Sunday, January 31, 2010

Please amuse yourselves for a few days

So I am very happy to say that I went out yesterday and bought myself a totally tricked out I-phone.

I've had my head down ever since playing with it and I'll probably be equally obsessed with it for the next couple days anyway. In fact I'm writing this post on it now! Yea!

I'm sure eceryone will be able to keep themselves otherwise occupied until I come up for air on a couple of days.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Garbage on the Internet

I have google alerts set up for just about every phrase that I can think of. It's because I'm lazy, I don't feel like surfing the internet anymore - I want the internet to arrive in my inbox now, I don't want to have to go look for it anymore.

Tonight I was sent the following blog post through a google alert - I'm not going to say what it's about, or comment on it, but it's a zinger - you're going to have to click on it and go to it and read it. The misinformation, bullshit, garbage, and crap that is written there has to be seen to be believed.

I truly hope that tomorrow will finally bring some closure to the zoo that that that story has become. For everyone that the tentacles that the octopus that sorry, sad debacle has enveloped. Truly ridiculous.

Video: HRM City Council Talks about Homeward Bound City Pound

Here is the video from Tuesday night's City Council Meeting where they talked about the new sheltering contract with Homeward Bound City Pound. Check back in 6 months to see what you think about this video.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A couple articles about trail use

I thought I'd post these 2 letters to the Editor in the Chronicle Herald that have been in the paper in the last couple of weeks. I've been trying to write a letter in response to this latest letter - that was in the paper last weekend - because it's so ridiculous. This guy is obviously an ATV rider himself. He only comes upon an ATV rider an average of "2 every hour" - and there's dog poop everywhere. What about other kinds of litter, or rivets in the road from the tires of the ATV's? everything that goes into the woods has an impact. I am of course not apologizing for the people that don't pick up - but once again, just because you can assign a demographic to the litter doesn't mean you can ban them from that area. It is not logical. So I've been trying to write a letter, but since I've been sick, I haven't gotten around to it - but if anyone else feels so moved - they should go ahead - it's

Article about HRM Shelter changing hands

I am totally sick this week. I have got the worst cold. My father's hovering over me saying "are you sure you don't have H1N1? What are the symptoms for pneumonia?" I am really sick. I don't think I've been this sick for 10 years. I can't breathe, my lungs are like 2 over-inflated balloons, I am so sick I can hardly smoke - which for those who no know me - is a big deal.

So blog posting is tenuous. But last night HRM City Council passed the motion to approve Homeward Bound City Pound as the new shelter for the city. And they did it with a complete love in before the vote. I dvr'd it and watched it tonight. If I'm feeling better I may tape it and put it on you-tube so that people can watch it so that in 6 months when things are going down the tubes and everyone's complaining about how bad things have gotten we can look back and say - "this is how much the city loved them at the beginning".

Some of the questions the councillors raised at council last night were - "what was their no kill policy" - and the answer was - "they do have one, and they will have an animal behaviourist on staff" - which is a good thing. David Hendsbee was of course a proper arsehole and brought up Brindi and said that he hoped this would help Brindi to be free soon - which had nothing to do with anything - and caused his microphone to be turned off immediately. He also brought up the question though of long term incarceration plans for dogs - and the new company does have one - they will be kept off-site in the country in a "fairy placed where they will be able to run and scamp and live free and happy and fancy free". So because of all of this - the motion was passed unanimously.

Today, Halifax news net published an article that was quite interesting -

Animal shelter to change hands

Halifax Regional Municipality will have a new pound starting April 1.

HRM council last night approved the transfer of its animal shelter contract to the Homeward Bound City Pound from the Nova Scotia SPCA.

The SPCA has held the contract, which is renewed each year, for about a decade. In a report presented to council, municipal staff said, “The SPCA did not clearly identify the costs and revenues associated with adopted animals.” The Homeward Bound group had a better overall proposal, the report said.

“The people involved have 20-plus years in the animal industry,” said police Supt. William Moore, who authored the report.

In a press release issued Wednesday, says its vision is to change the way people think about the 'city pound' by providing exceptional animal care and a service that the citizens of HRM will admire and respect. Providing quality care for all animals that are brought in by HRM Animal Services is a top priority for HBCP.

HBCP is a new organization which brings together over 60 years of combined experience in animal care. In addition, HBCP has arranged for veterinary services with experienced and respected veterinarians in the HRM.

The new facility has been carefully designed and staffed to ensure that all animals in the care of HBCP are provided with the best care.

HBCP will only be involved with animals brought in by HRM Animal Services Officers via their enforcement of the A-300 bylaw to the pound which will be located in Burnside. The Burnside location will provide easy access for Animal Services as well as for pet owners coming in to retrieve their animals.

