Disgusted Again

Once again, I find myself disgusted to be part of the human race. Where I live is surrounded by ocean and all the mystery that comes with it. We are privileged to witness amazing sunsets, wonderful sunrises, the sounds of lapping waves, the never ending finds that make up the sand of our beaches, first hand views of storms, and so much more.

And with this incredible environment comes sights of delicate jellyfish, crabs and snails, majestic whales and playing seals among other creatures. One such creature is the shark, Great White shark to be exact. Each year they make their way up the coast and feed on on our seal friends that are innocently playing off our shores. And they are always the talk of the town, especially when they begin to make our Shartivity App ping every day. Everyone becomes obsessed with waiting to hear that ping…

This year fun talk turned into serious conversations as many more began to appear closer to shore and cause worry for those here to use our beaches as their personal vacation playground. The fun really ended several weeks ago when a man got bit and then a young man was killed a few miles away from the first attack. Suddenly our beaches were no longer a great place to be and everyone began to panic.

Yesterday there was a big meeting for everyone to speak their mind about the “situation” and how we can fix it. Of course, the main solution heard was that we should kill the seals and sharks. Yep…you read right. Kill them. Kill them because they have now become inconvenient and a nuisance to us humans. Kill them because God forbid we figure out other solutions such as actually not going in the water at some beaches, or putting more life guards out, or putting trackers in the water to detect movement, or anything. Nope, kill them.

How can we possibly think that we have the right to take over the ocean!? We have already taken over the planet and have done nothing but cause pain and suffering to the land animals we live with. We don’t even live with sea life, it is THEIR world! It is THEIR domain and THEIR safe place where they should be allowed to live as they are meant to be. Who do we think we are!? I can only hope that any sane people involved in making the decisions prevail over the rampant stupidity of others. And I can secretly hope that perhaps more people will stay away next summer so that I can go to the beach and not have to deal with their trash piles, screaming kids and generally annoying behavior. Give me a shark sighting over them any day!

The Burden of Caring

It’s interesting when you find yourself in a situation more than once in your life where you must put aside your education, understanding, beliefs and passion in order to survive. It is not a good interesting, in fact it is a horrible feeling. One that makes you sick to your stomach because you want to say something, do something. But, you just cannot.

The first time was when I was in the veterinary field and had to deal with breeders and all things breeding. Being one of the only people involved in rescue as well in the hospital, I had to witness and do things that made me cry when I went home at night. This was after I left the hospital at the end of the day and literally scraped frozen kittens off of the sidewalk, or fed starving colonies that others had abandoned when they moved. This was after long days of smiling and keeping quiet so as not to lose my job.

I have now found myself in a situation where all that I positively know and absolutely believe in must stay silent yet again. How do you educate and make a difference when the whole country is unwilling to listen, never mind those you know. Not being able to look someone in their eyes when you hear them being told that their “dangerous dog” must go because of its breed. The fact that it is an emotional support dog does not matter. The fact that it may be a wonderful, happy, sweet dog does not matter. The fact that they are given only a few days to get rid of it when you know that it will be euthanized does not matter. And this is happening hundreds of times each day across the country.

What comes to mind is deep sadness and disgust that our society, our world, is so small minded and complacent in our thoughts and views. We are more than willing to follow the ignorant masses like cattle to the slaughter house. Better that than to the injection rooms and gas chambers like the thousands of dogs and cats each day I guess. There is no thinking for ourselves, no trying to be better and do better as a whole. Why is it left to just a select few to take on the burden of caring and trying to make a difference?

I have now also found myself in an incredibly sad situation where I know that I will not be able to adopt a “dangerous dog” because of our world’s numbing ignorance. My heart has been set on saving one that is disabled or old. My heart has been set on this so much that I felt like someone punched me when I realized I could not. It would not matter that it was sweet or sick, only that it looked a certain way. I am heartbroken that I am not in a situation where I can do what I want. So, all I can do is continue to try to do my part in making that difference and hope that some day I will have the chance to do more than survive.

I Love You

Today it has been one month since my girl passed away. Thirty days since I had to make that quick decision to end her life right then and there, and not let her suffer. The crying has mostly passed, at least the torrential downpour of tears. It is still very strange and sad without her at home, in the car, at work and everywhere in between. Her presence is missed in all aspects of my life…every thing I did I did for her and now things don’t seem quite the same.

I have been taking myself for walks when possible, although I envision her with me, stopping at every bush to sniff and me telling her it was not necessary to do so. Now, I tell her that she can stop as much as she wants because she is not on a leash and I don’t have to wait. And I have been saying it out loud. Yes, I am serious. No, I don’t care that I sound pathetic.

On these walks I have had a lot of time to think since I am alone unfortunately. And one thing that keeps coming to mind is that she allowed me to do something that I was never good at. I told her that I loved her. I remember the first time the words came out of my mouth. I remember catching myself off guard with the easy way it rolled off of my tongue. I remember smiling because it did come out so easily.

That has not always been the case. Those words spoken to humans never felt right and were always provided with a uncomfortable sensation. I have my theories as to why this was the case, but that is for another time.

