An Open Letter To The Fools That Set Me Free

Dear Animal Hater,

I have heard many names in my life such as “animal lover” or “animal activist” but until this past January 1st, I never knew there were such a thing as “animal haters”.  You see, my whole life, I have been surrounded by two-leggeds.  They bring food, they talk to me and my friends, and they look after my health, although that always starts with  a needle shot into my bum and ends with me sleeping off a hangover!  Sometimes other two-leggeds come to see me too. They take pictures of me and my friends, and they also try to talk to us.  We have an understanding with our two-leggeds, we have our space, and they have theirs, and there is a clear and defined boundary separating the two called a fence.

A few weeks ago, very early one winter morning, some two-leggeds came along and made a big hole in our fence.  At first we were scared.  Scared of the two-leggeds and then scared of the hole.  Being the alpha male and female, it was of course Granite and myself who made the first move.  We didn’t realize that Luna and Lonestar would follow us, but follow us they did.  After years of living in a safe and secure place, the world was suddenly open to us.  A world we knew very little about, but were certainly excited to see.  At first, we stayed where the ground was flat and hard.  The walking was easier there than trudging through the heavy snow, but as we were walking, something started chasing us.  It was like nothing I had ever seen; big, shiny, and fast.  Just as we were trying to figure out a way to safety, Luna yelped and fell down, and the big shiny monster moved in beside her, its mouth opening, and stole her away.  When I looked around to see where Granite and Lonestar were hiding, I realized that Granite was also lying down, and she appeared to be bleeding.  I tried to help clean her up, but in the end, she really was not feeling well and chose to lie down until we could figure out what to do.

All I wanted was to be back in the safety of our enclosure, but now I couldn’t leave Granite alone, the monster might come back.  So Lonestar and I stood vigil over her for the next few days and nights.  When hunger would not allow us to ignore it’s pleas anymore, we had to go foraging for food.  We had never had to do this before, and I wish we never had to again.  It is not easy trying to feed yourself, and certainly none of us had any experience with hunting.  Luckily, we all have pretty good noses, and they seemed to lead us to a place with plenty of food.  I think you two-leggeds call it a “dump”.  While everything sure did smell good, none of it was filling.  Certainly not like the yummy beavers that we were used to eating.  In addition to our hunger, Granite was now getting weaker and weaker.  We tried to lead her back to the safety of our enclosure, but there was no way to get back in.  With the passage of a few more days, she didn’t even have the strength to walk, and it was all she could do to take her place among the trees, and find a little privacy.  When I heard the two-leggeds approaching, I got scared.  Too scared to stay by her side, so Lonestar and I took off, and hoped for the best.  When we last visited our family at the wolf center enclosure, we were told she had died.  We found where they buried her and howled our grief to the sky.  I would never see my Granite again.  The mother of my pups, my life mate, my friend.  

Lonestar and I have been on the run since then.  We have been unable to get back into our enclosure, and to be quite honest, we are now more than a little afraid of the two-legged ones.  We have been back a few times to visit our pack, but have also been roaming in wider and wider circles.  There are have been times we have gone without eating for days, and other times that we have been chased away from our food by other wolves, big, shiny, fast monsters, or the two legged ones.  Lonestar is recovering from a bite he got while in a fight with another wolf.  Hopefully he won’t feel the need to “lie down” and leave me on my own.

I don’t know what will become of us.  We would like to re-join our pack, they have been left without an alpha male or female, but I don’t know if we will ever be able to get back into our enclosure.  I wish I had never slipped through that hole in the fence.  Did those two-leggeds mean for Granite and Luna to die?  Did they kill them?  Do they also fear the big shiny monster?  Will I ever have the comfort of a full belly and a safe place to sleep?  Will I ever have a mate again? Is this what you wanted when you cut that hole in the fence?Image Why couldn’t you just leave us alone?

Haida

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

If you are in the Toronto area, or enjoy reading newspapers from great Canadian cities, then you will have heard of the perceived coyote problem in our downtown core.  Two weeks ago, a lone coyote was seen running though the Riverdale area.  If you are not familiar with Toronto, Riverdale is a downtown neighbourhood, that is close to ravines and the Don River.  People choose to live there to have the benefits of the “best of both worlds”.  The coyote was not doing anything wrong, just running through some front yards, probably scavenging for garbage.  Someone saw the little beast and called the police, who subsequently came to the area and shot the coyote claiming that it was behaving in an aggressive manner.  Great!  Another one bites the dust!  

Fast forward one week to a gentleman in the Beaches area (another area surrounded by green space) who let his little maltese dog out for his evening constitutional.  Out of the bushes, right in his own backyard, a coyote jumped out, grabbed the dog and ran away with it.  When the owner gave chase, the coyote dropped the puppy who later had to be humanely euthanized due to his injuries.

And just yesterday, again in the beaches area, a coyote was seen wandering across some front lawns.  And just as happens every year at just about this time, the community is up in arms.  

“We must cull the coyotes” 

“We must trap them and kill them”

“Call the police to shoot them”

Really people?  You chose to live in those neighbourhoods because they offer you the green space you so desire.  And one of the things that comes along with green space is wildlife, another reason you bought your home in that sought after neighbourhood.  “Its like living in the country!”  Yes, if you are lucky enough, it is like living in the country.  And in the country, things happen, and you expect them to happen because you are in the country.  As it happens, we are just at the beginning of mating season.  Those sexy little females are giving off pheromones that would make a grown coyote give chase….and give chase they do!

