Monday, August 31, 2009

Something super scary, and something cute

Okay - I'll talk about the scary part first - Thanks to the smart posting on Facebook by Pat Lee, I saw that the inestimable Peter Duffy has gotten a new job - the Halifax Regional Municipality has hired him for a six month term as a "community liaison co-ordinator" for the mayor’s office and he starts on Sept. 14.

I have talked about Peter Duffy here before - he used to be an "opinions" writer at the Chronicle Herald and a few months ago took a retirement package when they were having layoffs so that younger people wouldn't be laid off, such a gallant man he is. And then he went on the television and said horrible mean things about his employer of the previous however many decades who had been feeding his family and putting his kids through college. But I digress.

I am not really surprised that the HRM has hired him to "write speeches, news releases and reports for the mayor" - he'll just be one more dog hater down at City Hall - he'll probably fit in pretty easily. Whenever the topic of canine life companions come up - he'll bring all his background and life experiences to the subject and really be able to come up with some exciting and provocative things to write on the subject, I am sure - and Mr. Kelly - our Mayor, will love to deliver the things that have been written for him.

I hope that - as the community liaison - Mr. Duffy even gets to take part on committees that the public is included in - on maybe, bylaw reform committees - say, if there were upcoming meetings on reforming or changing bylaw A300 for instance - I sincerely hope that Mr. Duffy gets to be included in those meetings so that his voice gets heard on that issue - I'm sure that he would have some great insights to add to the conversation.

Maybe things like - in an article he wrote back in 2004 when he "called dogs man's "former best friend" and that it should be legislated that all dogs be muzzled when they're out in public"

Or in 2005 when Lloyd Hines was in the fight of his life with Zeus Cameron - a fight which he would dismally lose - Mr. Duffy felt it necessary to write a few lines, and said -

"In Guysborough, the local council is struggling to enforce a county-wide ban on pit bulls against a couple who insist on keeping their pet. When it comes to these dangerous brutes, my sympathy lies with the elected officials. Memo to the council: fight, fight, fight to avoid bite, bite, bite."

Yes, the HRM has gotten themselves a fabulous speech writer who will really write objectively on a wide range of topics - especially if he does it as well as he's done it in the past as he's done it about dogs.

And now for the cute part - - this is a shower curtain I found at the Atlantic Superstore on Joe Howe Drive on the weekend - it is just the cutest thing - it's see through and it's got all kinds of different dogs on it and it only cost $9.99 - I thought it was so cute. I had to put it here - because you know what they say - "a change is as good as a rest" - and it certainly counts when it comes to shower curtains - especially when it comes to shower curtains and you have pc points to pay for it.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Some eye candy

I don't think too much is happening in the world of mind altering dog politics the last couple of days, so here are a couple photos of the dogs doing what they do best -
and some photos of the beautiful Nova Scotia coastline - this is the incomparable Prospect Bay - which had more humans there today than I've ever seen there before - probably because they were hopeful to see some of the waves that were there because of the storm that passed through last night
And I'm sure no one was disappointed. It was beautiful there. Poor Charlie though was feeling his age and had quite a limp on our walk so we didn't go too far.Bobby was raring to go though, he's got enough energy for all the other dogs combined, plus about 2 or 3 more

This is a shot of the Dingle this morning - I went to a work picnic and Bobby and Buttercup got to go to that - Bobby cleaned up because there were babies there who dropped a lot of their hot dog pieces and buns on the ground - so he was pretty happy with that.
Now this is a monolith of a house that's been being built across from the Dingle park for the last several years and the people who live around it have hated it because of all the construction because it's taken so long and it's also removed the view planes of the Arm for several houses that are valued at a couple million dollars - and those people are pretty justifiably pissed off - so it's been a pretty controversial construction. From far away it looks like it's all done, doesn't it? They've even got a couple ostentatious yachts moored up to add to the look -
But when you look at it close up - there are still several windows that have plywood over them - how long does it take to build a house that looks like a hotel? Man, I'd be pissed if this was my house. It's worth many millions of dollars and it's still got plywood for windows. That must be a real bitch. It makes it look really poor as far as I'm concerned. Really chintzy. I'm glad it's not my house - it's like it's all built and they still don't have the front steps put up. Sucks to be them, I say.
This is Buttercup being beautiful. That's her specialty lately.
These are all photos of flowers that I took down at my brother's house in Shelburne a few days ago.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Have your say this year in the Coast Magazines "Best of" Issue

Have your say this year in the Coast Magazine's "Best of" Issue - past year's issues seem to have passed by dog owners in the HRM it would seem - based on what has won in the categories that responsible dog owners would give a fig about - ie best "pet store" and areas such as that.

