Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Great Article about Yarmouth SPCA

It's always nice to see positive press about the NS SPCA, especially at this time when they are in a flux and working hard to rebrand themselves and become an organization that says what it means, and means what it says - so when I read this article I thought I'd repost it here to get more notice over the holiday weekend -

Yarmouth has been a leader says SPCA official

Karla Frew-Hackett (left, Yarmouth SPCA behaviourist) and Kristin Williams, the Nova Scotia SPCA’s executive director, with Hettie, one of the cats at the local SPCA shelter.


Yarmouth-area residents have reason to take pride in the local SPCA, says an official with the Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Kristin Williams, executive director of the Nova Scotia SPCA, was in town last week addressing the Rotary Club of Yarmouth.

The local SPCA has been leading the way in putting into practice the provincial society’s no-kill policy, she said in her Rotary presentation, a point she elaborated on in an interview afterwards.

“It’s actually quite staggering what they’ve been able to accomplish with commitment and tenacity,” she said.

The no-kill approach was passed this year as a “strategic imperative” for the Nova Scotia SPCA.

“The scary reality is that there are shelters all over North America that euthanize for space everyday and we made a commitment to stop doing that,” Williams said. “We made a commitment about being creative about finding adoption solutions and to make homes for animals and to not to resort to killing…And Yarmouth has taken a leadership role.”

One of the misconceptions about the SPCA is how it’s funded, Williams told the Rotarians, another point she touched on when interviewed.

“The provincial budget that supports cruelty investigations is $561,000 a year,” she said. “Only $3,000 comes from the provincial government, even though we’re mandated by provincial legislation to enforce cruelty laws.”

She added, “Our special constables are paid as a result of the donations we receive. Donations are what keeps them on the road.”

Operating in this way – depending on fundraising and donations – makes it tough, she said, noting that it’s important to get the word out – by speaking to groups like Rotary, for example – about what the SPCA does.

“It is very difficult,” she said. “People expect us to be there. We are the last line of defence for animals, and people rely on us, but there’s no funding, so we really do rely on our communities to support the work that we do…Without donations we can’t do the work that we’re doing.”

Williams has been the Nova Scotia SPCA’s executive director for about six months and has spent a good deal of time visiting SPCA branches across the province.

There are 11 branches from Yarmouth to Cape Breton.

She says she has been impressed with the work that’s being done throughout Nova Scotia.

Caring for animals – and there are many of them – places much pressure on the system, she said, adding that adoption is the key.

“Adoption saves two lives,” she said. “It saves the animal that’s currently in our care and it makes room for another animal to come into our care.”

The Nova Scotia SPCA was established in 1877.

Referring to the Yarmouth branch, the oldest of the Nova Scotia branches (formed in 1900), Williams said, “They do incredible work here…The community should be very proud of what’s being done.”

By Eric Bourque

Very bad news for Jackie

I've been taking Jackie out to Westwood Hills every week for him to stay for the day so they could do a glucose curve on him and he hasn't been curving - his glucose has been staying high all day, and when I took him today he wouldn't eat breakfast so I couldn't give him his insulin so they really couldn't do a curve on him they said so they took some blood tests instead and checked his liver again and his liver readings have risen dramatically since the last time they took them so he definitely has some undiagnosed liver disease that is in addition to his diabetes. They also did a breath test and he has ketones in his breath which means that his diabetes is getting worse faster than we can raise the insulin - we have been raising it each
week that he goes out there - from 2 to 4 to 6 and today it was raised to 8 units.

He has been losing weight and it's now quite noticeable - so we have to pretty much acknowledge that he is dying and there's not too much we can do about it but try to make him as compfortable as possible. The key will be to try to get him to eat - and as funny as that sounds - that is becoming harder and harder every day.
I don't know if he has a couple of weeks or a couple of months - I
hope it's the latter, but it is coming. He does seem to be getting a little bit worse each day.

He is comfortable and I don't think he's in pain, if he was in pain he's the kind of dog who would tell me, I'm pretty sure. He really likes sleeping in the bed at night, and when he's hungry he's enjoying his food - so he's got some life, and he's still got dignity - he's got bowel and urine function - he just does it wherever he feels like
- my house currently smells like a barn, but that's okay - it won't smell like that forever.

Jackie has had a hard long life. I hope that the end isn't too awful for him, and when he's ready to go I'll see it coming and do it at the right time.

He's been such a good dog.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

No Kill versus No Kill and Oreo's Law

I don't know if the couple people who read this blog know about this - but there is a horrible crisis in the no kill movement right now - there is a huge fight going on between Nathan Winograd and his supporters and the people who run Best Friends Animal Sanctuary - and basically the whole humane community is shaking their heads - and I wonder if there's anybody other than me who just can't figure out quite what's going on and who is right and what the future holds and what this all means for the no kill movement.

It all began with a dog named Oreo in New York - who was a dog with some issues that was at (I believe) an ASPCA - and was scheduled to be killed, but a no kill sanctuary was willing to take him - even with his issues - but the head of the ASPCA Ed Sayres authorized his killing anyway - so he was dead. I remembered when it happened - the twitter posts were going like crazy and Facebook was wild.

