It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but it’s the start of the new year and have a number of things I want to write about.
The first one is a topic that seems to be a contentious one, and that is trap, neuter, return programs for feral cats. These are cats that will never be house cats as they don’t allow themselves to handled, touched or hide from humans.
Right now, there over 60,000 (yes, you read that correct) feral cats in the city of Edmonton. Cats can become pregnant as young as four months of age and can produce 20,000 kittens in just five years if left un-spayed. These cats also can and do because a public nuisance for many people.
That is where trap, neuter, release programs some into play.
What is a trap, neuter, return program? It’s exactly what is sounds like. Cats are humanly trapped, neutered by vets and then release back to where they were found.
As mentioned, TNR are not programs that everyone seems to support. There are many people who feel that the situation can be “handled by mother nature”, which is like saying “I legit don’t care if cats die”. People also think it’s cruel to release feral cats back to where they were found. It’s actually more cruel to attempt to try and house an animal that is terrified of people.
While there are two programs currents offered by the city, it’s not enough. Not enough spay and neuters are done at a high enough rate to help the current problem with the cat population. There was a recent story by the CBC that talks about this specific issue HERE.
Over the weekend, an account I follow on Instagram posted something something that both made me sad and quite angry. They adopted a dog from Thailand through the wonderful Soi Dog Foundation and were criticized for it. Some people made comments towards the dogs owner for “importing” a dog and felt the need to judge the owner by saying they “didn’t care about dogs here.”
This struck a bit of a personal chord with me. My dog Dolly was rescued from the illegal meat trade over in Thailand and was rescued thanks to Soi Dog. To insinuate that because I (and many other dog owners) have dog that was brought over to Canada from another country and say we don’t care about animals here is 100% false and considerably too black and white as to where we choose to spend our time, energy and money.
If you care about animals, why would you be upset about rescue organizations bringing animals to your country to give them a better life and to see them from horrific situations like the meat trade? A life saved is a life saved, regardless of geography.
Just recently, the Human Society International saved many dogs from the meat trade in South Korea and brought them to Canada. Canadian figure skater Meagan Duhamel rescued a dog from there last year and American skier Gus Kenworthy, just recently adopted a dog he met in South Korea. It was a wonderful story to know that these dogs are now safe and going to be going to their forever homes.
But not everyone was happy about the dogs coming here. Many people felt the need to comment by stating ” dogs die here in shelters everyday” and “we don’t need more dogs” among many other things.
Yes, sadly many animals are euthanized everyday in North America due to overcrowding as well as other issues with animal rescue, but does that mean we can’t and shouldn’t try and help all animals in need, regardless where in the world they’re located? The reason there are so many animals in shelters is because of many people who do not spay and neuter their pets (hence, overpopulation). Then there are people who get an animal and then dump there animal because they no longer want the animal. That is where education about the importance of spay and neutering comes in (including spay and neuter return programs which a so crucial to rural communities) and education about responsible pet ownership. This is why many rescues do intense screening processes as they do not want that animal to be returned, and most won’t adopt out an animal until they have been spayed or neutered.
There seems to be a ideology that because someone supports international animal rescue, they can’t possibly support local animal rescue. I’m not sure why there is that thought process or how it go started, but I’m here to hopefully shed some light.
You can support international animal rescue AND local rescue. The two are not mutually exclusive. Yes, Dolly is from Thailand but my other two were adopted from two local animal rescues here in Alberta. You can adopt from more than one rescue organization. You can financially donate to multiple animal rescues (I donate to Soi Dog and multiple local animal rescues). I also volunteer at a local animal rescue (which partnered with Soi Dog to bring Dolly to Canada to give her a better life).
It’s much like saying that because I care about animal rescue I can’t possibly care about other causes such as mental health and addiction, domestic violence, poverty or racism. That would also be false. They are not mutually exclusive. I’ve worked at social service non profits, volunteered and donated to all the causes. Yes, I write about animal rescue but that does not mean I don’t or can’t care about other causes.
When it comes to animal adoption, those criticizing are forgetting one very important thing, at the end of the day a life is saved. Every time someone adopts, fosters or rescues an animal, that animal is being saved. They are being saved from being on the street. They are being saved from abuse and neglect. They are being saved from death (and in the case of Dolly and other meat trade survivors, a horrific death).
There’s already too much judgement in society, so why are we judging people who are trying to do good? So rather than try to point a finger at someone who is doing something to benefit an animal outside of our borders, ask yourself what you are doing to make a difference, either through adoption or donations. All rescues would appreciate more assistance, either through volunteer hours or financial donations.
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “You must be the change that you wish to see in the world”.
Soi Dog is a cause that is near and dear to my heart. Based out of Phuket, Thailand, Soi Dog rescues street dogs and cats by providing them with shelter, vaccinations and medical treatment. A main focus of the work is spaying and neutering as many animals as possible to help reduce the population of unwanted pets in Thailand.
Soi Dog’s most well known work is being advocates for animal welfare and have been one of the biggest forces behind almost eliminating the illegal meat trade of dogs in Thailand. They continue to work tirelessly on also ending the barbaric slaughtering of dogs for meat in South Korea, Vietnam and China.
