Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Why does this cat look happy?

This is my cat Whisky dreaming about all the places he can now shit outside now that the cat portion of bylaw A300's been struck down.

I was just talking to my HRM Councillor - and it turns out that the cat portion of Bylaw A300 was defeated yesterday in a closed door session of City Council. In a Chronicle Herald newspaper article - it didn't mention that - but in a CBC online article - it did, sort of - so today I contacted my Councillor and had it confirmed - the cat portion of the bylaw is gone.

One note - all the other parts of A300 ARE set to go into effect on April 1st however, so all the shitty parts of A300 still need to be dealt with.

Here's the CBC article:

Cats may get the last meow as the Halifax Regional council moved
Tuesday night to scratch new rules that would require their owners to
license them.

Councillors decided on Tuesday to delete all references to cats in a
new animal control bylaw that was to take effect in April.

The requirement for cat licences and provisions to deal with nuisance
felines were added to the bylaw in October after years of debate on
the issue.

And council reversed that decision Tuesday night behind closed doors
at an in-camera session held to discuss a proposed contract for new
animal shelters to house cats running afoul of the bylaw.

When councillors emerged from the private meeting, they had decided to
stay with the existing animal shelter and remove the cat provisions
from the bylaw.

After the decision, Mayor Peter Kelly would only say that cost had
been a factor in the decision.

Cats may get the last meow as the Halifax Regional council moved
Tuesday night to scratch new rules that would require their owners to
license them.

Councillors decided on Tuesday to delete all references to cats in a
new animal control bylaw that was to take effect in April.

The requirement for cat licences and provisions to deal with nuisance
felines were added to the bylaw in October after years of debate on
the issue.

And council reversed that decision Tuesday night behind closed doors
at an in-camera session held to discuss a proposed contract for new
animal shelters to house cats running afoul of the bylaw.

When councillors emerged from the private meeting, they had decided to
stay with the existing animal shelter and remove the cat provisions
from the bylaw.

After the decision, Mayor Peter Kelly would only say that cost had
been a factor in the decision.

"In that contract, we discussed dollars and, you know, the challenges
with dollars in terms of a budgetary allocation," Kelly said.

The cost of implementing the bylaw, including setting up a new
shelter, was estimated at $3.3 million.

The vote was 8-6 to scrap the bylaw, and Coun. David Hendsbee was left fuming.

He immediately asked council to reconsider the decision at next week's
meeting and suggested councillors might need help from the public to
sort it out.

"Perhaps it's time for this council to suspend further debate on this
issue and go to the people on a plebiscite. Let the public decide.
Should we have pet registration, yes or no? Should that include cats,
yes or no?" Hendsbee said.

Meanwhile, council will have to hold another public meeting before it
can change the animal control bylaw again. No date has been set.

A Good book and a funny cartoon

My Dad sent this cartoon to me - I thought it was hilarious. I'm not a cat person, and I've always demanded that I be the only sentient being in the house who has the ability to breed - but this cartoon is funny none-the-less.
One of my Dad's friend bought my this book - "On Being a Dog with a Bone by Peggy McColl - it is a great book! It's written by a Canadian, and it's like a self-help book on motivation and uses dogs as a metaphor. There's even a chapter on leashes - and it says:

"So, if your leash isn't long enough, know that you have choices. You can get a new leash - a longer one or an adjustable one. In other words, if an old belief is holding you back, get rid of it, extend it or get a different belief. Although the leash is limited in length, the length can be changed. And there's another option: Let go of the leash and run freely in the direction of your goals."

I've always been a passionate off-leash advocate - I wonder if that's why I've never really taken any stock in authority or "the man" - this book is making the 2 things correspond - so that's kind of neat. It's a good book

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dirty Dirty Politics

I had wanted a dog all my life. When I was a kid I knew all the dogs in my neighbourhood - I knew the daschund over on Charles Street was really nasty and tried to bite all the kids when we walked to school everyday, so I didn't fool with him - but I took the sheltie who lived behind us - named "Lassa" - for walks all the time. As an adult when I couldn't stand it any longer, my husband and I looked for an apartment that was dog friendly and moved JUST so that I could finally get a dog.

