Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Just waiting to become the love of somebody's life ....

I love Miss Ruby!   What's not to love?  She is sweet and snuggly and sociable and a smarty pants!   In short, she is my heart and it is really rather frosting on the cake that she blossomed into such a beauty once she was no longer being starved!
Every now and then, when I am doing site updates, a dog comes along that reminds my of my sweet girl.     Bright and beautiful and just a perfect Happy Tail waiting to happen!
Maybe it is her gentle German Shepherd eyes.   It very likely could be the way she loved having a pal ( and misses him terribly now that he is adopted ).  Possibly it is that she has the same soft velvety ears that just beg to be rubbed.
Whatever the reason, it is beyond my imagining that Sookie has been waiting for months for her ship to come in.   Clearly I am not alone in these thoughts.   
This friendly little dog has made such a wonderful impression that her adoption fee has been subsidized ... which in realspeak means that kind hearts are hoping that a reduced adoption fee might improve her chances of being adopted.
Gas being what it is, that's a great idea for any pet at the Yarmouth SPCA!   It is a three hundred kilometer drive from the city where well over half the folks in this province live.
It is a beautiful time of year for a drive like that.   The roads are still clear, the tourist traffic has slowed down with back to school and of course the leaves would be worth the trip alone!
What time is it?   It is time for everyone to put on their thinking caps to help this adorable dog become the love of somebody's life!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The animals are the big losers when noone plays the game properly

No doubt about it, I do get a bit of a birds eye view in the course of maintaining the homeless pet sites.   It is impossible to update the sites without noticing who is using either their own sites or Petfinder and who is going the extra mile with nice pictures and appealing writeups. 
At one end of the scale are the private groups who list their adoptables in a variety of different venues.   ASDR, ARC and ESCGR for instance, display their adoptables on their lovely sites and on petfinder. 
Some, like CAPS, list everyone on their roster.   Others, like SHAID, list some, but not all.  The LA Shelter lists all their cats and dogs on their site, but only the dogs on Petfinder.   GPAC uses its lovely website ( and before the keyboards catch on fire, I only just realized that they aren't keeping their Adopt a Pet listings up to date, eh?)
Some, like Lab Rescue have always had witty writeups for every listing ... while branches like Kings and Colchester are newer to the game but catching on quick with heart tugging little tales of how the pets came into rescue.  The best amateur photographer I know has been enlisted to shine the best possible light on the adorable adoptables at Metro.
The point I am making in my meandering way is that almost everyone in the animal rescue world seems to be more cognizant of the need for an online presence of some sort for their adoptables.  In this day and age, when we bank, shop and socialize online, it is poor planning on anyone's part to imagine that adopters aren't browsing online, eh?
Almost everyone.    As long as I have been doing the sites, the Cape Breton SPCA seems to have dug in its heels about advertising their adoptables in any online venue.  
Occasionally, after I whine about it here on my blog, someone will wake up and give them a nudge.    Then there will be a big flurry and a dozen or so of the dogs at the shelter will pop up on petfinder for a while.      As those dogs get adopted (we hope ) or transferred to Metro, the listings slide down to three or four that gather virtual dust for a month or two or more.
Is it the same thing for volunteers to list these dogs on the facebook group they have set up?   Or is the facebook group just a local love in for those who have already adopted pets from the shelter.
I have been told that there is a strong sentiment at the shelter that Petfinder listings are a waste of time.   Of course they are ... when they are only done so sporadically!   Who is going to bother .. when there are ever so many other groups that offer more appealing and informative listings of some sort?
Potential adopters are likely put off by the fact that the Cape Breton SPCA petfinder page still has the same title of "Spring 2006" that I was whining about three years ago!   Why would they have any reason to go any further than that?
If adoptions were rolling along merrily, I would save my breath to cool my porridge.   But it has only been a couple of days since I bailed out of facebook, and at that time the volunteer group was begging for adopters, eh?
What time is it?   It is always time to remember that advertising adoptables online is like the lottery ... there is a better chance of 'winning' if the game is actually played, eh?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A little note about why I have left facebook

Last week was fall pickup on our road ... and I really should have put my bedraggled old wheelbarrow out this time.    It was never a top of the line piece of gear to begin with and is one of the few things around here that is older than my eldercat!
The wood frame has gone 'soft', the bucket is rusted and the tire so flat it couldn't carry a cat!  Yet the glass half full gardening optimist in me is sure that it could be reinvented as a funny garden ornament!
To be perfectly honest, it doesn't take up a lot of space in the gardening shed and it really isn't doing anyone any harm, eh?
I wish I could say the same for all the changes that have been happening on facebook.   To be perfectly honest, it has hit a point that I simply am not comfortable with. 
So ... if anyone is trying to contact me they'll have to go old school and use email!
What time is it?    It is never, ever time to participate in anything that makes one so uncomfortable, eh? 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

There is no such thing as ordinary ....