In accordance with the A-300 bylaw, HBCP will keep all animals for a minimum of 72 hours and attempt to locate the owner of the animal during this time. Animals that are not reclaimed by their owners will be evaluated for adoption based on their health and temperament. Temperament evaluations will be carried out by a member of the HBCP team who is experienced in performing aggression evaluations and behavioural training.

All adoptable animals that are turned over by HRM Animal Services will be will be fully vetted (including vaccination, parasite prevention, spayed or neutered) and micro-chipped for identification. They will be adopted out by an experienced adoption team.

“We are aiming for a high adoption/redemption rate” states Hope Swinimer, Director of HBCP.

HBCP has also made long-term kenneling arrangements for dogs that have to be held for court cases. These dogs will be sent to a privately-run boarding kennel outside the city. The kennels offer a tranquil setting, kennels with access to outdoor runs, and plenty of opportunities for socialization and play.

"The last thing we want is for a dog to be stuck in a cage while it waits for a court decision" says Swinimer. "The boarding facility we have made arrangements with is in a peaceful location in the country, with lots of room for the dogs to run and play".

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Flower - kitten from Yarmouth - has been found!

The kitten that I talked about a few days ago has been found safe and sound down in Yarmouth - I just got an email from the Facebook group "Help the Yarmouth SPCA" saying -

Great News for Flower the lost kitten...♥

Terrific news for the Yarmouth SPCA and Flower the kitten.

Flower the kitten is back safe and sound in the Yarmouth shelter. After being in several locations, she was left with a caring peorson who checked our website and saw her picture and called us in order to return Flower to the shelter.

So that's good news - that's 2 for 2 for the Yarmouth SPCA anyway - 2 animals that were stolen at least got returned in good condition - so that says that that maybe the people around down there like to do the right thing.

Good news.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Good News! The NS SPCA Loses the HRM's Pound Contract

A lot of people will be unhappy with me over that blog post title.

Yesterday it was announced that the NS SPCA lost the pound contract with the HRM, and a company called "Homeward Bound City Pound" was the successful bidder.
Everyone always has their own spin to every story - the SPCA has theirs, I'm sure that the HRM has theirs, "Homeward Bound" will have their own - and I have mine.

I'll give the SPCA's theirs first.

In their press release they say -

The SPCA is disappointed by this news, as it means that abandoned and stray animals will be at greater risk for euthanasia and less comprehensive care.

That's a highly subjective statement as far as I'm concerned. They don't know how the next company is going to treat the animals coming into their care. We all know that the current SPCA hasn't treated animals all that well in past years - killing Celtic Pets dogs for seemingly reasons other than what they said they did it for. And before 2002 they were still using a gas machine to kill dogs here in Halifax - killing over 50% of the animals that came through their doors - and only in the last several months have they stopped using a gas machine at their Cape Breton branch.

The new company that is taking over has named their president as being Hope Swinamer - who is one of those stainless people in the local humane community - owner and operator of the "Hope for Wildlife" rehabilitation and education centre over on the Eastern Shore. So her organization is going to be coming in with quite a bit of built in good will.

The other things said in the SPCA press release were just as highly subjective - as if their organization is the only one who could take care of the long term behavioural, physical, and medical needs of animals coming into their care from Animal Control - simply because they are an SPCA it seems. I don't buy it. I don't buy their spin.

And here is my spin.

It is my opinion that shelters should shelter. SPCA's should not have pound contracts. Period. It puts them in conflicts of interest. They are supposed to be advocating for animals, and when they are taking money from governments that are taking animals from people - they cannot advocate for those people and their animals. It is wrong.

As well - pounds should be places where any and all animals can be surrendered - and a shelter the size of the Dartmouth SPCA will never be able to fulfill the needs of the HRM as an open admission shelter - especially since it has recently turned itself into the Provincial shelter for the NS SPCA.

So we are definitely at a major crossroads for the NS SPCA. I think the organization is looking at this as a major defeat - but I personally see this as a fabulous opportunity. It is a chance for the organization to become what it was meant to be.

An organization dedicated to enforcing the animal cruelty and prevention act here in Nova Scotia - protecting the animals here from being harmed, providing advocacy for animals, working to bring all the branches together under the umbrella of the Provincial office so that everybody is operating on their own anymore and doing whatever the hell they feel like - but working as one cohesive unit - with the same policies and procedures throughout - having the Dartmouth shelter being the main shelter where animals from across the province come when they require shelter - and adopting them out from there.

I think setting up their low cost spay and neuter clinic is needed more than ever to generate income and they should do it whether the city kicks in funds or not - they now have some space at the Dartmouth shelter that's being vacated by Animal Control and can do some renovations - and they can hire some shelter staff to do some very intense short term fundraising to accomplish that.

