Love is the Answer

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We are at that tipping point in winter.    Will last year’s history repeat itself?    Was this week’s blizzard a stand alone event or the shape of things to come?   Who knows!

Yet we are eternal optimists, grasping at any straws that could herald an early spring.    Is March 27th an early enough Easter to be significant?    Did  Shubenacadie Sam get everyone’s hopes stirred up?    Who really knows about that either, eh?

No matter what the weatherman dishes up for us, this is a very special weekend in this house.    Eight years ago tomorrow, ARC emailed to ask if I would be interested in a dog that had just come into the Colchester pound.     She was everything that I had asked them to find for me.   Lab sized.   Female.   Adult.

They were also quick to point out that she was severely emaciated and that it would take time for her to become healthy enough to be adopted.   After a lengthy phone chat, pictures were promised .. if possible .. the following day.

The short version is .. as most of you well know … that she could have been as ugly as a toad and I would have loved her dearly.   Even as my heart was breaking for how desperately thin she was, it was clear from those clever eyes that she was going to be a smarty pants.

It was a month and more before she was well enough to come here.   How did ARC manage to do that?   Did they not have other dogs waiting in the wings to save?   Of course they did!   But as a reputable rescue, once they commit to an animal in need, they do not hurry them out the door without being properly assessed and treated.

In other words, the reason they were able to take Miss Ruby .. and every other hard case they have had before and since … is that there was a foster available.   In Miss Ruby’s case, she was their first foster actually.  Did they do a good job?   You bet!   I will be forever grateful to them for providing a safe space for Miss Ruby to heal.

All the cliches really are true, you know.    Fosters are that life saving bridge between pets in need and their happy new homes.       All the fundraising in the world would be of no avail without foster homes for adoptable pets.   Straight, sweet and simple.

This is especially true for reputable rescues that take on the hard cases that will not be quickly adopted.   Lets face it, the need for medical attention is one of the primary reasons pets are surrendered.    When owners are unwilling or unable to pay for surgeries or treatments needed, rescues have to make sure that they have a foster home free to take in the pet for a while.

Is it hard to foster a pet …. to love them and nurture them .. and then let them go?    Sure it is.  It does help if one fosters for a reputable rescue.  Why?   Because of course that the fosters can be confident that the adopters will be well screened and well suited to their new pal.

And  …. think of the alternative, eh?

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Fostering is one of the few times in life where ‘all you need is love”.   Reputable rescues buy all the food and supplies.   They take care of all the veterinary bills.     Even the toys and beds are donated or bought.     All the fosters have to add is love and patience.    In return, fosters have the solid satisfaction of knowing that they have both saved lives and brought joy to the world for the kind hearts who adopt!   To borrow a phrase from WordPress, kind of like real life Happiness Engineers!

Valentines is a time for sentimental things .. and one of my favourite bits is a poem by Diane Morgan.

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What time is it?   It is always time to remember these wise words:

Love is the answer and you know that for sure.   John Lennon

REASONS TO FOSTER

Sometimes Love is not all we need

I actually like scooping snow.   What is not to like?    In many instances, it takes no more time than it’s much noisier cousin, the snowblower.    Even better, it is both good for my personal fitness and the environment.   Best of all is that it provides a peaceful opportunity to mull things over.

I have been giving a lot of thought lately to the topic of regulating rescues.     Why would I do that?  Should it not be enough that someone would want to help animals in need?    Well … like so many other things in life .. the short answer is pretty darned simple.    Regulations could possibly provide a framework to balance the compassion that it takes to rescue with consumer protection.

As of this writing there are no consistent standards.    Does that mean that I believe that every rescue should do everything the same?   Of course not!    The specific practices for a shelter, for instance, are not always appropriate for a foster based rescue.   Or vice versa.

So why the need for regulations?     Think about what happens when we go car shopping!    If we wind up with a lemon and can get no satisfaction from the dealer, odds are that we will never buy that model or even brand of car again, not even from another dealer.    Nor will we be inclined to recommend that particular brand to our family, friends, neighbours and coworkers.

It is exactly the same when someone has a negative experience with pet adoption.  When problems arise because health and behaviour issues have not been fully disclosed, an adopter will have no reason to speak well of pet adoption.       If difficulties occur because good people have not been matched with the right pets, heartbroken adopters may never, ever again adopt.    Nor will they have any reason to encourage their friends to adopt.

In other words, regulations would protect all the rescues that are already doing a good job from being tarred with the same brush as the less reputable ones.

