Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Update on the Miss Clara from the Monday Morning Gang

One of the best ways that I can keep McG comfortable in the heat, besides of course his multitude of meds and a little fan on the floor in front of his favourite old dog bed, is by giving him a nice tepid shower in my tub.
He has always loved a 'bath' .... even the groomers that he used to terrorize in his youth never had any problem with that. ( While Scotties aren't famous for being water dogs .... but that doesn't matter because McG has always marched to his own beat.) As a matter of fact, it took years to train the little man NOT to hop in my bath: )))
Seniors are a joy to share space with and happily, I received a good news kind of email that somebody else recognizes this too. Miss Clara, the senior Sheltie that came into rescue needing unimaginable amounts of dental work has found a wonderful new home.
(While I try not to 'play favourites', I love the fact that ARC never defines "treatable" by the dollar sign. Of course the fact that they write funny and imaginative bios for their adoptables doesn't hurt either: ))) But those are separate subjects for another day)
The point I am making today is that there is no need for people to assume that there are no good options for their senior pets when they are unable to care for them. Adopters are beginning to discover that adopting a senior pet makes for a much easier life than the time that must be invested to get a puppy off on the right paw.
At the end of the day, adopting a pet is not like buying a thing. From cars to shoes, as consumers we expect to get good value and wear from our things. The biggest gift that our pets give to us is to teach us the value of unconditional love..... which is never measured by the clock or the calendar. Long after I become legally blind, my pets will still make it possible for me to see with my heart.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A very sweet little dog needs a new home

UPDATE: There have been so many great applications sent in for this little sweetheart that applications are no longer being accepted.
Speaking of sweet cuddly little lap dogs, Riverstead reg'd.Bernese Mountain Dog s and Rescue Home, is looking for a very good home for this little sweetheart. Her name is Holly, she is a Shih Tzu Maltese cross and she will be three years old on October 6th. They are to looking to adopt her to an active, out going, retired couple. (Holly does not like to be home alone too much.)
She is quite small and a little bit nervous but not aggressive, around big dogs until she knows they are friendly, so ideally Holly should be the only dog in the house. She has never met a cat, so they are not sure if she would like them or not. (Many Terriers do not so it might be best for her new home not to have a cat.)
Holly has lived with two young children and loves to play ball with them, so if the Grandchildren would come and play ball with her sometimes that would be great. The reason she need a new family is her people are moving back to England. This is a sweet, gentle, well behaved beautifully maintained dog.
For more information and/or to discuss the adoption application process, including a home visit, please contact riverstead@eastlink.ca



Taking a new tack

from the CBC News website
Rescued U.S. dogs to find homes in Edmonton
Last Updated: Sunday, June 28, 2009 1:27 PM MT
CBC News
The Edmonton Humane Society has 43 new canine residents who made the long journey from California on a private jet.
The small puppies, including Chihuahuas and Yorkshire terriers, flew in Friday as part of the society's Operation California Canine Cuties.
The goal is to save dogs that were to be euthanized and put a dent in the puppy mill industry.
"It's also to help with the Alberta-born animals here, because …when they went up for adoption … our numbers overall for animals in our care for adoptions spiked. People were just coming to the humane society and adopting any kind of animals," said society spokeswoman Shawna Randolph.
Twenty-nine dogs were previously brought in from California in November, and the society said they were adopted within a few hours.
Randolph said having small, popular dogs at the shelter will help cut down on puppy mills by giving people a reliable source to buy dogs.

Honestly, this is one of the sweetest ideas I've seen .... but sadly we don't need anyone with a private jet here in NS.
SPCANS doesn't have to go south of the border to find puppy mills. As the laws have tightened up in Ontario and Quebec, the big operations have started shifting east. Its only a matter of time before Nova Scotia's will be famous for more than its hospitality.
Do we need better legislation? Of course we do. Its no secret that existing legislation is woefully inadequate. Changes are stymied by a horrible catch 22 .... with so many pet lovers, pets have become a multi million dollar business. The economic benefits for the CKC from its partnership with PIJAC pale by comparison to the PR benefits for PIJAC. This provides a mantle of respectability for PIJAC while promoting an adversarial relationship between CKC breeders and animal welfare groups.
So here in the real world, there is a country mile between recognizing the need for a strong Puppy Mill Law and actually getting legislation that would still be meaningful after the CKC lobbyists were consulted for input.
In the meantime, there is one thing that all rescues could, and should, be doing. Everyone should be listing every animal that comes into their care.... even the cute little ones that are usually spoken for by preapproved adopters. Especially the cute little ones.
I know I go on like a stuck record, but hand in hand with that, that would allow all the groups to have all kinds of cute little ones listed in their Happy Tails.
It isn't only the big and harder to place pets who should be listed on Petfinder. Why would I suggest that when they already have homes waiting? By listing them, however briefly, it lets the public know that cute little dogs DO come into rescue. Not listing them sends the exact opposite message.
Even though adopting from rescue is becoming more popular, at the end of the day, the heart wants what the heart wants. People who want one cute little dog will go to the pet store or the dreaded free online site if there are none available on rescue.
People who aren't involved in animal rescue don't know about preapproved adoptions. Nor are they aware that all the groups in the Maritimes will move heaven and earth to find the right fit for a good home. All they know is that when they go to Petfinder, or MAR, or even the homeless pet site, that they don't see the cute little dogs very often.
I don't need to remind anyone who works frontline animal rescue how many of their adoptees began their journey at a pet store or with a backyard breeder. Yes, it would take more time to list every adoptable pet. Yes it might not seem like time well spent for the ones who will surely be spoken for.
Still, I don't need to remind anyone that every pet adopted from rescue represents one less pet that will potentially need to be rescued later.
What time is it? Its time to use the 'easy to place' pets to boost adoptions and more importantly, to undercut the competition.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Catching flies with chopsticks

