Granny’s Journal Celebrates NSLDN’s Third Anniversay:
Granny’s Journal Celebrates NSLDN’s Third Anniversay:
Once upon a time there was a small 8 lb. chihuahua/rat terrier cross named Princessa who was the princess of the house. She sat on the back of the couch and probably ate bon-bons.
Then one day on November 6, 2010 while on a big trip to a semi-rural Super Walmart in Pewaukee, Wisconsin she managed to slip out of the car and she was off! She had a collar and tags, and was a friendly little girl, but that big parking lot and all those cars must have been scary; even for a Princess, because she ran into a residential subdivision, and vanished.
The owner contacted Lost Dogs of Wisconsin, we posted her, and she was reported missing to all the correct places. But still nothing. Nobody had seen her and the worst was feared.
But what we have learned is that the worst seldom happens. Coyotes are not lurking behind every bush; dog fighters are not waiting to scoop up lost dogs and use them for bait dogs; and lost dogs are usually way too resourceful to starve or freeze to death.
We have learned that many owners give up far too early and because of this our shelters are overcrowded with “strays” which are in reality – lost pets. Helping educate owners on effective methods to recover their lost pets is a large part of the No Kill Equation. Why try to find a new home for that “stray” when it has a perfectly good home already? There are far needier animals in need of shelter space and new homes.
So back to Princessa’s story. We still had nothing to go on. Until one day early in December, we had a call that a small brown dog was hanging out behind the Thunder Bay Grille just off of I-94, a great restaurant with a fine menu. It was only about 3 miles from the Walmart, so we knew it was possible for it to be Princessa. We took a live trap over thinking this was going to be an easy catch.
Well, it was not. Why eat rotisserie chicken in the trap when you can have prime rib at the dumpster? Some nights she almost went in, reaching with her long beautiful Princess neck just over the trip plate. Some nights she snubbed us completely – “You expect me to eat that?” We offered her everything we could think of – delicious concoctions provided by our volunteers. The Christmas season came and along with it all the holiday parties at the restaurant, with large trays of lovely offerings – lots of which missed the dumpster and became a doggy smorgasbord.
On bitterly cold nights we had to close the trap for fear that she would be caught too long and freeze. But no worries there – she wasn’t going in. We tried big traps, small traps, covered traps, cozy traps, traps fit for a Princess. Christmas and New Year’s came and went.
The Thunder Bay Princess became the Thunder Bay Devil Dog in my mind. I’d lie awake at nights and dream up ways to catch her. My husband, an engineer, tinkered with the traps and came up with a double catch method. Other Lost Dogs members and myself would spend hours on the phone or over coffee scheming. I think we were getting crazed looks in our eyes – kind of like Bill Murray in Caddyshack trying to catch the gopher.
She lived in a hole under the porch at the restaurant, but was seldom seen. Only her tiny footprints in the snow showed us her daily whereabouts.
Then one day in mid January – she was gone again. A worrisome couple of weeks. Why would she give up the restaurant food? Was she concerned about her waistline and her high fat/low fiber diet? Looking for a new kingdom to conquer? Luckily a phone call from a neighboring condominium subdivision came in – just when we were beginning to think we’d completely lost track of her and were back to square one. The caller said a fat brown, sausagey looking dog with short legs was seen running across the patio.
Late January. More blizzards, bitterly cold weather and very deep snow. A sighting here, a sighting there. She was now the Princess of Avondale and Stillwater, two very nice, spacious condo subdivisions with a lot of green space, plenty of birdseed, and endless decks and sunrooms to crawl under for shelter. An upscale neighborhood with a regular garbage day – what more could a Princess want? So here a trap, there a trap, everywhere a trap, trap. But only an angry possum. Never a Princess in a trap.
February came and went. The snow started to melt. Princessa was a busy girl. One day I saw her – her coat glistening in the sun. I made a note to add more sunflower seeds to my diet. Sometime in February she lost her collar.
The residents were wonderful. They called with every sighting. They helped man the feeding station and the trap. One resident that was helping us took this picture, as she warmed herself by a vent on the side of a condo.
