Thursday, March 31, 2011

Taking off the gloves

Ok .. this is where I have to come clean.   If you have been wondering why I haven't been blogging much about any progress made lately by the NS SPCA, it is because I have a bone to pick with them about an issue of deep concern to me.  So why haven't I blogged about that?
Because I refuse to play into the hands of the cast of clowns who leap at any and all opportunity to bash the society.  That is their agenda .. not mine.
Because I truly believe that with spiralling prices and even more layoffs that NOW is NOT the time to cast any animal rescue in this province in a negative light.  The animals are going to need everyone, no matter the dog politics, eh?
But it is time for me to set that aside, because an urgent matter has arisen that can only be effectively nipped in the bud by a strong statement from all stakeholders.   That is bigger than me or you or any single one of us!
It is time for the  animal loving community to speak with one voice on this specific issue:
from today's Herald 
Mauling prompts Yarmouth to act

By BRIAN MEDEL Yarmouth Bureau
Thu, Mar 31 - 7:45 AM
YARMOUTH — Yarmouth is moving to protect its citizens from vicious dogs, the mayor said Wednesday.
Phil Mooney made the statement just four days after Noella Ann McIntosh, 45, was savagely attacked by a 35-kilogram pit bull terrier-type dog.
"I felt sickened when I heard about the lady this past Saturday," Mooney said. "I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
"I’ve had a number of calls on this, probably more than any other issue."
Several of the calls came from residents who have told him they are afraid to walk in some parts of the town because of large dogs, he said.
"I want people to feel safe walking in their own community."
McIntosh received many wounds to her face, throat and upper body during the attack, which happened in a parking lot behind a Main Street tobacco shop. She remains in a Halifax hospital.
RCMP shot the dog moments after responding to several frantic 911 calls from people who said they saw the woman being mauled.
Mooney said town council will discuss the case with the RCMP today during a meeting of committee of the whole. And it will begin the process of coming up with a new bylaw concerning vicious dogs.
The town will hold a public hearing on May 12 so the "public will have an opportunity to come in and say what they want about the (proposed) bylaw," he said.
Council will also encourage the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities to prepare a resolution calling on the provincial government to consider creating a provincewide regulation for certain types of dogs, he said.
Even before Saturday’s attack, the town was looking at introducing leash and muzzle regulations, including the banning of dogs from public places during activities such as Canada Day, because people had expressed concerns about their safety, Mooney said.
Of the 45 Facebook messages Coun. Ken Langille received about the dog attack, only a couple of people asked to have some dog breeds banned, he said in an email Wednesday.
Most sought preventive measures, including a registering system for dogs known to be vicious, restricting where they may be walked by their owners, and requiring proof of liability insurance, he said.
Talk about passing the buck!  Instead of explaining to voters how a dog owner got his dogs back last time after attacking a human ... and that one of those dogs might indeed be the dog involved in this attack .... Mayor Mooney is diverting the issue by suggesting the imposition of breed bans.
Clearly the public is NOT demanding breed bans ... not when only a couple out of 45 emails that Councillor Ken Langille received were asking for it.
Nor is the general public in this province demanding a breed ban be imposed all around this province.
What time is it?  It is time to wake up .. stop passing the peas .. and contact your own municipal councillor and MLA before it is too late.   AND ... please contact the society to lend them the strength of your voice so that they CAN speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Apathy is the glove into which evil slips its hand.  Bodie Thoene

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In praise of the less comfortable path ....

I love sunny mornings like this in the woods!   We are still weeks away from even the first bit of greenery, so we can still savour the special beauty in the wide open clarity we'll have until then.  
If my vision isn't what it once was, it is at least better than the original legally blind prognosis I had been promised when I was younger.  Maybe that's why I've always been such a visual person. 
From webwork to company dinner, I'm always happiest with the results when I can "make them look pretty'.   There will come a time when I have the dreaded " no more driving for you, Missy" eye exam, but happily today is not that day.
To be perfectly honest ... I am no different than anyone else.  For me, being sighted represents Independence.  It means that I can explore the new trails and wade down the rocky river bottom.  And of course its just ever so much easier to play fetch if I can see enough not to toss the ball over the fence or into the pond!
Just before Valentines Day I did a post , The Heart Won't Lie, about a young little dog that ARC was pulling out all the stops for to save his vision.   So how did that go?  Was it a success?  You bet! 
Both operations were a success and now this great little dog can look forward to having a wonderful life.   As anyone who has been to the vets lately can imagine, even with generous support from Westwood, the surgeries certainly weren't cheap.
But that didn't matter, because ARC is genuinely No Kill.  What does that mean in realspeak?  It means that they are always rolling up their fundraising sleeves instead of attaching a dollar value to 'treatable'.  In specific, it means that they are still fundraising for the work that has been done for Lil Golden.
Does that mean that Lil Golden won't need more vet care after he is adopted?  Of course not!  The No Kill Matrix does not define healthy as easy to adopt, it includes all those with treatable medical conditions.
What time is it?   It is always time to salute those who walk the walk instead of simply talking the (PR) talk.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable.   Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mmmmmm ..... Spayghetti ......