Our first dog was George - a name I'd been waiting to name my first dog my whole life. I wanted to call him George because of a Bugs Bunny cartoon - the one where Bugs Bunny goes up to the North Pole and he becomes a pet of the Abominable Snow man and the Abominable Snow Man says "I will love him, I will cuddle him, and I will call him George".

And so my first dog's name was George. And I fell madly, deeply in love with George - a beagle, shepherd mix who topped out at about 30 pounds. Tragically I only had her for about a year and a half because of a genetic defect we didn't know about. She had a quite long back - and one day when coming home from a walk at Point Pleasant Park and running up the steps she yelped out really loud - it turned out that a disc in her spine had popped out and then popped back in - damaging her spine, causing her to gradually become more and more paralyzed over the next 48 hours until there was nothing we could do even with the best veterinary care - Dr. Carnegy at the time. He said even if we took her to the PEI vet college there was only a 3% chance of survival.

So then we had Charlie and Leonard - and it was with them that I began my adventures on the internet - it started out as a web page called "Leonard and Charlie like to play" - and it was photos of them playing in various parts of the city - showcasing Halifax as a great place to own dogs in. Kind of silly, but kind of fun. Nothing much but one dog owner's amusing past time.

And then my marriage broke up and I was looking for something to take my mind off my misery and something to take Charlie's mind off the fact that his sister was missing from his life (Leonard) - and "Charlie loves Halifax" was born. A website dedicated to improving the quality of dogs' and their owners lives in Halifax and working toward a dog friendly Halifax - "Charlie loves Halifax and he wants it to be dog friendly!" It started in May of 2002 - and people have loved it. There's other sites sort of like it on the internet - but there's none that are completely not not for profit and run by just one person for the hell of it. That exist solely so that OTHER people can make money. And that's how I like it.

And then in 2004 I started writing this blog - "Me and my Dogs in Halifax, Nova Scotia" - a companion to the Charlie Loves Halifax site - separate from the website, but still part of it.

I consider myself nothing more than a dog owner who has access to too much technology. And I've always said - if you don't agree with what I say - start your own blog, or your own website. It's not rocket science.

I've had the blog since 2004, like I said - so in that almost 4 years now - I've blogged about just about everything and everyone - I've gone to just about every dog event that's happened in the HRM, taken photos of almost everyone, given money to just about every local animal charity, given every person a reason to have an opinion about me one way or the other.

But for some reason, I've always figured that I've been pretty much anonymous. That nobody cared about me or really read this blog. I've never been one to look at the usage statistics to see how many "hits" this blog gets - because that's not something I really care about. I've never thought my blog had any sway with anyone to change anybody's mind about topics of any concern.

But today I learned that my blog obviously must have a lot of power in some circles, that very important people must be reading it regularly, and that it must be affecting them very much. I am completely amazed. You have made me much more powerful than I actually am.

So much so that they want to affect the lives of innocent animals. They are trying to use dirty politics and bullying tactics to get me to change what I say on this very blog - a blog that is simply about me, my dogs, our daily adventures, and whatever else I feel like ranting about. Can you believe that?

I never realized that the things I typed out could have that much effect.

I know that 99.9% of you have no idea what I'm talking about at this point - but that doesn't matter - because if things get worse - maybe you will. Bullying is a terrible problem in today's society, and I've never been very good at putting up with it.

Suffice it to say that the love I have for my animals is boundless, and my belief that the things I say on my blog are always true - whether they are about my own animals and our daily adventures, or my observations about local dog culture. I will once again reiterate the saying I have at the top of my blog - I am unapoletic about the things I say here. I do it because I want to advance positive dog culture in the Halifax Regional Municipality, but nobody has any creative control over this blog except for me. Sorry.

I think that this blog and my website have proven that the home I've provided for them is one that is loving, happy, healthy, with the best interest of the animals in mind, and one in which I waited a long time and worked hard to be able to achieve. I don't imagine there's too many homes out there who are documented quite so intricately on the internet as well, either. Here's a little taste of what's been going on while I've been writing this blog post:

Monday, February 25, 2008

SPCA Membership Drive & An Early Easter

I got an email that the NS SPCA is having a new membership drive - and my membership is up for renewal, so I decided to take a drive out to Bedford and get my membership renewed in person

They have the membership forms available on line for you to print out - you can mail them in if you like - and the fees have gone up by $5 which isn't too bad I guess because of all the increased costs of things that have been going on lately - it's weird they're having a membership drive since I heard recently that "all memberships were under review" - but I guess that new memberships must be welcome, anyway!.
Luckily I was able to get mine renewed, so I'll be able to go to the Annual General Meeting in April - like a lot of people, I'm looking forward to that meeting.