She was now very comfortable in this quiet neighborhood and would be seen five or ten times a day. Our phones were busy, but our trap was not.
March arrives. The snow starts to melt and the Princess is enjoying rolling on bare patches of grass in the sunshine. And suddenly a bunch of us had the same idea at the same time. Maybe we just needed a bigger trap! The snow had melted away from the gates of the tennis court. The wonderful Avondale property manager opened it up for us and offered to keep her food bowl filled. He moved it progressively into the tennis court – a little bit at a time, so she didn’t get suspicious of our plan. I was envisioning tennis players in August having to jump a small, fat dog as they dove for the ball.
And so the story of the Pewaukee Princess came to an extremely happy ending. No frostbite, no medical problems. An 8 lb dog that lived outside for four months through a brutally cold Wisconsin winter. She spent a few days in rehabilitation with one of our Lost Dogs of Wisconsin volunteers, Kathie D; but then came right back around to being a Couch and Lap Princess. Princessa gave us memories to last a lifetime plus another success story to encourage owners of lost dogs to Never, Ever Give Up.
Camu, a beloved family pet was found shot and dumped in a nearby field. He was listed on our website (http://ns.lostdognetwork.com/2013/12/rainbow-bridge-lost-dog-windsor-back-road-windsor-hants-co-ns-coonhoundamstaff-mix-male-2-and-12-yrs-old-camo/) and his family would like us to share this article from the Hants Journal about Camo’s death. A very sad story. As mentioned on our site, our heartfelt condolences go out to Camo’s family and friends.
We are proud to be part of this list which includes some of Nova Scotia’s most compassionate and hard working volunteers. And we also agree there are many others deserving of this honour and we tip our hat to all the folks that work to help animals. You all should be very proud. We also know we couldn’t do this without our nearly 14,000 followers. Thank you!
I think we can chalk 2013 up as an interesting year in the world of animal welfare.
It was a year where Halifax got its first low-cost spay and neuter clinic, the year there was finally a serious discussion about chained dogs and the year politicians were forced to at least acknowledge there are issues affecting the welfare of cats in Nova Scotia.
It was a year of forging new, creative partnerships. A year of looking beyond the old models in order to exact change and improve the lives of more companion animals, many treated like garbage in our communities.
SEE ALSO: ADOPTABLE OF THE WEEK: Cheek
It has meant that everyone has had to step up their game — from politicians, to rescues, to the veterinary community, to fundraisers, to those who have chosen not to turn a blind eye.
In honour of that, here are my 2013 Game Changers, those who had the gumption and the fortitude to push the envelope or move the ball forward despite the many obstacles constantly thrown in the way of advocacy and rescue groups.
This is in no way a complete list, as there are untold unsung heroes across the province toiling away in obscurity in aid of animals (Disclosure: I’m a volunteer with the SPCA, Spay Day HRM and 2nd Chance Charity).
I’d love to hear your nominations for Game Changers and what they have done to advance the cause.
In the meantime, here’s my list of individuals or groups that have made a difference:
People for Dogs/All Love No Chains
By working to bring in anti-tethering laws for dogs in Nova Scotia, the advocacy group People for Dogs has put the issue front and centre as the province beefs up the Animal Protection Act with new regulations. Minister Keith Colwell has promised there will be rules regarding chaining dogs, and that is thanks to People for Dogs. The rescue All Love No Chains has furthered the cause by taking surrendered chained dogs, no questions asked, and finding new homes for them, removing one of the barriers to getting a dog off a chain and sending the message that these dogs are worth saving. To date, the rescue has found homes for 18 formerly chained dogs.
SPCA Low-Cost Spay and Neuter Clinic
Opened last May, the Dartmouth clinic — a partnership with Dr. Leslie Steele and her team — has been a resounding success, to date spaying and neutering approximately 1,400 cats and 200 dogs from low-income households, the animals in their care and other rescues. The clinic also recently stepped up its game and did a one-day spay-neuter session for 22 cats from a Halifax-area trailer park, an event likely to be replicated many times in the future. The clinic will also increase its hours of operation sometime in the new year in order to keep up with demand.
