I love hiking in the woods at any time of year. With the shifting seasons and continually changing parade of wildlife, our trails are like the proverbial river and we never walk the same one twice.
Once the leaves are all down, the light shifts so dramatically and overnight our cool shady woods become wide open and bright. That's lovely for us, but not such a safe thing for the smaller creatures struggling to stay under the radar of the predators.
James Herriot once said that "I could do terrible things to people who dump unwanted animals by the roadside". I know there is a huge trend these days to 'think lost, not stray', but its impossible to believe that every stray we have seen found their own way out here from the village.
I wish we put could webcams in the woods and force the people who abandon animals to see the Unsung Unhappy Tails. For every Oscar who charms their way to safety, there are ever so many more sad stories that don't end well.
But I am wandering afield here ... besides being the Celtic New Year ... this day also marks the beginning of Adopt a Senior Pet Month. Unless this is your first time reading this blog, you already know what a special place senior pets hold in my heart.
It is of course the heart of The NS Senior Pet Project and the soul behind my blog post boosts.
How does Nova Scotia stack up for senior pet adoption? Eight year old dogs DO tend to get adopted. At that age many are really more middle aged than senior and bring the best of both worlds to the table .... well behaved AND energetic.
After eight is another story and not every rescue is willing or able to bring them in. ( the connection between cherry picking and stats is a separate subject deserving a post of its own on another day)
If its a crapshoot to be a homeless senior dog ... the ante really steps up for the kitties. In spite of the fact that well cared for cats can live for twenty years, kind hearts willing to adopt senior kitties are the exception rather than the rule.
Nowhere is the fact that difference between cats and dogs in rescue is more than purely anatomical more evident with the senior kitties. Dogs have come and gone off the senior pet site, while Hazel, Freddie , Abigail and Elsa are still waiting for someone with enough heart to offer these eldercats the comfort of a loving home.
And before the keyboards catch on fire, I know that the Metro Shelter has an awesome and award winning palliative care program for elderly pets with 'compomised health issues' .... and that IS a beautiful thing to see. But not every eldercat has serious health issues ... to be perfectly honest for most the biggest handicap is the fact they have been left in the lurch.
Nor do they have room for every cat in the province.
In many cases, potential adopters around the province are utterly unaware that some rescues will negotiate a reduced fee for senior cats in order to help them into loving homes. In some instances the fee is completely waived .... but once again this is something adopters have to ask about because its not advertised.
Reducing or waiving the adoption fees to help the eldercats out of the shelter is not the same thing as 'putting them on sale' . Rather, it should be thought of as a proactive way for a shelter or group to demonstrate their compassion and commitment to ALL pets.
What time is it? Its time for municipalities to run a few ads reminding people that abandoning a cat IS animal abuse and that it IS illegal. After all, they don't hesitate to spring for ads about flushables and other bylaws .... and this is the kind of 'ounce of prevention' that could save (taxpayers) AC budget Dollars.