Covid-19 & Ferns

Covid-19 & Ferns

Cindy’s Blog

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Covid-19 & Ferns

May 10,2020- Spring Ferns growing through asphalt

Seen here are Ferns growing out of asphalt by my brother’s neighbor’s driveway.  What significance is this to me?  Lets talk metaphors.  Here is a fern.  A plant we could snap in half with our fingers. Yet it is strong enough to work its way  through an asphalt driveway.  Does this not represent the force of Mother Nature?  We see Her obvious  strength  everyday on the news.   Tsunamis, avalanches, earthquakes, tornadoes, fires, mass flooding, all showing the strength of Mother Nature’s wrath.  However these ferns growing are not in wrath, just silence in their growth.  We humans are not going to beat this kind of survival instinct, no matter how much we wear masks, wash our hands, & isolate ourselves from the world. The solution has to do with a bigger picture. Sure we can pave over the fern’s roots and cut down it’s fiddle heads, but it will return next year, probably stronger and with more determination to break through.   

 

I am sure that my brother’s neighbors will just see these ferns as nothing more but unsightly and will eventually get their noisy weed wacker out and have them gone in a second.  They will do this without hesitation and not even a thought on what it took for this plant to force itself through 2 inches of asphalt  to survive and flourish.  To me this is a symbolic gesture of ignorance on what we do to animals in the quest of having them serve us in so many ways. Top of that list is  factory farming and wet markets. Take note, past pandemics including SARS, H1N1, MERS, or Ebola, have all been tied to animal consumption.  Well folks the dirty secrets of factory farming and wet markets has finally raised its ugly head and is hitting home.   What did we expect? Forget the morality of it, lets talk about the filth and the perfect storm for Mother Nature to brood a virus that will teach us all a lesson. 

 

I guess Mother Nature figured, well if we can’t beat them by killing them lets have this virus also ruin their economy and watch them implode on themselves. Ok, maybe Mother Nature didn’t figure it that way, but it’s all an evolution, which to some degree is nature taking its course.   The dynamics of the stats that media keeps broadcasting is just the tip of the iceberg in reality to the tragedy that is really taking place.  The ruin lives via homes lost, businesses and personal bankruptcy, suicides due to isolation, ect.,only proves my point that Mother Nature will win in the end.  Just think of all this social distancing, hand washing, and masks as the asphalt trying to keep these ferns under check.  Not going to happen.

May 18th  – coming on strong

May 26th – Flourishing, but as predicted in the article, the neighbors saw this as unsightly and weed-whacked it. How apropos.

June 4th– Lets try again, more determined & stronger, hmmm…something like a flu that’s going around.

Double Blue Merle

Double Blue Merle

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Double Blue Merle

Don’t know if they are called Blue Merle Budgies, but I had one.

Like the world needs more unique dogs for unique people

To the novice “dog lover”, what a cute puppy. To a dog rescuer: How many things can you see wrong in this picture?

Each Canadian Pet Expo I attend, I learn something new. My latest wonder is learning what a Double Blue Merle is and what makes it unique and need rescuing?  The person enlightening me on this new trend was telling me this because, of course, she is starting a rescue organization strictly to rescue these dogs in Canada.   As usual when something gets popular, it then gets more desirable, which then leads to the “Carnies” (as I call them), which are people looking at this as an opportunity to make money on gullible people that want to be “unique” and are up on the latest fad.  This special colored coat is appearing in more breeds every day, such as Corgis, Chihuahuas, Cockers, Collies, Dachshunds, Great Danes, OESD’s, and even Pomeranians. So lets put these uniquely colored dogs in the category of “Designer Dogs”. Which if you are a “real” dog person, is not good.

 

Now most of us know what a Blue Merle is, which is a Merle gene inherited that creates mottled patches of color in a solid or piebald coat, and has blue or odd-colored eyes.

 

But what is a “Double Merle”?

