Twenty three years ago, I was getting ready to leave Ontario for my new posting in Nova Scotia. Our furniture was already loaded on the truck, we had said our good byes and we were bunking down at the pet friendly Holiday Inn for what we fervently hoped would be our last night ever in Ontario.
Don't get me wrong ... some of the nicest people I know live in Ontario .. my job at the cooking school had been incredibly interesting ... and this was long before BSL reared its ugly head in that province.
Nope ... I was just glad to be moving back to the Maritimes ... to a little village that DIDN'T have five lines of fast traffic going each way ... to a place that didn't have children disappearing (at that time) almost every month ... and was really looking forward to the novelty of living in a Zone 6b gardening zone.
At the time, I was driving a hatchback ... a little Lynx that was bursting at the seams for the trip with my nine year old daughter, myself, our own luggage ... along with our supersized Labrador Retriever, our elderly three legged cat and all THEIR paraphernalia as well.
It DID take a little longer to bring the whole crew. There were water breaks and pee breaks and picnics to prepare for our lunch. The Labrador sat behind me and drooled down my neck and Mr Fritz sang pretty much the whole way.
It was only a two day trip to my parents' farm in New Brunswick, so I hadn't thought to book a pet friendly hotel . Even so, it didn't take that long to find one in Levi when we were ready to stop for the night. Honestly, if my english only self could find "room at the inn" in Quebec with a ginormous dog and an unhappy cat who was being very vocal about expressing his displeasure, I would say that would put paid to any argument anyone could present about not being able to bring their pets when they move.
Was it extra work? You bet it was. But when we got to Greenwood .... when our furniture was unloaded ... when we started settling in to our first very own house instead of a PMQ... it really felt like home because ALL the familiar faces were there.
We didn't have to worry about what happened to our faithful friends ... we knew what happened to them. They lived the rest of their natural lives with us. The Labrador lived to be eighteen and our eldercat was one month shy of his 21st birthday when he passed.
Best of all, when my daughter and her family moved to the land of BSL a couple of years ago, there was no question in anyone's mind about whether they would bring Eddy the Wondercat.
My granddaughter was still a toddler, so they broke the trip up a bit more and made reservations so they would have pet friendly hotels with a pool at every stop. And yes ... Eddy sang all the way and EVERYONE was relieved when the trip was over and they were settled into the new house.
It was a lot of work ... but it was worth it. Everything was all strange and new ... but all the familiar cast was still there. Best of all .... it gives me every hope that in turn my granddaughter will do the same should she move.
I've been thinking a lot about animal statistics lately and at the risk of stating the obvious, have come to the conclusion that we don't need to boost adoptions so much as we need to find a way to effectively communicate pet retention information to the vast majority of people who DON'T visit the animal welfare sites or adopt.
Why did I bring my pets with me for every posting of my career? I'm sure it was largely due to the fact that when I was growing up as an Air Force brat, my parents brought our family pets along every time we moved.
Each and every time that a pet is 'free to a good home' on Kijiji .... each and every pet surrendered to a rescue or shelter ... and each and every one that mysteriously 'disappears' before moving day ... represents a domino effect that will continue unless it is checked.
How to do that? There already is a wealth of practical information about moving on the animal rescue sites that is largely ignored. Wait a minute ... don't all the municipalities in Nova Scotia have websites?
If the municipal budgets are too tight to pop for free workshops .... why not put some information about pet retention on the municipal websites? Would it be possible to get a little grant for the society to put brochures and posters in animal clinics and pet food stores around the province?
The majority of new pet owners won't be adopting from a rescue or shelter this year. And THAT means that all that wonderful information on the animal rescue sites will go largely unnoticed.
At the risk of sounding simplistic .... every pet that is loved for life is one less pet that will need to be rescued.
What time is it? Its time to realize that in a world where there is never enough 'room at the inn' , pet retention information has to be actually read before it can do any good, eh? It is not necessary for the majority to adopt if the majority can be given the tools they need to keep their pets for life
If you want different results ... do not do the same things. Albert Einstein