Thursday, April 30, 2009

Liscombe Lodge - Going to the dogs

I got an email from Lisa Dahr who is one of the organizers of this event that's going on at Liscombe Lodge the weekend of June 5th - and it looks like it's going to be a really fun event.

It's called "Going to the dogs", and for a mere $215 you'll get to go hang out with other like minded dog owners and learn about dog nutrition from the owner of Katie's Natural Organic Bakery, agility from Lisa, dog first aid from Darlene Pettipas - and there'll also be fun games to participate in with your dogs.

So it's going to be a great weekend of bonding with your dogs and meeting other dog owners who are just as committed to living a dog friendly lifestyle as you are - all surrounded in a beautiful environment - eating great food.

It sounds like a really great time to me - while supporting local businesses. To sign up, all you need to do is go to

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Getting packed to go to Washington

So I'm getting ready to go to the No Kill Conference in Washington Friday morning - the conference starts on Saturday and goes until Sunday afternoon, to say I'm excited is an understatement.

This is what the website says about the conference -

The No Kill Advocacy Center is teaming up with the Animal Law program at George Washington University Law School to bring together the nation’s most successful shelter directors and the nation’s top animal lawyers. They will help you create a No Kill community and teach you how to use the legal system to save the lives of animals.

Learn from animal control/shelter directors who are now saving over 90% of all animals using the building blocks to No Kill success—programs and services that have had results in both urban and rural communities—to increase adoptions, reduce length of stay, increase redemption rates, rehabilitate animals, and much, much more.

Learn from animal law experts who have challenged our legal system to help animals: Whether it’s drafting model laws, fighting breed specific legislation, eliminating the gas chamber, filing impact legislation, or protecting condemned dogs, learn how to use the legal system to save the lives of animals.

Learn from activists fighting entrenched and regressive shelters in their own community as they show you how to launch successful campaigns for reform.

Some of the sponsors are - Petfinder, Best Friends Animal Society, No Kill Advocacy Centre, Animal Farm Foundation, Alley Cat Allies, George Washington University Law School, Maddies Fund - plus more.

The website for the conference is at

As you can see from the photo - I'm taking down a pretty empty suitcase so that I can bring it back full - of literature and good stuff - although I'm taking down my good friend's clickerleash and literature - I'm going to wear it around so that everyone there can ask me - "what is that that you're wearing?" - and I can reply, this is a Nova Scotian invention that was voted one of the 10 best new dog inventions and was in a gift basket that went to the Obama's for their new puppy - would you like some information about it? haha! And people will go gaa gaa about it once they learn what it's all about.

So exciting - we'll see what happens! Luckily I'll also have Netta Armitage coming with me too - because I get lost going to Dartmouth - so going to another country? I just cannot picture it.

Unite for Hunger and Hope

A few weeks ago I joined a blogger community, and one of the neat things was that you can join up with 1000's of other bloggers around the world - and on the same day, write a blog post about the same thing.

So even though we may have blogs about very divergent topics - we can all give our own particular voices about important ideas and spread the word about things that can change the world - maybe in one day, and April 29th bloggers from around the world are writing about world hunger - we're all "uniting for hunger and hope"

I thought I'd write about a website I found this week after someone forwarded me a cute video of "smiling dogs" that was about the dogs at the Best friends Sanctuary in Utah - the video is at

I'm always a person to follow backlinks, so I went to and saw that it's a website for selling bracelets to raise money for different charities - one for animal cruelty - and that money goes to Best Friend's - but they also have a section for ending world hunger.

That section of the website is at and helps the organization "The Hunger Project" - which their website says "empowers people to end their own hunger" - which sounds pretty good to me. So beautify yourself, and end world hunger. And keep the economy moving at the same time. Its all good.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Animal League Defence Fund Free Book and website

I found the exceptionally awesome website Animal League Defence League website yesterday, although I think I have probably been there before.

Right now they have a book that you can download for free - it's called "Animal Protection Laws of the United States of America and Canada" - I downloaded it and it's huge - like 3,400 pages or something ridiculous like that, and it literally has every animal protection law of every State and province, and what's neat about it is that it sets the same perameters for every area - like whether the province or state has a dogfighting law or bsl or whatever.