So this year I've tried to keep close tabs on when the questionnaire came out - and by the grace of dog - I HAVE noticed! And here's the link for you all to go vote, and make your voice heard - the link is

This year - why don't we vote for a pet store that actually deserves to win - like Global Pets - who spend a ton of money sponsoring lots of local dog events, and are truly philanthropic with local dog charities and go above and beyond in the loca dog community. They really ARE the best pet store in the HRM - not some self serving pseudo pet store down town that likes to smash up people behind their back and cause 4 years of heart break to other local dog businesses and thousands of dollars going through the court system. Pet stores that are merely a mirage on the outside.

Another great store is the Three Dog Bakery over in Dartmouth Crossing - they also sponsor a lot of great local dog events, and sell a lot of great dog stuff.

So go the Coast questionnaire, and fill it out and vote for who has been doing the best and most notable - and WORTHWHILE work in the last year - and let your voice be heard!

UPDATE - Bark and Fitz has started a Facebook group to get itself nominated as the Best Pet store in Halifax - which would be a great store to be voted in as the best choice for the category too! You can check out the Facebook group - here -

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

HRM Dog PAC Meeting Thursday Aug 27 at 7:30

For those people interested in developing effective, dog friendly, people friendly, safe and positive off leash areas in HRM - there is a meeting tomorrow night - Thursday, of the recently formed "HRM Dog Pac" - the HRM Dog Park Action Committee - at the Second Cup in Dartmouth Crossing at 7:30pm.

Action items for the meeting include Intros, Society act information & decisions, Provincial/federal updates, and Byelection in district 6 - which was formerly held by Andrew Younger.

You can find the Facebook group for the Committee at

Monday, August 24, 2009

No More Homeless Pets Conference in Las Vegas + some neat links

Today I bought my plane ticket, booked my hotel, and bought a ticket to the No More Homeless Pets Conference in Las Vegas going on October 23 - 25, 2009 - so my Nathan Winograd stalking is going to be able to be continued for a little while longer.

I've got the sessions picked out already that I want to go to - and there's all kinds of other spectactular people going there to be speakers - along with people from the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary as well - there's one session called "DogTown's Secret Sauce: Training Tips and Personal Recipes for Problem Dogs from DogTown Trainers" that sounds really neat - and Bill Bruce from Calgary is going to be there too.

He came to Halifax a couple years ago, and I've heard him speak a couple of times, so I'm sure he's going to give a great talk there too.

I'm going down a couple days early so that I can have enough energy for the 3 days - and see what Las Vegas is like - that is going to be amazing. I cannot wait! I can't believe it's 2 whole months away!

I have wanted to go to this conference for years - and since this is the 25th anniversary of Best Friends - this year is going to be extra fantabulous - so if there was any year I was going to go - this year had to be the year. So I am super happy that I'm getting to go. The 10 hour flight though - I'm not so happy about - but I'll deal with that at the moment the airplane takes off! But that's why I'm going down early - so that I'll be over the jet lag by the time the conference starts...

When I was looking at the conference speakers one of the people's titles sounded interesting - it was "Susan Daffron, Founder, National Association of Pet Rescue Professionals" - and I'd never heard of the organization before, so I googled it and went to their website - and it looks like a neat organization - and one of their "vendor members" is a company called "Walk your dog with love" - and he's got a page on his website with little video clips of people who've bought his front walking harness - and there's some beautiful clips there because 3 of the people's video clips were using prong collars - but this guys harness worked SO MUCH BETTER - that they were going to use his device instead of the prong collar - now THAT'S a product I can get behind! He also has a program that is a money maker for shelters where all profits from his harness goes to the shelter that sells them - so "Walk your dog with love" - is a great product all around.