And from that - "Oreo's Law" was born. It was based on California's "Hayden's Law" - which makes it illegal for shelters to not allow rescues to pull dogs that are on kill lists. It's worked great in California - tens of thousands of dogs lives have been saved.

I know here in Nova Scotia - we had that same problem here in 2008 with some Celtic Pets dogs - they were called the "Celtic Pets 6" if you remember - the former regime of the NS SPCA - who are now gone (and everyday the HEAVENS REJOICE!!) - killed dogs who local rescues had foster homes for - but the SPCA killed them anyway. We could use a law like that here too - especially since the HRM put the pound contract into private hands that don't have to publish any statistics or work with rescues at all anymore. But I digress.

Nathan Winograd and the No Kill Advocacy Centre were the main proponents of the bill in New York and all we've seemed to have heard from Nathan since January were emails and blogs about "Oreo's Law" - which is okay - because legislation is one of the major ways that we will achieve a no kill world.

But in the last couple of weeks - the bill didn't become a law - so all hell has broken loose, and it turns out that Best Friends Animal Society didn't support the bill - and Nathan says that in fact Best Friends worked against it - and supports people and organizations that are against what we should all be working towards.

It just makes me think of the idea that the people who run the puppy mills and and all the evil things that we actually SHOULD be fighting and ganging up against are all having dinner together and having a really good laugh together - because we will never achieve anything until we stop eating each other alive.

I LOVE Nathan Winograd. I have loved Nathan Winograd since I first started reading his stuff in early 2004, but I don't understand how he can completely dismiss entire organizations because of the people who run them - like he does with the ASPCA and Ed Sayres. Surely there must be some good that the organization does somewhere in the United States in spite of what that one man does.

I'm not going to say anything about the HSUS or PETA, because those are different - neither of those organizations has actual shelters, so they aren't the same things - and I am a proponent of giving your money to local shelters - so they aren't the same. And their leaders are quite indicative of the organizations as a whole I think (in my opinion anyway).

I'll forward you on to some other people's blog posts in the last few days to give you an idea of what's being said about the story - they are all long posts because we are really at a cross-roads currently in the humane movement - this is really so huge it's mind boggling - I can't tell you how huge this is. There's no words for it - that's why I'm stumbling at saying anything about it, truthfully.

First off - here's a link to a positive article about the death of Oreo, and all the "positive things" that the ASPCA tried to do to save Oreo, and a 2nd one too, for good measure.

Since "Oreo's Law" has been defeated in New York State Nathan Winograd has written several articles - he's written a couple blog posts - one called "The Best Friends “Spin” Machine Goes Into Overdrive" where he focuses on why Best Friends really doesn't seem to be the organization that we all seem to want it to be, and "Where Have You Gone Best Friends?" which he wrote a couple days earlier - when he talked about why he thought the bill failed and he talks about the evil of Ed Sayres - and also about Jane Hoffman - a woman who's big in New York City, who we hear about in other articles - who it turns out would be made completely powerless if Oreo's Law would have been passed - and as luck would have it - is also a good friend of Best Friends and is a featured speaker at this year's Best Friends Conference.

Perhaps the best article that Nathan has written since the loss is called "Power to the People" on - that is a must read - and please read it! It took me like an hour and half to find tonight after having read it last night, and then I couldn't find it again on the internet tonight!

The rescue that started it all was a rescue called "Pets Alive" - they were the ones willing to take Oreo - and they are staffed by a lot of former Best Friends staff it seems, so the fact that Best Friends didn't support the bill has made everything even nastier - and the blog posts from that sanctuary are showing it - there are 2 blog posts that I've seen that have a very large wow factor - one titled "Being the change" - where they totally call out Best Friends, and then a more recent post called "Paying it forward" where they just totally lose it and say things like - "We all know each others secrets, don’t we? Secrets that are better left between us, yes?"

This is a blog post from an amazing sanctuary talking about another amazing sanctuary. Things are getting very bad in the no-kill world down in the United States right now.

Even a staffer at Best Friends - John Sibley - has given his opinion on the controversy on his blog.

You'll find Best Friends statement about the bill on their Facebook page here - and on their website

Michael Mountain, former president of Best Friends posted a statement in an article on that you can read here.

One question I have at the end of all of this is - I didn't hear whether or not Maddie's Fund was in support of Oreo's Law - and whether Richard Avanzino gave his public support for the bill. If that organization and Richard Avanzino didn't come out in support and do publicity for the bill - why are they not being crucified like Best Friends is right now? Is it because Mr. Avanzino is a close friend of Nathan Winograd? I'm just asking. That's just me asking - I haven't seen that organization's name anywhere during all of this - but that's a very powerful organization who's name could have also helped the cause a lot - but I personally didn't see it anywhere. And if not, why not?

And at any point in a cause - inclusion is needed, not division. I hope this war can be ended down there. I hope all of this isn't because Best Friends Animal Society is actually becoming a bad organization like a lot of people say it is. I really hope it isn't, because it used to be a great organization and cause and I've personally given them a lot of money and time. And they've done a lot of good and have a lot of capital and assets now - I hope it isn't all wasted.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Newfoundland SPCA wants chaining regulated

There was an article this week in the Newfoundland Beacon about how the president of the Gander and area SPCA said that the proposed new Animal and Health Protection Act for Newfoundland is a "step in the right direction" - but that it leaves a few things out that her organization is lobbying for - and one of those is about the chaining of dogs - which I think is fabulous.