But wait just a minute …. won’t regulating rescues discourage decent people from stepping up?   Lets face it … as of this writing, not every rescue in this province has taken the simple step of registering as a non profit with the province.     The list of those who have taken the sensible step of registering for CRA charitable status is even shorter.    Why would we want more paperwork to encumber folks who want to help?

Maybe we don’t!     Here is today’s what if.   What if the Animal Protection Act was amended to include a section on pet adoption that would require:

  • a current health certificate from a licensed Nova Scotia  veterinarian,
  • a requirement for adopted adult pets to be spayed or neutered prior to adoption, unless a Nova Scotia veterinarian signed off a medical exemption,
  • a requirement for rescues and shelters to follow up to ensure that  all infant and juvenile pets are actually spayed and neutered,
  • that rescues and shelters fully disclose all behaviour issues,
  • that rescues and shelters provide follow up after care if the adopter needs advice,
  • and last but not least, in the event that the adoption is not a success, that the rescue or shelter be required to take the pet back into care in a timely fashion.

It has been suggested that instead of regulations, perhaps this could be incorporated into a voluntary Rescue Code of Conduct that participating rescues and shelters could sign.   While that is not a bad idea, it offers little if any protection to first time adopters who are utterly unfamiliar with the rescue world.

Putting regulations into the Act would, in my not so humble opinion, provide a vehicle to protect consumers without creating an additional administrative burden on rescuers.    Lets face it .. rescues and shelters would also have a difficult time recruiting fosters if their foster homes were subject to regular inspections, eh?

As a sidebar note to all this, while I was scooping this month I came to another conclusion.    Regulating rescues will be a bit like closing the barn door after the horse has gone without mandatory breeder regulations.

At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, there is no point in regulating rescues if something is not done about backyard breeders.    To be clear, I am not talking about the fabulous folks whose love for individual breeds has inspired them to work hard to maintain their beloved breed standards.

In no way shape or form should they be compared to the utterly unregulated … and untaxed … Wild West arena of the Back Yard Breeder.   Indeed, by the time they have done the show circuit and paid for the proper genetic screening, most reputable breeders are utterly unprofitable.

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 the inclusion of a section on pet adoption in the Act would do more than help homeless animals.   Such a step would also protect the kind hearts who are moved to rescue and those who adopt them.

What time is it?    It is always time to remember that love is not all we need when it comes to pet adoption.

A little something new

Oh no!   Where did all the posts go?    Not to worry … they are still accessible at my ole WordPress.com blog .. which has now become the old post archive.

Why the archive?    That answer is simple!     The short answer is that after years are blogging, there are just too many posts for my current hosting package.    The old blog is the original, and free, site where I brought my google blog over to wordpress.   What better place to put the archived posts so that they are still available?

Does that mean I am not blogging anymore?   Of course not!   But … sometime in the next couple of days the Granny’s Journal URL  is going to split back off to its own site.   The blog will stay here, under this URL.

If there is any really big news afoot, it is that I have decided it is time to retire the homeless pet site.   Why?    Because the need is not there in the same way it was when I started up the homeless pet project.   At that time there simply was not a lot of easily accessible information about pet adoption.

People who were interested in pet adoption often had  no idea where to look.     What were they doing when they hit a brick wall?   What do you think?  They headed right off to Kijiji or a pet store or a back yard breeder of course!

My mission was to change that.   To make pet adoption more popular.   To ferret out every little rescue that I could so that people could make informed choices.

Now before the keyboards catch on fire, I am not tooting my own horn here.   I certainly wasn’t the only voice promoting pet adoption   But it is a satisfying thing to know that in my own small way I have helped.

I will be forever grateful to Danjo Web Hosting for so generously supplying the web hosting for the homeless pet project.    Without their awesome support, none of this would have been possible.

I wouldn’t be me if I still did not try to help a teeny little bit.   So, if you haven’t already noticed, this site will still have some of my favourite rescue listings and will feature a few little adoptables along the way.

Thank you .. as always .. for your interest in animals.    I will still be blogging … at least until the day comes when we have all the laws in place to make Nova Scotia the best province in the country for pet lovers.   Please do not forget that the animals cannot vote.   It is our job as tax paying voters to remind the politicians we elect that animal welfare issues are important to us all.

About this site

[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”auto” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]This site has been around in one form or another since 1998.

When I first started muddling along with this project, I was much more capable in the kitchen and the garden than with my computer! Indeed, until that time I actually did not even know how to turn on a computer at all!

All the infomation here on this site is available for your personal use … with no strings or warranties attached!