I was also sent a link to a really neat Facebook group - it's called "The Underdog Club" - and its out of Montreal - and they've got some fantastic advertising posters for an event that's happening in September.

This is what it says about "The Underdog Club" -"THE UNDERDOG CLUB is a private organization dedicated to finding special owners for hard to place dogs. Whether old, ugly or simply unpopular, these dogs can’t compete with purebreds or puppies and often go unnoticed at local shelters. The members of the club are not for most, which is what makes the Club so exclusive. And while most will want nothing to do with such undesirable characters, a small handful of people will see something that the others have missed. Welcome to the underdog club."

And the event they're putting on in September is as follows: When most people hear the words “art” and “dog,” the iconic image of the furry friends playing poker might come to mind. A local Montreal not-for-profit organization is putting a new spin on canine culture this September by organizing one the city’s first-ever animal adoption art galleries. From September 11-27, 2009, the Underdog Club, an organization spearheaded to help find homes for hard-to-place homeless dogs, is hosting the Underdog Club Gallery at 4922 Sherbrooke Street West.

The Underdog Club Gallery will be an interactive experience designed to educate Montrealers about animal abandonment, raise funds for local animal rescue organizations and help hard-to-place dogs find homes. The Gallery will feature a collection of dogs both in pictures and in person for people to greet, play with, and, hopefully, adopt. The dogs selected for the gallery are the “Underdogs” - ­ the older, uglier, less-popular animals that are overlooked day after day in local shelters.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Went to a garden party

Today I was invited to a garden party/bbq at a friend's house and took photos of all the dogs there, which is what I usually do -
so I thought I'd put a couple of them here so that we could all enjoy how beautiful they all are - the first photo is of some pretty famous dogs - Will and Davie - who are owned by the best dog trainer in Nova Scotia, Silvia Jay - who was hosting the party, and this photo has Gracie and Seven - owned by Amy and Adina - who are also fan-tabulous dog trainers - and Gracie is also a star agility and flyball dog
This is Silvia doing her trick of being able to mesmerize large numbers of dogs all at once - it is a very good party trick if I do say so myself.
This is a puppy brought to the party by Amy and Adina - a sister to their dog Mila
This is Mila - who is going to be a big flyball and agility star when she's finished with being a puppy
This is another shot of Davie - who is very photogenic
This of course is Buttercup who wasn't impressed with the fact that I had a plate of food on my lap for a couple minutes in a row and so was not able to have her on my lap at the same time. Hopefully she enjoyed herself for a couple fleeting moments anyway though.
This is Seven - owned by Amy and Adina - he is a deaf border collie who is a super gentle, playful, perfect dog.
And this is George - also owned by Amy and Adina - do you see a certain trend emerging here? They are also who I got Bobby from - so I am thankful for them for being such good people for opening their home to dogs in need and being the epitomy of the phrase "there's always room for one more". Because do you know what? There always is.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dog from Prospect Road Biting Incident is Dead

One of the bite victims from Saturday's bicycle dog bite incident on the Prospect Road was interviewed today on news 95.7 and she said that the dog has been "euthanized".

So does that mean a judge has already authorized it? Or does that mean a dog can be euthanized immediately if the owners sign the dog over to Animal Control?

Personally, I find this really troubling - does this mean the owners are not going to potentially be charged with anything now? Can they now go out and just get another dog and not contain the dog properly so that this situation can happen again? In the story on the news they had a prominent sign on the front of their house that said "Beware of dog" - so they might have had this dog for a reason. Are they going to get another dog that people should "beware of?"

Was the dog really dangerous? Maybe we'll never know now. Maybe he just had a problem with bicycles. Maybe he was chained up and got loose - but was poorly socialized - maybe it was the owners and not the dog - we know that is the problem A LOT of the time - if not always.

