23 April 2013

Well, this last week or so has been pretty back and forth. Much like the weather. Work has been mostly hellish. We have heaps of new protocols dealing with a bit of an issue in the dog population. Things won't be back to normal for several weeks. Hopefully our lungs don't burn from all the bleach before then. Also, hopefully we won't all kill each other with the added stresses.

I amazingly got an interview at the Equine branch of my shelter. IT was nice to be among horses again. Alas, I did not get the job, or even the day-long working interview I was promised. But I think I'll try to get a volunteer position there. See how that goes.

And the weather. I'm tired of turning the heat on and off. Because I always forget until I'm in bed, either freezing because of the sudden snowstorm or hot with the widows open. All I hope is that this moisture makes the summer bearable and not on fire.

I want to go hiking. Climbing 14ers, parkour. Anything. Then it snows again and turns everything cold then muddy.

I want/need to write. I don't know how to find a muse again and it's painful to force myself. But I feel that I must. Or I will never write again.

15 April 2013


chuffed \chuhft\, adjective:
1. annoyed; displeased; disgruntled.
2. delighted; pleased; satisfied.

When the baby was placed in his arms, he looked awfully chuffed. 

If it were me, it's definition #1. I really enjoy this word. Another is egregious. I don't know why it is that the English language has allowed for words to be their own antonym.

05 April 2013

Shoe fetish

As you may know I am a shoe enthusiast. Not like most gay men, though. I enjoy a rather different variety of shoes. Minimal/barefoot shoes.

I really enjoy Vivos and I have two pairs. The first I got when I began parkour and the second was for winter hiking etc because they are waterproof. I got the first pair very snug as I figured it would be best if they didn't slip around. A good idea. However, my feet seem to have seized the freedom I've granted them and grown a bit. Now these first shoes pinch my smallest toe a bit. (This could get expensive if my feet keep growing!)

I also have a pair of minimal sandals from Unshoes.  They are good for everything except when it's very cold and parkour.

I decided I wanted a more casual shoe, not an athletic one. So I bought a pair of Cushe shoes. They are not as minimal in the sole as Vivos, but they still have the barefoot feel. They have a nice, wide toe box and no raised heel. They are very comfortable.

As always, I never pay full price for my shoes. I got them all (except the custom fit Unshoes) from the Clymb. There are many good deals there.

Anyhow. I've embraced -- rather, re-embraced-- the barefoot/minimal shoe lifestyle. And I love it. But I need a new pair of trainers now, because my feet apparently love it too much.

On Fog

I wrote this in college and was reminded of it by this post

I look upon a foggy day, not as one depressed by such weather. Some think of the fog as a lurking, evil thing that clouds the senses. I, however, consider it a magnifying glass. Through fog I can see the land more clearly. Its dampness adds shine to otherwise dull things. Its coolness brings relief. The darkness which travels with it clarifies the light. Yes, the fog swirls about and obstructs things, but through indirect exposition, one can learn much more. Great mystery can be discovered and resolved in fog. The mists each tell a strand of any given story. The cool touch on my brow; the sweet, refreshing scent; the almost plausible mass of air; each shows me life in new ways. The sun shines through, layering down to the earth, illuminating the wisps. It clarifies the darkness. It eats away at the envelopment, tearing the white mass to tiny, diminishing threads. Each melts, revealing a stark, clean world that one may see far across. But the cool comfort of the fog is gone. Only bare exposure remains. To haunt. 

04 April 2013

An essay in defense of my workplace

Some may hate me because they know that "no-kill" is not attached to the name of the shelter where I work. They may know nothing else about the place but that.

I want to clarify things. "No-kill" is a misnomer. And it must mean that if we aren't "no-kill" we are a "kill" shelter. So what does that make someone who is not "pro-life"?

So what does "no-kill" mean?

 "No-kill" shelters are generally limited admission shelters. Their population often gets stagnant because they have unadoptable animals. This means that they often actually turn animals away because they don't have room.
My shelter is what is called an open admission shelter. We take any animal brought to us. We even take animals from "no-kill" shelters so that they can have more room. We've received boxes of kittens that people have found in the parking lots of "no-kill" shelters. We are able to do this for several reasons. The first is the huge facility. It is one of the top three largest animal shelters in America (and therefore, likely, the world.) Another reason is that we have an amazing marketing team that facilitates animals leaving the shelter. There is a third reason, but I'll get to that.

We have one of the highest live release rates of any shelter. This means that more animals leave out the front door with happy people than most any shelter (including "no-kill" ones!) We have achieved this high rate mostly due to our numerous behaviour programs. We have programs for dogs with fear, barrier aggression, food aggression, etc. We even have programs for cats with similar behavioral issues. We also have an awesome team of veterinarians and vet techs who keep the animals healthy. Because of our generous resources, we can treat most illnesses in dogs and cats and we perform many major surgeries. Many shelters do not have the time, space or resources to treat health or behaviour problems. These animals are most often marked for euthanasia. "No-kill" shelters still euthanize animals for health reasons. The behavioural ones are often kept around indefinitely (or transferred to a shelter like mine.)

And now that point I said I'd come back to. Yes, at my shelter we perform euthanasia. This does not make us a "kill" shelter. It makes us humane. There are basically two reasons to euthanize an animal: health and behaviour. As I previously stated, we treat most physical ailments and work out behaviour problems. But there are things we cannot fix.

Old age. Many animals are relinquished to us or found in their old age. Their bodies are failing and they are euthanized humanely. There are a few other health problems that we cannot help. Heart conditions, neurological conditions, massive trauma, chronic illness, genital defects. There are others, but in each case, euthanasia is the only humane route.

The behaviour marks are admittedly the most difficult. However, they are also rather rare. For dogs it's generally aggression. We work through food aggression and fear aggression, but it is unwise and irresponsible to allow a dog with a history of aggression towards people or other dogs out into the general public.

We do happen to be located in a city with a pit bull ban, so we cannot adopt them out to anyone. However, we work closely with several other shelters who are not in the city who generally take the pits from us. It is a very good thing.

Anyhow, all these things add up to my good fortune to work in a large facility with all the resources needed to keep our life release rate higher than most shelters. No, I do not work at a "no-kill" shelter. I work at a shelter much better than that. And even though I am at times dissatisfied with my job, I am glad to have one at such a place.