They've been organizing for months I've noticed on their different SPCA chapter websites with a petition about chaining - and I think it's because in the new proposed Act it's going to state "Section 32 (1) states, "An owner of a dog shall keep it safely tethered or penned up at all times." - which is really quite ludicrous.

The president, Betty Suley said - "dogs chained on 24 hours, seven days a week...
is inhumane.... and there was nothing in there dealing with that."

They currently have over 8,000 signatures - but what caught my eye in the article is where Ms. Suley says -

"What we were hoping for was something like the legislation that Nova Scotia currently has in place," said Ms. Suley, noting Nova Scotia's legislation states, an owner can not tether without providing adequate shelter, source of food and water, space and opportunity for exercise."

I really feel like emailing her and telling her that our legislation isn't all that fabulous either - people don't have to follow the law, and dogs still die here too - just like the mastiff down in Cape Breton earlier this year who froze to death on the end of his chain.

The only real answer is what she is seeking for herself in Newfoundland and what we should be looking for in Nova Scotia as well - a limit on the times that people can chain their dogs - and an end to the ability to chain your dog out 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That is an abuse that has got to be stopped if we're ever going to save those dogs' lives.

We'll also save dogs lives from being bludgeoned to death by small children - if you remember another recent story from Newfoundland - the story of the 8 year old child who killed a dog - which was a pomeranian - with a barbecue fork - that little dog had been left tied out while his owners went shopping - another case of an unsupervised dog with an unsupervised child - only this time in reverse - and this time the dog died a horrible violent, and completely preventable - death.

What is going to happen to this child as he ages? Is he receiving help now, or is his family just shrugging off this incident? I certainly hope not.

There was a super article in the New York Post called "The Animal Cruelty Syndrome" that talks about the undeniable link between animal cruelty and violence between humans and how almost every adult that hurts large amounts of humans began his journey killing animals as a child. Even the world of dog fighting is filled with child abuse because just to be around the world of it is abuse - but the dog fighting world is also filled with drug abuse and dealing, violence, guns, gambling and other gross stuff that children should never see - and to expect those children to grow up and have normal empathy for animals is unrealistic. It's an excellent article.

Chaining dogs and the whole philosophy around the idea of abandoning a family member in your back yard and thinking its an okay thing to do - that the dog is going to be allright on his own - that he can protect himself against people walking by, that he won't escape from the yard somehow and be lost forever and have a horrible painful death - is a philosophy that must be phased out.

No responsible person would leave their 2 or 3 year old child in their back yard for hours at a time unsupervised - why do people do that with their dogs? In this day and age when there is so much malevolence in the world - it is just such a bad idea.

When an eight year old boy can come and beat your pomeranian to death with a barbecue fork - why leave him chained out while you go to Walmart to pick up a few things?

The time has passed when dogs can be left alone outside. Unless of course the owner doesn't care if they die. But then that's a different story, isn't it? Maybe that's how we can rebrand it - if someone's dog is chained outside we can just assume that they don't care about their dog - so that dog is free for the taking. Really, it's quite obvious that that is the only answer. The only can't care about the dog - otherwise the dog would be inside.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dog friendly drinking and bars

I have a "google alert" set for the search term "dog friendly" so I get tons of articles about the subject - and I've gotten a lot of good ones recently about dog friendly bars - probably because it's summertime and people like to go out and have fun in the summer.

A couple that stand out are firstly one from England where a couple actually built a pub in their back yard out of a shed that they had previously been housing their motorcycles in - because they didn't have any dog friendly pubs nearby - so they made their own! And that article led me to a lot of fun times surfing around because it became apparent to me fairly quickly that people love their sheds!

I know that I really like the 2 sheds I have in my backyard - and I don't think that the shed that the couple in England built their pub in is much larger than one of my sheds - but it really shows the difference in how much the government controls things - there is NO WAY that anyone of us could open up a bar in our backyard here in North America! We'd be shut down within a week and thrown in jail! But it would probably be a very FUN week! haha!

Maybe it's also because yesterday was "Bring your dog to work day" - so lots of articles were appearing so that people could have somewhere to go after work with their dogs, - I did see one article that was specifically for that - but at least here in Halifax local restauranteurs do seem to allow dog owners to have our dogs on the outside of their patios in the summertime - so we can go downtown and eat outside and pretend like we're eating with our dogs or going to bars and enjoying ourselves outside with our dogs - and don't forget that the Alfresco film festo is coming up soon (starting July 23rd) - which in past years has been dog friendly - so I hope this year it will also be dog friendly - what a great thing that has been for us to enjoy - great films outside in the fresh air - not to be missed!!!

Dog friendly golf course!

Now here is something that is truly exceptional - a dog friendly golf course exists - down in Belgrade Lakes Golf Club down in Belgrade Lakes Maine - they are listed as the number one golf course in Maine - so having a couple dogs on their course hasn't hurt their turf any I guess.