This is a great idea!    For more information, you can either go to their site .. or better yet go to their facebook group so that you can tell all your friends about it too.
What time is it?   It is always time for everyone to put their money where their mouth is and support a venture like this!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Another sign of spring

I love heating leftovers up for lunch on a chilly day!  Whats not to love?  Its easy and simple and quick.  Kind of frosting on the cake that the house just smells so darned good in the process!
Its easier to be nonchalant about waking up to winter wonderland this late in the season.   We know the snow likely won't last the day ... and if the darned wind would die down it would just be a joy to be outside.
Gosh ... in no time I'll be knee deep in busy gardening days and wondering why I was in such a big fat rush for spring to arrive!   Still ...its always nice to see another sign of spring ... this morning there was a little reminder in my inbox about the Hope for Wildlife Annual Spring Open House this weekend.   It looks like its going to be a lot of fun ... for kids of all ages :)
A few years ago, I was lucky enough to have a chance to be onboard one of our local Aurora's for a short flight.   For the uninitiated ... these planes are designed to fly at lower levels ... and that meant that I really had an opportunity to get a birds eye view of our province.
Nova Scotia is so beautiful .. but sometimes we forget just how much of it is actually still wilderness.   I cannot possibly imagine living in this province and not at least being curious about wildlife, eh?
So if you are in the area ... or just want to go for a sunday drive ... this would be a pretty darned good place to start.
There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth.  We are all crew.  Marshall McLuhan.
For more information, please click here

Friday, March 25, 2011

How can a village raise a child without caring for its elders?

We have been having duck socialization lessons this week. Why? Because an optimistic pair are toying with the idea of settling into the upper pond, which is of course in clear view of the play yard.  

I rather suspect that they will opt for the quieter seclusion of the lower pond ... but still I'll give it our best shot.  Why are we going to do this?  Besides of course the obvious bit that dog training is ever a journey and never a destination?
It is really very simple.  Loving wildlife and loving domestic pets is not an either/ or scenario.   When I moved out here, I made the deliberate decision to make my little acre and a bit as user friendly for wildlife as possible.   In a world where so many seem so determined to impose that retro fifties style suburban landscaping, wildlife everywhere are finding fewer safe havens.
As a matter of fact, my yard is a Certified Backyard Habitat .  For me it is a real win win scenario.  I have the delight of seeing wildlife everyday and the satisfaction of knowing that in my own small way I am helping the environment.  Its just frosting on the cake that ... midnight forays into my herb garden notwithstanding ... that its good for the garden too!
To be perfectly honest, I consider the chicken hawks to be far more harmful to the little songbirds than any visiting kitties ever have been.  But I am wandering a bit afield and the subject of how skewed perceptions can get on such an emotional debate is a separate subject for another day.
The other day, I saw this article in the Herald about a subject that is going to have a huge impact on the animals.  I needed a couple of days to really think the whole idea through to make sure that I wasn't off and running on the wrong track:
From Tuesday's Herald
N.S. to download more costs to municipalities
By DAVID JACKSON Provincial Reporter

UPDATED 3:45 p.m.  Tue, Mar 22 - 9:40 PM Municipal Relations Minister John MacDonell says Nova Scotia isn't downloading provincial problems to municipalities. It's cutting the province's costs. (ERIC WYNNE / Staff / File)
The Dexter government is looking to municipalities to help balance the provincial budget, announcing today that they’ll have to cover an estimated $50 million the province had agreed in 2007 to pick up.