Last night, in the absence of anything worthwhile on the tube, I watched the Kings Speech ... again.   Why do I love the story so much?  It is more than the obvious bits about being so very well done by some of my favourite actors!  It goes beyond my personal fondness for anything to do with history!   At the end of the day, it is just a such splendid story!  
Who has not rooted for the underdog?   The reason it is a recurring theme in all medium is that deep down, whenever our 'heroes' overcome all odds, it restores our collective faith in possibilities.
This week, Petfinder is having its annual Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week.   Old pets!  Deaf Pets!  Black Pets!  Blind Pets!   This is the week that Petfinder encourages potential adopters to really think outside of the box.
Does that mean that it is wrong for some folks to want the puppy or the kitten?   The well behaved and well socialized dog?   The purebreds?   The cute little lap dogs? 
Of course not!   It simply means that there can be special rewards waiting for adopters who open their minds when they open their homes and their hearts.
We believe Andy was thirteen when he came here .. and according to his vet records Rascal is eleven.   We might not get fifteen years of love together ... but from their very first nights here, we all had a good nights sleep.   No midnight pee breaks.  No missing their mommies!  They walked in, looked around to get the lay of the land and settled right in.  
Morgan was so badly hurt before that she will always have a special hitch to her gait.  That doesn't keep her from being Queen Bee!   Even the big dogs hop when she tells them to!
The most affectionate cats in this house have been the black beauties here!   Even at twenty-something, you can still hear Kitty Bear purr across the room and Clive is just a twenty two pound teddy bear!
After the rough start they suffered, it took a bit of work to get both my beautiful big dogs off on the right paw!   To be perfectly honest ... there are very few journeys more rewarding than that!
The point I am making in my meandering way is that there are very special rewards waiting for those who adopt the underpets.    Pets do not bring our human hangups to the table about disabilities.  
Old dogs really are more experienced at love!   Blind dogs often see better than some humans!   To be perfectly honest, each and every one of the cliches I am so fond of using are true!
In the sixties, there was a popular poster showing a group of differently dressed teens with the caption "There is no such thing as ordinary!"
What time is it?  It is always time to remember that when the right person adopts the right for them pet, the results are always extraordinary!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What a golden opportunity !!!!

I love living in a multi dog household!  What's not to love?   Like the marines, no dog ever has to be left behind when another has to go to the vets or the groomers!    Even better, I find it easier to keep them in the habit of having good dog social skills.  Best of all of course is that after the rough patches they had before they were rescued, it is just really rewarding to see them having so much fun together!  
Lets face it ... dogs do love the company of their own kind!   Does that mean that you can find your own bliss by adopting any two dogs from anywhere?  Of course not!  Like us, it takes time for dogs to form relationships!  Nor will every dog be suited to another!
To be perfectly honest, it can sometimes be a bit of work finding the right match and getting everyone off on the right paw.
The good news is that every now and then, there are opportunities to have all the joy without all the work!    Sometimes good friends are surrendered together.  Occasionally, dogs become pals while they are waiting in foster or at the shelter to be adopted.
And sometimes, just like people, they just suit each other from the first moment they meet!   Last night when I was doing site updates, I couldn't help but notice what a golden opportunity is waiting for the lucky person wise enough to recognize it.
CAPS has just listed two beautiful dogs .... Barkis and Peggotty.   From the first moment they came into care, it was clear they were already good friends ... so much so that the kind hearts at CAPS are hoping to find them a home together!
That's not even the best bit of news!   CAPS has a permanent BOGO program in place!   When one adopts two pets, the second adoption fee is cut in half!  
Best of all, in this busy world where people have to go out of the house to work, shop or any of the myriad other reasons in the world, no dog would be left home alone!
What time is it?   It is time for everyone to put on their thinking caps ( no pun ) and help these beautiful dogs find someone with enough heart to adopt them both!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Fourth Annual Halifax Reptile Expo !!!