It’s created when two merle dogs are bred together. It doesn’t matter what color merle or what breed they are. If two merle dogs are bred together, each puppy in the litter has a 25% chance of being born a double merle. A double merle inherits the merle gene twice.  One copy of the merle gene causes a marbling effect on the coat and creates lighter spots throughout the solid color coat. In a double merle, the marbling/lightening effect is doubled and the coat becomes predominantly white. Double merles also have a very high chance of being deaf, blind, or both because they lack pigment where it would normally be.

 

So what does this mean for the Double Merles?

The pups that do not inherit the gene twice are “normal” dogs or “Phantom Merles. Their coats are normally marked or should I say, “desirably” marked and they are not plagued with hearing or vision problems. These are the pups that a breeder wants, because they can profit from their pups. The double merles are often killed at birth just for being white, when it is still too early to tell if the dog will have any hearing or vision problems. They just assume it, and kill them because they know that no one is going to pay big bucks for a “defective” dog, and it also reflects poorly on their breeding program. If they aren’t killed, they are often sold as rare whites to unknowing people. Which I am sure they tout as being even more desirable, because they are so rare and unique. These pups generally end up in a shelter or used as bait dogs (google that) in dog fighting rings when the buyer finds out they can’t see, hear or both. Once in a shelter, they still face death because no one wants a “defective” dog.

 

Currently in the UK, merle-to-merle breeding is banned by their kennel club. This means that any puppies, merle, solid, or double merle, born from two merle parents cannot be registered. If the breeder cannot register its puppies, it is thought to discourage the actions because purebred “papered” puppies always sell for more. As far as Canada is concerned when I googled to get some info on the Canadian Kennel Club stand on such sad breeding practices, I found nothing.  There was a petition started 3 years ago for them to address it, but it looks like it fell on deaf ears.  I’d love to be proven wrong, but I doubt I will.

 

Why do I sound so cynical? Because I deal with the challenges that Rescue people have to face.  They get so frustrated with well meaning “dog lovers”.  If you’d tried to explain this trend to a Blue Merle owner, no matter how carefully you worded it, they would take it as a slight.  They would think you don’t like their dog.  I have had this experienced while talking  to Spoodle owners, and all that come out of it, is I don’t like their dog.  You really can’t win.

 

For more on my thoughts on people needing to be unique via their dog, click here: https://www.doncherryspetrescue.org/designer-vs-in-voguedogs/

 

Make no mistake about it, before I knew about the cost to dogs’ lives to get this unique color, I loved anything Blue Merle.  I even had a budgy bird that color many years ago, that’s how much I loved the color.  But it’s all about educating oneself about what you like and how things suffer to appeal to you.

 

For more info on what it costs dogs to be Blue Merle click here:  https://www.doublemerles.info/

Northern Adventure

Northern Adventure

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Northern Adventure

All the gang, including Aarne, Lori’s husband who was always there to pick up the slack and so much more. A die hard Leaf fan to boot. 

Lori our quarterback who had it all figured out at Terry Fox Memorial outside of Thunder Bay.

At Lori’s house, organizing and trying to remember everything we will need.

Ready for intake.

It all started with meeting Nikki Burns, past President of Northern Spay & Neuter Program, at the OSPCA’s Educational Conference in Niagara Falls a couple of years ago. They were kicking off their program “Year of the Northern Dog”, which addresses the over population of dogs in Northern Ontario. She proceeded to try an educate a city slicker like myself, to the plight of not only the dogs, but the people that live in a First Nation Community and their struggles with this issue. Of course I could not relate to any of this. So her, and close friend Judy Decicco (a long serving OSPCA Board member) and Lori Clace (President of Northern Spay and Neuter Program) convinced me the only way I was going to change my attitude and expand my horizons from my narrow way of thinking about this on-going problem, is to experience for myself a mobile spay and neuter clinic in a First Nation Community. OK, I told them and with much planning off to Lake Helen First Nation’s Reserve I went. Thank goodness they all lived in Thunder Bay and could hand hold me through the process. I loved telling my friends that this was what I would like to do with my spare time. No sandy beaches for me. No going to some far off country to experience their culture. Nope, I am just fine with mine, and if I was going to spend money and go away, this is what I wanted to do. I was going to prove I could walk the walk and be a part of trying to make the world a bit easier for both people and their pets. As the time came nearer, I kept saying to myself, what have I gotten myself into.