It was a hot sticky morning just like this when we found George. We had hit the point in my daughters' pregnancy when our power hikes had shifted to sedate strolls .... which as it turns out was a very good thing for George because otherwise we might have missed the little squeaks we heard in the woods.
A couple of quick calls verified what we already suspected, that he was 'nobody's baby' ... at least not from our neck of the woods.
Looking at his handsome fifteen pound self now, its hard to imagine that when we first met George he could fit in my hand. He was all ears and eyes and feet and already full of that tabby cat charm.
We took him out to the workshop .... even though statistically the odds were against him being infected or a carrier it was still better to be safe than sorry. Happily my vet was able to squeeze him in right away and even happier his test was just fine and the rest was history. We named him George because even then he was as sweet as the character in Grey's Anatomy.
To this day, I wake up looking like Edward Scissorhands because George shares my pillow and 'fluffs up' my hair ( the subject of how people can take kittens from their mothers too soon is as much of a separate rant as the issue of dumping defenseless kittens along a country byway frequented by gravel trucks and bordered by woods full of predators )
So why didn't my daughter take him home? Was it because she was expecting? No, it was because she was already in the process of helping their three year old kitty adjust to the changes in their life that the new baby would bring.
Instead of putting Eddy on Kijiji, my daughter and her hubby had already shifted the 'spare room' paraphernalia to the basement bedroom. Long before Lydia arrived, Eddy knew that her room would be off limits to him. How did they do that? It wasn't expensive and it wasn't a big deal. They closed the nursery door at night and when they were out. When the door was open, anytime Eddy went in, they simply picked him up, told him no and took him to find one of his toys.
When the big day arrived, every time I went up to visit, I brought back a receiving blanket and left it on the coffee table for Eddy to investigate. Cats are pretty scent oriented and so when Lydia did come home she wasn't a complete stranger to Eddy.
There was a short space of time while the bedside cradle was in the master bedroom when Eddy couldn't sleep in there ..... but if he could talk I'm betting he thought that temporarily sleeping on the couch was still a better option being tossed away like an old sock.
When my son in law was posted to Ontario last summer, there was never any question about whether Eddy would come. My daughter found out firsthand as a child that pets could travel. Reservations were made at pet friendly hotels, a new and more spacious cat carrier was picked up and off they went.
Eddy sang all the way there. For the whole trip. But ... once again ... if he could talk ... he would tell you that it was better to sing the blues than to be a five year old cat left behind in a province with hundreds of homeless cats.
The point I am making here in my rambling way is that no matter how it is sugar coated, it is not to the pets benefit to be left adrift because of life events. In the space of our lives, most of us will move a time or two. Some of us will have children, while others will wind up caring for parents.
We have life events because life is meant to be lived. The choices we make on the journey don't just define us, they lay the groundwork for the people our children will become.
This year on the homeless pet site, I'm trying to find interesting ways to promote pet adoption. There was Adopt a Senior Pet Month in November, a Christmas feature, a Fall in Love bit for Valentines, St Catricks Day, Earth Day, Mothers Day and June has been Adopt a Shelter Cat Month.
A Christmas in July bit is in the works and I really have visions of sugarplums in my head about the potential for this. One group has already risen to the occasion and is planning to use the theme for their July open house and adoption fair. Another group is thinking of doing the same thing for their fundraiser and adoption fair.
Good gracious .... it could even evolve into an (ahem) week for the animals around the province: )))
If there is one thing that I learned during the years I taught at the military cooking school it is that people just learn more when they are having fun. Christmas in July offers the opportunity to reach out to the mainstream ... to all those good kind pet loving people who DON'T visit any of the rescue or animal welfare sites.
Even this middle aged granny can see that the new NDP government's intended frugality may not hold a lot of promise for getting much humane education into the schools. Christmas in July could be a great way to 'take it to the streets'
And of course, it would just be a wonderful way to promote pet adoption because of course people's homes are not engaged in all the hoopla of the actual holiday season.
Advertisers use humour because it gets attention. Outside of some short term satisfaction, scolding irresponsible pet owners really doesn't change the picture for the animals.
When I was doing site updates today, there were 61 dogs listed on the various petfinder and rescue sites in NS.... which of course means that there are easily 400 + homeless cats as well.
What time is it? With over 350,000 households in Nova Scotia, we already have enough homes for the animals. Its time to stop 'catching flies with chopsticks' and entice some of these folks into the responsible and animal loving community with a little fun.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A hilarious little twist on Kijiji

this was posted in the 'to give or donate section" of Kijiji today

Free to a good home – two male HUMANS – father and son combo. Breaks my heart to have to part with them as I've had them for such a long time. The trouble is – I’m afraid one is going to seriously hurt the other if they continue to live in the family home and obedience classes for either one is out of the question (aka expensive). In addition, all of a sudden I’ve become allergic to the younger one! The older one does need a bit more attention - certainly is in good health, but urinates and poops on the floor when left alone for more than 12 hours, isn't walked or played with. I would like to keep them together or the suppressed behaviourial problems might surface. They are used to being ignored and would thrive with the right attention.
I guess I should have done the research before committing to such a huge responsibility and forever screwing up their lives.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Another SPCA seizure in Nova Scotia

From the front door of the SPCANS site:
SPCA investigators rescue 16 more animals from neglect
In a nutshell, 13 kittens and 3 cats were removed from a home in Kings County by SPCA investigators.... this in turn has stepped up the timetable for the opening of the Kings County Shelter.
The article goes on to discuss more of the outcome of Wednesday's seizure in Port Felix. Although the CBC article on the story downplayed the condition of the animals, the article in the Herald was more forthright about the condition of the animals.
Since the Port Felix seizure, "twenty-four of the cats in the most serious condition were euthanized following assessment by a veterinarian". Nor does the future look bright for "the 25 dogs that were seized showed signs of medical issues as well as lack of socialization, which may present challenges for their rehabilitation "
There has been no word to date as to the results of the assessments for the cats that were seized today. Sadly, a hot summer friday night is not the optimum time for press releases. In all honesty, I have no idea if this was picked up by any of the tv networks for the suppertime news because in this house the tv usually isn't on that early.
According to the articles in the media, its been an "an ongoing problem for years down here between the SPCA and this lady." In light of the fact that not all of the animals from Wednesday's seizure will live to tell the tail, would it not be appropriate for charges to be laid ? That would enable a legal judgement to set legal and enforceable limits .... aimed not at punishment but at preventing the heartache and expense of these ladies reoffending
And expense is the key word here for sure. Money can't buy the love of volunteers ... but it is absolutely essential for nearly everything else that will be needed. Needed in spades with so many animals seized in such a short space of time.
Not only is the society just getting back on its fundraising feet, but the non confidence motion that triggered the election may very well have side barred, or even cancelled out, the promised funding for inspections.
And of course, at the risk of stating the obvious, the society will also be looking for folks kind enough to open their homes and their hearts to give these good pets a chance to experience life as it should be for a family pet .... instead of the substandard existence of a life that is all they have known.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Update on Happiness could be a Warm Beagle

I had an email tonight to let me know that Mitsy, the senior beagle, has been adopted and has a safe new home.

