A Most Unselfish Decision: Part Two

Yes, what to do with this smart, sweet, loving dog who just didn’t quite fit the quieter habits of my brother and his wife?  Now, you know I hate being maudlin, and of course, I am completely objective when I say this, but my brother and my sister-in-law are two of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet.  And their solicitude for this dog is a perfect example.  They could have just turned the dog over to the infamous Berger Blanc, a for-profit agency sanctioned by the city of Montreal to “shelter” stray pets until their owner shows up (more on the nefarious Berger Blanc later), turned their backs on him and went about their business.  But no.  Instead, they tried to find the dog’s owner (after all, he was groomed like a showdog, was perfectly healthy, fixed, house- and otherwise- trained)…to no avail; took him to a vet.  Then they thought maybe they should just keep him, and everyone chimed in “keep it, keep it,” as if he were a brand-new sofa that someone had left on your doorstep.   (Oh people who are good but whose goodness is powered by thoughtlessness rather than sober attention.)

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A Most Unselfish Decision: Part One

We picked up Fred, a 6-month-old Bouvier des Flandres (go to my photos link), from the SPCA Monteregie (a no-kill shelter) in 1996.  Since then, I have been radicalized about the plight of dogs, cats, and other pets in the province of Quebec…and here’s yet another reason why.  Just last week, my brother went to work as always in Montreal east, and found a beautiful, young healthy dog sitting quietly outside the door to his workplace; no collar, well-groomed, fixed, a male and probably really hungry and thirsty.  My bro, being who he is, took the dog in.  “Lucky” as we called him, was well-trained, perfectly house-trained, and quite content to be with new people…not a mean bone in his young body.  (But you have to wonder if he–clearly a dog who had a good owner–was thinking:  “Mom, Dad…where are you?  I can’t find you anywhere.”)  Over the next two days, my brother took him to the vet (he’d been fixed, and seemed in perfect condition, highly likely he’d had his vaccinations, after all, even his nails were trimmed), so my brother and his wife considered keeping him.  But here’s the thing (and, as my cousin Paul, likes to say:  ‘there’s always a thing’).  My brother and his wife, who has just retired, are older and live a lifestyle which is not appropriate to taking on a very young, rambunctious dog.  Jesse, their beloved Retriever, had died several months before, and as an older dog, knew the routine, didn’t require much–was, as you might say, “low maintenance”.  This dog–being young, robust and playful, needing lots of exercise–was sweet and affectionate, but needed a strong hand, being a tad stubborn (as these breeds tend to be), and was, clearly, “high maintenance”.  What to do?  [to be continued]

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Pets in abusive households

Nicole Messier runs a rescue unique in the province of Quebec.  Women (and it is usually women) who are reluctant to leave an abuser because they worry about the pet they will leave behind have AnimEscale to turn to.  Nicole founded AnimEscale in February 2008.  Its mission is to foster family pets while children and their mothers seek refuge in a domestic violence victim’s shelter.  Seventy-one percent of women entering shelters in Quebec state that the spouse has threatened to hurt, has injured or has killed at least one of their pets.  Forty-six percent of them said that they delayed their departure, the security of their pets being of major concern to them.  Without any subsidies or grants of any kind, Nicole built this special rescue from the ground up. She has just launched a fundraising book called Les maux dits which can be purchased on her website. (Please see my link to “Shelter for pets in domestic abuse situations”.) Les maux dits is a play on words, and I’m eager to see the English translation of both that brilliant title and the book itself.   I love what Nicole does because it serves a dual purpose:  it helps the abused make that life-changing decision to leave, and it protects her/his pet from what is almost certainly a desperate situation if left with the abuser.  http://www.animescale.com/english.html

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