 

I had no idea what to expect. I met everyone at our leader’s house, which was Lori. There were the veterinarians, the animal care techs, and the grunts like me. Everyone was a busy beaver getting supplies all ready. I felt like a fish out of water. Then we went to a huge storage unit, to pile in more supplies in a trailer. It was there that I realized that the hierarchy that I expected did not exist. I thought there would be more of a “pecking order” of who did what. At this stage it was just muscle work and you couldn’t tell who were vets, techs, or people like me. Another myth shattered.

 

We then drove to Nipigon, and checked into an apropos named hotel called The Beaver. We set up all the supplies in a community hall. I still did not know where I would fit in. But my Dad always told me it’s an art to looking busy doing nothing. So I did my best. I was told I would assist in check in. This process was ground zero in getting the animals through with all the correct paperwork and to keep track of them. Each animal was to get a kit that was numbered. In this kit, was a minimal 6 different info sheets that had to be filled out individually. Then an I.D. chip to be inserted, with its separate paperwork. A vaccination tag, an I.D. collar that you had better put its I.D number on when putting it on the dog/cat and a clip with that number to put on its cage. Then you had to weigh it (and take a picture), and put that info down also. After putting it in a kennel, you had better remember to put this info on the “board” which holds all the vital stats of each pet. One slip up of forgetting one thing and the whole system is thrown off. Such pressure!

 

I really tried not to look like a rookie, but my fear of doing something wrong was a dead giveaway of my angst. The check-ins came in waves. So when I had a breather, I’d learn to work the autoclave, or how to set up the vaccines, plus learn what to look for as the patients came out of their anesthesia. My favorite thing to do however was groom them when they were still under. It’s sort of cheating, but it does make life easier. Cleaning ears, cutting nails, and my speciality removing all the matted hair. I find the poor little lapdogs have it the hardest. It’s a challenge for any owners to keep longhaired Shitzu type dogs from matting up, let alone people that don’t have the correct equipment to do it, or access to a professional groomer. So I really got satisfaction in clipping around their face and clipping away all the matted hair around their feet.

 

The days were very long, but seemed to go by fast. Our faithful leader Lori thought of everything. Since there was no restaurant or delivery, (remember folks we were at Lake Helen Reserve), she had to bring food. It was so nice to see that she knew that the vegetarians would outnumber the “flesh eaters”. Yippee, I didn’t have to eat by default. Two types of Shepard’s pie, lasagna, sandwiches, she had it all figured out. The sign of a great leader and the patience of Job. (I never knew who Job was, but my mother used that expression a lot referring to me and my Dad, I know it has to do with the Bible).

Once all the dogs and cats got picked up, then the real worked started in packing up. We started about 8 am, finished loading the trailer about 10pm. We were famished. So thank goodness we found a truck stop that closed at 11 pm and ordered the last supper. I felt so sorry for the waitress. Needless to say we tipped her big.

 

It was a real bonding experience with these ladies. We were all in it together. We had the same goals and no matter who you were, you got the job done. However, to see those vets work under conditions that were unique to them and rise to the occasion was a marvel to see. It reminded me of the TV show M.A.S. H. (mobile army surgical hospital).

 

On the way home we stopped at the Terry Fox Memorial. I didn’t know this was the place where he was forced to stop his famous journey. It is places such as this, that I am glad I spend my money in Canada to vacation or to utilize my spare time. Canada has so much to offer in its beauty, culture, and our old time traditions. That is why I am so happy that I chose to step out of my secure box that I have created for myself. It was a learning experience and a test to myself to expand my horizons. So I will continue to expand them, meaning they tell me my next trip we are going into a more remote fly in reserve. Somehow all I think of is “what will I wear?”

Cleaning up and heading out. I don’t know which one takes longer.  Setting up for business or the tear down.

So much paperwork.  I am really trying hard to get it all correct.

So many questions to ask.  Like who owns the dog.  Do you put under the person that owns it, or the person that brings it in.  All these types of situations you have to know.  Poor Lori, she must have gotten sick of her name from all the questions I asked.