On a completely different topic - my Dad is leaving for Florida for a month in a couple days - so he's not going to be home for Easter - so he bought me this Easter chocolate dog since he's not going to be home - isn't it cute? I thought it looked just like Jack.

It currently doesn't look anything like Jack though - because it now is missing his head! It's not going to make it to the end of the evening - let alone until Easter! I am a choco-holic.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Today's GPAC Doggie Expo!

Today me and Buttercup went to the GPAC Doggy Expo at the Halifax Forum - we went and pretended we were selling our dehydrated liver - but really we were there to go around and yak at everybody in the room and everyone who came by our table that we were sharing with one of our best friends - Maureen Tate - who sells the super yummy raw dog food - Urban Carnivore. This photo is of my friend - also called Maureen with her daughter Caitlin and their dogs Rudy and - shit, I'm having a mental fart on Caitlin's dogs name. I'll think of it and edit this part as soon as I think of it!!
This was Kathleen Duffy's booth - the new and very proud and happy owner of Tailwagrrr's K-9 Wellness Centre out on the Bedford Highway - the everything in one place store - a doggy daycare, dog boutique, groomer, doggy birthday party, doggy cafe - you name it, they're going to have it there! (and oh yeah - she's got my liver there too! haha!)
This is the very beautiful, and very patient - Nellie, the leonberger
And this is Seven - a deaf, and slightly blind australian shepherd who's owners Amy and Adina are completely in love with. Can you think of why they called him Seven? Because of the movie of the same name? Could it possibly be because they are so dog crazy that he is their SEVENTH dog? BINGO! And what a lovely family they have! At last year's doggie expo they brought 2 of their other dogs - and when I wrote up that event I took pictures of them there - you can read about it - here and see pictures as well!
These are the ladies from Three Dog Bakery - who have just opened up over in Dartmouth Crossing - I can can tell you that the stuff they were dipping and selling today - I was having a hard time not wanting to buy and eat for MYSELF! It looked that yummy! I don't think they are going to have any problems with their business. Their stuff is awesome.

This is the most beautiful Lisa and her beautiful, but in a different way - Oscar. Lisa also has Delta - who has appeared several times on this blog - she's an equally photogenic boxer. You can see her when I talked about an SPCA dog jog and when I talked about her and Daisy's love of toys.
The HRM's Animal Services had a booth set up so that people could come and get their city tags for dogs and cats today in preparation for the new A300 bylaw coming into effect April 1st - and the fee is only $10 as opposed to the $15 I know that I've had to pay in previous years - so I took my own dogs' collars over to see if I could renew my guys' tags for next year for the same $10 while I was getting a new registration for Jack - and luckily they let me do it for everyone - so for $40 I was able to do everyone, and I was glad for that. Now everyone's legal again until March 31st 2009. And all registered under such benevolent terms as "Lab mix" and "doberman mix" - not the deadly terms of "killer rottweiller" - like my neighbours like to call Charlie and Daisy - I mean, not that there's anything wrong with rottweillers - they are some of my best friends - but that name can get you killed in some places.
I finally got to meet a couple people that I've been corresponding with for a long time - and one of them was Charlotte Estabrooks from PEI - who is THE go to person for daschunds - she came all the way from PEI to set up a table for Dachshund Rescue of North America, and I thought that was really neat. Also in the photo was another person I was really happy to meet - Elsie - who Truro is SO lucky to have as their Animal Control person - and another fabulous person I met today - Paula!
This is Lynne who is the force behind the new Halifax magazine "Furry's Halifax" - I talked about this in another post when it first came out, and they're coming out with their second issue this week - I'm sure that this magazine is going to do great things for dog culture in the HRM - and meeting Lynne today assured me that her positive personality is going to do great things!

This is what Charlie was doing today.
And this is what Jack was doing today.

This is a couple photos of my friend Colleen's dog - Grendel - he's a breed of dog that's native to Canada - but the breed is of course escaping me at the moment, some kind of inuit something or other. I'm having a bad night for brain farts unfortunately....

