Pitter Pattering Paws for your Pooch!

 Photo courtesy of pexels.com.

Photo courtesy of pexels.com.

Why Taking your Dog Out for Exercise is Important
Ever heard the expression “if your dog isn't tired at night then they didn't get enough exercise that day”? It is crucial to a pooch’s health that they get the right amount of exercise. Similar to humans, exercise allows canines to stay healthy both physically and mentally. It’s important to get their heart rates going and their muscles moving. Enough exercise will ensure the chances of your companion living a long, happy, and healthy life.

No matter the size of your furry friend, all dogs need exercise. If your dog does not get the physical activity it needs, it can become overweight and develop other health issues. Almost 50 per cent of dogs are not their ideal weight. When your dog is overweight, they can lose some of their stamina, have difficulty dealing with the heat in warm weather and will have a hard time working off the excess pounds. So, let’s not give them the opportunity to find themselves in this position.

 Photo courtesy of pexels.com

Photo courtesy of pexels.com

Even if you do take your dog out for a walk around the block every day, you may need to consider their breed. For example, many breeds are built for sport and other physical activities like hunting. Retrievers enjoy hunting and chasing their prey. Hounds, such as Greyhounds, love to run and should have time throughout the week to do so. All dogs have a great sense of smell. In particular, Bloodhounds have especially powerful snouts that can track scents from far away places. If your dog is limited to the space in your backyard, they are unable to track down those crazy smells. For generations these breeds have been built to run and explore. Think about their cousins, the wolf and the coyote! These wild animals roam, free to travel long distances and chase anything they please. Chances are there is something in your dog’s DNA that pushes them to have that same desire. Dogs are born to be active and they deserve the opportunity to stretch their legs.

 Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Behavioural issues can take place when a dog is not provided with enough exercise or enough time outdoors. If your pooch does not get enough attention and activity, they may start to feel neglected and can act out. This means your house and belongings are at risk of being damaged when you are not looking. It also means they have the potential to lash out at you or others aggressively in order to express their frustration. Your dog could potentially become a threat to other canines at dog parks. Sometimes these incidences can lead to the dog being put down when it’s not even their fault.

It’s easy to get caught up in your own life. A busy day at the office can really tire you out! But consider the fact that you took on the responsibility of an animal when you became a dog owner. It is your duty to make sure they are active, even if that means pushing your body to the limits to take your dog out for a walk after a long day. And hey, some exercise will do your body good as well!

Here are some locations in the Ottawa, ON., area that you and your dog can check out for some well-needed (and deserved) exercise:

  1. Bruce Pit - This off-leash dog park is a large forest full of places your dog can explore and sniff. The park is a 3.2 kilometer loop trail that is usually busy on the weekend. Frequent visitors recommend to go early in the day to avoid traffic.

  2. Conroy Pit - This park is fenced in with lots of grass, sand, and wooded areas where you can let your canine friend off-leash. The beautiful tree-lined trail makes this park a great spot to go for a run with your dog in the fall when the leaves are full of colour!

  3. Sugarbush Trail - Sugarbush is a 1.8 kilometer winter friendly trail and is accessible all year round. In the winter you can find people snowshoeing throughout the trail.

  4. Lauriault Trail - Another year-round 3.9 kilometer trail that encourages hiking and other outdoor activities. You can also get a great view of the King Estate in the background. The trail is located near Old Chelsea, QC.

  5. McNabb Park - Located in downtown Ottawa, this park has weekly off-leash hours and a dog pool! Its easy access location makes it available for everyone.

Remember, exercise will increase your dog’s mental health: an active pooch is a happy pooch!

 Photo courtesy of pexels.com.

Photo courtesy of pexels.com.


17990919_1441792759175178_7321599244076666916_n.jpg

Holly Williams

Holly Williams is a small town girl jumping into the big city life. She recently graduated the Honours Program at Trent University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Cultural Studies and English Literature. Reading and writing have always been activities she has been passionate about, along with photography and exploring. She likes to think if a book doesn't light a spark in your soul then it wasn't a 10/10. Her happy place is sitting on the porch on a crisp fall day, spending time with people she loves, with a hot cup of tea in her hands.

How Much Do You Know About Your Cat?

Header.jpeg

7 FAQs about cats

1.  What is the average lifespan of cats?

The environment they live in, maintenance, health, and whether or not the cat is sterilized are all factors that affect the lifespan of a cat. That being said, the average domestic cat can live from 10 to 20 years, and in the wild cats can survive from 2 to 16 years.