There should be no limit on common sense

From todays CBC website

SPCA seizes 89 cats and dogs from squalid conditions in Guysborough Co.
Last Updated: Thursday, June 25, 2009 9:57 AM AT
CBC News
RCMP and Nova Scotia SPCA officers seized 89 cats and dogs Wednesday from two Guysborough County homes owned by a mother and daughter after receiving dozens of complaints.
The animals were taken to the SPCA’s Dartmouth shelter to be checked by a veterinarian and many will be put up for adoption.
SPCA officers had to don gas masks to seize 24 dogs and 40 cats from one small home in Port Felix owned by Christine DeYoung because the ammonia levels from animal urine were so high. They also seized about two dozen cats from her daughter's home.
"It’s a mess, it's a real mess," SPCA provincial investigation officer Roger Joyce said Wednesday.
"A lot of people don't realize it because they are living in it. They just think it's a normal day, but when you or I go near the door and the smell gets to us, it just about knocks you over."
He said this appears to be a case of "animal hoarding" — the women collected the animals over a period of time and didn't have the money to spay and neuter them.
Christine DeYoung cried as she watched the officers take her animals away, and said that losing her oldest dogs is like losing family.
"I only had two dogs and then they got together and they had pups and they kept multiplying. So, I didn't know what to do with them," she said.
DeYoung said she couldn't afford to spay and neuter them, but she said she fed them well and she thinks they are healthy.
"What am I supposed to do with them? Drown them? If you took them and drowned them, that’s a crime, too. So what could you do?" she said.
Joyce said DeYoung and her daughter refused to give up any of the animals, so the SPCA and RCMP got warrants to take the cats and dogs away.
"We came down to try and work with the lady and try and get some of them away from her. And she didn’t want to work with [us]," Joyce said.
"It has just been an ongoing problem for years down here between the SPCA and this lady."
Joyce said the SPCA doesn’t believe DeYoung and her daughter were deliberately cruel to the animals, so it is unlikely charges will be laid against them.
DeYoung will be allowed to keep two of her most beloved pets, he said.

Several of the comments posted for the story suggested setting limits on the number of pets permitted for individual households. Would that solve the problem? Not even close. What would be the problem?
  • coming out of the gate is the obvious increase in cost to municipalities for the increased AC presence required to enforce these limits
  • estimates vary, but everyone agrees that not all pets owned in any municipality are licensed as it is. Number limits further discourage people from licensing as the numbers can be cross checked
  • numbers have absolutely no relationship to the nuisance to the community. One dog that barks all night, or runs at large, can create a greater nuisance than a well behaved and properly cared for multi pet household
  • number limits contribute to dog and cat deaths by causing pets to meet an uncertain fate at the hands of AC when they are seized
  • number limits encourage 'clandestine' ownership that doesn't engage in visible activities. This can range from unsocialized animals to pets that do not get the vet care they should. And last, but very definitely not least
  • number limits place unnecessary restrictions and hardships on both reputable breeders and all rescue groups and shelters. (The need for legislation governing breeders is a separate rant for another day) Foster homes are the lifeblood of animal rescue ..... which is already overburdened without the additional animals that number limits would put at risk.

Number limits do not create safer or healthier communities. Instead, they have a negative impact that fails to address any of the underlying issues. There are more effective options, most of which involve taking a proactive approach by:

  • the passage and enforcement of the strict nuisance laws, such as they have in Calgary, http://network.bestfriends.org/news/postdetail.aspx?np=34217
  • establishing a mediation process as a first step to resolve neighbourhood conflicts about animals.
  • making obedience training mandatory for nuisance law violators
  • implementing free responsible dog ownership workshops and mailouts in all municipalities, with complementary information on municipal websites ( I know that every animal welfare website, including the homeless site, has that info already, but sadly that it often "preaching to the choir" and passes under the radar for many good folks..

In unresolved and/or ongoing nuisance situations where cruelty wasn't specifically involved, mandatory community service with a shelter or rescue group could have a positive impact.

At the end of the day, picking the simple, knee jerk solution is never the path to success. Its never proved effective with BSL. Nor will it work with animal hoarding. While research into animal hoarding is still in its infancy, the unvarnished truth is that without professional treatment, hoarders have a 100% chance of reoffending. Animal hoarding is a complex compulsion that often coexists with other issues. We wouldn't expect an anorexic to heal themselves by taking away the mirrors and the weight scale... so we shouldn't expect number limit laws to prevent animal hoarding.

What time is it? Its always time to resist the urge to find a simple solution for such a tragically complicated issue.

The Proof of the Pudding

From this morning's Herald
SPCA seizes 89 cats, dogs
By DAVENE JEFFREY and EVA HOARE Staff ReportersThu. Jun 25 - 4:46 AM
Three of the two dozen dogs and puppies seized in Guysborough County look up from their enclosure at the SPCA in Burnside on Wednesday. (Tim Krochak / Staff)

Nova Scotia SPCA officers seized 89 animals — 64 cats and 25 dogs — from two homes in Port Felix on Wednesday in a case that the agency believes is "animal hoarding."
That is where "people collect animals and they don’t have the money to spay and neuter the animals, so they breed out of control and the numbers get absolutely overwhelming for them," said SPCA president Sean Kelly.
Mr. Kelly said officers executed a search warrant at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday on the two Guysborough County houses following an investigation that was based on a complaint.
The two houses are owned by Christine DeYoung and an adult daughter. It’s too early in the probe to determine whether anyone from the family will be charged, Mr. Kelly said.
Some of the animals appeared to be worse for wear, he said in an interview. The animals were still being examined late Wednesday by vets at the SPCA’s facility in Burnside.
"The cats are in fairly rough shape. They look like there’s quite a few genetic abnormalities," Mr. Kelly said. "As of now, the dogs are very unsocialized and some do have medical issues."
On CBC-TV, officers equipped with breathing masks were shown carrying animals out of the house. Mr. Kelly said the ammonia levels inside were extremely high.
"Anytime that you have a high number (of animals) you get ammonia through the urine and feces of the animals," he said.
But Ms. DeYoung said the place would have smelled fine if the SPCA had held off until after lunch.
"The boxes were cleaned in the morning, at dinner time, suppertime and at night time."
The officers caught the two women by surprise, she said.
"I was all worked up. I didn’t know what to do."
She was left with three dogs. All her cats are gone.
"I’ve got mice," she said.
Most of the cats were kept in a house about a 10 to 15 minute walk down the road. The building was not fit for people to live in, but it was fine for the cats, Ms. DeYoung said.
"I always had animals all my life," she said. "I always took care of the animals and made sure they were well fed."
Mr. Kelly said the SPCA will make every attempt to save the animals that were seized.
(
djeffrey@herald.ca)
(
ehoare@herald.ca)
Like anyone else who saw the footage on the news last night, I would beg to differ about the idea that substandard accommodations can be acceptable for animals. The lyrics might sound good in a song, but the truth of the matter is that love is not all cats and dogs need.
Shelters that use proper cleaning protocols for their vet checked, vaccinated and altered cats can still be vulnerable to a variety of viruses. Populations can balloon when animals aren't altered. When the numbers exceed what their guardians have time for daily one on one with, the animals cease being pets and become animals that are simply being fed. ( I wouldn't use the term livestock because most farmers understand the need for clean accommodations)
That being said ... what are people to do when the strays start showing up?
  • not every area of the province has a TNR group
  • existing TNR groups without municipal funding can 'waste' most of the season trying to fundraise to pay down existing vet bills
  • vets that offer discounts to TNR groups sometimes place limits on the amount of that work they are willing to do
  • the concept of TNR is neither widely known, nor understood by many residents of this province.
  • even in areas where there is municipal funding for TNR, many of the local residents are unaware that it is available
  • TNR groups work on a shoestring and have to set boundaries on their work. Most will not assist with tame strays who will become housepets.
  • existing low cost spay neuter assistance is not well publicized. I've lived in Kings County for 22 years and had no idea the Kings County SPCA offered assistance with altering until I read it in annual report on the provincial society site. ( When I queried the branch about it , they felt it was sufficiently promoted through the local animal clinics, yet I have yet to meet anyone with pets who knew about it)
  • most spay neuter assistance is just that, assistance and doesn't acknowledge the reality that if a person cannot afford the surgery, a twenty five or fifty dollar discount isn't going to make it an achievable objective

Its not humane to let them starve and its not humane to let them reproduce unchecked and its definitely not humane to dump/drown/shoot/smother or take to the vet to be killed. Clearly we need a new path.