What they say on their "Pets" page is -

Dog legs aren't a problem - Your best friend is always welcome here at Belgrade Lakes Golf Club.

Have them accompany you for a round, or take advantage of our shaded kennel area while you play.

I think that is absolutely fabulous. So if you are a golf obsessed dog lover - it'd be worth the trip to Maine - that is if your dog can handle that sort of thing. If you think your dog can handle a few rounds of golf - then that place is for you. It almost makes me want to learn how to play. Almost.

They also have a Facebook page too, that you can go and join up - so if you want to stay up to date on their happenings - you can go there too!

Buttercup being beautiful

I haven't made a video in forever - and yesterday Buttercup was being amazingly frisky, so I took some great pictures of her - and I thought I'd put a couple of them to music and try out the Windows Movie Maker that comes with Windows 7 - it's way different than the version than what comes with earlier versions of Windows, you can hardly do anything with it anymore - but you can upload directly to Youtube with it, so they know what the audience for the program is I guess - at any rate - below is the movie that got made - Buttercup still looks the same regardless! Perfect!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Today's Stress & Aggression Seminar with Silvia Jay in Mahone Bay

Today was the Stress and Aggression Seminar with Silvia Jay up in Mahone Bay, and I think anyone who was there would agree with me that it was absolutely fabulous. Jane Smith from Ditto's Canine Learning Centre was the organizer and she did an awesome job - the food was great, everything went off without a hitch - and
Mahone Bay is a beautiful little town.

This was the 2nd time that Silvia has put on this seminar - but I think I could sit and listen to Silvia talk about anything that has to do with dogs - and everytime she talks it's in front of a different audience, and she is relating with the people all the time - so what she talks about is completely different everytime she speaks - so you learn great new stuff each time - which is wonderful.

I got to meet some new neat people - I had previously heard about the owners of the business "Golden Mountain Dog Solutions" - but they were at the seminar today - so it's always nice to put faces to websites and businesses you've seen in the past. And we had a 50/50 for SHAID - and raised over $100 - because the winner of the 50/50 - Karen Runge, who happens to be the breeder of the entlebucher Sante who I've posted lots of photos on this blog of (what a small world, eh?) donated her winnings back to SHAID - which was fabulous!

So what do I mean when I say that we learnt great stuff? Here are a couple little things that she said that I personally thought were great - the idea that fears are always learned - and that resource guarding is always fear based - but a dog may not always be aggressive about his toys and foods - he may be a control freak - and a control freak's guarding is anxiety based - so you've got to figure out where your dog is coming from before you can begin to fix him - and with resource guarding - the way you treat that is to convince the dog that there's no reason or basis for his fears - so you just need to never take away the things that he's guarding, you need do things like give him lots of food and make positive associations with it - but you can appreciate that with a control freak - he doesn't care too much whether there's tons of it around - he still wants to control it all - so you have to treat that differently.

She also talked about punishment training which was interesting - because I was just reading about that in an Ian Dunbar blog post a couple days ago which I'll give a link to - and she defines punishment training as - "something that the dog doesn't like and that has a lasting effect on behaviour" - so if you think about - a prong collar or shock collar generally is not punishment training because it "doesn't have a lasting effect on behaviour" - you continually have to use it over and over - in effect - you have to abuse the dog continually in order to make it work - the blog post that I read is at - and he talks about aversive vs non-aversive punishments.

The last tidbit I'll give is a great line that you can use for just about everything - and it is - "redirect - never correct". That is a great philosophy to have. Probably everyone in the room wrote that down when she said that!

And I took Buttercup with me up to Mahone Bay - so we had a great day together - she had a good time spending time with me and I had a great time having her next to me all day. It was a lot of fun - and the people there got a lot of entertainment seeing a perfect little white dog acting like the worst little dog in the world whenever she saw another dog come into the room.
She is the most perfect dog in the world until she sees another dog - then she's all business - she has 190 or so pounds of real estate that she takes very seriously in keeping other dogs away from.

So we're both pretty tired tonight - but I think a good day was had by all - and now it's thunder and lightning outside and poor Charlie is afraid of thunder - so he's hiding in my bedroom - so he's had a pretty shitty day - hopefully he'll have a good day next weekend just like Buttercup had today.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Buttercup, good groomers, and Queensland Beach

I took this photo today of Buttercup
This photo was taken of Buttercup in 2003
And this photo was taken of Buttercup back in 2003 - it really struck me today that Buttercup seems to be going through some pocket of renaissance where she has recaptured some bit of her "youth" again - if you can call it that - because she was old when I got her - and she is seeming to have a really great vitality again. I don't think you can really tell too much difference between these 3 pictures - but the difference is that in the first picture you're looking at a SIXTEEN year old dog and in the 2nd and 3rd picture you're looking at a nine year old dog.

She continues to amaze me. I really wish she could live forever.