And I think that it will be really important for all the rescue community to work together in the coming months so that we can help the new Animal Control facility be a success - if the new company is owned by a positive person such as Hope Swinimer - hopefully the organization will be open to working with local rescues when animals come into their facility - which will make their life a lot easier - they can just turn animals directly over to them - saving a lot of lives in the process.

One thing in the City's document was slightly troubling though - and it had to do with the fact that the successful bidder had a better plan with what it was going to do with animals that had to be kept on a long term basis - and I'm assuming that this means that the City is planning on continuing to keep animals for long periods while it pursues cases through the court system - trying to kill the dogs and their owners try to keep their animals alive. That is not a good thing to hear. I would hope that the City instead would be trying to work on legislation that has time limits on court cases so that the cases work their way through the system faster and justice is meted out quicker - thus saving pain, money, and a dog's very short life. That is too bad to hear.

If you're interested in reading why I don't think that SPCA's should have pound contracts - there's a whole philosophy behind it - and guess what, Nathan Winograd - and the beginning of the whole No Kill Movement is involved. It's in a post I wrote back in 2006. You can read it at -

Friday, January 22, 2010

2 big things happened in Nova Scotia today

2 big things happened in Nova Scotia today. The animal cruelty legislation that was passed in 2008 was acclaimed effective today, and a member from the Executive of the NS SPCA gave a presentation to HRM's City Council about setting up a spay and neuter clinic here in the city. Both huge things for animals here in Nova Scotia.

The presentation that was given to HRM City Council is available for download on the NS SPCA's website - you can view it at - and it's pretty impressive - they're saying that they can spay and neuter 8,000 animals a year charging the public between $50-$80 for spaying and neutering their animals - regardless of income level, and it sounds like they're planning on having 100% of animals in Nova Scotia sterilized - which scares the bejeezus out of me.

Some of the things they said in their presentation scared me to hell they sound so PETA like - like -

"only by spaying and neutering all companion animals, will we get a handle on pet overpopulation". (pg 9)

"pet overpopulation is at crisis levels" (pg 10)

When did the NS SPCA stop following Nathan Winograd's belief that pet overpopulation was a myth? When it became unmarketable?

Anyway, it is really important that a low cost spay and neuter clinic DOES happen - and it's fabulous that the NS SPCA is spearheading it - regardless of how they choose to spin it. If this is how they want to do it, then more power to them. We all know that there will always be companion animals out there for us to get - the people who tell us that the groups who are trying to kill every pet out there so that we don't have any pets any more at all - are never going to succeed - and low cost spay and neuter IS super important - and this is an initiative that is important to get behind. It's a very positive step for the NS SPCA. I hope it works out. Especially for the cats - because there are a lot of cats in this province who are suffering who don't need to.

And if you want to read the new Act - you can go to

What's up with the Yarmouth SPCA?

I got an email today that the Yarmouth SPCA seems to have had a kitten taken away without having had the "proper paperwork" filled out for it before it left the premises. In other words - it seems to have been stolen, but they aren't quite coming out and saying that. They are saying -

"The Yarmouth SPCA is concerned about the whereabouts of a visually impaired kitten that was taken from the shelter without completion of proper adoption papers on the afternoon of Wednesday, Jan. 20."

This worries me - because in 2008 - a dog was stolen from the Yarmouth SPCA - I wrote about it in a blog post back then. Luckily the dog was found and returned - but it's just weird that this has happened twice at one shelter.

I don't know if that end of the province just has a weird relationship with their animals in general - back in 2006 some members of the town council tried to ban dogs from the downtown core altogether because young men were bringing their "scary looking dogs downtown" and dogs really shouldn't be out in public anyway. That was just foolish what they were trying to do, and I'm glad it never actually happened.

Maybe people down in that end of the province also think they shouldn't have to fill out any kind of paperwork in order to adopt animals - they should just be able to go in and pick them up and leave. If that's what they think - they should just go for a drive and get their pets at the Cape Breton SPCA. That's what they do there. Pay your money - and you're good to go.

I hope the kitten turns up okay.

Yarmouth SPCA concerned about missing blind kitten

The Yarmouth SPCA is concerned about the whereabouts of a visually impaired kitten that was taken from the shelter without completion of proper adoption papers on the afternoon of Wednesday, Jan. 20.
“The kitten’s well-being is our utmost concern,” said president Frieda Perry.

“We welcome the opportunity to ensure the kitten is healthy and is safely returned with no questions asked.”

Flower is a domestic medium-hair, white, grey and black tiger. She is small and only three-months-old.