Another SUPER interesting thing there is a report - 2008 CANADIAN ANIMAL PROTECTION LAWS RANKINGS - a report that ranks our Canadian provinces from best to worst in terms of our animal protection laws. The best is Manitoba and the worst is Ontario - what a surprise, eh? What's also surprising is that Nova Scotia is like third. With the paltry sentences given out lately by our court system - one would have thought that our animal cruelty laws would have been pretty lax. I guess compared to American law, we're pretty shitty - but compared to Canadian provinces - we're not too bad - but click on the report - it's pretty neat.

If you're interested in animal law though - you should go check out the site - there's just a ton of stuff there. All killer - no filler, as they say.

Stuff going on

I thought I'd write a post about things coming up that are going on before I go away -

Sonya's cat rescue (Healing Animal SCARS) is having an adoptathon this weekend - so if you've been thinking about bringing a new cat into your life - now's the time to do it - here's her blurb -

Please come check out our lovely kitties on May 2 & 3 anytime from 9am to 8pm. We are located at 143 Briarwood Drive in Eastern Passage. If you fall in love with one of our cats or kittens, we will complete an adoption application on the spot!

Call Sonya at 469-MEOW (that's 469-6369) for more details.
You can see our cats online at

Also this weekend - Tailwaggrrs out in Bedford is having their 1st Annual Fundraiser and BBQ for people AND their Dogs! May 3rd (Rain or Shine) at K9 Wellness Centre located at 746 Bedford Highway. Garage Sale starts at 10am, BBQ starts at 12 noon. Have a dog, shop for used animal stuff and donate your old stuff. Proceeds help support local shelters. Unfortunately... cats are also welcome.

May 9th the NS SPCA is holding a bowling tournament at the Fairlanes Bowling Alley at the Halifax Shopping Centre from 11am to 3pm. Round up your friends and register a team of up to 5 people, and raise pledges to go to the SPCA Cinderalla Fund to aid badly injured animals. You can download registration forms at

May 30th the NS SPCA is going to hold a Town Hall session about feral cats - here's some information about it -

8:30AM-12:00PM, Saint Mary's University, Sobey Building, Room 265, 903 Robie Street, Halifax. Volunteers, advocates, concerned residents, municipal animal services staff, and veterinarians from across the province are invited to this meeting facilitated by the Nova Scotia SPCA to discuss approaches for managing and assisting stray and feral cat populations. The meeting will provide a forum for generating new collaborations and sharing information. You can download the meeting notice with all the relevant information here -

June 21st is going to be the date for this year's Metro Dartmouth SPCA's dog jog at Point Pleasant Park - so keep that date open - I don't have any other details than that at this moment - so when I find out more, I'll post more.

At the end of June - June 28th to be exact - there's going to be a fund raiser for Pierre's Alley Cats - Ian Foster is going to be performing at Passage Ale House in Fisherman's Cove, Eastern Passage. Admission is $8. You can go to their Facebook group for more information and to stay in touch until it's closer to performance time.

Annoying comments

I don't know why I let people's annoying comments bother me. But for some reason, I do.

This morning, at 1:39am I got this comment - so it was in my inbox when I got up this morning - (it was a comment left on my post "Today's NS SPCA AGM - 2009")

Nice that the NS SPCA Is in such great shape.... too bad the self congratulation got in the way of noticing that April 26 was a day of rallies across Canada to Stop Animal Cruelty - everywhere but Nova Scotia, apparently!
Hard to believe that such fervent animal advocates missed the chance to put their mouths where their money comes from - i.e., out in public!

I clicked on the link and it came up to a petition that I didn't understand how it had anything to do with Saturday's AGM, or the NS SPCA, and I had to get ready to go to work - so I didn't approve the comment. The comment just seemed to be argumentative - and was left at the same time as another anonmymous comment as a really inflammatory comment about a current case going through the legal system that I have chosen not to give any space to on this blog - so I figured that the same person had left both comments - and I didn't want to have anything to do with anybody leaving their shit nuggets on my blog just to give a rise.