Like everything else in life, gardening gets a little easier with practice.   This isn't my first dance, so waking up to an unanticipated frost poses less of a problem.   
Happily, I have learned (the hard way) that draining the water out of the garden hose each evening offers an extra bit of insurance .... seeing as its pretty darned difficult to spray the frost off the pumpkins if the water in the hose is frozen, eh?
Four years ago, the innovative folks at Ssafe Haven Society for Reptiles and Amphibians stepped out on a limb and started something new.  The fact that noone had ever thought to do such a thing before didn't give them even a minutes pause.  
That was in 2008 and now the Halifax Reptile Expo is a much anticipated annual event that draws in both the interested and the curious.  
What a great place to take kids!   Setting aside the fact that children are fascinated by reptiles and amphibians,  it is a great way to educate them that responsible pet ownership and respect for life are not species specific.
What time is it?  It is time to mark your calendar for this Sunday, Sept 25th!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The difference between No Kill and No Killing

I have learned not to loan out my recipe box when friends ask for it.    Does that mean my recipes are family secrets?
Of course not!   It simply means that before anything makes it into my little file, it has been tried and tested, eh?   Unsuccessful science projects never make the cut:)
What does that mean in realspeak?    It simply means that my recipe file is long on lists of ingredients and lacking in instructions!   If its in the file, I already know how to make it, hmmm?
from yesterday's Herald
Feral cat colony borders SPCA property

Rescue group leader finds litter of kittens
By BILL SPURR Staff Reporter
Sun, Sep 18 - 4:54 AM The spokeswoman for a local cat rescue group has her back up because there’s a feral cat colony next door to the SPCA shelter in Dartmouth.

Marilyn Pincock of Cat Rescue Maritimes became aware of the colony during a fundraising yard sale held in the SPCA parking lot on Saturday.
"We’re right in front of the SPCA building and one of the children with me noticed a little kitten on the right hand corner of that cul-de-sac at Scarfe Court," Pincock said. "So we went to explore and there are six kittens there and a mother and some other cats.
"We didn’t feel altogether good about that because it’s the SPCA. It’s not their property, of course, but it’s right on the edge of their property."
Kristin Williams of the Nova Scotia SPCA said the society doesn’t accept feral animals because they aren’t socialized.
"And they don’t have a good prognosis for adoption," Williams said. "We will help with trap, neuter and return programs and we also work very closely with a number of trap groups that are donor- driven, as we are.
"The issue of feral animals is a very sensitive one. There are some bodies that will intake them, only to euthanize them. We won’t do that, we won’t euthanize healthy animals. We will make every effort to ensure they are spayed or neutered to address population concerns."
Williams said the shelter was very busy when Pincock came in. She said Pincock was quite short with the staff, who nonetheless gave her some cat food.
"She left very angry. I don’t know what we did to disappoint her," said Williams, who learned later on Saturday that a local real estate board has said they will take care of the feral cats
"We can support caretakers, which is what we’ve done in this situation. The food that we have is donated for animals in our care and we very frequently donate to other rescue groups, if we have extra."
Williams said the Nova Scotia SPCA has increased intake this year by eight per cent. She said this is the worst season for abandoned cats she’s seen and the situation is worsening every year.
Pincock said there is no such thing as a feral kitten because a kitten can be socialized in a matter of hours. She said the kittens next to the shelter are only as big as pop cans.
"We found out . . . that this situation has been going on for about 10 years. People drop off cats because SPCA won’t take them or they’re full or something. Basically the SPCA is not managing that colony in any way," she said.
"If they were managing it they wouldn’t have kittens, first of all, because they would be spayed or neutered through the SPCA vet. I would like to see them call a rescue group about a situation like that, rather than let it multiply over 10 years. That’s cruel.
"I would like them to accept feral kittens. A kitten is a kitten, whether it was born indoors or out. And I would like them to share resources with the rescue community."
Well then!   This isn't one of those obvious black and white bits like this weekend's news stories about the largest puppy mill seizure in Canadian history .... where the owner of the facility was crying crocodile tears while news cameras were capturing the horrific living conditions and the sad shape of the dogs therein.
So where to start here?   I always like the facts .... so let us start there.  Ten years ago ... or even nine, eight , seven, six, five or four years ago ... the society would simply have killed the colony.  
In other words ... the official society position on feral cats really hasn't had a lot of time to gather dust.   Among all the gobbledygook about supporting private groups right to engage in TNR is a little phrase "Kittens that are within the critical window for domestication are removed, socialized and adopted" ... but of course nowhere in the position statement does it actually say that the society should be the ones doing anything about that!
As to the matter of no good prognosis for adoption ... methinks that someday it might be very educational for the society to sit down and have a chat with HART ... who have rehomed hundreds of kittens, many of whom were rescued and brought to HART by a local TNR group.  The altered adults went back to the colony .. the kittens were socialized and went on to good homes!  
Personally, even if the society isn't engaged in TNR, sponsoring and supporting a feral cat colony next to the shelter could offer an incredible education opportunity.
Which of course brings us to the contention that the cats are being dropped off in that location when they find no room at the inn in The Metro Shelter. 
Now I noticed on the latest quarterly stats for the society that they have started including the number of times they refused intake of pets.  Like every other stat the society offers up, those numbers don't even come close to painting the whole picture.  
People looking to "get rid of cats and/or kittens" are often unwilling or unable to wait for phone calls to be returned.  Delays can result in a myriad of other Unhappy Options ... which apparently in this case can include the creation of a cat colony on the shelter doorstep.
Even worse, each and every time one person's request is refused, it reinforces all the old urban legends with all their friends, coworkers, neighbours, family and now of course also in all the social mediums.  What does that mean in realspeak?   That of course that more cats will not pass go but will go straight to some other Unhappy Option.
Worst of all is the failure to recognize that there is a difference between being No Kill and stopping the killing.
Does that mean that the society shouldn't be No Kill?  Of course not!   It was a huge and important step forward to adopt an official position of No Kill!
But there is more to No Kill than squeaky clean stats.   The No Kill Equation offers a proven road map for the road to No Kill.
What is one of the most important parts of the No Kill Equation?   Why Comprehensive Adoption Programs of course!   At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, that includes Offsite Adoptions and Adoption Incentives!     In spite of all the disclaimers .. it has been proven possible to Adopt the way out of Killing
To be perfectly fair, No Kill has to be more than individual shelters or rescue groups.  It even has to be more than the society.    Until Municipalities in this province commit to reforming Animal Control, each and every No Kill group and shelter is like a stand alone sanctuary offering safety for a precious few.
Folks in the society and the experienced cat rescue folks are going to have some trouble seeing eye to eye until the society offers better outcomes for cats who 'flunk' the test.
I could almost find it in me to feel sorry for the society.   Well over half the universe has no idea how the animal welfare world works.    
Many do not realize that most municipalities with any sort of AC arrangement do not have provisions for cats.   Others live in an area where there are no Happy Tails waiting for surrendered strays. 
So they simply assume, that as the well advertised official voice for those who can't speak for themselves, that the society should be able to be open admission.
Nor does it stop there.  Each and every time the society is blamed for every Unhappy Alternative.  
Seriously, I could almost feel sorry for them.  Almost.
But it would be ever so much easier to drum up real sympathy if the society was already pulling out all the stops with aggressive adoption programs.   Maybe then there would be bragging rights for more than an eight percent increase for intake, eh?
What time is it?  It is always, always time to remember that in life in the kitchen ... the secret to success lies in following the whole recipe!