Anyone having information on this kitten is asked to contact the Yarmouth SPCA at 902-742-9767

OT: Anderson Cooper in Haiti

I have been watching the events unfold after the earthquake in Haiti just like everyone else around the world, and have been as heart sick for the people there as everyone else. The fact that at least one of our own citizens - very well known local RCMP officer Mark Gallagher died during the earthquake has personalized the disaster for Nova Scotians and made coverage of the aftermath even more reason to follow what's going on down there.

I tend to not get my news from the television except for local nightly news. I get my news from newspapers, online newspapers, news blogs, blogs, Twitter feeds, and things like that - so yesterday when I saw a You Tube video of Anderson Cooper from CNN going from reporting the news, to taking part in the action - and saving a young boy's life in Haiti - I was really struck.

It struck me, because it reminded me of another photographic journalist from a few years ago - and his name was Kevin Carter, and he took a very famous photo that I've posted below. And his photo changed my life personally, and I think it changed a lot of people's lives at the time - and it changed his life so much that he eventually committed suicide. I wrote a post about the photo back in October, 2005 when I discovered the photo.

The dichotomy of the two journalists - Kevin Carter, and Anderson Cooper - is what has compelled me to write this post, though. And I wonder if in the 21st century - maybe this is where journalism is heading - and maybe that's not such a bad thing, because maybe this is where our society is moving towards too - taking an active approach too what's going on around us - because we just can't stand to stand by and just bear silent witness to the atrocities that are going on around us anymore.

Back in 1992 - Kevin Carter never did anything for that poor starving child who was so close to a feeding station - he could have picked her up in his arms and carried her so that she lived - but we will never know what happened. And his inaction - and having witnessed that kind of suffering over and over through his lens, and maybe never having done anything abou it time after time - ultimately killed him.

But Anderson Cooper - seeing a child suffering right next to him - immediately acted. He didn't act like a journalist and just immediately start filming - and not help the child - he helped the child. And if you notice - he also left his camera behind to continue to help the child.

I hope HE gets a pulitzer for what he's doing down there in Haiti. I think he deserves one.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Doing some navel gazing

I was back in my archives today, and I came upon a post from July, 2004 entitled "NS SPCA Says the buck shouldn't stop with them" - and it was about a guy who was fined for starving his animals, and the NS SPCA had asked for the guy to be fined enough to cover the costs that the SPCA had accrued during the case, and Provincial Court Judge Burrill at the time said the immortal words:

"The last thing we want in our society is investigating agences being funded by the offenders".

You can imagine what the NS SPCA's response was - and what people like mine's response was! We all went a little bit ape shit over that sentence.

2004 was a time when the SPCA was having a little bit of glory days - it was a beautiful time, when the Provincial Exective was in a very positive place, they had recently just performed a "coup", if you will - kicked out all kinds of "bad" people, and brought in a bunch of "good" people who were going to reform the organization, save tons of animals, get rid of the gas machine in Cape Breton like they had at Metro, save all the cats in the Province - it was heady times - it was when I personally got involved in the SPCA - we were all very excited about all the great things that were going to happen - this was around 2002-2003-2004. Well, we all know what did happen, and here we are today.

So then we have the press release a couple weeks ago - which I've put at the end of this post, and which you've probably all read in other spots on the internet - but it's kind of like the NS SPCA has moved to the other end of the spectrum in the ensuing years - trying to make people that never even necessarily get CHARGED with anything - pay egregiously large bills to the SPCA for costs associated with their cases - and they're never charged, or convicted of anything - but yet they never get their animals back, they never get a day in court, they don't get anything - except maybe have to declare bankruptsy and lose everything in their life.

So I think their new policy may be a good thing - the fact that they are now going to leave it up to a judge to decide how much costs that the person have to pay - and not the SPCA - because obviously - the SPCA doesn't seem to have struck a good balance in the ensuing years since 2004 when they were told that convicted people shouldn't have to pay.

It's like as if they found out convicted people didn't have to pay - so they're just going to make everyone else pay? Maybe that's what they started to do, I don't know - that's a little bit ridiculous - but maybe that's the inference we're supposed to draw here? That's what it looks like. It would look like that to someone who was issued a huge bill - but had never been charged with animal cruelty - but they saw someone who had actually been convicted of animal cruelty - and never had been issued an onerous bill for their animals that had been seized - don't you think? Or maybe I've got this all wrong.

Here's my post from 2004 -


Friday July 9, 2004

Yesterday in the Chronicle Herald there was an article about a guy who was fined for starving his animals. The SPCA had asked for the guy to be fined enough to cover the costs of the SPCA and the judge said:

"The last thing we want in our society is investigating agencies being funded by the offenders."

When I read that yesterday morning I almost had a heart attack! I'm very happy that the president of the NS SPCA is following up on what has to be one of the most ludicrous statements to ever come out of the mouths of anyone in a position of power in this province in years. The complete article is below the press release. And the letter to the editor of the Chronicle Herald that I'm going to be writing will be coming shortly!



