In praise of walking the walk

I love the private animal rescues around this province!   Not simply because they save lives!   Not only for their compassionate committment to the animals!  Not even because they were No Kill long before the society got on the bandwagon.    (The testy topic of how No Kill Nova Scotia will not happen until there is a firm tripod composed of Rescue, SPCA and Animal Control for it to stand on is a sticky subject that has been, and will again , be deserving of posts of its own)

At the end of the day,  one cannot help but admire the ingenuity that is the underpinning of all the private rescues.   Collectively, they bring a wealth of experience to the table that comes from years of lessons learned.

For instance, one of my favourite bits is that they understand how important it is to spay or neuter all adoptables as soon as possible.   Sometimes … such as with my own Miss Ruby … the pet is in such dire straits that some time must be taken for them to be healthy enough to be spayed.   Occasionally, abused animals are not mentally healthy enough to be altered right away.

But in all instances, the default position is always to spay or neuter as soon as the animal is healthy enough.     It is going to be done anyway, so why wait, eh?

Well …. if the shelter is not really No Kill,  no one is going to want to “waste” funds on an animal they might kill!    Sometime shelters will claim that they do not have the funding to spay or neuter until the animal is adopted!

That is the sort of reasoning one sees in Monty Python movies!   Experienced rescuers … and even middle-aged grandmothers like myself … know that unaltered animals are more prone to exhibit behaviors that will not appeal to adopters.   In addition, as one experienced rescuer put it,  altering as soon as possible really reduces the liability risk for rescues while pets are waiting in foster.

Anyone who has ever brought home a freshly neutered boy knows that they can still be brimming with testosterone for a bit:)    That can result in a higher return rate than necessary, when adopters are unwilling or unable to cope with behaviors such as marking.

A week ago Friday, when I called the Yarmouth Shelter for the first time, I asked why so few of the Petfinder listings showed their adoptables as being spayed or neutered.  I was told that it was standard practice to wait until there was an approved application … although the manager did say that she was going to try to book all the females in to be spayed, as it was at times a bit difficult!

In the course of my work with the homeless pet site, I have seen the most beautiful and appealing dogs listed at the Yarmouth shelter.   Many of the ‘big boys’ waited for months and months!   Was Scruffy neutered?   Nope!

It is difficult for pets in a shelter environment to present well to the strangers who are looking to adopt.     If that pet is not altered … it becomes all that more challenging for potential adopters to picture the pet as part of their family,eh?

To be fair, no matter how politely and reasonably the request is made, the society is probably never going to get the funding they are seeking.     This is not new information.   The previous government did not pony up.   Odds are the next government will not step up either.   The plain fact is that there will be no “funding” until animal loving voters provide sufficient voter feedback to their MLA’s on the score.

In that light, perhaps it is time for the Yarmouth branch to stop waiting for the mountain to come to them, so to speak.   In the last year, since the dramatic dust-up with the old board, fundraising activities have almost ground to a halt in Yarmouth.

One of the little bits I do, both on this blog and on the homeless pet site, is to list all the animal rescue fundraisers I can find around the province.   In this past year, the only real thing that I have seen for Yarmouth is one yard sale and the Easter Pix.   No Bark in the Park.  No open houses at the shelter.

The subject of how the shelter has regressed and is now closed on Sundays is another sticky wicket for future posts!    It was such a step forward when the society started being open at more accessible hours for the public and this cannot possibly be helpful for the animals either…. sigh!

I have never, ever heard any of the private rescues whining about the lack of public funding.   They know the sun is going to come up in the morning and that this is just another fact of life.   Instead they roll up their fundraising sleeves with ingenuity that would be the envy of any corporate efficiency expert!

What time is it?    It always time to remember that the only ones entitled to talk the No Kill talk are the ones who are actually walking the walk!

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