2.  How do I know my cat is sick?

Most animals, including cats, tend to hide when they’re in pain because of their nature, making it hard for owners to notice when they’re sick. As an owner you really need to be observant of your cat’s behaviour so it’s easier for you to recognize unusual habits. The most noticeable changes cats go through when they’re sick are: hiding in a quiet out-of-the-way place; eating, drinking, and/or urinating/defecating more or less than normal; constant vomiting during the day; diarrhea or constipation; constant coughing. If you notice any of the these symptoms, contact a veterinarian as soon as possible.

IsItSafeToLetMyCatOut.jpeg

3.  Is it safe to let my cat out?

Cats can do well in the wild, but despite this many experts recommend not letting your cat out. There are many dangers for cats including predators, cars, diseases, or disappearances. Cats can also bring fleas, ticks, pollen, and other allergens from the environment into your home. There are lots of domestic cats doing well outdoors—the decision is at each owner’s risk. Make sure you are also following city bylaws: in some places letting your cat out is actually illegal.

4.  What can I do if my cat is picky when it comes to food?

If your cat refuses to eat the food you’re offering, try to change it up. If you just serve your furry friend dry food, consider mixing it with wet food. Maybe your cat is not into the flavour of the food. When you finally find something they’re happy with, don’t change it. Changing their food too often might confuse them and make them lose their appetite. Routines are also a good idea: establish times for your cat to eat at.

5.  Is canned tuna good for cats?

Canned tuna as a treat is good to satisfy you cat’s craving for fish, but not as a daily diet. Tuna alone is not nutritionally complete. Tuna sold especially for cats is not pure tuna, but also contains other nutrients, such as added vitamins and minerals. Consuming too much tuna can cause your cat to develop a Vitamin E deficiency and put them at risk of mercury poisoning. If your cat is a fish lover, look for foods that contain salmon or wet fish food made especially for cats to satisfy cravings.

6.  Why is my cat eating grass?

WhatDoesCatnipDoToCats.jpeg

Grass has natural laxative benefits which help your cat go regularly to the litter box, especially if their digestive tracts are clogged by fur. Grass also relieves an upset stomach; you may notice that your cat vomits shortly after eating grass but they’re actually doing this on purpose. In the process of throwing up, cats get rid of fur, parasites, feathers, and bones, which can irritate their digestive tract. But if your cat eats large amounts of grass everyday, consult your veterinarian.

7.   What does catnip do to cats?

Catnip (Nepeta Cataria) is a plant containing nepetalactone: the chemical compound that attracts and affects cats. It is a stimulant when sniffed by cats, producing a high similar to marijuana. The effect lasts 10 minutes before wearing off and going back to normal. When cats consume catnip, it acts as a sedative.

This FAQ only includes the most asked questions on the internet. There could be a long list of questions about your cat’s health and behaviours, but if you are unsure about something your cat is doing don’t only rely on the internet—make sure to contact an expert before acting on it.


37083766_488194228288868_2794871065027805184_n.jpg

Clarissa L. Flores

Clarissa L. Flores is a 19 year-old in the Professional Writing program at Algonquin Colllege. Originally from Mexico she came to Canada to expand her knowledge on writing, turning a hobby into a career. If she’s not listening to music or daydreaming, she probably has her nose in a book.

The Horrors Hidden Behind the Walls of Industrial Livestock Production

Although all animals used for the agricultural industry suffer atrocities, the worst case scenarios are seen on corporate owned industrial farms. These farms use unethical practices that maximize profits at the expense of the environment, animal welfare, and human health. Far from the happy farm animals grazing on green pastures that are shown in advertisements for meat, milk, and eggs, industrialized farms consist of large numbers of animals being raised in extreme confinement, unsanitary conditions and often mutilated. They are bred to grow unnaturally fast and larger for the purpose of maximizing production for the food industry. Animals on industrialized farms are regarded as commodities to be exploited for profit.

Facts the Industry Does Not want You to Know

  • Approximately 70 billion farm animals are reared for food in the world each year. Two out of every three of these animals are reared on an industrialized farm. According to the Vancouver Humane Society, “more than 800 million intensively-farmed animals were slaughtered in Canada in 2017.”