The NS SPCA is sorry to hear that at least one Nova Scotia judge doesn't think that violators of animal cruelty laws should contribute to the costs of stopping them. In refusing to order a Mill Village man he convicted of animal cruelty to contribute to the costs of the SPCA's investigation, Provincial Court Judge James Burrill said yesterday that, "The last thing we want in our society is investigating agencies being funded by the offenders."

The NS SPCA respectfully disagrees. "If convicted cruelty offenders aren't going to be penalized by carrying even a little of the financial load of their bad behaviour" says Society President Judith Gass, "how fair is it that the entire burden of enforcement falls upon the law-abiding citizens of this Province?" Because, she says, that's what Judge Burrill's comment means. "The SPCA is exclusively responsible for the enforcement of the provincial Animal Cruelty Prevention Act and yet we get the whopping sum of $3000 per year from the Department of Agriculture. That's it for government funding. Every other penny of our nearly $350,000 cruelty investigations budget comes from animal lovers across the province. And I don't expect we'll be seeing a donation from Mr. Wamboldt any time soon."

Gass says that the chronic underfunding of the Society by government has long been a sore point with her agency, but Judge Burrill's remarks yesterday were salt in the wound. "It's bad enough that Mr. Wamboldt was only fined $460 for starving his three husky dogs when our law allows a maximum of $5000 for a first or second offence, but
to then let him off the hook for investigation costs..." Gass shakes her head. "This is a buck that shouldn't stop with us. Being a responsible animal guardian means that you undertake to fulfill that animal's physical and emotional needs with kindness and caring - if you fail in that undertaking, you should expect to bear the financial
cost of your failure. And that includes finding you out and bringing you to justice."


Dog owner fined for neglect

By BEVERLEY WARE / South Shore Bureau

LIVERPOOL - A Mill Village man has been ordered to pay $800 in fines and restitution after he starved his three dogs to the point one had to be put down.

Fred Wayne Wamboldt was charged last April 15 with neglecting to provide his huskies with proper food, water, shelter and care.

Prosecutor Murray Judge said the Queens County SPCA was called in and investigators found the dogs very thin "and their coats were saturated with the smell of urine and feces."

The three dogs were seized. Two were treated and placed in homes, but the third was so emaciated he was euthanized.

Mr. Wamboldt told Provincial Court Judge James Burrill he has been breeding dogs for more than 30 years. He said they were racing sled dogs and were supposed to be thinner than purebred huskies. Mr. Wamboldt said he had been trying to find homes for the two younger dogs and planned to have the older one put to sleep once the other two had new owners.

He said that he and his wife were so upset by the charges that they are on medication and that he had to take time off from his work at Michelin because of stress.

Judge Burrill said while he appreciates that Mr. Wamboldt has been breeding dogs since 1970, standards have changed over the years.

He placed Mr. Wamboldt on probation for a year and ordered him to pay the SPCA $347.01 in restitution for vet bills. Mr. Judge had asked for $400 in restitution to the agency for its investigation, but Judge Burrill refused, saying such agencies must get their funding by other means.

"The last thing we want in our society is investigating agencies being funded by the offenders," he said.

However, he did fine Mr. Wamboldt $460, for a total bill of $807.01.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"dog trainers"

I am just a dog owner - I am not a dog trainer, but I've been around for awhile, and I've met a lot of dog trainers, and I've read a lot of books. I've seen a lot of well trained dogs, I've seen a lot of badly trained dogs, and I've seen the "dog trainers" who their owners have gone to.

Because of my Charlie loves Halifax website, people email me asking for advice - and I always tell them that I am just a dog owner and can't give them training advice and I forward them on to trainers who I think are really good and hope that they do follow that advice that I give them! But when I go to some local dog trainers web sites, sometimes I do have to shake my head. As a dog owner who's been around for awhile - I have my own ideas about dog training, and since I have my own blog, I have the freedom to spout off about my own ideas, which I now will.....

On the "trainers" site that I was at tonight, who I am not going to say who it is - they are talking about their training philosophy - and this person is not the only one who has this philosophy. This person believes in the idea of training "through praise, motivation and correction". They also don't train with treats - treats are a big no no. If you use treats you are a bad dog owner. If you use treats your dog won't respect you!

We'll use the example of a squirrel for instance. If you are somewhere and your dog starts chasing a squirrel - if your dog respects you - he will come to you instead of the squirrel, but if you treat trained your dog - he may not come to you, because your recall is based on treats, not respect - so what would the dog rather do in that moment - chase a squirrel, go to someone he respects, or get a treat? In this dog trainers world - they think the highest likelihood is that the dog is going to go to someone he respects.