Today we went up to try out a new groomer up beyond Hubbards - and I think it went really well - and she has said that she will take on Jackie, which is great - and the grooming only cost $35 - in the city here it typically costs $60 for a grooming - so it's worth it just for the cost alone!
And since we were up in the area - I thought I'd stop off at Queensland Beach to take a couple pictures - I'd say that Queensland Beach is probably the worst beach in Nova Scotia to take a dog on.
It is RIGHT NEXT to the road - with no fence, no boundary - nothing. In the summertime - when it's nice out, it's wall to wall people on their towels with children everywhere - not good. That's probably because it is so accessible to the road.
But today since it was shitty out - we were the only ones there - there were a couple of cars in the parking lot of old people looking out at the ocean - but other than me and Buttercup there was no one on the beach - but even with no one there I still wouldn't let Buttercup off leash because the road was just too close - and Buttercup does not leave my side.

And for a person who is always on the lookout for beach glass and neat rocks - Queensland is big zero on that count too - the beach is completely clean - which I'm sure a lot of people would like, but for me - that is just so boring. But luckily for me - there's tons of beaches that to me are perfect - lots of rocks and junk that nobody goes to way away from the road - shangri-la.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Computers are just the neatest thing

It is so neat what you can turn photos in to these days - I just love a computer program that I downloaded a couple months ago that can turn photos into works of art - I think it's just the neatest thing. Charlie looks so beautiful in this picture now I think - even more beautiful than in real life, if that's possible.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Diabetes is going to be a journey

So Jackie spent the day today at the Vet clinic - from 8:30am to 6:30pm so they could poke him at regular intervals and test his glucose levels.

My big concern was that if they had to muzzle and unmuzzle him each time they took a reading the day would be a super traumatic event for him - but they said they didn't have to muzzle him once, that he didn't seem to mind too much being handle and he wasn't finding the experience of the day too upsetting.

Tonight he's acting pretty normal, and on the way home we stopped at Wendy's and had french fries, which is one of his favourite foods in the world - so I'm hoping that made him forget a little bit the previous 10 hours, and the sleep he's having now is a little more blissful because it's on a stomach full of glutinous potatoes.

His sugar's stayed at a pretty steady 20 all day - a dog without diabetes is around 4-6, and a dog who has diabetes aims for around 10-12 the vet said - and a dog with diabetes that's under control has sugars that curve up and down throughout the day.

Jackie's came in at 20 and stayed even throughout the day - which is not what the vet wants.

So he's doubled Jackie's dose of doggy insulin - which is called "Caninsulin" - from 2 Units to 4 Units - and we have to go back next Wednesday so that he can spend the day in the Clinic again having his glucose tested.

So I guess Jackie's diabetes is going to be a journey that we are going to travel together until his sugars are at a level that are acceptable and stable - and the only way we can know that they are at that point is by doing these "glucose curve" thingee's whereby he stays a whole day at the vet clinic.

Poor Jackie - I did not envision his golden years being poked twice a day and spending gratuitous amounts of time in a cage again - but if it means he gets extra months or years - then I think it's worth it. I hope if Jackie could - he would agree with me.

Monday, June 14, 2010

My kingdom for a good groomer

Is this the face of a dog who groomers everywhere run from in fear? That groomers fear and loathe and say - "I refuse to groom this devil dog - take this beast from my premises!"
I am having the worst time getting Jackie groomed - at the groomer today they told me they are willing to try cutting his hair "one more time" - and the next time I'm the one who has to drop him off - not my father, so that it's me who puts the muzzle on him - not them - and they said they couldn't cut the hair around his face because he was biting at the clippers, and he bit a groomer and a technician and blah blah blah.

Previously I had called a couple groomers in the city and described how Jackie was to groom and was turned down flat out - and told to take him to a veterinary clinic's groomer - which is what I've done - and now they're even threatening to not groom him - and they say he's too old to be sedated anyway - but what's a person to do - he's got to be groomed!

I had such luck for almost 2 years with a super gentle groomer - why do women have to have babies and ruin everything! The groomer today had TWO muzzles on him AND an elizabethan collar on Jackie - now tell me she wasn't being rough on him - it's no wonder he was trying to bite her. It's no wonder dog's develop problems at the groomers.
I don't know what to do - I'm driving one hour down to Hubbards on Thursday to test drive a new groomer with Buttercup - I hope she'll think about taking on Jackie.

Surely to dog there's a groomer out there somewhere who takes on the worst of the worst and does it without being the Jeffrey Dalmer of groomers. Poor Jackie - I feel so bad for what I have to put him through in order to get his hair cut - if only he could figure out that all the commotion around him was there to help him.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Some things to do coming Up

So I missed the lab rescue auction which was tonight which sucks - but there's some other dog functions coming up that you might want to take part in that are sure to be fun.

Coming up on June 16th out at the Chewed Slipper in Lower Sackville is a thing they are calling "SPF DOG: Summer Preparations For Dog" - Surf, Sand and SLOBBER!