I saw a cute cartoon in the Herald the other day, where our new Premier was asking if anyone had seen his "I didn't know the finances were in such bad shape speech" Before the summer is out, our new government will have their financial game plan well fleshed out.

What time is it? Even if the house isn't sitting, its time to let our new government know that we can't afford NOT to provide the resources to address this problem. If you don't have the addresses already, you can find the contact info for all Members - Constituencies by clicking on the link. If you wish to lend the support of your voice to the efforts being made by SPCANS on this issue, the appropriate email is animals@spcans.ca

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Another new partnership for CFHS

When I first read the article on the front door of http://cfhs.ca/ about the CFHS and Kijiji partnership , I was sure that their website must have been hacked by someone with the malicious intent of undermining such a great organization.
Yet that almost pales by comparison with the article on their front door tonight. New website devoted to Keeping Animals Safe
The Canadian Federation of Humane societies is happy to support a new website launched by the Toronto Wildlife Centre and the Canadian Indoor Cats Alliance –
www.keepanimalssafe.ca. The site hopes to educate people not only on the dangers of letting cats roam free outdoors, but also on the impact that outdoor cats have on wildlife. The site offers information on why it is important to keep your cat indoors as well as helpful solutions for converting your outdoor cat into an indoor one.
According to the website, outdoor cats have a definite impact on the local wildlife, not to mention a shorter life span – about 10 years shorter – than an indoor cat. By preying on birds and small animals, outdoor cats impact the populations of these animals thus leading to an imbalance throughout the eco-system. Outdoor cats are also highly susceptible to other dangers such as cars and disease.
Having a happy and healthy indoor cat is not just a myth, it can be a reality. By stimulating and challenging your cat through toys and play, your cat can have a healthy and rewarding life indoors. If you still feel that your cat needs time to explore the great outdoors, consider building a fenced in play area or training your cat to wear a harness and leash. For more information on keeping your indoor cat happy visit
www.keepanimalssafe.ca and also take a look at the CFHSHappy Indoor Cat Factsheet.

Now I'll be the first one to admit that I prefer my cats to be indoor only .... but not because I feel they will decimate the local wildlife. The truth is that is exactly the opposite. There is a long list of wildlife that is very hazardous to any cat. We have at least three varieties of eagles and two types of hawks within hunting distance of my yard. If that isn't enough, there are foxes, coyotes and weasels as well.
If that was all there was to this campaign, I'd say paws up to CFHS. But this new project contains an entire section devoted to listing the ways in which cats pose a Hazard for Wildlife . Where did this information come from? CCIA , which is a coalition primarily composed of wildlife groups.
Why do I have a problem with that? Whats the big deal? CFHS cannot have it both ways. They cannot promote 'domestic bliss' for owned cats at the expense of the ferals. The article does not quote research, but relies on the sentence " U.S. research estimates that outdoor cats annually kill more than a billion birds and small mammals of both common and rare species. "
CFHS cannot advocate humane feral cat management through TNR and support a campaign that promotes more negative publicity for feral cats by reinforcing the common prejudice that ferals pose a hazard to local wildlife.
For anyone who hasn't read the material, a more accurate presentation can be found at Alley Cat Allies http://www.alleycat.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=324
Or ... if one hasn't already read this, one could go to the No Kill Advocacy Centre and read http://www.nokilladvocacycenter.org/pdf/feralcatissue_000.pdf
Or.... one could go to a great article written by the godfather of No Kill, Nathan Winograd http://www.bestfriends.org/nomorehomelesspets/pdf/feralcatcompassion.pdf
Since I moved out here, subdivisions and new homes have taken a real bite out of the existing wildlife habitat. As a result, more wildlife has been crowded into smaller areas. Like I said, around here ... we protect cats from the wildlife .... not the other way around.
What time is it? Its time for the national organization purporting to represent humane groups to make more well considered partnerships so that they can live up to their motto of 'Helping Canadians Help Animals".

Another large seizure by SPCANS today

From CBC radio, at 5:30
24 dogs and 40 cats were taken from Christine DeYoung's house, and 40 cats from her daughter's house. It sounds like she started off with just two of each, but couldn't afford to spay and neuter her pets.Animal cruelty charges are not expected.
There will be more on this story at ctv news at six

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Strange bedfellows indeed

On a misty morning like this, its easier to see the new growth on all the evergreens along our favourite trails. This cool damp weather has been good for more than rhubarb this year ..... even the shrubbery and perennials in my own yard have bounded ahead this year.
The yard has come a long way from the old cow pasture I found fifteen years ago. Over the years, bits of shrubbery and perennials have found their way here. Gardens have been built and the pathways just wound up naturally working their way around them.
Every step of the way, the needs of the native wildlife have been respected with (I hope) sensitivity ... and my yard has actually been registered as a designated wildlife habitat. To the untutored eye, my yard looks as unkempt in spots as the middle aged granny who lives here.
A livable landscape takes time to grow. But the one thing that all the landscape experts agree on is the need to live in a place for a year before making any changes.
There are no shortcuts to that. Rash impetuous decisions generally take more time in the long run when they prove to be inappropriate for the lifestyle of the landowner. That type of thing also gets expensive when plants do not survive that first crucial season.
In a world of where sixty minute solutions are neatly wrapped up each evening on the tube, it is too easy to expect the immediate 'answer to a prayer'. Fastracking is never the path to success whenever living things are involved. If life is to flourish and fit in where it should, care and caution need to be the primary concern.
This morning, when we came back from the woods, my newsletter from the CFHS http://cfhs.ca/, was waiting in my inbox. In it they discussed their recent attendance at Woofstock The CFHS, attended the festival in partnership with Kijiji, to raise awareness about purchasing pets online. With such an overwhelming number of people approaching the Kijiji booth to talk about how they found their pet online, the CFHS recognizes the importance of educating potential pet owners about choosing a responsible breeder as many disreputable breeders and puppy mills use online sites such as Kijiji to post ads for animals. The CFHS is working with Kijiji to help identify puppy mills and disreputable breeders so that their ads are taken down and their actions are being reported to local humane societies for investigation.
I'm an organic granny and that type of thing is normally put in big buckets around here to make the gardener's version of green tea.
I'm constantly surprised at the folks who think that it would be an infringement of their rights to peddle living breathing sentient beings on EBay's free online ad site. If http://ebay.ca/ recognizes that Animals and Wildlife Products to be inappropriate for online trade and specifically prohibits such trade, why would this parent company condone the practice in its free online ad site, Kijiji?
Of course any law prohibiting the traffic of living sentient breathing beings on free online ad sites will pose a restriction .... to the backyard breeders and unscrupulous sorts like the Benoit's who prey on unsuspecting animal lovers.
Who would the law protect? Besides the helpless animals who are passed around like old socks because their so called guardians were under no obligation to fully disclose health and behavior issues? It wouldn't just be animal welfare legislation ... its an important piece of consumer protection legislation that is long overdue.
(As a sidebar note to that , if you wish to express your opinion on this issue, you can find contact information for any of the executive team at EBay at http://pages.ebay.ca/aboutebay/thecompany/executiveteam.html)
However, I am wandering afield here. One could run out of fingers and toes to count how many ways that it is inappropriate for CFHS to engage in any partnership with Kijiji. If you would like to lend your voice to those who have already expressed their dismay, http://cfhs.ca/info/contact_us/
The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing... - Albert Einstein