  • Cattle that are raised for the beef industry live their short lives chained in small stalls where they cannot lie down, or turn around. Eventually, they are brutally mutilated and slaughtered. Many are dismembered, while still fully conscious.

  • Most dairy cows are permanently confined to a stall, artificially impregnated or—to be more precise—“raped,” over and over again during their short lives. Their bodies are plagued by painful infections, calcium-depletion and lameness. In less than two days after a calf is born, they are removed from their mother’s teats, so the milk can be processed for human consumption, and the calves turned into veal.

  • Chickens and turkeys live and die in nightmarish conditions to supply consumers with their meat and eggs. They are kept in battery cages, which are so small their beaks need to be sawed off to prevent them from hurting one another. Their feet also bleed from the wires on the bottom of the cages. From the time they are born, up until the time they are slaughtered, these animals never see the light of day.

  • Uncaged, or free-range turkeys and chickens fare no better. They are crowded into dark and dirty warehouses where they still have their beak tops amputated without anesthetic. They suffer ammonia burns and respiratory disease from the vast amounts of urine and feces in the environment. They are genetically bred to grow so large that their bodies cannot support their growth, which results in debilitating and painful conditions and deformities. On industrialized farms, sick turkeys and chickens are often neglected and left to be trampled to death, or die of dehydration. Instead of living long and happy lives, birds on factory farms live short and tortured lives, while being imprisoned in unsanitary conditions.

The Myth of Organic Farms

When it comes to how the animals are treated, organic farms are no better than industrialized farms. Thousands of animals are still crammed together in filthy pens, or sheds, and suffer through the same mutilations, such as debeaking, dehorning, and castration without painkillers, that occur on industrialized farms. How the animals are treated on organic farms is irrelevant, as long as the animals are given organic feed and are not drugged then the farm is considered “organic.” The only benefit of organic farming is to the consumer, because the products from these animals do not contain antibiotics, or hormones.

Human Health and the Environment

Industrialized farms are a direct threat to human health and the environment. In order to rapidly increase the animal’s body weight, as well as, for dairy cows to produce milk at an abnormal rate, they are fed and injected with growth hormones. Also, because these animals never breathe fresh air, absorb the sun’s nutrients, or dine on grass and and forage as nature intended, they are prone to severe health ailments. To prevent the inevitable spread of disease from stress, overcrowding and lack of vitamin D, animals are fed a steady diet of antibiotics.

Humans who consume dairy and meat from these animals can develop immunity to certain types of antibiotics. When they are ill and need the drugs to cure them, the antibiotics may have no effect on killing bacterial infections.

Although products from animals raised on organic farms may be somewhat safer than those from industrialized farms, they are still laden with artery-clogging saturated fat and cholesterol. The animals are executed in filthy slaughterhouses similar to those raised on industrializd farms, which subjects them to the same potential for bacterial contamination from unsanitary conditions.

The emissions, waste and infectious agents produced when thousands of animals are confined with little sunlight, mobility or ventilation have devastating impacts on human, animal and environmental well-being. Air and water contamination, soil degradation, nutrient runoff, elevated hormone and antibiotic levels in the environment and illnesses in surrounding communities are all documented impacts of industrialized farms.

The ethical and healthiest decision to make for the animals, humans and the environment is to avoid all meat, eggs, and dairy products. There are many delicious vegan alternatives found on grocery store shelves, such as veggie dogs, veggie burgers, tofu turkeys and faux cheeses, to name a few.

Watch the informative documentary “Earthlings” to learn more about industrial livestock production, and other forms of animal exploitation. View here: https://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/earthlings/


12647125_10154469675715110_1664152821528804076_n.jpg

Joan Reddy

Joan is a professional writer, photographer, animal advocate, and environmentalist. She holds a Masters degree in English Literature from the University of Toronto, and a Masters of Environmental Studies from York University, in Toronto, where her thesis focused on Indigenous culture and the environment.

Joan was a photographer and journalist for Metroland Media Group, and has also written numerous animal-related blogs, articles and product reviews for various commercial clients and nonprofit animal organizations. 

When Joan is not musing over words, she can be found on her 'urban farm' cuddling with her three cats and three rabbits.


Save the Whales, Save the Ecosystem

Learning from our past mistakes can help save the Southern Resident killer whales and the precious Pacific Northwest Ecosystem.

