Sunday, May 31, 2009

Turning off the tap

One of the loveliest bits about being retired is that winter is now something to be savoured. Outside of our daily hikes, the most strenuous activity is the odd bit of snow removal ... and even then there is a blower in the boathouse to help with that.
The best bit of course is being able stay home until after my road has been plowed ... and I am still enjoying the novelty of that. All in all, winter has become such a sweet cozy time that towards the end I'm almost dreading the change of pace when spring, and gardening season, arrives.
Until of course the dance actually starts. Somehow I have never outgrown the ability to get 'lost' in the garden. Pulling one weed can still lead to clearing the entire bed. There is a sensual 'parade' of fragrance that begins with the fruit blossoms and keeps ticking over with the first lilacs to the wild roses to the herbs in full flower.
Just like the proverbial river, one never stands in the same garden twice. The odd thing gets shifted about and there is always an interesting new plant or flower or vegetable to try. Good gardens, like anything else in life, take time to grow into their best selves.
Gardening isn't everyone's cup of tea..... novices are often bursting with enthusiasm during the winter .... going through the seed catalogues online in their flannel pj's and bunny slippers. Some of the excitement starts to slip when they are battling the bugs to plant all the seeds. Some get discouraged when the weeds seem to win the battle if left unchecked for even a few days in June. And others just realize that the garden will not play second fiddle to camping trips and summer vacation.
Honestly, gardening doesn't need to be everyone's cup of tea.... but trying to grow one at least once is a great life experience, no matter how it turns out. After all .... if everyone grew all their own food, who would keep the farmers in business, eh?
When things don't pan out, the garden can either be scaled back or revert back to lawn completely. No harm ... no foul.
Its a completely different cup of tea when well intentioned folks dip their toes into the inviting waters of pet ownership. Of course it looks lovely .... the media are full of tempting pictures of families with the handsome big, well behaved dogs and the affectionate and engaging cats.
Last year when I lost Ben, I was so upset that I didn't 'dust' my potatoes when I should have. So of course, almost overnight the potato bugs decimated the fledgling plants. I did the only sensible thing and tilled the potato patch over and let it sit fallow for the rest of the season.
What happens to dogs and cats when someone doesn't pay attention? Pets do not train themselves. Those handsome dogs in the commercials are well behaved because their guardians took the time to 'teach them the ropes'. Bit by bit, day by day, someone understood that all youngsters are like do it yourself kits .... everything that is needed to be a great pet is already there. It is the guardians job to help these cute youngsters succeed in the journey.
What happens when the guardians loose interest? ( The subject of how people can feel it is acceptable to break the heart of a loyal and devoted pet instead of making the effort for successful adjustment is a really big fat rant for another day) The ONE thing that pets want to do is to please the people they fall in love with.
As a sidebar note to this, did you know that when addicts are recovering, most programs and councillors encourage them to get a plant before they try to get a pet. If the plant is still thriving and doing well after a year, then it will be time to move on to adding a living breathing sentient being to their home.
I know I go on and on like a stuck record, but we will never get to No Kill Nova Scotia until we turn off the tap.
Its pointless to simply have adoption screening criteria for reputable rescues and breeders. There are too many other options out there for anyone who 'doesn't pass muster'. Pet stores, the free online sites, backyard breeders and unsavoury entrepreneurs like the Benoits' are quick to provide the 'no questions asked' solution.
In other words .... turning off the tap does not mean keeping people from having pets. Here in the real world, when someone has their 'heart' set on it, they will find a way. Instead, it means providing the resources that are needed so that these pets do not wind up in rescue, being taken to the vets to be killed, being dumped or continually being recycled through the free online sites.
Resources such as are in place in Calgary, where they have:
  • Licensing and permanent pet ID
  • Easily accessible spay/neuter programs
  • Training, socialization, grooming and food—basic needs for a dog to feel safe and comfortable
  • Proper supervision to prevent a pet becoming a nuisance in the community.

The fringe benefit to this type of proactive approach is that Calgary has reduced its level of dog bite incidences to the lowest level in 25 years .... without BSL.

Turning off the tap doesn't mean preventing people from having pets .... it means focusing on finding solutions so that these pets do not wind up "being tilled under".

What time is it? With less than two weeks until the ballots are cast, its time to remind all the hopeful harries who come knocking at your door that concern for animal welfare creates better communities and if they want Nova Scotia to "come to life" that's a great place to start.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Here in the Real World

Stray and feral cats are a little like the mice they love to hunt .... for everyone that you see there are ever so many more that you don't. As part of the process of refurbishing the old garden shed into suitably safe and snug quarters for Dora and Oscar, there is now a little 'kitty door' small enough to keep the raccoons from stopping by for midnight snacks.
Still, every morning, after the dogs have had their first inspection tour of the yard, I know that I'll need to bring a fresh bowl of cat food out for my two scamps. Raccoon proof doesn't deter other kitties after all.
One of the reasons I chose the garden shed to be the new 'cathouse' is that its close enough to the house to keep tabs on at least some of the traffic. Now some of the visitors are the neighbours' kitties, but there is at least one other feral for sure that I know is stopping by .... a battered old intact tom that I call Chuck ( for he is as battered as Chuck Norris after all those fight movies)
If I could ever get my paws on Chuck, I'd get him into to be tested, vaccinated and neutered. But Oscar and Dora may have told him there is 'no free lunch' and he may be purposely elusive on that score : )))
Everyone agrees that the stray and feral cat problem is huge. Conservative guestimates place the numbers at three hundred thousand in the province. Three hundred thousand! That means, in realspeak, that there is at least one stray or feral cat for every three people in this province.
Even a middle aged grandmother like myself can see that there are no simple solutions for something this big. Tomorrow is the Town Hall meeting on stray and feral cats . There will be presentations on both successful TNR and Low cost spay neuter programs in the hopes of inspiring interested individuals to develop similar projects in their communities.
While it is certainly a groundbreaking move on the part of the society, its important to realize that this is only the first step in what could yet be a fairly rocky road.
Why do I say that? Doesn't everyone have compassion for the kitties? Unfortunately not. There are some other stumbling blocks that still need work:
  • Money ... it might not buy love, but politicians are quick to toss the responsibility around like a hot potato. The reality is that financial matters between the municipal and provincial levels are so interconnected that any meaningful solutions needs to be a joint effort. As long as the province controls so many of the purse strings for the municipalities, its just political passing of the buck for the two levels to keep insisting that animal welfare is the others' responsibility.
  • Public relations .... if you are reading this blog, you ( and by extension your friends and family) probably care enough to be informed about animal welfare issues. Its time to stop 'preaching to the choir' and find more mainstream ways to get the issues out there for the rest of the province. Municipal websites and newsletters to posters in animal clinics are only a couple of the places that should be showcasing the issue. Just like the little private rescues, maybe its time to go 'tabling' at flea markets and fairs.
  • Pet abandonment .... there was a very good letter, ( click here. to read) sent out by the society explaining in crystal clear fashion what is needed from the province in order for them fulfill their mandate ( the subject of the need to education our public prosecutors that animal cruelty to feral and stray cats is still animal cruelty is a separate rant for another day ) Until the deterrent of enough successful prosecutions of charges of animal abandonment exists, there are some who will just keep on dumping good pets.