Monday, June 22, 2009

Did you find your best friend, or friends, through rescue? Are you interested in helping to spread the good word about the joys of pet adoption? If I get enough interest, I'll start up a Happy Tails blog to complement the homeless pet site. Please send your stories and pics to webmaster@nshomelesspets.com

Sunday, June 21, 2009

About Fathers and Mothers Day

There is a bittersweet quality to Fathers Day when your parents are gone. Even after twelve years, its still a wrench not to be able to pick out a card ... technically I could, but it would be tough to be able to send it anywhere he would actually get it.
But before we hit the completely unanticipated jolt of loss, there were years and years of great memories that I get to carry with me wherever I go.
Dad did double duty as the male role model for my own daughter in turn. Having been raised by a great Dad, I had sense enough not to marry my daughter's father simply because I became pregnant.
As a result, once the school years were upon us ..... I was the recipient of both Mothers and Fathers Day cards ..... something that is still a bit of a family tradition even now: )))
If you will recall, last month there was a little feature on the homeless pet site for Mothers Day to showcase some of the lovely little mother cats that 'sit on the shelf' long after their kittens are adopted. Many of them are barely past kittenhood themselves .... which is the best argument I can think of in favour of early age spay and neuter. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION about that.
But I'm wandering afield here. Do you remember the little cat that I featured both on the site, and in Pet abandonment is the mother of all feral cats .
Her kittens are weaned now and one of them has been adopted, and the kind folks at S.H.A.I.D have named her Pandora .... because of course she and her babies were abandoned at SHAID in a taped up box.
Like my own little mighty mini Morgan, Pandora is going to be a dainty little miss because her original guardians were too cheap or too careless or just too darned stupid to get her spayed.
I know I go on like a stuck record, but honestly, the person who is kind enough to open their home and their heart for this little cat is going to be the recipient of more love and devotion than they could possibly imagine.
PS - Brynne is the name that the kind folks at SHAID have given the little girl who was so callously tossed aside on that cold spring night

A Midsummer Carol

On the first day of summer, Kijiji had for free
Twelve dozen kittens
Eleven intact toms
Ten purebred cats
Nine family dogs
Eight easter bunnies
Seven senior kitties
Six purebred dogs
Five intact males
Four baby mice
Three part Labs
Two border collies
and a Great Dane ... also for free.

Right now there are over sixty lovely dogs listed on the petfinder and rescue web sites here in NS. That number does not include the great pets within a stones throw in NB and PEI. Nor does it include the dogs listed with the reputable breeders who consider doing breed rescue part and parcel of "doing it right"
And if there are sixty plus dogs.... you can bet your boots that there will be at least four hundred cats in the care of rescues and shelters around the province.
And of course none of these numbers include any of the lovely pets in Nfld, many of whom have made the journey to the mainland when their fortunes needed improving. ( the subject of how rescues like the Clarenville SPCA have used networking with other rescues to save so many lives is a lovely happy tail in need of a separate post of its own)
Anyone reading this blog already knows the advantages of adopting from rescue:
  • that pets are normally health checked, vaccinated and most importantly ... altered
  • that rescues are working to create better and safer communities that offer more humane options
  • that pet adoption is a great way to teach children the values of commitment and compassion
  • that the adoption application process is not there to 'be difficult' but is meant to make matches to last a lifetime instead of an impulse decision that could end in tears, and last but definitely not least
  • that adopters are not working without a net. Rescues provide advice, support and ... if the worst happens... will take the adoptee back into their care. As a matter of fact, they insist on it.

We have a new Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable John MacDonell, who was elected in Hants East. He was educated right here in Nova Scotia, and outside of being an MLA, he has worked as both a farmer and a teacher. If you wish to introduce yourself as a concerned animal lover...er I mean congratulate him, his email isjohn.macdonell@ns.sympatico.ca .

It never hurts to attend to the social niceties before we start sending in our "holiday" wish lists: )))

Friday, June 19, 2009

Happiness could be a warm beagle

Speaking of senior pets, I had an email yesterday about this sweet, ten year old female beagle. Some of the details were missing, such as whether she is spayed, but apparently she has always been a house dog, and isn't a hunter. ( Not that I think there is any chance that the rabbit hunting crowd follows this blog : ))))
There is a very tight timeline for this little sweetheart .... her owner is moving from a house to a 'flat' and if I read the email right is prepared to take this little girl to the vet to be killed, rather than try to surrender her to the SPCA .
( the subject of how owners can feel this is a more humane solution than the opportunity for a second chance at love is a rant for another day)
As it stands, when her owner moves at the end of the month, it will be the end of the line for this little girl, unless a better option is found.
Beagles are such sweet and loving family pets that I have an entire page in the homeless pet site just for the beagles available for adoption. Like many other beagles, this little girl looks like she has a tendency to put on weight easy .... something this middle aged granny can readily sympathize with.
Of all the dogs I have ever brought into my home, the one who made the easiest transition was the senior terrier mix that my friends dognapped from the shelter .... er I mean brought over for me to adopt... heh heh heh. Scamp walked in the front door, took one look around and said to himself .. this is lovely and I like this just fine. He was as faithful a friend as his buddy the senior labrador who had lived his whole life with me.
There is nothing wrong with wanting an easy life .... in fact I have another whole section of the homeless pet site devoted to the sweet seniors available for adoption in this province. I want to tell you that they are often adopted more quickly than some of the young adults. Why would that be? They are usually more mellow and are already housetrained.
In fact, if a person has recently lost a lifetime companion, adopting a senior pet is often less of a jolt than bringing home a puppy. After a certain age, seniors become very Zen company and are just ever so much less demanding than the youngsters.
When I was thirteen, one of my most prized possessions was a blue t-shirt with a caption under Snoopy that read "happiness is a warm puppy". At fifty four, I understand that happiness isn't a warm puppy, its a warm and snuggly beagle like Mitsy.






