Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Is there any better argument to revise the animal control laws to reflect how much North Americans value their pets (and the number of people who own them)? Is there any better argument why I want and need to have my Brindi back?

Pet owners look to four-legged friends for emotional support before family
Your partner's relationship with your dog may be closer than you thought and it might be going on behind your back.

Your partner's relationship with your dog may be closer than you thought and it might be going on behind your back.

Photograph by:,

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Have you ever had the feeling that your loved one misses the dog more than you when he or she is away on a business trip? You may be right.
A third of Americans admit to pining for their pooches more than their partners when out of town. But maybe that's because nine out of ten of them feel their pet is more pleased to see them after a hard day at work and is even more likely to notice when they've had a bad day.
Your partner's relationship with your dog may be closer than you thought and it might be going on behind your back. Around one is seven dog owners say they have "shared a look" with their dogs at least once and even more than that claim to be able to read their pet's facial expressions.
And ever wondered what's behind the long gaze into pooch's big brown eyes? Your partner may be one of a third of dog owners who swear it's an entire "conversation" without words.
And it doesn't stop there.
Many Americans turn to their four-legged friends for solace before friends and family. Nearly two thirds believe their dogs are more dependable than their closest comrades and over 70 percent would rather go for a walk with pooch when feeling uptight than hang out with their best buddy.
These are the results of a survey commissioned by dog snack maker Pup-Peroni that questioned over 1000 U.S. dog owners about the feelings they have for the pup in their life. The hold dogs have over their owners' emotions is striking.
Over two thirds say they feel more guilty about leaving their dog behind when traveling than leaving friends or loved ones. A majority say their pooch makes them feel happy, loved and relaxed.

More Worries: A Dog Bit a Man in the Pound

ED: Since the papers did not specify what kind of pest control was being used, my concerns are understandable. Anonymous comments came in, ostensibly from SPCA people or people close to them, saying that the pest control company was there to deal with mice. I wonder why they don't use cats instead, to save money, but whatever...

So today, I learn that a dog bit a man in the SPCA pound, a pest control guy, and he had to go to the hospital to have it treated. They made a point of saying it wasn't Brindi. Nice to know, but that was and is never my worry. My concern is, how the heck did it happen, and what was the pest control man doing in that area? Was he spraying pesticides? Why did they need him?

The day she was taken away  - literally behind my back -  Brindi was in perfect health, top condition, had all her shots, check-ups, everything. Not an ounce of extra fat, no sagging, just trim muscle. No health problems at all. Nothing.

Pancreatitis showed up early last fall, with daily vomiting. About a year ago, she had a cancer scare with four cysts on her back that thankfully turned out to be due to blocked pores (indicating a lack of bathing/brushing - lack of care). Her velvety black muzzle went white, and I'd say prematurely, probably due to stress. Her once beautiful white teeth and gums are disastrous, with some permanent enamel damage. You can see them and her black muzzle in my photos, like the one on Support Brindi. I didn't get to check them till last April, but the SPCA refused to do a cleaning. About a month later I got a letter reporting the enamel, yet she still didn't get a dental cleaning by a vet. Instead the staff gave her an oral rinse, and now they are brushing her teeth daily. I'm afraid that is not going to remove the black from her bottom teeth, the tartar on her eyeteeth, or the permanent encrustations on her molars. A BONE would have done the job, and since she is supposed to be separated from other dogs, there should be no problem. In fact she could enjoy a bone outside, away from the other dogs, couldn't she? But no.
Her first bone
I'm sure her life is shortened already. I don't think they've renewed her vaccines, keep wanting to ask, and that's another worry. Asking means going through the HRM lawyer, by fax, because I cannot simply call the shelter and ask them, that's forbidden.

But as of today, I have to worry about something else: the use of chemicals - seriously deadly chemicals - in the shelter. And the reason for those chemicals is another worry.  What kinds of pests have to be controlled??? How did they get there? What kinds of diseases do they carry?
here's what my friend Holly wrote to me:

Was he spraying pesticides at the time? Were his feet covered so he was not exposed to the chemicals? Were the dogs' feet covered? Did the dogs have masks on? Was the area allowed to dry and was it properly ventilated before animals were returned to the area? Were their bowls removed and washed during this spraying?

I have no idea!!! And I can't figure out how to find out.

Most of the chemicals shelters buy to kill the various germs and pathogens and such (beyond fleas, they are spraying to cut down on infectious disease like parvo, bordatella, coccidiosis, etc.) are highly dangerous while they are wet. I have a few containers of stuff I bought and never used because of the strong warnings on them.

Does the shelter undergo any kind of health inspection? Who knows? But something is wrong. And I want my dog back, please. It might be too late to prevent her from getting cancer, but I want her back, please. I don't understand how this happened, but clearly, somebody is responsible. Or irresponsible. Will they be charged under A300? I doubt it. But they should be, because there was a serious lack of control.

The funny thing is, there is a contingent, a minority that is persistent and loud, that likes to argue that I don't care about Brindi anymore, I'm just fighting the city for a principle, or for fun, or for the glory, as if a person would do that. How twisted can you be?? Maybe they, unlike countless others, just cannot imagine what it is like to have your best friend and companion locked up out of your sight for endless days and nights. That's the only way that somebody could possibly blame me for Brindi being in the pound in the first place, a decision that was totally arbitrary, not supported by any law or order, and totally contrary to the routine handling of cases here.