Friday, September 16, 2011

A stitch in time .....

It is no secret that I love to cook .... so first first time visitors to my kitchen are often surprised to see it so simply equipped.  Somehow they always expect to see every appliance and gadget under the sun as if that was the secret to my success.
Does that mean I have stinted on anything?   Of course not!   All the useful bits and tools are here, eh?  It simply means that I have only collected those things that will either see regular use or make everyday jobs simpler.
How did I know the difference between the essentials and the bits that just take up space?    After thirty odd years of cooking professionally, I may not be jack of all trades ... but I am master of my own kitchen.   
In other words,  it takes a bit of expertise to know which tools are worth while and which are a waste of time and money.  
It seems like everytime we turn around this year, we have all been discussing dog bylaws around the province.      From breed bans to leash lengths and beyond, municipal councillors keep proposing every alternative under the sun except for the one single thing that would work.
When we love our dogs so much, it is easy to forget that they are not people on four paws.   Personally, I think that my dogs are often better than people ... more loyal, more forgiving and much, much more resilient.
First and foremost, municipalities need to change the focus of dog bylaws.  Don't concentrate on the dogs ... work on the people who own them.   In other words ... educate, educate, educate.
When I go for a hike in the woods with my dogs,  our easy walk harnesses make the experience enjoyable for us all.  ( And before the keyboards catch on fire, not every dog is meant to go offleash.   Miss Ruby would follow her beautiful hound nose halfway to Halifax ... and where she leads, Henry would follow.  In our house, the play yard is for galloping ... walks are a shared social experience to keep us all healthy and mentally active.   It is my job to protect them and keep them safe, eh? )
But I am wandering afield as I am so often wont to do.   The point I am making in my meandering way is that it was having readily available expertise has helped me broaden my own horizons and make better purchasing decisions :)  
So here is today's what if ..... what if the municipalities focused on creating better dog owners?   Smarter and more responsible dog owners?
If I wanted to purchase a gun to  carry in the woods, I would have to take all sorts of courses before I could legally do do.   If I wanted to Dad's old dory out on the lake with even just a backup motor for safety, there is a course I would have to take first.
I rather expect there are few councillors who would go out on a limb and make some sort of responsible dog ownership course mandatory for dog ownership ... seeing as politicians are ever reluctant to ruffle tax payers feathers.
But ... what if municipalities were to start offering free lifetime licenses for owners of altered pets who had taken obedience training?    Hmmm.   They could take it even one step further and sponsor seminars on the subject of responsible dog ownership.  Seminars that could be free for all owners of licensed pets?   Instead of fining pet owners with dogs at large, they could be obliged to take obedience training as well, eh?
At the end of the day, our dogs cannot be expected to automatically understand social constraints without a little help.  Straight, sweet and simple .... behind every "good" dog is a great dog owner.  
What time is it?   It is always time to remember that  the best way to create safer communities is to create more socially responsible dog owners! 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mark your calendar for Thanksgiving Weekend!

