Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Great news, disquieting stuff, yummy stuff, and dog poetry

So here's something that I found quite unbelievable - HRM's animal control reunited a lost dog with his rightful owners. Maybe there are white lights at the end of dark tunnels. Do you remember the dog "Champ" who went missing on August 19th - his parents were from New Brunswick, visiting Dartmouth and the dog got out of a backyard - and his owners looked everywhere but had to return home to New Brunswick without finding their dog - so they posted to Kijiji, called Animal Control, the SPCA - did everything they could to get the word out about their little missing dog. I even put a post on my blog about it - but nothing happened. And I said in my post "if you know of anyone who's recently adopted a dog who looks like this - please tell them about this posting, and show them the photos - her family are missing her like crazy"

Well as it turned out - that is what happened. Here is what the Kijiji posting her owners wrote this week -

We have Champ Home!! Thank You!
Wanted to let those of you who were in contact with us about our lost dog that we have her home!!
Seven weeks ago we were on vacation in Nova Scotia and our dog ran away from Dorothea Drive in Dartmouth. We have been posting ads here on kijiji looking for her and we have heard from so many of you saying you were watching out her for our Champ for us. We got a call yesterday from Animal Services that they had our dog! We do not know a lot of detail but apparentyly someone had claimed her for their own and after an investigation they were able to determine that she was our dog and they picked her up from the home. Thank you so much to all who were helping us, special thank you to who ever made HRM Animal Services aware of our dog being in this person's home and a big Thank You to HRM Animal Services for not closing and giving up on our file. Champ made the trip from Dartmouth back home to Oromocto, NB last night. My family is so happy to have her home as is she!!

Aren't happy endings fabulous!

Now from the fabulous to the sublimely ridiculous - this photo is Janet Chernin's hard fought for and long awaited permit to operate the first and only legal in-home doggy day care in the Halifax Regional Municipality peninsula. The fight that took so long it's got its own category on this blog. Do you see anywhere on here where it says that it's a permit to operate an in home doggy day care?

Where else but from the Halifax Regional Municipality's bureaucrat will you receive a document that tells you what you are by telling you everything THAT YOU ARE NOT.

What Janet Wilma Chernin does NOT OPERATE or HAVE is a Building Permit - her piece of paper is NOT a building permit. It does NOT permit construction activity. NOT more than 12 dogs, outdoor activity PROHIBITED,and then one small line "to operate a pet care facility pursuant to agreement no 01095" - and it's in reference to what this thing actually is - which is an "Occupancy Permit". But talk about the double speak.

This piece of paper really is something that you want to spend four years fighting for, and now get nicely laminated so that you can put it in a frame and hang proudly on your wall, isn't it? So that you can look at it and say - "this is my doggy day care licence" - it says right here that I've got my doggy day care licence from the city - nice and clear - I'm clearly legal now, with no loop holes that the City can jump out of. Thanks HRM!

So maybe now we'll go on to the yummy stuff - Geocities - the free web hosting service from Yahoo is closing down at the end of this month - and I've been so lazy over the years that there's been a few pages on my Charlie loves Halifax site that I've left on Yahoo and not transferred over to my server that I actually pay money for - so the last week or so I've been madly moving the pages over - a couple of the pages are one that I have that are a large amount of kong filling recipes, which maybe some readers might be interested in - that page is at if you are a dog owner who is a partaker in the past time of kong filling.

As well - I have a page that I call "dog poetry" for the more hoy folloy, with a particular focus on Michael Ondaatje - who I am particularly fond of - but there's some other good stuff there too - that page is at - you'll also find these super dog haiku's

Dog Haiku

I love my human;
Thus I perfume myself with
This long-rotten squirrel.

I lie belly-up
In the sunshine, happier than
You ever will be

Today I sniffed
Many dog behinds-I celebrate
By kissing your face.

I sound the alarm!
Paper boy-come to kill us all
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I sound the alarm!
Garbage man-come to kill us all
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I lift my leg and
Whiz on each bush. Hello, Spot-
Sniff this and weep!

How do I love thee?
The ways are numberless as
My hairs on the rug.

My human is home!
I am so ecstatic I have
Made a puddle.

There's more - you should go have a look.

So where shall we go next - to the disquieting stuff? That's what this long thing is to the left. It's an editorial today in the Chronicle Herald from Scott Millar, Chair of the "Advocacy Committee" at the NS SPCA - and it's got - and this is only my opinion, some troubling ideas in it, especially for an organization that is still trying to find it's way. If this is the way the NS SPCA wants to go - I'd say it's going to lose a few people.

