Monday, August 31, 2009
The fledgling Disaster Animal Response Team of Nova Scotia was also on hand to ensure that pets were cared for as they waited with their owners to return home, a role the group hopes will become a regular part of the province’s emergency response plan.
"We’re not required by law to do this, but it’s a bunch of interested animal welfare people who want to get together to create a response group to ensure animals are included in disaster planning," said team member Marcel Marcotte.
Mr. Marcotte, who has helped out at floods, fires and hurricanes on behalf of the Canadian Red Cross, said it’s a real problem to get people to leave their homes if they can’t take their pets with them, something officials saw on a large scale after hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
"I’ve been to British Columbia for the wildfires and hurricane Ivan in the states and saw it every time, every time," he said in a recent interview.
"People continually will put themselves at risk for their animals."
The group, which formed about a year ago, has about 50 volunteers.
Mr. Marcotte has experience in animal rescue, while others are familiar with the protocols of emergency response.
Barry Manuel, the group’s president, is the co-ordinator for the Emergency Management Office in Halifax Regional Municipality, while John Webb, vice-president of the Disaster Animal Response Team, is the director of emergency social services for the provincial Community Services Department.
The group is in discussions with the Red Cross about becoming part of its disaster response plan.
The response team’s role would be to provide shelter for pets during an emergency, reuniting rescued pets with their owners or ensuring that pets are fed and have necessary items like collars and leashes while waiting to return home.
Mr. Marcotte, who lives in Truro and works in Halifax with the Metropolitan Regional Housing Authority, said the group got its first real tryout in June 2008 during the Porters Lake-area fires when they helped with pets that ended up at Cole Harbour Place with their evacuated owners.
He said some people left home so quickly that they needed leashes for their dogs, along with food, water and bowls.
Volunteers also looked after pets when people were attending briefing meetings.
"It was a great opportunity to showcase what we do," he said.
Mr. Marcotte, who has two cats of his own, said he doesn’t see any difference in helping people or animals in times of crisis.
"Somebody has to speak for these beings because they seem to be left out whenever something bad is going on."
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Yarmouth SPCA has written for Groucho : Poor Groucho and his fur-brother came to us because their owner no longer wanted them and was moving away. They became very depressed after entering the shelter and barely ate, and because our kennels are not big enough to house two dogs, we had to separate them. All day they howled and called to each other, it would have broke your heart. Groucho's brother was lucky enough to be adopted, but now Groucho is more depressed than ever. We are pretty sure he knows his brother is gone, but still he calls for him all day. It's the most mournful pitiful howl you have ever heard. We need to get Groucho out of the shelter as soon as possible and we are looking for someone who is familiar with Afghan Hounds and realize how much is required not only for their general care, but also for the grooming that is involved. Groucho is clipped, which makes grooming a bit easier, but if you want to let the hair grow long so that he looks like an Afghan Hound should, you need to realize this is full time care, with regular grooming. He is a lovely, handsome boy, who just loves going out for walks. Can you please find it in your heart to help poor Groucho out, he will love you fur-ever. All Dogs & Puppies come with a Pedigree Adoption Kit!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
But wait .... what are the other options for anyone who is unwilling or unable to keep their pet? Every shelter and rescue group in the province is bursting at the seams. In the Herald this morning, SPCA President Sean Kelly said that "We’re turning away 30 cats a day at the Metro SPCA because we simply don’t have room for them and we’re telling people they have to find homes for them "
One could run out of fingers and toes listing the problems connected with the 'free to a good home' listings:
- first and foremost is the humane aspect .... without any proper screening some of the small pets are going to become feeders and some of the dogs will become bait dogs for fighting or sentenced to a life of horror in a puppy mill
- the 'curbside guarantee' means that there is absolutely no protection for consumers. Heartaches are just waiting to happen with undisclosed medical and behavior issues
- there is of course the practical aspect that the site is often frequented by kind hearted folks who cannot afford all the initial start up costs of responsible pet ownership. In other words, the first people who should be adopting already altered pets are the last people to lining up to apply .... opting instead for a short term solution fraught with long term problems
- not to mention the layer of anonymity that enables the unscrupulous puppy brokers to prey on unsuspecting animal lovers.
- it provides a customer base for a well intentioned but sadly misguided cottage industry of the backyard breeders who claim to provide affordable purebreds as a public service but are actually deteriorating the breed standards. The medical and behaviour problems that can arise from improper screening can cost unwary consumers much more in the long run.
Even worse, the ads do not provide any kind of support for the journey of pet ownership. When one adopts a pet from a reputable breeder or a responsible rescue, there is a wealth of support available. After all, it isn't just the pets that will need training. Good pet owners are made, not born, as well.
It is the lack of these educational resources that enables the cycle to keep spinning through the free online ad sites. As long as these sites exist, there will be pet owners that simply do not know how to make the journey last a lifetime. There is no obligation to return the pet if they are unwilling or unable to keep it. So pet owners keep missing the boat and hoping the next one will work out better.
In today's story in the Herald, Mr Kelly closed by stating that ""We’re not just a place to drop off unwanted animals. Our main reasons for being are investigation of cruelty complaints and education." Is that true? Of course it is. The society as a whole is trying to better itself, but they still have a specific mandate - cruelty prevention and investigation.