But we'll never know - because the dog is now dead - it really seems like Animal Control LOVES to kill dogs - and we - the citizens of the Halifax Regional Municipality - and the rest of the world - have been given no other indication other than that feeling and belief - because of their actions, or lack there of - in the last couple of years - or should I say - since the Municipality has taken over Animal Control functions for the area.

And that is sad, sad, sad. Talk about very very poor public relations. If there were an award for the poorest public relations department in all of Canada - I think Halifax would win that hands down.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

They changed A300 & didn't tell anyone?

This past Saturday several people were attacked by a "red nosed pit bull" out on the Prospect Road - and Animal Control seized the dog - after police pulled their gun on both the dog - and the dog's owner - on the dog because the police officer was afraid of what the dog was going to do next, and on the dog's owner because he picked up a hammer and was very agitated and was being very uncooperative with police and Animal Control.

The newspaper article said about the dog's owner - "They were more or less yelling for us to get off their property. It appeared that they were going to try to hammer the door of the HRM bylaw truck."

What is REALLY interesting about the newspaper article is the last part.

The Manager of Animal Control, Andrea MacDonald is interviewed, and she talks about the dog being seized, earlier in the article it was said - "The police will work together with animal services staff to determine what charges, if any, should be laid in the matter"

And then at the end, it says -

"Andrea MacDonald of animal services said the dog is in a kennel at the SPCA in Burnside. She said the dog is not a purebred and they refer to it as a red-nosed pit bull, which is how the owners registered the animal.

She said their investigation is still underway, so she didn’t know what will happen to the dog.

"We don’t have the authority to determine whether it gets euthanized or not," she said. "A judge will have to decide.""

Do you see there what I see? Do you see -

"We don’t have the authority to determine whether it gets euthanized or not," she said. "A judge will have to decide."

So when did that become official? When did Regional Council pass that change to Bylaw A300? What is the new wording of A300? How did we miss that at Regional Council?

Did some press release come out that we missed? Or were they just waiting for a high profile dog attack to happen so that they could release the news like that?

I wrote a letter tonight to my Municipal Councillor to see if I could find out any answers to my questions - so we'll see if we can get any movement happening.

My letter to my Councillor, Steve Adams -

There was a dog attack out on the Prospect Road and there was an article in today's Chronicle Herald - I've attached the article for you - and in the last sentence of the article Andrea MacDonald says -

"We don’t have the authority to determine whether it gets euthanized or not," she said. "A judge will have to decide."

When did A300 get offficially changed so that animal control officers don't have authority anymore to authorize euthaniziations and it's now on the say-so of a judge only?

I'm sure you know about the whole "Brindi" thing and how her court case quashed the part of section 8 of A300 that allowed animal control officers to authorize euthanizations of dogs based on simply a "reason to believe" that a dog was aggressive - and that the bylaw was sent to some municipal department to revised.

After that time myself and several other people have met with the Mayor and he was completely unwilling to talk about that section of the bylaw - but he did receive a written copy of what we thought were good changes to what the bylaw should have - and now by the sounds of this article - certain changes have been effected to the bylaw - and no announcements have been made - no press releases have been done - no consultation with the public has been made - it hasn't been approved by Regional Council as far as I can tell - unless it was done behind closed doors - because I keep a pretty close eye on Regional Council meetings.

So have official changes been made to A300? And if so - when? And what are they? And why is the City and Animal Control continuing to be so secretive about everything they do? It is just so disingenuous to work this way - they will never get any support from the public or any buy-in from them if they continue to operate this way. It is just so disappointing to find out about the changes to A300 from a throw-away comment in an article about a dog attack.

If you could give me any direction Steve, it would be much appreciated! A lot of people would like to know!

Here is the newspaper article -

Road rage suspect is a pit bull
'Big dog' hauled away by cops after cyclists attacked
By DAN ARSENAULT Crime Reporter

A Halifax Mountie pulled his gun on a man Saturday while trying to seize a pit bull that allegedly attacked three bicyclists in Prospect.

Officers were called to the area of 2396 Prospect Rd. at about 11 a.m. when a woman was allegedly knocked off her bike by Mercedes — a young, adult, mixed-breed female. The dog then punctured her foot with a bite.