Thursday, June 18, 2009

Unconditional love works both ways, eh?

It takes being retired to really understand just how much time dogs devote to napping every day. In this house there is the early nap following our first stroll ( there are no yard leashes here.... we all go out and tour the yard together), while they rest up for our hike in the woods. Then of course there is the post hike and breakfast nap .... not to be confused with the pre lunch snooze that follows.
After lunch there is another hike .... followed by siesta time.... and then another stroll while they investigate what I've been up to while they were snoozing ... with yes another , pardon the phrase, catnap to get ready for supper.
Today, during the afternoon siesta, I was out tilling three of the garden beds. Yes its a hot job for an afternoon, but if the weeds are not kept under control in June, one might as well just till the whole thing under and plant a putting green. Its time well spent because a lot of my winter grocery shopping will be out of my own freezer and cold storage
There was a time, not all that long ago it seems, when I could go flat out and till all the garden beds in one shot. But I am fifty four, not thirty or even forty, so I've learned to pace myself a bit. Does that mean I'm ready to 'go to the home" No way, not by a country mile.
My vision might not be what it once was and I might need to wear my fluffy slippers to keep my falling arches from having me hobbling around... but inside I am still the same gal I've always been. And if attractive young men call me Ma'am, not honey, at least the freedom fifty five crowd still think I look just fine.
In my perfect fantasy world, all pets would stay with their original guardians for life. After all, my pets have been more loyal and devoted than any man I ever married ... and to be perfectly honest they have all had a much better grasp of the phrase "till death do we part" than any ex did.
(The subject of how we as guardians need to properly prepare for our pets' future in the event that they outlive us has been, and likely will be again, many a separate rant for another day)
Just as I would not want to go into 'the home', neither do any of my furkids want to leave our family circle. They didn't all grow up here, but they have all settled into the comfort and security of living with this middle aged granny.
So it saddens me to see so many senior pets listed on Kijiji...free to a good home. What a way to repay years of love and loyalty and devotion. ( the subject of why on earth couples get pets BEFORE they have the baby and then toss them aside without a second thought on Kijiji is another separate rant for another day)
For every problem there is a solution. Sometimes .... like the garden I'm tending right now, its not immediate. But there are better options out there than ditching the senior pet:
  • at the risk of sounding like a stuck record, anyone who thinks their future might not be rosy can't afford NOT to have pet insurance. That is something that individuals can do now to protect their pets that doesn't have to wait for programs to start or be fund raised for
  • most senior issues are pretty manageable.... honestly if it came down to it, I'd rather wear depends and live here .... and I'm sure any of the pets here feel the same way.
  • kindness pays off at any age, but something simple like the extra layer of a quilt on a dog bed can help seniors stay more mobile
  • I've noticed here in my own family circle that my two seniors seem to thrive on the company of the younger dogs and cats and most importantly, they both have more things to be interested in with having 'friends'
  • the dog that didn't need a coat and boots at three might be able to walk a little further on chilly days if they are bundled up
  • from my own experience with McG, I've become quite a proponent of wheat free diets for the over five crowd, and last but not least
  • to quote my friend Joan, 'never underestimate the power of unconditional love'. Scientists have already proven that having a pet is good for human health ..... being confident and secure in the love of their human is just as good for our pets.

We trade in our cars before they get to be too much trouble. We redecorate and revamp. We upscale and downsize. Why is that fine? Because those are all things.

It is the hallmark of maturity to accept responsibility for those in our care. Right now, I probably spend more on McG at the vets than all the rest of the kids. Why do I do that? Besides the fact that it is the right and the responsible thing to do? Because he has been my very good friend for eleven years and I can't imagine choosing an unhappy tail so that I could buy something/go somewhere or any such thing.

There will come a day when he won't be by my side, but today is not that day. Nor will that day be coldly calculated by the cost of xrays/bloodwork and meds. Not for him. Not for any of them in time.

So forgive me if I have no patience with those who cannot stay the course. I really believe that John, Paul, George and Ringo had it all wrong with their bit about 'the love you take is equal to the love you make" ... at least when it comes to our pets.

Update on Raining Cats and Dogs

If you want more information about any of the 'Monday Morning Gang", they are now listed on Petfinder : Clara , Brady , Ronnie and Marty .... along with ARC 's other great 'kids' :Giggles , Kaya, Porsche , Big Bear and Miley

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On using the virtual world to save real lives

I have a lot of admiration for people who can take good pet pictures. When I got my digital camera last holiday season, I had visions of all sorts of sugarplum pictures of my 'family circle' Unfortunately, as soon as Miss Ruby hears the whirrr of the camera as it turns on, the best I can hope for are some really stellar shots of her bloomers as she heads down the hall to the safety of her toddler bed.
And of course, like all rookies, I'm still trying to get a feel for the timelapse between aiming the camera and catching the shot: ))) So I tend not to be very critical of the pictures on petfinder.
Judging by my personal experience with the site traffic for the homeless site, I can definitely say that it is a virtual world for many hopeful pet adopters. The beauty of petfinder is that it allows the opportunity for anyone using the service to give very detailed descriptions with two or three pictures .... hey it even offers the ability to post videos of each of the adoptables.
The small private rescues really have a handle on using Petfinder. Anyone browsing will get detailed descriptions, which are often written by the fosters who know them first hand. Nor is the basic pertinent info ever left to guesswork because the little groups understand that whether a pet is house trained, vaccinated and altered can play a big role in the decision making process.
Unless the pets are already spoken for with a preapproved adoption, their adoptables are all posted in a timely fashion. Nor do the pets 'linger' on petfinder after they are adopted.
In the course of any given day, all the petfinder and private web sites ( the ones without too many bots that it) are checked at least twice for updates. Normally a group will have a couple added in here... one or two adopted there. Even groups that don't fuss with their bios and details pretty much do business like that.
Except the Cape Breton SPCA. Now in the (we hope ) old days with the gas chamber, after they were told to list their adoptables, they would list a few youngsters every three or four weeks. Then one day, I would check and they'd all be gone: ((( In a few days, or weeks, another few would be listed. Then one night they would all disappear and the cycle would start again.
Last winter, I was overjoyed to find out that instead of the worst, the site 'emptied' out because they were brought back to Metro after a site visit by the BOD.
Just before the election, we started up the Pet Transfer network to try to make this a regular thing.... but for reasons best left unmentioned, the first run was the only one that flew ... at least through the network.
Now I understand that between the old blog and this one, that I've burned a lot of bridges with some. So, eventually, I did close the old network, because it simply couldn't work without communicating.
Hopefully its still continuing .... and as far as I'm concerned that's far more important than whether I'm part of the process. Because the dogs are still coming off the Cape Breton SPCA petfinder site all at once. Then I'll post a note on their spot on the front door of the homeless pet site that there are no listings available, and after a bit another crew will pop up.
Once again with no information about the basics.... although in the last group that was listed did mention a tidbit about one dog 'only having three legs but 'gets around fine': )))
According to last years statistics, the Cape Breton branch took in 1522 dogs for the calendar year, which works out to an average of 29 dogs a week. Even if you subtract all the dogs that were claimed by their owners and all the dogs that were killed, it still works out to at least 15 dogs a week. So how is it that they are listing ten dogs every three or four weeks. Next years stats should make interesting reading indeed.
In the meantime, working with other shelters and rescues to save lives is the type of postive pr that the society should be shouting from the rooftops ... ie SPCANS is proud to announce that X number of pets were saved by transferring them to Metro and other cooperative shelters
What time is it? I don't think its time to jump the gun, but its definitely not time to break out the champagne yet either.