And I guess they were successful - because when I got home from work - there was another anonymous commment left on the blog -

Joan, I posted about the national rally on Sunday and you did not put it up. I can see why, because it's a disgrace that Nova Scotia didn't participate. It was a huge success in Calgary and other cities and all sorts of media stories. It would have brought tons of publicity here. What was the problem do you suppose??

It really blows me away how some posters feel such a sense of entitlement when they come to my blog and expect me to instantaneously jump and post whatever vitriole they want to post.

Could it have occurred to this person that I work for my living and don't have time to approve comments through the day? Or that I have a life and don't check my emails for perhaps HOURS at a time?

So I went and checked out the veracity of the commenters second post to see how many other cities and provinces did actually have wildly successful national rallies on Sunday and find out why Nova Scotia is such a disgrace to the country - and why the NS SPCA especially is so disgraceful for not organizing such a powerful and moving and life changing event.

And here is what I found.

There is not actually a Facebook group for the event, but within a Facebook group - there is a discussion topic for the event. WOW.

These are the cities that participated -

Sun Apr 26th at 2:30 PM!

So from that we can surmise that cities like Toronto, Victoria, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal - and also Halifax - did NOT participate.

Shame on us. Shame, shame, shame.

Anonymous commenter - I hope you also went to dog blogs in Toronto, Victoria, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, etc., etc., etc., and chastized the dog owners in those cities as well for being the only places in Canada for not holding wildly successful rally's to end animal cruelty that were happening everywhere else in Canada on April 26th.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

The beautiful dogs of Swan Crescent

Today I went to visit my friend Amy and a couple of her dogs were away at an agility meet, but a couple of her dogs were home, so I got to take a few pictures of them - they are the dogs that you'll see peppered through the soon to be famous website of the already famous device the clicker leash - I'll just put these photos here for us all to enjoy.... (this is Magic the dog)

Today's NS SPCA AGM - 2009

Meet the new President of the Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty - Sean Kelly. The new Vice President is Kat Horne, the secretary is Mary Hill, and they also announced that an Executive Director has been hired and his name is Todd Muelek - and his credentials sounded very impressive.

Today's Annual General Meeting was an AGM like no other - and as each person rose to speak they made note of it. Every body - from Board members to voting members of the Society said that the things they were talking about, the give and take of the conversation - would not have been said at the AGM last year.
Board Member and Treasurer Jim Kochanoff said that in his 4 years on the Board that today's presentation and meeting at the AGM was the most organized and professional that he's seen and he was really impressed. Bert Vissers who is the representative on the Board from the Department of Natural Resources echoed those comments and said that compared to previous years the past 12 months work of the Board and the transparency that has come to the Society has been remarkable.
One of the really neat things they did this year was the way they included all the Board members - it wasn't just the President nattering on and on up at the front of the room - they had every Board member stand at the front and say what it was they were most proud of that the Society - and they in particular - had accomplished in the last 12 months. And that was really interesting because it really showed that there are a lot of people now coming to the table and bringing their own views, ideas, and work to getting the job done - and also that there are a lot of people who have their own finished and partially finished projects to brag about. Which is fantastic. Previously the Society was held by the balls by a very few people - and now the membership can really see that volunteerism is really being embraced by the people at the top - that they have really embraced the transparency that had only been talked about previously.
Mary Hill gave a really good and thorough power point presentation of all the great things that have been accomplished in the last year, and I took photos of a couple of the slides that interested me the most.
Their plans for the next year are interesting - to increase their cat adoption rates - which are currently only at about 45% province wide, which they think is pretty bad. I think that in previous years they didn't even know that it was that bad because they didn't have standardized reporting across the province - so now that they know how bad they're doing - now they're going to actually do something about it!

Another interesting thing Mary said at this point was about animal cruelty reporting - that in New Brunswick about 6,000 calls are put in to the NB SPCA about cruelty complaints whereas here in Nova Scotia the NS SPCA only gets about 1,200 calls. Why are there so few people calling in about animal cruelty? Why are people under reporting animal cruelty in our province? Is it because there's less people treating animals cruelly? Or is there something else going on. That is something we need to figure out.

