Well, so far, no response from the SPCA, the media, or anyone else. It's a day everybody is taking off for the final week of August.
In sunny Dartmouth, after an appointment I ventured over to the pound to drop off a package of nice frozen marrow bones for Brindi, her favorite treat in the world. I invited the shelter manager to share them with other dogs in the pound, if there was any concern about them raising a ruckus, as I was told on an earlier occasion when they refused the chicken hearts I brought for her.
As we chatted, and I really hate to write this because I will gasp again, I learned that for the past four weeks of her incarceration, Brindi has not been allowed to spend time in the outdoor pens, where I photographed the other dogs earlier. This means she has only been on short walks, totally roughly 15 minutes a day, according to animal control officers.
Why?? Because they were not sure she had all her vaccinations.
How did they not know?? Brindi has a valid HRM tag, which serves as proof of vaccinations.
If they didn't know that, why did they not ask me? So far I have been up to the SCPA four or five times. And my name is in the phone book.
It so happens that Brindi is due for her shots, as of the end of July. So the manager said the SPCA can provide this service if I agree, which I did, gladly. This, I was told, will allow her to get some fresh air, if not much exercise (see photos below of the pens).
Okay. Keep calm... Brindi's had what amounts to a month of mere pee breaks, short walks (15 minutes daily total according to an animal control officer, but I hope not). And if I hadn't been at the SCPA today, that's all she'd still be getting. Pee breaks. My beautiful, healthy, smart, loving dog, that I walked and walked so she could lose 10 pounds the first month, and walked some more until I lost 20 pounds in seven. MY amazing dog, who so treasures her daily runs through the high grasses and dunes, ecstatic over each smell and taste of the great outdoors.
Somebody tell me, how do I digest this news after a month of eating my insides out? Do I scream now, or later? My vocal chords are not quite healed yet, but so what: I want to scream, scream, scream, scream, scream, scream, scream, scream, scream, SCREAM!!!!!
A month of hell, day after day of urgent calls, emails, big bucks spent, dozens of tips for sure-fire help dashed to pieces, and I've gotten nowhere at all. Abso§%)/%&Q?lutely nowhere. My lawyer is hiking in Chile. Friends are tiring of the topic, understandably. Family incommunicado at a cottage. My neck and back are sore, legs ache, house filthier than ever and further than ever from completion, tons of paperwork to do. Winter is coming, everybody says, what about the house?
I was fantasizing that maybe, just maybe, enough city council members would find it within their hearts to vote to suspend A300 retroactively to release Brindi, the same way they suspended anti-noise by-laws for a concert. Then they can set about fixing the law. Not likely, I guess, especially after reading some of the minutes of a Regional Council meeting on the animal control by-law, Dave Rodenhiser's June 21, 2007 column in the Chronicle Herald.
I truly wonder: what is it going to take? There HAS to be some way to get her out before another day goes by, another 30, 40, 50! Please, there just has to be a way! This is CANADA, isn't it? No death penalty, right? Wrong.
While the online petition (545 names) and Facebook group (261) have garnered real support around the globe, here at home, the story has not gone national. Wiser heads tell me it is not likely to, though it would help.
What gets a nation's attention away from the Olympics...? I go into brainstorming/design mode: throw out the wildest and craziest ideas you can think of, don't judge, toss them around until something gels. (Sometimes it actually works.) What if I camp out in the parking lot of the SPCA and howled into a loudspeaker all night? Hold candlelight vigils and burn a copy of the by-law in front of Animal Services? Hand out poop bags and doggie bandanas stamped with "FREE BRINDI"? Pretend to kidnap the mayor's dog (have a stand-in pooch play the part - who'll know the difference?) and demand Brindi as ransom? Hold a doggie march, a doggie concert with a cat chorus?
While I rack my brain, others are working like mad: one woman is determined to get it on Ellen Degeneres or Oprah. Others wrote to Cesar Millan. Another one is giving every Halifax official she can get to a piece of her mind. Goodhearted people who love dogs are calling and writing the SPCA, Animal Services officials, the media, the police. It's awesome!!!
Is it getting results? Not quite.
What will it take?
Meanwhile, again and again I have to come back to reality: they actually took my DOG, and they actually want to put her down. No wonder I can't come up with any ideas. Stress, fear, pain, exhaustion - all big creativity killers.
May I somehow find a way through them, just this once!