In a perfect fantasy world, every pet would live its whole life being well cared for by a responsible guardian. But here in the real world, people will get pets and feed strays that they cannot afford to spay or neuter. Here in the real world, any meaningful solution needs to recognize that.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Add it up

In the midst of everyone's excitement about the New Path the society has engaged in, its important not to overlook the great work that is being done by all the little 'private' rescues and shelters around the province. Work, I might add, that was being done long before the society even began the (still ongoing) process of change so that they will truly be able to "speak for those who cannot speak for themselves"
Up in Cumberland County, the LA Animal Shelter maintains its No Kill philosophy while engaging in a relationship with Animal Control there. They accept animals from AC, from private citizens who find strays and when possible, owner surrenders as well. Last year they dropped their cat adoption fees to boost adoptions ... with of course the fringe benefit of providing the community with more altered pets.
Over on the south shore, S.H.A.I.D is also No Kill and have such a successful adoption rate that they are often able to take dogs transferred down from Metro. Several volunteers from the shelter started South Shore TNR, which maintains a close working relationship with the shelter.
My own sweet Handsome Henry came from CAPS, whose adoptables all start out at Annapolis County AC. CAPS is living proof of what the power of love for the animals can accomplish in four short years .... and every calendar day of the year they are a shining example by listing each and every one of their 120+ adoptables on petfinder with great pics and detailed, complete bios.
Miss Ruby, who is my heart, came from ARC who have been saving lives for fifteen years. One dog... and the occasional kitty.... at a time, ARC has saved at least a couple of thousand lives ... and helped rehome countless more. They are definitely No Kill and never define 'treatable' by the dollar sign. Their petfinder bios are an inspiration ... witty and completely informative.
Down in Shelbourne, P.E.T. PROJECTS quickly recognized that they could get more bang for all their donated dollars by not running the shelter and that has allowed them to rescue more animals as well as starting up a TNR program. They have begun 'taking it to the streets' with offsite adoptions and use their flea markets and meeting to engage community support.
Further down the Valley from me, the No Kill TLC Animal Shelter has been quietly saving lives and has a well established network of community support from local merchants to augment the private donations that are their bread and butter. Pets remain in their care for however many months or even years it takes for the right fit to be found.
Ssafe Haven should teach classes in engaging public interest and support. This year will be the second one for their very successful HALIFAX REPTILE EXPO 2009 , which looks to be an annual activity now. This groups is run by seasoned experts whose enthusiasm shines through in every petfinder bio they list.
Bide Awhile has become such an institution in the city that when the society was looking for practical ways to get on a better path, they were sensible enough to tap into that expertise. With absolutely no public funding, this group was able to build a new shelter and has a well established annual cycle of fundraising events .
The Valley Animal Shelter has been open as long as I can remember here in the valley, and is currently working out of its home base of the Valley Vet clinic in Wolfville. They have hopped on the petfinder bandwagon at last and list all of their adoptables both there and on their site ( which I believe is in transition at the moment)
The Pick of the Litter Society fills another specialized niche with its expertise in saving orphaned kittens much too young to leave their mommies. Just so, Tiny Paws NS Chapter and Atlantic All Dog Rescue keep changing lives, one pet at a time.
We are also lucky enough to have committed folks running Breed Rescues here in NS. I have seen NS Labrador Rescue even finding good homes for seniors and good pets with medical issues. No matter how long it takes, all dogs in the care of German Shepherd Rescue are in safe hands until the right fit is found. No matter what breed one is looking for, between Ador-A-Bull Rescue, Border Collie Rescue, Atlantic Boxer Rescue and all the dedicated breeders who serve as Regional Contacts, there truly is somebody out there for everyone And of course, we mustn't ever forget the great community that has been built by their volunteers - Greyhound Pets has wonderful dogs too!!!
Some of these groups also offer Spay Neuter assistance. The LA Shelter, SHAID and Pet Projects all contribute to their communities in this way.
Most of these groups have little, if any, funding from the communities they are based in ... but everyone of these groups began with the idea that improving animal welfare makes better communities.
What time is it? Its time to recognize that everyone of these groups play a key role in the journey to No Kill Nova Scotia when we add them up.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Update on Mindy

I am happy to report that Mindy has found a good home with someone with great references and poodle experience

Sowing the seeds

Depending on your point of view, planting my garden by the moon is either odd as two left shoes or simply a great, if old fashioned, organic (and free) way to boost the yield. Right now, the Moon is in Cancer and the first quarter, which I have always found to be a super time to start annual vegetable seeds. ( if you are interested, there is more info about 'living by the moon' on my personal site at )
No matter what method one uses, there just won't be a vegetable garden unless somebody plants the seeds. Naturally it also needs weeding and feeding .... but it would be a pretty haphazard harvest without seeds. Indeed, the only reliable thing that self seeds is the weeds.

This morning when we came back from the woods, I found a very interesting site when visiting the CFHS site, . Its well worth the time to visit, because it includes a form letter than can be sent on your behalf to your choice of several, including your MP and our PM.

It also includes a free decal that you can get up to fifty copies of sent to you for simply filling out a request online ... no survey, just mailing info.