  An orca and her calf breaching on a calm day. photo courtesy of pexels.com

An orca and her calf breaching on a calm day. photo courtesy of pexels.com

The southern resident killer whale population (we’ll call them SRKW for short) is a group of orcas that inhabit the waters off Vancouver Island and Washington State coasts. The subspecies consists of three pods: L pod with 34 members, J pod with 22 members, and K pod with 18, for a total of 74 members currently living in the wild. That’s down from about 100 members in the mid 1990s. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time those numbers have declined. Although stringent record keeping of orca populations didn’t begin until 1976, there were at the very least 100 individual SRKWs in 1964. By 1976, there were 71.

Both of these fluctuations were caused by human interference, but the first time was under much different circumstances.

In August of 1970, in Penn Cove off the coast of Puget Sound, Washington State, a group of approximately 80 whales from the SRKW population were rounded up using boats and helicopters. After being held in pens for hours on end, seven juveniles were captured. At least three others died from stress, their bodies weighted down with rocks in an attempt to hide what their captors had done.

Unfortunately, this was just one of many events. From 1964 to 1976—before the capture of Southern and Northern Resident killer whales was banned after intense public outcry—an estimated 58 individuals from the SRKW population were either captured for use in marine parks or killed during the process. Lolita, a whale captured at Penn Cove as a juvenile, is the only surviving member of those captured alive. Considering that the average lifespan of a killer whale is 60 plus years—even higher for females—these are pretty sobering statistics.

  Photo courtesy of NICHOLAS REUSS VIA GETTY IMAGES

Photo courtesy of NICHOLAS REUSS VIA GETTY IMAGES

Lolita has been in captivity at the Miami Seaquariam for 48 years; she has not had an orca companion since 1980 and resides in a tank that is only 24 by 11 meters and 6 meters deep. In 2015, Lolita was included in the endangered species list as a member of the southern resident killer whale population. This does not exempt her from being held in captivity. Lolita’s mother, who is believed to be the matriarch of L pod, L25 or Ocean Sun, is still alive and swimming freely with the rest of Lolita’s estranged family.

The plight of captive orcas is an important topic—especially since whales are still being captured in Russian waters—but that’s something that requires a whole other post to delve into properly. We bring up the SRKW capture now, however, because it proves that perspectives can be shifted and change enacted when it comes to saving these animals. Although the solutions may not be quite as simple as they were the first time around, change is still possible.

According to biologist Catherine McKenna, from 2008-2014, 70% of pregnancies in the SR population failed; no whale has survived past infancy since 2015. Recently, orca J35/Tahlequah carried her dead new born calf to the detriment of her own health for over two weeks, an unprecedented observed amount of time for what scientists believe to be an act of grieving. And just last month, juvenile orca Scarlet/J50 was declared dead after researchers made several attempts to help the visibly ailing female, including live feeding Chinook salmon injected with antibiotics. Scarlet was last observed trailing far behind her pod on September 7th.

As an apex predator, a strong orca population reflects a strong ecosystem, and the ways in which we can help improve their numbers will also go a long way in protecting other vital species and the environment as a whole. Government agencies and NGOs alike on both sides of the border, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA Fisheries) and the Rain Coast Foundation, agree that there are three main priorities needed to improve this population:

1.  Revive Salmon Populations

Chinook salmon comprise the majority of the SRKW population’s diet, and studies for NOAA and Fisheries and Oceans Canada have shown a direct correlation between death rates and salmon populations. A restriction in fishing practices and protected feeding grounds would help increase salmon numbers.  

2.  Reduce water noise pollution

Keeping whale-watching boats at a comfortable distance to avoid stressing pods and banning them entirely during certain times of the year at designated feeding refuges is crucial. Reducing commercial boat and ship speeds in designated areas would also greatly benefit the well-being of SRKW populations.

3.  Reduce pollution and contaminants

PCBs (plastics, paints, rubber), DDT still found in some pesticides, and PBDEs (fire retardant chemicals used in everything from TVs to mattresses) are all found in high counts in the tissues of deceased SRKW whales, and reducing the pollution of these by-products in West Coast waters is essential to the longevity of these whales and the ecosystem as a whole.

