Pet Food Bank

Eight years ago today, the St. Thomas Dog Owners Association started a pet food bank. Here is my St. Thomas Dog Blog, Dec. 31, 2010 post about it. I’ve removed business names etc. because, like our cat and poodle in the pics, sadly some are no longer with us.

The cupboard is open!

dog beside and cat in pet food bank binAs of today, there are seven local pet stores and services that are accepting donations of pet food for The Caring Pet Cupboard. BFI Canada donated bins to us, we put signs on them and they’re in place. Yippee!

We’re working with the Caring Cupboard Food Bank (at 803 Talbot Street). We’ll pick up the food from the bins and take it to the Caring Cupboard. Then they will distribute it to those who need it for their pets.

Look for our logo and buy an extra can or bag of food, or take in any you’ve got at home and don’t use. You can also put (unopened) pet food donations in the regular Caring Cupboard donation boxes found in grocery stores and other businesses around town.

The reason for us doing this is dogs being dumped by their owners because they can’t afford to feed them any more. That’s heartbreaking. Wouldn’t it be better if dogs – and cats and other pets – could stay with the people they love and who love them?

There is certainly a need for basic economic help for people. Food bank usage is up across Ontario and in St. Thomas. The closing of factories in St. Thomas has been hard on the town, and in 2011 there’s going to be another one – a big one. When Ford closes, we’re all going to feel it. Pets, unfortunately, are kind of like the canary in the coal mine – they are first to suffer from economic trouble.

Food bank for people and pets

Caring Pet Cupboard donation bin, with cat in itIf there’s need of food banks for people who can’t afford food for themselves and their families, why shouldn’t there be food banks for the animals who are part of those families? It was that simple question that led to the Caring Pet Cupboard.

Brian Burley, manager of the Caring Cupboard, told me that they can give pet food to those who need it. And people don’t have to go through the client registration process for it. Also they can accept donations of pet food.

The only thing the food bank cannot do is use cash donations they receive to purchase pet food. But the STDOA can! Your cash donations will be used to buy good quality dog and cat food for the Caring Cupboard shelves. We’ll buy (and accept donations of) hamster, bird and snake food too if there’s a need for it.

Charlie looking pathetic beside donation binLet’s start the new year with a resolution to stop the abandoning and surrendering of pets because of a simple lack of food – one bag or can of food at a time. It’s not a big thing to do, but it could make a huge difference to a lot of families and their pets. Please help.

See Half a ton of pet food for how our first few months went. In case the title isn’t spoiler enough, they went great!

Newfoundland Reindeer

So what happened to the Newfoundland reindeer? The ones Mattie Mitchell helped herd down the Northern Peninsula to Millertown, who Dr. Grenfell took such great pains to bring from Norway? Everything seemed to be going well for them, but then they disappeared.
Unidentified_man_with_reindeer_during_the_winter-c-1907-Mar-Hist-Arch-mun-digitalArthur Johnson tells the rest of the story in the Book of Newfoundland 3:419-422. Below is the conclusion of his article, from when they arrived in Millertown. Hugh Cole, of the title, worked for the AND Company.

Hugh Cole’s 400-mile Trek with Reindeer

Thanks to great devotion the herd was without mortality. One doe had joined the caribou, one had broken her leg at Millertown after arrival, and the stag bitten on March 13 was to recover completely: a remarkable record in reindeer driving and herding.

The aftermaths are also exceptionally interesting. First is that the A.N.D. Company reindeer were never worked but merely kept on exhibition, and they were visited by everyone from miles around, including people from Grand Falls and even St. John’s, including Governor MacGregor and party who made a trip for the sole purpose. The site was three and one-half miles above Millertown. The does had twenty-five fawns in May, which added to the interest. The animals were highly intelligent and very friendly, and in the later months roamed almost at large.

woman-with-reindeer-Nfld-kew-gardens-KPPCONT_085040

No forage in Millertown

However, there was discovered to be still another blunder: it was found that there was no reindeer-food of any consequence in the whole area. Actually the reindeer were fed on hay and grass during all the time they were at Millertown. No survey for food had been made because of the presumption that, if the herd could find its own food at St. Anthony, it would do so anywhere in Newfoundland. Suitable moss or lichens must really exist in the area, or the local caribou herds could not have lived there. One suspects that there was little support for the idea of reindeer-herding by the woodsmen and that even in the upper echelons of the A.N.D. Company that initial enthusiasm and novelty wore thin. It was another case of a good thing gone wrong for want of a fair trial.