Not every seed in my garden will wind up as a mature plant that can be harvested. Some will be scooped up by the birds and the wildlife and some simply might not germinate. There are never any guarantees when it comes to the garden. The only sure thing is that there will be no garden at all if the seeds are not sown.
Granted, these decals might not 'sprout' everywhere they are seen. Indeed, some might go completely unnoticed. So why do they have value? What is the point? Here in the real world, most people are only aware of the issues of personal concern to them. There are a lot of wonderful, committed animal lovers who are completely unaware of animal welfare issues because that area of their own life is ticking along just fine.
I know I sound like a stuck record, but the single thing that will prompt politicians to make meaningful change for the animals is voter feedback. These decals might not change the world, but if they only change a few more minds, they'll be seeds worth sowing.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Senior poodle in urgent need of a new home

Its everyone's worst nightmare .... that something unexpected happens to us ... as guardians .... and the pets that depend on us for love and safety are left homeless and lost.
This little girl is Mindy and she's carrying a pretty big load for such a tiny girl. Mindy is a senior poodle and by everyone's best estimate she is twelve.
Her guardian passed away quite unexpectedly and now this little lady needs to get into a safe and quiet home.
Mindy has always been an only 'kid' , so the friends of her late guardian who are looking after her in the interim feel that she would be happiest in a home without other pets or small children.
More importantly, Mindy has Cushing's disease, so it will be very important for her new home to be willing and able to manage the periodic testing required to keep her levels balanced so that she can maintain a good quality of life. A vet check has been booked for tomorrow which should yield more information about that.
Our pets grieve for us .... and I believe its worse when they don't understand why we aren't there for them anymore. The friends who are looking after Mindy are hoping to settle her into a home where she will have someone home during the day for company.... and of course because with Cushings she very likely needs more frequent pee breaks.
In the interest of protecting personal privacy, if anyone is interested in opening their home and their heart to little Mindy, please send an email to and I will forward it on to the kind folks who have taken on the responsibility of securing a good home for this little sweetheart.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The ADLF should look at the whole picture

from this morning's Herald
Up to scratch and above
Agency says N.S. has some of best animal anti-cruelty laws in Canada
By BEVERLEY WARE South Shore BureauFri. May 22 - 6:08 AM

BRIDGEWATER — An American agency that works for the legal protection of animals says Nova Scotia has one of the best systems in Canada when it comes to anti-cruelty laws.
"I was kind of surprised Nova Scotia was ranked in the top tier," said Mary Hill, secretary of Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said Thursday.
"Upon closer reflection you have to bear in mind this is comparative and it says a lot more about the ranking of the other provinces that are lower on the list than it does about our legislation. It just means the other provinces have worse legislation."
The California-based Animal Legal Defense Fund released a report this week that said Nova Scotia is "one of the worst places to be an animal abuser."
For the second year in a row, it ranked this province in the top tier, along with British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario, for its animal protection laws.
New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Quebec were rated on the bottom tier while Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Yukon and Saskatchewan were placed in the middle tier.
Ontario was judged best while the Northwest Territories and Nunavut tied for worst.
The report said Nova Scotia ranked high because its laws allow judges to order abusers to reimburse the costs of care for an impounded animal, place restrictions on the abuser’s ability to own animals in the future and imposes increasing fines on repeat offenders.
But Ms. Hill said even though the province requires the society to enforce the Animal Cruelty Prevention Act and the new Animal Protection Act, it only gives the society $3,000 a year to do that.
Despite that, the society secured three animal cruelty convictions. They include Digby-area puppy brokers Gail Benoit and Dana Bailey; Alan Elliott, who had 130 cows seized from his farm in Spa Springs, Annapolis County, and Alice MacIsaac and her mother Zonda MacIsaac of Celtic Pets Rescue in West Bay Road, Cape Breton. The latter case alone cost the society more than $110,000.
The Agriculture Department gave the society a one-time lump sum of $100,000 last month "but it’s a drop in the bucket," Ms. Hill said. "We welcome it, but it’s not enough and it’s not ongoing."
That money covers the salary and expenses of 1.5 cruelty investigators. The society has 2.5 and Ms. Hill said it needs at least six to fulfil its obligations.
The society investigated 1,264 cruelty complaints in 2008 and 496 this year. Thirteen charges have been laid as of May 21. Other than the money from the Agriculture Department, the society’s only other sources of money are donations, bequests and fundraisers. Last year, with the help of 78 fundraisers across the province, the society raised just over $425,000, which left it with a $35,000 shortfall.
The province has passed new legislation called the Animal Protection Act, which requires veterinarians to report suspected abuse and to define acceptable standards of care for animals. But Ms. Hill said the legislation doesn’t go far enough.
However, since the regulations haven’t been written yet, Ms. Hill hopes the society will have a role in developing them so that they include specific wording that deals with animal fighting and puppy mills.
Webmaster note: the article included a file photo from 2001 of a cat in an SPCA live trap that was part of a group of "50 wild, diseased felines that was euthanized to prevent the spread of feline leukemia". The society has since developed an official position of support for Feral Cats and TNR Population Control Programs and the webmaster is at a loss to understand why that picture would be relevant to this article.
I know I sound like a stuck record, but elections are a very good time for animal loving voters to let all the candidates hoping to represent them know that animal welfare is an important issue. The election was called so quickly that in many cases, its tricky to find all the candidates, but this is a good place to start:

What time is it? Its time to remind all the candidates who are trying to bribe us with our own tax dollars that investing in animal welfare will have a direct impact on the quality of life in NS.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A couple of different ads on Kijiji

Every now and then something comes along to restore ones faith in a brighter future for the animals:

Its nice to see this for a refreshing change of pace

Not quite time to break out the champagne

The 2009 Canadian rating report by the ALDF, which is based in the states, has just been released and you might be surprised to find out that NS was rated in the 'top tier' Why did they do that?