In keeping with that, it would be appropriate and timely for SPCANS to draft a proposal for legislation to ban the traffic of living sentient beings in the free online ad sites. Would that solve today's problem? Of course not. However, turning off that particular tap is something that only the official 'voice for the animals' can do.
It is a meaningful way that our new and frugal NDP government could make a pawsitive change. In all honesty, any spay neuter or tnr funding will be meaningless without this step.
To lend the support of your voice to the society in this issue, the appropriate email is firstname.lastname@example.org . To further bolster that by letting your MLA know that this is an issue of importance to you as a voter, you can find the contact at Members - Constituencies ( always remember that it is better to contact the home riding office email address
What time is it? If we want the official voice for the animals to speak up, its time to lend the strength of our support for specific issues like this. If you are 'full up' and can't adopt even one more pet, you can at least do that. Until this particular issue is addressed, almost everything else is akin to closing the barn door after the horse is gone.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
There is already enough of another kind of flood all around the province .... the annual river of cats. Every rescue group and shelter is bursting at the seams with kittens and cats. Even rescue groups that normally only work with dogs have a few little vagabonds tucked in their care.
In light of that, a lot of the groups are going the extra mile to try to get their kitties into good homes by adjusting their fees:
- S.H.A.I.D has reduced its fee for adult cats to $100.00 until Labour Day
- CAPS is continuing its innovative step of having a more modest $80.00 fee for adult cats than its $100.00 one for kittens
- the LA Animal Shelter is also continuing its own long running approach of asking for a minimum donation of $50.00 for cat and kitten adoptions
- the TLC Animal Shelter has an unspecified Special Summer Adoption fee for its kitties
- P.E.T. PROJECTS still asks for a modest minimum donation of $30.00 for its kitties .... they're doing some very clever things as well, such as off site adoptions
- the Hants County SPCA has a $30.00 fee for kittens and $60.00 for cats with a further discount for anyone adopting more than one cat
- the Queens SPCA has a $70.00 fee for cats and also offer a discount for folks who are adopting more than one
- The Lunenburg SPCA continues with its modest cat adoption fee of $75.00
- the well publicized special $75.00 adoption fee for the Port Felix cats at the Kings SPCA is still in effect
- the Metro Shelter is also still running its special $100.00 adoption fee for adult cats who have been at the shelter for more than three weeks.
- Sadly the Pictou SPCA http://www.pictoucountyspca.piczo.com/is closed to any cat admissions because they are full, in spite of their modest adoption fee of $30.00 for a kitten or unspayed cat or $50.00 for a spayed one
- PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE MAY BE OTHER INCENTIVES IN PLACE RIGHT NOW THAT ARE NOT BEING PUBLICIZED AND THEREFORE ARE UNKNOWN TO THIS AUTHOR. If that is the case, please do not hesitate to contact the webmaster for the homeless pet site, or leave a comment here
As a friend of mine is just now discovering, cats really do love the company of their own kind. ( That's why there is a special little corner of the homeless pet site, The More the Merrier - click here to learn how to manage a multi cat household )
Will it take more than reduced fees to dam up the flood? Of course it will. As P.E.T. PROJECTS and the volunteers who started spca...adopt a dog ! have discovered, its just as important to take the animals to the people.
At the end of the day, every pet that is adopted from a responsible rescue is one less pet that will reproduce. That's why adoption incentives are such a critical part of the solution. Using the fee to recover rescue costs is only going to guarantee that more people will continue to recycle cats and their offspring through the free online ad site.
What time is it? Its time to do the math.
- More adoptions = more cats that can be rescued.
- More cats rescued = less cats abandoned
- Less cats abandoned = less 'mothers of all ferals' ... and last but not least
- More cats adopted = more cats altered and less "free kittens to a good home"
Its also time to remember that most people become better pet owners as they go through life. Scolding the people who believe they are being kind by bringing home the free cat or kitten is only going to alienate them.
Adoption fees have also been traditionally used to determine whether or not someone can afford to be a responsible pet owner. Hows that working so far? Has that stopped people from having pets?
More importantly, how has that affected the annual river of cats? Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is "doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results"
Friday, August 21, 2009
I love CAPS because they are a grassroots group created out of concern. They have made a real difference in less than five years and continue to come up with good ideas for the animals, such as this latest bit in the poster here.
Honestly, its a shame that we don't have a group like that here in Kings County.
New program will help SPCA in its spaying and neutering activities The Cape Breton Post
John MacPhail has developed a new program for the Cape Breton SPCA, the Second Chance campaign, which hopes to reduce the overpopulation of cats and dogs through a specially designed donation program to have pets spayed or neutered. Submitted photo
The Cape Breton Post
SYDNEY — John MacPhail is a self-described animal lover, which has led him to develop a new program for the Cape Breton SPCA.The Second Chance campaign is a bid by MacPhail and the SPCA to reduce the overpopulation of cats and dogs through a specially designed donation program to have those pets spayed or neutered.
“The program is opened to anyone but, for now, it is really geared for those pet owners who have a limited income,” explained MacPhail, who is spearheading the initiative for the SPCA.
He said he approached the local SPCA about the program and their support is overwhelming. In addition to making a donation to the program, MacPhail is also hoping donors will also become society members.
