Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Deadman's Island in Purcell's Cove

I drive by a sign for Deadman's Cove everyday on my way to work - and yesterday I finally took the time to drive down and see what the park is like - I had no idea what I was going to find. It looks like it's a green space that was built around a housing development - but a housing development for million dollar houses, so it's a pretty nice park. There are more garbage cans in that little park than there is in the whole of Seaview Park.
This is a wide shot of the water view from Deadman's Island park - looking out towards the Armdale Rotary.
This is one of the explanation boards inside the park. It explains where the walking trails are.

You get to the park off of Pinehaven Drive which is off of Purcells Cove Road - there's no parking, you have to park on the street, which is a cul-de-sac. It's definitely an on leash park because you're basically in the back yard of all the million dollar homes that back onto the park - which also makes the place slightly uncomfortable - but if no one's home at a couple of the houses, you might be able to have a free bath in a very nice big jacuzzi, because there's a couple of them right off the path. Now that would be sweet!

The Truth As I've seen it

This has been a very eventful week on this blog – but people coming here now will never know it – I’ve removed several posts, and the associated comments that went with them. I do that from time to time when I think the comments are starting to get a little bit out of order, or that people are starting to get too emotional about the topic that’s being talked about. And in this case – the comments were beginning to become way too unsubstantiated and the people posting were just trying to negate each other out so much that it was starting to get a little bit ridiculous. The posts initially were about a letter that I wrote to the Editor at the Coast magazine and how they had absolutely trashed and changed around the meaning of what I had originally said – it was in regards to “Willows Pet Place” being voted by their readers as the best pet store in the HRM. I believed it to be one of the worst pet stores. At this point now it’s neither here nor there because I have absolutely lost all interest in that aspect of this story. And since this blog belongs to me – I’m going to write about the things that interest me – and what I want to talk about is something that’s been going on since 2005 that very few people know about, until now.

Maybe very few people will continue to know about it – if “Willows Pet Place” can be voted best pet store in the city – maybe the people who don’t really care to spend time with their dogs really are forging ahead here in Halifax. I find it really interesting though that I’ve never gotten an email from anyone asking why I don’t have that store listed on my Resources page. I get emails from people daily asking me to list different stores and telling me about new places that are dog friendly, and places that are great to go with your dog – but I have never gotten any emails about Willows Pet Place. You’d think that if it was such a great store with a huge clientele that I would’ve gotten at least one email. Maybe there are two distinct tiers of dog owners in this city – the type who shop at Willows – and the type who go to my website and blog and actually spend time with their dog… but anyway, I digress.

With the approval of the cast of characters I’m going to talk about (except for one of them – and you’ll know which one I mean) – I’m going to tell you a true story of what’s happened to a local small business owner in this city since 2005 because of one woman’s seemingly boundless capacity for hatred and pettiness. It is the story of Janet Chernin and Kyra Foster.

Janet and Kyra have become sworn enemies – In a comment left in one of the aforementioned deleted posts, Kyra will tell you that the bad blood between her and Janet started when “she called Janet out in the middle of Point Pleasant Park for punching a dog in the head” – which I believe about as much as everything else I read in all the other comments left by Kyra that I had to delete - but I certainly have heard Janet's story.

Janet says it all started when our friend Adina had to get a restraining order against Kyra and Janet and Kyra had a shouting match at Point Pleasant Park over Kyra's treatment of Adina - who is a close personal friend of Janet, and Janet wanted to protect her. Since then Kyra seems to have been doing nothing but trying to drive Janet out of business.

In 2005 - a couple days, I think it may have been 3 or 4 days - before Paws and Play closed their doors for good - Bylaw enforcement received a complaint about the Canine Casbah - a "query" as to the legality of the business going on at 6430 Oak Street. The person making the complaint wanted it investigated to see if the in home occupation there was legal.