During our ten years together, I said those words to her a lot. I said them in the car when she was stressed, when she was lying on the floor at home minding her own business, or as I walked out the door and had to leave her by herself. Many times they were accompanied by a kiss on her muzzle or a hug, both of which she acted like she hated, but secretly enjoyed. As I think back to our bond, I can definitely say that it was true love and that is why it came so easily.

She allowed me the freedom to be vulnerable and give her unconditional love. To trust and to believe. And in return I did the same for her. It was true love. And I am happy to say that these days those words are expressed a little easier when directed at the human species, and I know that it is directly related to my love for her.

Who Rescued Who…

“Who rescued who” is a phrase only a few people truly understand. What it means to really devote everything to each other, to save each other, to love each other. To those who have just had “pets,” this concept sounds silly and pathetic and I understand. Until I met her I had lots of pets I cared for and loved, but none became my other half, my shadow.

We found each other when we were both in need. She had just been saved from seeing her last day on earth…scared, sick and pregnant. She came with a permanent scar on her nose from some horrible thing she had been through. I had just left the only world I had known and wasn’t sure I wanted another responsibility. It only took her crawling into my lap to change my mind. I took her home, gave her a badly needed bath and watched as she went to the couch where we both slept the night.

I knew immediately I had to keep her and had to fight to do so as she was only supposed to be a foster. She truly was a grand foster failure.

Since that day she and I have been inseparable. Everything I have done, every day and every second, has been for her benefit. And everything she had to give she gave to me. She was definitely my girl and I have often said that she is the first thing in my life that loved me only. I gave her confidence, protection and adventures. She gave me her trust and her heart.

Her calm demeanor and sweet personality made everyone love her. I could take her anywhere and she was the perfect guest. And the only bad thing she ever did was eat cat food whenever possible. Cats loved her and she let them do whatever they wanted. She did prefer to be the only dog in my world, and that was okay with me. We all have our issues.

Ten years worth of being together seems like a second.

Today feels like an eternity since she’s been gone, although it’s only been 24 hours. Being without her presence is heartbreaking. It’s sad, lonely and I miss her big brown eyes looking up at me making sure I am still there. She is not outside lying in the sun, she is not lying at my feet, she is not asking me for dinner or to play with her toys. She has left me alone and truly, horribly missing her presence.

She was sweet, gentle, smart and all I could have asked for. She really was perfect.

And I know that she had all the wisdom that comes with age when she left this world.
I love you, Evie girl…

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Aging Gracefully

Unlike most of us humans, animals seem to age gracefully and with a certain charm that makes them even more endearing.

The white hair that we spend so much time trying to cover up, and carries its own stigma, only adds to the charm of a sweet old soul as it grows upon its muzzle. The glaze that slowly takes over their eyes makes us want to protect them even more as they look to us for help. The purrs and meows that can be heard two rooms away make us smile because we know that they are still trying to communicate even though they cannot hear themselves do so. The slower walks, the longer naps, the lumps and bumps and finickier stomachs.

They say that with age comes wisdom, so I can only imagine what the animals of our world must know when it is their time to leave…thumbnail_20180624_141117

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Downfall of a “free society” …

I am not shocked at anything that humans are capable of, and have little faith in the human race in general thanks to all that I have seen. So I am asking myself why I am so outraged at the note below which I just read. After all, this has happened all over the US for years. Humans do horrific things to animals every day, never mind the things we do to each other. Perhaps it is because the blatant stupidity is so deep that I am unable to fathom that we as a human race can ever come back from the overwhelming sense of entitlement and callousness. It makes me sick, it makes me sad that society as a whole feel they have the right to think whatever they want and do whatever they want, no matter if it is right or wrong. The downfall of being a free society….action without education…
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It is with heavy hearts that we must inform you that the BSL ban in Montreal has passed with a 37-23 vote win.

This means that any animal identified as a pit bull – defined as an American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier or any mix of these or any dog that has morphological characteristics of these breeds such as “large heads” – (based solely on appearance unless a formal DNA test says otherwise) not currently owned (such as strays or in shelters) will be euthanized. Additionally, the council voted to leave it open to boroughs to add in additional dog breeds as they see fit, without a vote needed. Veterinarians can opt out of euthanizing a healthy, social animal but must provide an honest effort in aiding in the search to find a veterinarian who will euthanize.

Any pit bull currently owned must have a $150 registration fee on file, and must be muzzled and on a leash no longer than 1.25 meters (~4 feet) any time they leave the premises of their home. They are also required to be sterilized, fully vaccinated, and microchipped with up to date & accurate registrations. If these regulations are not followed, then that animal is subject to be seized and euthanized as well.

Folks, this ban was passed based on fear – not science. Many professionals spoke at the council meeting on behalf of the Bully breed with scientific facts & statistics, but the ban passed regardless because of the fear of potential attacks & bites. BSL can happen anywhere… and it can happen *fast.* LWHPBR is a Texas based nonprofit that always strives to provide positive pit bull publicity and adopts out social, healthy pit bulls – all ambassadors of their breed. We are saddened to hear of this ban and our hearts are with the Bully Breed and their owners in Montreal today.