Water changes everything ... and nowhere is that more evident than when we are rummaging around the river.  Yesteryears' swimming hole has filled in with river rock and is now garnished with wild mint and Joe Pye Weed.   Every new deluge opens up a new little bit that in time can change the course of things.
Is this a bad thing?  Not necessarily!   Nature, like time, never stands still ... and it is sometimes a misguided human conceit to believe we are responsible for all of it.  
Social change of course is another cup of tea entirely.  That we ARE responsible for.    When I was a young woman, organic gardening and off the grid living were considered the exclusive parvenu of those darned hippies.
How did things change?    Yesterdays impossible dream became today's accepted mainstream practice because environmental activists started speaking up!  
Like my little river, change can open up better paths.    If you are a pet lover who is looking for information on a more natural way of caring for your pets, then this is a very good time to be living in Nova Scotia.   The First Annual Nova Scotia Integrative Pet Health Expo is just around the corner.
No matter where you live in Nova Scotia, Thanksgiving weekend is a beautiful time to go for a drive.    For my money, the leaves are at their peak  ... and yet it is still balmy enough for a tailgate picnic along the way.
There will be lectures and demonstrations ... an exhibitor hall full of natural products and services to explore ... and even a silent auction!    It is being held at the Dartmouth Sportsplex and Holiday Inn Harbourview.
If you want to help spread the good word, click here for a downloadable poster!   Or you could 'like' their facebook page and share it with all your social networking pals!
What time is it?  It is definitely time to mark your calendar for Thanksgiving weekend!  
There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth.  We are all crew.  Marshall McLuhan.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Urgent!!! Beautiful well behaved dog in need of a new foster or a great home!

I am a middle aged grandmother, not a twenty something triathlon trainee, so sometimes it can take me a little longer to tackle a big physical job.   To be perfectly honest though, I often forget my fifty seventh birthday is just around the corner until there are heavy jobs to tackle!
Such was the case with the stubborn overgrown Siberian Pea Shrub that took two hot afternoons to uproot and divide!     But ... the job is done and now I have seven new shrubs temporarily parked in the garden that will become a lovely ornamental privacy screen once the darned baby barn is moved:)
Of course, I could likely get more done if I was willing to forego our morning hike ... but in this house that would be a real non starter, eh?  
It certainly didn't take Rascal long to embrace the joy of a morning hike!   To see his stubbly little legs trotting along beside me, the casual observer could never imagine he has not been doing so since he was a puppy.  
It really is such a shame that so many kind hearts underestimate senior dogs!    Sadly so often folks simply cannot imagine how much they still have to offer!    Rascal has embraced his inner river rat and loves rummaging around for frogs and small fish!
He is eager to go at the rattle of a leash .... always ready to head out to the play yard for some fun ... and his little nose is as curious as the big dogs'.  Even better, being older and wiser, it took him less than a day to get a grasp of the home rules here!  Best of all,  his experience in foster really readied him for living in a multi pet household!
In other words ... just like Andy ... Rascal is a lovable little pal who settled in smoothly and quickly!
People who foster dogs for animal rescue usually have other things on their plate as well.   Families.  Commitments.   Jobs.   One of Atlantic Small Dog Rescue's foster Mom's has been unexpectedly called away for work, and so they are in urgent need of either a new foster or an adopter for the beautiful dog in her care!
Zena is more than just a very pretty face ...  she is like a poster girl for all the best bits about senior pet adoption.   She is friendly and sociable .... well behaved and well accustomed to domestic bliss.  To be perfectly honest, if I hadn't already given my heart to my own fab four, I wouldn't hesitate to adopt her myself!
What time is it?  It is time for everyone to put their thinking caps on to see if they can help find a good foster ... or even better .. a great furever home for this beautiful dog!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What a lifesaving gamechanger ... when love comes to town!

What a postcard perfect morning in the woods!   The river has warmed back up enough for wading .... the nights are cool enough now there are no morning mosquitoes ... and best of all, we are still weeks and weeks away from hunting season with the worry of wayward hunters!
Life, like our lovely trail, never stands still.  The big dogs are more confident now ... and in realspeak that means there is less heigh ho and away and more comfortable exploring as a group!    Andy is spending more time supervising from his carrier ... and Rascal is learning to embrace his inner mud puppy!
Last month, I did a little trilogy of posts about cat fostering.  How are the little ones that were featured doing?