Nova Scotia
Existing Strengths Potential Improvements
- Principal protections apply to most animals
- Range of protections
- Certain prohibitions apply to owners and
non-owners alike
- Penalties may include both fines and
- Increased penalties for repeat animal
- Cost mitigation/recovery measures for
impounded animals: reimbursement of costs
- Warrantless entry & seizure of animals under
certain circumstances
- On-site inspection/supervision/monitoring
- Court may order disposition of animals prior
to judgment under certain circumstances
(including failure to pay for care/expenses of
seized animals, or if the owner is deemed
- Court may order restrictions on future
ownership or possession of animals upon
- Immunity for assisting in the enforcement of
the animal protection laws
- Animal protection officers/inspectors have
certain law enforcement authority
- Better definitions/standards of basic care
- Mandatory seizure of mistreated animals
- Forfeiture of animals on conviction
- Mandatory restrictions on future ownership
or possession of animals following a
- Broader cost mitigation/recovery measures
- Increased penalties when crime committed
in the presence of a minor
- Increased penalties for offenders with prior
domestic violence offences
- Mandatory terms of incarceration for certain
- Mandatory fines
- Mental health evaluations/counselling
- Mandatory reporting of suspected animal
cruelty by veterinarians and select nonanimal-
related agencies
- Duty of peace officers to assist in the
enforcement of the animal protection laws
- Prohibitions on training or permitting animals
to fight
- Prohibitions on possession of animal fighting
equipment or structures

Its really important to remember three things about this report:
  • it doesn't mean our laws are perfect ..... only that they are .... from a legal analysis perspective, better than some other provinces
  • it doesn't include breed specific legislation at all, without which there can be no meaningful discussion
  • and it certainly doesn't include either the availability of resources to enforce the law or the track record of appropriate penalties awarded for cases that have been successfully prosecuted.

In other words, this report is like any other... it has to be taken in the context which it was written. Does it mean we have perfect laws? Does it mean there is no room for improvement? Of course not. It simply highlights the national priorities in in a country where the federal government devotes more resources to propping up elderly politicians when they flout the law. At the end of the day, the report exists to point out that there are still substantial differences in the animal cruelty legislation between the provinces.

I know I sound like a stuck record, but there is never any meaningful change made anywhere without strong voter feedback. Campaigning politicians are more wary of making commitments than the most determined bachelor .... and what makes a report like this dangerous is that it gives them an official sounding "out" when they are queried about animal welfare issues.

At the end of the day, we still need :

  • changes in the federal criminal code to stop the "its my property and I can do want I want with it" defenses
  • provincially, we still need everything from a good Puppy Mill law to better funding for investigations and low cost spay neuter , and of course
  • on a municipal level we need protection and funding for the ferals and guarantees that BSL will not rear its ugly head anywhere in NS

Small children explain their misdeeds by first pointing out how badly some of the other youngsters did.

What time is it? Its time to read between the lines.... or in this case read the darn report.... before breaking out the champagne and allowing something like this to let our politicians off the hook.

The full report can be found at

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Update on Hope

So many of you have been asking about Hope ( Do You Recognize this Lovely Cat? ) that I called the Metro Shelter and am happy to report that she has had her surgery and is recovering in a foster home. When Hope is available for adoption, she should be listed on the Metro Petfinder site. I can tell you from my own personal experience with my own little mighty Morgan that when a cat has been injured you simply cannot imagine how much love and devotion they have for the person who opens their home and their heart to them. The reason I say that all the time is because it is true.

Stepping out of the last century

Now that the weather's warming up, its time to make some firm color decisions and start shopping for paint. With three dogs and four indoor kitties it'll be fast drying latex ... but other than that, the choices are almost limitless. Seeing as its my house, as long as the money is there in my bank account I can choose whatever I want. I'm hoping to get most of it done before its time to vote in the provincial election so I can tackle the outdoor to do list while summer is still here.
Less than a hundred years ago, I couldn't have said or done any of that. Sure, I'd have been able to paint ... but I wouldn't have legally been able to own or inherit the home I live in. Nor would I have been able to have my own bank account or vote in the provincial election. Which in turn would have made me ineligible to vote in the next federal election either.
These days there are very few men foolish enough to publicly suggest that there should be a return to 'those good old days' why? Because its as socially unacceptable to be a misogynist as it once was to be feminist.
It isn't the technology that makes this such a different world ... its the change in attitude. Like any other meaningful change, it is only effective because it is backed up by legislation.
The whole concept of animal control stems from earlier days than the suffragettes. Most AC legislation is geared at protecting property instead of promoting responsible care and control of companion animals.
Its a horrible reality that the little feral and stray cats are still regarded as vermin by so many. This creates the perception that catch and kill is an acceptable solution instead of the ineffective tool that it actually is.
Here in Nova Scotia, every municipality has their own animal control policies and laws. Every municipality has a different attitude towards TNR .... some support it, some oppose it and some just haven't heard of it at all.
People might not always agree with their governments, but until TNR gets the 'official stamp of approval' from all the NS municipalities, feral cats will not have any protection at all. TNR groups and rescues simply cannot hope to stop the killing until the municipalities are on board.
The first year that I had a little bank beaver visiting in the upper pond, I went to the NS Dept of Natural Resources website for more information and right at the top of the article it was clearly stated that the Dept did not remove beavers from people's property and offered lots of great tips on how to live with them.
Something similar to that for ferals could be included in all the municipal websites and would be a great life saving tool. Over the years, I've learned a lot of 'tricks' for gardening in an area with so many stray and feral kitties, so I know first hand that it can be done. Alley Cat Allies, , is full of great hints too.
It is a great first step that the society is holding the Town Hall Meeting on Stray and Feral Cats on the 30th of this month. To quote Alley Cat Allies, "if you care about cats, you are already an advocate" Its a splendid opportunity to invite your municipal councillors to bring animal control out of the last century.
We won't get to No Kill Nova Scotia until they do.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A new numbers game