The municipalities won’t see any changes in 2011-12 to the memorandum of understanding signed in 2007. The changes to the seven-year agreement start in 2012-13, with municipalities to pick up housing and corrections costs the province was scheduled to pay.
Another change is in how the province charges municipalities for education. The agreement had limited increases at the rate of the consumer price index, but the amount instead will be set at the 2010-11 rate. Costs could go up, depending on the municipalities’ growth in assessment.
Municipal Relations Minister John MacDonell said the changes aren’t downloading provincial problems to municipalities, but a prevention of uploading costs to the province.
“We’re not ripping up the MOU, per se,” MacDonell said at a news conference. “We’re adjusting it.”
In the original agreement, the province agreed to phase out the $7 million in municipal contributions to public housing over two years, the 17.4-million for corrections over seven years, and limit growth in education funding, which amounted to $187 million in the current fiscal year.
But the province is invoking a clause in the agreement that allowed changes due to “unforeseen costs or revenue losses that may impair the Province’s ability to achieve its commitments.” It also said the commitments were subject to the money being in the provincial budget.
MacDonell gave the required 12 months notice today for changes coming in 2012-13.
Housing contributions will be back up to $7 million, after the scheduled decline to $3.5 million in 2011-12. Corrections costs will go to $14 million and be frozen there after two years of decline.Education contributions will increase by the consumer price index in 2011-12, and after that, revert to the 2010-11 rate.
Port Hawkesbury Mayor Billy Joe MacLean, president of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, said the news blindsided him. He said the agreement had shown the province’s recognition that it was responsible for housing and corrections.
“We’re shocked today because many people worked on this agreement for many years,” he said in Halifax, after MacDonell’s announcement.
“For small towns, this is devastating news for all of us. There’s legislation that went through the House. We thought that was over and gone.”
MacLean said he doesn’t know yet what the impact will be on the average taxpayer. Municipalities will have to review tax rates and services, he said.
MacDonell said the agreement has so far cost the province about $21.5 million. It potentially could have cost more than $100 million by 2014-15.
“We simply can no longer afford those additional costs,” he said. “Nova Scotia is facing a different financial reality than it was in 2007, and the contribution rates set in the MOU are no longer realistic.”
The minister said the government is targeting 2013-14 to balance the books.
Opposition critics blasted the government for changing the agreement.
Liberal MLA Andrew Younger said the government should be getting its own fiscal house in order, and he expects property tax bills will rise.
“The NDP is reneging on this deal,” he said.
“It’s saying, well we can charge municipalities more and then they have to deal with the wrath of taxpayers, because taxpayers are going to be mad, no question.”
Progressive Conservative municipal relations critic Allan MacMaster said the government is leaning on municipalities, rather than looking in-house.
“The end result will mean that Nova Scotians are paying more tax because to cover the cost of this downloading of service, taxes are going to have to be increased at the municipal level,” he said.
Kevin Malloy, the deputy minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, said the municipalities already have the costs of housing, corrections and education in their tax bases and are part of their budgets.
MacLean said municipalities had expected to be relieved of some of those costs in future budgets.
The 2007 agreement said municipalities would work on establishing a municipal auditor general. Halifax Regional Municipality has already hired one, while talks are still underway about an auditor general for other municipalities.
So ... why do I think this is such terrible news?  Hey have you been to the grocery store or gassed up your car lately?  All those bits about spiralling prices in the media are not sensationalism ... they are actual facts.  We are already starting to see the impact and all the experts are saying that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
I find this article very disturbing because it represents one more burden on the very people that the NDP bobsled team promised to help.   During the last election, the NDP swept to power on the strength of such promises.  
Why didn't the other parties make all those pledges?  Isn't all fair in love and war and elections?   Why because they have actually been in power and they know that voters gets quite miffed when parties break more promises than a horny guy at the bar on Saturday night.
But I am wandering afield again in my meandering way as I often do.  The point I am trying to make today is that our Nova Scotia seniors are going to be facing more hardships that ever before.   Many of them won't want to give up their pets but may indeed be faced with no other options.
Even worse ... donation dollars always fall when prices and property taxes rise ... and that has a direct and negative impact on the ability of animal rescue to bear an increased load.
At this writing, outside of the community outreach work being done by PET Projects, there really are no proactive pet retention programs in place in this province.  How do they do it?  PET Projects has engaged the community .. there are donor cans in taxis and little shops around.  Classes fundraise as community projects.  In other words .. they are able to help because they think outside of the box.
Something tells me in days to come, Shelbourne just might be the safest place to be a senior citizen's pet in this province.
What time is it?  It is time to recognize that our seniors are already out of options and that the really rough sledding is only just beginning for them ... and their pets.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Urgent .... Safe Berth Needed for Senior Shepherd

If he could speak English not dog, I expect Andy would talk about how much he loves going to the woods every morning.   He is full of small terrier feist and right up there with the big dogs as we go rummaging about.  
Its not unusual to see him fly over the fallen logs right after the big dogs, but this morning we all had a terrible fright when his leg went under him and he rolled over so sharply it was no surprise he couldn't get up.
Heart in mouth,  we raced out of the woods and dashed off to my vet ... where of course he was given a thorough going over in light of his age.
Happily it turned out to be nothing more than a sprain that was soon put right with a shot of metacam.    Even better, such close scrutiny had revealed that his heart and his joints are in tip top shape ... although his vision sadly becoming more comparable to my own.
Other than the normal bit of arthritis (which everyone on four paws or two gets if they are lucky to live long enough) my little senior pal is as fit as a fiddle.
Senior pets often have so much to offer ... but it is often luck of the draw if they can be saved.   
What is the hold up?  Are they not sweeter and more settled?  And often more socialized?
You bet .. but most rescues in this province rely completely on fosters.   To accept a dog there has to be foster space.  Straight, sweet and simple.
There is a beautiful 13 year old German Shepherd dog named Lady who really lives up to her name.  East Coast German Shepherd Rescue is in urgent need of a foster to bridge the gap so they can keep Lady safe.  
Sheesh .. Lady is like a poster girl for all that is wonderful about senior pet adoption.  She is gentle and sweet and affectionate.   Because she was raised with children and cats, Lady is great with them both.   In fact, for the past 9 and 1/2 years she has lived next to an elementary school and enjoys the activity of children.
Lady is in great health with no sign of arthritis or hip problems.  She love going for walks and car rides and these days is a champion napper!
Lady rarely barks ... she gets along well with other dogs ... and is described by all as being loving and affectionate.
What time is it?  Its time for everyone to share this post ... just in case one of their friends .. or THEIR friends ... has enough room in their home and their hearts to save this beautiful dog.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Strawberry fields all have to start somewhere

