Friday, July 31, 2009

My Video about why Nova Scotia is the best place to live is now available for voting!

With a lot of help from the IT people at Novascotia.com - the video I made about why I think Nova Scotia is the best place to live - is now live and available for voting at the "I Love Nova Scotia" Contest Site!

I'm sure it will never overtake the other contestants who've been up previously - but it would be neat to have a dog video get some hits and interest in the tourism website - it's always been my dream to have Nova Scotia become a destination for dog tourism - so to have a totally dog focused video on the site is wonderful - and the fact that they worked hard to get it there is super wonderful.

So go vote - and vote often! haha!

And if you feel moved to forward the site on to other people who might enjoy watching it and voting for it - and spreading the good word about how wonderful Nova Scotia is - feel free to do that too!

The web site is at http://novascotia.com/en/home/funstuff/contests/ilovenovascotiacontest/vote.aspx

Just in from Nathan today...




The title of Nathan's email is "Making Lemons out of Lemonade" - and I think it pretty clearly shows what an exceptionally successful shelter is doing to adopt animals out - and how they're partnering with the community - and also what they think about the naysayers in the community - and also acknowledging that there are people who disagree with what they're doing - and showing the world that the people who are against them are actually wrong.

Isn't Nathan Winograd fabulous?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A moment before the floodgates opened

Jackie went to the beauty parlour today - and while me, Bobby and Buttercup waited for him we took a walk over to the Halifax Commons.
It was pretty muggy today, but it didn't really occur to me that it was going to rain, so I didn't take any rain gear with me.
We had a nice walk from Metro Dog Wash to "Janes on the Commons" to get some supplies -and then over to the middle of the Commons to have a sit down and a snack, and then I took these photos here -
And I no sooner put the camera away when it started plop-plopping out of the sky big rain drops and within a couple of seconds - a huge downpour started.
And it wasn't a regular rain storm - it was one of those downpours where you've got to pull the car over when you're on the highway because you can't see in front of you.
And we were in the middle of the Halifax Commons.
I can tell you that the dogs were not impressed - especially Bobby, because it appears that he has an especial aversion to water. When we got back over to Cunard Street - his first chance to duck under a porch - he refused to come out and I had to carry him back to the car. He is a funny little dog - and to me, that's funny - haha, but to others that may not be quite so funny haha - but he's pretty funny.


Jackie seems to be very happy with his much more svelte self - he loves it after his hair is cut - and he always looks so beautiful with his shorter hair cut - although he looks very cute with long hair too - but he's got a serious hum when his hair is long.
I think this was what he was trying to get back when we got home because he was doing quite a bit of rolling on the carpet - trying to get his hum back I think.
It's pretty funny watching a dog who's all belly traying to roll over - it's such an accomplishment for them when they actually do it.
Charlie was just happy that everyone was home, happy, and safe - and that the hard rain didn't bring any thunder with it this time!
Bobby felt like he hadn't quite worn himself out on our adventure - so he decided that he needed to abuse Mr. Piglet - I don't know though if Mr. Piglet felt he deserved this kind of treatment.






One last shot of Jackie chillaxing - by the time his haircut was finished there was a lull in the rainfall - so he didn't have to suffer through getting wet - he didn't know what he missed - and I don't think he felt sorry about that...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Some More Thoughts and Information about the Desperate Situation at the Metro SPCA Shelter

I got an email today from the newly minted Executive Director of the Metro SPCA Shelter - Sandra Flemming - who is a familiar name in the local rescue community about my post last night. She is the lady who is a major reason behind the transformation at the shelter in the last many months - the renovations, the raise in morale, the vast decrease in euthanizations, and rise in adoptions, and the beginning of movement of animals between shelters in Nova Scotia when there's empty cages at one shelter but full cages at another - thus saving lives everywhere.

So having already done big things - we can expect bigger things with this really important position that has been created at the Dartmouth shelter. The position has existed for awhile, and has been filled at least twice - but as soon as people were hired and realized how huge the job was and how tough it was going to be to fulfill it's mandate - the people very quickly tendered their resignations. It was pretty funny actually how the guy who took the job shortly before the AGM in April stood up and waved his hand proudly at the AGM in front of the membership quit the following week! That's what you call dedication to the animals of Nova Scotia!

But I digress - today Sandra emailed me because last night I talked about the disparity in numbers between what was in a news article yesterday and the number of animals published on the shelter's Petfinder site - 53 in the article as opposed to 16 on the Petfinder site. And by the end of our email exchanges I think we both realized that there were lessons to be learned from our experiences today.