There is a way to ensure that these intelligent creatures can thrive for years to come. We humans have a responsibility when it comes to improving the quality and quantity of life of an animal we’ve had a negative effect on—directly or indirectly. Together, we must strive to do better, because if we don’t, quickly and soon, there won’t be anything left on this planet to be better for.


quicksquare_201861518250321.jpg

Sara Grainger

Sara is a graduate of both Nipissing and Ryerson Universities. Since completing two post-secondary programs apparently wasn’t enough for her, she is also currently in the second year of the Professional Writing Program at Algonquin. When not making every attempt to avoid the 9-5 lifestyle, she can be found testing the waters of musicianship, binge watching any genre of television you can think of (as long as it’s worthwhile) and pretending to be good at video games. She is also passionate about animal welfare and loves spending time with her Chihuahua mix Tula and cat Oki.


What the Shell?!

Help decrease the high levels of pollution in our oceans!

 Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Salty blue water that was once clean is now filled with garbage, garbage, and more garbage. Did you know that according to SEE Turtles, out of the seven sea turtle species, six are endangered or threatened due to pollution and other man-made dangers? Many daily activities people partake in place wildlife at risk, such as fishing, poaching, and littering.

The lack of recycling taking place across the globe is a huge threat to all seven species of turtles: the leatherback, green turtle, hawksbill, loggerhead, olive ridley, kemp’s ridley, and the flatback. They are creatures that roam our oceans and they need to be respected and protected! Thousands of aquatic flora and fauna die every year as a result of pollution and garbage building up in the oceans.

Sea turtles’ basic needs for survival are at risk. Their homes are being damaged and their food contaminated. They nest on beaches covered in garbage that is tossed there or washes up on shore. Chemical spills are polluting the water that they swim in, damaging not only their home, but also the exterior and interior of their bodies. Oil debris causes pieces of tar to degrade and harden. These toxins are mistaken for food and are eaten by the turtles, causing illness.

 Image courtesy of pixabay.com.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com.

YES, these poor animals are getting sick as a result of our negligence! Fibropapillomas is a disease believed to be caused by pollution. It creates cauliflower-like tumours on organs and around the eyes and mouth. Sounds gross, right? Well it's more than disgusting! The disease is often fatal, causing the turtles speed to slow down and increasing their chances of being at risk to predators. SEE Turtles states that over 50% of green turtles in Florida’s Indian River suffer from this awful disease.  

 Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

If you don't think there are consequences to throwing your plastic bottles in the garbage instead of recycling the product, you could not be more wrong. Although the majority of plastic waste is dumped in landfills or burned, many of the trash that is transported from one location to another increases the chances of some garbage escaping into natural environments. For example, the trash sitting on a boat transporting waste is caught in high winds, leaving bits of garbage to be blown through the air and fall into the ocean.

Fourteen billion pounds of garbage are dumped into the ocean every year, filling the water with chemicals and other physical waste. There are many islands made up of garbage that float around in the ocean, weighing tons and stretching as far as the eye can see! Crazily enough, less than five per cent of plastic created is actually recycled when people are done with it… that’s pathetic! We need change. These animals are not the only sea creatures that have to suffer through our mistakes within their home. We must take responsibility.

Here are some small acts you can do to help save not only the several kinds of sea turtles from pollution, but all other aquatic life that roam the oceans:

  1. Remember to recycle plastics and e-waste to avoid plastic and chemical pollution.

  2. Don't pour paint and other chemicals down the drain!

  3. Simple ways to use less plastic can be anything from steering clear of plastic straws, cups, and bags. When you can, bring reusable bags when shopping and cups when buying coffee.

  4. Help raise awareness in your community! Organize trash pick-ups in the area to reduce the risk of litter ending up in natural water-based environments.

  5. Donate to wildlife foundations that focus on increasing the purity of bodies of water, such as the National Wildlife Federation, Wateraid, or Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire.

  6. Check out SEE Turtles online. This non-profit organization protects sea turtles and provides educational programs and volunteer tours. They also have a Billion Baby Turtles program that saves $5.00 for every dollar donated, so go donate and help the baby turtles!

I know that you are one person, but you are one of many! Together we can bring change.






17990919_1441792759175178_7321599244076666916_n.jpg

Holly Williams

Holly Williams is a small town girl jumping into the big city life. She recently graduated the Honours Program at Trent University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Cultural Studies and English Literature. Reading and writing have always been activities she has been passionate about, along with photography and exploring. She likes to think if a book doesn't light a spark in your soul then it wasn't a 10/10. Her happy place is sitting on the porch on a crisp fall day, spending time with people she loves, with a hot cup of tea in her hands.