One of the best bits about being a Nova Scotia gardener is having the opportunity to catch all the subtle signs of spring that slip under the radar for so many.  
Is it because we spend so much time outside?  Nope!  It is because deep down, good gardeners never lose their childlike wonder at the miracle of growth.  While everyone else is waiting for warm weather, we are out rummaging around everyday to see what new bit of greenery has started for the season!
To be perfectly honest, I was more excited about seeing strawberry plants up this morning than by spotting the first V of geese of the season!
This morning there was a very promising sign in my inbox as well.   The Town of Windsor has just passed a new dog bylaw with encouraging improvements.  While it falls short of my fantasy free lifetime licensing for altered and microchipped pets, this bylaw is a HUGE step forward because:
  • it specifically states that the standards of care in the pound must meet the Nova Scotia SPCA Standards of Care ,
  • AND it states that any dog that has not been reclaimed within the seventy two hour period must be offered to the Hants SPCA for adoption. ( yes I know that it doesn't say that they have to accept them, but considering that I found out about this from a big fat press release from the society I rather expect they will take all the dogs and send the overflow to Metro ... after all Metro's local AC contractor still isn't sending dogs their way, eh? )
  • to be perfectly honest, I don't know if this is new but the bylaw limits anyone registering as a kennel to those who are registered CKC breeders ... that's a nice touch whenever it was put in, eh? 
Well then!   Every new thing ... every first thing offers the potential to become a trend.   Can you just imagine the possibilities?   Mind you, no mention is made of whether or not contractors would be obligated to follow suit.  
Still it would be churlish of me not to congratulate the Town of Windsor for taking such a big step forward.   
Why do gardeners like perennials?  Don't they take time to establish? You bet .. but all the humble little slips and seeds and bulbs eventually spread everywhere and really amount to something.
Every municipality in this province has a different arrangement for Animal Control.   Some, like Colchester and Annapolis have their own pounds.  Others employ contractors to perform some or all of the animal control functions.
Some counties have actual relationships with rescues.   Annapolis and CAPS.   Colchester and ARC. ( Before the keyboards catch on fire, yes Celtic Pets also had a similar relationship but that in itself is a pretty darned good reason for legislating the standard of care, eh? )
So much of the legislation that directly affects our pets is at the municipal level.   Because noone was paying attention, one morning we woke up in Kings County and discovered that we had a Cat at Large Bylaw.    It was by being more proactive that places like Richmond BC now have anti tethering legislation.
My soon to be beautiful big strawberry patch started with a grocery bag full of divisions.   The oregano that runs all around the yard and is such splendid sturdy fill in the pond / play garden began with one package of seeds.
So right here, right now, it is sufficient unto the day to see such a promising start with this.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

An oldie but a goodie

'snif ... this gets me every time.  And this is why I blog, nag, do the sites, nag, do the pet blogs and nag.
PS .. this beautiful video was made by the fun folks at The Nevada Humane Society ... who have much to teach ... for those who can hear the right pitch.

Monday, March 21, 2011

( yet another :) Update on Brock

Just a quick note to say that Brock's awesome foster Mom has started a blog called The Way Brock Sees It  !  
Social networking saved this good dog's life.   Now social networking can help find him a real Furever Home! 

The Long and Winding Road

What a beautiful morning in the woods!   Most of the main trails are still too icy, but the old deer run we rambled along down to the river was likely more interesting anyway. 
Gardeners are incurable optimists ... so if the calendar doesn't always marry up with the actual season, we can still get a lift from any teeny little sign of spring.   While the dogs are pretty darned enthusiastic about seeing any bunnies .. its a treat to see that they are already back to brown.
Seeing them is also a very good sign in another way ... as it suggests that perhaps the coyotes aren't hanging around right now.  (Perhaps ... judging by the sightings so often reported in the news ... they have ALL moved to the )
But I am ... as I often do in my meandering way ... wandering afield here.  I can only think of one downside to Spring ... and that is that it becomes open dumping season for pets.   
Is it because when it warms up enough that somehow some can see abandoning a pet as being humane?  Is it that nobody spayed the Christmas Kitten and are somehow able to justify tossing away the little teenage mommies?  
Does dumping still happen because kind hearts could not imagine the cost of spay / neuter?   Or is it that there are no low cost, high volume spay neuter clinics in this province?
Is it that noone has thought about Low Cost / High Volume Spay Neuter?  Of course not!  The society has been trying to peddle their very sensible and modestly priced proposal to any and all who would listen. 
It was first presented to the HRM council on January 22nd.  NOT January twenty-second of this year ... but one year, one month, three weeks and six days ago.  
As of this writing ... instead of having 8000 cats spayed and neutered in the HRM area already .. the clock is still ticking.  In the meantime, the society has been presenting their proposal to anyone who will listen.   The Liberal caucus has been all ears and will likely be even more interested if the society gets the cold shoulder from the Premier's office.
How much money were they looking for?   Hmmm!  Was it $400,000.00?   Not even close!  $113,000 as a ONE TIME start up fee.    $95,000 annual cost!   For a grand total of $208,000 for the first year and only $95,000 for the years to come!
Sheesh.  HRM spends more than that on feasibility studies.  Even with closer scrutiny, our own MLA's normally spend more than that each month on expenses!
Eight thousand!  Its a shame that the cats don't have a concert promoter!
What time is it?   Its time for our politicians to stop pussyfooting around and spend a little money sensibly!
The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I've seen that road before
It always leads me here
Leads me to your door
from the Long and Winding Road, by John Lennon and Paul McCartney