As well - in the next year the NS SPCA is going to need to deal with (I'd imagine happily!) spending the $100,000 that's been given to them by the department of Agriculture to enforce the new animal cruelty and prevention act, and the regulations within it - which will be very exciting.

The next 3 slides are about the Metro Dartmouth shelter - and if you haven't been there lately - if you go there you are going to be absolutely blown away - it has moved from the 19th century to the 22nd century. The photo below is a picture taken INSIDE the shelter.
They have created an adoption centre where you can meet the cats that is next to the reception area - that used to be where all the cats were kept - remember how you used to have the reception area, then to the left was the cat room you had to go through to get to the dogs? Well - that is all gone. It is unbelievable. It is so beautiful. I didn't get all the names of the people responsible for this transition - but when I do - I'll post it - they deserve a lot of recognition.
This is a slide of one shot of the room - and on that note - at the AGM they announced that the Dartmouth Metro Shelter is going to have an Open House to celebrate their newly renovated and improved operation.

It's going to happen Saturday May 23rd from 12-2pm at 5 Scarfe Court in Burnside. There's going to be prizes and giveaways - and if you want to see a building that's been transformed - you should go check it out. It is a symbol of how the NS SPCA has transformed itself in the last year.

One interesting question was asked that I thought I'd follow up here - the question of who the Board answers to - because in previous years that was the problem - there was no one that the Board answered to, and they could do whatever they wanted - appointing new Board members, not having to, seemingly have elections - or do anything that the membership wanted them to do. And that was one of the things that Bill 186 changed - the minister of Agriculture now has the power to dismiss the Board of Directors of the NS SPCA - previously, he did not have that power - but with the new Act - he now has that power. So the Board now DOES have to answer to the Minister. So if the last several years pain did anything - at least it did that - it gave the Board someone that it now has to answer to - and that's the Minister of Agriculture. It can still blow off the Compliance officer if it really wants to - but it can no longer blow off the Minister of Agriculture.

Today's AGM was like no other - everybody in that room could feel it. All the things that people have been saying for the last year has finally manifested itself. Good things are happening and it can now NOT be stopped. Like Will-I-Am says - "It's a New Day". It certainly is - and thanks to the new Board - it's going to continue on now - and nothing can stop them. So many lives are going to be saved.

And to save a couple things for the last - Mel Neville announced that the C02 machine at the Cape Breton SPCA has been destroyed - they are now killing animals by other means. And he actually seemed happy about it. And he seemed happy to be at the meeting today too. Which was lovely to see. It looked like he felt he was among people who liked him. Which he was.

I also wanted to comment about the fact that no one showed up who had been threatening to show up and be combative and provoke questions to the Board. It's so interesting how people can be so bullyish and spread so much hatred on the internet and say they have so much support and do so much on the computer and then in the real world, in real time out there where people actually exist - nothing ever happens, no one ever shows up - nothing ever sees the light of day. That to me says so much. Internet websites and blogs mean nothing - and the things they say mean absolutely nothing if you're not willing to show up in person in your human form with your human face and actually do something about all the things your shouting about in your facebook groups and anonymous commenting and your silly hateful blogs. Period.

I was there. Lots of people were there. Where were all of you?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Some Family Eye Candy & Twitter

I'm still trying to figure out Twitter - I figured out today how to upload photos - I uploaded this beauty of Jackie and titled it "waiting for fun to happen" or something like that. It's through a utility called "Twitpic" and you can also upload photos through your phone which is dead easy - which is how I think I'll mostly do it which will be pretty neat - because I have hardly used the camera on my phone at all until now. Today I started following CNN and Deepak Chopra and magically I got like 15 new followers on my Twitterer - so that was weird - this movement works in ways that still confuses me, why would they want to follow a dog owner in Eastern Canada?
The following photos are some nice shots I got of the dogs tonight. Buttercup is feeling pretty needy because of all the non dog-including stuff I've been going to lately. I am suffering because of it too, but I won't tell her that.
I had a full on anxiety attack last night thinking about going away for 4 days next week when I go to Washington. I am having visions of coming back from there and coming out of the exit at the airport and seeing my Dad's face and his eyes big as saucers and the first thing out of my mouth - "what's happened to Buttercup?" - and something's happened and she's died while I've been gone.
I come by my family name "Catastrophe Sinden" quite honestly.
These are nice photos though, we had a good time tonight.
Buttercup wants to go to bed now though, so I better heed her call.