I love making bread. Its much easier than people think and the actual time it physically takes is pretty minimal. A couple of minutes to start the yeast .... five minutes to mix and knead the dough .... five more to turn the dough into loaves and rolls and of course the twenty or so minutes in the oven at the end of it.
The trick .... the only trick ... is to do all these things at the right time. The dough won't raise properly if the yeast doesn't 'bloom' before mixing. Dough tends to 'dry out' a bit if it proofs too long before going in the pans. Once its in the pans, if its left too long it flops around like an untrained seal and will taste 'yeasty' even if one can coax it into the oven. And of course, too much or too little time in the oven and it won't be fit to eat.
Tonight is the first of the public leadership debates for the NS election. There was no agenda anywhere yet that I could find when I was rummaging around, but I do know that the questions for this round will come from journalists ..... BUT .....on June 2nd there will be a second public debate in Baddeck... and the questions for that will come from voters. According to an article that I read on Yahoo news this morning,
"The second debate will be held at the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site in Baddeck, N.S. Both the CBC and the Chronicle Herald will solicit questions from readers, viewers and listeners for the three leaders to answer. "
I know I go on like a stuck record about this, but in this ever changing world, the one constant is that politicians respond to numbers. Public concern for issues such as the environment is prompted by poll driven data. That is particularly true this close to the election.
Before the election was announced, I sent a set of questions to the NDP that were pretty similar to what was sent by ARPO. Now when I send emails to the PC's , as the governing party, they have pretty much been obligated to at least acknowledge any correspondence from me ( Not getting a satisfactory answer is a separate rant for another day ) My own MLA is a Liberal and he always does me the courtesy of responding to my concerns with a phone call .... and I'm enough of an outdoor girl that it takes real persistence to do that.
What did I get back from the NDP? A form letter asking for money! Now when ARPO sent each of the parties a set of questions after the election was announced, the NDP were one of the two parties who have already responded. Why did they do that? Because ARPO is the voice for responsible pet owners in this province.
Even so, their response is still hedged with polispeak phrases like "once there is sufficient experience with the Act it will be possible for stakeholders to determine if further legislation is necessary to protect companion animals " and "An NDP Government will endeavour to increase funding to the NS SPCA during the terms of its mandate, but within the terms of balancing the budget"
Why did they do that? this point in time, ARPO - Advocates for Responsible Pet Ownership, has 231 members. If you aren't already a member, joining would be a pretty easy and painless way to add a little extra oomph to the strength of their voice. Sometimes, ahem... size does matter .... its hard enough to get a straight answer from a politician and darned near impossible without a sizable number of voters on the membership rolls.
If you think that numbers don't matter... just look at the whole motor vehicle inspection circus .... first voters complained .... so the rules were changed ....then the mechanics started complaining and now the new rules are being 'revisited"
At the end of the day, politics is not a detached process .... it is everyday life. It is our schools and our sales taxes and every mundane subject in between. Why is that? Because our government doesn't just make the rules, they hold the purse strings that underpin it all.
What time is it? Its the right time for the animal loving community to set ARPO up for success by giving them the support needed to be taken seriously.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The 'holiday' is over

Miss Ruby is a girl who likes her favourite things served up in familiar fashion. When we are out and about, she is always happiest when her leash is on my left hand. When I rearrange my bedroom furniture, her toddler bed has to stay on the same side I sleep on so she can nuzzle for sleepy midnight earrubs. We suit each other just fine because I am a bit of a stick in the mud myself and I truly believe that routines keep the daily bits and pieces simple and free us up to focus on the things that really matter.
So I would be hard pressed to say which of us is happier to have a working computer set up and running on the desk. I'll be like a kid with a new toy with this.... and Ruby will be able to relax as we settle back into our familiar routine: )))
BTW, thank you Joan for letting folks know that I had temporarily fallen off the edge of the virtual world... although there are still an unimaginable amount of emails to wade through : )))
In my perfect fantasy world, all the good pets on the site would have been adopted in the week I was offline .... but here in the real world, its just lovely to see that a few of them were. Miss Ruby will be happy to snooze in the wing chair beside me while I do the site updates ..... as long as we keep the train on track by having lunch first:))))

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mothers Day

Tomorrow is Mothers Day so I better rest up. Its a good thing I can't have kittens anymore because, honestly ... I just wouldn't have the time.
I have a lot to do every day and I can't imagine where I would fit kittens into my schedule. Its my job to wake Mom up every morning so that she doesn't sleep the day away.
I'm also the spokescat for Clive and George. We eat in Mom's room because we have different food than the cranky one .... er I mean the Queen Bee. If I didn't speak up, those two goofy guys would just wait for Mom to remember they might be hungry.
Don't let my size deceive you .... I might only weigh half of what either of the boys do, but I'm smarter than the two of them put together. They think that every cat lives like this, but the sad truth is that cats are a bit like mice .... for every one that you see there are oodles more that you don't.
I hear Mom muttering about that kind of thing all the time ....but honestly I knew that long before I came here. I was just a youngster myself when I got pregnant.... and the people who should have looked out for me tossed me aside like rubbish instead. Sheesh ... whose fault was it that I didn't get spayed, eh?
Didn't they understand how hard it is for a cat on their own? Gee whiz, I was trying to look after my little kittens and I wound up being hurt so badly that I couldn't even walk. Mom says that it was a real blessing that I was rescued by a No Kill Shelter like SHAID, because not everyone would have given me time to recover.
I'm never going to be an athlete ... I can't jump up everywhere that the boys can and I'll always have a funny little hitch to my gait. And because I had babies when I was so young, I'm always going to be a dainty little miss.
I spent my first Mother's Day in a shelter with my own little babies .... that turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. It was pretty discouraging there for a while, because my beautiful babies were all adopted but nobody even looked at me.
I wasn't even a year old on my first Mother's Day and everyone who came to the shelter walked right past me to look at the kittens. I was really lucky to be in a No Kill Shelter like SHAID, because it was months after that before Mom found out about me.
Ya never know ... I might even let Mom sleep in for Mothers Day, eh?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Gifts of Love

For florists and food services of all sorts, Mothers Day is one of the busiest days of the year. Anyone who hasn't already ordered their flowers or made dinner reservations is going to have to do some fancy footwork to organize anything now.
In the midst of all this consumerism, its hard to imagine that the original Mothers Day began as a peace protest. After the Civil War, the first Mothers Day was organized by women who had lost sons in the battles and was launched with what is now known as the Mothers Day Proclamation:

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts,
whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!

Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by
irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking
with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be
taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach
them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another
country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From
the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says "Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance
of justice."

Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons
of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a
great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women,
to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the
means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each
bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a
general congress of women without limit of nationality may be
appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at
the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the
alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement
of international questions, the great and general interests ofpeace.