Reba's beautiful babies that are being well cared for by CAPS are doing wonderfully!  As you can see, Reba is a purrfect little momcat to JT, Faith, Martina and Dixie
Dixie ...gosh does she ever look like my own Dora!!!




Beautiful Reba !!!  Thanks Deb for these purrfect pics of your foster momcat and her babies!

Most of the bottle babies that were with Pick of the Litter have been adopted ... but Vance and Cassidy are still waiting for their ship to come in.   Little Vance is deaf and depends on his little buddy Cassidy!   They are now waiting at Vetcetera to meet their purrfect match!
Of course, since then there have been more new arrivals ... this adorable little marmalade kitten is now available for adoption ... but it will be a while before these newborn puppies that came to Inge from Cape Breton will be ready for adoption.   Gosh these little orphans are so young even with Inge's experience she wouldn't hazard a guess as to what would shake out of their family tree!
little Cassidy (above) and his buddy Vance (below) are at Vetcetera

another new arrival at Inge's

these little orphans came all the way from Cape Breton for the life saving skills of Inge at Pick of the Litter!

How are those appealing kittens in foster doing?  After getting such a good nurturing start, they have gone back to the rescue ... and if I am not mistaken, have all been adopted!   As a matter of fact, their tireless foster Mom has actually been regaling us all on Facebook with the adventures of more little hooligans!
PS ... Pat also brought her shutterbug skills to the First Annual Rescue Dog Show and contributed one of the lovely albums of the event ( along with Joan Sinden, Lisa Davis and Tara Bayne :)  Like I said before, if you want anything done, ask a busy woman!   Pat is also the guiding light for the wonderful Pawprints on Your Heart program .... as well as being a full time working gal!

Pat's newest fosters!

What time is it?   It is always time to acknowledge the unsung heroes who are quietly saving so many lives !  What a difference it makes for the animals when love comes to town, eh?

Monday, September 12, 2011

But she's an indoor dog ..... sigh

I love the Nova Scotia Lost Dog Network!   It is ever so much more than one of the best volunteer driven initiatives I have ever seen!   It is much, much more than a brilliant idea that is being mirrored around the continent!  
At the end of the day, the best and most beautiful bit is simply using social networking to prevent homeless pets!
After all, every 'Safe N Sound' resolved situation is more than a Happy Ending, it keeps the rescue slots free for the genuinely homeless pets.  
My best friend has heard this spiel from me so many times I am sure he could recite it by rote!   So it was no surprise to get a call from him when he found a cute little dog playing in the middle of the busiest road during Saturday shopping traffic:(
Like half the rest of the world, he wasn't sure what to do.   Before I grabbed my camera to run down to his place, I called both our local vets offices to report a found dog ... description to follow.   ( And before the keyboards catch on fire, it is standard procedure at my vets to call the appropriate AC as well as the local radio stations!   Not the reason I go to the Berwick Animal Hospital but just one more reason I love them, eh? )
The short version of this story is that the little dog ... who turned out to be a very friendly and appealing shihtzu ... had already started to wrap herself around my best friends heart.   Poor little muffin had clearly had puppies recently too!  No Tags!   No visual ID of any sort :(
Pictures were taken, and I brought the very sweet girl back with me to my place.    I have to tell you that I was very proud of my own dogs, as I have never brought an unaltered pet into the this house within their memory!
But I am wandering afield in my meandering way as I often do!   Both vets were updated with a better description, and I had just emailed Janet C to ask about listing the little mystery dog, when her owner called.
He was able to describe her and more importantly, the very unique martingale collar she was wearing.  He had gone into the Greenwood Animal Hospital to buy milk for the puppies and been told about the dog I had found.
I ran down to the vets with the little dog to meet him.   When I asked why she had no ID ... he said "oh she's registered but she's an indoor dog"
Some things just unleash the crusty army mess hall cook Sgt that is my less polite alter ego.    Hopefully hearing that his dog was playing on a busy street in traffic made enough of an impression ... but experience has sadly taught me that when people keep answering " I Know" , "I Know" , " I Know"  ... that they neither know nor have the sense God gave a donut.
What time is it?   It is always time to remember that all pets have a better chance of finding their way home with ID!   Had a different person found this very appealing little dog, odds are buddy would never have seen her again, eh?

Friday, September 9, 2011

What a great destination for a Sunday Drive!

Natural Care for Animals workshop

Sunday, September 11
Góshé Pet Care
2576 Highway 201, Bridgetown
Tickets at the door $15

PLEASE RSVP: 665-5244 OR nahleenashton@gmail.comte

In this workshop, you will learn about:
Nutrition for animals
Massage/healing touch for animals
Herbal Medicine for animals
Reiki for animals
Flower essences-what they are and how they address behavioral/emotional issues in animals

We look forward to seeing you!

