I love Henry! What is not to love? He is as sweet as the chocolate bar he was named for. Even better, hands down he has the best listening ears in the house. Best of all of course is that he is so kind that I call him my cat whisperer. Really … it is just frosting on the cake that he is so appealing and cute, eh?
This Monday we will celebrate Henry’s eighth Home Coming Day. Or, as they say in rescuespeak, his Gotcha Day. Eight years since I adopted my sweet boy from CAPS. Eight years later, I no longer leave tempting bits out unattended on the counter. After eight years, Henry rarely waters anything now when I go out. In other words, we have both learned a lot as we settled into our own Happy Tail.
Pet adoption can be such an amazing experience. Above and beyond the love and devotion, there is the ever so satisfying bit about saving a life. Two lives actually …. because every adoption clears a foster or shelter slot for the next pet in need. In our case, when I adopted Henry that meant that CAPS could take another dog into care from the pound in Annapolis County.
Would it be more satisfying to adopt from a “high kill shelter” somewhere else? Well … before your heart gallops down the road, just what do you think happens to unclaimed dogs in pounds around this province? What happens to the healthy adoptable dogs in need of new homes who cannot find a rescue or shelter slot? What happens to unanticipated puppies? Unwanted kittens?
Before the keyboards catch on fire please consider this one thing. Here in Nova Scotia there are plenty of No Kill Rescues and shelters BUT there are NO open admission No Kill rescues or shelters. Not one. The only time we had an open admission shelter, they needed a gas chamber to keep up with the killing.
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 Henry and I have this happy life because Henry was adopted from a reputable Nova Scotia rescue.
Why would I say that? Why be so mean?
Well … lets look at the facts, shall we?
- although I met Henry the day he came into CAPS care, he still had to go through the standard CAPS two week quarantine / assessment period. It did not matter that they knew me. Nor would there have been any question of me fostering him for that time.
- When the two week period was up, I put in my application. Did I get to take him home that day? Did they claim to have screened my application in two hours time? Of course not! It was the longest week of my life waiting to hear back.
- I did not get to meet Henry again until my application was approved .. but then
- because they were a local rescue, I was able to bring both my dogs up to meet Henry before CAPS and I committed to the adoption. AND
- If, for any reason, things had not been a success, because CAPS was right here in NS, I could have done one of two things. I could have called them for advice or .. shudder . have taken him back.
- AND of course, when I brought Henry home that day, I knew that he was health checked, vaccinated and neutered. Why? Because I had legitimate, genuine records from a Nova Scotia veterinarian. In other words, I knew that he would pose no health risks to Miss Ruby and McGuinness.
As a sidebar note to that, one of the unfortunate side effects of bringing dogs in from away is that some of them are bringing health problems into our province. Just this morning , I saw a post on Facebook outlining the health and dog aggressive behavior problems one woman was having with a dog she adopted from the south.
Does that mean that kind hearts should not try to help those trying to save lives in heartworm endemic areas? Of course not. I absolutely love my friend Joan’s suggestion that folks who want to help can donate money to southern rescuers.
Lets face it, we Nova Scotians like to think we are special, but we are not the only ones with kind hearts. There are more kind hearts throughout the States than the entire population of this province.
But .. here in the real world there are always going to be folks who insist on disregarding the advice of seasoned rescuers about bringing dogs in and adopting them out right off the truck or plane.
And that is why I believe that regulating rescues is not going to be enough.
- Legislation is needed to to protect adopters and pet owners in this province. There should be a mandatory quarantine period for all imported pets;
- Imported pets should require the same certificate of health from a Nova Scotia vet as every other pet sold or adopted in this province; and last but not least
- Rescues importing dogs should require a special license, along with mandatory adoption records to provide an auditable trail for all animals.
What time is it? It is always time to remember that there are plenty of opportunities for kind hearts to help … right here in Nova Scotia.