What they say on their Facebook Event page is - Get Summer Savvy for your dog.
Discover what to pack for various outings, Dog Etiquette, Basic First Aid, Dog Signals (the Universal 'language' of dogs-yes, it exists) and much more - A fun, easy, info-packed session with Susan Jordan & Melanie Briand. Book your spot now! 252-3294 or email - $25 in advance or $30 at the door

If you're in the Truro Area the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitiation Centre is having their 2nd Annual Wildlife Benefit Concert from 8pm to Midnight on Saturday June 19th at Kegger's Alehouse at 72 Inglis Place in Truro - there's going to be tons of music, a silent auction, a balloon blitz (I wonder what that is?) - and tickets are only $6 per person - you can find out more at

On June 20th - Silvia Jay is having a seminar in Mahone Bay - Aggression, Stress & Emotions in dogs = it's the same seminar that was given recently in Dartmouth - so if you weren't able to make that seminar - you should definitely make the drive to Mahone Bay - I know I'm going to be driving down for it. The cost is $60 - there's a Facebook event set up for the day so you can go there to find out more information

Greyhound Pets of Atlantic Canada have events going on all the time - on their events page they have listings of stuff going on - but I can't figure out what's good and what's just for greyhound people - so go check out their events page and see if anything looks good to you - it's at

The Valley H.A.R.T. Rescue is putting on a golf tournament Friday, July 2, 2010 at the Eden Golf & Country Club in Paradise, Nova Scotia. The cost for this event is only $60.00 per player. This price includes 18 holes of golf, a meal from the licensed dining room, and various prizes (meal is full roast dinner!) Participants will receive a re-useable Eco-Bag with contents included from Sponors! You can find out more about it on their events page at

Companion Animal Protection Society - CAPS will be joining in on the Melvern Square yard sale on Saturday July 3rd. Our tables will be located at 45 Vault rd. Feel free to drop by and help out or buy some of our wonderful sale items.

On Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - Kwik Kopy is putting on their 2nd annual "Putting for Pets Golf Tournament at the Links at Penn Hills Golf Course - it's going to be a full day of fun and prizes - registration starts at 8:00 am and 9:15 am there's a Shotgun Start they've set up a website at - so go check it out!

Now this is such a neat thing I had to post it - even though it's about kittens and cats - the Atlantic Cat Hospital is putting on a little class called "Kitty Care 101" - at 6:30pm on the 3rd Thursday of the month they're going to answer questions new cat and kitten owners will have and cover topics like nutrition, vaccinations, parasite control, and feline behaviour - I think that is just awesome. The Atlantic Cat Hospital is on Quinpool Road in Halifax

Here is something to watch out for if you have a high definition television - this was in the newspaper this week - it would seem that there has been a documentary crew filming at the Hope For Wildlife facility in Seaforth - they've got one season in the can and are beginning to shoot a 2nd season. That must be quite lucrative for the organization, I'd say!

Saturday Nights All Right

So yesterday me Buttercup and Jackie went back to the Westwood Hills Vet out in Tantallon to learn how to give Jackie his insulin shots - he wasn't too impressed with the whole commotion, that's for sure - but he didn't seem to notice being poked by the needles too much which was a good thing.
Dr. Richardson explained to me about glucose in a dogs blood and how it goes up and down through the day and how to feed Jackie and that if I doesn't eat I can't give him his insulin and stuff like that - luckily I also have diabetes, so some of the finer points I already understood - and after we got home my friend Maureen came over and gave me better needles to use with the insulin so that they aren't quite as long as dog insulin needles - although today I had to go to 3 pharmacies to actually find them - but I eventually did, so I'm well stocked now.

Jackie goes back on Tuesday to stay at the vets for the day so that they can track his glucose throughout the day - hopefully that will be the last time he has to be at the vets and go through any discomfort for this.

It may just be my imagination, but he does seem to have perked up in the last day since he's been getting the shots - hopefully it'll last.
This is Buttercup in the room with us - even in the vet's office she doesn't like it when she's not the centre of attention!
Here's some shots from the house tonight - here's Jackie - for the first time in weeks telling me that he wants a treat! And since he was acting happy and like Jackie - I was very happy to oblige!
And here he is not being asleep - which is a very good thing.
And here's a shot of him getting some love from me, which I am very glad he actually seeks out.
Here's a shot of Daisy out on the deck tonight -
Even my shed was looking good -
And here Buttercup watching me taking pictures of Daisy and Charlie out on the deck - once again being unimpressed that the focus is being taken away from her.
Charlie always looks perfect
And for good measure - here's a shot of Whisky the cat!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Jackie has diabetes

Some sad news - Jackie has not been feeling very well lately. He is now 16 years old, and he has become fussy about eating - which is VERY unlike him, and he has been peeing inside a lot. He has always been a dog who peed inside - which didn't bother me too much because I tend to be pretty lenient with the dogs - they've all had tough lives - so I let them do what they want to do - just as long as he didn't pee on the carpets, I just cleaned it up.

But lately he's been peeing about twice as much as he normally did - and he could be 2 steps from the door and he'd just let her fly - and then continue outdoors. Something wasn't right. And I was pretty sure that he'd also lost the last of the vision in his good eye because he was starting to really bump into things - and he had stopped going up and down the back stairs outside - and I was having to carry him up and down.

So last Saturday I took him to his vet - she thought maybe it was Cushings disease because his hair is thinning all along his back - so she took some blood and said she'd call me on Monday and put him on antibiotics.

I got a call on Monday morning, and his liver enzymes were somewhat high - but his sugars were REALLY high - possible diabetes - could I bring in a sample of his first urine in the morning the next day. I said "okay".