The Horrifying Truth Behind the Exotic Bird Trade

  photo courtesy of pexels.com

photo courtesy of pexels.com

How many species of domesticated birds do you think there are?

With the popularity pet birds have gained recently—especially on social media—people have become more and more exposed to the many varieties of birds that are kept as pets: parrots, macaws, cockatoos, cockatiels, canaries, caiques, pigeons, budgies, you name it! You might guess that there are upwards of a hundred breeds to choose from.

And that would be accurate. However, what many people don’t know is that few, if any, of these species are actually domesticated, even in the loosest sense of the word.

The sad reality is that a lot of the birds that end up for sale as pets have actually been taken straight from their natural habitat, and smuggled over borders in horrid conditions; conditions so bad that an estimated five out of six birds don’t even survive.

They've been seen stuffed twenty at a time into small carrier cages, or individually into cardboard tubes and plastic bottles. They’ve been wrapped up in cloth, newspapers, and even tape, and stuffed down people's pants as they board flights.

No, this is not an exaggeration. Even a cursory search will reveal these shocking cases aren’t even outliers.

Fortunately, this has become far less of a problem in recent years, with new laws being passed and more groups rising up to defend our feathered friends. Birds bought in the USA and Canada are far more likely to have been bred locally than captured and smuggled.

But there’s still the risk that when you buy from a pet store or other seller you could end up contributing to this cruel industry.

So, as always, adopt, don’t shop, and if you must buy an animal, be sure to do so from a reputable seller who practices ethical breeding and who actually cares for the birds they help raise.


 Image courtesy of pexels.com

Image courtesy of pexels.com

Shepard King is an aspiring author and editor of fantasy and science fiction, an obsessive world-builder, and an occasional writer of amateurish, depressing poetry. You can find more of his work at shadowofthedude.tumblr.com.

Why BSL is Just Plain BS

Instead of blanket breed legislation, dogs should be treated as individual animals and their humans educated and held to a higher standard of accountability.

  Photo courtesy of pixabay.com

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com

In 2005, the Ontario government passed an amendment to the Dog Owners Liability Act to ban all pit bull-type dogs. Any residing in the province at the time were grandfathered and allowed to stay so long as they were spayed or neutered and muzzled in public at all times. Many law makers believe that banning specific breeds deemed more dangerous than others reduces dog bites and attacks; several regions around the world have similar bans to Ontario’s, including many cities and counties in the United States and the entirety of the United Kingdom. Other than Ontario, Winnipeg is one of the only regions outside the province to have a full ban in effect.

But are these bans actually helping? Well, considering blanket legislation of any type isn’t typically the best approach, the answer shouldn’t come as a surprise: Nope. They’re really not. The stats are in and they appear to confirm what many dog activists have argued for years: BSL just doesn’t work. Harsher penalties for irresponsible ownership, education, and community collaboration is what does. We’ve listed five reasons why BSL is just plain BS, and why there are much better options out there.

1.  It’s been applied in several areas and has not reduced the number of overall dog bites.

In Toronto, dog bites have actually been rising since 2013—with the highest levels of the century in 2014 and 2015—despite the fact that pit bulls are theoretically almost non-existent in the city. Furthermore, in both 2004 and 2014, German Shepherds took first place for the highest instances of dog bites. Although an increase in overall bites may be related to an increase in dog populations in general, BSL has certainly done nothing to improve these rates and points to the more likely culprit: bad ownership. Which leads into reason # 2…

2.  In regions where education and dog owners being held to a higher standard of responsibility has been the approach instead of BSL, dog bites have been reduced overall.

In Calgary, the city has enacted the Responsible Pet Ownership Law, which focuses not on banning a specific type of breed but instead puts the onus on owners to take responsibility for their pets and behaviours. Here, the legislation focuses on licencing, spay/neuter programs, getting pets from ethical and reputable sources, and education, including free or subsidized obedience and training classes. And the numbers don’t lie: “aggressive dog instances” went from over 2,000 in 1985 to 641 (242 of them bites) in 2014 (Calgary began moving toward responsible ownership laws in 2000).

3. “Pit bull-type dogs” is a blanket term for several similar breeds, and identification criteria is vague at best, often resulting in breed misidentification.