I think probably Deepak Chopra maybe likes dogs

So I went to see Deepak Chopra last night. There were just a ton of people there - 100's of people. And with tickets ranging from $39 to $150 - I think they made a good amount of money. So that's good too - they even sold out of books. Too bad they weren't selling t-shirts, because I would've bought a t-shirt. At the end they only had books left that he's recently written about Jesus Christ being enlightened - and that doesn't really appeal to me - because I don't really care about Jesus Christ at this point in my life - so I didn't buy one of those books, and I've read all his earlier stuff - so I wish I could've bought a t-shirt instead. For all you literal thinkers out there with no sense of humour (and I seem to have a lot of readers out there who have that identity, please note the irony).
His talk though was very good - I am like a lot of people and have heard him speak on tv - on pbs and in interviews - but it was neat to see him live. He said that if we can get in touch with our soul we can solve all the problems in the world - literally. That is quite a concept.

I hope that no one there last night was going in blind - never having heard of him or any of his philosophies before because if they did - it would have been like going to fellini movie and not knowing anything about his genre of movies. So you've got to "get" him to like him - his whole thing about us not existing except at the neuro molecular level and the universe would only exist as a vibration if we weren't here to experience it.

He's got some really good hooks though once you get beyond that - and he gave a quote from when he was at a conference with the Dalai Lama which was awesome. He said the Dalai Lama said that -

"The difference between dogs and humans is that if you kick a dog and you kick a human - when you see the dog in 10 years - the dog will bite you - but he won't have spent the last 10 years planning out how he was going to do it."

That is so true! haha! Deepak Chopra also said that freedom comes from choiceless awareness - just being. And that is also very true.

I should add that there were two local instructors there who are certified to teach what Deepak Chopra teaches and I just went and googled them to see if I could find out any information or contact information for them, and I did.

The first one is "Stephen Joyce" - and he owns the "Amana Institute" - his website is at

The second person Mr. Chopra had stand up was a woman named Karen Whynott - and her information is on the Chopra website at

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In home doggy day cares are legal on Oak Street in Halifax!

(Janet sharing the good news tonight)
So tonight at Regional Council it was just about the last step for Janet Chernin's almost 4 year trip to have her in home doggy day care after her former competitor - ...lodged a "query" on June 28, 2005 about the legality of her in home occupation. Finally the Planning department recommended Regional Council approve a pet care facility on Oak Street.

(Maximo looking beautiful - too bad I didn't have my nice camera with me)
who could have known at the time that her lodging that query would start a process that would actually LEGALIZE Janet's business - which is actually a GOOD thing.

Today is a great day for Janet - a victorious day - today she becomes the ONLY LEGAL in home doggy day care on the peninsula of the Halifax Regional Municipality - and will be the ONLY LEGAL in home doggy day care until another business applies on a site specific basis like Janet has done. And it's a long process.

So congratulations to Janet - it's been a long hard fought fight - and you have won. You are the winner of this fight. Savour it.

My posts about in home doggy day cares

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Crunch Time for the Canine Casbah

This is an email sent from Janet Chernin, owner of the Canine Casbah - I've talked about her endeavours here before - the links are at the end of the post -

For those of you that can attend the (final) Public Hearing concerning my business, the Canine Casbah on Tuesday, April 21st at City Hall – 6pm. I would like to thank you and request that if at all possible you speak to Council and the Mayor as to why you feel in home dog day care / boarding is a needed service that should be allowed as an in home occupation on the Peninsula.

For those of you that cannot attend (yet another) Public Hearing – I say thank you for your continued support over the years and request that you write a short missive to Council expressing your views at – My case number is 01095.

I am sure most here are aware that it is crunch time - only almost 4 years to get here and countless hours of worry and stress let alone 20 grand spent even though I have a letter from Mayor Peter Kelly thanking me for being a small business in HRM!
Why do we need YET another Public Hearing? Why does Regional Council have to 'sign off' on this when the Peninsula Community Councilors are all in favor for this to be under developement agreement for the Canine Casbah? Why should folk who want a small in home day care/ boarding situation for their companion animals have to travel off the Peninsula to access this type of service?