I would have no problems with it if it was written by "Scott Millar, law student" or "Scott Millar, animal activist" - but "Scott Millar - chair of the Advocacy Committee, Nova Scotia SPCA" - implicitly says that the NS SPCA agrees with the things he says in the editorial.

I also say that because the president of the SPCA - Sean Kelly, who I have quite a bit of affection for, posted to Twitter today - Advocacy committee at work :)- which gives his words even more sway.

I'm not saying this because I think rodeos are good, or that I think the rodeo should come to Halifax - what I have a problem with is some of the things Mr. Millar said in his editorial, and he was saying those as a representative of the NS SPCA - and as a member of the NS SPCA - he was certainly not representing my views - and I have a problem with that.

I believe Mr. Millar went so far even as to be racist about people from our region when he said -

"Rodeo has no place in Nova Scotia’s cultural heritage. We are a people proud of our attachment to the land and the wilderness, and to our own cultural traditions. Fortunately, our province offers a wealth of opportunities for those seeking entertainment. Want to get some exercise and see wildlife in its natural habitat? Hike Kejimkujik or the Cape Breton Highlands. Want to connect with your cultural history? Visit the Acadian Village or the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic."

Has Mr. Millar moved us all back to the 19th century when everyone in the Maritimes were fishermen? How does he know what my cultural history is? I personally have no idea what my cultural history is, so how would he know? My father is from Ontario and was from a family of farmers - they all still are, and my mother is from Halifax, but she never talked about her past - so fucked if I know what my cultural history is. I could certainly be a poseur, but I'd rather just go walk the dogs.

I also have to say that I love going to the Maritime Fall Fair when it's out at Exhibition Park and seeing the cows and the horses and watching the kids come in from around the province and show their goats and their chickens - and I get to look at the cows that I know are going to have the milk sucked out of them that I am going to drink and see the cows that are going to be killed that I'm going to eat. I think it's neat - and it's real.

I've written about meat and eating and cows and dog meat tons of times here - and there's any many opinions about it as there are people - and none of it is going away and all we can do is to try and lessen the suffering of all of us sentient beings while we are alive a little bit (in my opinion) - and also in my opinion, that's what the NS SPCA is there for - not for vitriole like this editorial today. Sorry, Scott and Sean. Editorials like today aren't going to do too much - I did google the topic though and came up with a pretty good article about the problems with the Calgary Stampede and what other SPCA's across the country are doing - and what they seem to be doing - IS to try and lessen the pain of the animals in the rodeo while they're in town, which sounds pretty sensible to me.

The best article I found was at and it said things like -

"The Calgary Humane Society is responsible for enforcing the Alberta Animal Protection Act at all Stampede events. And while they oppose the event, said Amos, that means making certain there's adequate food, shelter, water, and veterinary care for all the animals involved. This year, there has yet to be an infraction, she said, but that doesn't mean there aren't threats to the animals' lives. "(During races), there's nothing we can really do to prevent any injuries or deaths," said Amos. "We have regular meetings before the Stampede starts and make certain recommendations to minimize stress." This year, the CHS suggested that the tracks used in chuckwagon races be softened to make it easier for horses to run. The Stampede implemented the measure.

Really, how can Calgary get so many things right all the time. It just boggles the mind - and I didn't even do that quote on purpose so that it was Calgary in the quote - it just happened that way.

But now that leads me on to what the SPCA is (should) really be about - and that's the animals - and all this week there's been an exhibit at the Anna Leonowens gallery at 1891 Granville Street in downtown Halifax - and it's a photography show of all of the dogs that have been at the Dartmouth shelter in the last year. It's pretty neat - 2 photography students from NSCAD have been taking the Petfinder photos of the dogs - with a neutral backdrop and studio lighting - to show how beautiful shelter dogs are - and this week they've been showing the photos. Last Friday was the opening, and tomorrow and Saturday are the last days before the show closes.

I called the gallery today because I want to make sure I get there before it closes and the gallery is only open Thursday and Friday from 11am to 5pm and Saturday from 12pm to 4pm.

I cannot believe how long it took me to write this post...


  1. Your Kong recipes are awesome, I'm glad you're moving them over to the new server so they don't get lost. When it was suggested to me on the Yahoo NS Dog group that I try morning Kongs for Cash's seperation aniexity, I googled Kong recipes and your site was the first hit :) Thanks to those recipes Cash no longer destroys things in the house while we're away. :)

  2. I really like Scott Millar's article. While in Calgary, it always bothered me that the Alberta/Calgary SPCAs did not take a stronger stand. If SPCAs don't make a point against animal cruelty, who will?
    And it is cruelty just for human entertainment, the worst kind. And children are watching it - it's family entertainment.
    Rodeo, in my opinion, falls in the same category as Greyhound racing and sport hunting and I am glad Scott Millar showed some backbone and opened his mouth.