Amanda Dainow is an accredited Clinical Herbalist. She is Certified in Holistic Care for Animals, and is the Founder and Director of North Mountain Animal Sanctuary. She offers Herbal Medicine consultations, Natural Animal Care consultations, Life Coaching and Reiki for animals and people. Phone consultations available. She offers public workshops on Herbal Medicine and Natural Care for Animals. She has a full dispensary.

Amanda Dainow - Clinical Herbalist
Singing Nettles Herbal Medicine Clinic
e-mail: http://%3cdiv%20align=%22left%22%3e/phone: 902-538-3662

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Down my garden path ......

Five years ago today, I brought this beautiful Golden Weeping Willow home from the Briar Patch.  As hard as it may be to imagine when it now tops well over twenty feet, that day it came here in the back of my little hatchback!
Why this tree?   In plant lore, trees are either feminine or masculine.   Everything in the willow family is feminine ... undoubtedly in no small part owing to their ability to bend without breaking:)   As a sidebar note to that, willows are good picks to celebrate the start of life ... being ever so much more enduring than other feminine trees such as birches.
Why a feminine tree?   The short version of this story is that this particular tree was planted on the day my granddaughter was born.  Five years ago today, my daughter had started labour and so it was time.
Five years ago today, I was a mother and an animal lover ... a gardener and a cook ... and all the other bits that round out the edges.   Five years ago tomorrow, I was all that and a grandmother!   Now ... no matter where she goes, Lydia always knows her tree is here with me everyday!
Why did I plant the Lydia Tree?   For the same reason so many special shrubs and trees were started in the yard.  Could there possibly be any better way to commemorate life's passages?  
Although there are traditional plants for remembrance, such as Rosemary, I generally plant something that reminds me of the person or pet that I have lost.
There is an Alexander MacKenzie rose out back in memory of McG ... it's prickley self will wind up being much taller than me in time making it ever so suitable for all that Scottie feist!    The Labrador lays under a clump of daylilies that have faithfully flowered for every full summer season since he passed.
Honeysuckle for the sweet little mini Schnauzer who came to us when her people replaced her with a human baby.    Mountain Ash (another feminine tree) in memory of my Mom's strength.    Heirloom roses for the Dad who took such pride in his own roses.  
I'll be the first to admit that gardening isn't everyone's cup of tea.  It would be cold comfort to plant memorial plants if one had neither the skills nor inclination to keep them alive, eh?
It is not the only way to remember ... simply the way that works best for me!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Urgent .... The LA Shelter is in desperate need of fosters ....

I love this time of year in Nova Scotia!   For the next few weeks, it will be impossible to drive five minutes in any direction without seeing something absolutely lovely!  
Each and every day there will be a new burst of colors added to Mother Nature's roadside palette .... making it no wonder that visitors come here from far and wide.
One of the nicest drives in the province, for my money, is the old Trans Canada that winds its way through Parrsboro and Springhill before finishing up at Amherst.   To be perfectly honest, I feel a little bit sorry for anyone who hasn't done that drive on a sunny September afternoon at least once.
Amherst has taken the hardest hit from the hike in the PST .... and the LA Shelter has an urgent appeal on their front door for fosters owing to "an unusual number of dogs being surrendered".  
I've always liked these folks.  They were No Kill before most of the others jumped on the bandwagon.   When adoptions are going well, they haven't hesitated to help out other groups that needed a safe berth for their overflow.
Quietly, without a lot of fanfare or fuss, the kind hearts at the privately run LA Shelter have been stepping up and saving lives for several years.
Sometimes we forget how close we are to everything in Nova Scotia.   Amherst isn't on the other side of the moon ..... for those who aren't interested in the ever so scenic drive, it is only a short straight run from the HRM area!  Forget the global bit ... in these online days our province really is one big village!
The LA Shelter has space for twelve dogs.   Straight, sweet and simple.   How can you help?   By adopting or fostering of course!    If you are thinking of enriching your life with a new pal, or would like to learn how to save a life by fostering, this is a place where you could definitely make a difference!
What time is it?   It is always time to remember the power of love when one fosters or adopts!     One good dog at a time, it is a lifesaving game changer, eh?
With that in mind, allow me to introduce the lovely dogs at The LA Shelter :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

When more than beauty is in the eye of the beholder.....