The Feral and Abandoned Cats Society
This newly formed volunteer trap-neuter-return group in Cape Breton has, get this, spayed or neutered more than 800 stray or feral cats in 2013. Backed by a grant from the municipality for $25,000, which they’ve added to through tireless fundraising, and working in conjunction with the Cape Breton branch of the Nova Scotia SPCA and Friends of Cape Breton’s Homeless Animals, this project is seeing tangible and remarkable results.
Spay Day HRM/Tuxedo Party
Another winning collaboration between a rescue and an advocacy/fundraising group, with Linda Felix’s Spay Day HRM continuing to make a true dent on the cat population in Halifax by focusing on fixing owned cats from low-income homes and also doing blitzes on pockets of stray cats around town, like the Lower Sackville trailer park where 40 cats were recently trapped and fixed, then re-homed or returned. In 2013, Spay Day ensured that 362 cats will no longer contribute to the overpopulation problem, bringing her two-year total to 618. Much of this work is accomplished thanks to the Tuxedo Party, which tirelessly fundraises, as well as doing advocacy work with various levels of government. The group, named after the late feline mayoral candidate Tuxedo Stan, was central in getting the regional municipality to contribute $40,000 toward the SPCA clinic, as well as meeting with the new government about strengthening laws protecting cats.
Paws Fur Thought
Medric Cousineau, a retired member of the Canadian Armed Forces, and his yellow Labrador retriever Thai made their mark this year by walking from their home in Eastern Passage to Ottawa, along the way raising money and awareness about the lasting impact of post-traumatic stress syndrome, which laid Cousineau low for years, and the life-saving impact a service dog like Thai can have. Working in the dark shadow of news of four recent suicides by members of the military, Cousineau’s Paws for Life has paired several veterans with their own service dogs and the work will continue in 2014.
A few years ago, Pets Unlimited stopped the controversial sale of dogs and cats, and when Pet Valu and Petsmart came to town, they didn’t start the practice. Instead, these pet retailers and others have chosen to promote adoptions and partnered with shelters like the SPCA and other rescues to provide valuable space where the public can interact with a future adoptable pet. It has meant many, many more dogs and cats have gone home, and shelters have been able to take in many more animals.
Nova Scotia Lost Dog Network
Born of social networking and its wide reach, there are probably not too many people on Facebook or Twitter who don’t see the daily notices of lost dogs coming across their screen. It’s a simple premise and it works. Instead of being a stray dog, dogs are now lost dogs looking to find their way back home. The NSLDN has become an invaluable tool in that process.
•2nd Chance Charity, which under the direction of Nancy Northcott has raised more that $100,000 for the SPCA and Halifax-area cat rescues in the last few years through events like yard sales, auctions and the unique and popular Meow Mover fundraising and adoption events.
•Veterinarian Kathryn Finlayson, who owns East River Animal Hospital in New Glasgow, for offering ongoing low-cost spay and neutering for all her clients.
•Declawing activist Sarah Fraser for launching a movement to have the procedure banned in Nova Scotia. Thanks to her efforts, veterinarians are considering the move, to be addressed in 2014.
•Sarah McManaman for her mission to help pet owners who are struggling financially. The Smiling Dog distributed $12,100 to help families and animals in need.
Pat Lee is an editor at thechronicleherald.ca and a volunteer with various animal rescue organizations, including the Nova Scotia SPCA.
We are a big fan of Kat Albrecht and her Missing Pet Partnership website, courses, and community. Here is a great article from her:
These photos were taken at lunchtime today. It’s even hotter now and will be hottest around 4:00 pm. These temperatures show how a cement sidewalk, surface temperature shown on the left, can be much cooler than pavement/asphalt, surface temperature shown on right. Please consider your pets paws when walking them on a hot sunny day. Note: These photos were taken about 2 feet apart… amazing difference! Here is some important information on Burned Pads on Dogs: http://vetmedicine.about.com/od/diseasesconditionsfaqs/qt/hotfeet.htm