The Circle of Life

The garden is almost finished for the season and like any other gardener visions of next years sugarplums are already dancing in my head. Most of the seeds have been gathered and the freezers and cupboards are nearly full.
It is such a natural way of living to grow a garden and having more time for it is definitely one of the best bits about being retired. I hope that I never grow so old that I don’t delight in the dance …. from first seed to next years dreams.
Its been a bittersweet time . Bitter .. because fresh vegies of all stripes were always a favourite for the little man. The big dogs ( sigh …. when am i going to stop doing that, eh? ) will nibble on the occasional crunchy bean, but generally they are more inclined to sniff yearningly at the fragrant aromas wafting over from the neighbours’ BBQs.
But it is sweet that he did live his whole life here … which is how it should be for pets of all sizes and stripes. And thinking about that has inspired this chain of thought about homeless pets and pets in general

  • at the risk of sounding like a stuck record … according to Stats Can there are at least 350,000 households in NS. If only ONE PERCENT of them each adopted one pet, there would be No More Homeless Pets in Nova Scotia
  • at the risk of stating the obvious… every pet that lives a natural lifespan with the original guardian is one less pet that will come into rescue. If AC is a municipal responsibility, then enabling lifetime pet ownership should be the first priority of all NS municipalities. Successfully proven tools such as free public workshops and free lifetime pet licenses for altered and microchipped pets should be part of the arsenal in all NS Municipalities
  • the odds on a homeless pet living to tell the tail is very much dependant upon geography. AC bylaws and procedures vary widely, as do the relationships that municipalities have with shelters and rescue groups.
  • In no instance are there any publicly available statistics on either intake or outcome to document the real scope of the problem
  • In a province where public health inspection results for restaurants are freely available online, all municipal AC departments should be subject to society scrutiny with results published online as well
  • Municipal AC’s are automatically entitled to a petfinder listing… all they have to do is apply. Petfinder, after all is like E Harmony … the folks who use the service are ready to ‘fall in love’
  • Even though rescue is not part of the society mandate, per se, in order for them to ‘find happy outcomes’ for those in their care… all the stops should be pulled out for all their adoptables. That includes lower adoption fees and a willingness to transfer dogs between branches for approved adopters.

There is a real need for consistent legislated provincial protection for the AC animals that should include:

  • mandatory spay neuter for all ‘pound puppies’
  • in this computer day and age there is no reason why there cannot be a master provincial list of registered pets, for the benefit of pet owners who either reside within ‘sniffing’ distance of the next county or visit outside of their own.
  • a requirement to publicly list all adoptables … with clear pictures, either on petfinder or the municipal website, and last but not least
  • a lifesaving red flag network to appraise rescue groups and shelters of urgent situations

What time is it? Its time to recognize that any meaningful solution to the homeless pet problem requires the active support of the municipalities. In these budget conscious times, that means that it has to be legislated.

Otherwise our grandchildren will just think we were hypocrites who could place a price tag on respect for life.

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