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Urgent .... special wish for a senior dog with cancer

My best friend was born on St Patrick's Day .... so today was a happy flurry of cake baking and sauce making ... of ribbon twisting and pizza rolling ... and of course of funny over fifty cards just to frost the day nicely.
I'm a middle aged grandmother, not a teenager yearning for legal age privileges.  That means that birthdays have become precious for more than the party.  It doesn't mean that we are all doom and gloom, but simply that we have had a few hard life lessons as to why the here and now is such a gift that it is known as the present.
I rather expect that the kind heart who had originally adopted Bear ten years ago never expected that there would be a time when he would not be physically capable of caring for his beloved dog. But a lot can happen in ten years, and this winter Bear had to return to the Yarmouth SPCA because his human Dad had "gone to the home".
Just this week, two sad things have happened.   Bear's Dad passed away.  Even worse, Bear has been diagnosed as having a mass around his bowel area.  Because of his age, the vet does not recommend surgery.
Does that mean its all imminent doom and gloom for Bear?  At the moment he is still spry enough to need a cat free home and by all accounts one would never know he is ill without being told.
I'm betting that if today was Bear's birthday .... if the candles were his to blow out and make a wish .. that he would love to get out of the shelter.
What time is it?  Its time for everyone to put their thinking caps on and see if we can't find a home where Bear can live out his remaining days in peace and love and dignity.

"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why we call it 'The Present'." attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Update on Brock

Do you remember Brock, the blind senior I posted about the other day?  I am delighted to report that he arrived at his foster home safely yesterday ... and judging by the pics that his proud foster mommy posted on facebook yesterday, it looks like Brock had the Best Day of His Life!    New doggy brothers!   Going to the dog park!   Sporting a lovely new scarf!   And last but not least ... sleeping on the couch all tuckered out and happy!
Never underestimate the power of social networking for the animals!   A big paws up to everyone who shared this blog post and helped give Brock a new leash on life!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Favours for the animals

Its a delicate dance to plan a nice wedding these days.  In many instances, the occasion does double duty as a family reunion and traditional brides are almost obligated to provide a meal worth making the trip for.
Weddings are as old as time ... but every bride still tends to reinvent the wheel to make her own celebration unique and personal.   ( The subject of how Bride magazines are the mother of all unrealistic expectations is a testy topic for a blog with an entirely different focus than this one )
To be perfectly honest, there are only two ways to keep costs under control for a wedding.  One can either keep the guest list small or take the 'home grown' approach where family and friends provide the food, entertainment and sometimes even the venue.
In many instances, economies can be made by dispensing with the silliness that nobody ever actually sees ... the handmade stockings, the embroidered pumps, the custom fitted bra .. you get the picture.   At the end of the day, people usually only remember how happy the bride and groom were.  (and before the keyboards catch on fire, if any of you gentlemen honestly believe that you have a vote in the wedding proceedings you are bigger optimists than I am)
Seriously though, at the end of the day, a wedding is also an excellent opportunity for two people to make a statement about who they are as a couple. 
A couple of animal lovers for instance, might want to request on their invitations that donations to their favourite rescue be made in lieu of gifts.  Table cards could be done up with pictures of adoptable pets from the group.   In this day and age, when printers and good papers abound, little scrolls could be easily made for favours with a thank you note and a meaningful quote about the animals, eh?   Gosh, if there has been a website for the wedding it could include a petfinder widget featuring a pet from their group of choice!
For some weddings, this could represent a significant boost to any rescue.  I remember doing more than one dinner where the groom brought enough bills from the gifts to pay our cashier for a meal that cost thousands of dollars.
Savvy rescues or shelters could post a few thank you pics on their website as well as having either a virtual or a real wall of appreciation, hmm?
What time is it?  In a world of spiralling prices and diminishing donations, its always time to encourage any support for the animals.
UPDATE ON POST:   When we came back in,  there was a helpful email from CAPS' treasurer to let me know that CAPS .. along with many other rescues in NS subscribe to the Canada Helps service.  Along with allowing kind hearts to help with the click of a mouse and get a printable tax receipt at the same time :)
Even better, Canada Helps also allows brides to set up a "giving page" to their charity of choice and of course this could also be included in the wedding website as well.  Thanks Karen for the info :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hoping for a little Luck of the Irish for the kitties

I dearly love my own pets, but somehow rarely seem to be able to capture their sweet selves with my own digital camera.  Indeed, I have acquired a whole new level of respect for people who can take beautiful pet pictures and have decided that photographing cats is right up there with herding them!
With that in mind, I would like to thank Kelly from the Metro Shelter, Shelly from PET Projects, Inge from Pick of the Litter and Laurie from HART for the lovely pics for this years St Catrick's Day slideshow for the front door of the homeless pet site.  

