On the limits of any box …

Mandy’s new stroller arrived yesterday and already we are all quite taken with it!   Why would I get her a stroller?    Am I not the first to preach about little dogs having all the same needs as a big dog?

Yes I am … and I still believe every bit of that.   But it is simply a fact of life that whether they are little or large,  every year as our dogs age there are new challenges to contend with.    Some are easier than others … and can happily be held at bay with simple solutions like green mussel lipid powder.    Others can take surgery to fix.    And sometimes, we just have to think outside of the box!

So this morning we test drove Mandy’s new wheels and it was everything I was hoping it would be.    Mandy gets to come along with us without worrying about getting out of breath.    Even better, the stroller is easier on her back than the carrier was!   Best of all, at any time along the way it is easy and quick to let her out to sniff around with the rest of the gang!      Honestly, it is almost frosting on the cake that the stroller is actually easier on my back as well!

In other words, right here, right now this is a good solution for all of us.   Everyone else still gets the exercise they need, we all get to enjoy the change of scenery and nobody gets left behind.

Sadly there are not always good solutions available for owners trying to surrender pets.    And before the keyboards catch on fire … no I am not suddenly in favour of someone ditching their pet because of a new baby/ boyfriend/ job or any one of the myriad other poor excuses we so often see.

But …. it is simply a fact of life that if someone is determined NOT to keep their pet …. generally it is in the best interests of the animal to find a more committed and responsible owner, eh?   I was reminded of this last night when I made the mistake of popping into the free to a good home ads … where there was a horrible one posted by a woman who wanted to trade her little dog for a bigger one that would be better with the kids.   One that would not have separation anxiety!   Trade!

So of course like an absolute idiot, I posted this on my wall last night and whadyaknow … this morning the ad was gone!   Does that mean that the poster was able to arrange a trade in a few short hours?    Of course not!

I should KNOW better than to post those ads!   Why?    Aren’t I allowed to vent?   Of course I am … but unfortunately these ads get shared and the poster soon gets tired of being scolded by irate … if well-meaning souls.   In the blink of an eye, the ad is gone and then we are all left wondering what ever happened to that poor dog 😦

Should people be posting ads on Kijiji?     Should they not scamper down to their local SPCA to surrender the dog?    Well … here in Nova Scotia … there has not been an open admission SPCA shelter since the Cape Breton SPCA was cleaned up!   And to be brutally blunt …. when it was open admission under old management that shelter was killing at least three out of four that came in the door!

As a sidebar note to that,  there is no point in getting all angsty because the SPCA is NOT open admission.   Why would I say that?      Aren’t they supposed to take all the homeless pets in this province?

Actually … no they are not!    Their mandate is to “ prevent abuse, neglect and cruelty to animals, and provide for province-wide leadership on matters that promote and improve the welfare of all animals through animal protection; care and rehabilitation; humane education; advocacy and engagement and collaboration with stakeholders”   While their goal is to “provide first class care for animals in their control”, it is important to remember that Governance, Marketing & Communications and Fund Development play at least as big a role in their Strategic Goals as Animal Care does.

So .. to be perfectly fair … the society has never interpreted their role as including responsibility for every homeless pet in this province.    We just get confused because it is convenient for the society to focus on the plight of homeless pets for fundraising purposes, eh?

But I am wandering afield, as I am wont to do in my meandering way.   The point I am trying to make today is that when every cat and dog rescue in this province has a waiting list for surrenders, Kijiji remains the go to choice for many pet owners looking to get rid of their pets.    After all, if they are able to turn a blind eye about where their pet is going, noone is normally going to make them feel bad for surrendering their pet.    Nor is anyone going to ask for a surrender fee.    Gosh .. they do not even have to fill out a form.

Would all of these people go to rescues if they could?   Probably not …. but is that really the pet’s fault.     Still …. haranguing the owners is always the exact opposite of helpful, eh?

What is the solution?     If pet owners cannot turn to the society, where CAN they turn?    Should the traffic in living, breathing sentient beings on the free online ad sites be banned?    Of course they should … but NOT until there is another readily accessible option for pet owners.  In other words, we need an exit strategy.

It will not be animal control … because that is not part of their mandate either.  It cannot be any one particular rescue … when the burden is more than any one group to bear.   It cannot be Petfinder because they stopped listing personal pet adoption ads when it was sold to Purina 😦     Nor should it be the society if they are unwilling or unable to step up to the plate.

To be perfectly honest, I do not know what the answer is yet!    There is a chicken and egg aspect to the free online ad sites that begs a solution sooner rather than later, eh?    What do I mean by that?    At the risk of stating the obvious, even a middle-aged granny like me can see that the no questions asked just show me the money honey atmosphere sometimes has the same pets being passed around like pairs of old socks.

There is ONE thing that would really, really help though.   These new regulations should include mandatory breeder registration.    Not only would that be more humane, because there would be minimum breeding ages, annual litter limits and even lifetime litter limits … but it would provide an ‘auditable trail’ for each pet.    Breeders would be less likely to take shortcuts on genetic screening if they knew that the unhealthy or unsound progeny could be repeatedly traced back to them eh?

Quite frankly, I am surprised that tax departments at all levels are not more proactive on this issue, when there is so much unreported income being generated, eh?

What time is it?   It is always time to remember that better laws for the animals ALWAYS do double duty by providing better consumer protection for the humans that love them.   More importantly, it is also time to remember that there will be no magic rabbit one size fits all solution for the animals that we can pull out of our hats.     At the end of the day, nothing meaningful will happen unless our politicians can be motivated to think outside the box that is their comfort zone.

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.  Martin Luther King Jr.


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