The dogs included in the Ontario ban are American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers and American pit bull terriers. However, breed identification is typically left to the discretion of animal control officers or shelter staff and is often inconsistent. In one study by The Veterinary Journal, shelter staff identified 52% of breeds as pit bull-type when DNA testing revealed that only 21% actually were. And in Montreal, where a pit bull ban was briefly in place in late 2016 after a woman was mauled to death in her backyard, the dog in question was later revealed to more likely be a boxer, and not a pit bull as previously identified.

4.  Banning breeds results in needless death.

The Ontario Veterinary association estimates that up to 1,000 dogs and puppies have been needless euthanized in the province since 2005. The majority of these dogs were not killed because of their actions and behaviour, but simply for being born the wrong breed. It is rare that rescue dogs can’t be rehabilitated, and the fact that so many are killed without cause is nothing short of tragic.

5.  “Bully” breeds typically score quite high on behavioural tests compared to other breeds and many dogs that are rescued from fighting situations can be rehabilitated.

  Photo courtesy of pexels.com

Photo courtesy of pexels.com

According to the American Temperament Test Society, American pit bull terriers scored 87.4%, American Staffordshire terriers scored 85.5%, and Staffordshire bull terriers scored 90.9% respectively on behavioural tests. This is better than 120+ dogs breeds, including golden retrievers and other popular family breeds. In fact, before they started getting such a bad rap, pit bulls were America’s sweetheart family dog, often used as “Nannies” for children. And all it takes is one look at the Michael Vick dogs, who were rescued from a horrible fighting situation, to see how these these animals are so often able to bounce back, thrive, and bring comfort to others.

Ultimately, the history shows that BSL is a knee-jerk reaction by law makers that seeks to put a bandage over a much larger problem. And it’s past time pit bulls stop getting the bad end of the deal when it comes to our inability to look at the bigger picture.


quicksquare_201861518250321.jpg

Sara Grainger is a graduate of both Nipissing and Ryerson Universities. Since completing two post-secondary programs apparently wasn’t enough for her, she is also currently in the second year of the Professional Writing Program at Algonquin. When not making every attempt to avoid the 9-5 lifestyle, she can be found singing, writing, binge watching any genre of television you can think of (as long as it’s worthwhile) and pretending to be good at video games. She is also passionate about animal welfare and loves spending time with her Chihuahua mix Tula and cat Oki.

5 Things You Should Know Before Adopting a Dog

hannah-lim-708852-unsplash.jpg

In some people’s eyes adopting isn’t complicated: you just go to a pet store or shelter and choose the cutest one. But there’s a lot more to it than that, and that’s why—according to Humane Canada in a 2012 census—more than 53,000 dogs were taken in and cared for by Canadian Shelters. Most of these dogs were abandoned or returned by their owners because they realized they were not qualified to have one. There is a lot to consider before adopting a furry friend, and this post is here to help you figure out if you are ready to have a new family member or not.

1.  Can you afford one?

 Adopting usually comes with a cost because of the vaccinations given to a dog to prevent diseases like Distemper, Parvo, Kennel Cough, and Rabies. But the money you have to spend doesn't end there. According to Money Under 30, the total you have to pay for their needs before adopting is approximately $565 and $695 annually.  

2.  What size dog is best suited for your lifestyle?

One of the most common dog myths is about their size. Many people believe smaller dogs don’t need as much attention or exercise, but this is completely false. All dogs big or small need daily walks, good training, and as much attention as you can give. The pros of owning a small dog include lower costs for treatments, having a good travel companion, and gaining an ideal pet for urban spaces. If you travel a lot or live in an apartment building that restricts the size of your pets, you might want to go for a smaller breed. On the other hand, bigger dogs are good watchdogs, great with kids, have great endurance, and are easier to train. If you have a family, love to go on long runs or walks, and like an obedient friend, bigger breeds might be to your liking.

 3.  Will you have time to fulfill all their needs?

Dogs need to be trained, and the sooner the better. You need to take time out of your day to house train them, teach them how to behave when walking in public, and show them how to act around other people and dogs. These are just a few of the things you need to train them for. Puppies are like a child; if you don’t pay enough attention to them they will get bored and misbehave. You also need time throughout your day to make sure they get all the meals they need. When you first adopt a dog you will need to invest a lot of time in them, but even after they’re trained they still need your attention and care.