And guess how that dog has learned to respect his owner? Through praise and correction! And so what is praise and correction you ask? Well, when the dog does something correct - like do something that he's just been asked to do - like walk beside the owner obediently in a subservient manner that people like to call the "heel position" - the dog is praised, but when the dog shows a negative behaviour, like nipping or growling - the dog is "corrected".

On the dog trainers web page - "praising" and "correcting" are described a little bit - "praising" means stroking the dog on the top of his head and saying "good dog!" - and a "correction" is a sudden jerk and release on the lead. Also, strong verbal corrections with the word, "No!" are used as well.

The reason why I'm talking about this is because there's getting to be quite a few dog trainers in the HRM now, and a lot of them are quite good.

The people who care enough about their dogs to actually go out of their way enough to actually seek out a dog trainer should really get a good service for their money, and they shouldn't have a more damaged dog at the end of their program, and not understand why it happened.

The idea about the squirrel is kind of a perfect example. If one of my dogs went running after a squirrel, do you know what I'd do? I wouldn't even attempt to call them to me, because I know I'd lose that fight. What does that say about me as a dog owner? That I'm realistic. What would a GOOD dog trainer say to me about that?

That I've done the right thing in not trying to call my dog in when they are completely lost chasing a squirrel, UNLESS that squirrel is headed towards a highway or straight into the path of a senior citizen or something - and THEN I'd call them to me of course. Because I am a responsible dog owner after all. But under normal legal off leash conditions where they are having fun and that's what we're there to do - I wouldn't dream of making them have to make a decision between me and a squirrel - that's just me taking a power trip. Which a lot of asshole dog owners do tend to do - and a lot of dog trainers seem to think that's an important thing that you need to train your dog to do, for some reason.

But to me - and I'm pretty sure, the dog trainers who I believe are good - would agree, dog training is about building a relationship between us and our dogs so that they can live happily with us in our homes and community, so they can be good members of society - not so that we can have control over them 24 hours a day - every second.

I believe my dogs respect me, but they also enjoy my company - I can't say that they love me, because I can't say for sure that dogs feel such a strong human emotion - but they certainly are willing to work hard for everything they get, and we can interpret that however we want.

And I don't think that you can get that kind of relationship training them through methods that involve "praise and correction" - I don't think that a dog - in the long run, will look at his owner, who at any moment will suddenly without warning lift him up from the ground by his collar and holler "NO!" - and the dog not understand what he's done wrong. It'd be like living with a spouse who's mood changes on a dime - you never know from moment to moment how they're going to react to something - imagine how horrible that is - except that none of it is based on anything you actually do, you figure - but you have to take all the shit for it.

In my dog training world - it's all sunshine and lollipops - ignore the bad and praise the good - if one of my dogs does something I don't want them to do - I don't give them any attention for it whatsoever, and soon enough - they figure out - that doesn't get them what they want - ATTENTION - so they stop that behaviour. And stuff I do want them to do - I praise that like hell and give them lots of attention. It's a no-brainer. If it's good enough for Ian Dunbar - it should be good enough for me.

I believe in "on the job training" for my canine life companions - and I guess you could also call that socialization, and training all through the day while you're while you're just experiencing life together. Way back when I first started my website in 2002 - I wrote a page called "Tips for a benevolent alpha" - but the stuff I said on the page are things I still believe to be true. And they're things I think are pretty gentle, and are definitely said from one dog owner to another.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sun in the winter is fun

This blog post is an homage to the super cute blog
"I can't see very much, but I'm pretty sure that you've got liver somewhere over there!"

"Yup, I KNEW there was liver there."

"I'm just stopping here for a moment so that everyone can walk around me and see this 365 degree view of how beautiful I look in this brilliant sunshine today!"

"Okay everyone, come this way - I know a spot up here that's a ton of fun!"

"Oh no, I've fallen and I can't get up!"

"No wait - this is what the fun is! You roll and roll and roll and roll - yea!"

"Oh yes, this is what the fun is! I remember this!"

Buttercup used to do this in her younger days - she was a huge roller - (enjoy! This video was from 2007) I think I may need to buy her a new coat - because she's wearing the same coat today as she was wearing in the video back then!