Julia Ward Howe

Ironically, the author of this proclamation also wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic. During the war,the work that women had done with the wounded in the battlefields of Virginia had been known as the Mothers Works Days. After the war, this inspired community activists such as Anna Reeves Jarvis to hold public meetings to try to persuade men to settle their differences without bloodshed.
In 1872, Ms Howe proposed an annual Mothers Day for Peace and this was celebrated for the next thirty years.
We tend to think of women in those days as genteel ladies ... when often nothing could be further from the truth. Women spearheaded the Abolitionist movement and successfully campaigned against lynching, child labour, women's working conditions, public health services and social assistance for the poor.
But, eventually somebody also grasped the economic potential in the day and it gradually left its activist roots behind as it became one of the most popular holidays to promote consumer spending.
If you haven't already ordered the flowers or made the reservations, there are some wonderful ways to revisit the Mother's Day responsible roots by helping the animals:
  • CAPS Mothers Day Flyer explains how to donate a bed for a homeless animal
  • S.H.A.I.D is using the "Sponsor a Pet" option available to all rescues who use the Petfinder service. Click on the 'Sponsor Me" logo on any of their listings to make a contribution in Mom's name
  • if you haven't got your own team, a donation could be made in Mom's name to one of the teams at the SPCA Alley Cat Bowl on the 9th
  • if you hurry, you could bid on one of the items on ARC 's online auction
  • you could get Mom a subscription to Saltscapes because the LA Animal Shelter is a 'Community Spirit Partner' for the magazine
  • You could make a donation in Mom's name to any one of the great groups and shelters who help the animals, and of course .... last but not least
  • you could really celebrate Mother's Day with compassion by adopting one of the wonderful rescued mother cats who are still 'waiting on the shelf' long after their kittens have all been adopted.

You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. ~Author Unknown

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Pet abandonment is the mother of all feral cats

There is a beautiful golden weeping willow in my yard that was planted when my grandaughter was born. For those unfamiliar with tree lore, a willow is a very feminine tree that draws the upon the strength of water so that it will bend instead of breaking.
We call it the Lydia Tree and it is already nearly twice my height. Looking at it now, one would never imagine we were able to tie it up so that it could be brought home from the Briar Patch in my little hatchback.
I'm one of those earthy grandmothers who was right there when my grandaughter was born. It was an incredible experience that was only matched by my own daughter's birth .... although admittedly I had a much more 'comfortable' view the second time around : )))
Honestly, I don't know what made me more proud .... the fact that my daughter was determined to have a 'natural' childbirth or their deliberate decision ... made well in advance of the actual pregnancy .... that one child is a socially and environmentally responsible choice.
In today's world, we have the ability to make choices like this. In my grandmother's day, the old parish priests in North Sydney had no qualms about bullying coal miners' and fishermens' wives into believing it would be a sin NOT to have large families. It didn't matter whether they could afford so many children ... it was just one more way that the 'old school' priests kept women in their place.
In my mother's day, most good catholics simply crossed their fingers in confession and didn't consider a prescription for the pill to be any of the priest's business.
The point I'm making here of course is that for most people these days, there are a myriad of options to allow women to have control over their own fertility.
Sadly the same is not true for our companion animals. If it is a crapshoot just to be a pet, the same holds true in spades for any of the females. If they are lucky, the cute little youngsters come into the care of responsible guardians who have them properly vaccinated and altered.
The unlucky ones wind up in the care of those who are too careless or cheap or too darned stupid to 'do the right thing". When they invariably become pregnant, the lucky ones are accepted into a No Kill shelter, while the truly unlucky ones are either abandoned by the wayside, taken to the vets, or 'done away with' in a variety of horrible ways.
Last week at S.H.A.I.D, the first shelter worker to arrive early in the morning found a battered cardboard box at the gate that had been duct taped shut. Inside were two tiny two week old kittens, so chilled that it was clear they had been there for hours. A hole had been clawed in the side of the box, leading them to believe that the mother cat had originally been in the box but had escaped in her fright.
There wasn't a lot of optimism about finding the frightened little mother who was on the loose in an unfamiliar area, but traps were set out in an effort to try. The kittens were cleaned up and tucked in with another young mother cat who had just weaned her own babies.
The horribly ironic thing was that at this particular time, there actually was no waiting list and the mother cat could have been safely surrendered with her kittens.
By an absolute Mother's Day Miracle, they were eventually successful in trapping the little mother, who was barely past kittenhood herself. It will be a few weeks before her kittens are weaned and the little mother is available for adoption herself.
The reason pet abandonment is illegal and is actually animal cruelty is because it is a terrible thing to do to a pet. My own little Morgan had been in the same boat, and by the time she was rescued and brought to SHAID with her litter of kittens, she had been so very badly hurt that she couldn't even walk. Its not being melodramatic to state that pets do not have ... nor should they need .. the skills to survive on their own.
How do we create a climate where it becomes socially unacceptable to be an irresponsible pet owner? The same way that any other illegal activity is stopped .... by changing the laws so that the penalties act as a deterrent. If DIU penalties hadn't been stepped up, the good old boys around here would still be driving around with a two four in the front seat of their trucks.
At the end of the day, from spousal abuse to drug busts, deterrents don't stop everything. But they do cut down on the 'foot traffic' which in turn liberates law enforcement to pursue the others.
A Town Hall meeting on stray and feral cats announced , where seasoned TNR folks will be putting their heads together with animal advocates and interested folks from around the province. Good presentations will be made for TNR and its successes. Its wonderful to see such a groundbreaking effort being made by the society.
If you can't get to the meeting, at least make the time to let your MLA's and your municipal councillors know that providing the society with the resources to enforce the law against pet abandonment is a critical part of the solution
Apathy is the glove into which evil slips its hand. - Bodie Thoene

A tight timeline to make a difference

One of the best things about this time of year is being able to take the big dogs along the whole length of my very favourite woodland trail. It winds back and forth through some lovely old growth forest, dips down along the little Fales River in several spots and the energetic climb up the steep side of the ridge is always rewarded by the view.
Barring any unforeseen events, we will take the same trail until the fall rains return to submerge the lower lying land again until this time next year. Day in and day out. Rain or shine. Like standing the proverbial river, it is never the same experience twice.
We have seen every manner of wildlife - from beavers to bald eagles. Everyday there are new scents and temptations for the dogs .... while the seasonal parade of plants and greenery always offers something new and interesting each day for me.
After so many years of moving around, the trail is like a familiar old friend that offers such comfort because it stays the same. In my mind, its perfect just the way it is right now and does not need to be changed.
I wish I could say the same for the laws that are supposed to provide protection for the animals. Last year Bill 186 was hustled through the House in the wake of the furor over clauses 6 - 8 of the infamous Bill 138 . The grassroots campaign of emails and phone calls inspired a newfound interest in animal welfare issues by many MLA's who were previously utterly unfamiliar with any of the issues.
By the time the new Animal Protection Act made it to the final stage of the legislative process known as the Law Committee, the furor had died down enough that the SPCANS presentation of recommendations pretty much passed under everyone's radar.( ... scroll down the page )
I know I sound like a stuck record, but only thing that any politician reacts to is strong voter feedback. With a provincial election fast tracked for June 9th, this is a particularly good time for the everyone in the animal loving community to speak "for those who cannot speak for themselves"
This has been a promising year for the animals and it is a refreshing change of pace to see a more proactive role being played by the society. Its lovely to see a more positive relationship between the society, other rescues and the animal loving community. There is no shortage of enthusiasm all around.
We are long on enthusiasm but still in need of better resources. The road to No Kill Nova Scotia will need to be paved with the material assistance that can only be legislated by our MLA's
What time is it? Its a very good time for the animal loving community to take a page from the Serenity Prayer and understand the power of their own courage and wisdom
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Update on .... a little help from our friends