Why do the city planners and legal dept. keep harping about NOISE - when in 13 years of operation I have never been cited for noise under either noise bylaw of HRM?
I really need your help and the dogs need your help too.

If they deny my business then I will be on WELFARE - how many jobs do you think I could get at 54 years of age and during this recession?!

Please come out and demand your right to choose the type of care you want for your dog(s).

Yours in dogs,
Janet and the Canine Casbah Crew: Ursa, Pickle, Sassy & Maximo and all my customers who are to me a part of my life!

Here are all my posts about doggy day cares

Sanctuaries aren't so bad after all

Some dog people think that life in a sanctuary is worse than death for dogs. And the Vick dogs are proving things wrong once again to the animal advocate world. There's a video on the Best Friend's You Tube channel that's amazing - I've pasted it below - and it shows the Vick dogs who are at the Sanctuary in Utah - and a lot of them are destined to spend the rest of their lives there - actually having dog on dog fun - and out of cage, running around - just ballistically humungous loving FUN.

I wouldn't call what's in this video worse than death, would you?

Diane Jessup - for some reason is one of the USA's most respected pit bull advocates and trainers and who I dislike on many levels - she thinks it's okay to chain out dogs - which I won't get into here - has said on another blog -

"I would MUCH rather see that little pup euthanized then placed at the well funded “collector” (Best Friends/Dogtown) where it would rot, probably forever, in a pointless, ownerless, souless life like the poor Vick dogs. That might be fine for some generic dogs, but an American pit bull needs hard exercise, an owner and a life. Not life long boarding. And not by people so ignorant they think a dog who plays hard with a boomer ball has “PTSD” for gawd’s sake!"

That is just gross as far as I'm concerned.

Here's the video -

Here are all my posts about Best Friends Sanctuary

Here are all my posts about the Vick Dogs

Silvia Jay's Seminar was super!

So yesterday's seminar with Silvia was super! There were like 45 people there and we all learned tons of stuff - and I think a lot of people were surprised by how funny Silvia is - she is a very funny and entertaining speaker, so the whole day was interesting and none of it was boring or slow as far as I was concerned - we started at 9am and the seminar went right until 6pm and I think people would have stayed longer except we were being kicked out of the room.
There were lots of different types of dog owners there - from puppy owners to dog trainers, so there were lots of questions for Silvia to answer, and I don't think she disappointed anyone and I'm sure everyone took something different from the day - but I think that we all learned that punitive training is so unnecessary today - "our dogs will want nothing more than to be away from us if we punish them" - we want them to connect to us voluntarily, and that when we live with them - training happens all the time - and all the behaviours that we want them to do - all we have to do is wait for those behaviours to happen, label them and then reinforce them - and after awhile - we'll have happy, well trained, super dogs. All we ever need to do is redirect - never punish. That's the kind of dog training world I personally want to live in, that's for sure. And that's the world I think that I was learning about yesterday - and I hope everyone else there was getting that too.

We also did a bit of fundraising - we sold tickets on this basket which was worth almost $200 - we sold tickets for one dollar each and this lucky lady won it! We raised $203 from this basket and we also did a 50/50 draw and Mary Haley - who just happens to be from the Antigonish SPCA won that - and she got $73 for that! Proceeds went to the local Airedale rescue for veterinary bills for 3 recent airedales that were rescued from a puppy mill - so it will be put to good use.

While the day was going on - there was also a reunion happening outside - this dog was rescued several years ago by the Antigonish SPCA and adopted here to Halifax - her name is Girlfriend - and Mary and Betty hadn't seen the dog since she'd been adopted
But yesterday they got to meet the dog for the first time since her rescue - the last time they saw her she didn't have any fur at all - so it was great to see her looking so beautiful and healthy.
This is what rescue is about in the long run - dogs living long and healthy lives - and what the front line workers like Mary and Betty don't get to see too often - so it was great for them to meet Girlfriend and her Mom - and to see the fruits of their labour. Betty and Mary certainly did appreciate the meeting I think. So it was a great day all around.