John Bobbitt, who lives near the scene on Prospect Road, saw some cars stopping on the road that morning and went to take a look.

"They were helping a lady out of the gutter," he said Monday.

The woman was in his neighbour’s ditch and the dog owner was pulling the light-coloured animal away by the collar, he said.

"It was a big dog," he said.

As for the woman, "I think she was more scared than anything else," he said. "That’s to be understood."

She was taken to hospital for treatment.

Mr. Bobbitt said the neighbours moved in within the last year.

The police had not yet arrived at the scene when a second reported attack took place. A husband and wife were biking past when the dog charged and bit the back tire of one of the bicycles, according to RCMP.

When the RCMP and Halifax Regional Municipality Animal Control Services arrived on the scene, they allegedly saw the dog charge at another cyclist, trying to bite at his leg and back tire.

Animal services got control of the dog and put it in one of their vehicles to be taken away.

RCMP spokesman Cpl. Joe Taplin said an officer, who had removed his gun out of fear of the dog and re-holstered it later, took his weapon out again when an agitated man at the house picked up a hammer.

"The homeowners weren’t very co-operative with police or HRM animal services," he said. "They were more or less yelling for us to get off their property. It appeared that they were going to try to hammer the door of the HRM bylaw truck."

Cpl. Taplin said an officer talked the man out of taking action and the man wouldn’t be facing charges.

Asked how the dog got loose after the first incident, he said, "That’ll all be part of the investigation."

The police will work together with animal services staff to determine what charges, if any, should be laid in the matter, he said.

Mr. Bobbitt said he didn’t know of the dog misbehaving previously. Ed Holt, another neighbour, said he’s never seen the neighbour’s dog or any others running loose in the area.

"I hear him barking once in awhile, but I’ve never seen him," he said.

Andrea MacDonald of animal services said the dog is in a kennel at the SPCA in Burnside. She said the dog is not a purebred and they refer to it as a red-nosed pit bull, which is how the owners registered the animal.

She said their investigation is still underway, so she didn’t know what will happen to the dog.

"We don’t have the authority to determine whether it gets euthanized or not," she said. "A judge will have to decide."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Buttercup turns 14 today

Today is Buttercup's 14th birthday - it was 6 years ago today that I brought her home from the Dartmouth SPCA on Scarfe Court. Buttercup - from who's ass all light from the universe shines.

If you're interested, there's an updated humungous slide show of photos of her at

The very first video I ever made was a tribute to Buttercup - it's at - it's also at the end of this video

Some other posts made on her birthday which flush out her life story -
When I talk about her 13th birthday and go down memory lane -

When I celebrate her 11th birthday -

When I celebrate her 2nd year with me - and her 9th birthday -

Various photos of Buttercup on my Picasa Photo Albums site -

Trip to Antigonish

So me and Bobby had a super trip up to Antigonish for a couple days - we got the full meal deal on travelling around and seeing everything.
Our most gracious hosts made sure the first stop we had was the most indulgent thing for me - they had arranged with a fisherman friend of theirs to go to his fishing storage hut and take whatever buoys or whatever I wanted out of his building! Can you imagine? When I walked in there it was like I had died and gone to heaven! This is his fishing boat - it was at Cribbons Point
And this is the hut... I didn't want to impose too much - so I just stood there for awhile and communed with the space, and then left with 3 or 4 buoys that I didn't think he'd notice too much and a little bit of rope
This is my new and current collection of buoys now on my deck. Isn't it a beauty to behold - what a treasure!
Me and Bobby got to meet several great dogs while we were away - this is Nova, who is super photogenic as you can tell - and is another in a long line of dogs who looks fabulous while holding a stuffed toy - she is owned by my hosts Betty and Mary and was just a complete love-bug.
This is Dakota - also a family member of my hosts - and he is a basenji - and he is the first dog I've ever come across who didn't want the full width and breadth of the love I had to give him - so I didn't get a pile of photos of him - but he was very good at softening up Bobby's play style, which was a good thing - by the end of our stay he and Bobby were starting to actually seem to maybe start seeming like they might be starting to play - which was great.
A couple more photos of Nova -
She is such a gentle soul - as a lot of greyhounds are
I had to stick this photo of Bobby in here - he's pretty much soaked here - you'll find out later in the post why - and it's pretty funny, because he absolutely hates water, but he proved to everybody that in fact can "walk on water"!
This is Sliver - a yellow lab who lives with my hosts (Betty's) - sister Anne - he was in the top 1% of friendly yellow labs I'd say!
This is Sante - he's an entelbucher, and only 8 months old - and very sweet!
This was Rick - the farm dog at West River Stock Farm and he seemed to have a pretty much perfect life for a dog, and he seemed to know it too!
Another photos of Nova!