Another kind of raining cats and dogs

I haven't been retired for so long that I've forgotten about Monday mornings. Like any other cook, I spent the early part of my career working shift, and so had been oblivious to the impact of a monday morning. When people eat three meals a day, seven a days a week, Monday is just another day for a shift cook.
But, I didn't spend my whole career on the floor, and so in time I learned all about Monday mornings. No matter how organized one was, Monday mornings were living proof that 'life is what happens while you're making other plans" In the real world, supplies didn't always come in as ordered, such as the time that the company that was supposed to deliver five fifty pound bags of potatoes on Saturday delivered 250 bags of potatoes instead. From unannounced VIP's to cancelled flights ..... if the fly was going to land in the ointment it was usually on Monday.
That holds true almost anywhere it seems. My friend Annette, is president of one of Nova Scotia's longest running rescue groups, the Animal Rescue Coalitions. Monday morning, she had four frantic calls about 'emergency dogs' and another six calls about cats .... one of them the mommy cat with the two 2-3 week old kittens.
While other folks were putting off checking their lotto numbers so they could fantasize about a life changing win for just a little longer, Annette was lining up fosters. While other people were having their lunch, she was off to the vets with four new dogs to be checked. And while everyone else was already full, she was finding a way to save four more lives.
Without a shelter and without becoming a hoarder herself, I might add. (the subject of how our legal system was able to view the abuse that animals suffer in a hoarding situation as being justifiable in any way is a rant that my Joan has already discussed quite eloquently in her blog.)
Anyone familiar with this blog already knows what high regard I hold so many of these 'little' private rescue groups in. Most of them don't even have shelters or paid staff. What they do have is the determination to do what they can, wherever they can, for the animals. They don't set time limits. They don't define 'treatable' by the dollar sign.
But best of all they work hard to make a good match for all their adoptables. ( the subject of how perfect a fit one can get by listening to the people who have rescued and know the animals is a separate topic for another day too)
I know I go on like a stuck record about this, but all of these groups are part of the solution .... in many cases to the "problems" that have arisen because of EBay's 'no questions asked' free online ad site.
So I would like you to meet the "Monday Morning Gang" - Marty, Ronnie, Clara and Brady. They aren't even on Petfinder yet, but they've all been healthchecked and are available for adoption. ( For more information on that contact ARC directly)















In keeping with the spirit of fiscal restraint

One of my favourite people in the whole world is also one of the most responsible persons I know about pets. How many pets do he and his wife have? Zero. Why is that a good thing? Because he gets that he isn't home often enough to have time for a pet. He knows that he doesn't like going for long walks on an arctic winter day. He understands that if his partner isn't a 'pet person' that he can't have dog and domestic bliss .... so he is not going to get the cute puppy only to have to rehome it.
Its not that he doesn't love animals. Everytime Ruby and Henry hear a bike turn down our road, they get very excited in the hopes that it is him. He's patient and kind and he's a wonderful father. He just loves animals too much to start down the path when he knows he cannot commit for life.
So he does the sensible thing and just says no whenever anyone suggests that the family unit isn't complete without a pet.
If the world was full of people like him, I would have no objection to EBay peddling pets on their free online ad site. But that isn't how things work here in the real world.
Instead of engaging in an application process with a reputable breeder or a rescue, anyone can buy or find a free pet on Kijiji, usually with no questions asked. In a country where I need a license to drive, hunt, fish and even to take Dad's old dory out on the water if I bring along an outboard ... it is still possible for anyone to get a pet. It doesn't matter if they can afford it. Nobody cares if they will ditch it as soon as they get pregnant/move/develop 'allergies' or it just plain gets to be too much for them.
Even worse of course is the way that these sites make it possible for the backyard breeders and puppy 'brokers' like the Benoit's to do business in a fairly anonymous environment.
Our new NDP government has been crystal clear about the fact that they intend to keep the books balanced. In light of that, this middle aged granny would like to offer some low cost options they could implement for the animals:
  • Ban the traffic of living breathing sentient beings, whether for sale or "free to a good home" on the free online ad sites
  • Introduce mandatory breeder registration
  • Pass a law regulating companion animal breeding to limit the lifetime number of litters, the annual number and include a minimum age for breeding.
  • Make pet stores accountable by audit for the history of their 'wares"
  • Promote early age spay neuter on all the government websites
  • Make it illegal to drive around with dogs in the back of the truck
  • Make the Dalhousie research department accountable to SPCANS inspection instead of letting the fox guard its own henhouse\
  • Introduce anti tethering legislation
  • Tighten up housing regulations for breeders. ( It wouldn't affect the legitimate ones and would enable the society to successfully prosecute the puppy mills), and of course, last but not least
  • Outlaw BSL in all areas of Nova Scotia
What time is it? Its time to let our new NDP government know there are ever so many ways they can step up to the plate for the animals without 'breaking the bank"

Monday, June 15, 2009

A very successful adoption incentive


By now, anyone following this blog knows that Its Adopt a Shelter Cat Month . At the start of the month, I did a post about some of the fundraisers and adoption fairs going on..... one of which was the CAPS Open House and Baby Shower on the 14th.
So how did that go? I just had an email to let me know that eighty visitors were enticed to come to the 'shower' .... and none of them came empty handed. In fact, people were so into the spirit of the thing that the donations were wrapped in shower paper and came with little cards. Even better, everyone had so much fun they were asking when the next one would be held. And of course, best of all were the flurry of adoption applications that the day brought in for CAPS.
At the end of the day ..... that is of course the whole point of a rescue group. Like most of the other private groups in the province, once an animal comes into CAPS' care, they have a safe berth for however long it takes to be adopted. But of course the more adoptions, the more pets they can save.
This is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about in the last post.... the need for groups and shelters to try new things in an effort to boost cat adoptions. If CAPS can have this kind of success when their Kitty Cottages are so far off the beaten path, just imagine what could be accomplished elsewhere?
What time is it? Its time to remember that while it is very important to save lives ..... boosting adoptions will save more lives. And every cat that is adopted from rescue becomes part of the solution instead of being part of the problem.