 4.  Do the right amount of research on the breed you will be adopting.

This is one of the most important points to consider. The moment you learn the breed that will be entering your home, do research about them. Every breed has different traits and capabilities: some are faster learners and others are better at social skills, some are leaders and others followers. By doing research you can also be aware of the diseases they are prone to and how to avoid them.

 5.  If you have other pets…

 If you have other pets, make sure to research how to introduce them to each other. You shouldn’t take this matter lightly, for animals to co-exist and have a good relationship they should be introduced slowly and appropriately.  When this is done correctly your new pets—no matter the species—will become family!


37083766_488194228288868_2794871065027805184_n.jpg

Clarissa L. Flores

Clarissa L. Flores is a 19 year-old in the Professional Writing program at Algonquin Colllege. Originally from Mexico she came to Canada to expand her knowledge on writing, turning a hobby into a career. If she’s not listening to music or daydreaming, she probably has her nose in a book.

Take Shelter!

In with the old, out with the new!

animal-breed-cage-1350563.jpg

Cute little paws. Tiny noses. Big puppy eyes. I know what you're thinking: you want one too, right? When most people decide it's time for them to adopt an animal, their first idea is a puppy or kitten. Yes, I’ll admit: they are so gosh darn cute! But let's be real here, they're only going to stay that small for a number of weeks! I know it seems like adopting an animal from a young age is the more rewarding choice. You get to know them from the start, watch their personalities develop and their bodies grow.

But have you considered the alternative?

According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), 6.5 million companion animals are placed in shelters every year. Only 710,000 of that several million are returned to their original owners. In 2015, the OSPCA (Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) found new homes and families for 4,793 cats, 1,676 dogs, and 539 small animals. But what about those furry and scaly friends who were not picked up for adoption? What happens to them?

Every year, billions of animals are placed in shelters worldwide as strays due to unfit owners or just plain neglect. As a result, many shelters and animal care organizations are forced to euthanize the animals that are not adopted. The ASPCA states that 20% of dogs and about 30% of cats meet this fate. We have the ability to change these statistics by adopting these homeless animals.

Many people will say that they want a baby animal because they will live longer than any old dog or cat sitting in a pound. Be that as it may, giving an animal a loving home and caring for them for the rest of their life will feel far more rewarding than selecting the cutest puppy or kitten and watching it grow old. You can develop just as strong relationships with older dogs and cats as you can with younger ones. You could even say older dogs from broken or abusive homes would value your love more than one that does not know the definition of abuse.

Another factor that leads people not to adopt is the fear of health issues. In reality, many of the shelters these animals are placed in nurse them into proper health before allowing them to be adopted. Many shelter animals have just as much of a chance of developing illnesses and ringing up veterinary bills as young puppies or kittens. Face the facts: owning companion animals is expensive! So please, don’t let money be the reason you steer clear of adopting from a shelter.

animals-cars-cats-96399.jpg

It's easy to think that the animals sitting in humane societies and shelters will just be adopted by someone else, but when we actually look at the facts, not nearly enough are being taken home. If you feel guilty when you watch the scene in the beloved Disney film, Lady and the Tramp (1955), where the dogs are literally crying in the pound like they are in jail, then you should consider adopting. We cannot deny that change needs to occur. It’s been over 60 years and the same types of tactics still exist.

So instead of adopting a baby animal, consider adopting one from a broken home, or one that never really got the chance at having a home in the first place. Be the person they are waiting for at the door every day. I promise that love will be unconditional.


17990919_1441792759175178_7321599244076666916_n.jpg

Holly Williams

Holly Williams is a small town girl jumping into the big city life. She recently graduated the Honours Program at Trent University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Cultural Studies and English Literature. Reading and writing have always been activities she has been passionate about, along with photography and exploring. She likes to think if a book doesn't light a spark in your soul then it wasn't a 10/10. Her happy place is sitting on the porch on a crisp fall day, spending time with people she loves, with a hot cup of tea in her hands.

Sharing is Most Definitely Caring

Exploring the ways we can treat our fellow species ethically in a rapidly changing world, we animal lovers are here to share some of the insights we’ve discovered. We believe that every animal’s life has intrinsic value, whether they live within our homes or without. All creatures face challenges in this world, many of which are the result of human interference, and we have a responsibility to all of them—not just the ones we call family. From tips to bringing home a rescue to the effects of pollution on sea turtles, this blog is for everyone who wants to know more about caring for our furry, feathered and scaly friends.