Ladies and Gentlemen, service dog handlers, dog lovers, friends and readers; I am pleased and proud to announce that HRM (Halifax Regional Municipality) has approved funding (via a recommendation from the HRM Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities) in the amount of $20,000. towards the creation of an off leash dog park which service dogs and their handlers will have priority use of. What does this mean? Guide dogs, hearing dogs, special skills dogs, other service dogs and their mums and dads will have a safe, fenced place to go and exercise OFF LEASH. An existing site, already partially fenced has been secured. The funding will allow for total fencing, clearing of the area, addition of some seating and refuse bins and posting signs. The location is more than suitable, with bus and ferry service routes nearby. Service dog handlers who require parking will be accommodated as well. Use is not exclusive to service dogs, however signs will indicated that pet dog owners must vacate when a service dog handler wants to use it. A public awareness and education campaign will hopefully ensure that this is a workable stipulation. The parks department will take care of maintenance.
I have worked on this proposal through its various incarnations over the last two years that I have been on the ACPD, and more so in recent months as the committee’s chairperson. When this dog park is finally established, it will be a first in Canada. We are the city to watch. We will be the model for all other initiatives seeking to establish similar facilities in Canadian cities.
When I finally pronounced the outcome of the motion today, Opal rose and stretched. Sure, I know that she was bored, but I like to think that she was showing a little interest. I KNOW she will when I take her to the dog park next year (hopefully fully functional by then) and let her free run. She will go foolish!
Posted in Accessibility, advocacy, animal rights, animals, Canada, Disability Rights, dog quiz, dogs, Guide dogs, Halifax, news, Nova Scotia, Opal, opinion, personal, Responsible dog ownership, seeing eye dogs, Uncategorized
Tagged animals, Canada, dog parks, Guide dogs, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Opal, Service dogs
Dear GDAA (Guide Dog Addicts Anonymous), my name is Opal and I’m an addicted Guide dog. It all began when my mum bought me a lovely red ‘skibble’ ball. She thought it was one of those ‘smart’ dog toys that would occupy my mind with problem solving (trying to get the kibble to fall out of the ball by moving the ball around). At first, it WAS a fun pastime. Mum would pop a few kibble in the ball and toss it on the floor. I would spend a leisurely few minutes rolling it on the floor until I was done. I was a ‘social’ skibble ball indulger. I thought I could handle it. Then, I found myself slowly increasing my skibble ball use. I would drop it off the couch or the bed, bring it to mum to throw, play skibble soccer with it, bring it with me to bed at night, drop it in my water dish, drop it on Lucy the cat, drop it on mum’s head in the morning to wake her up, and once, I even tried to bring outside when I needed to pee. I can’t “Leave It!” as mum sometimes tells me to do. It’s no use. I took your test….you know the one…“10 questions to help you determine if you are an addicted Guide dog, hooked on any one of 25,000 substances or behaviours and in desparate need of a 12-step program”. I have enclosed my test results (not so good) and the processing payment of $49.95 (mum will sign off on the VISA thing) plus a sample of my fur for ‘special analysis’. Please send the list of Guide Dog Addicts Anonymous meeting locations in my area and my ‘genuine laminated GDAA membership card’ as soon as possible. And by the way, there’s a Guide Dog who lives upstairs (a drop-dead gorgeous German boy who works as a shepherd too), who I think is a Guide Dog Barking Addict. Can you send me the toll free number for THAT 12-step program?