A $50 donation will cover the cost for a male cat while a $60 donation will cover a female. A $75 donation will cover a male dog while a $90 donation will cover a female.MacPhail said all donations will receive an income tax receipt.
Campaign pledge sheets will soon be available for businesses and other groups to display for the public and MacPhail said any group wanting to participate can contact him at 577-9899.
In spite of numerous efforts by the SPCA, there continues to be a cat problem in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
"There are months we have 300-400 cats come in one month," said manager Patsy Rose, in an earlier interview with the Cape Breton Post.
Last year the society adopted out approximately 1,500 of the cats to come through the doors, but was forced to euthanize some 1,093.
This only confirms what I've believed all along .... there is no shortage of animal lovers in Cape Breton. For at least the last couple of years, there has been a municipal spay neuter assist program, but the 300 cat ceiling for that has paled in comparison with the numbers admitted to the Cape Breton SPCA.
Since the provincial board directed the Cape Breton Branch to stop using the gas chamber, this is the second locally driven initiative that has come to light and there are likely many more small bits that are all adding up to help that aren't evening hitting the news.
As I understand it from the February 14, 2009 (Cape Breton) minutes of the provincial site visit, the Cape Breton Branch no longer accepts feral cats or owner surrenders to be killed. Animals are being transferred from the branch to Metro and beyond. All of this could add up to a better outcome for more animals.
Just imagine the possibilities if the Branch was to use their petfinder listings properly. There is no need to wait for donations because there is no charge for the service.
This morning there are still only those two little doves listed on the Cape Breton SPCA petfinder site. I don't have to tell anyone what time it is, eh?
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Upset Public meeting to discuss changes
By STEPHEN LLEWELLYNllewellyn.email@example.com
NACKAWIC - About 30 people turned out to a public meeting Tuesday night to debate a proposed new dog control bylaw.
The new bylaw, which passed first and second reading two weeks ago, will eliminate references to pit bull terriers, Rottweilers and any dog with a mix of those breeds.
Those breeds or mixed breeds are restricted in Nackawic and cost $250 to licence in the current dog control bylaw.
The restrictions include keeping such breeds leashed at all times and muzzled when in public.
The bylaw became controversial last spring when the town began enforcing it after a dispute between two neighbours involving one of the restricted breeds.
Nackawic physician Dr.
Mary Ann Bramstrup wasn’t one of the people involved in the dispute.
But she owns a Rottweiler mix named Jessie.
“I now have to drive outside the town limits to walk my dog,” Bramstrup told the meeting at town hall.
She said her dog can’t wear a muzzle because it can’t pant properly in the hot weather.
“I can’t let her off the leash even on my own property,” said Bramstrup.
She also had to pay $250 for her dog licence instead of the regular fee of $25.
Bramstrup was so upset by the situation that last month she announced she was withholding extra medical services from the town, such as participating in mock disasters.
The media attention prompted town council to draft a new bylaw.
It doesn’t mention restrictions on specific breeds.
But it keeps restrictions on a dog deemed to be vicious, which is defined as an animal with a tendency to attack without provocation, an animal that has bitten a human or another animal without provocation, a dog that chases humans or animals or is a continuing threat to cause serious harm.
The licence for a vicious dog would still be $250.
Many in the audience were worried that the definition of a vicious dog was too vague and questioned who would declare an animal to be vicious.
Others were worried that an animal could be declared vicious, seized and put to sleep by the town.
People asked why a dog would be allowed in the town at all after it was declared vicious.
Deputy Mayor Jacques Laroche chaired the meeting and said only a court could decide if an animal was vicious and needed to be destroyed.
He also said the need for the $250 licensing fee would be reviewed.
Bramstrup said the proposed bylaw is a big improvement on the old one.
“It will allow me to be treated the same as anyone else who has a dog that hasn’t done anything wrong,” she said.
But the controversial bylaw still remains in effect and that means Bramstrup can’t walk her dog off her property without it being muzzled.
She said because of that restriction, she will continue to withhold extra medical services for the community until the new bylaw is passed.
Nackawic resident Mel Jefferson said he owns a German shepherd- Rottweiler mix and he hasn’t walked his animal off his property since the town began enforcing the bylaw last spring.
“I moved here two years ago and I have never seen a town get so upset about a dog bylaw,” he said.
Coun. Paul Legere reminded the audience that some new councillors had nothing to do with the old bylaw.
“We are doing our best to make a better bylaw,” he said.
Several times people asked why council wasn’t enforcing the dog control bylaw and other town bylaws more aggressively.
More than one person said that a bylaw is worthless if it can’t be enforced.
But Coun. Peter Seymour said enforcement is expensive.
In one case, he said, a municipality spent $3,000 in court costs to collect dog tag fees worth less than $100.
At one point, someone raised the always contentious issue of cats running loose.
That drew chuckles from quite a few people in the audience at the thought of trying to solve that problem.
One man suggested that issue would give council something to do next summer.
The meeting lasted 90 minutes and at the end, Mayor Rowena Simpson thanked everyone for attending.
“Your comments are all appreciated,” she said. “We will take them into consideration.”
Simpson said council is trying to find the right balance between the rights of dog owners and public safety.
“What is going to happen next is we will go back to our bylaw review committee and as quickly as we can, try to make some changes,” Simpson told The Daily Gleaner after the meeting.