  3. Dogkisser, I have to disagree with you on this one - voice4dogs said it well. Exploiting animals for "entertainment" is unacceptable - be it rodeos, circuses, racing & fighting dogs, dog & pony acts - or perhaps even dog and cat shows, to a lesser extent. In a few years (I hope) society may see this as the same kind of barbarism that the Roman coliseums represented. I also don't think Scott Millar said anything "racist" or discriminatory about Nova Scotians - we DO have lots of natural "entertainment" for people to enjoy, and it is nothing to be ashamed of, whether we are fishermen or business tycoons or anything else. And I think the SPCA has a duty to at least bring up these issues to the public to start a discussion, if not make a very firm stand against specific cases of animal cruelty.
    - Brookfield, NS

  4. I guess I have a different take on rodeos - they are a demonstration of skills that cowboys (and girls) required to actually do their job. Are all those skills required today? Not on all ranches, but I'd rather see a skilled hand lassoing a horse quickly than some bumbler causing the horse a lot of stress, etc. (It brings to mind the incredibly idiotic decision by a New Zealand grocery chain to not buy lamb from any farms that use dogs to manage the sheep... 'cause, you know, humans trying to do what the dogs do so effectively is somehow "better" for the sheep).

    Greyhound racing, and sport hunting are not life skill requirements for any lifestyle that I'm aware of.

    And I agree - blasting any event someone sees as "cruel" isn't the way to attempt to change anyone's mind or make it safer for animals.

    There are more dogs and cats killed by abusive owners in one year in Canada than horses or cattle killed at a rodeo.

  5. I have a thing or two to say .... sheesh when do I not
    First, I am deligthed to see this dog reunited with his family ...
    Secondly ... about the rodeo thing.... Actually if you look at our 'eastern traditions' many from the maritimes have gone out west to work up a nest egg long before the oil rigs and being a cowboy was all part and parcel.
    Back in the day when horses were used instead of tractors, it was quite common for farmers like my grandfather to bring in wild horses by train, break them for farming and then sell them at the end of the summer to other farmers.
    At the end of the day .... where we have been only highlights where we really should be heading.
    in other words .... just because something has always been done is no excuse for continuing .... and that is as true for the animals as it is for women's rights or any other issue.
    and last but not least .... thanks for mentioning Meagan and Aidas' show ... they are SO kind and SO talented ... did you know that Miss Ruby was their first foster: )))

  6. Anonymous11:32 AM

    Joan check out an organization called SHARK to see some of the things rodeos do and the campaign that they have mounted to close them down and in my opinion the sooner the better.

  7. Anonymous12:07 PM

    I can understand how people who don't like animals would approve of rodeos but I can not comprehend someone choosing to be concerned about one type of animal(pets) and enjoy other animals being tortured in the name of entertainment.

  8. Coming from horse world I too have something to say about Scott Millar's "Opinion" as chair of the Advocacy Committee for the SPCA.

    I think his article was irresponsible. He attacked Rodeo in general. There are a lot of aspects of Rodeo that are not cruel and promote healthy relationships with horses and animals.
    Where is the line is the question? Yes, perhaps Chuck Wagon racing should be under question etc. but should Western Equitation? It is part of most rodeos. A lot of 4h kids learn a lot about appropriate and humane animal care through rodeo clubs etc.

    When fox hunting became an issue here in Nova Scotia we created Mock Hunts. The sport changed for the better. It doesnt mean injuries still dont occur even with the best of care taken.

    Should we stop Flyball or Agility or even collaring and leashing our dogs. Is it humane?

    When I saddle a horse and put a bit in its mouth and squeeze my legs to its sides to "ask" it to move forward - is this stressful or cruel to the animal?

    I had a mare who loved to cross country. Seriously, it seemed like my only part in it was sitting calmly for the ride and pointing her in the right direction. She loved flying over the obstacles and fences. Yet I knew horses who didnt have the "heart" for it yet owners who "pushed" them beyond their comfort zones etc. Where is the line and what is cruel?

    Commonsense needs to prevail. Pushing animals to the limit using means of cattle prods and spurs etc. is cruel in my books. Appropriate use of humane methods for an animal that is bred from a bucking line is not. People use many ways to entice their dogs to run faster, harder, jump higher, longer and some dogs love it. I have seen horses who love to buck. Seriously! I knew a horse called Boomer who seriously lived up to his name with his ears and eyes showing the fire of his spirit. He loved it! He did it free in the fields for fun! Flank straps used appropriately and in a humane way are aids. Is a collar an aid? A halti an aid? Where is the line?