Stepping up to the plate

On any given day, there are normally at least eight cats for every dog that is listed for adoption in NS between Petfinder and the individual rescue web site. And of course those numbers only represent the tip of the iceberg and do not include the 'free to a good home' ones listed on Kijiji or the unfortunate who have been taken to the vet to be killed or have been drowned/shot/smothered and dumped.
Why does this happen? How do we wind with horrific estimates of 300,000 stray and feral cats in this province?
Part of the problem is that cats are particularly vulnerable. A cute cuddly little kitten doesn't cost a lot to feed .... so the well intentioned folks who actually can't afford to have a pet still think they can manage having a cat. Folks who don't have the wherewithal to get the cat fixed all seem to have the romantic notion that it will be enough to keep the cat indoors. Cats are usually pretty quiet too, so folks with 'no pet' apartments can easily keep one 'undercover', at least for a while.
Part of the problem of course lies in the fact that it has been going on for so darned long. During the last few months, the society has developed an official position on Feral Cats and TNR Population Control Programs .... as well as orchestrating an unprecedented Town Hall to , in their words, "initiate a holistic approach to the solution" There is no denying that their support for TNR is going to make a world of difference in the years to come.
But the real crux of the problem lies in the difference between stray and feral cats. TNR is definitely the most humane solution for the feral cat problems. There have already been successful precedents for municipal support for TNR in NS. Even though there are still some places that do not want the "R" or Return of the equation, there is no denying that with more publicity and public education, TNR will be here to stay in NS
It is the stray cats that seem to slip through the cracks:
  • No room at the inn for them with shelters and groups
  • Feed me - I'm yours Some kind folks will not feed strays because of the legal obligation this carries ..... and they know they don't have the resources to vaccinate/test/fix them. Others start feeding anyway and the cats multiply until the situation rapidly gets out of hand
  • People who live in popular dumping areas often turn a blind eye to the fate of cats that AC will come and collect
  • Most TNR groups only 'work' with ferals, not strays. That doesn't make them the villain.... they have a big enough mandate as it is, eh?

In other words ..... its inhumane not to feed them.... but its not humane to feed them without getting them fixed. Most of them don't have the survival skills to manage on their own, but there are rarely any 'slots' open for them with any rescue or group.

I'm just a middle aged granny, but it seems to me that strays would be better protected in the short term if:

  • cat adoption incentives were more commonly used, such as two for one adoption fees, smaller fees for more mature kitties ( in adoption speak anyone over three), things like Tabby cat tuesdays, Black cat fridays .... etc
  • more Cat only off site adoption fairs.... groups have done this have found they are quieter and adopters have a better chance of staying long enough to fall in love without any barking
  • wide promotion of early age spay neuter could 'nip things in the bud' as early as this season's kittens. ( unlike low cost spay neuter, this could be successfully promoted at all vet clinics), and of course, last but not least,
  • if our new NDP government is looking for a low cost way to help the animals, they could pass a law prohibiting the traffic of living sentient beings in free online ad sites. Yeah, yeah, I know that CFHS has this fancy new partnership with Kijijii, but here in the real world that doesn't change a thing. Such a law would be consumer protection legislation and make it more difficult to find a pet 'no questions' asked.

What time is it? While it is time to recognize the value of the long term plans that are being laid now, its also time to implement the things that can be done in the interim.

PS ...in the really short term .... if anyone has space to foster a stray mother cat with two 2-3 week old kittens, please email me at the webmaster link

Sunday, June 14, 2009

On creating safer communities

Can you think of a single instance where those who were working to make the world a better place were not subject to ridicule by their opponents? Whenever someone is trying to improve on anything, you can guarantee that someone else will have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.
It was only 126 years ago that the Canadian Suffragette Association was formed. Even so, it took the first 26 years before they were able to successfully lobby to have the law changed so that abduction of women became a criminal act.
My grandmother's generation was the first one to be eligible to vote in this country. My mother's generation was the first one that could legally hold, and inherit, property anywhere in this country. My generation was the first one to have their jobs protected by law when they went on maternity leave. My 31 year old daughter's generation is the first one to find some measure of protection under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Naturally this made men nervous..... even today many men don't quite get my all time favourite ( Margaret Mead,of course ) quote " every time you liberate a woman, you liberate a man". Not specifically because they were men, but because as the beneficiaries of 'having the upper hand' it wasn't in their vested interests to encourage gender equality.
At the end of the day, that's the 'hundred dollar phrase' - vested interest. With BDL, politicians have a vested interest because it makes a dandy diversionary tactic to distract voters from the things they aren't doing. Other proponents include the commercial breeding megaliths who have absolutely no interest in seeing any area of animal husbandry for dogs become regulated or legislated in any fashion. Naturally the nasty folks who make the big bucks from dog fighting don't want to see an infringement on their right to do business.
So for every honest to dog website run by animal advocates trying to create better, healthier and safer communities for their families and neighbours, there will be ones that are working from the other end of the stick. The ones who try to justify chaining dogs as some sort of public service, without which we would be swimming in a sea of chaos and destruction. The ones that keep insisting, in spite of supporting data and studies, that chaining dogs has nothing to do with aggression issues or dog bites.
Since the creation of Break the Chain in Nova Scotia , there have been no shortage of critics trying to explain why chaining and penning dogs is a good thing. They are basing their arguments on material pulled from sites that are clearly created out of 'vested interests'.
The web is wonderful tool, but one needs to remember that it is only a tool and no replacement for independent thought. Misinformation sites aren't uncommon.... look at the Holocaust denial and white supremacy sites, eh?
But I am a middle aged grandmother and I want a better and safer world for my daughter and granddaughter.
What time is it? Its time to wake up and understand there really is no rational argument for treating a living breathing intelligent sensitive sentient being like a yard ornament.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Looking for a way to help the kitties?

Do you live in, or handy, Eastern Passage? SCAR is looking for folks to help with their bottle drive this Saturday ( June 13th aka tomorrow!!!). They need 'passengers' to go along with their drivers and knock on the doors to ask for bottle donations.
The really great news is that the distemper virus is over, but SCAR needs funds to pay down the vet bill from that and of course to disinfect and paint the kitty workshop.
If you can help, go to their facebook group, Healing Animal SCARS - Sonya's Cat & Animal Rescue Society to contact Sonya
"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats." - Albert Schweitzer