It turns out that there in fact 53 dogs on site at the Metro SPCA - but only 16 of them are currently available for adoption - and in a press release that the SPCA put out yesterday - they were trying to show the public how much work is going on at the shelter currently - that regardless if they are all on Petfinder, they all need to be cared for until their time for adoption comes and they wanted to have a sense of how many animals there are in the building. It didn't occur to them that it might seem disingenuous to not say that they weren't all currently available for adoption.

To me though - I think that it would show just HOW busy the workers are - to break down where the dogs are in the system - so Sandra said I could let people know the numbers she gave me to give some indication what's going on behind the doors there -

"Of the 53 dogs, 16 of those are puppies. Of the 16 puppies, none were able to be posted on Petfinder until their surgeries were complete. We spayed and neutered the first 8 just yesterday, 4 of which are going to Shaid, and the other 4 are being adopted by us. We already contacted a number of pre-approved applications for puppies first thing this morning with viewings being set up as we speak. We prefer phoning people who have pre-approved applications first. The second group of 8 will not be available for adoption for at least another 2-3 weeks, as they are only 6-7 weeks old at the present time and are not ready to be altered and therefore cannot be viewed by the public.

When you subtract the 15 dogs currently on Petfinder and the 16 puppies, that takes our dog number down to 22. Of the 22 remaining dogs at the shelter, 10 of those dogs are Animal Control dogs, another 4 are currently being held as cruelty and/or seizures. That now takes our dog number down to 8 "other" dogs at the shelter. Of those 3 are in foster for either medical reasons or for socialization and two are not presenting well in their kennels and we are giving them time to adjust to the shelter before evaluating. . As for the last 3, they just moved up from Animal Control in the last 48 hours and will be temperament tested and posted hopefully within the next 24 hours."


So when you look at it this way - it really shows the flow of the shelter, all the work involved - the process that needs to take place when evaluating dogs and this process takes time and a great deal of effort on the part of everyone at the shelter.

So that really gives you a nuts and bolts look at the shelter and the ebb and flow of the 53 dogs - and how it can come down to only 16 dogs being available - and that's really great - and it shows a few things - #1 - that puppies come into rescue, which is fabulous, #2 - that pre-approved applications DO get dogs, and #3 - that animals do get to move through the system

If you want to read the original press release - you can read it on the SPCA's website, it's quite long.

So now I want to go on to some other meaty stuff - that's included in the press release, and also about the fact that an Executive Director is now in place at the Metro Shelter - and that's the fact that the Metro shelter does not accept owner surrenders, and is still really reactionary in its adoption policies, and doesn't do things like off-site adoptions or anything really creative except for things like when things go completely ape-shit offer discounts on cats.

As anyone who reads this blog knows - I am an avowed lover of all things Nathan Winograd - and he is the king of all things No-Kill - and he has got some amazing ideas about ways to make shelters truly no-kill - and one of his things about considering a shelter to be truly no-kill is when you make your shelter an open admission shelter - when you start accepting everything that comes through your door. Until you start doing that - you are not really a no kill shelter, because if you refuse animals coming through your door - those animals are going somewhere else - and wherever that is - they are going to either be tortured, abused or killed.

So it behooves you as a no kill shelter to accept everything that is offered to you. No questions asked. And statistics prove that 90% of those animals will be adoptable.

So what do you do with those animals that are coming through your doors? You can't pile them to the ceiling and become a hoarder of animals - you become creative with your adoptions. You take your animals off-site - bring the animals to the people. You open an adoption centre in a mall, you work with pet stores to bring animals in once a week to feature animals, you have a weekly adoption special on every news show in the city - not just one show. You have a weekly or monthly cable news show on Eastlink. You have your newsletter - and it features the animals in the shelter.

There are TONS of ideas out there on the interweb - and they are GOOD ideas. To be an excellent no kill shelter - we would not be inventing the wheel. It's been done before - in many places with many more animals and populations much larger than us. We just have to have the will and the way.

Unfortunately though, I am just the person writing this post, not the person doing the work. So I wish the new Executive Director luck. It's hard when you're mired in the cleaning of the cages - that was the problem of the last administration - I hope that doesn't happen with the new one. But that's why I thought the position of Executive Director was created - so hopefully what I believed was the vision will meet the reality.