From the moment I first clapped eyes on her sweet, skinny self, Miss Ruby has been my heart.  When she was first rescued, we had no idea she would blossom into such a beauty, but it was clear from the start she was going to be a smarty pants!
Along the way, I have learned a very important lesson about breed identification.   It isn't just beauty that is in the eye of the beholder ... each and every dog savvy guesstimate of her parentage has had a completely different opinion!  
The vet techs at Carnegy Animal Hospital where ARC had her spayed swore she was a Rhodesian Ridgie mix.   My best friend swears she is a German Shepherd Mix.   My own vet believes her to be a hound mix ... but not a Ridgie.  Another one of my friends feels that if we shook her family tree the odd pittie might fall out :)
People often assume that my sweet O Henry is a purebred Amstaf ... although he didn't show up at CAPS with papers between his teeth, eh?  Yet when there are partridge or grouse ahead on the trail, he automatically adopts a stance that would be the envy of any professional showing a pointer!  According to CAPS, he is a Valley Bull / Great Dane Mix.   My own vet is sure he is nearly pure Amstaf.   After hearing him bay at deer and sing with the coyotes ... my best friend thinks there must be beagle in
there somewhere! 
Whenever BSL rears its ugly head, it is never, ever only the purebreds that are at risk.  The real danger lies for all the wonderful mixed breed dogs.  Visual misidentification has been the death of more dogs than anyone has been able to keep track of since Ontario implemented BSL.  
In the interests of calling a spade a spade .... BSL should be called Breed and Mutt Specific Legislation!  Why do I say that?  Why are the first casualties of Breed Discriminatory Legislation are always the ever so popular mutts?
My daughter lives in the land of BSL ... where it is common practice for folks who own commonly misidentified breeds to ALWAYS bring their CKC registration papers every single time they walk their dogs.  Mutts have ever only been at the mercy of an often inaccurate judgement call!
Until the advent of Dog DNA testing, mixed breed dogs had no protection whatsoever.  If an Animal Control officer or a veterinarian identified their dog as a pittbull type mix there were no happy endings waiting in the wings :(
Even Dog DNA is not going to provide real protection!   Why do I say that?  AT the risk of sounding like a stuck record, BSL does not create safer communities.  It does not encourage parents to teach their children safe behaviours around dogs.   Pet owners of 'acceptable breeds' have no incentive to invest the time and energy to create good canine neighbours.
Worst of all, BSL reinforces all the inaccurate prejudices.   I am a middle aged grandmother.  I love to garden!    At the risk of tooting my own horn, I have a darned good reputation as a baker!   If I wear blue jeans to the village, they are clean and fit properly!   I listen to classical and country .... not rap!  And this week, I am over the moon that I was able to find Ballet Shoes for my grandaughter's fifth birthday:)
I am all those things ... and I have one, maybe two, dogs who could easily have pitties in their family tree!   Dogs, I might add, that successfully live with two much smaller dogs!    
In other words, I am no different than any of the responsible folks with dogs of any breed, eh?  There is no 'typical' pittbull owner, eh?
The house will soon be coming back to sit for the fall session.    Municipal bylaws begin at the provincial level .... and so it is going to be very important to pay VERY close attention to any and all bills that are introduced.  Why?   The last time the government tried to sneak BSL in the back door through a municipal 'housekeeping' bill, (Bill 138), quick response from the animal loving community stopped the offending clauses in their tracks!
What time is it?   Our dogs cannot read and our dogs cannot vote.   It is always, always time to remember that the way ahead for the animals is actually also the best way to create safer communities for our children .... and of course that is only ever paved by strong voter feedback!
Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.  Pericles, 430 B.C.

Henry watching out for the old geezers

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Urgent .... when love isn't enough .....

I love picking blackberries!  Even if every now and then I get swept away in a spur of the sunny moment and wind up with scratches in sensitive spots!  Does that keep me from picking blackberries?  Of course not!
At the end of the day, I know that I only have myself to blame for not taking a few extra minutes to fish out a thicker shirt and work gloves, eh?
If only life was so simple for the animals who are depending on us to keep them safe.   When a good dog has been through the school of hard knocks, it is not because they chose to be injured and / or ill treated.   Even worse, dogs are genetically hard wired NOT to complain ... nor is there really anyone they can complain TO if life has not handed them a bowl of cherries.
If a dog is very lucky, life can turn around.   In her horrible old life, before she was the star of Breakfast Television, Molly was lucky to survive her mistreatment.  
Happily for Molly, size does not matter for the kind hearts at Atlantic Small Dog Rescue  ... "Molly may not be considered a small dog, but she needed us and that's good enough for us!"   
Molly was missing a toe and part of her tail ... and her poor sweet self was riddled with BB shot!   It is no wonder she was frightened when she came to ASDR!
I am continually amazed at the generosity of spirit that moves the animal loving community.   Not every one has the time or the skills to run a rescue ... but everyone does have enough heart to help!
Like her beautiful sweet self, Molly's vet bill is anything but small!   If you would like to help ASDR with this, please click here.
What time is it?  It is always, always time to help when love knows no boundaries!