Buck will soon be available from the Metro Shelter

Annie will soon be available from the Metro Shelter
for more info about the Cat Stone click here

Friday, March 11, 2011

Why Not?

I have always been a klutz.  Skinned elbows and knees were the rule rather than the exception ... and Dad always used to joke that if he drew a chalk line on the floor that I would trip over it.
Mom always promised that I would become graceful when I became older. It was not until my first Art Class in high school that we realized I was not going to 'grow out of it'.  After weeks of insisting that I should paint what I see and not make everything so 'flat, my teacher suggested that my parents mention this tidbit when I went for my next eye exam.  
As it happens we were ALL right.   I was painting 2 D because that was what I actually saw.   And I did "grow out of it" when I had glasses to compensate. These days when I trip its because I'm in multi tasking mode and not paying attention to what is underfoot.
How many times do we as pet owners run into the same thing?  The kitties that stop using the litter box?  The dogs whose temperaments seem to suddenly change?   New and unwelcome behaviors can often result in a myriad of Unhappy Tails, varying from the infamous "we don't have time for Mrs Piddles" on Kijiji to being abandoned/ surrendered / shot / drowned/ etc ...
It doesn't help that like everything else in the world, that vet costs are going up, up, up.   And before the keyboards catch on fire, I realize that veterinarians have to make a living.  Problem is ... as prices go up its killing more animals, eh?
Very few people have bottomless pockets.    While we don't actually have an official poverty line in Canada, anyone making minimum wage in this province will only break over twenty thousand a year if they work more than forty hours a week.  Even worse, anyone working in the retail world has variable hours ... as the weekly amount budgeted for wages is usually linked to roughly 30 percent of the sales from the week before.
In a province with no dental plan for human children, how can we expect people without deep pockets to pay for dental surgery for their pets?  Even a simply thyroid test can be well out of reach ... which is sad because the meds themselves are quite affordable.
I'm a middle aged grandmother not an economic expert ... yet even I can see that if there are not more proactive pet retention programs available that spiralling prices are going to create new challenges for animal rescue.
I get a better personal insurance rates because I belong to a group plan.  Now I'm not an insurance expert either, but I wonder if the official voice for the animals would be able to negotiate a 'group plan' for its members for pet insurance.  Something like that wouldn't just boost membership rates ... it might make the (rescue) job easier for everyone in the long run.
What time is it?  It is time to stop tripping over our own feet and try to see things through a new lens.
'You see things and say 'Why'? But I see things and say 'Why not?' G.B Shaw

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Urgent .... blind senior dog at the Yarmouth SPCA needs a foster or adoptive home

Do you remember this handsome fellow? So cuddly and appealing?   Last year he was found wandering around Yarmouth and he just captured everyone's heart at the Yarmouth SPCA.   Sheesh ... what kind of person would leave a blind senior to fend for himself at anytime, let alone a Nova Scotia dead of winter January day, eh?
His name is Brock and his Not Really Forever Home just brought him back to the Yarmouth SPCA Shelter.  He is confused and he is sad and has absolutely no idea why he is back at the shelter.  Brock is a good boy who does not understand why life just took a left turn.
Being blind and being upset, Brock is not putting his best paw forward.  How is he to even comprehend that behaviors like walking into walls are not going to put at the top of most wist lists, eh? That his efforts to orientate himself at the shelter with territorial marking are not going to find much of a receptive audience.  (IMPORTANT NOTE :  this is NOT behavior that was exhibited in his adopted home)
This good dog is at real risk if at least a foster home for him cannot be found as soon as possible.   Being returned to the shelter has almost been too much of a jolt for this senior dog.  It is hoped that he will get back on his paws if he can just get out of the shelter.
Brock's first home left him in the lurch in the dead of winter.   His second home surrendered him soon after Valentines Day.   If he is to have a chance to find out if third time can be the charm, sooner would be better than later, eh?
PS .. if you don't live in the Yarmouth Area transport can be arranged


