Posts Tagged 'pets'

First priority

Veterinarians care for pets of homeless.

While some may criticize the notion of the homeless having pets, Lem argues that the bond between human and companion animal is so strong that it provides benefits for both two- and four-legged friends.

“I think within socially marginalized populations, not just the homeless, the human-animal bond is often much more significant or stronger,” Lem says. “For individuals who don’t have social support (friends and family) the pets provide emotional support, companionship, so they can have a definitely more significant impact on the lives of their owner.”

The pets often become the owner’s first priority, she says. “I think most people have heard, you know, people will feed their dogs before they will feed themselves.”

Attempted atonement

Portrait of a hoarder.

As a teen, Alex threw rocks at birds.

“I had an arm,” he said, adding New York Yankees legend Roger Maris had nothing on him.

But I got carried away, Alex said Wednesday, at his home near 96 St. and 110 Ave.

Now, the 65-year-old says he is making up for his past.

In his front room, 40 pigeons and eight or nine doves have free roam.

“You’ve probably got a boardroom. I have a bird room,” the warm-eyed, bearded man said.

Pets and class

On the cost of euthanasia.

. . . local veterinarians were charging anywhere from $113 to $200, plus tax. That’s not counting the extra $100 to $250 for cremation; depending on whether I wanted the ashes disposed of or returned. I was able to find a couple of veterinarian clinics in Peterborough that were less expensive – one charged only $66 – which begs the question; why the disparity in costs? I’m sure they all use the same drugs and the same amount. Two of the clinics contacted only euthanized its own clients.

Now, I’m not saying money is more important than the love and respect for and from a pet, or that veterinarians shouldn’t be paid for their services, but what if I was a single mom, or working a minimum-wage job, or recently lost my job? Does that mean I shouldn’t have a pet because I can’t afford to have my animal humanely euthanized? The cost for a dog, depending on size, is even higher.

Pets + vets

Changing attitudes toward pets and the range of veterinary treatments available to them.

Elena Johnson grew up on a farm where an ill, injured or aggressive dog was likely to be dispatched with a shotgun.

Still, when her cat Phyllis broke her leg after a tumble from a third-storey balcony in Montreal, Johnson didn’t hesitate to put the $400 vet bill on her credit card, even though she was unemployed and the bill represented almost twice her share of the monthly rent.

“She brought us a lot of happiness, entertainment, and companionship,” says Johnson, who held a fundraising party that brought in $150 to help pay the vet bill. “Now we see our pets more as part of the family, and so of course we do anything we can to try to keep our pets alive and well. On the farm, the dogs and cats were more like farm animals and we weren’t so attached to them.”


Elegy for Pinball.

Pinball spent her last day at Hermitage Veterinary Hospital. My daughter Katie and I went to say goodbye.

We waited in a room while Dr. Purcell prepared her for her injection.

Katie and I were falling apart. I tried to get angry, desperate to lash out. I wanted to explode, but I couldn’t. No matter how hard I tried, anger would not rise. Instead, sadness weighed me down, too heavy, unbearable.

It was Pinball’s last gift to me. She wouldn’t allow bitterness and bile to flow into her farewell, or into me. Love and sadness, but not anger.

She let me know it was time to let it go.

I did.

Bunny brainstorm

Readers offer ideas for dealing with University of Victoria’s rabbits.

Rabbits used to freedom will not thrive in captivity. There are no animal-welfare organizations in the Victoria area or on the Lower Mainland that have havens or sanctuaries for these rabbits.

Unless someone offers appropriate acreage for free-roaming sterilized rabbits, there is only one solution that accords with the values of this university. Let us model humane ways in dealing with the innocent and vulnerable.

Give the sterilized rabbits back their freedom and return them to their home at UVic, where they are part of the culture. 

UVic is implementing a program to catch and sterilize the rabbits, but I wonder if something can be done at the source of the problem. Couldn’t municipalities regulate the sale of rabbits by crafting a bylaw to prohibit unsterilized rabbits being sold in pet stores? The cost would be passed on to the consumer, which might deter some from the spontaneous purchase of an animal.

Calgary compliance

Calgary introduces rewards program in drive toward full compliance with pet licensing.

About 90% of city dogs are licensed out of 112,627 and 45% of cats out of 109,840.

Bruce said he wants to capture the remaining few per cent of pooches that are not licensed.

“If we have 100% compliance we could probably get 100% return to owners and no animal would end up being killed just because we’re not able to locate their homes,” he said.

More than 200 dogs were put down in the city last year because Animal Services couldn’t locate their owners, but that number is significantly lower than most North American cities where euthanizing thousands of animals annually is the norm.



Yann Martel's Beatrice & Virgil


Trevor Herriot


Erika Ritter


Toronto's cat problem


Don LePan


Don LePan's Animals


Justine Pimlott's Cat City


Erika Ritter's The Dog by the Cradle, the Serpent Beneath