She said she expected the revised bylaw to come up for third and final reading at council’s next regular meeting Sept. 8.
This is far from a fairy tale ending ..... particularly with a definition of 'vicious dog' being so open to interpretation. And .... with roughly a thousand residents, Nackawic has a much more streamlined municipal government structure than HRM. Nor did it hurt that the most public opponent of the BSL bylaw also plays an essential role in the community as a Dr.
Still .... a group of concerned citizens kept after their mayor until a public meeting was held on the subject. Whats that I hear .... ahh.. that's the sound of voter feedback getting politicians attention and inspiring them to act.
That is as relevant for the 372,679 residents of HRM as it is for the 966 folks in Nackawic. The way ahead on any issue is always paved by voter feedback. The original bylaw passed in Nackawic because there was no substantial objection and it took much more energy to make a change.
I am told that there were no more HRM residents at the public forums on A300 than there were at the last Nackawic meeting. If HRM residents expect their government to take ARPO - Advocates for Responsible Pet Ownership 's recommendations with respect to A 300 seriously, then more meaningful response from the animal loving community is necessary.
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, August 17, 2009
It takes more than compost to grow a great garden. Long before there are the satisfying bits of good things to harvest and keep, there is a seasons worth of chores that need doing. The beans I've been picking for the last couple of weeks wouldn't be so bountiful without the tilling and planting and of course weeding and feeding that comes before.
In my opinion, there are very few downsides to gardening. Its great exercise. Its done outdoors. I am physically able to do all my gardening and harvesting and preserving .... in realspeak that means its not only a rewarding hobby it is an 'achievable objective'.
Around here, I'm certainly not the only one who grows a garden. The garden beds that seem big to me are often dwarfed by the farmers fields around here. Unlike my little home garden, one person certainly couldn't handle the workload for these commercial gardens and farms.
Experienced farmers know they will need a variety of equipment, skills and labour to get their harvest in. Even more importantly, they need to market their crops if the farm is to be able to continue. They need more than a roadside stand and will look for a variety of buyers .... from farmers markets to commercial food processors.
And of course they need advertising, and these days the successful farms do not overlook the benefits of web exposure. Here in Kings County, the municipal site has an online Farmers Markethttp://www.county.kings.ns.ca/cgi-bin/classifieds/classifieds.pl . As a sidebar note to that, the Taste of Nova Scotia folks came up with a very clever idea a couple of years ago ...called the Incredible Picnic http://www.selectnovascotia.ca/?cid=56&gclid=CMzr37bvqpwCFYwF5wodBAzNkA
But.... I'm wandering afield here. As the farmers have discovered, its not realistic to expect the customers to come to them. Nor is it sensible for any animal rescue group or shelter to expect the adopters to simply show up at their door.
I know I go on like a stuck record about this, but according to Stats Can, ther are over 350,000 households in Nova Scotia. If only ONE PERCENT of these homes adopted a pet, there would be No More Homeless Pets in Nova Scotia.
This morning on petfinder there are 367 cats and 86 dogs listed for adoption. Of course this number does not include whatever cats and dogs are at the Cape Breton SPCA .... the few dogs that they had listed suddenly vanished off their Petfinder site last Wednesday and at this point in time their branch has a listing for two doves.
Before the keyboards catch on fire, I am the first to say that spca...adopt a dog ! is a great idea and it is wonderful to see these hardworking volunteers taking pets from the Cape Breton Branch out into the public eye. In the same way, transferring dogs from the Cape Breton Branch to Metro and beyond is another great life saving tool.
Does that mean the branch doesn't need to use its Petfinder listings? Of course not. If the branch has not found that their petfinder listings have helped in the past, perhaps there would be more success if they were to include more than a picture of the pet.
People who browse petfinder are looking to adopt. Even better, they also tend to be compassionate people who would respond to a need if it was expressed on the branch petfinder site.
Kind and compassionate they may be, but they are still looking for the right fit for their own home. Petfinder listings need to be complete in order to be effective. How old is the pet? Is she spayed? House trained? Good with kids? Cats? These are all essential things that potential adopters need to know.
What time is it? While its wonderful to see the work that the spca...adopt a dog ! is doing for the animals, the branch should still be doing its bit and taking advantage of the free web exposure that Petfinder offers.
None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.Mother Teresa
Thursday, August 13, 2009
- Mia found a great new foster home within a day of her story being posted
- Beau and Isabelle have both been adopted .... sadly Sophie and Chase are still waiting for their own chance
- The two sweet senior lady beagles, Patti at Metro and Brandy at ARC have been adopted, although Smokey , Radley and Jake are still waiting .... and have now been joined this morning by Eecho
To all of you who have sent your condolences and to the lovely folks who have sent sympathy cards and to the wonderful friends of ARC who made a memorial donation to ARC in memory of the little man ... all I can say is thank you very very much.
At the end of the day ... happiness is only a warm puppy if the journey lasts a lifetime.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Today isn't just Wednesday, its also August 12th is Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Day!!! Pet adoption doesn't work like a purchase ... so it wouldn't be the day you brought your new friend home, unless you had the foresight to apply for a preapproved adoption with your favourite group or shelter.