In one of Kyra's protracted comments to my posts this week - it turns out she knew all along that Janet - and every business like hers - was breaking the zoning bylaws. But for some reason, she only chose to make a complaint about Janet's business. Here is an exact quote from the comment Kyra left this week:

“When looking for a new building for daycare I found a great space (R zoned) and proceeded to get approval for our plans through the Planning and Development Office in HRM. I was told we needed commercial zoning and could not proceed to open. I ask the clerk to double check as there were several daycares operating in residential zones, one in Sackville, one in Dartmouth, one in Hammonds Plains, one in Halifax, etc... It turned out that daycares really did need commercial zoning and I stopped helping former clients at my house.”

So in other words - Kyra could have ALSO put in a bylaw enforcement complaint about inhome daycares breaking zoning bylaws in Sackville, Dartmouth, and Hammonds Plains - but she only chose to put one in against Janet Chernin. Why was that? Because she had a personal vendetta against that woman for some reason? I don't know. You should ask Kyra and maybe she'll tell you.

So Kyra's complaint against Janet's business - which is like many other in home occupations in the HRM - started - and has cost Janet untold heartbreak and more than $20,000 in legal bills to date. And yes, since she's one of my best friends - I am damn pissed off at Kyra for that. That is a low down deep and dirty thing to do to another human being. Trying to take away their livelihood for no good reason except that you want to get back at them. That is cattiness gone all to hell. That is cattiness gone completely off their meds. This is bordering on pure evil. For what? I have no idea.

The real kicker in this story is that Kyra Foster offers in-home boarding herself. She is breaking the same land use bylaws that she turned Janet Chernin in for! And she actively advertises that she does! She has it right on the “Willows Pet Place” business cards – she calls it “in home pet care”. So when – thanks to Janet’s money and hard work and blood and toil and emotional upheaval – the laws are changed – it will be people like Kyra – who will benefit from it. Is that fair? You ask Janet Chernin and see what HER answer is.

So really, why CAN’T we all just get along? Anyone who knows me knows that I am generally a very friendly person who does like dogs way more than she likes people – but still – I’m not hard to get along with. And really, this fight between Kyra and Janet doesn’t even involve me.

It only involves me because I’ve seen Kyra get away with it for the last almost 3 years. No one knows the evil thing she did. And now, maybe a few people will know it, and they can make their own judgment. The truth has come out. It was Kyra Foster who put in the “query” – or the “complaint” against Janet Chernin’s in home doggy day care. And why didn’t she put one in against every in home doggy day care in the HRM when she knew every one of them was in violation of the land use bylaws? I don’t know – that’s a question that is only in the head of Kyra Foster. Is it because Janet’s business was in the neighbourhood that Kyra wanted to open up? I don’t know.

I’ll let you decide your own conclusions to this story about the major players in it, and decide who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. I figure I know who they are.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Monday NIght

Nothing much is going on, things are pretty boring - life goes on from day to day, but the dogs expect to be entertained on a moment to moment basis no matter what's going on. It doesn't matter if you've one dog or 6 - and I've had all of those numbers and in between - they still depend on the humans for their entertainment as I'm sure any dog owner can attest to. So here's a couple shots of a few minutes of the dogs' entertainment tonight.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

DLCC Jazz Bluess & BSL & Some Good Waterfalls

We had another busy weekend - Saturday me and the dogs went for a lovely walk and saw some waterfalls that were nice and active because of all the rain we had on Friday, and then Saturday night I went to the Dog Legislation Council of Canada's "Jazz, BLues and BSL's" Silent Auction and Music Thingee that was at Fred's Hair Salon and the Whet Cafe on Gottingen Street. The event raised almost $4,500 for the DLCC.
This is some of the bootee I brought home - a pit bull t-shirt, a limited edition amstaff print from Joseph Purcell, and a little poodle purse that Kat Horne actually got in her basket but I cried until she gave it to me. Isn't it cute?
A couple of crowd shots - Coleen Logan trying to blend in....
For some reason you couldn't shut up Adina on Saturday night! haha!
Local lawyer David Greene also spoke for a couple minutes about dog issues. He was the lawyer who took on the Cameron/Zeus case up in Guysborough last year.
Here's some pictures from our walk on Saturday. We all had a good time, that's for sure.
Buttercup and Charlie waiting for me to give them something, I don't know what!
Here's a shot of the waterfall -
and then Charlie next to the waterfall -
Charlie was full of vim, vigour and vitality on the weekend for some reason.
A close-up of Buttercup
A shot of all three little bundles of perfection.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The joy of life