If anyone is looking for a physical mailing address to send Canadian Tire or gift certificates to: Sonya Higgins, 143 Briarwood Drive, Eastern Passage, NS, B3G1B7.
If you live in the HRM area, what they most desperate for is:

  • paper towel
  • tissue
  • disinfecting wipes,
  • hand sanitizer.
  • digital thermometer
  • broom
  • dust pans
  • Dust Buster
  • Space Heater
  • 5 gallon pails with lids
  • Cat beds
  • Brushes and grooming tools
  • Cat toys

In addition, if anyone wants to help with their vet bill, donations can be made to Eastern Passage Village Vet Clinic 105 Cow Bay Road, Eastern Passage, NS, B3G 1A3. 902-465-1213 Please note that the Clinic, like most other businesses, does not accept checks anymore so donations could either be done as credit card phone transactions, money order or any other option one would prefer

Sometimes we all need a little help from our friends

Its garbage pickup day here .... and in as an empty nester with four indoor cats, pretty much all of the garbage bags are for kitty litter. Its not a matter of being fussy, because I am too much of an 'outdoor' girl to ever be at risk of becoming Little Suzy Homemaker. Nor is it squeamishness on my part .... as I am both an organic gardener and a responsible dog walker. ( Although I am lazy enough to appreciate how much easier frequent litter box cleanup is )
I have whole page about this on the homeless pet site The More the Merrier - click here to learn how to manage a multi cat household , but at the end of the day, no matter how clean and how careful folks are, even the best kept shelters can hit the kind of speed bump that can't be prepared for This morning, I received this email:
SCAR is a rescue based out of Eastern Passage that specializes in stray and feral cats, run by Sonya Higgins. Sonya was in the Chronicle Herald recently for her hard work in helping the colony at Fisherman's Cove, several of those cats are now up for adoption.
On the 25th of April, a litter of barn kittens came to SCARS, and sadly, one of those kittens turned out to be positive for Panleukopenia, more commonly known as Distemper. Despite heroic efforts to save little Tongo, sadly, he grew too sick and too weak and he was euthanized this late afternoon.
Panleukopenia is an extremely dangerous, extremely contagious disease. It's typically fatal in kittens and unvaccinated cats, so needless to say, Tongo's litter mates are being watched very closely.
In the attempt to eliminate the virus from the environment, Sonya has no other choice than to throw out many supplies and SCARS is now in desperate need of donations. Litter boxes, bedding, toys, scratching posts, as well as cleaning supplies such as bleach and wipes. There is a bottle drive coming up on May 16th, so recyclable bottles are also welcome! Because the Rescue Workshop is now under quarantine until further notice, there's also a desperate need for foster homes.
If you're able to help in any way, please contact Sonya directly at 469-MEOW or by email at
If you don't live in the immediate area, there are still ways that you can help. I'm betting that Canadian Tire money and Superstore/ Sobeys/ Walmart / etc gift certificates would be a big help.
If you do live in HRM and haven't got a way to get your donations to Eastern Passage, put a post on the facebook group Nova Scotia Pet Transfer and we'll get someone organized to pick it up for you.
If foster parents are the lifeblood of rescue, right now if you can foster it would be a lifeline indeed.
Sonya can also be contacted through the SCAR facebook group Healing Animal SCARS - Sonya's Cat & Animal Rescue Society.
In a world where so many treat stray cats like second class kittizens, its always worth supporting people like Sonya whose compassion has led them to pick a better path.
One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth doing is what we do for others. - Lewis Carroll

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Great Idea for a Mother's Day Gift

As a mother and a grandmother, I can promise you that I already have all the pots and pans and gadgets I could possibly ever need. In this 'scent free' day and age, I just saw the very coolest idea for a Mother's Day present ever.CAPS Mothers Day Flyer . ( I put a copy in the CAPS section of the homeless pet site.)
Our grandmothers and mothers might have wanted perfume and kitchen gadgets, but in this 'scent free' age, mothers are individuals and not stamped out of a mold. The reason gifts of 'giving' have become so popular is that people care about the world around them and want to make a difference.
This is a great way to get something meaningful for Mom that will still warm her heart ... and that she won't have to rearrange her cupboards to make space for.

When opportunity knocks


Shelter opening on SPCA’s horizon by Sara Keddy/Kings County Register

Marg Tracey,on the left, spotted Yucky on-line and knew he was the dog for her Nictaux home. Kings SPCA president Belle Darris got the two together at the soon-to-be-opened animal shelter in Waterville April 22. S.Keddy

“Momentum has shifted” in the Kings SPCA’s long-lasting efforts to establish and open the county’s first animal shelter.

The building itself was finished last year, but unable to open without the necessary furnishings and finances to staff and maintain hours.

“There’s lots of interest in the last six months,” says local president Belle Darris. She attributes that to getting the building open for single-day pet adoption drives, frequent fundraising and letting people know what needed to happen to get the building open.

“We put a list out, and it all just came from everywhere,” she says: a washer and dryer, hoses, chairs and tables, a microscope and stethoscope, grooming tables, blankets.... Membership has jumped to close to 300 people.

“And money is coming - I’ve had people come in and say, ‘I want to give a donation - what can I do?’”

Opening the shelter could happen as soon as the end of May, if all goes well after a closing date of May 8 to hire a shelter manager.

“This person is responsible for a large budget, the volunteer staff, the health and care of the animals - it’s got to be a people person.”