Other links relevent to this post -

Doggie Expo from 2007:

Doggie Expo from 2006:

Doggie Expo from 2005:

GPAC Dog Carnival in 2006:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

President's Choice has gone too far

I was out grocery shopping last night - and I put a dollop of soft dog food in with my "fit for human consumption" kibble so that to me it seems more palatable to the dogs - I'm sure the dogs would eat whatever I put in front of them because they hoover down anything that hits the floor except for fresh mushrooms and green peppers - and last night I saw on the shelf - "APPLE CRUMBLE: DOG DESSERT". A President's Choice brand product.

I could not believe my eyes. Can you believe it? First we have water for dogs. I couldn't believe that either. But now - DESSERT for DOGS? In addition to the kibble that costs me almost $100.00 per bag - I've got dessert available for them too? My dogs eat some of everything I eat - they eat their kibble - but they also eat table scraps, and I also cook for them - so if they are going to eat apple crumble - they are going to eat REAL apple crumble - NOT apple crumble for dogs. CAN YOU IMAGINE!!

Gail Benoit's Lawyer in the news today

There was a story in the Chronicle Herald today because Gail Benoit - Nova Scotia's most notorious purveyor of sick and dying puppies and dogs - lawyer said he wants all the current charges against Gail and her common law husband Dana Bailey dropped because the SPCA were abusing their power by charging his clients with animal cruelty.

Kelly very kindly already posted the article in a comment on a previous post to this blog at this link here - so I don't have to post the article again - but suffice it so say, I hope no judge takes his proposition for anything but the bullshit that it is - although it IS an interesting idea.

The idea is that the SPCA is trying to punish the Benoit's because the SPCA wants to control WHO is selling dogs and puppies in Nova Scotia - NOT that the Benoit's are selling sick and diseased puppies and dogs.

I would submit that IF the Benoit's were selling lovely, genetically sound healthy, parasite free, home raised mixed breed - or purebred puppies out of their home - the NS SPCA WOULDN'T have any problems with that - because there ARE a lot of people out there doing that - and the NS SPCA isn't attempting to seize their puppies and dogs. However - since at least 2001, from the research that I've personally done - Gail Benoit and Dana Bailey have been in the news and under prosecution for selling diseased and dying puppies and dogs.

It is only because the public doesn't have the tools and doesn't understand that they are buying their companion animals in a good way - that the Benoit's are allowed to continue peddling their damaged (and still barely alive) goods.

In 2001 - Gail Benoit and Dana Bailey were charged with animal cruelty for having emaciated and parasite infested dogs and puppies in their care left outside in the elements in the winter time - and were subsequently convicted of those charges in 2002 - they were banned from owning any animals for 5 years and fined several thousand dollars.

In 2003 however, because of negligent actions of the SPCA - the charges were thrown out by the court and the conviction was overturned and Gail Benoit got off scott free for torturing all the animals that she had up until that point - and she didn't have to pay one red cent.

In October 2003 there was an article in the Chronicle Herald entitled "Pet buyers beware: know your sellers; Dogs bought in recent weeks sick, flea-ridden, women say" - you can go to the Chronicle Herald Online and buy archived articles for $4 and read the article - it talks about a couple people who bought dogs from Gail Benoit that is eerily similar to many other newspaper articles that have come up over the years whenever Gail Benoit has been in the news - except this article is from OVER FOUR YEARS AGO. It seems that the public never learns.

The reason I am writing this all out is to give an online presence to this information - so that when someone types the name "Gail Benoit" into an internet search engine - hopefully this blog post will come up - and this information will be available to them - so that they can see some truth. And hopefully Gail Benoit's career will be shortened a little bit and a few puppies lives will be saved - they will go to someone else's home other than hers. We can only hope.

Other posts on this blog that relate to Gail Benoit:

Province's Most Notorious Puppy Miller/Stealer is Arrested

Gail Benoit - Puppy Miller - in court today

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The newest employee of Dogkisser Creations!

This is a photo from this morning while my Dad and me were cutting up liver - getting ready for next weekend when we'll be selling liver at the GPAC doggy expo at the Halifax Forum - needless to say - Jack seems to be enjoying living in a house where the supply of dehydrated liver seems to be flowing freely!