I had this video posted to my funwall on Facebook and I thought it showed this Air Force cadet's joy with life that I had to put it here. The guy obviously just loves to dance, and loves music. I think it's awesome! I feel the same way - you should see some of the moves I make in my car sometimes! You think talking on the phone with a dog in your lap a coffee in one hand and a smoke hanging out of your mouth is bad to do all at the same time as driving is bad? Try adding in fabulous music to that mix! haha!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Duncan was the bestest dog ever

Today Duncan lost his battle with a brain tumour. He was only 7 years old.
Duncan was a valley bull dog - which some people think is a breed - but is really just a mutt masquerading as a breed, but they are a very cute mutt, and because people are trying to make them a breed - their genetics have some problems - and Duncan was a victim of breeders thinking they could do whatever they wanted with their "line breeding" or whatever they call what they do to make designer breeds these days.
But Duncan had a brother called Oscar, and a sister called Delta, and a mother called Lisa - all who loved him more than life itself.
He also had an older brother named Judge who died a few years before him - also of cancer - hence my belief that he has very poor genetics. Poor Duncan - and poor Mommy. She is going through torture today because all she cares about is that one of the major loves of her life is now gone - so unnecessarily.
He was a perfect spokesdog for BSL because he was lovely, and gentle and kind and only wanted to be loved and he loved to play with his sister Delta and brother Oscar.

7 years isn't nearly long enough to have spread his pee around his neighbourhood. Today all of Duncan's and Lisa's friends are crying with Lisa for her profound loss.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A bunch of stuff

It's been the whole weekend since I posted any photos - but that doesn't mean I haven't taken any - or gone out into the wild blue yonder with the dogs - and it's been a cold and wild weekend here! Gross!As you can see from these first 2 photos - Daisy now prefers to stay UNDER the covers since she spent the first several years of her life completely outside and open to the elements - but from time to time I am able to drag her outside for a run. Doesn't she look good in pink?

On Saturday we went out Prospect Bay before the snow started and went for a nice windy run - the waves weren't blowing at all though. The tide was out so we didn't walk on the rocks at all - we went along the shore so I could look at the shoreline.
This is a view of the village of Prospect Bay that I don't usually shoot because we always are usually walking on the rocks - but Saturday we walked on a part that is usually underwater so I was able to take some photos that were different!

Saturday night it started to snow - yuck! We got about 5 centimetres. The dogs were not impressed. Daisy and Charlie went down for a pee, but Buttercup would only pee on the deck. She's pretty smart.
This is Daisy saying that she's not happy that winter has arrived - that is, until she can have a good run in the woods in the snow! haha! Then she'll be find with it!
Which reminds me! I got some booty from post sub-tropical storm Noel - I went down to Horsehoe Island this week for lunch one day this week and it was low tide, so I took a walk around the beach, and there was a little part of the retaining wall that had collapsed - and there in front of the wall was this bottle - in perfect condition. Isn't that neat? A little part of old Halifax - just waiting for me to find it! It must have fallen down from the part of retaining wall that collapsed. Neat! It's like an old medicine bottle.
Today we went over to Conrad's beach for a fun - I think the dogs' had a good time - this is Buttercup coming in for a treat.
There was a small group of people there with these parachute things and bicycle type things going up and down the beach. They seemed to be really enjoying themselves. Charlie was pretty interested in what they were doing. If Leonard were still around she'd be up around Amherst now she'd have been so scared.
One of the guys didn't have a bicycle/sitting down thing - he just had a parachute. I couldn't quite figure out the whole thing.
But Buttercup looked dashing!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Putting Pets before People

There's a lady in the Chronicle Herald who has a lifestyle column every week - Dawn Henwood. She likes to quip about her family and kids and stuff - and last week she chose to talk about the dog lifestyle. Big mistake. I wrote a letter to the editor that is below. I'm not going to preface it too much - you can draw your own conclusions from the article - and maybe you'll come up with the same answers - which are yuck, yuck, yuck. Yuck.