At my happiest…

It’s been a while since I had something exciting to say, but that’s how I am feeling these days.

I have been working on two projects that are not directly for animal welfare, but the proceeds will go towards helping as all of mine do. Why am I excited? Well, one is a very personal project and has been a labor of love, never mind a lot of technical learning on the fly! The other, which I am still in the beginning phase of, is also important because I am finally doing something with all of the designs I have sitting in my folders that I have ignored for so long.

As I have said before, I am at my happiest when working on creative projects which will hopefully make a difference in some manner, and to have two coming up puts a smile on my face.

Hopefully they will both put a smile on other’s faces too, so look out for more information soon!:)

It’s not personal I swear!

For those of us who work or volunteer in the animal welfare world, especially dealing with abused or severely neglected animals, it is just understood that the animals can be very shy and act differently than other animals that have no real trauma in their background.

And many of these animals show their fear, nervousness, anxiety, etc. by similar actions which we become accustomed to and understand the signs. As I have always rescued from the streets, or ended up with animals with this kind of sad background, I have always had to explain to people why my dog (or cat) was not “friendly.” But, it has only been lately that I have heard myself say “It’s not personal, I swear!” quite a lot.

This is thanks to Evie who, even though she has come so far in the seven years I have had her, is still fearful of strangers. Throw in new surroundings, lots of noises and any other factor and she is right under me or a desk, etc…. whatever she can hide under or by.

I find myself telling the new people in my life and the people on the street who are dying to pet her and try each and every day only to find her running from them, that this is normal behavior. I try to tell them that it takes time and suggest to them what to do to…leave her alone and don’t approach her and talk to her because that makes her nervous. She still runs from me occasionally if she thinks I am up to something, ha! Eventually, if you spend enough time with her and ignore her she will come up I tell them, although it may take a little while.

I tell them that if they do insist on petting her to come up and do so….don’t sit feet away and talk to her as that makes her very nervous, and yes, that is not what is normally taught, but it is what works for her. Just do it…come up and pet her and she is okay. I tell them to take her on a leash and for a quick walk if I know them well, or to sit on the floor and give her a treat…all things that work..even if slowly…

But, every day someone wants to pet her and love her and I have to tell them that is is not personal as they walk away distraught and muttering “She doesn’t like me I am so upset.”

Turns out that people want to be loved by an animal because it makes them feel good…and special. At least that is how it makes me feel when one allows me to love it…if only for a moment. Perhaps I can convince Evie that the love she gives is the love she will get…someday:)

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Maybe they do, maybe they don’t….

It has been researched and documented, supposedly, that dogs do not remember things. That they live only in the moment.

And some days I tend to believe this when Evie gives me that “I am so bored and sad” look an hour after I take her for a special drive to the beach, or somewhere else that was just for her. A place where we had a grand time playing and she was so happy. A few moments when I was a proud mom watching her have fun and knowing her life is good.

Then there are the times that I know this supposedly proven theory just cannot be true. Times when she remembers people she met just once many months, or even years, before. Or when she cowers going to a place that she was scared of at some other point in her life for reasons known only to her. Or when she absolutely knows where we are going in the car based just on the curves I take, or the type of road we drive.

I do not mind so much that she does remember things because that is natural, but it makes me rather sad to think that the happy memories we make only stay with me. Perhaps this is all part of what we do as pet parents of animals who needed saving, or in general. Maybe it really is all about us in the long run. Maybe that momentary joy is what we need to reassure us that we have made a difference so that when they give us that sad pathetic look we do not feel so badly.

Wonder what they would say…

Good intentions gone bad…

I wrote a chapter about this topic in my book years ago because I felt it important for people to know if they were thinking of dedicating themselves to the animal rescue world, or any cause. But, it has struck me recently how bad some good intentions really can go…

When most people envision a non-profit charity organization, or group, they probably think of people living very simply in order for the money donated to go to the cause. They probably think of people with good hearts who decide to sacrifice many things in order to make sure their cause receives all of the good things.

And those people are out there. I have met them and have been honored to learn from them and work beside them. I have also documented many of them in that same book for others to see.

But, what happens when people who start out with all of those good intentions lose their way? When years later they can only concentrate on how many Likes their organization gets on Facebook, or how many times they are mentioned in an article, or how famous their pet becomes? Did they ever really care, or did they enter the charity world for their own ego, even perhaps without ever truly realizing it because ego is all that they have ever known? Is it okay for them to be living in a huge home with a housekeeper, a handyman and someone to come and pick up their dog poop weekly? Is it okay for them to get all of their personal expenses reimbursed in the name of the charity and to take full advantage of that? Is it okay that they have no regards for anyone but themselves and care only for what others can do for them, and never have to be accountable?

When DOES good go bad?

And does it really matter if they are still helping in some way?

Perhaps there is no black and white answer, but in my humble experienced opinion, the answer is bad comes when doing good no longer is the first and sole purpose…