Unconditional Love

Yesterday Lisa left a comment it's so strange Jack went unhomed for so long when he's behaving so beautifully in my home. Jack was adopted out and returned 3 times, then adopted out to a very bad place for quite a while, and then since he's been back in Halifax I was his second foster home - and I am loving having him here, and I think he should spend the rest of his life here because he is fitting in perfectly.
But I think it's got less to do with his perfect behaviour and more to do with what I think of as unconditional love. It was the same with Daisy - she was adopted out and returned to me 3 times before I adopted her myself. With Jack - the lady who had fostered him for a very long time has been waiting for a phone call from me saying that the "honeymoon phase has ended - and the real Jack has appeared!"

I'd say the real Jack has already appeared shortly after he arrived - he's bitten my Dad twice, me once on my hand, my feet about 3 or 4 times, he barks ALL the way through every meal looking for something from our plates, he's an incorrigible barker in the back yard, he definitely likes to get his own way all the time - but he's also a beautiful little dog who's soul is going to emerge at some point when he starts to feel safe here, and that is going to be something amazing to watch - and I will be honoured to have taken some part in that. I wrote a think called "why rescue dogs are better than pet store dogs" that explains a little bit about the transformation that happens when you bring a dog that's been through a tough time into your house - and I am looking forward to seeing that with Jack.

But back to the unconditional love thing - when I decided to bring him home - I decided that my love for him was going to be unconditional - so it didn't matter if there were going to be tough days - I knew that there were going to be some of those - but he is an alive little being who has good days and bad days, and he has a personality, and our different personality's just have to learn to mesh together - it's as simple as that.

I also have a training philosophy of "distraction, lowered expectations, and lots of liver" - which has seeemded to worke out so far.

Just as long as the dogs' personalities don't clash so much that they want to kill each other (which they don't!) - I think we're going to be a pretty happy famiily.

Toys are good for keeping Buttercup happy
And toys are good for keeping Charlie asleep

Friday, February 15, 2008

Jack goes to the Beauty Parlour at Tailwagrrrs

Today was a very busy day - this is sort of a double duty post, because Jack went and got his first hair cut - and we went to the newly opened K9 Wellness Center - Kathleen Tailwagrrs out on the Bedford Highway. Kathleen Duffy used to be the groomer at Metro Dog Wash, and she's opened her own fabulous new place - and it looks awesome.
This is the front of the store, which is across the street from Clearwater Lobsters - so it's pretty hard to miss - she's going to have adirondack chairs in the summerstime if you want to hang outside while your dog eats the delectable mutt muffins you've just bought for him while you have some water or free coffee that they'll have available - because part of the business is a K9 Cafe and Doggy bakery. Won't that be neat?
This is her main store area - she's of course got a doggy bakery because she's the smart person behind mutt muffins and doggy birthday cakes - so she's also going to be offering "birthday Pawties and other functions" at her store. She's also going to have a doggy day care which is set up at the back of the building - with a separate area for small doggies and bigger dogs.
This is another photo of the boutique - and so is the below photo -
This seating area looks out onto the cafe area - another thing that the store will be offering is a self serve dog wash - on the weekends - and if you adopt a dog from a local rescue like the SPCA or Bide-a-wile or ARC - your first self-serve dog wash is FREE! Isn't that super!
These were 2 of the resident doggy day care customers there today - they seemed to be pretty happy to be there! Lots going on!

So now we get to Jack's haircut photos - the transformation was beautiful - I'll just let the photos tell the story....

Didn't he turn out beautifully? He's such a handsome boy now!
You put him in a room of dogs and he just looks like a normal little llasa apso! Yea!
These are some shots from the bed tonight - he loves love, that's for sure...

Daisy is looking like she's been caught in the act of something....
This is one of Jack's tricks we've discovered - he'll stand up looking for treats. It's pretty cute!
So this is out on our walk tonight - I've bought him a matching leash to Buttercup's and made a matching end - and I put a COAT on him. #1 - I don't think he's ever had a coat on before because he kept shaking - like as if he had water on him, shaking. And he also wouldn't move. I think he hasn't felt bare ground in so long because he had so much hair on his body that he was all freaked out - because he absolutely did NOT want to be outside! Our walk last about 10 minutes. And he pulled us all home. Jack is one FUNNY dog! And I also had to remove his coat about 1/2 way through our 10 minute walk! So much for having a second frou frou dog! Probably the pearl necklaces are out too!