Like ever so many other women, I wear more than one hat … often at the same time 🙂 I am an animal lover … a retired cook … a passionate gardener ….a practicing witch … and yes … a mother and a grandmother too!

If you are looking for a teacher please do not go looking online! While the net is a great place for pagans to connect and support each other, the journey itself is an important part of the process that cannot take place entirely in the virtual world! Sadly .. as with anything else in life … there are folks looking to simply make a fast buck without being able to offer ‘the real goods'[/dropshadowbox]

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”auto” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Please note:

Sometimes folks stumble in here by accident while searching for free gardening information, recipes or any of the other useful bits that can be found here.

If this is not what you were expecting, you can do one of two things. Either you can rummage around for all the bits that really are bot free …. or you can stomp off in a huff. What you should not do is waste any time trying to show me the “error of my ways’. In the spirit of fair play, please be advised that all such missives are deleted unread.

Over the years, I have learned many valuable lessons because folks along the way were generous enough to share their enthusiasms and expertise. This site is simply my way of giving back. It is a hobby for me, and there are no tracking bots or ads or sales pitches to worry about 🙂

Blessed Be

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A little chat about responsibility

There has been a LOT of buzz on Facebook this weekend about George.   For those folks, not on Facebook, PLEASE CLICK HERE for the story that the Chronicle Herald did on the subject.

The short version of the story is that on Wednesday, Dec 9th, Tyler Singer and his friend found an emaciated boxer in Georgefield.   Tyler brought the dog home and named him George.   The next day, Dec 10th, Tyler posted horrifically heartbreaking pictures of this poor dog on Facebook.   Naturally there was an immediate outpouring of compassion and these pictures quickly grew legs and galloped all around Facebook.

Before the keyboards catch on fire, this is not going be a post asking why this emaciated dog which was found on Wednesday did not see a veterinarian until the weekend.   Nor it is going to be a debate about which should come first for a rescue, the fundraising or the essential vet care.

I am a middle aged grandmother, not an SPCA cruelty investigator.   It is for the SPCA to pursue their investigation of what is so clearly a case of animal abuse.   And while they may never discover who was responsible for such suffering, the bottom line is that IT IS THEIR LEGALLY MANDATED JOB to investigate animal cruelty in this province.

So what ARE we supposed to do in Nova Scotia if we find a dog or a cat?    Under normal circumstances, finders have a legal obligation to contact animal control.   After all, that is one of the first places that the distraught owners will go to look, eh?

In addition, while I cannot swear for every vet clinic in this province, I do know that when my vet clinic is called about a found pet, they also call animal control.  Why?   Because they are obligated by law!

Now I will be the first to admit there is a natural reticence to calling animal control.   Lets face it, in many instances in the past and even sometimes today , not every impounded pet makes it out alive.    Nor is there any assurance that ill or mistreated pets will receive the immediate medical care that they need.

Even so .. not every foundling is a stray.     Here in Nova Scotia we are also lucky to have the fabulous resource of The Nova Scotia Lost Dog Network.   And while  the Lost and Found Cats in Nova Scotia is not as of this writing a public group, there are plenty of local lost and found facebook pages available too.

What about the SPCA?   Are they not mandated by law to enforce animal cruelty?   Of course they are!   Are we not supposed to report animal abuse cases to their cruelty line?   Now THAT is where it gets a little fuzzy.

Under the new law, veterinarians are legally obliged to report cases of animal abuse.   That part is pretty straight up.   What about private folks?  You?  Me?   What about animal rescues?   THAT is where the ball drops.

The short answer is that technically none of us are obligated by law to report animal abuse.   Straight, sweet and simple!    So why should we as individuals stick out necks out?

That answer is so simple even a stump could understand!   How can the SPCA ever hope to properly investigate animal cruelty cases if they are kept out of the loop?    After all, there is not one single rescue in this province that has a legal mandate to investigate animal abuse, eh?  Not one!

Just imagine if someone found a child in distress in the woods.    Would anyone take that child home and feed him and keep him warm?   Post pictures on facebook?   Of course not?   They would call 911 immediately!   Police would not have to haunt social media to find the child.  Nor would any social services department have waited to provide medical care for the child.

But I am wandering a bit afield as I am wont to do in my meandering way.   The point I am trying to make today is that if we expect the society to protect pets in this province, then we have to give them the tools to do the job.

Should it be mandatory for individuals and rescues to report animal abuse?    Here in the real world, it can upon occasion be problematic and even dangerous for individuals to report on their neighbours.     It is however, a completely different kettle of fish for animal rescues.