These are the kits.  I must say, when I wanted to relax my brain, I made up the kits.  That was my rest.

The Bible for reference.  Forget to put the client on this, and it’s forgotten.  Yikes.

Does it get any more efficient than this?  This pose just struck me funny.

When I really wanted to relax, I loved watching the operations. It was fascinating.

The vets were never nervous, or so it seemed, with me watching them do their thing.

This is what I enjoyed doing the most.  Grooming them when they were still under anesthetic. In my eyes, it’s sort of cheating.

Lori, cracking the whip.  I can’t remember laughing so much with one person.  So glad we sat at the same table during the OSPCA function in Niagara Falls in 2017 to bond.

This is the owner of the dog, who assisted me when “Sweet”, was coming out of anesthetic.

I was even more of a hit, when she found out my Dad was Don Cherry.

Me doing my thing, with Lori’s assistance. She is the Jack of all Trades.  She just fills in when needed, plus runs the show.

Lori, wondering if I really know what I am doing.  Yes, Lori, I am a groomer by trade.

Monitoring the dogs when they are coming out of their deep sleep.  Some come out smoothly, some not so much. 

Don’t the dogs look comfy?  Me? Not so much.

The Will of 1 Lone Petunia

The Will of 1 Lone Petunia

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The Will of 1 Lone Petunia

Sometimes, something hits you that makes an impact. In my case it’s this picture I took Aug.22, 2019 of this petunia growing through the cracks of cobblestone and amongst the filth of Port Credit, Ontario.This is where I live.  Supposedly it’s supposed to be the pride of Mississauga, “The Village by the Lake”, touts itself as “Always on, Always Electric”, with a bustling business and a cultural district.  Well I beg to differ.  The filth on the streets is shameful.  Just ask this Petunia growing amongst garbage.  The poor little thing, it’s so beautiful and vibrant.   The little dirt it has to grow in is between the cracks of the pavement.  It’s amongst cigarette butts, bottle caps, half-eaten food, and it’s only inches away from the spanking brand new garbage containers the city spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to place there.  Does it help, well look at the pictures, I think not.  I feel like digging it up, like someone else I know who did this to a “plant” that made an impression.

 

Picture This:

Coach of the Boston Bruins and his star defenseman Mike Milbury drove into Boston everyday together for practices and games. They always commented about this lone tall weed growing through the cement by the guardrails in the middle of Highway Route 1. They admired it’s tenacity, will to live, and to thrive under harsh conditions.  They watched it grow and grew fond of it.  One day they saw the public works people cleaning up the highway’s garbage and they knew their weed was doomed.  They believed their weed deserved a better fate. Believe me, this highway is like no other.  The traffic is going very fast, yet it has driveways to get into restaurants and stores directly from it.  No buffer and not for the faint of heart drivers. They risked their lives to save this plant.  Happily, they got it home and Dad planted it in my mother’s well-manicured garden where he thought it would be happy and thrive. However, this story does not have a happy ending.  My mother, not knowing about Dad’s weed, (I think), pulled it out and into the garbage it went.  I remember my Father saying, no matter how strong anything is, it’s no match for Rose.  No truer words said.

 

For those of you who have never heard the song, check out one of my favorite clips from the old TV show 6 Feet Under. (Don’t know what that is in meters, and yes I have sung this song).  It’s relative to many things.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPcrwSEdj7Y

For those of you who wonder about the whole song’s lyrics, here they are:

That I have ever heard

The saddest is the story

Told me by a bird

He had spent about and hour

Chatting with a flower

and here ís the tale the flower told

 

I’m a lonely little petunia in an onion patch,

an onion patch, an onion patch

 

I’m a lonely little petunia in an onion patch

and all I do is cry all day

 

Boo hoo, boo hoo

 

The air ís so strong it takes my breath away

 

I’m a lonely little petunia in an onion patch,

oh won’t you come and play with me

 

 

Who put me in this bed?