Posted in Advice, animals, dog quiz, dogs, Guide dogs, humour, Opal, Uncategorized
Tagged dog quiz, dogs, Guide dogs, humour, Opal
Canadian Green Party leader, Elizabeth May announced her resignation from the advisory committee of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society after Paul Watson is quoted as saying, “the death of seals is an even greater tragedy than the death of four sealers”. Mr. Watson, a self described Eco-terrorist, repeated this comment today. Conservationists and Environmentalists are dropping their support of Watson. He made these comments as the funeral of three sealers in Cap-aux-Meulles, a small community in the Madlelaine Islands was taking place. A fourth sealer’s body is missing. Mr. Watson has rammed, skuttled and sunk fishing vessels all over the world. The names of the ships he has sunk are painted onto the side of one the cement-hulled boats he uses to ram them. His ships are also armed with high-powered water cannons and protected with barbed wire. He has used acid, explosives and other means to sink or disable “enemy” ships. His goal to bring an end to the fishing industry has found him brandishing an AK 47. a Watson was a co-founder of Greenpeace, but splintered off because of the groups ‘impassivity’. While the world still grieved in the aftermath of 9/11, Watson announced “there is nothing wrong with terrorism, as long as you win”. The eco-terrorist goal is to return the earth to it’s pre-human condition by any means. Watson’s dogmatic and authoritarian ‘love’ of animals coupled with his hatred of humanity has led him to absurdly remark, “earthworms are far more valuable than people”. His distorted stance of ‘animals first/humans last’ is bizarre and frightening. His claim that he owes no allegiance to humanity is incongruous with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s (the group he founded) claim that they “are a vehicle to empower people”. I am disgusted and enraged by the words and actions of Paul Watson. I encourage all Canadians to withdraw support from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and any groups Mr. Watson is associated with, including the Sierra Club, until those organizations remove themselves from any association with Mr. Watson. I think that Farley Mowat, the great Canadian writer and naturalist, should step forward and comment on this, given that Watson’s premiere ship is named the ‘Farley Mowat’. For the record, the names of the three victims from the fishing vessel, l’ Acadian II are: Gilles Leblanc, Bruno Bourque, and Marc-Andre Deraspe. A fourth man is missing and presumed dead. His name is Carl Aucoin.
Posted in Accessibility, animal rights, dog grooming, dog quiz, Fairness, Opal, opinion, Uncategorized
Tagged Access to Information, Accessibility, animal rights, dog and cat neglect, dog grooming, dog quiz, eco-terrorism, Fairness, Farley Mowat, Opal, opinion, Paul Watson, Sea shepherd Conservation Society, seal hunt
Darn, I wish I had said that! I recently read a great book by Dr. Stanley Coren. You might know him from his television program, “Good Dog!” which airs in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. He is is a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and a recognized expert on dog-human interaction. I highly reccomend his books. In ‘Why Does My Dog Act That Way?’, you will find the following entertaining bit of comic relief. He poses the question, “How many dogs does it take to change a lightbulb?” (to the dogs). The answer, it seems, depends on the breed.
- Border Collie: Just one, but why not let me change the light fixture so that it will accept fluorescent bulbs, which are much more efficient?
- Bulldog: Don’t bother; I’ll just lie here in the dark.
- German Shepherd: Just one, but it will have to wait until I’ve rescued those people trapped in the dark and led them to safety, and then checked the house to make sure that no one has entered under cover of darkness to take advantage of the situation.
- Shetland sheepdog: I will as soon as I arrange all of the new bulbs in a tight and orderly little circle.
- Golden retriever: The sun is shining, we’ve got no work to do today, I’ve got this neat red ball here, and you’re inside worrying about some silly lightbulb?
- Rottweiller: Go ahead, and see if you’re tough enough to make me!
- Corgi: First, I’ll bark until the old bulb leaves of its own accord and then I’ll nip at the new one until it goes into the socket…
- Labrador retriever: I can do it! Please!….Please…I can. You know I can. Please….
- Greyhound: It isn’t moving, so who cares?
- Pointer: I see it. There it is. Look, it’s right there…
- Jack Russell terrier: Me! I can reach it! All I have to do is to keep bouncing off the furniture and walls.
- Poodle: I’ll just whisper sweet nothings into the Border collie’s ear and he’ll do it. By the time he’s finished putting in the new light fixture, my nails will be dry.
This is a great book. It also includes a ‘dog behaviour inventory’ for you lovers of quizzes. Look for other titles by Stanley Coren.