What makes me write all of this is stuff written in the press release like -

"The numbers of animals that we are seeing this year is incredibly high, with dozens of phone calls coming in each day at the shelter with people looking to bring in both owned and stray animals and unfortunately we can't even come close to meeting the demand," says Shelter Director Sandra Flemming. The Metro Shelter is also concerned with disease control and the stress that a full shelter has on the animals in their care. "With this many animals, it becomes more difficult to care for them and disease outbreaks become more common, which is what we are seeing now."

"Since we don't euthanize for kennel space or for length of time an animal spends at the shelter, we can only accept new animals in the building as other animals are adopted and a kennel is freed up. We are proud of the fact that we only euthanize in situations where an animal is too aggressive to be adopted or we are medically unable to treat the animal but this means that it limits how many animals we can help," says Flemming."

If the shelter actively worked at adopting animals out - there would be more cage space - and that's what the shelter needs to start working at, is looking at things like that - and they also (in people like mine's opinions) need to start looking at things like adoption coordinators who work with potential adopters to make sure that good fits are being made with animals and adopters - that actual home visits are made.

I have been in the shelter and have seen staff talk to potential adopters about dogs and heard them say "all the dogs have been temperament tested" - and it was like she was telling them that because the dogs were temperament tested they had no issues and were good to go behaviour wise - which we all know in some cases is not the case.

So successful adoptions is a many pronged event that needs to be taken seriously on all sides. And (I'll say it again) - now that the new Executive Director is in place - hopefully these issues can now be looked at.

And herein stops my sermon for tonight.

Some Pictures for Pleasure

Sunny afternoons can be so much fun, even when they are after work and in your own back yard.

Today was just such a day.


Even with the "pool party" going on next door and the music blaring so loud that I couldn't hear the tv going on in my living room.

Yes, I am getting a bit cranky about that. But luckily the dogs are still able to have fun in my back yard, so that's the important thing.
And have fun they did.





So here's a few photos so that I can look back and remember it...












Where we live

I tried entering that "I Love Nova Scotia" contest tonight - but it won't accept .wmv files, which is what my movie is, and I can't figure out how to convert my movie to an avi or flv file without making it such a small file size that the movie is just a useless blob of pixels - so I guess I'll just post the movie here for everyone's enjoyment. I originally used this video a couple year's ago, but then the Nazi's at You Tube disabled the original audio - so I picked out some new audio tonight and added some text as to why I think Nova Scotia is the best place to live - I've been prostelyzying about that fact for just about forever.

Enjoy!
video

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

SPCA Metro Shelter Desperate for Adopters

The below article talks about how the Metro Dartmouth SPCA is desperate for people to come and adopt dogs and cats from the shelter, that they have over 200 cats and cats and 53 dogs looking for homes - so I went to their Petfinder site to see what was available - and guess what - they only have 16 dogs up as available for adoption.

I have Janet Young from Reigning Dogs and Cats inside my head about how she's always going on about shelters not using Petfinder - and here we are again with a shelter not using that website - such a shame - because Petfinder does really work - it really is the first place most people look when they're looking to rescue a dog. They see something they like, then they go meet him or her in person. I really wish people in the sheltering community would believe people in the rescue community about that. Anyway, here's the article - at least they're lowering the prices on cats for awhile -

SPCA Metro Shelter Desperate for Adopters

Today the Nova Scotia SPCA Metro Shelter is issuing a community plea for support and assistance as it deals with an overwhelming number of animals - especially cats and kittens.

The Metro Shelter currently has over 200 animals in their care - 146 cats and kittens, 53 dogs and 1 rabbit. In the spring and summer season the Metro Shelter SPCA normally sees its numbers creep up as a result of "kitten season" - where unwanted litters of kittens are dropped off or brought in by members of the public.

This year is even worse, with the shelter at 5 Scarfe Court in the Burnside Industrial Park bursting at the seams with unwanted kittens from newborn age to those who are ready for adoption. Additionally, there are a very large number of adult cats in the building. To try and combat the inactivity on the adoption front, the Metro Shelter has discounted its adoption fees for all adult cats who have been at the shelter for three weeks or longer, hoping that it may entice people to adopt.

"The numbers of animals that we are seeing this year is incredibly high, with dozens of phone calls coming in each day at the shelter with people looking to bring in both owned and stray animals and unfortunately we can't even come close to meeting the demand," says Shelter Director Sandra Flemming. The Metro Shelter is also concerned with disease control and the stress that a full shelter has on the animals in their care. "With this many animals, it becomes more difficult to care for them and disease outbreaks become more common, which is what we are seeing now."