Who is to say what is less adoptable? For middle aged folks like myself who are fond of sleeping through the night ... a puppy might top the less adoptable list. For a couch potatoe, it could be an energetic terrier. For a family hooked on flyball, it could be a couch potato. For someone without the skills or time, it could be anyone of a number of good dogs in training that are available. For another person who loves the rewarding challenge of rehabilitating, it could be a dog that is already well behaved.
Granted, there are some who see Settled Senior Dogs, Settled Senior Kitties, Big Dogs and Special Needs pets as less adoptable. At the end of the day, love is like beauty and really is in the eye of the beholder.
The beautiful thing about animal rescue in Nova Scotia is that there really is Somebody Out There for everyone. The whole point of the Less Adoptable feature isn't to suggest that these pets are lacking in anyway, its simply to highlight the ones that are so often overlooked.
So its up to you. Today could just be another ordinary day. Or it could be the beginning of the best time of your life.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Today is going to be a great day for Honeybun's new Mom too ... as this is the day she gets to bring her new best friend home. Even though Honeybun is a kittycat ... the adoption was arranged through the Atlantic Boxer Rescue coordinator. Thats not as unusual as it sounds ... in the animal rescue world no one group has the resources to take care of everything. Still, sometimes the situation simply transcends even the most specialized niche.
Yes ... today is going to be a great day for them both. Honeybun will have the love and security and lifesaving safety of a fresh start in a home with a proven track record for lifetime commitment to their pets. Her new Mom has opened her home and her heart to a second cat for the first time ... so it was very sensible to choose a senior who has a proven track record for adjusting to new situations.
Anyone who reads this blog, or who has visited the homeless pet site, knows what a special affection this middle aged granny has for senior pets. The site is full of little tidbits like THE TOP TEN REASONS TO ADOPT A SENIOR DOG and Click Here to Learn about the Serenity of a Senior Pet .
Indeed there is a whole special section devoted to them on the site, because senior pets are so often overlooked by adopters as if they were appliances with warranties instead of living breathing sentient beings. The truth is that senior pets are often the bigger 'person' than many people are. They do not bring human hangups to the table and are willing to taking a second chance at love after their hearts have been broken.
In my perfect fantasy world there would be little need for animal rescue because all pets would spend their whole lives with their original guardians. But here in the real world that does not always happen.
I remember when McGuinness came here as a five pound little firecracker. Even then he had no sense of his size and had to finish many of his first walks tuckered out and tucked inside my parka on the way home. Unconditional love is a wonderful thing when its a two way street.... over the years McG has been happy and confident enough that he has tucked good dogs of all sizes in need under his paw.
When Chloe came here heartbroken because she had been superseded by a human baby, McG took her mind off her troubles by introducing her to the joys of having a doggy buddy. When Ben had to learn the home rules that came along with domestic bliss, McG was right by his side. The sight of a Scottish Terrier teaching a Golden Retriever how to swim is one that is not soon forgotten.
When Ruby came here, McG very generously shared his toys .... and was there to comfort her when we so suddenly and unexpectedly lost Ben. McG tucked Henry under his paw and helped him learn all the same lessons that Ben had needed to know.
He has taught us all so much over the years and now we have all have another lesson to learn. Yesterday McG passed away quietly at home.... and now we must all of us learn how to fill the very big space that such a small little man has left behind.
Time is such a trickster. At the end of the day it does not matter how many years that we get to share space with our (often better than human) companion animals. I've lived with young pets and I've lived with old pets and I'm here to tell you that seniors shine a special light into any space they share.
This Wednesday, Petfinder has declared a new thing..... August 12th is Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Day!!! They did a survey and found that senior pets are at the top of the 'hardest to find homes for' list.
In all honesty, if people knew about the Zen of old pets, there would never be enough available for adoption. Honeybun's new Mom is about to discover the real truth about adopting a senior pet . "You might not be their first love, but you will be their best and last."
Sunday, August 9, 2009
At the moment, Mia's 'mom' is going to school and she thought she had Mia safely installed in a good foster home.
Through no fault of Mia's, the foster home didn't turn out to be the best situation and now there is an urgent need for someone to foster this sweet little dog for ten months until school is out.
Mia's mom will pay all the normal fostering costs ..... and for more information, her name is Jan and she can be contacted at 843 6499
TORONTO — Longtime dog lovers swear their pets can read their minds. Perhaps that’s because the brains of people and their pooches have a lot more in common than previously thought.
"Darwin basically said that anything that is useful doesn’t just appear out of nothing," said Stanley Coren, an author, psychologist and dog researcher who was speaking Saturday at the American Psychological Association’s annual convention in Toronto.
"We’ll begin to see glimmers of it in more primitive form in other species. And I think that’s the way it works when it comes to consciousness."
Research shows dogs have similar intelligence to a 24- to 30-month old child, Coren said. For the record, cats are considered to have the intelligence of an 18-month-old.
The average dog has a vocabulary of about 165 words. The smartest canines understand up to about 250 words and are able to figure out new ones on their own.
"That kind of fast language learning we thought was only possible among humans and some of the higher apes."
But more than that, tests suggest that dogs and apes both have some of the same basic emotions — fear, anger, disgust and pleasure — that toddlers experience, said Coren, while both the animal groups are missing some of the more complex, learned emotions such as guilt.