This is Cocoa - he belonged to the fisherman who let me have the buoys - he goes out on the fishing boat everyday with his owner - so he's a pretty salty dog - and perfectly happy too! There's some very lucky dogs up there in Antigonish.
This is one of the barn cats from the West River Stock Farm.
I was so lucky that I got to go to a couple horse farms while I was up in Antigonish - one of my hosts - Mary - has family who owns these farms - so Bobby got to see some horses and roll in horse shit - which has to be the ultimate thing for a dog to do.
I had never actually touched a horse or seen one close up - other than at the Fall Fairs out at the Exhibition Park in the Fall, so this was a pretty neat thing for me.
These horses are all used for racing - this is one of Mary's sisters - Claire, and I don't know if you can see that all 4 feet are off the ground on this horse - if you click on the photo to enlarge it you might be able to see.
Some of the horses out in the pasture

This was the sunset the first night I was there, nice eh?

This was a 2nd horse farm that we went to -
This had a mom and a colt -
And a horse named Cheyenne
We did a drive around what is called "the mini Cape" - and went to a spot called "Arisaig" which was beautiful
I don't think I need to say that Bobby had a fabulous time the whole time we were down in Antigonish - he was completely doted on by my hosts, and he got to go offleash whenever we got to a beach - and he was allowed inside wherever we went - the whole area was completely dog friendly - everybody loves dogs in that area of the province - just as long as you stay away from the district of the municipality of Guysborough of course!
These are a couple shots of the beach at Arisaig - isn't it beautiful?
There wasn't much of a sandy beach here - but just a little bit away there was I'm sure - but it's a great spot for beachcombing, and I guess it's a good spot for fossil hunting.
This place here - by Cribbons Point - is dog friendly - and hopefully I'll get to go back and spend some time here with the dogs - they have cottages and it's by a great beach - it's called "Ocean Front Shanties"
These are a couple shots by Cribbons Point and the Ocean Front Shanties - it's an awesome spot - but all along the "Mini Cape" is beautiful

This is a spot called "Crystal Cliff's" - and it was absolutely amazing - not only is it along the Northumberald Strait - so the water was so warm - it was literally almost as warm as bath water, and because of the sandbars - at low tide, which was when we were there - you could walk out really, really far - there were also some pretty amazing rocks there.

The beach was absolutely empty - and there was white sand, and rocks and it was awesome.This was one of the rocks that I brought home

These are some of pictures of flowers that I took - there were of course a LOT of beautiful flowers at all of the places we visited

Last, but not least are a couple photos of a pool at one of Mary's sister's house - Bobby for some reason decided to jump down into the pool - even though he HATES water - but luckily for him (and much to the dismay of Mary's sister!) - it was onto the pool liner that was rolled out over the pool - and once he was on it, it sort of sunk down a bit so that Bobby was getting wet, and Bobby realized he had made a huge mistake - but down on it he was - and so he figured - "well here I am, what am I going to do now?" - and he decided - well I guess I've got to get to the other side - he had great presence of mind - and that's what he did - he walked all the way over to the other side - and from there he was plucked - so Bobby is now known in Antigonish as the dog who walks on water. And the pool liner is none the worse for wear.
Although I hope that Bobby will stay away from bright blue spaces of shining water now.

Here is the slideshow of all the photos I took - we had such a great time!