I’ll bet his face is red

I call him down with every teardrop that I shed

If I only had him here

I’d take him by the ear

And make him share my misery

 

I’m a lonely little petunia in an onion patch,

an onion patch, an onion patch

 

I’m a lonely little petunia in an onion patch

and all I do is cry all day

 

Boo hoo, boo hoo

 

The air ís so strong it takes my breath away

 

(Feee-you!)

 

I’m a lonely little petunia in an onion patch,

oh won’t you come and play with me

Coach & player 35 years  later, both survivors in this game of hockey.  For those of you not familiar with Mike Milbury, watch this clip of one of his finer moments playing for Dad’s  Big Bad Bruins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsEXqCXycRA

 

The streets of Port Credit, Ontario.  Where the shop owners have no idea what a “broom” is.

Unfortunately, my mother never saw this poster.

Making hard decisions

Making hard decisions

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Making hard decisions

We all handle stress/emotional strife, whatever you want to call it, differently.  One of the most difficult decisions is when to “put to sleep” (PTS as they term it in a vet office) your pet. I, at a young age and having so many pets learned this harsh reality very young.  Sure animals die, but when they are still alive and suffering, that is when the true test of your love and your unselfishness kicks in.  Many a time my Dad had to say to me, “your pet is suffering, it’s not going to get better, what should we do?” My most memorable childhood pet that I had to make this tough call on was with my beloved parakeet, Dickie.  My Dad always let me feel it was my decision to make. I believe this toughened me up for a lot of choices I’ve had to make throughout life. You learn sometimes, or most of the times, the tougher choice, unfortunately, is usually the correct one.  Life is like that.

 

Fast forward 25 years or so.  I now have to deal with dog owners whose dogs I groom.  Many times I had to have the tough “talk”.   Sometimes it was with sympathy, most times it was tough love.   I groomed many a sick dogs that were lingering far too long.  Was it my position to tell the owners stop being so selfish and put this dog down.  Yes, I believe it was. Some might say this should be the vet’s call, this most likely is said by a vet.  It’s a tough conversation to have with a client, but I always felt obligated for the sake of the suffering dog.   One of my more memorable scenarios was this family that had 2 cock-a-poos. Yes, even in the 80’s they had these purebred expensive mixes. One was healthy, the other was always sick and going downhill fast.  I came to groom both of them one day with my Cherry’s Groomobile.  Both usually came to the door when I knocked.  I was scared to ask where was the other one, so I just assumed it had died.  So I groomed the one thinking I was finished for the day. Then the lady of the house says well you still have Muffin to do.  What? Where is Muffin? She then informed me that poor sick Muffin was now banished to the garage as she was constantly throwing up and had diarrhea all over the house.   She then carries Muffin to the van, who is nothing but skin and bones at this point and covered with vomit and feces.  I bathed her to get her comfortable, then brought her to the front door, walked in, and let her run into the house happy as could be.  I asked the owner to come outside for we had to have a talk. Did I lit into her.  She agreed the dog was suffering, not only from the illness but from the sadness of being banished to the garage away from the family she so loved.  She proceeded to say her daughters just couldn’t bear to bring the dog to the vet.   Really? I said to her, she was the matriarch of the family so she had better put on her mommy pants, explain to her daughters reality of life, and go to the vet and put the dog down.  She agreed.  I later found out she actually brought the dog to the vet that night. Sometimes people need to be brought into reality and told that keeping a sick pet around for longer than it should be is not a sign or measurement on how much you love that pet.  To me it is a sign of selfishness and weakness.  You are putting your sadness as a priority over the suffering of an animal that can’t speak for itself.

 

On another note, grieving over the death of a dog for a very long time is not proportional to how much you love that dog.  Also, many a times I have asked someone why aren’t they getting another dog?  A lot have explained to me, that it takes too much out of them when the dog dies.  So let’s see, since most had rescue dogs, they’d rather not give another dog a great home, cause they get too upset when the dog dies.  Am I missing something? Am I too cold hearted?  Again, I chalk it up to selfishness, and them hoping I am  thinking, “boy, they really must have loved that dog as not to be able to replace it”.  To them I say, “Get over it and move on, and save a life and get a rescue dog”.  Am I being too harsh?  Wouldn’t be the first time I am accused of that one. 