"What we tend to be interpreting as guilt is really fear on the dog’s part. They get the impression you’re going to drop a piano on their head for something they’ve done wrong."
Coren suggests smarter dogs can count reliably to five and can spot errors in rudimentary arithmetic.
They can also learn basic abstract geometric concepts such as big and small.
Dogs may even understand fairness.
In one experiment, a researcher trained two dogs to shake a paw. After both learned the trick, the researcher started giving a treat to one of the dogs every time he got it right but not to the other.
Not only did the unpaid dog stop performing, he wouldn’t even look the researcher in the eye.
"He doesn’t want any part of you. He doesn’t think this is fair."
Scientists are beginning to believe there are so many similarities between youngsters and dogs that canine researchers are adapting tests developed for young children.
"Since we’ve now found roughly what the intellectual level of the dog is, we now have people who are modifying various types of tests, which we use on young human children in order to determine what the dog is doing."
"Does a dog feel bored? Does he feel lonely, or love? "
It’s all leading to a more accurate understanding of the relationship between humans and animals, Coren said.
On one hand, there are people who see animals — especially their pets — as tiny humans in fur coats. On the other, there are those who think of animals as genetically programmed robots.
The truth, suggests Coren, is somewhere in the middle.
"We’re not going to send (dogs) to Harvard, but it’s a sign that these glimmers are there."
Intelligence also seems to vary between breeds. Older breeds such as some hounds and terriers have less going on upstairs than breeds such as retrievers or herding dogs.
Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. Smart dogs need more attention.
"If you don’t work them, they become neurotic," Coren said. "And they’re smart enough to make you neurotic, too."
"Sometimes, it’s better to have a dog that’s not so intelligent."
For example, it’s a good bet that a Doberman pinscher left alone all day will chew up the couch and smash vases.
"If it’s an English bulldog . . . it’ll take them eight hours to figure out you’re gone."
Saturday, August 8, 2009
These kittens were tied up in a cardboard box and tossed into a water-filled Digby County ditch
DIGBY — It’s been one week since someone stuffed a mother cat and her kittens into a cardboard box, tied it shut with black twine and then tossed the box into a ditch filled with water.
The animals are alive, but the director of a local animal shelter is fuming.
Dorothy Andrews said that she saw two kittens and an adult cat sitting by a soggy cardboard box as she was driving home from the TLC Animal Shelter at about 6 p.m. on Aug. 1.
The cat had somehow scratched and poked her way through the wet box as it lay partially submerged, less than two kilometres from the animal shelter.
Ms. Andrews said the cat had likely pulled her kittens out of the box, which had been tied shut like a Christmas gift.
Ms. Andrews went back to the shelter for a live trap and some cat food. When she returned to the scene, she heard another kitten crying a few hundred metres away. This cat was larger and obviously from a different litter. It too had been thrown away.
On Wednesday, another kitten was found near the trap, barely able to move.
"It must have been hiding under the brush," Ms. Andrews said Friday.
The mother hasn’t been caught yet, and no wonder, said Ms. Andrews. The animal is traumatized, she said.
"I’ve seen the mom there looking for her babies," said Ms. Andrews. "I set a bigger trap there but I can’t seem to catch her."
Sadly this episode is not unique.
At the end of each month when people move, cats and dogs are often left inside the former residence or tied outside. Sometimes they’re simply left to wander.
People routinely drop cats at the shelter during the night, sometimes in boxes and sometimes loose, said Ms. Andrews.
"A neighbour will call and say, ‘My neighbour moved out west and is not coming back and they left their dog," said Ms. Andrews.
"These are adults . . . and the children are seeing this."
The TLC Animal Shelter is a "no kill" shelter, and it’s bursting with cats and dogs.
All animals that pass through the shelter are spayed or neutered before being released for adoption. The shelter relies solely on donations and all who work there volunteer their time.
The shelter needs supplies, especially cat food.
"We so over-supplied with cats," said Ms. Andrews.
It’s important to stress to pet owners that they are responsible for finding homes for pets they can no longer keep, she said.
This is an all too familiar song that resonates around the province. I know that I go on and on like a stuck record, but one of the reasons that this continues is that there have been no public consequences for pet abandonment.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Cat rescue spurs shelter completion
'We went from zero to 36 cats in less than an hour'By PAT LEE Staff Reporter Fri. Aug 7 - 4:46 AM
WATERVILLE – Construction of the new Kings County SPCA shelter began three years ago and then sat empty as volunteers toiled to equip the facility.
But all that changed after dozens of cats were seized in Port Felix, Guysborough County, and Grand Pre, Kings County, in June.
Kings County SPCA president Belle Darris said the provincial SPCA told officials at her facility there was an urgent need to find shelter for some of the cats and it was time for them to be up and running.
"So we said OK, we may as well bite the bullet," Ms. Darris said Thursday. "We went from zero to 36 cats in less than an hour."
They remained closed to the public for most of that time as they nursed cats back to health, trained volunteers and generally got the shelter in shape.
"Hindsight being 20-20, it was probably the kick we needed," she said. "If you wait until you’re ready, you’re never ready."
Ms. Darris said the Kings County shelter opened the doors to the public Tuesday and almost immediately five cats were adopted.
"That was amazing, although we know it won’t be an everyday thing," she said.
