Saturday, December 24, 2011
Wrap up of 2011
I thought I'd do a little year end wrap up post - a highlight if you will of some of the dog politics events that happened this year.
I'd like to start on a personal note though because this has been a very difficult year for me - if you'll notice this year I've posted more than my fair share pictures of flowers and cute pictures of the dogs rather than insightful dog politics posts - this year I lost my once in a lifetime dogs Daisy and Charlie, and subsequently had a recurrrence of my bi-polar disorder and lost almost all my friends - my father became ill and is now in a nursing home - so just about all the things I was scared were going to happen in 2011 did happen.
Thank dog I still my beloved Buttercup, and in June I got Bubby - who has turned out to be a super companion for her - but he also has come with his problems - human aggression being one of them. 2012 will be an interesting year as we work through his issues. Other than that though - he is the perfect little dog.
On to what I think are some of the important things that happened in Nova Scotia in 2011.
I think the #1 story was the rise of the "Nova Scotia Lost Dog Network" and it's smaller sister the "Nova Scotia Lost Cat Network" - and I'll tell you why.
It signals a shift in how we view stray animals - they are not stray anymore - they are now lost.
People are now looking for their lost pets - and have been given the tools to do so by this organization. A few years ago I was told by the SPCA (when they had the Animal Control contract locally) that 75% of the animals that came through their door were stray animals. Imagine if those stray animals were all thought of animals who were simply lost and just looking for their homes.
The Nova Scotia Lost Dog Network is working towards that. And I think that that's why the organization is so important to animal welfare in Nova Scotia - and should be duplicated everywhere. It's a paradigm shift in the way we think about stray animals.
I've written posts before - and it's not me who thought up this phrase "think lost, not stray" - and the Nova Scotia Lost Dog Network is doing something about it.
#2 on my list is the abolition of the puppy mill industry in Canada.
This has been a watershed year for puppy mills closing down in Canada - and I think that's fabulous - and I think it has to do with the fact that pet stores across the country have been closing their door to selling live animals.
I think though that with the closure of the pet stores we're going to see puppy mills getting desperate in trying to find avenues to sell their livestock and we're going to see a lot more "raids" like there's been in the last few months with 100's of animals being seized at once.
The puppy mills have no ways to get rid of their product, so they just let them sit and rot - sort of like a tomato farmer would if they didn't have a way to sell their wares - only this product is living and breathing.
We're also going to see more dogs like Bubby - who came from a puppy mill - and this puppy miller used Kijiji to sell his product - and he was a ckc breeder too.
Because the breeder wasn't a very good salesman - Bubby remained at his "kennel" for the first 6 months of his life and got absolutely no human contact, and missed all the imprinting that's required to make a normal dog - and this "breeder" is still selling these dogs as if they are good family pets - which of course they are not. They are little time bombs who are completely unsocialized who have no idea how to interact in the world and require very special loving understanding homes. Can you say "being dumped into rescue"? like Bubby was?
But in the long run - things are looking very good for puppy mills - pet stores are now using their space to hold adoption drives for local rescues, and as each puppy mill is raided, it is shut down - so one at a time they are closing - until they are all closed, I don't know what kind of world it will be then - but it's got to be better than a world that has puppy mills.
#3 on my list is dog bylaw revisions in Nova Scotia - starting with Windsor, then Yarmouth - and ending with the district of the municipality of Shelburne. Too bad Halifax wasn't included on that list.
Windsor's turned out the best - the latest version of Yarmouth's is just horrible - it's like they took all the things that we said not to put in it and put those parts in - and the bylaw in Shelburne is still a work in progress - with at least the bsl being taken out.
#3 slides into #4 which is the NS SPCA - because they worked with Windsor on their bylaw - and the NS SPCA really earned their place this year as the go-to organization in regards as the spokespeople for anything humane - which I am sure is one of their strategic goals.
They had lots of controversy - with one of their former presidents (in Yarmouth) being convicted of animal cruelty - and shutting down the Cape Breton SPCA - which people within the humane community have been wanting them to do for years.
#5 is the 100 sled dogs who died out in British Columbia - because they didn't die in vain. Change did come from their death - and change - and notice - happened all across Canada and beyond. People really started to think - and realize, that maybe it wasn't a good idea to chain your dog outside all the time - that maybe that wasn't socially an acceptable thing to do anymore - and it was because of all the conversations that went on around those 100 sled dogs who were slaughtered in British Columbia. And if anything good came out of that - including their changed laws - that was a good thing.
I think 5 things is enough.
I'm doing this wrap up early because I'm having surgery on my eyes again next week - I'm hoping I will not continue to be a lasik failure - I will be a lasik winner after next week - not being able to see for the past 8 months has been a life changing experience. When you can't see, there are so many things you can't do. You don't know until you actually go through it.
So here's hoping that 2012 will be a better year. Really, it can't be any worse.