Dog dancing the mambo

I got this video yesterday in an email, and it is hilarious - I've seen people before dancing with their dogs - but this guys is DANCING with his dog. It has got to be seen. I've never seen anything like it. It's super. I loved it. Enjoy!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Rudy the Farting Pug

The first post I wrote about Rudy was in October, 2004. That was a long time ago in dog years. I helped my friend Maureen find Rudy - Maureen was at least his 4th home, which was inexplicable to either of us, because he was the perfect dog for Maureen. Last night, Maureen had to say good-bye to her once in a life time dog due to congestive heart failure, and when I heard today - I think my own heart failed a little bit.
Rudy was one of those little dogs you never forget - he was one of those pugs who was a real snorter - and for some reason, when he barked - he farted! Cute little farts - not big smelly ones, so it just added to his personality - which was a very large personality.
He came over from PEI - for some reason - a lot of pugs seem to come over from PEI needing rescue - Maureen's other pug also came that way.
There is no easy way to say good-bye, especially when it is the right time to say it. All you can do is know that you have given your dog the best life that he could have possibly have, and that he knows that you have - and he has no regrets - so neither should you.
But when you come home, and he's not there - there's no bandage that can heal that hurt for a little while, you just have to experience it and live through it. To feel any less just wouldn't feel right - you love them so much when they're alive - it's natural to feel tortured after they die, especially a dog like Rudy.
He was a special dog and he will be missed by a lot of people. It is so unfair that dogs live such short lives. He had a good life in the end though, thanks to his Mom and Dad. Hopefully they feel better for knowing that every fart he gave out was done with pure joy. and was done because of the life that they gave him.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Think LOST, not STRAY

There have been a lot of dogs going missing locally lately, it seems. If you're on Facebook - you've seen 2 dogs in Springhill, a dog named Gilley, Marlo the golden retriever - and the now infamous Chykato from Antigonish who got off his chain and became a foundling of the good people of the Antigonish SPCA - but later was given back to his original owners when it was found out he had a home to go back to. And all these dogs' stories happened in just the last 2 or 3 weeks.

Most dogs never find their way home. At an SPCA event a couple years ago they gave the statistic that 75% of the dogs that come in from Animal Control to them come in as STRAYS -

Stray dogs could be defined as something like - "Straying or having strayed; wandering or lost" - I found that at "the" - it's pretty lame, but it's also accurate, it's just that simple. A stray dog is simply a dog that's walked off it's owners premises and become lost - every stray dog is a dog who DID have a home at some point - it might have been a really shitty home, but it was a home. And guess what - SOME of those homes were awesome homes. And some of those homes were looking for their dogs day and night - but just had seriously bad luck.

George, my very first dogs - was a "lost" picked up in Porter's Lake.

There's a movement in the humane community down in the States - and maybe here in Canada too - to change people's mindframes about the idea of stray dogs - from them being dogs who are homeless to dogs who are simply lost and need to find their owners - and the catchphrase is "THINK LOST, NOT STRAY".

The leader in this movement is a lady by the name of Kat Albrecht - and she's working with organizations like Best Friends Animal Society, Petfinder, No Kill Advocacy - and her own organization called "The Missing Pet Partnership".

Charlie was picked up for "running at large" on the Conrad's Road in Lawrencetown in 1999

It's all about making a paradigm shift in our thinking about "stray" dogs. And I think it is SO important.

If you own an animal - you have to recognize that there is a difference between animals a lot of times that stay lost, and animals that are ultimately found - and a lot of times that difference is one little thing - and that is a tag on a collar.

Buttercup was picked up as a stray on the Prospect Road in 2003

It could be a town's registration tag, a rabies tag, a $2 tag - whatever - but SOME sort of thing on a collar that says that YOU own that dog - that's all the dog needs to bring him home to you. It's that simple. Or a microchip. Whatever. I hear people say that "well people could just take the collar off, or not check for a microchip" - the chances that someone is going to do that - are a chance you're going to have to take - and I'd say they're a lot less than someone who's going to find your dog, and say "thank GOD there's a tag on that collar so I can get this dog home!"

Just imagine how many fewer dogs would be killed in shelters if there were even 50% fewer stray dogs out there having to be processed by animal control and processing through the system to their end (either death or adoption).

I think it's a fabulous movement in the humane community, and I hope it catches on.

Philip was picked up as a stray in Lawrencetown in 2006

Certainly this could also be one of the main reasons NOT to chain your dog outside unsupervised as well - this goes without saying. Maybe I should finally come out here and say that I'm a long time volunteer with the organization Dogs Deserve Better - which probably, if you're a long time reader of this blog, you've probably already figured out. What you may not know is that I feel strongly enough about the cause that I've been a long time rep for the organziation for this end of Canada as well.

I wonder how many stray dogs are dogs that were chained outside. At one point I wrote an article for the DDB website about chained dogs running free - and how that was not the aim of the organization - inside and onleash was the aim - and that is also the way to keep them safe at home - and not at animal control and on their way to a new home.

I must say though, that I've personally done very well through stray dogs - I've gotten a lot of dogs through other people's lost dogs - and so have just about all my friends.

