Puppy Problems

I’m not big into gardening. While I do love to admire the work that others have put into cultivating beautiful beds of flowers, and I will never turn down a home-grown vegetable, when it comes to the actual labour of it all, it’s not really my jam. Personally, I prefer to spend my outdoor time oot and aboot with my pup, Rigby.

While we’re out, I’m careful to stop him from peeing on the lawns of neighbours and I try my best to direct him to the tree trunks that line the streets instead. Still, people seem to be quite sensitive to the dogs that come upon their precious gardens (And I don’t mean to sound facetious, I know they are quite precious to serious gardeners).

Rigby in PEI
Rigby in PEI


So, I’m wondering, is it really that big of a deal? When I did some Googling to find out, I was met with so many posts of people complaining about their dead plants, as well as a bunch of tips and tricks for keeping dogs away. It took me a bit of deeper digging, however, to actually get to the science behind the problem with puppy pee. Apparently it’s a deadly mix of ammonium, salts, and other chemicals contained in the pee that makes it toxic to plants.

But where do we go from here?

This article suggests training your dog to pee only on the curb and this article suggests carrying around water to dilute the puddle post-pee.

Frankly,  I’m not going to do either of those things…and I don’t think that makes me a bad person. I’d say, at best, I’ll continue to steer Rigby away from privately-owned gardens but beyond that, I can’t say.

Any other dog owners care to weigh in?




Interested in other environmental issues? View this post and many others at www.greenphonebooth.com where I post as Mindful Echo!


My Selfish Altruism: Being a Volunteer

It’s a paradox, I know. But I can’t help myself. I just get so much enjoyment from being a volunteer.

As a former staffer and regular volunteer with Symphony Nova Scotia, lending a hand at SNS concerts and events is one of my favourite ways to support the Arts. I have to admit that, as much as I love all the traditional, in-theatre performances throughout the year, I look forward every spring to their annual fundraiser, Beer & Beethoven. And yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds.

Beer & Beethoven 2013
Not everyone can pull off Sou’Westers like we can!

If you’ve never been, it’s a night of amazing orchestral music, celebrity guests, games, raffles, auctions, delicious food, and plenty o’ beer. Serious good times are had by all.

This year’s event is coming up on May 9th. Interested in attending? Visit their website for information and tickets here.

Sometimes I think about the reasons why I volunteer. Each year I try to put time into “helping out” (whatever that means) once or twice a month with various causes to which I feel connected. It might make me seem like I’m being altruistic, but I’m not sure that I am. I’ve integrated volunteering into my life’s repertoire in such a way that I’m gaining far more than I’m contributing. Some of the reasons I’m into it are:

It’s social.

  • My volunteer experiences bring me into contact with plenty of different places and people. Seeing the same faces of folks who are also into the cause creates a great sense of connection. When I’m not feeling particularly chatty though, there’s always the opportunity to spend time with the kitties or pups. They don’t care much what you say, as long as you’re willing to play.

It’s community-building.

  • I’m making connections with like-minded folks. I’m oot-and-aboot experiencing what Halifax has to offer. I’m learning about all the interrelated organizations that offer similar or complementary services and products. There’s no better way to gain a sense of community than to immerse yourself in a helpful role within one.

It’s free.

  • If I was a bazillionaire, I’d like to think I’d give a good chunk of money to support everything I can. As it is, I can’t afford to do much more than a few dollars here and there. And, of course, the annual box of Girl Guide cookies (also self-serving).

It serves the causes I believe in.

  • I’m putting my figurative money where my mouth is. My literal money? See above.

There are sweet perks.

It makes a difference.

  • It does. I can’t read statistics about abandoned pets and not take action to help them. I can’t complain about the lack of Arts presence and then disregard all the artistic endeavours happening in my backyard. It’s not always a big contribution, but it’s something. More importantly, if more people gave this same attention (and trust me, it’s MINIMAL) to the causes that they happen to be passionate about- if we’re demonstrating support at the individual level- maybe it wouldn’t always be such a struggle to get funding, recognition, and support from the government and policy makers that have even more power to effect change.


A Quick Cure for the Winter Blues

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know how much I LOVE winter. I love the snow. I love to ski, skate, and slide, and I don’t even mind shovelling! Still, there are enough slushy days, enough days that are just too cold to enjoy, and frequent enough accidental spills I’ve taken on the sidewalk to induce a touch of the “winter blues.” *

For me, the best way to keep from lamenting is to do a little volunteer work. Forgive the cliché, but giving back is a great way to not only distract yourself, but being helpful and productive just feels…good. I’ve found that one of the best ways to warm myself—from my heart outward—is to spend some time with some critters who love a little friendly attention. A Saturday morning spent at the Homeward Bound City Pound is a Saturday morning well spent.

This past weekend’s visit was bittersweet with only one friendly feline in need of some attention. (Fewer cats for me to cuddle also means fewer in need of a home.) Meet Chester!



Not to fret though, I also had the pleasure of walking one of the sweetest gals around. Meet Flurry:

Flurry3 Flurry2 Flurry1

This adorable pup was so friendly and affectionate. She did pull quite a bit with excitement, but it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for her age and certainly would be something easily corrected with some attention and training.

Oh and she just died for belly rubs. Anyone with some extra love to give would do well with this sweet gal. If you’re looking to adopt or perhaps do some volunteering yourself, I encourage you to check out Homeward Bound City Pound, the Nova Scotia SPCA, or one of the many other local animal rescue shelters. It’s a truly heartwarming experience.

*This post is not meant to refer to Seasonal Affective Disorder, a condition that can have difficult symptoms for its sufferers. If you think you might be experiencing something deeper than the “winter blues,” please seek the help of a professional.