Tuesday morning I was unsuccessful because he decided that his first urine of the morning was going to be on the carpet next to the back door - and I couldn't suck it up fast enough - but this morning I picked up that carpet last night - so I was able to suck up enough from the kitchen floor - which is where he let it fly at 6:30 this morning!

And I got a call this morning confirming the fact that Jackie does in fact have diabetes. So I am going to have to start giving this little dog 2 needles a day.

I'm going to go in on Friday to learn how to give Jackie insulin. For those of you who don't know Jackie - he is not really a dog who likes to be messed with too much. And he is a HARD biter. In the last little over 2 years I have been blessed to build a beautiful relationship with him. He now trusts me. And I am so worried that trying to jab him is going to ruin that relationship.

I can't muzzle him twice a day. But I've been told that without insulin he won't last too long. So I'm going to have to poke him twice a day somehow - without him noticing. I'll do it somehow. He has had such a hard life. And right now he's having a rotten time.

I also got confirmation that he has indeed lost the last of the sight in his good eye too, which is heartbreaking. I feel so bad for him. If a dog can be depressed - I think he's depressed about that. He seems to stand in the middle of the living room and try to listen for things around him. Poor Jackie. I hope things pick up a little bit so he can have a little bit of a good summer - it would be nice if he could make it to 18 or so. That would be nice.

Cirque Estival in Nova Scotia - there's other stuff to do this weekend

The circus is coming to Halifax this weekend - and guess what - there's tons of other fun things to do this weekend than to take your kids to the circus and teach them that it's okay to use animals in ways that they would never choose to be used if they had a choice, so at some point in their life they've been trained with methods that have had to be abusive in order to get them to submit. Of course I'm talking specifically about the elephant named Limba who isn't even going to be here in Nova Scotia because the Department of Natural Resourced refused the Cirque's permit for her to perform here.

It would seem to me that this circus doesn't even need her - so why they are carting the 45 year old elephant across the county is a bit ludicrous - just so they can put her on stage for 7 minutes during their show, doesn't make sense to me. Let her stay in her zoo in Ontario where she can do what she wants. And then people wouldn't have a problem with their circus - unless of course they then start to move on to the smaller animals - but at least it would be a big win for the animal rights people if they got Limba to retire.

So this weekend - there's the Greek Festival, Lab Rescue is having an auction, I'm going to be writing a post about all the fabulous stuff going on tomorrow - there's TONS of stuff going on - you don't need to go to the Circus this weekend. Maybe next year when they come through they'll just have their jugglers and their clowns - and they'll make double the money - wouldn't that be fabulous?

That would make Scott VERY happy, wouldn't it!

Larry O'Connell Off leash Dog Park Meeting

One of my least favourite ways to spend an evening is with John Charles, Coordinator Real Property Policy, Real Property Planning - who was facilitating the meeting tonight with concerned local residents, ball team players, parents and officials, parents of preschool children attending summer programs at the Larry O’Connell Centre and off leash proponents along with city staff and Councillor Watts - to talk about extending the off leash time at the Larry O'Connell Field off Chebucto Road in Halifax. It would have been interesting if all those parties showed up to the meeting, but the only people who showed up were dedicated dog owners who actually use the field daily with their dogs, city staff - and me. So the conversations were rather one sided. This was a follow up to my post a couple days ago about the sports field and the fact that the Minor Ball Association had put a batting cage in the park without the neighbourhood residents consultation

Everyone was agreed that the park was used responsibly by the dog owners, and that the park's time for off leash use would be extended to the summer and fall - pending the continued good turf condition of the ball field. The dog owners were really hoping that the city would install gates on the two entrances to the field that were currently open - but John Charles said that the Off leash strategy does not allow for gates to be installed in dog parks - if you can believe this, John Charles cited a report from 2006 (like as if we should consider this to be timely to 2010!!!) that states -

"planning for dog related use in our parks should embrace barrier-free or universal design princicles. Universal design seeks to create products and environments that are useful and useable by everyone. Universal design does not segregate or stigmatize any group of users and attempts to provide the same means of use for all; identical where possible, equivalent when not. While dog-related activities in HRM parks should be accessible to all, conflicting uses may necissitate that not all parks may be accissible to all users at all times. (page 5)

So in other words - there will be NO FENCED IN DOG PARKS in the HRM - EVER. There will be no fence built in Seaview - and I asked that question point blank - and the staff member named Blair Blakeney, Coordinator of Facility Development Parks said - NO, there will be no fence built at Seaview - that is not something the HRM will support - so Seaview people - there will be no fence built at Seaview Park. Or anywhere else.

So during the meeting - I asked John Charles - "how do we get this policy changed" - and he trotted out this same old line that he has trotted out at every other meeting I have ever gone to with him - at the off leash strategy sessions - the people of the HRM didn't want fenced in dog parks.

And then he went on to say that he's just come from from Toronto where they have instituted fenced in dog parks all across the city. WAH? And then he goes on to talk about maybe someone wants to set up a PRIVATE fenced in dog park somewhere within the Municipality.

