Wednesday, November 28, 2007

dogs & squirrels & crows

Congrats, Mt. Pleasant Auntie! Training a 4-legger to find interest in us rather than a moving "toy" is not easy. Alta will chase any crow when she's unleashed (only at parks).

Rose & Buddy now know my voice when i ask them to be quiet. This happens when i walk my 2 big foster dogs around the corner early in the morn. i can't see them, but they know me now, so it's nice to hear them relax, as if saying "oh yeah, it's the crazy dog lady".

OK, here's my blurb about the sale this Sat. in my garage on the corner of St. C's & East 8th -

Big Heart Rescue's Midnight Madness Sale is this Sat., Dec. 1st from 9 to midnight. Get in the Christmas spirit with carols, hot apple cider, homebaked cookies & lots of glitter & glam.

There's tons of new donated goodies to help us raise funds to rescue more sweeties from reserves. Big Heart spnet over $55,000 last yr. on vet bills to help all the injured dogs & cats. All funds are donated, with no gov. financing. All staff are volunteers. We save critters one soul at a time.

So, come buy a Christmas tree, ornaments, a moose or shell clock, frames, jewelry, you name it. Most items are under $5. All $ goes to help resuce & rehabilitate our critters, who then find loving people with whom to spend the rest of their days.

Join the fun, meet more dog lovers & get a pic os yoour dog with Santa!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The squirrel show

These two dogs came to Vancouver from Terrace, where they had a big yard. They loved to charge after squirrels and chase them - if we let them off leash they would even dash across a street to chase. Buddy would even try to chew down a tree to get at squirrels. Regular leash walks and a lot of correction and talking-to has changed their habits. Now, when they get close to a good squirrel tree, they just stop and look up. When they spot a squirrel they almost hold their breath, just sitting and watching like a kid glued to a cartoon video screen. But the squirrels are real and interactive. Yesterday, one squirrel made its way up the tree doing lively semaphores with its tail. Finally the squirrel it was talking to made a sudden appearance at the top of a topped-off evergreen, and then raced down to appear on the ground really close to us. Today, we were all three watching a black squirrel that was just sitting in a nearly leafless tree using its tail for an umbrella. Another black squirrel appeared on a nearby telephone pole and walked around it sideways with its head pointing down. When the squirrels were still, I started urging the dogs to come home - we were getting rained on - but they just stood there glassy-eyed, and when I would look back at the squirrels, I'd discover the squirrels had moved again while I wasn't watching. Finally, one of them sped away leaping on a telephone wire and that got us moving in the direction of home.

BC Care Providers Association advice on elder care

MtPleaseAunt asked the Director of PR and Member Services about the question of how rules care facility rules had "changed to make it more difficult to admit patients" (as mentioned in the previous post). She had this response:

First and foremost, let me say, "Wow!" How does such misinformation find [its] way around this town?

Your neighbour should contact the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority's Home and Community Care division to arrange for a Needs Assessment. Here is the website with all contact info -

This assessment will be done by a health care professional who will visit your neighbour's mom at home and basically determine what sort of shape she is in and what type of supports she needs. The nurse may find that a home care support worker could be the best help for her needs, or the nurse may recommend she be placed into a care home or perhaps a day program of some sort. There are various options outlined at the link above.

The other possibility is for your neighbour to pursue private pay services if she can afford that sort of thing. Again, an assessment is probably a good idea and then the nurse who conducts the assessment can outline all available options. [...]

Kate Hildebrandt
Director of Public Relations + Member Services
BC Care Providers Association
#301 - 1338 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC V6H 1H2

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Care Bed Catch-22

One of the Mt. Pleasant aunties is trying to get her elderly and increasingly confused mother into a live-in care facility. She found an available bed in a facility in Burnaby, but she says they won't let her mother move in there unless she has a doctor. And not just any doctor, it has to be a doctor who will pay housecalls to the care facility. The auntie has already made eight calls to doctors and no one will take on a new elderly patient. One doctor said he would put her on a waiting list - he already has 100 elderly patients.

This auntie says that it's crazy to build more care spaces if they can't admit anyone. She says someone at the care facility told her that the rules have changed recently, making it more difficult to admit patients. She also recalls that a decision was made years ago by the Canadian government, to limit the number of students who could enter medical school. It is also extremely difficult for doctors who immigrate to get licensed to practice in Canada. I tried to get a friend of mine who's a doctor in the US to immigrate, but she said she couldn't practice here without going back to medical school. My dentist's assistant was a licensed medical doctor in Russia.

Having lived in the US, I hate to say anything good about that system, but they do have something in their private sector healthcare that would be very useful for a public sector health service to emulate. When I went to a clinic with a dogbite, it was treated by a physician's assistant. When I went for a pap test, it was done by a nurse practitioner. Our BC government has gone the other way, putting allopathic doctors in as a bottleneck for everything medical. And they removed coverage for all the other specialties that could help keep people from turning to allopathic doctors, including chiropractic, naturopathic medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, dentistry, and eye care.

What I also learned from living in the US is that when government is bent on privatisation of services against the public's will, they first do things to undermine the public service. One auntie in this neighbourhood almost fell for this trick around the recycling difficulties (see previous post on this blog). After she brought back in her recycling and then missed the pickup, she started cursing all levels of government and saying "we have too much government." But her next door neighbour said no, that we just need government that will do its job.

What We Have Here Is a Failure To Communicate

The week the outdoor worker strike ended, we put out our garbage and recycling at the curb. As we were leaving the house we heard a city announcement on the radio saying that the recycling would not be picked up, not to leave it out, that it would be up to two weeks before recycling was picked up. But when we got home, it had been picked up.

The next announcement from the city we heard said that normal recycling pickup would resume, so to put it out the same day as your garbage. So the next week we put them both out - the garbage was picked up, but not the recycling.

This week, we had been assured by announcements that recycling pickup would be normal. We put it out alongside the garbage. Garbage was picked up, but not recycling. I called the Garbage/Recycling line after hours in the evening, and heard an announcement saying that if your recycling was not picked up on the correct day you should NOT leave it at the curb but should bring it in and put it out again on garbage day the following week. However, luckily we didn't get around to bringing ours in before we went to bed, because this morning I was wakened by the sound of recycling being picked up.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Halloween Fireworks

To some extent there are fireworks going off in Mt. Pleasant year round. I even heard some the week after the Fortune Happiness shooting that I thought were shots when they first began. However, in the period around Halloween, suddenly big signs went up on the street shouting FIREWORKS! and the booming and popping had dogs hiding under beds (or under the covers, if their owners are tolerant) all over the hood. An auntie who lives at the edge of Mt. Pleasant wrote me this information:

It's legal to have fireworks at Halloween and only on the actual day of Halloween, I think they can sell them the week prior. It's only okay for over 19s to buy and set them off. I always save some though for Guy Fawkes day on the 5th. What a rebel! Chinese New Year or other ethnic holidays are another time when I think FWs can go to some extent. It's interesting.