Since the cat seizures in June — 16 in Grand Pre and 60 from a home in Port Felix, along with 24 dogs — Ms. Darris said workers at the shelter had to take things slowly as the Port Felix cats were mostly ill and needed to be quarantined.
"It was a giant isolation ward for a while, but they are well now and ready to be adopted," she said.
Port Felix cats will be adopted for a reduced rate of $75, instead of the normal $120, which covers spaying and neutering, microchipping, deworming and all shots.
Before the shelter was open to the public, cats that were well enough were sent to foster homes and brought back to the shelter on certain days to meet potential adopters.
For now, the shelter is operating on limited hours and is open to the public from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, 6 to 8 p.m. Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.
The president, who breeds papillons, said the shelter has room for 36 cats and 10 dogs, although for now, they’re limiting it to four dogs, with the first bunch sent to them from the SPCA’s full metro shelter in Dartmouth.
"We placed one dog within 24 hours and she had been in their shelter for two months," Ms. Darris said.
A shelter manager has been hired, but the rest of the work is done by volunteers, which the president said is the shelter’s greatest need at this time.
She said another major project is to get a trap, neuter and return program going in Kings County to control an out-of-control cat population.
Last week, the metro shelter announced it was filled to the brim with cats and was lowering its adoption fees for adult cats in order to find homes for the abused or stray animals.
For more information, see www.kingspca.com.
Its important to remember that this is still a journey and not a destination. If anyone is looking to lend their (badly needed ) skills or support they can contact the shelter.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
If you have small kids or are looking for an easy life, she will not be the girl for you, no matter how beautiful she is. Mandy needs an experienced dog owner who can set the boundaries she needs to restore her confidence and become her best self.
Mandy found her way to Springer Spaniel Rescue after her owners didn't want her anymore and dropped her off at a shelter. Since then, she hasn't had the stability of a knowledgeable long term foster. Mandy has become unsure of herself and is in urgent need of someone who can rebuild her trust by being willing to make either a long term fostering committment or to adopt her. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
- Tuesday 2pm-4pm
- Thursday 6pm-8pm
- Saturday 11am-3pm
If you will recall, a few of the cats from the Port Felix seizure were transferred to the Kings Shelter because Metro was already full. There is a special adoption fee of $75.00 being offerred for these cats so that they can have a better chance to live the life that all kitties should have. For more information, you can go to the Kings SPCA website. Pictures of the cats can also be seen on the homeless pets site on the special ADOPT A SURVIVOR! page that was built after they were moved to the Kings Shelter
Monday, August 3, 2009
These numbers certainly paint a great picture for the dogs. From Jan until March,for a variety of reasons, 116 dogs were killed by the society. From April until the end of June, the year to date total rose to 168 .... in other words, 52 dogs were killed. In other words, the number of dogs killed in the second quarter of the year was less than half of the number from the first quarter.
Sadly it is a different story for the cats. In the first quarter, 315 were killed. In the second quarter, that number rose to 569. In other words, for every four cats they killed in the first quarter, they killed seven in the second. And before the keyboards catch on fire, yes , I did read the press release that talked about having to kill twenty odd of the sixty cats that were seized in Port Felix but even if they killed all sixty of them it doesn't account for the increase )
There have been so many wonderful initiatives started by the new board of the society that one hates to be a spoilsport. The July 27, 2009 BOD minutes are online now and the one that really caught my eye there was Item 7, The Nova Scotia Cats Fund , where " the requirement for fund applicants to have registered charity status was discussed" In other words, its a great idea that still has a kink or two to be worked out before it can provide meaningful assistance for all the hard working little TNR groups around the province.
Normally groups that have CRA registered status do not hide their light under a bushell, because they know that there are many good folks who are looking for that tax receipt when they make charitable donations. Any group that can offer you a tax receipt has CRA status.
Still, with the increased number of cats killed this last quarter, any initiative for the cats is to be applauded. After all, if you want to be sure your donation is helping your local group, all you have to do is ask them if they have cra status. If they don't, you can still donate to them directly.
I know I go on like a stuck record, but with the number of cats being killed on the rise, this is a great time for special cat adoption initiatives. According to a Best Friends Survey that is being run in conjunction with their Focus on Felines campaign,http://www.bestfriends.org/nomorehomelesspets/focus_on_felines.cfm , only ten to twenty percent of new cats south of the border are adopted from shelters. The rest are obtained from "friends, family and classified ads" Those are pretty staggering odds when you look at them.
My friend Joan did a post about the Nevada Humane Society, http://dogkisser.blogspot.com/2009/07/just-in-from-nathan-today.html .... and being the kind of girl I am, I couldn't resist going to the Nevada Humane Society website for a look see ( http://www.nevadahumanesociety.org/ )
What a delight! They are running a Hot August Night special with "blast from the past" adoption fees. As a sidebar to that , I love the way they refer to mature pets as classic pets. But I'm wandering afield .... this special is offering one or two kittens for $60.00, Classic Cats for $10.00 and younger adults for $15.00. Classic dog fees are $25.00 and adult dogs are $40.00.
No wonder that out of a total intake for 2008 of 3733 dogs and 4840 cats, the Nevada Humane society killed 190 dogs and 111 cats for the entire year in 2008. Those are numbers to aspire to.