    You tell me?

    This article was written poorly and from what I consider an uneducated point of view.

    BTW not all Nova Scotians were born from a line of drawers of water and huers of wood! Some would consider some of our "pioneer" skills rather barbaric today, also.

    If we are going to oppose something lets do it from a highly educated and well balanced point of view.


  9. Where is the line is a great question. For me, the line is whenever an animal is treated without empathy and respect, because human gain of money and glory is more important. And that includes agility and dog shows as well. And nose halters for dogs. There are great agility trainers and competitors and there are some where it is only the human who benefits. There are some dogs that are okay with a nose halter and many, many more that are not. I am not horse savvy, but I bet that there are horses that love bucking, but there are probably many others that are forced to buck and that's they life till they aren't useful any longer.

    H4 kids and junior handlers learn skills, but they also learn that animals can be used for any purpose a human desires, and can be forced against its will to perform, and be discarded and exchanged for a "better" one if they are not. That goes for hunting dogs, and brood bitches and wolves in a zoo and Schutzhund competitors.

    There is a difference between care and caring. I'd like to see people teach the next generation to have an interest in each and every animal they are involved with and channel what it has aptitude for. If it's bucking, that's fine; or racing or agility or flyball. But if the animal has to be "made to perform" using methods or equipment that continuously cause stress and pain; if the human guardian doesn't listen to the animal and doesn't care what the fallout is, then that's a problem.

    I like siskando's comment about ancient Roman spectacles. Do we really still need stuff like that 2000 years later just because it's tradition?

  10. My original point wasn't really whether rodeo was wrong or right - it was whether Scott Millar's thoughts - and those thoughts in particular - should also be the thoughts of the Nova Scotia SPCA. He said some pretty controversial things in my opinion - and for an organization that turns away tens, maybe even hundreds of cats and dogs EVERY DAY at their "shelters" across our province - it seems to me that speaking out against a rodeo - which has animals in it that the Nova Scotia SPCA doesn't even have jurisdiction over - remember that they gave up farm animals last year and now the Department of Agriculture oversees complaints about farm animals - seems to me to be spreading themselves a bit thin.

    They should be focusing themselves on talking about the things that they can actually be doing things about - like advocating for the lost and abandoned dogs and cats here in Nova Scotia who are turned away every day by their own organization.

    THAT'S the main problem I had with Mr. Millar's editorial. The fact that it was very highly personally opinionated - which really should never been done by a person representing a professionally run organization - is just more fuel for my fire, and the inflammatory ideas of what he was talking about - that rodeo people abuse their animals (without actually saying anything provable, but just intimating) - was totally over the top.

    The Nova Scotia SPCA really has to figure out where it wants to go and what it wants to be. Does it want to be an advocacy organization teaching people about the horrible things like circuses and shark fishing and rodeo's? Or does it want to save abandoned and homeless dogs and cats in Nova Scotia - and stop turning away animals at it's doors everyday like it's doing now (and it CAN do that by working with municipalities and getting them to give them money with contracts - but that's another post, not this comment) - and thus becoming open admission shelters instead of the 1/2 way sort of semi something's they are now - or should they just pack up and let someone else come in and take over because they aren't doing anything really very well.

    Who knows what will happen - what I can say is that right now, in my opinion - the row they are hoeing is still not being laid very fruitfully.

  11. Anonymous2:03 PM

    "There is a difference between care and caring".

    I love that quote. If only we could legislate kindess.

    I think the SPCA should comment on all aspects of animal care, but I agree that the #1, #1, #1 thing that we all have to do right now is to finally look the cat crisis in the face and work towards a solution. So MANY dying, so MANY suffering...:(.

    We've made some inroads with the great maritime feral cat TNR rescuers who have been working (by the sweat of their brows and pocketbooks) but this situation needs some legislation and funding.

  12. Anonymous4:13 PM

    It's SPCA not SPCD&C.They are quite capable of having(and should) at least opinions (if not programs today) on the welfare of all animals.

  13. Joan, I absolutely agree with you that pointing a finger when there is work to be done in one's own back yard is an issue.
    I am glad you clarified that cause I don't have the inside scoop and maybe some of your other readers don't either.
    If it is either caring for countless unwanted animals in ones own community or taking a stand against possible animal cruelty generally, the former should indeed take precedence. In my ideal world, an SPCA would do both.

  14. Joan,

    Thanks for your appropriate focus on this article. You are right in regards to your concerns about the focus of the NS SPCA and I fully join you in these concerns.