What is making this situation even worse is that it is also the slowest time of year for adoptions which means that animals aren't getting adopted quickly, keeping the shelter full to capacity. "It's like the perfect storm, you have your highest period of need during the summer months, but your lowest period of support from the public because people are thinking about taking vacation and they have their kids home and adopting a new pet isn't a priority," says Flemming.

What has also added to the shelter's burden is the number of animals that have recently been seized due to cruelty investigations. As the main facility housing cruelty seizures for the entire province of Nova Scotia, the Port Felix seizure of approximately 60 cats and 24 dogs placed even more stress on the shelter's resources and staff over the last month. "With all the media interest in this case, we were able to adopt out the 24 dogs fairly quickly, but what was concerning for us is that no one from the public expressed any interest in adopting the cats," says Flemming.

As cruelty investigations continue, the shelter has taken in another 17 dogs and at least another dozen cats and kittens in the past 10 days alone. "Since we don't euthanize for kennel space or for length of time an animal spends at the shelter, we can only accept new animals in the building as other animals are adopted and a kennel is freed up. We are proud of the fact that we only euthanize in situations where an animal is too aggressive to be adopted or we are medically unable to treat the animal but this means that it limits how many animals we can help," says Flemming.

The Metro Shelter would also like more understanding from the public in regards to their mandate. "Dozens of phone calls come in each week from people looking to surrender their owned pets, and when we say we can't take them, they get angry and abusive with shelter staff," says Flemming. The Metro Shelter would like people to understand that their first priority is to help abandoned, abused, injured and stray animals and right now, that is all they are able to accept. "If someone is no longer able to care for their own pet, they need to be responsible and find another home for it themselves, instead of looking to us to solve their problem. As a non-profit organization with limited resources and kennel space, the shelter cannot possibly do it all."

The shelter would also like to make the public more aware of the perils of adopting an animal through websites like Kijiji. Every animal adopted from the Metro Shelter is spayed or neutered, dewormed, microchipped, flea treated and have received their first vaccines upon adoption, and adopters are given a free vet initial vet visit. All of these services come at a fraction of the cost that someone would have to pay if they had to take their new pet to a vet themselves. "The risk to someone who adopts a pet from our shelter is minimal in comparison to someone who adopts from an unknown source, like Kijiji," says Flemming. "People don't realize that they then have to spend $300-$400 dollars to get the same services as an animal that is adopted from our shelter."

For now, the Metro Shelter will continue to take in and help as many animals as their building will allow, but they really would like to see the public come forward and help, either through adopting a pet or through financial assistance to help pay for their care. "We really need the public to come in and support us right now. If someone has been considering adopting an animal for awhile and they feel like they have the time to commit to a new pet, we would really encourage them to come in to the shelter and see the animals that we have up for adoption."

A few neat emails

I've gotten a couple good emails in the last couple days that I thought I'd put here.

The first one I got was from a guy named Robert Sachs down in the States. He's got a radio show on "NPR" called "What Would Rob Do" and the byline on his website says -"It's a guide to life's most trying dilemmas, but not those life-or-death dilemmas, more the quandaries we face every day. Rob Sachs leads the way into personal territory others fear to tread."

He emailed me and said - I was just reading your blog and I thought you might be interested in listening to my recent podcast on what to do you when your does something embarrassing. Here’s a link: http://tinyurl.com/neb3uk


The link he gave me goes to a page that looked kind of wonky to me, so I googled him a bit and came up with a page that lists all of his past podcasts - so you can listen to a bunch of his subjects, which are interesting - that page is at http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast.php?id=510065 - and his dog podcast is actually pretty interesting because it features an interview with Victoria Stillwell - of "It's Me or the Dog" fame. So that was quite a coup to get that interview, I'm sure! He's also got a Facebook page at his "Rob Sachs Fan Page" - and of course he's also got a blog at http://www.npr.org/blogs/wwrd/

The second email I got came in today and it's about a contest where you can win $15,000 for making a 2 minute video about why you love Nova Scotia!

This is what the email said -

We want to hear from Nova Scotians and visitors alike about all the things they love about it. I think it would be totally funny if you put something on with you and your dogs. There are so many people who travel with their pets. Really pets deserve a vacation too right!

It doesn’t have to be fancy…it just has to be real and genuine. The prize is a $15,000 custom built dream vacation in Nova Scotia. That means the vacation is tailored to what you love, whether you love nature, outdoor adventures or restaurants and spa retreats, or a combination of it all, we’ll give you the vacation of a lifetime. And think of the friends or family you might like to invite to join you. With $15,000, you can even fly them in.