 

Dog Groomers/Tipping/& Attitudes

Dog Groomers/Tipping/& Attitudes

Cindy’s Blog

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Dog Groomers/Tipping/& Attitudes

My attempt of expanding my horizons.  It went nowhere.

These are the stars that people have in their eyes when it comes to grooming their pet.  Reality hurts.

Life is funny, or should I say people are funny.  Being a dog groomer you get to see how people treat you, and believe me their true colors come out. But then again, I am sure this is true with a lot of professions. For instance, a lot of my customers also went to the same hairdresser I went to in Mississauga. I learned this while getting my roots done and we bonded over gossiping over bitchy clients. To learn we were talking about the same person really made us chuckle, and confirmed it was them not us. I came to the conclusion that if they were miserable, whiny, and cheap with me, chances are they were the same way with their hairdresser, mechanic, landscaper, shoe repairperson, ect. 

 

Some people don’t understand the concept of tipping, which yes… applies to your dog groomer.  For instance I used to do a beautiful red mini poodle in Oakville for $55 + 7% tax.  She’d give me 3 twenties and waited for that $1.15 change every time.  This always bugged me.  So for her Christmas appointment I had the $1.15 in nickels and dimes in my pocket. I came into her house when I was finished, with my boots on (the horror!) and handed her Muffin, which BTW I did an especially good job that day. She handed me her standard 3 twenties, and waited. (Note: no Christmas tip).  With my wet gloves with the fingers cut out, I reached into my pocket full of dog hair and coins and slapped her change on her Chippendale half-moon hall table and left.  Needless to say she never called me again, which was the game plan.

Professionals have to realize sometimes there is no winning. You have to recognize with some that disaster is right around the corner.  Take for instance Mrs. Pierce of Erin Mills, Ontario.   I asked her repeatedly not to let her kids run around the van while I was grooming her Lhasa Apso, and keep them from slamming the broken front screen door.  It would upset the dog, and it would jump when that door slammed loudly. 

 

Finally I knew she would not discipline her kids, so I finally cut bait and told her please don’t call me anymore.  A year later a woman named Mrs.” Pearce” called about her Lhasa Apso,  same street, so of course I assumed it was her.  I said, “I thought I said I didn’t want to groom your dog anymore?”  She sounded puzzled.  She started to laugh and said, “Oh you must have dealt with the other Mrs. Pierce who lives on this street. I am the nice Mrs. Pearce who spells her name different.”  Well did we have a good laugh and I got all the gossip about the mean Mrs. Pierce. Needless to say she earned her reputation.  So once again, it confirmed it wasn’t me,  but her.

 

My stories are endless about my clients, but most were great.  Many of them used to sit in the van with me and have coffee when I groomed their dog. It was great fun.  The point I am trying to make is that I saw a pattern in the way some people treat service people. For instance there was this one family, well known in Mississauga. (You just have to look at the hospitals and see their name plastered all over the place).  I groomed their schnauzer regularly.  Their nanny would hand me the check already made out for exactly $58.85 then ask if I could cut their Boston Terrier’s nails.  This went on for years.  So I got fed up with them too.  I finally told the nanny to tell her boss next time the Boston’s nails are $10.00 extra.  I never heard from them again.  

 

The point is some people’s ignorance, nastiness, cheapness, whininess evolves.  Years after my career in dog grooming was long over, I had a good friend who lived on a street whose Bichon Frise I used to groom.  I still remember her name and house quite vividly and she still lives there.  She tipped me well, then proceeded to complain about the job I did.  Finally I admitted defeat and told her obviously I’d never be able to satisfy her no matter how much I tried.   I was telling my friend the story, with more gory details, and she said, “Yeah, no one gets along with her on the street”.   So with my theory re-enforced, I still believe I am pretty good at summing up people.

 

So if you are still reading this blog, (which my brother says are too long), in spite of what Mr. Pink says about  tipping, in his this  famous movie scene https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-qV9wVGb38,  you should tip at least your hairdresser & yes, your dog groomer. (Please).  They’ve earned it.

 

EPILOGUE: To read about Cindy’s most “challenging” client please click here:

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