although we've been taking quite a hit here in the Valley between ACA and Michelin, I think that Cape Breton can still claim the lion's share of the job losses. If adopters were thin on the ground in Cape Breton before, I imagine they're now as scarce as the proverbial hen's teeth.
Happily adoptions are proceeding at a merry old pace for the Metro Shelter . How do I know this? Even without the petfinder happy tails option, I see it almost daily when I do the site updates for the homeless pet project. Why is this happening? Because the society made a deliberate decision to pick a better path .... and the staff at Metro worked like the dickens to see the changes through. And of course, no matter where all these new adopters actually live, clearly Metro's central location also plays a part.
Success breeds success may be a cliche, but it is a still a very true thing. Everyone who adopts from Metro and has a great experience becomes an adoption 'recruiter". Their friends and family get to see the pawsitive side of pet adoption firsthand.
Now on the Cape Breton SPCA Petfinder page, they state that they do not ship animals. What if people could arrange to sign the adoption agreement and pick up their new best friend from the CB Branch at the Metro Shelter?
Success doesn't just breed adoption success after all. Now that the society has clearly demonstrated it is embarking on a new path, it might be easier to recruit a few volunteer drivers willing to transfer pets from the CB Branch to the Metro Shelter.
In a sense this is just a twist on the concept of mobile adoptions .... in a way that would open up all kinds of lifesaving possibilities. First and foremost it would save lives of course. Secondly, it would boost the adoption rate for the Cape Breton Branch .....which is what we have all been nagging/ranting about. And last but very definitely not least, it just might alter the current mindset that cannot see past any solution other than killing so many healthy, treatable and adoptable pets.
What a wonderful live saving tool that could be in the society's arsenal, hmmm?

There is no such thing as a little rescue group

From this morning's Herald

Another pet project in Shelburne By Our Staff Fri. Feb 6 - 5:27 AM
An animal shelter society in Shelburne County is planning another pet adoption fair.
The group held one in November with a 100 per cent success rate and plans to do it again in the spring, volunteer Shelly Hipson said Monday.
"We don’t have a shelter facility so we took all of our cats and dogs out of foster care and went to the local firehall and set up," she said.
"By the end of the day, all of our animals were spoken for," with 11 cats and one dog headed for new families.
The Beulah Burman Memorial Animal Shelter Society actually has a shelter, but it sits empty because the organization found it too expensive to keep open, Ms. Hipson said.
"It takes quite a bit of money to open the doors of a shelter building."
The shelter society was formed in 1998 and negotiated a property lease with the provincial government. It opened a new two-storey building at 528 Sandy Point Rd. just outside the town of Shelburne in 2001.
But the shelter was used only for occasional emergencies and closed in October 2003 because it cost about $50,000 a year to run, she said.
It makes sense in a virtual world to have a virtual shelter, since people would rather find their pet on the Internet than drive to a shelter, said Ms. Hipson.
The group doesn’t euthanize any animals and has a network of foster families who have their feed and litter and vet bills paid for by the society. Those volunteers plan to bring their animals out to periodic adoption fairs.
"There is an abandonment problem" with cats in Shelburne County, Ms. Hipson said.
The society takes more than 120 cats into temporary care each year, compared with only about eight to 10 dogs.
In the last two years, the society has raised more than $22,000 and spent $19,000 of it on veterinary medical care, said Ms. Hipson.
Now society members would like to turn their attention to education, she said.
Rather than reopen a shelter, they’d like to be more proactive and offer low- or no-cost spay and neuter programs.
"It’s the way we have to go to prevent the numbers of unwanted animals from reaching our shelters," said Ms. Hipson.
Some pet owners want to do the right thing but they don’t have the money for such veterinary care, she said.
The society’s website is

There is so much love and energy in the 'little groups' that have been leading the way to No Kill Nova Scotia. This is the same group that rescued Noah ... remember the sweet old guy last month? ( Unchaining Noah )

Actually right now they are trying to find a good home for another innocent bystander named Tucker, who is a great guy that has been left behind by his owner, who is going out west today ( are there really any new jobs left out there ?)