What a garden can grow

I love watching Pride and Prejudice ... not the new age vamped up version but the classic BBC one with (be still our beating hearts) Colin Firth.  What's not to love?  Gorgeous costumes?  Beautiful scenery?  Lovely period houses?  Its almost frosting on the cake that its a familiar old favourite that lends itself well to watching while rug making.
Do I have time to watch it all in one shot?  Of course not!   The original novel takes less time to read than the DVD boxed set does to watch. 
Does that mean it sits on the back of the shelf?  Of course not!  It simply means that in order to see the whole thing that I have to be patient enough to catch as catch can.
Rather like the rug hooking, eh?  Really rather like anything in life.  If we want to see the whole picture, sometimes we have to think outside of the box ...dvd or otherwise, eh?
In the animal loving community ...particularly with the cat rescuers .. there is a real push on right now to get Low Cost High Volume Spay Neuter out the gate.  Meetings have been held.  Letters have been drafted to the Premier.  Presentations have been made ... with more in the works.
Is Spay Neuter important?  You bet!   We will NEVER get to No Kill Nova Scotia without Low Cost High Volume Spay Neuter.   But it is important to remember that while it is a critical part of the No Kill Equation, it is not the only ingredient in the recipe.
The Homeless Pet Project is coming up to its third birthday.  In the course of researching and building the site, I have been blessed with a bit of a birds eye view of the status quo around the province.  
Now when I first started the site, it was quite normal to have sixty odd dogs listed on any given day.  Since then, more folks have started using either Petfinder or Adopt a Pet ( hey I have to have a listing to link the pet too, eh? ).  By New Years Day of this year, it was more normal for 80 - 85 dogs to be listed on the site.
(The subject of how many cats are listed on the galleries would make you weep and is a separate topic that will get a post of its own soon....  sigh )
This week it has just seemed that there have been more dogs than ever.  So this morning I counted and gosh .. there are 119 dogs this morning on my site :(
One hundred and nineteen!   So the big question is... why?  Are more groups using Petfinder and Adopt a Pet?  Nothing new so far this year.  Hmmmm.
Now if there are ever so many more dogs because more are simply are being listed on Petfinder then that of course is a Very Good Thing.
But what if there are simply more dogs?  More owner surrenders?  More good dogs dumped on a back country road?   More animal clinics trying to find better outcomes for owner requested Unhappy Tails?
Gosh ... would that be the best argument ever for putting the other elements of the No Kill Equation into play?   The Offsite adoption events?  The Medical and Behaviour Rehab?  More Proactive Redemption?  
Happily ... many of the ingredients are already in the cupboard.  The rescue groups.  TNR Groups.  Volunteers.   Fosters.
But at the risk of sounding like a stuck record .. the best way to prevent homeless pets is to provide opportunities for people to keep the pets that they already know and love.   Is it important to get the pets fixed?  You bet!  Over the top critical important!
But it is also critical for people to be able to feed their families if they are going to be able to afford to keep their pets.   Just like the darned mice I find in the wood pile .... for every great job that pays well in this province there are dozens more that people don't notice.  Households where the taxable income is well under the price of a new vehicle.
Hmmmm.    Now I'm not a hermit.   I have a lovely life that is full of friends and family.  I pay attention to what is happening in my community.
So even if I personally am an empty nester who doesn't have to drive to work every day, I don't need to watch the news to realize that costs are going up.  
I can't help wondering what kind of impact THAT is going to have on pet retention.  What kind of effect it already IS having on pet retention.
I know that on a personal level, I save a lot of money every year by growing my own garden and putting food by.   And if my enthusiasm sometimes exceeds my own needs there will always be someone who can put any extras to good use.
When my mother was a girl, every home had a Victory Garden to do their own bit.  These days, there are wonderful resources for starting up community gardens as well.
So I have dusted off my personal site and over the next few weeks will be adding a few bits about old fashioned thrift as well.   I am hoping that the folks looking for ways to feed the kids AND keep the pets might find something useful.
What time is it?  This IS the time to get organized about growing some sort of a garden.    Its just frosting on the cake that gardening is an excellent way to teach children about respect for life and responsibility.   And THAT is always good for the animals.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A beautiful Happy Tail just waiting to happen

I will be the first to admit that I have a soft spot for yellow labs.  In fact, when I was younger, I defined myself as a "lab" person.  We had a beautiful black lab named Sam at home ... so it was as comfortable as an old slipper to bring home a lovely yellow lab puppy when my daughter was little.
Max was such a great guy ... and we were lucky enough to have the pleasure of his company until my daughter was in college.   So I'm not just blowing smoke about what great family dogs that labs make.
I get a bit of a birds eye view with the site and am often utterly at a loss to understand why some dogs take a little longer to find their Forever Homes.  I mean, I do get why the ones with the no kids/ cats/ or dogs tags might need the extra time, but there are ever so many wonderful good dogs that just seem to get overlooked.   Sadly all too many otherwise kind hearts seem to think that anyone over six months old is past their best before date :(  
That's why I was delighted to see that someone at  The LA Shelter has taken the time and trouble to make this great video for Toby.  He just looks like such a good boy and I truly hope it helps :)
We had so much fun with Max over the years.   He was playful and eager to please and always ready to lend a sympathetic ear when the occasion called for it.  Gosh .. this good boy reminds me so much of the natural born nanny who was there every step of the way to help me raise my daughter.
I almost envy the kind heart who adopts Toby for the beautiful journey just waiting for them.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Update on the miracle cat

Do you remember Rolo?   I am delighted to report that he has found his own miracle and has been adopted!  Have a great life little man!

