On setting ourselves up for success


I love bachelor buttons, especially Polka Dot Mix!      Is it because this blend is chock full of my favourite flower colour, purple?    Might it be that they were one of the stalwarts in my mother’s garden?   Or is it simple nostalgia that yearns for a more genteel time when boutonnieres were an everyday finishing touch?

Close but no cigar!   As a gardener, I am most fond of the flowers and shrubs that go the extra mile and bloom all season long.      Now to be perfectly honest, we are not normally blessed with Bachelor Buttons in full bloom on the twenty-second of October, which was when this picture was taken.   It has been such an extraordinary year for late blooms and it is to be hoped that this is the exception and not the new normal rule.

The ability to go the extra mile …. year in and year out ….. is one of the reasons I hold reputable animal rescuers in such high regard.    Lets face it … it takes a LOT more time and energy to ‘do things right’.    As with anything else in life, there are no shortcuts to success.     Pets have to be assessed.    Food and supplies have to be bought.   Vet visits have to be paid for.   Adoption applications have to be properly screened.   Home visits have to be done.   Time has to be made for follow-up visits to ensure that everything is working out well.     And last but not least …  if in spite of all that things are not a success, someone has to scramble to find a foster slot when the pet is returned.

What?    That is not all standard?     Aren’t all animal rescues and shelters created equal?   Sadly not!    Right here, right now, it is possible in this province to adopt rescued pets that have not been spayed or neutered!     There are rescues who firmly believe … in spite of all evidence to the contrary … that there is nothing wrong with using fear based training methods that employ prong and shock collars!    And of course there are puppy broker wolves wearing rescue clothing to drum up business.

Now to be perfectly honest, the world of purebred breeders is fraught with as much peril.   Not all CKC breeders are created equal either!    Not everyone does the genetic screening or carefully matches bloodlines for temperment.     And that does not even cover the ‘grey area’ of unregistered breeders passing themselves as providing a lower cost community service 😦     Or commercial breeders looking to ‘retire’ breeding stock 😦

What IS a kind heart to do?    How can anyone hope to sort through the hype when looking for a pet?    Whether one wants to adopt or buy a puppy from rescue, there are simple steps that should be taken:

  1. Ask for references!    Good breeders and rescues will not be offended.   After all, they are going to poke around your underwear drawer too, eh?
  2. Check out their application process!    Reputable breeders and rescues WILL rummage around your life to make sure that the cute face you have fallen in love with will be a match with your real-time lifestyle.
  3. Find out if the pet will be welcomed back by the breeder or rescue in the event that you are unable or unwilling to keep him or her.   For any reason.
  4. Ask specifics!   How old will the puppy or kitten be when you can bring him or her home ?    What vaccinations will they have?    What will they need for food?    Grooming?    Will the pet be spayed or neutered?    Will you need a crate?
  5. Be honest with yourself!        All is not fair in love and war at times like this!     All relationships need common ground.    For instance, the awesome three-year old spunky terrier that I shared on Facebook this morning would truly upset the Zen apple cart here!

What time is it?   It is always time to remember that pets do not have any say in who purchases them or adopts them    In other words, it is up to us as humans to set ourselves and our pets up for success.


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