Four year old Tucker is neutered and is gentle with kids and other pets, including cats. He's crate trained, and his crate will go with him to his adopter.
Good dogs like Noah and Tucker are very lucky that these so called 'little groups' work so hard on their behalf. In my perfect fantasy world, someday we will have something here in NS like the Mayor's Alliance in New York -
In seven short years, this non profit group created a public/private partnership of all the groups working on behalf of the animals. While they are not yet at their goal of No Kill New York, they have significantly lowered the percentage of healthy adoptable animals that are killed.
Can you just imagine the possibilities for us here in NS? If AC's were obligated to be on the life saving side of the fence? If resources were pooled? Can you just imagine the strength of such a voice for the animals?
M'gawd the possibilities are enough to make ya dizzy, eh?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What's Good for the Goose ( or the chicken )

Who allows urban chickens? Municipal staff have been finding out in preparing report for councillorsBy Our StaffThu. Feb 5 - 5:43 AM
Here’s a nugget from Halifax city hall: municipal staffers have been dipping into regulations in other Canadian jurisdictions to see how those communities handle chickens within city limits.
According to a municipal staff report to be presented to Peninsula community council on Monday, staffers researched five cities on their policies covering "the keeping of fowl." Two other municipalities were also mentioned in the report.
Studying the urban chicken issue had public servants from Halifax Regional Municipality’s planning services department checking such cities as Victoria, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Toronto.
Staffers were directed by community council to prepare the report about a year ago. Councillors asked for the study because of a well-publicized land-use matter last year involving a west-end Halifax resident who kept backyard hens.
Those chickens were relocated to Hants County.
"At this time, there is no uniform land-use bylaw approach within HRM regarding the keeping of fowl," says the staff report, approved by Austin French, the city’s planning services manager. "In the suburban and rural areas, fowl are included in the land-use bylaw definition of ‘livestock,’ whether or not they are kept for commercial purposes."
In Victoria, the municipality "prohibits roosters and farm animals within the city," the report says. "However, hens are not considered to be farm animals, so they are permitted in urban residential areas."
In Edmonton, "the keeping of fowl for domestic egg production would be considered a non-commercial farm, which the land-use bylaw only permits in certain rural zones."
Back in Halifax, Mayor Peter Kelly said city employees regularly do research on many issues. But he acknowledged the chicken issue may be "out there in terms of the seriousness" of running a municipality.
Mr. Kelly said the chicken study was not a waste of staff time or taxpayer dollars.
"Do I always agree that all the research that council asks for is appropriate? No, I don’t," the mayor told The Chronicle Herald.
"But in this democracy, and in the areas of motions and emotions, and the ability to seek information," it is imperative the city do its homework, Mr. Kelly said.
As news items go, the chicken story has legs. It began last winter when former urban chicken owner Louise Hanavan was ordered to get rid of her three backyard birds after a neighbour complained they were attracting rodents.
Actually, rats. Big rats.
One of Ms. Hanavan’s chickens went missing last year, after it was farmed out to Hants County, and is presumed dead. A separate case involving pet chickens landed in court in Halifax.
Ms. Hanavan said in a recent release that 1,000 people in metro signed a pro-chicken petition last year. She said Halifax city hall should "show leadership in Canada by encouraging urban agriculture."
Now isn't that interesting? And before the keyboards catch on fire, I would like to remind you that as someone who tries to live a fairly self sufficient life, I am all in favour of extending the same privileges I enjoy to like minded urban dwellers. Particularly when much of HRM was 'country' twenty years ago.
You might say that I can enjoy these freedoms because I live in the country ... but no .... my neck of the woods is classed as Residential Forestry and as such there are things that I cannot do even if I wanted to. Cattle and pigs are out of the question, but yes I could have chickens and even goats if I wanted. Over the years in my travels I have visited many places where small animal husbandry was a successful part of urban communities.
But the point I'm trying to make here in my rambling, 'haven't' finished my first cup of coffee' way is that if HRM is prepared to go all out for the chickens, why do they keep resisting change about Bylaw A 300?
By my best estimate, there are a lot more dog and cat owning voters than urban chicken ranchers in HRM. I suspect many of them never lose a minute's sleep over the animal control bylaws .... until that unpredictable moment happens and they run afowl of the 'law' ( Or in HRM's case .... somebody 'thinks' or is 'afraid' they have done something dangerous )
So WHY is HRM so concerned about chickens? Because 1000 HRM tax paying voting residents have signed up to support the issue. I know I sound like a stuck record, but the way ahead for anything is always paved by voter feedback. It is really the only tangible way our politicians have of understanding the importance of any issue.
Responsible pet owners provide regular vet care, good food and of course lots of love. From seatbelts to winter boots to obedience classes, they do not hesitate to do whatever it takes to protect their pets. How is it then, that so many do not understand the value and importance of their input to their municipal councillors? Anyone living in HRM can contact their councillor ( Councillors E-mail )to discuss this issue .... before any chickens come home to roost and HRM starts sneaking in BSL bylaws when no one is paying attention.
The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, its indifference. Elie Wiesel