While that process unfolds, Darris says the SPCA is still looking for things: chain link fencing to build a dog run where animals can play together, patio stones for outdoor kennels, a shed for garbage and storage. Volunteers are lining up people interested in helping once the doors open.

“People want to come and volunteer to play with the animals, but an SPCA shelter is run totally different than other animal rescue groups. We need walls washed, cages disinfected every day. We have pets that are abused, sick, aggressive - or who were family pets and don’t understand what’s happening to them.”

The increase in support and interest is a “big boost” to SPCA volunteers, but Darris adds what the agency really needs is municipal and provincial governments to acknowledge animal control with sustainable funding. WEBLINKS

Furry facts In 2008

  • the Kings SPCA cared for 95 cats in its foster program, placing 52 in new homes. Six dogs were also in care.
  • the SPCA helped families spay or neuter 344 cats and 37 dogs in 2008.
  • a Junior SPCA and a trap, neuter and return (TNR) program are among future plans.

Anyone who follows this blog, or the old one, is familiar with the frustration of Kings County residents about the empty white elephant that was the Kings Branch SPCA shelter. Kings County is not 'dripping' with other rescue options ..... outside of the privately run Valley Animal Shelter and a couple of TNR groups, there really haven't been any other options, especially for dogs.

In the interests of moving ahead, I am going to take a quantum leap and assume that the new president was either misquoted or quoted out of context when she said that 'an SPCA shelter is different than other animal rescue groups. We need walls washed, cages disinfected every day. We have pets that are abused, sick, aggressive - or who were family pets and don’t understand what’s happening to them.”

Regular readers know how impressed this middle aged granny has been by the immaculate condition of the The Cat Cottages at CAPS . There are no leprechauns there .... volunteers spend hours everyday doing what Anna so sweetly refers to as "chores" When I went to S.H.A.I.D to adopt my Morgan a couple of years ago, everything was top drawer there too. Everyone still remembers how ARC saved HANDSOME HENRY , but outside of the rescue world, many people do not realize how many abused and ill treated pets that ARC have rescued and rehabilitated. I could spend half the morning going on about examples of what has been done by "other animal rescue groups" (In the interests of moving ahead, the inadequate hygiene protocols at the Cape Breton SPCA ... with paid employees... will be a topic shelved for another day.)

I am hoping that what was meant to be said was that the new shelter needs committed volunteers who are willing to clean .... which can be trickier to find than those who are willing to cat cuddle and walk the dogs. Yes ... they are hiring a shelter manager.... but that is a big job in itself. Without volunteers to staff and clean the shelter, it will not be able to open.

It needs to be remembered that the old board waiting for funding for paid staff from the provincial government was the reason the beautiful new building has sat empty instead of fulfilling its mandate.

So I'm going to take the high road on this and assume this was a misquote because at least these folks are trying to move ahead. The fact that the Kings Branch is pursuing county funding for TNR is a breathtaking change of pace and promises better things ahead for the animals .... if they can get the help that they need.

If you are a resident of Kings County and want to lend the support of your voice to the Kings Branch Click Here to send a message to all Councillors . If you are a resident of Nova Scotia and wish to let your MLA know how you feel, click here for contact info for Members - Constituencies . If you wish to let the Hon Mark Parent know that this issue is important to you as a voter, the appropriate contact email is

What time is it? With a minority government desperate to avoid an election ... it is splendid opportunity to speak up for the animals.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Undercutting the competition

This morning on the three first pages of 'free to a good home" on Kijiji there are eighty kittens and a dozen adult cats being advertised. Of those eighty kittens .... only two are advertised as being neutered and spayed. Two .... so there are seventy eight others who have been born because someone was to careless or cheap or just too unaware of the consequences of their actions.
How many of those cats will actually find good homes? The 'free to a good home' ads appeal to those who are unwilling to pay for the adoption fees from rescue. To the best of my knowledge, cat adoption fees around the province range from fifty to a hundred and fifty.
Regular readers are already familiar with the saga of Oscar and Dora and know that by the time they were tested, wormed and vaccinated and Dora was spayed, I came very close to spending five hundred dollars. I only got off that easily because Oscar was already neutered before he was dumped and Dora qualified for a small discount on her spay from a local TNR group.
Its easy to understand how rescue groups need the adoption fees. Not only are they looking to recoup some of their rescue costs, but after working so hard to save each and every good pet, they want to make sure that each pet will be properly cared for in his or her new home.
That sounds like a recipe for success .... but as a cook I can promise you that the proof of the pudding lies in how well the recipe turns out when we actually use it.
How's that working so far? With eighty free kittens ready to launch into the HRM at the beginning of "kitten season" .... I would say we need to rework the recipe.
Over the years, I have learned that sometimes the problem with a recipe isn't the ingredients nor their proportions. At the risk of tooting my own horn, I developed a very good reputation over the years as a baker because I understood how important the method was. In many cases, simply changing the mixing instructions changed an unsuccessful recipe into one that won raves.
There is an old adage that if we want to keep getting the same results, all we have to do is continue doing the same thing. If we want to change the future so that these 78 kittens on Kijiji today do not become the parents of future litters advertised there, we need to rework the recipe.
All the ingredients are already there .... the animal lovers, the hardworking volunteers and the enthusiasm in the rescue community for a bold new path. So what do we need to change about the method?
I get that rescue resources are limited and that nobody has very deep pockets. As a middle aged granny living on a little military pension I really understand that. I am not so rich that I could be nonchalant about the cost of 'doing it right' for Dora and Oscar. But ... because I'm part of the 'choir', I understood the cost of NOT doing it right.
I also get that as an empty nester who is long past having a mortgage, it was a much more achievable objective for me than a student, or someone with young kids.
We will never get to No Kill Nova Scotia until we acknowledge that not every person who gets a pet is going to be the person who can afford to 'do it right' That is why I go on .... like a stuck record .... about the need for some flexibility in cat adoption fees.
Every altered cat adopted from rescue will not add to the river of cats. They will not produce multiple litters of kittens to be 'free to a good home' nor will they be abandoned out on country roads when they become pregnant.
Even better ..... every cat that is adopted from rescue is an ambassador for responsible pet ownership. The adoption process isn't just about compassion and teaching children good values. Pet adopters tend to become supporters and sometimes even volunteers for the rescue they adopt from.
What time is it? Its time improve on the recipe by 'undercutting the competition' of the 'free to a good home'.