If you want to learn more about the contest visit www.novascotia.com/ilove


The contest runs from Contest runs from July 9 to August 31, 2009, voting continues until September 30, 2009 - and as of today it looks like they've only had 15 videos submitted - so there's a lot of wiggle room - and a lot of cute dogs that need to be videotaped!!!!!! You could email Cynthia@novascotia.com if you wanted more information.

The third email I got was about where I post information about local dog events coming up - and I thought I'd put my answer here, because it's good information.

This was what the email I got said - "I see that you are looking for dog events – I was wondering where you list them when you do get them? I’d love to check it out.

Also – my contribution – I take my dog (Milo) to the Chewed Slipper (www.thechewedslipper.com) in Lower Sackville on weekday nights (there is a schedule) for Doggie Socials – it is great! It is $5 and the can run, play and bark all he wants. He comes home exercised and exhausted. He nearly digs through the car door to get out when we get close to the building he loves it that much. Highly recommended!


I recognize I have been negligent in the past few weeks about this. I have several things in my file that I have to post about that are coming up, and usually once a summer I make a page over on my Charlie loves Halifax site about fun touristy things to do that are dog friendly - like the fact that Shakespeare by the Sea is dog friendly, and that you can take your dog with you onto the Tall Ship Silva, and that there's dog friendly B&B's locally like "The Pebble", and that the "Fiesta al Fresco" film festo is dog friendly - but I haven't done that yet this summer - but hopefully I'll get to that soon.

But what I do usually is that periodically I'll make a blog post called "Upcoming events" - and put a link to that blog post on the main page of the Charlie loves Halifax website - and then sometimes I'll also put events on the side bar of that main page if I'm feeling especially energetic.

So that's one of the ways you can find out about upcoming dog friendly events - you can also join Facebook and sign up for any of the kajillion Facebook groups for local stuff - they're too many to list here - I've got a few of them on my page "Ways to connect with other local dog owners"

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Pugapalooza 2009

I'd say that the organizers of Pugapalooza 2009 would herald the event a complete success - there were a ton of pugs at the event this past Saturday, and they all ran around with crazy abandon and everyone had a ton of fun.
There were pugs everywhere - fawn ones, black ones - big ones, small ones






Ones all dressed up - this guy was particularly funny, don't you think?
Luckily the weather turned out good - and the pugs could also run around outside - so they had all their contests for prettiest pug and dressed up pug and things like that outside - and it looked like their prizes were really good - too bad Bobby didn't magically turn into a pug.
This guy's name was Molly - I guess she's an old pro at these types of costumes and loves it - she just sort of sat in the middle of the room and took everything in - Christmas in July is nothing new to her!
So there were about 100 pugs - and then there was Bobby! He was just about the only non-pug there which was pretty funny - we were there to sell our dehydrated liver and to try and let people know that we've started selling our liver at the Three Dog Bakery over in Dartmouth Crossing - one thing that sucked about Saturday was that it was an off leash event - so we had a ton of dogs coming to our table to try and knock it over to get to the liver - but none of them had their owners with them!! So none of the humans knew what fabulous stuff we had at our table - luckily though Bobby had a fabulous time
He was such a good boy - I was completely amazed at how good he was - he really was quite perfect and I am so happy that he had such a good time and he did really well
So I am really glad we went just for him - it was his first time being off leash around other dogs - and really, his first time off leash - and he loved it. It's the first time of innumerable times that we'll have experiences like that, I'm sure
Isn't this guy funny? He has the perfect pug face.
Another shot of him with the flash off - and still his face looks perfect!

Here's a slideshow of shots from Saturday!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Somebody is very unhappy

Poor Daisy - I think she impaled herself on something on our walk on Monday because she's got a goink in her left armpit that she's been working on.
She's licked off all the hair so that it's basically now a hot spot that's oohy and gooey, so I borrowed this elizabethan collar from my friend Lisa - and Daisy's not too happy about it.
I figure I'll leave it on Daisy for about 24 hours to let the sore dry out and start to form a scab.
Daisy has never had to undergo this form of torture before though and is currently banging into everything in the house, she's currently completely given up and is just lying perfectly still on my bedroom floor hoping that the world will somehow completely disappear. She can just lie there for the next 24 hours until the sore starts to scab up I figure. Poor Daisy. Even with this on though she's still startlingly beautiful.