When Human Vanity Endangers Dogs

Cropping ears and docking tails is not only unnecessary for a dog’s health, but may even put them in danger. This Cane Corso appeared in my Instagram feed a few weeks ago because I follow the #dogsofinstagram hashtag. Whomever posted it asked for comments to caption the photo. My response was something to the effect of “Your vanity is my pain.” One user posted follow-up comments to mine and others, suggesting dogs don’t have an … Read →

Animal Arbitrariness

The past couple of weeks has been interesting to me, in that a few seemingly unrelated stories highlight just how arbitrary our feelings about animals can be. Puppy Love I was quite taken with a short documentary I watched during a trainer ride earlier this week. It’s not so much the subject matter of prison inmates training dogs for adoption that I loved (which I did), but it reminded me of our beautiful girl Darby. … Read →

Should Pit Bulls be banned?

With recent media coverage of dog attacks, municipalities such as Surrey are considering revisions to their dangerous dog bylaws. A June 20th attack on a senior there was the latest high profile incident. In this particular case, the owner took off after his dog caused serious injury, forcing the police to hunt him down. The dog’s been surrendered for euthanasia, with the owner apparently facing no charges. There are a lot of things wrong with that, but using it … Read →


If there’s one unfortunate byproduct of Vancouver’s off-leash dog parks, it’s clueless owners. Don’t get me wrong. I love seeing a couple pooches hamming it up, running around like lunatics and generally getting their dawg on – when the owners have both purposely come to an off-leash park for this reason. Unfortunately, there’s a special breed of dog person who has their animal off-leash at all times, everywhere. We may see a bit more of … Read →

The awkward relationship between the BC SPCA and meat

I’ve always had difficulty with the relationship our society has with animals. Most people I know feel real compassion when companion or wild animals are treated badly or hurt. We donate, run, walk, cycle, and do any number of things to help rescue them, and often go to our local SPCA branch to adopt a new friend who needs a home. For some reason we don’t generally feel the same way about food animals. My … Read →

Darby; a dog’s life in pictures


I’ve been grappling with something for ten months. It was August of last year when Darby was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, and only a couple short weeks later when we put her down. I had intended to write a retrospective post about her life, and started to do so a few times, but I could never find a way to cover eleven years properly. I’ve finally come to the conclusion that, where a dog is concerned, … Read →

Brody the rescue dog

After Darby left us in the fall of 2013, it was really hard thinking of adopting another dog for some time. We felt robbed of time we expected to have with her, and given that we confer people-like status to furry friends in our house, the thought of another dog almost felt like we were replacing her. Whether people or animals, one really isn’t replaceable by another. However, as we hit 2014, I’m not sure … Read →

The way she probably wanted to go

The most shocking thing was simply the suddenness of it all. A month ago, as far as we could tell, we had a healthy dog closing in on 11 years old. By all outward signs, Darby might buck the big dog trend and live to 13 or more. Then she developed a limp and now she’s gone. In fact, she’s been gone since this past Tuesday, but I really haven’t wanted to talk or write … Read →

Devastating news far too soon

As friends and acquaintances have asked, I’ve had to tell this story too many times now, and we’re not yet at the final chapter. I’m writing this partly as reference for further requests, and partly to get the words down just as I want them. I probably still won’t get it right, but you can’t hear my voice crack in my writing. Anyone who’s been to our place, and those who’ve encountered or walked with … Read →

Sled dog cull outrage reveals our complicated relationship with animals

Reaction to the Whistler sled dog massacre has been swift and strong. In case you are not up on your BC or Canadian news, it recently came to light that in April 2010, 100 sled dogs were killed during an economic lull after the Vancouver-Whistler 2010 Winter Olympics. As opposed to compassionate euthanasia, the cull was carried out via slit throats, bullets to the head and a mass grave. It appears to have been a … Read →