Here's her article:

Putting Pets before People

APPARENTLY, October isn't costume time just for humans. This is also the time of year that pet stores start promoting costumes for cats and dogs, such as rain boots and coats. Just the other day, my son and I noticed a new pet store advertising a sale on "outerwear." "Outerwear for dogs?" I asked. "Isn't that called fur?"

We snickered over the silliness of grown-ups dressing their animals in doll clothes until my son pointed out that this is becoming a disturbing fad. We started to count on our fingers the number of local stores that have recently sprung up to cater to the whims of doting pet owners and soon lost track. With a nine-year-old's earnestness, my son put the cultural ramifications in perspective. "It's as if we're pagan Egyptians worshipping cats and dogs," he said.

Bear in mind that this comment comes from a child who wheedles me daily to buy a dog to befriend the family cat. This is also the child who wants to give the same cat, Sugar, a seat at the dinner table. For an animal, Sugar enjoys quite a few indulgences. Last spring, for instance, we all joined in the celebration of her first birthday. I myself stuck the candle in the birthday "cake" of canned cat food.

Nonetheless, in our household, we draw a sharp line between family and feline. Let me put it this bluntly: There's a dollar limit on Sugar's life. It may sound hard-hearted, but my husband and I have established a maximum amount that we're willing to pay for food and vet bills. As grateful as we are for Sugar's companionship, we're unwilling to spend more than our monthly food budget to keep her alive.

Animal activists might call that cruel, but I call it realistic. While living creatures should never be mistreated, I don't see anything unethical about refusing to go to extraordinary measures just to keep a sick or injured creature alive. In fact, I could argue that it's actually unethical to spend large amounts of money on pet care. Is it right to lavish thousands of dollars on an ailing animal while ignoring the greater needs of the hurting people all around us?

Two recent news stories have brought this question to the top of my mind. The first appeared in this paper on Oct. 18. On the front page of the Mail Star section that day, two headlines appeared side by side. One headline, speaking to the recent murder of a schizophrenic man in the north end of Halifax, read "Slain man wanted to go back to school." The other headline, sandwiched between two photos of soft-eyed puppies, read "Puppies weren't shown love." It prefaced a story about a boxful of puppies abandoned beside a highway.

I didn't have to get a ruler out to see immediately which story got the most section-front space. Who wouldn't rather look at pictures of cute, cuddly pups than read about a man's struggle with a devastating disease?

The second news story also came to light last week, when Sobeys decided that its new "freshness policy" required stores to pull day-old baked goods from their shelves. Voices from the anti-poverty movement immediately pointed out that the grocery giant had effectively put an end to a cheap food supply for poor Nova Scotians. Shortly after I read this article, the veterinarian's assistant left a phone message to follow up on Sugar's annual exam. Having sent us home with two samples of high-priced cat food, she wanted to know which brand Sugar had enjoyed the most. It seems a little odd to me that the grocery store should turn its back on poor consumers craving a stale cookie while the pet store (which is what most vets have essentially become) goes out of its way to satisfy my cat's palate.

If I could dismiss the exaggerated concern for my cat's taste buds as a lone incident, it would indeed be odd. Statistics suggest, though, that such fussing plays along with a growing trend. Last year, the pet industry in Canada swelled to $4.5 billion. The average Canadian family now spends $377 a year on products to feed, groom, entertain and insure their pets. Business commentators attribute the boom in the pet industry to the increasing "humanization" of pets. Because growing numbers of childless couples and empty-nesters are adopting pets as substitute children, we're witnessing an increased demand for doll-like clothing, accessories, dishes and food.

