Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Stop using the word “euthanasia” by Christine Keith

From the Pet Connection Blog
It makes a good point, one that is no different than adopting an animal from a pet store or rescuing it from a breeder or puppy mill.

You know what New Year’s resolution I’d like to see every journalist, animal activist, shelter communications director, and, well, everyone, make?
To stop using the word “euthanasia” to describe the killing of healthy or treatable pets.
When my Deerhound Raven was dying of bone cancer, every morning when she opened her eyes I waited to see if there was joy in them. Joy at the sunshine, at seeing my face, at the prospect of facing another day.
A few times there wasn’t; they were dull and flat. But I would do something — adjust her meds, have her acupuncturist visit, love her extra-hard — and as long as the next morning her eyes lit up for a few minutes, we kept on trying.
And when Raven’s eyes stayed flat, when she couldn’t settle into a comfortable position, when she didn’t care about food or walks or even me, that was the day we were done.
I held her across my lap, and smoothed back her ears, and kissed her as she sighed and closed her eyes. I felt her body, tense against the pain, relax. I felt her weight on my legs get heavier. I heard her breathe, then give a little gasp, then breathe… and then stop.
I told her I loved her, and then I let her go.
That’s “the last great gift, when you take your animal’s pain and make it your own.” That’s euthanasia.
It is so incredibly painful to hear that word applied to the killing of a pet for no reason except that she or he is homeless. Using a term that speaks to the loving end of suffering, the same mercy I wish I could have shown my mother when she was dying, is cruel and disrespectful to everyone who has ever made that last agonizing decision for a beloved pet.
It’s also disrespectful to the animals being killed, by acting as if what’s being done to them is a gift, or an act of mercy.
And above all, using “euthanasia” when you mean “killing” is a lie. Just stop.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

1,500 new homes and 1,500 thank you's

SARS BC recently hit the milestone of 1,500 animals finding their adoptive homes.

Compared to a lot of other agencies, this number may be small, and perhaps it is, but to us it really is something that all of our volunteers can be proud of. 

SARS BC is 100% volunteer run and each volunteer has their own animals, job, family and personal life on top of what they do for SARS.  Everyone of the 1,500 animals has had multiple people working for them behind the scenes, so each small success is indeed, a success for all those involved.  Volunteers are busy with picking up, trapping, rescuing, transporting, grooming, feeding, cleaning, vetting, socializing, doing home visits, promoting, fundraising and anything else that comes their way in order to help the animal in need.

Looking back over the past 5 years, there has been happiness, joy, sadness and heartache.  Sometimes it is overwhelming to look at all the animals still needing help and those still awaiting their own forever home however we must not loose sight of the fact that 1,500 have found homes.....1,500 rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, rats, degus, chinchillas, birds, hamsters, gerbils and hedgehogs. 

It's a nice way to close the year and we look forward to the new never know what it might always keeps up hopping ;-)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Heaps of Hedgehogs

We're not exactly sure why all of a sudden there is a huge rush to dump hedgehogs, but over the past few days, we've been asked to take in 4 more.  Currently, we have 5 up for adoption, and the new ones would bring us up to 9.

Hedgehogs are not a common pet and those who buy them impulsively from pet stores often have no idea about the needs or care. More puzzling are those people who buy them for their young children.
Hedgehogs are prickly.....covered in spines and are nocturnal....not what one would traditionally think of as an ideal child's pet.

As I was reading through a news clipping service yesterday I was stopped by an article in the Penticton Herald Dec 8, 2010.  It's headline read "New pet for 2011: hedgehogs in vogue".  Then just moments later, I was sent an email form a shelter in the interior asking for ideas on how to trim a hedgehogs nails.  One was recently left at the shelter and it's toes nails are literally curling around under it's feet.
A co-worker also brought me in a Readers Digest article featuring a small child holding a hedgehog and some text on it's pros, cons, needs and care. 

So what does that mean for the future of the *pet* hedgehogs?  Will they end up suffering just to make a sale & a quick buck?

Two of the recent intakes have been hedgehogs who have had their quills cut off, or the ends cut off so that one will not get ther hands pricked by a hedgehog that is not wanting to be disturbed.  Some of our hedgehogs have even been used to roll down a fight of stairs.....hedgehogs will ball up if they do not want to be disturbed or are afraid and because of that someone thought it would be funny to use them as a ball. 
In the right home, they can be quite social and make a good pet but to be promoted as the new *in vogue* pet, it just doesn't sit right with us.  Hopefully 2011 will not live up to it's expectations.

Bye Bye to the penny?

If the penny is discontinued.....what will this mean for our rescue group?

This definitely comes as sad news for us and the animals.  SARS BC currently holds 4 bottle & penny drives each year and100% of the proceeds from these drives go towards our medical fund.  Losing such a reliable source of funding will definitely impact us hard.

Pennies are a wonderful grass roots way to fundraise as people are more willing to donate them than they would a loonie or a toonie, they often have large collections of them lying around and it is a GREAT way for even the youngest of supporters to contribute and feel that they are helping the animals.

Much like the animals we help, the penny may be small but it can make a big difference to the animals.
For the time being, we hold our breath and await a final decision.

The penny debate

Friday, December 3, 2010


It's hard to believe that nowadays people still *choose* to buy & wear fur.

Yesterday I was told about a store that carried lots of unique rabbit kitch ie cards, soap holders after hearing that I could hardly wait to go and check it out.
Apparently this particular store has a clothing section located to the nick knack store (where I was supposed to go).

Unfortunately I went into the clothing store instead of the kitch store and was horrified.  There were rabbit fur ear muffs, scarves, key chains etc EVERYWHERE.  I asked the staff if it was real fur and of course they had no we both started to look.
Everything was clearly labelled RABBIT FUR and it all came from China.  Fur farms in China are notoriously hell on earth for all fur bearing needless to say I couldn't leave that place quick enough.

I got back to work and sent them off an email with some links to rabbit fur farms in China.....I hope they take the time to read it and maybe learn where their products come from.  I am not holding my breath but maybe they might be as blissfully ignorant about what they are selling as are most of the customers who are buying it.

During my search for some of the links to the fur farms I ran across this:

The Rabbit: “Poster Child” for Animal Rights

“I should be the poster child for animal rights. I am slaughtered for my fur. I am slaughtered for my meat. I am factory farmed in rabbit mills. I am tortured by vivisectors in their ‘labs.’ I am the third most commonly ‘euthanized’ companion animal. I am hunted and snared. I am the object of blood sports. I am often cruelly abused. I am given as a live animal prize. I languish in pet stores. Why aren’t I?”
—Poster from RabbitWise, Inc., a rabbit advocacy organization.Read more here

This is where it becomes a struggle for us.....more often than not, it seems so futile trying to help, save or re-home one rabbit when millions & millions and millions suffer and are killed each day.  People don't view rabbits the way they do cats or dogs, they roll their eyes that we spend time *helping rabbits* when there are fur, they are food, they are lab animals......I know and understand...."one at a time" and "help those that you can",  but sometimes the scope of everything is just so over whelming :(