So if you want a fenced in dog park somewhere in the HRM - John Charles email address is - and his phone number is 490-5771

I advised the people at the meeting tonight that they shouldn't be in a hurry to fence in the Larry O'Connell field anyway, because it would probably quickly go the way of the Robert Drive Park - people would hear it was completely fenced in and they would have dog owners coming in from all over the Municipality to run their dogs and the turf would be decimated and the City would shut the park down very quickly - BECAUSE the dog owners of the HRM so DEARLY NEED fenced dog parks all over the City and currently have NONE, whenever one does open up - all dog owners are like moths to a light and just swoop in and take over when they hear about one.

So I warned to dog owners, and I think they are happy to keep their gates unfenced - and their park nice and small - and happy that they're now allowed to have a legal offleash area for more of the year.

It's truly pathetic that the City Bureaucrats and the "Interdepartmental Off Leash Committee" has such an anti-dog view - even though 2 of the members declared themselves to be dog owners. I'd really like to know when John Charles is retiring - because I truly believe that is the only time that we as a city are ever going to move forward on dog friendliness in relation to dog parks. Truly. And that is sad.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Batting cages, playgrounds and dog parks

Tomorrow night there is a meeting for "summer and fall off-leash uses of the Larry O'Connell ball park". It's going to be at the St. Andrew’s Centre, 6955 Bayers Road.

It is really confusing me - because Larry O'Connell park is ALREADY a sports field that is identified as a sports field approved for offleash use between November 1st and May 1st from 5am to 10pm - so maybe they are discussing expanding it's use so that they can use it for more months of the year? I guess summer and fall would fall outside of November 1st to May 1st.

It's interesting - because this particular park has come under scrutiny in the last couple of months - it is the same park that a batting cage was built with private funds supplied from the Minor Ball Association - and put on public property - without input from the neighbourhood association. And it all played out on the pages of the Chronicle Herald.

Back in September 2009 when "local residents, ball team players, parents and officials, parents of preschool children attending summer programs at the Larry O’Connell Centre and off leash proponents" met to talk about the Robert Drive ball field options before it was CLOSED PERMANENTLY to off leash use - the president of Minor League Baseball Association Mike Curry - who is the author of the letter of the Editor was at the meeting and he said that that his association would NOT rent any field that has any dog use whatsoever. It was not up for discussion - he would not use any field that had at any time had any piss or shit on it.

And I am personally blown away that in the letter he now doesn't seem to care at all about the people living in the neighbourhood when he says "it's owned and operated by the HRM, not the residents" - meaning the ball field - like as if the residents shouldn't have any say in the ball field.

When the Robert Drive ball field was under discussion as an off leash space - the surrounding residents were the #1 priority - and most important were the CHILDREN in the surrounding neighbourhood - and I can bet you that when the meeting comes around tomorrow night - the children of the neighbourhood will once again be very important. And dogs WILL NOT.

I also notice in the proposal that they are talking about LOWERING the amount of time that off leash use will be available come October 1st - that's the HRM for you. Pathetic.

But on to the batting cage. That was built by private funds and put on public land. I find that very interesting - dog owners in Halifax want a fenced in dog park - does that mean if we as dog owners pay for fencing - we can have a fenced in dog park? I think it does. We should demand that.

The Minor Ball Association did it. Why can't we? What is the difference? Can anybody tell me what the difference is between a batting cage and a fence? There is no difference.

We as dog owners should select a park that is suitable to be fenced in like the Minor Ball Association selected a park that was suitable for a batting cage - and tell the City that we will be fencing it in - and make that an off leash dog park.

And then we will have a fenced in dog park and all our problems will be solved. End of story. Why can't we do that? The Minor Ball Association did it - what makes dog owners different than parents of child ball players? We pay the same taxes. What makes us different? We are no different.

I don't think I can make it to the meeting tomorrow night - but I really hope someone with a loud voice can go to the meeting tomorrow night. I really hope someone does who knows the background of dog parks in the HRM.

I also wanted to give a link that I found on the HRM's website - and it is a listing of all the playgrounds in the HRM - there are like a KAJILLION playgrounds in the HRM that are maintained by the city - there has got to be over ONE HUNDRED playgrounds for children - and we have about 5 off leash dog parks. There is a little bit of an inbalance in the use of our tax dollars being slapped in our face -

And then we also have this table - which is a listing of budgets for City Projects - and you can see that in the next 5 years they're planning on spending $350,000 on outdoor spray pool maintenance, and a bunch of money on lawn bowling upgrades - and nothing on dog park upgrades or maintenance - and you have to ask yourself why? WHY? Really, why? Email your Councillor and ask them - why?

Summer off leash sports fields - - Chain Lake on Crown Drive (which is off the Bay Road which is up the road from the Armdale Rotary), Eddie Leblanc #3 on First Lake Drive in Lower Sackville, Glenbourne #2 on Parkland Drive in Clayton Park, Green Space between George Samuel and Nousha Court at 414 Kingswood Drive in Hammonds Plains and Conrose Field on Conrose in the South end of Halifax

On November 1, 2010 HRM will reopen 28 sports fields for off leash activities. The fields will be open from 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM until May 1, 2011 -