A Reason and Responsibility

Edmonton Humane Society cares for thousands of abandoned, neglected, and homeless animals each year.

“Mom,” I said, “would you like us to get you a kitten?”

“Bah,” she answered.

My mom, now 90-years-old, is not a cat person. Never was. Her dad – my grandfather – bred dachshunds. She loved dogs. Now she’s a bit frail for a rambunctious pup.

If I were forced to choose, I’d go with a dog myself, if my schedule allowed it. I was raised with wiener dogs and get triggered when I see one: Whozagooddoggy, whozagooddoggy?

I’m not anti-cat, by the way. Just allergic.

The Ward 6 office staff – The Boss, Roxanne, as well as Rebecca and I – visited the Edmonton Humane Society recently. Beautiful space full of vulnerable pets and people who devote their lives to helping them.

Years ago, when I was still with the Edmonton Journal, I spent a day at the SPCA, as the old Edmonton facility was then called. My reporting task was grim – to observe and then report on the too-routine euthanasia of unwanted cats and dogs.Their final moments were done with compassion and care, yet the entire thing was tragic, like an endless, sad-eyed parade of unrequited love.The SPCA staff suffered euthanasia nightmares. No wonder.

The executive director said something I never forgot: that pets must never be viewed as just another piece of home décor, that they deserve to be treated with the rights of family member.

Yet every year, the Edmonton Humane Society is tasked with caring for about 6,000 abandoned, neglected, and homeless companions.

The executive director said something I never forgot: that pets must never be viewed as just another piece of home décor, that they deserve to be treated with the rights of family member.

It’s the reason why the Humane Society keeps reminding people to spay and neuter their pets. A litter of kittens or puppies – surprise! – isn’t a joyous moment if there aren’t homes to adopt them.

The Humane Society recently unveiled a mobile spay and neuter unit, to reach communities where folks might not have the financial capacity or mobility options to get their pet looked after. It’s a brilliant idea, given the pressures faced by many folks in Ward 6.

The Humane Society is also looking at a pilot program of fostering pets with homeless people who are being reintroduced to housing.I’d never thought about it, but it makes complete sense that a dog or cat provides companionship and meaning to people’s lives.

We need reasons to get up in the morning. We need reasons to stay active, to eat well, to get out and about in the world. We need reasons to hope.

Dogs and cats – and rabbits and snakes and turtles and fish and gerbils and ferrets – are certainly a responsibility. But also a reason.

Councillor Scott McKeen represents Ward 6 on City Council.

More in this issue

TONYS PIZZA PALACE
Janis Irwin MLA
Vista Housing

Neighbourhood Views

Around the Neighbourhood

Volunteer With Us!

We are always looking for new writers and photographers, as well as ideas for future stories. We also regularly need block carriers to help with the delivery and distribution of the paper. Email Paula with your submissions, feedback, ideas, and availability. We also ask that contributors read our Editorial Guidelines and that all volunteers read and agree to our Code of Conduct.

Next Issue . . .

Volume 40, Issue 8 will be published December 15. Articles and photos concerning community news, events, and opinions are welcome. We also accept submissions of poetry and cartoons. Deadline: November 22, 2019. Send submissions to: editor@bmcnews.org. Articles should be 400 words or less and accompanied by photographs (JPG, in high resolution) when possible.