They say that I didn't keep Brindi safe?? On the contrary! She was always safe with me. She was also fed the best food (NutriSource), given tons of exercise and love and attention, and lots of socialization with kids, adults, dogs, cats, pheasants, you name it. She was bathed regularly, though she didn't like it so much, and she went with me just about everywhere; she was rarely left alone. I can't remember ever leaving her, except for ten days, when I visited my mom. She was mad that I left her at the kennel - and there, she could run free with other dogs in special large runs, and she never had any problems.

It's in the SPCA's pound that she's had all these health problems. They are not a product of her age. She was barely five when they took her. They blame the city for not allowing her and other dogs to be walked. They are the SPCA!!! They prosecute people for neglecting animals! How can they justify willingly taking orders that they know are not good for the animals in their care, and possibly against the law? A contract is no excuse - it would not work for me, if somebody paid me to take care of animals and ordered me not to walk them or give them proper food, or if I exposed them to deadly pesticides. I would be charged with neglect, if not cruelty.

By law, the SPCA are required to protect animal welfare, every animal. They do not exist to make money off of risking my dog's health. It's a good thing they lost the pound contract, because it clearly demonstrates what Nathan Winograd says about a conflict of interest. One can resolve a conflict of interest if it is done up front, and arrangements are made. But this has never occurred to anybody, apparently. If it had, they doubtless would have seen to it that Brindi was given back to me.

I'm sorry, but I get shocks like this every other day, it seems, and it really gets to me. I just can't yell loudly enough or long enough to release the anger that I feel, or cry hard and long enough to get the pain and sadness out, when I think about how happy and gorgeous and FIT and HEALTHY she was when they took her!! I just can't, it's not physically possible. So it gets pushed down, and who knows, one day it could turn up as cancer for me. My mind and soul just cannot deal with it, when I think about what her future is going to be like - what diseases are down the road? What complications can she get from the pancreatitis? It's a good thing I got health insurance for her, I think, but it won't stop her from getting cancer from all these chemicals.

If I talked and thought just about Brindi and her welfare on the day to day basis, I would be a total wreck. What am I saying? I do talk and think about her every day, and I AM a total wreck! My nerves are shattered - court is enough to do that, but it's the ongoing ordeal, she's not dead, but she's not with me, and my mind just cannot grasp this. Rudy is gone, she won't ever see him again. The weekly visits were a horrible, horrible torture that left me useless for the following two days, yet I can hardly bear not having them. I'm desperate to get my vet to do an exam on her; been trying for months to work out an arrangement. I now have to pay a trainer hundreds of dollars to do the behavior assessment on her, because the ones who were donating their time and patiently waited at the SPCA to see her (in vain) are no longer available.

So do I care about Brindi? Is there anybody on earth who cares more? Do these people really think I took all these photos of her just because I wanted to fight with the city someday and they would come in handy? Do they think I moved to East Chezzetcook just so I could get on the TV news and become a target of threats and harassment from strangers, and ridicule from city employees and the media?


I moved here to get a break from living in cities, even though I love them; I wanted to get off the beaten track and rest from a very challenging, non-stop career so I could enrich my life; I came here to be near the ocean that I love, to do yoga, to volunteer helping animals and get a peace pole erected; I came here to live in Canada, because I could no longer support my native country's disastrous path of war and destruction; I came to Nova Scotia, because I'm from an Atlantic state and love the east coast;  I came here to take on a residential project all my own, to turn a long-neglected 100-year old cottage into a great little house that works off the grid; I chose my house after months of searching, and I spent more months talking to contractors and suppliers and drawing up a design and figuring out the construction, just like I spent months and months searching for a dog, and that dog turned out to be Brindi, ignored by others for over two years in a shelter, and who I spent months and months training, having her spayed and vaccinated and microchipped and socialized at every opportunity, and who turned out to be a really great, smart, affectionate, and gorgeous dog that I love with all my heart. And yes, who turned out to have an unknown issue that was totally uncharacteristic, and about which I consulted her trainer for advice, and which, nevertheless, did not lead to a serious injury or a killing, nothing close to it.

But to get back to the question: no, I didn't come here to attract attention. Um, definitely not.

I'm so glad I did take photos of my baby girl, and a few videos, because thanks to them, people have somehow fallen in love with her. But they can't ever know quite how special she is, what it was like to see her every morning, when she'd sit perfectly still near the door as taught, while I leashed her up to go out, gazing up at me with her big sparkly brown eyes while I put on the gentle leader, and later, the muzzle - her look of utter joy, trust, gratitude, brimming in anticipation of a nice brisk walk through the fields. I got to have that gift of joy every day and it kept me going through the some of hardest times in my life. In the spring and summer of 2008, it was Brindi's face, her love and joy every morning and night, that got me through the frustrating, exhausting work of getting the excavation done through solid bedrock and waiting for the guys to finally pour some concrete. At the end of each day, it was her happy face and wagging tail that made it all worthwhile.

They only got the footings done by the time Brindi was taken away. And by then, the contractor, who had long since proven incompetent and incredibly untruthful, was no longer around at all, skipping out on a detailed contract with finish deadlines. He left the ramps without railings, he left the property torn up and lined with mounds of rocks making a fence impossible, and he managed to lie over and over to me, to the bank, to Price Waterhouse Cooper, and a host of other companies and workers and clients, and then simply disappear, abandoning his own girlfriend with no food and no electricity.

I was just starting to figure out the next step, on a wonderful summer day, when Brindi and I had just had the best time together, and she was incredibly obedient and happy, making great progress on everything, when this white truck and two men turned up saying impossible things and just took her away, while I screamed and screamed and screamed.

And in my misery, I was still so certain it would only take a matter of days to get her back, because it was so clearly a mistake, they could not put this dog down!

What did I know??