While I admire the inventiveness of the entrepreneurs who keep the pet market simmering, I also have to wonder what all the doggy T-shirts, jewel-studded collars and organic pet treats say about our culture at large. They're all Zsa Zsa Gabor fabulous, as long as animal fashion doesn't distract us from such unfashionable human issues as mental illness and poverty. Although they don't tend to be especially photogenic, the people who live these issues have the greatest claim on our compassion, our creativity and our resources.

and here's the letter I submitted today to the "Letters to the Editor":

I really don't understand why Dawn Henwood's son finds the expanding pet industry so disturbing. Is it so horrible to have affection for our companion animals? Am I not allowed to spend my own money on the things I want to? And Dawn Henwood is worried that animal fashion is going to distract us from "unfashionable HUMAN issues like mental illness and poverty". Well I don't know about Dawn Henwood - buy my capacity for love and compassion is boundless - I feel like I have enough love to go around. I have enough love and compassion for my companion animals AND the social issues that I've chosen to focus my life on. That's all you can ask for. Why can't we live our lives AND dress all the members of our family fashionably at the same time - including our dogs - if our dogs can handle it? Who is it hurting? Dawn Henwood's sensibilities? Well, that's too bad - but my dogs' are not going to shiver all winter just because someone might think that a starving homeless person needs that coat more than my dog does! Ms. Henwood shouldn't be judging companion animal owners based on how spoiled she thinks dogs are becoming. Maybe that dog coat was bought at the recent NS SPCA dinner auction for an outrageous amount of money - with all the funds going to that rescue organization. As a dog owner who likes to spend money on my animals - let me do it in my own way, Ms Henwood. I also spend money on humans too - I've got enough love to go around - it's too bad that maybe, you don't.

Joan Sinden

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Some of my favourite Charlie photos

In honour of Charlie's birthday - here are some of my favourite photos that I've taken of Charlie:
This was always my favourite photo of Charlie and me - it was taken at Crystal Crescent beach - I loved the way Charlie looks like he's looking back at me and he looks happy.
This is a picture of Charlie at Bissett Park in Dartmouth when he was about 3 1/2 months old - he was already knowing how photogenic he was - notice the grass in his mouth and his pithy stare.
This is Charlie and Leonard having a wrestle while we were out walking one day - those teeth they're baring to each other were still their baby teeth! Boy did they love to play!
This was Charlie and Leonard at Clam Harbour Beach - laying under their very own beach umbrella. Those were the days. Yes, those really were.
This is what I used to turn around and look at when it was just Charlie and Leonard and I was sitting at the computer. It was hard to spend any time at the computer back when Charlie was still a puppy, that's for sure.
This was Charlie getting up from a roll in the snow at Crystal Crescent beach.

I caught Charlie taking a nap on the floor - like as if that rarely happens! haha!
This was Charlie when he was really sick back in 2002 - he was experiencing his first allergic reaction and we didn't know what was going on and he was on steroids - he was 120 pounds (he's now about 85 pounds) and his 3rd eyelids were all puffed up and popped out. He was in bad shape. He was a very sad dog for a while. We still deal with his allergies on a daily basis, but he's much better now.
This is one of the very first pictures I ever took with my first digital cameras - a sony cybershot camera - I was SO impressed with this photo! I took it at Conrad's beach.
Doesn't Charlie look happy in this photo?
Charlie and Daisy were having SUCH a good time in this photo - they love to wrestle - really that's been a theme throughout Charlie's life - he's a very good wrestler.

Charlie has been my muse his entire life - he has been very indulgent of me. He lets me take pictures of him in just about any position and he just pretends like he's napping. He is SO good to me.
This picture was taken at Prospect Bay - I saw this tree way off in the distance and I dragged all the dogs up to the top of the hill and everyone came home with ticks on them because of it! But I got a couple good pictures out of it!
I took this picture a couple of weeks ago - Charlie digging his head into the ground looking cute in the back yard. He's a big teddy bear.