What happens in the city should not stay in the city……

I love tilling the garden!    It might be a bit of work … but it is still much easier on my middle-aged back than hand weeding!   Even better, it offers the opportunity to closely check / admire how my garden is growing:)  Best of all of course is that  tilling is one of those lovely little jobs that yields immediate and very visible results!

There are no half-truths in a garden!    It is either doing well or it is not!    One cannot postpone gardening chores by summoning up a study!    Weeds will not magically vanish if one calls up a committee!   And the only papers that matters are the informative instructions on the backs of the seed packets that for some reason just keep getting smaller and harder to read every year … 🙂

If only everything was as simple as that!   Sadly .. here in the real world ‘breaking new ground’ is never as simple as running the tractor around the field!    Even worse, progress can be sidelined for political expediency!   Saddest of all of course is that there is much truth to the old adage that when one is up to one’s a** in alligators, it can be hard to remember that the original objective was to drain the swamp!

Tilling is also an excellent time for thinking!   Today I was musing … as I am often wont to do … about the society.   Why do I continue to spend so much energy on that?

The answer to THAT one is very simple!    The society is an integral part of the journey to No Kill Nova Scotia!   Even though their mandate has changed since they started down their New Path ( from 2008’s four point mission list of 1.  Prevention and Education; 2.   Investigation and Advocacy; 3.   Animal Care  and Intervention and 4.  Protection  ….    to the current six point list of  1.   Public Education and Advocacy;  2.   Investigation; 3.   Animal Care; 4.   Governance; 5.   Marketing and Communications and 6.  Fund Development.) …. the simple truth remains that significant social and legal changes for the animals will alway require the cooperation of the society!

Why would that be?    Because of course under our current provincial laws, the society is the official voice for the animals.     When the Minister of Agriculture persists in telling media outlets that distress is already properly defined in the legislation, he is quick to quote the society, eh?

Now to be perfectly fair … the society has come a long way from the days when everything imploded after Celtic Pets!    After years of opposing TNR,  the society now supports the concept of TNR.  While SPCANS does not engage in TNR, their support is to this day an important educational tool for groups seeking funding from municipalities.

There have been many wonderful initiatives that would have been unheard of before 2008, including but not limited to:

  • transporting dogs from high kill shelters to the Provincial Animal Shelter
  • the destruction of the gas chamber at the Cape Breton SPCA
  • the award-winning palliative care program at the Provincial Animal Shelter
  • along with the award-winning Pawprints on Your Heart education program for Guides
  • establishment of a defined Standards of Care for SPCA Branches
  • utilizing the opportunities to boost cat adoptions with the satellite adoption facilities in pet stores
  • when all else failed, taking action to regain control of the Sydney Shelter, firing the manager, dismissing the board, cleaning it up and closely supervising the transition.
  • working with the Justice Department’s dog training program for prisoners
  • advocating for and establishing a Low Cost Spay Neuter Clinic  in HRM and last but not least
  • trying to simplify the spider’s web chain of command into a cohesive unit with common goals and objectives.   (it should be noted that in light of the tremendous opposition from the previously “independent branches” that this last item is still very much a work in progress )

Now this is always where people want to start throwing things at the computer screen!   Why have I not mentioned the society’s No Kill Strategy?    The answer to THAT is still as simple as ever!   As long as the Policy Manual   allows Branches to kill animals when they cannot afford the medical care,  the society cannot possibly claim No Kill bragging rights.    As any reputable No Kill Rescue could tell them, ‘healthy and treatable’ is never defined by the dollar sign.

However I am wandering afield .. as I am often wont to do in my meandering way.    In the course of maintaining the event page on this site, I am often in and out of the different  rescue Facebook pages!

I was utterly gobsmacked when I stopped into the Yarmouth Branch page to find a link for a Doghouse Auction!   At first I was sure that someone had to be kidding, right?  I mean this is an SPCA Branch!   If former society presidents see fit to publicly scold my suggestions on Facebook that they do not support Anti Tethering Legislation …. what on earth is an SPCA Branch doing selling Dog Houses ?

Now to be fair, the children who built these houses cannot be faulted!   How wonderful that they wanted to help their local shelter!   My question is … where were the adults?   Surely somebody from the school contacted the shelter to see if this was ok?   Did no one think to suggest an ever so much better alternative such as Cat Trees?

My gosh .. tickets for THOSE would sell like hot cakes and would be a REAL money-maker!    As it stands … well-known animal advocate Joan Sinden has offered to bid a hundred dollars on each of the five houses so that they can be put to better use as feral cat shelters!

This Dog House Auction is particularly heartbreaking in light of all the wonderful initiatives that are happening elsewhere!     Kings County has an adult adoption special on starting today!  Colchester has been washng dogs!    Lunenburg has been spaying and neutering!   Cape Breton continues to generate community fundraising support!   Antigonish has really been putting the capital FUN in fundraising!

Let’s be perfectly clear about one thing!    There is no area of this province that has not been touched by hard times.   Here in Kings County we have lost more processing jobs than New Page.   Queens County is still struggling to find a way past losing Bowater.   Yes, Yarmouth has struggled since it lost the CAT … but it is not the only place in this province to do so, eh?

In other words … the economic situation in Yarmouth is simply another snapshot of a province wide series of struggles to stay afloat!

What time is it?   Perhaps it is time for provincial to stop accepting the status quo in Yarmouth and start asking the really hard question …. WHY is Yarmouth the only Branch having such difficulty attracting volunteers?

PS … if Provincial needs a reference point … why not revisit what happened after the Cape Breton Shelter was cleaned up?    Even the society was stunned by the overwhelming community support that ‘magically’ appeared when the shelter shifted gears on to a better path!

Putting off an easy thing makes it hard.  Putting off a hard thing makes it impossible.    George Claude Lorimer

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