Organizations that are devoted to providing better outcomes for animals in need should be obligated by law to report animal abuse cases.   For today, lets leave the testy topic of the need to regulate animal rescue groups as a sticky subject for a future post, eh?

What time is it?   If we want a better world for the animals, it is time to move past what we have always done.    To paraphrase Albert Einstein, it is the only way we will get different results.

Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.     Colin Powell

A Better Black Friday

Black Friday really sneaked up on us.    One moment it was something those wacky Americans were doing and in the next breath it was popping up in our own malls and stores.   It does not seem to matter that our own Thanksgiving was celebrated in October.   Nor does the  fact that our flagging dollar has dampened much of the enthusiasm for cross border shopping.   As the official kick off for the holiday shopping season, it sadly seems to be here to stay.

Personally, I think the best bit about Black Friday is the way several smart shelters south of the border have used it as a spring board to promote adopting black pets!    What a clever, clever Idea!

Who knows why black pets are harder to find homes for?   Is it because in days of yore some of our European tribal ancestors may have believed white cats to be holy?   That our cultural memories attach the opposite of holiness to black cats?    That we as a culture see black as a colour of mourning.   Is it because Hollywood has a long standing tradition of dressing its villains in black?

Who knows?    Yet if we look at it from a more pet savvy perspective, we would realize that many black cats have a fair bit of Burmese in their family tree.  This is an affectionate breed that is renowned for their loyalty and devotion to their humans.    From a personal perspective, in a house with five cats, it is my black cat Clive who is the most sociable and friendliest whenever visitors come calling

The three black beauties in the slideshow at the top of the page are all available for adoption at the Kings County SPCA.    They are all as big and as beautiful as they are going to get.   At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, it is always easier to find a kindred spirit in an adult cat who has already settled into their personality.

One of the loveliest big dogs that I have seen in all my time of promoting pet adoption is in the care of No chains ALL Love Nova Scotia.   Jax is a fairly young gentle giant who was tied out 24/7.   When he was rescued his muzzle was taped shut 😦   In the words of his foster Mom, he is just a baby.     Jax is so gentle that Joan has begun the process for him to become a St John’s Ambulance therapy dog.   It is possible that might be a non starter because is deaf, but it speaks volumes about his temperament that this is even on the table.

What time is it?    It is always time to remember that the season was never be about how many gadgets and toys are under the tree.   None of that matters without love.

Never, ever too old to be loved

I have never been a fan of daylight savings time.   As a shift worker, I often got the short end of the stick when we would ‘spring forward’.     To be perfectly honest, that extra hour of sleep in the fall has been at best a consolation prize for such foolishness.

What difference does an hour really make?   If I had my pick, this year I would have turned my clocks back a year.  Back to when we were still a four dog house.   Back to when we were blissfully unaware that we were readying for our last holiday season together.   Back.   Back.   Back.

Does that mean that I have changed my mind?   That I will start adopting younger dogs?   Dogs under ten instead of over?   Of course not!    At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, I still believe that senior pets bring a special  Zen to any space they inhabit.

Nor is it all humdrum and naps!     I would not have missed Rascal’s delight in discovering our woodland trails or Mandy’s barking, bouncing  infatuation with Miss Ruby.  Or Winnie’s joy in his new safe, snuggly life.   Or Tinker’s transformation from shaggy vagabond to elegant poodle.   Or Andy’s happiness in having soft cooked food that his toothless self could comfortably eat.

Yes, I will admit that I did not get to love any of them for fifteen or twenty years.    Does that mean that I am made out of steel?   That my heart does not shatter each and every time one goes over the bridge?    Of course not!

But here Is the thing ….. senior pets are funny and quirky and sweet.    In short .. they are exactly my cup of tea.   I like sleeping through the night.    It’s nice to be able to leave my slippers on the floor by my bed and my shoes by the door.     When I am all tuckered out from stacking wood or tilling, it is lovely to share space with  dogs that are just happy to hang out.    And when we do want to go do something interesting, there are lots of sweaters and snuggli’s and even a stroller so that everyone can come along comfortably.

Does this mean that I am going to run right out and adopt another senior dog or two?   Not yet.   After losing two in less than six months, I am nowhere near ready to start ‘looking’.   But then, after such a great loss, it is possible that I may never be really be ‘over it’.   The best I can promise is that I still believe that the most meaningful way to honour the life of a good dog is to save a life by adopting another.

Maybe not today.  Or this week.   Or this month … although November IS Adopt a Senior Pet Month!     But I can promise that when I do adopt another dog, he will be over ten …. because I know first hand that older dogs really ARE more experienced at love.

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