Wednesday, October 6, 2010

This is the face of no-kill in Nova Scotia today

A coworker/friend of mine lost her dog Tanner to old age in July, and she and her family recently decided that they're ready for a new dog - and they wanted to go through rescue to find him or her - so my friend has been watching Petfinder and asking me about dogs that I've heard about and forwarding me dogs that she's seen on the web and yesterday she forwarded me a couple dogs that she saw on Petfinder that were over at the Dartmouth SPCA's provincial shelter - so I said to her - it's lunchtime - why don't we just go over and take a look - it'll take us under an hour to go over there and then be back at work - so that's what we did.
And this is what we saw on the board when we got over there - Suzie - she wasn't the dog that my friend had sent me that she was looking at - but she was more of the type that she had been looking for - a scrappy terrier type, 15 to 25 pounds that was 1-2 years old - Suzie was actually pretty much exactly what my friend was looking for - so we asked to see her.
And this is what was brought out to us. The most beauteous wondrous little dog - that had been brought up from the Cape Breton SPCA. Down there - in the past she probably would have been killed - because these types of dogs are a dime a dozen down there - but here - adopters will fight over here, and in fact - while we were filling out an application on her - so was someone else! So my friend was writing quickly!
What happened was - my friend filled out her application - it was taken in, they checked the references immediately - called her vet to check her out - had the other family members come and meet Suzie to make sure that this was a family decision - and do you know what? Their application to adopt Suzie was accepted YESTERDAY. The SAME DAY that they applied to adopt her.

Dogs come in - DOGS GO OUT. That is what NO KILL is all about. A simplified adoption process is imperative to a no kill society. The more dogs you can move out into GOOD HOMES - the more dogs you can bring in and SAVE.
While my friend was filling out her application, I was talking to a staff member - and she said that they are filtering almost all of the dogs in Nova Scotia from SPCA's that don't have shelters, or their shelters are full - into the Dartmouth Provincial shelter - because they have the space, and the adopters - to move the animals out - and achieve their no kill vision - and in fact - the Dartmouth SPCA will most likely adopt more dogs out this year than they did in other years when they had the pound contract with the HRM.

So in fact - they are saving more lives without the pound contract than when they did have the pound contract - or I'm sure they'd rather say - their new vision and strategic plan has facilitated the saving of more animal's lives in Nova Scotia than ever before - however you want to put it - I think it's fabulous.

People in rescue for years have been lamenting the fact that there were empty cages in one shelter and animals were being killed in another shelter - so the fact that there is finally transportation happening between shelters and dogs have stopped dying in Cape Breton - is a miracle that has been decades in the making - and I'm so glad that it's happening now.
That doesn't mean though that no kill leaves behind the less adoptable dogs - dogs like Mercedes who have to go to particular homes - that just means that no kill shelters have the luxury of being able to spend the time to find the RIGHT homes for the less adoptable dogs like Mercedes - so that they DON'T have to kill diamonds in the rough
I don't know if Mary Jane is one of the dogs that the Dartmouth shelter is bringing down from Ontario - but they are now being able to save dogs from many varied places - from Ontario, from a couple of Animal Control jurisdictions, from a native reservation - and of course from enforcing the Animal Cruelty Legislation in Nova Scotia.
I am so happy that we've come a long way from the days when we were treated like criminals when we walked through the front door of the SPCA looking to adopt an animal - and we had to prove that we weren't before we could take an animal home - and it seemed to take week's to get anywhere, and by the time we were approved the animal we wanted was adopted to someone else - and it was heartbreak from beginning to end.

That is no way to run a rescue - it's no wonder that pet stores and Kijiji flourished - but it's time to bring those same people back to the world of rescue - because there's nothing wrong with the animals in the shelters - it's the humans who dumped them there that's the problem - and in the age of no kill and it's philosophies - it is the answer to all the old-school problems - and I'm glad the NS SPCA has succeeded in their goals. Yay!


  1. Stumbled upon your blog by accident last week. Great job! I volunteer at my local shelter here in FL, Humane Societ of Sarasota Co. Despite its name, it is a privately run shelter, owner give-ups only (which still bring heartwrenching stories and sad tales of abuse and neglect). HSSC has low adoption fees, a solid base of volunteers and staff that work with the animals to get them trained, socialized, etc. to up their success for adoption. You can adopt on the same day if everything checks out, including a landlord check if you are a renter and everyone in the household must meet the animal before adoption. If not, or you are undecided, you can put an anmial on hold for a day for a low fee ($10). I have even learned a little about how to clicker train a cat as we do our best to make sure our feline guests keep their minds and bodies active, warding off bad habits and behaviour. I love being a part of the HSSC family and wish all shelters could have the support, staff, programs and volunteers that this shelter has. I am glad to hear that NS SPCA is going in such a positive direction!

  2. I'm glad you featured Mercedes in your blog - in all the dogs I've met she has got to be the most people friendly dog I've ever seen. She truly is a diamond and I really hope she gets a home soon. I believe her dog-dog aggression issues could be solved with the right trainer

  3. superb post - and Kudo's to teh NS SPCA for moving towards the ultimate goal of a no kill province.

    YEAH for the pets in NS that need a safe place before finding their new home ... taking the time to find the right match is the key to successful adoptions!

  4. Good story. This is how well it can work when shelters make adoption their option for taking care of homeless pets.