Because of course the society statistics here in NS do not begin to reflect the actual number of cats that have been killed in NS this year. The best argument for adoption incentives is the increased ability to find a better outcome for more homeless pets.
We all know that stray cats are the mothers of all first generation ferals. How many stray cats have been abandoned and dumped because there was 'no room at the inn" ? The number of feral cats in Nova Scotia is directly connected to the fact that for years the only open admission shelter in the province was very high kill.
Everything is connected. Meaningful solutions for the homeless cat problem in this province will not occur until cat adoption is made attractive enough that shelters and groups can be open admission.
What time is it? Its not time to be timid. Its time to stop bailing and fix the darned leak before the boat goes under.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Every profession has their own language and often one needs a glossary to interpret. When a realtor advertises a listing as being five minutes from town ... that time frame is actually only applicable if one is willing to risk a speeding ticket. Three star can often wind up being third rate. And any cook will tell you that preparation time is usually established by an experienced cook in a well equipped kitchen who has made the recipe before.
First and foremost, Kijiji provides a free service for people who are looking to unload something they do not want. When people are selling something they tend to use positive phrases and include brand names to catch attention.
There is an old saying that there is no such thing as a free lunch Nowhere is that more evident that the problems that land in the lap of animal rescue from the pets that are passed around "free to a good home". It doesn't take a lot of imagination for experienced pet owners to read between the lines .... but less savvy folks are unfamiliar with the language.
In the interests of clarity, there really ought to be a glossary:
- my owners do not have the time 1. have not been trained 2. did not realize how much work a pet is 3. have met a new partner who doesn't like pets
- looking for a family where someone is home all day 1. I ate the couch 2. I bark all day while my people are out 3. I take a leak on the bed or poop on the carpet when my people leave me
- child has suddenly developed allergies 1. I didn't realize how busy it is to be a parent 2. My pet doesn't like having his or her tail pulled 3. I can't afford to go to Baby Gap and buy good pet food
- we just had a baby 1, we didn't bother to prepare our pet for the change in our life 2. we will get another pet after this baby gets bigger 3. we will give that pet away the next time I get pregnant 4. We are all caught up in the miracle of birth and do not care what happens to our faithful old friend, 5. We have discovered how darned expensive babies are .... we won't be able to buy the swanky jogging stroller and buy pet food
- we are moving 1. we didn't look for a new place that is pet friendly 2. we don't care how hard it is for an adult pet to find a new home 3. we don't mind teaching our children that pets are disposable 4. we will get a new pet when we get to our new place
- lovely/cute/adorable kittens 1. we didn't think the cat was old enough to get pregnant 2. we didn't think the cat would be able to get outside 3. we want to share the miracle of birth with our children and then teach them to throw pets away 4. cat overpopulation is not our problem .... we find homes for all our kittens
- my new partner has allergies 1. I am so desperate and unsure of myself that i will not dare to insist that he or she get allergy shots 2. I looking for love but am willing to abandon those who love me in a heartbeat 3. I am willing to trust my heart to someone who is not prepared to respect the things I value most 4. I am prepared to live with someone who is unwilling to compromise
- gets along with most other dogs 1. Except the ones that they don't 2. Other than the ones they snap at 3. I didn't socialize my pet so they have never learned the polite way to interact with other animals.
- great for a home without small children 1. not trained. 2. not socialized to small children 3. Didn't like having their ears or tails pulled 4. Jumped on someone's child and now I have to find them a new home before animal control gets called
- looking for a country home 1. will not stay home 2. Great at climbing fences 3. Barks all day when left tied out 4. has not been neutered and is a great escape artist when there is a bitch in heat within a five mile radius 5 Has not been leash trained
- great pet for retired person 1. Will eat the leg off dining room table in ten minutes when left home alone. 2. Can bark louder than a drill sergeant when left home alone 3. Can shred a two hundred dollar duvet in five minutes when left home alone 4. we thought it would be kinder to get rid of him than to crate train him 5. we are sure that retired people are looking for a little excitement in their lives
- our dog cannot adjust to living in town 1. will not stop barking when tied outside 2. will not stop barking at all the new noises and we shouldn't have to reassure him 3. Its a lot of work pooper scooping our little yard 4. The neighbours get upset when he runs loose
- eight year old purebred 1. Has been burned out as a puppy machine 2. we don't think its a good investment to pay for dental surgery for him at his age. 3. We are teaching our children that age does not need to be respected because we will never need to depend on them when we get older
- rescued a few months ago 1. didn't realize what a challenge it would be to train him or her. 2. don't want to pay to have her spayed 3. Our landlord found out we have a pet
- urgent 1. going to take him to the vet to be killed 2. Going to dump her on a back road 3. Going to tape her up in a box and leave her at a shelter
- do not want to take to spca 1. have never tried this or would realize they don't take owner surrenders 2. Live where they did take owner surrenders and don't realize that policies have changed and that they won't kill this one for me 3. want to shift the responsibility for the outcome to the reader
Better still ... there oughta be a law banning the traffic of living breathing sentient beings in the free online ad sites. With the wild west freedom of its parent company coming under scrutiny from Revenue Canada, perhaps now our politicians will finally stop thinking of the whole issue as untouchable.
At some point in time, every animal owner is a rookie. What time is it? Its time to understand that freedom from restriction is not at all the same thing as personal liberty.