But I think it would be really neat if local humane organizations would start to look at the animals coming into their facilities as "strays" to stop thinking of them as animals coming in with completely blank slates. They do have a history - if they were picked up in Lawrencetown - is there someone looking for them there? I know that everyone is overworked - but our animals are part of our families. They're worth it - especially for the families who are looking for them night and day, and just don't know how to do it. And even if they did get away because they were on a chain - maybe they just need some education.

And there's lots of education out there, that's for sure.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

It wasn't too cold to carry a pink poodle in your mouth + Shelly Malcolm!

So today Shelly Malcolm - the dog physiotherapist, came over to give Charlie a visit - I had some advice from my animal communicator, Maggie Carruthers - that Charlie might be in a bit of pain on his left side - and she recommended that Charlie could use some acupuncture. You can tell from this photo what Charlie thought about the whole thing! haha! Charlie has SUCH an expressive face! And he does PISSED OFF very well! I am sure he was very thankful though when Shelly released a couple of his very sore muscles though.
This is Jackie coming in to say - don't screw with my brother! Jackie was only the 2nd or 3rd dog that has ever bit poor Shelly in the whole time she's been a dog physiotherapist - so he's a very special dog! In more ways than one. I have to say though - that I don't think he's even tried to bite me in months and months - so he has come a LONG way. He is such a good boy. He is a total lover now - and I never thought I'd say that - we're coming up to our 2 year anniversary in just a couple of weeks. Right here though - Charlie'd like to take a bite out of something himself I think!

Before Shelly came over we spent some time in the backyard - and today, Buttercup was on fire!

And her fire was centred around a bright pink poodle toy that she has - and she was just being the cutest little thing in the world.
It might be -20 degrees Celcius out with the windchill - but when Buttercup decides that she feels like playing - EVERYONE around her is going to play!
And that invariably inlcudes me - and I am always up for some playing - so that's what we did this afternoon - and every minute of it is a wonderful gift.
I'd say I'm just about the luckiest girl in the world to have this running around in front of me when I get home after a long day at work - even if it IS -20 degrees celcius outside! It's worth every moment! For as long as she's up for it - so am I.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Perfection in napping, and wrestling extraordinnaire

Last night after having so much fun at Point Pleasant Park - Buttercup was pretty tired, but even when she's tired, she's still beautiful.
This is her all snuggled up in her favourite chair when she's not on someone's lap looking absotutely perfect. There's nothing on earth like Buttercup - except for someone else's dog in their own eyes of course!
These here are some photos from Daisy and Charlie having a good wrestle after supper tonight.
After having such a dismal day yesterday taking photos - I changed some of the settings on my camera -
And I think they've made a difference -

Tonights pictures turned out fabulous -

Further proof that it's not the photographer - in my case anyway - it's the camera
And of course my fabulous subjects!
Daisy and Charlie are so easy to take awesome pictures of - when I have the settings set up correctly!
Enjoy the bared fangs and mock verocity!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Charlie meets his littermate, Sarah!

So this morning me, Charlie and Buttercup went to Point Pleasant Park to meet up with some great dane owners who were going there for a great dane meetup - they were supposed to be meeting there for 10am - but at 10am there were no great danes to be seen, and Charlie and Buttercup were barking at everyone - as they LOVE to do when they first get to the park, and they had pissed off a couple of people - so I knew it was time to move on, so we did - sans any great danes. And guess what - we met up with one of Charlie's litter mates and her owner!
I first met Sarah last year when she was at the Dartmouth SPCA - I had noticed her on the Animal Control website so I went and visited her once she'd made it over to the SPCA, and was very happy when she got adopted.
I saw her again in the summer when I ran into her and her new owner at Point Pleasant Park - but today was the first time that she and Charlie actually met - so it was so neat that she and Charlie got to snift butts after 11 years - and for the first couple of seconds it was really intense - like as if they knew each other - I wonder if Charlie thought it was his other sister Leonard for a moment, because everyone in their litter of 11 looks a lot alike, but Sarah is definitely a carbon copy. When I got home and looked at the pictures I took I was heartbroken though - there was something on the lens of my camera - what a drag! We'll have to meet up - I'd like to have a family reunion of all the littermates that I know of - now THAT would be neat!
Later today me and Daisy went for a one on one walk since Charlie and Buttercup had gotten to go on such a fabulous outing this morning

She had a super time and didn't even seem to notice that the other dogs weren't with us. It's awful to say, but since she's the youngest dog - at nine years old - there may come a time when she's the only dog in the house - so this might become a normal thing.
My camera today was just not working - at the park this morning it had goobers on the lens, and then this afternoon it was photographing Daisy as one black blob in the middle of the photo - so all my pictures turned out really shitty - these are the best I could with photoshopping unfortunately.
And this is a long shot of Long Lake in the distance.