They save thousands of dogs destined to be tortured and killed every year in Thailand. My dog, Dolly, was one of the dogs they saved. She was living in a box and had a horrific fate awaiting her before Soi Dog rescued her.
Soi Dog can’t do the amazing rescue and advocacy work they do without support. If you are interested in donating to Soi Dog, click HERE.
I will say that when I’m able to, I will adopt another dog from Soi Dog again. Interested in adopting and how the process works, click HERE.
If you are interested in helping out Soi Dog, here are the ways you can do so:
Today I would like to introduce everyone to my dog, Dolly. It was a year ago this week that we welcomed her into our family.
Dolly is no ordinary dog. Dolly was rescued from the illegal meat trade in Thailand a couple of years ago thanks to Soi Dog. Without them, she was destined to be tortured and brutally slaughtered. She was brought over to Canada as part of a partnership with Soi Dog and Zoe’s Animal Rescue Society where she was placed in a loving foster home while she discovered what it meant to be loved and safe.
For the first couple days with us, she hid under the desk in our office and shook. Any time Max or Freckles would bark (which tends to be a lot), she would run and hide. I honestly was worried that it might not work. Then, one night she decided to come out of the office. I was sitting on the couch and she jumped up on he couch and sat next to me. It was then, I knew she felt safe with us.
Today, Dolly is a happy girl who’s loving life and I want to show case her in a really fun way. Please enjoy what I believe her online dating profile would look like:
Name: Dolly Tusef Somerset (Tusef means safe in Thai)
Nicknames: Dollars, Dolly Dollarson, Dollar Store, Dolla Dolla Bill Y’all, Dollaroo, Dollarama, Dolly Molly, Dollar Mollers, Moller, Molleroo, Sweet Doll, Baby Doll, Love Dove, Lover Doveroo
Breed: Akita, Brittany Spaniel and Chow Chow
Body Type: Loveable, squishy and itchy
Likes: Sleeping, eating, going for walks, licking myself, chewing my nails, being needy for love when no one’s petting me, running (I’m even going to be getting someone to run with me soon), allowing my sneaky tongue to pop out, laying my head on pillows, sitting in corners, sitting in the dark on the stairs, jumping up on the bed if daddy’s already up but mommy’s still in bed, getting licked in the face by my sister, shoving my face into my sister’s face so she’ll lick me, daycare, wearing my Rayna Collar and bandanas, stealing socks and licking them (I’m just starting to figure out toys and what to do with them), the farm back in Shaunavon, getting toast from grandma and grandpa (even though I should not be having any due to my allergies), chewing on my The Woofery Antler chew, chasing bunnies, flooping.
Dislikes: Getting baths (I have some PTSD from Thailand regarding water), being itchy, mommy telling me to stop licking, being cold (I love Canada, I just don’t like the winters), going to the vet, having to wear booties in the winter, mornings, LOUD NOISES.
Favourite Food: I really love things I’m not supposed to have such as chicken, beef and toast (which grandma and grandma love to share with me). I do really enjoy my kangaroo food and love kangaroo crisps the mommy gives me.
Ideal Saturday Night: Eating supper at 5pm, sitting on the couch and demanding pets from mommy or flooping in front of daddy, going for a short walk (because I still do not pee in the backyard), getting a treat and going to bed.
Goals In Life: Continue to learn how to be a dog, avoid baths, hide in all the corners and floop as much as possible in a very dramatic fashion.
Puppies: I’ve had 12 litters over the years while living in Thailand. I never really had a chance to be a mommy as they were ripped away from me by some very awful people. Thankfully, the wonderful people at Soi Dog made sure I could not longer have any more. I’m much happier and healthier now since being spayed.
Adoptive Status: Mommy and daddy officially adopted me one year ago this week. I love my mommy, daddy, brother and sister. They work to give me the life I truly deserve and I’m quite spoiled here.
This month’s animal rescue profile is the Second Chance Animal Rescue Society (SCARS).
SCARS is a shelterless, volunteer run animal rescue origination that takes in unwanted dogs and dogs that are to be euthanized in and around rural ares of Edmonton and gives them a second chance at life. Many of the dogs rescued are from rural area pounds and veterinary clinics. All dogs receive necessary behavioural and medical attention (including spay and neutering) and are placed with loving foster homes until they are ready for adoption.
SCARS believes that education is key to preventing overpopulation and promoting responsible pet ownership. One of the ways they do this is by working with many northern rural Alberta communities and offer a spay and neuter return program.
With winter already here, SCARS is in desperate need of foster homes. Without foster homes, they can’t take in animals who will not survive the harsh winter conditions. If you are interested in fostering with SCARS, please click HERE. If you want more information about fostering, please read my post called Fostering An Animal: What You Need to Know.
If you are interested in helping out SCARS, here are the ways you can do so:
Click HERE to Adopt (please note that they do not adopt out animals as gifts)
Click HERE to donate (a great last minute gift idea)
Click HERE to volunteer (they are offering a new volunteer orientation in the New Year)