Vote Green If You Care About Animals

If you care about animals, I suggest you consider voting Green this 41st federal election. Canada’s laws are badly outdated when it comes to animals and their treatment. Our laws and our politicians need to get with the times and get with Canadians’ sentiment that it is NOT OKAY to treat animals poorly or cruelly, whether they are pets or intended for our dinner plates.

The Greens have over two pages dedicated to Animal Welfare in their “Green Vision” document, a comprehensive statement on Green Party of Canada policies and programs. You can read it yourself at: http://greenparty.ca/vision-green.

The plight of animals reminds me of the plight of women not so long ago. Women in Canada were once thought of as property, instead of as individuals with rights, too. It took many women risking their health, their reputation, and their social acceptance to stand up against this unfair treatment. Known as the suffragettes, they won the vote for women, giving women rights and a collective voice they never had before.

Animals are still considered as property in Canada, instead of as living beings that deserve a good life. It’s up to us to change this sorry state of affairs. Voting for a political party that takes animal welfare seriously is one way to do this.


Candlelight Vigil for Sled Dogs Tonight

This is a difficult blog post for me to write. It’s about the sled dogs of Whistler, B.C. who were slaughtered. My heart breaks whenever I think of this tragedy. Not only was this terrible act hard on the dogs who had to go through this terrible ordeal, the very idea that this could take place in Canada (or anywhere, for that matter) has taken it tolls on people, too.

Tonight, Saturday, April 23, 2011, there will be a vigil in Calgary to honour the sled dogs who lost their lives. I urge you to show up if you can, or support the DAISY Foundation in some way. Do it to show that you, as a Canadian, deeply care for animal rights and want them enormously improved in our country.

Sled Dog Candlelight Vigil
7:00 – 9:00 pm, Sat. April 23, 2011
Tompkins Park
7 Street SW & 17 Avenue SW
(the green space by Mount Royal Village)
Calgary, Alberta


Imagine 8 Acres to Ring in Spring

Hello World,

I am about to give an author’s visit (courtesy of the Canadian Authors Association – Alberta Branch – Writers In Schools Program) to a Calgary Grade 7 and a Grade 9 class on writing about the environment. During my visit, I intend to show a wonderful multimedia photo essay, called Imagine 8 Acres…, created by a friend of mine, Gervais Goodman. I thought it might be nice to share this slice of nature with you, too.

HINT: Don’t forget to turn your volume up. You won’t want to miss the sounds of trickling water and honking geese…


Enjoy. (I know you will.)



Not about the Oscars

The Oscars are tonight! The Oscars are tonight! But, this post isn’t about the Oscars. (Sorry.)

This post is about polar bears. More specifically, it’s about what we can do for the plight of polar bears.

And, for all you Oscar fans out there (and, yes, I am one of them), there are even some things we can do for the polar bears while watching the Oscars. Like recycling our Oscar party beverage containers, like using re-usable napkins instead of throwaways, like wearing the same Oscar party duds as last year, or, perhaps, borrowing “new-to-you” duds from a friend.

Why the spotlight on polar bears, especially on today, Oscar day?

Because the nice people at Care2.com have brought polar bears to my attention on this day, and they are trying to bring it to yours, too. Here’s the link to Care2’s Feng Shui Daily Tip. It’s a lovely write up on polar bears, their interconnected with us, and how we can help them “one big bear hug at a time.”





Love Lessons to Awaken our Hearts

It’s Valentine’s Day! My heart’s wish is that we’ll all find love in expected and unexpected places. In honour of the day, I thought I’d share my latest column with you. It’s about finding love in some of those places.

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” Anatole France, a French poet, journalist and novelist who won the Nobel prize for literature in 1921, spoke these words. I think this man, who lived and died in different times, was onto something big….

Read the rest here. (Go to Page 13 of the Feb. 2, 2011 edition of the Okotoks Western Wheel.)

Pumpkin looking as regal as ever.

Pumpkin looking as regal as ever.

Bear doing that silly thing she does with her ears.

Bear doing that silly thing she does with her ears.


There’s a Spider in my Bathroom

I would like to preface the following remarks with full disclosure as to the fact that I live in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. Our cold climate means we don’t have to fear the likes of all kinds of poisonous creatures lurking in every snowbank or garden bed to get us. There may be a few out there, but, hey, it’s not like I live in Australia. The spiders in this story are, as far as I know, of a non-poisonous variety.

There once was a time when a spider in my bathroom would have elicited an eeek-and-squish response from me. I’m not very proud of that, but that’s how it was. Not anymore, though, as I’m proud to say I’ve finally come to terms with my learned fear of spiders, a fear that was  painstakingly taught to me by a teasing brother and an over-fearful (at least of spiders) mother.

Today I view spiders in a whole new light. When it comes to  these fascinating eight-legged acrobats, I see myself as their landlord and the spiders as great tenants. There aren’t many of them, just two in the bathroom who have staked out different territories, and, I suppose, a few more than two in our dug-out style basement. They earn their keep by eating other unwanted bugs. As far as I am concerned, the spiders are my own personal team of helpful housecleaners, using all-natural products at that. I make a point of thanking them for the great job they are doing whenever I see them.

If you were to come to visit my bathroom or basement, you’d probably see a spider web or two. While some might might think I was a lazy housekeeper, I know that you won’t. I know you’ll understand that what’s really going on is a truly symbiotic relationship, one involving mutual respect and cooperation. Or, as they say in the business world, a win-win situation.

So, here’s to my spiders, and to this brand new blog, too. I plan to bring you all kinds of news and insights into the wonderful, wild, and, sometimes just plain weird, world of animals and nature over the next weeks and months and, who knows, maybe years. Thanks for your time, and I look forward to sharing more with you soon.

In peace,