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It is this time of year, just like every year previous that we see the coyotes out of their usual secretive habitats.  Why do we have to kill these beautiful animals just because they may make some people nervous?  There has never been a recorded attack by a coyote in the city or suburbs of Toronto.  Where I sit now, overlooking my street in a cozy little neighbourhood just north of the city, I have a fox that wanders down my street every night of the week, winter or summer.  Those in the neighbourhood who own small dogs keep a more vigilant watch then those of us with big dogs, but the general commentary is “wow, did you see that beautiful fox”.  We have foxes, coyotes, large owls that could pick up a small dog or cat, deer, raccoons, skunks and all other assortment of wildlife, and all this just 20 minutes from downtown.  And most of us are thrilled that we get to be a part of their lives.  Thrilled that nature has opened a little window that most city dwellers don’t get to see.  So stop calling for a kill, start watching your pets and being careful, and sit back and enjoy the show.

The Perfect Dog!

Is there such a thing as “the perfect dog”?  I would have thought so, but the older I get, either the less tolerant I am, or the more truth I see….I’m not sure which.  I have two dogs.  My first is a rescue that originated in a pet store, so probably a puppy mill, and ended up with a young lady who was just starting her life and didn’t have enough time to look after him properly.  Oscar is the sweetest, kindest, gentlest Golden Retriever you could ask for.  In fact he is a poster child for the breed.  When I brought him home at 8 months he was a little heavy (108 lbs), but with the proper diet and exercise he holds steady at a svelte 83 pounds.  He has a perfect golden coat, a quiet demeanor, is loved by all that meet him, and will celebrate his 7th birthday this spring.  That said, he has a penchant for “hot spots”.  These are infections that can happen under long fur when the skin underneath gets moist and does not dry properly.  It is a bacterial infection that causes great, gaping wounds that the dog continually scratches open when you are not looking.  If I do put the cone-of-shame on him, then my house usually needs re-painting from all the walls he bumps into, or it stresses him out so much that he will just stand around, looking depressed and panting.  Antibiotics take care of the issue, but try as I might, I have not been successful in my attempts to thwart this silly infection, and we usually end up with two rounds of it over the spring/summer months.  Most Goldens are very prone to this issue.  My next problem with him is his breath.  Ugh!  There are days when I can smell it when I am a good three feet away.  We have tried brushing his teeth, but the only thing that helps, and only for a short while, are the bad breath cookies.  So we keep plenty of those in stock!

My other dog is a beautiful 2 year old German Shepherd.  I will admit that we never should have brought this dog into the fold, but we did and we have to deal with her.  You see, we lost our elderly German Shepherd about 2 years ago now, and somehow the household which includes myself, my husband, my daughter and son from my first marriage (both in their twenties), my then 6 year old twin boys and Oscar the Golden Retriever, seemed too quiet!  To this day I look back and wonder if somebody slipped something into my drink!  Three weeks after losing our beloved Maxi, along came Kahshe.  I dedicated myself to her training, vowing to never have a German Shepherd that was a liability.  We got her used to other dogs, used to small children, socialized her every day, leash trained her to walk at my side, and generally made a good canine citizen out of her.  Then she turned 1!  She decided she hates little white dogs, will protect the house to the death, even if it is someone she knows, fight with the neighbours dog through the fence,Image run over anyone giving oscar attention to get it for herself, and generally just be a pain in the butt.  I know, I know, she needs more exercise….well, she gets run everyday!  She can no longer be run off leash since the “little white dog incident” that cost me $350, but we do our best.  When we are up north at our cottage, where she can run free, and there are no neighbours to harass, she is the most perfect dog in the world.  Her recall is astounding, she loves to swim, and after a long day, will just lie out on the deck, even if company comes by.

So is there a perfect dog?  I thought I had two of them, but the older I get the more I realize perfect is in the eye of the beholder!

Does the SPCA Have Too Much Time on Their Hands?

As I was leaving the house yesterday, I caught sight of two SPCA vans out on a mission in my usually quiet neighbourhood.  Being the nosey and curious person I am, I decided to follow.  You see, we have a crazy dog lady on our street.  The kind of person who often has 3, 4 or even 5 dogs at her house, lets them walk off leash, and blames you or your dog when they come running after you.  I guess I was just interested to see if someone had sent the dog catchers after her again.   But no; imagine my surprise when both vehicles pulled over at the curb, and the SPCA officers started going door to door to see which houses had dogs and if said dogs were licensed!  This is one of those moments when I cannot fathom the stupidity of bureaucracy.  Here you are, paying 4 officers, a salary, paying for the cost of gas to drive to my neighbourhood, and generally wasting their time, just to see if you can collect what might amount to $100 dollars in an entire neighbourhood.  Surely if our tax dollars are being used properly, there would be no funding for this kind of time wasting.  Meanwhile, the crazy dog lady up the street continues to tell the world that her dogs have rights too!  Way to go SPCA, way to go!Image

Getting the Hang of This

Allright now, I think I might be getting the hang of this!  Write a few sentences, throw in a picture, a few tags, and boom!  There you have it.  I promise the upcoming blogs will be much more interesting than this.  We will post our newsletters, great pictures, fun crafts and great recipes.  If you haven’t read our monthly newsletters, go over to http://www.petbreederconnection.com and take a look.  We have everything from interviews with top breeders, top rescuers, great naturalists, and so much more.  Next month I have the pleasure of interviewing the owner of the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Sanctuary in Ontario, Canada.  I can’t wait to hear his stories, his challenges and his accomplishments. Should be an interesting read, be sure to check it out.Image

Welcome to PetBreederConnection’s First Blog Post

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