Friday, March 4, 2011

A little something special

This is the part where I have to come clean.  Deep down ... actually not all that deep ..... I fall at least a little in love with every pet that I list on either homeless pet site.  In fact .. everyday before I boot up my computer, I have a little mantra " I already have six purrfect cats and three grreat dogs" :)
Sheesh .. there are names for people who bring too many in and none of them are pretty.  And if I'm ever going to become famous, I certainly do not want it to be for being on live at five with the SPCA van in my dooryard!
Do I have a special affection for those who get overlooked for a senior or special tag?  You bet!   Pets do not bring our human hangups about age and disability to the table.  They do not understand why the grey muzzle or the heart condition or the food allergy makes them 'sit on the shelf'
Honestly .. could anyone even tell me what the big deal is about a deaf cat ... gosh whats so odd about a cat that won't come when its called ?
The dictionary defines special like this:


1. of a distinct or particular kind or character: a special kind of key.
2. being a particular one; particular, individual, or certain: You'd better call the special number.
3. pertaining or peculiar to a particular person, thing, instance, etc.; distinctive; unique: the special features of a plan.
4. having a specific or particular function, purpose, etc.: a special messenger.
5. distinguished or different from what is ordinary or usual: a special occasion; to fix something special.
6. extraordinary; exceptional, as in amount or degree; especial: special importance.
7. being such in an exceptional degree; particularly valued: a special friend.

Extraordinary .. exceptional ... particularly valued.  If you were looking for a once in a lifetime pal, wouldn't your wish list include things like that?
What time is it?  Its always time to recognize that we humans are the ones with the hangups.  At the end of the day ... we are the ones who are actually handicapped. 
Even so, each and everyone of these lovelies would never dream of shunning the kind heart who adopted them as "special" :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Another cute idea from petfinder

Petfinder Adopt-the-Internet Day
Like everyone else, I'm more than a little frustrated with the ongoing 'technical problems' that the Petfinder IT techs keep reassuring me are on the verge of being solved ...sigh.  Pictures can be days before displaying properly.  In some instances .. the dreaded red x continues to display :(
After all, the homeless pet sites are meant to be virtual adoption fairs where kind hearts can come to visit and fall in love with the faces.
But those are technical problems and are separate and apart from the real value of the service.  There are other services, but only the Adopt a Pet one measures up to the same standard that Petfinder holds to ... when Petfinder is working properly that is  ( which is of course why i use both services to link pet listings to on my sites, eh? )
Any of my facebook friends have seen Petfinder listings pop up on their newsfeeds fairly regularly.  Some new.  Some who have been waiting a while for the right fit.  But all of them lovely and just Happy Tails in Waiting.
That's not something I invented ...  its the reason there are share buttons on the listings, eh?
Still ... its nice to see this practice being encouraged ... just another great way to social network for the animals.   I might not be looking for myself ... my friends might not be looking ... but somewhere out there in cyberspace one of their friends might be looking, eh?
What time is it?  Its always time to salute social networking for the animals.  Its as easy as the click of a mouse ... and who knows what wonderful things will come of it? 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Update ... foster found to save young mother dog and her three pups!

Some tried and true phrases are timeless because they just cut to the chase.  Whether its Robert Burns 'gang aft agley' or the more modern "often go astray", the best laid plans can ... and do .. go astray every day.
Usually this type of thing is only inconvenient, but in this case its much more urgent.  The foster that ARC had lined up for this young little mother and her three remaining pups fell through.   If you, or someone you know, can help, please contact ARC . 

CAPS is coming back to the Greenwood Mall!

What a beautiful quilt!  I saw it a few weeks ago at when CAPS had their first offsite adoption event and even these lovely pictures don't really do it justice.  The draw will be on May 20th ... and anyone interested in buying tickets can click here for more info. 
I'm betting that tickets might also be available at the NEXT offsite adoption event at the Greenwood Mall.  CAPS will be back in the Center Court on Saturday, April 9th, from 11 am until 3 pm.   
Was the mall eager to invite them back?  You bet!  They found out first hand that animals always draw in more foot traffic.    Its just one of those lovely win win scenarios where what is good for the animals is also good for the mall merchants, eh?
Even better ... its a win win for all the cats. From my birds eye view of maintaining the cat galleries, CAPS cat adoptions do seem to be up for all the kitties, not just the ones who went to the event.   That of course means that more can be taken in from Annapolis County Animal Control.
Even better, each and every one of the cats that gets 'their lucky day' will be a great ambassador ... not only for being their own sweet selves but when friends/ family/ neighbours and coworkers discover what a great deal the adoption fee is.
Best of all, each and every adoption is part of the solution because the cats are already altered.
What time is it?  Its always time to promote a pawsitive example!