Reindeer re-gifted to Grenfell

Nils-Turesen-Turi-1853-1925-norwayheritage.com-07-09-16
Nils Turesen Turi, herder in Newfoundland 1907-10

Be that as it may, the reindeer were offered back to Grenfell as a gift. Since the fifty animals had now become seventy-three this was an excellent offer which was promptly accepted. So, late in the year, after the breeding season, the herd was put on the move again, this time to South West Brook, Halls Bay, near Springdale. Hugh Cole went in charge again. In addition a number of A.N.D. Company men went along, such as the noted L. R. Cooper. The reindeer and all the equipment belonging to them went at leisurely pace to South Brook, where they were loaded on local schooners for delivery to St. Anthony.

True to their roaming practice and tradition, however, three of the reindeer wandered off from the herd and missed the boat. They were recovered and they finished the journey in state by the next coastal boat out of Springdale, the Clyde. Grenfell remarked that the reindeer were far from being in prime condition after having been fed mostly on hay all summer.

The Lap herder family, the Sombies, may have gone briefly to Lewisporte (definitely not to St. Anthony). The next record we have of them is their creating quite a sensation in St. John’s for a week as they arrived by the train to catch the R.M.S. Siberian December 18, 1908, en route to Liverpool and Lapland. As we can imagine: “They attracted much attention from the small boys and girls owing to their peculiar dress and high peaked caps. A large crowd assembled and followed them from the station.

Newfoundland Reindeer rise and demise

Newfoundland Reindeer c-1907-IGA-Lantern-Slides-MHA-MUN-digital-collWhat happened to Grenfell’s herd? Briefly, the 300 became 481 that same year. They rose to 1,000 in 1911; 1,200 in 1912; 1,500 in 1913. Then came the War. The Laps went home, Grenfell went to France with the Harvard Surgical Unit. Then the widespread poaching of the reindeer stepped up and was engaged in, not only by the people of St. Anthony, but by most of the settlements in the north of the Northern Peninsula, and including fishermen going and coming from the Labrador fishery. These were rough and ready times fifty years ago, and the breed of empire frontiersmen traditionally lived by killing everything that moved in the water, on the land, and in the air. To them, reindeer fell into that category.

When Grenfell got back there were only 230 reindeer left. The dogs got some, and the fishermen the rest.

In disgust Grenfell packed the remainder off to the Canadian Government, who put the 125 survivors on Anticosti Island where they gradually died out. And so ended a noble experiment.

the-sad-story-p-425-book-of-nf-v3-grenfell
“The Last Sad Story of the Reindeer” by Sir W. Grenfell, Book of Newfoundland 3:423-26

But the Newfoundland reindeer didn’t go directly to Anticosti Island. The government first sent them to the Innu of Quebec’s North Shore. When that didn’t work out, they were sent to Anticosti Island and left to fend for themselves.

The Reindeer Years

From The Reindeer Years: Contribution of A. Erling Posild to the Continental Northwest 1926-1935 (pdf), Patricia Wendy Dathan 1988 MA Thesis, Geography, McGill University, pp ix-x:

st-augustin-google-map
Reindeer: Newfoundland (right), St Augustin (red dot), Anticosti Is. (lower left). Tap to enlarge

In 1917, the International Grenfell Association, short of funds and lacking encouragement from the Newfoundland Government to continue the operation, requested help from the Department of Indian Affairs. The surviving 126 deer were transferred to the north shore of the St. Lawrence near St. Augustin. The Indians who tended them had had no experience with herding and allowed a great deal of interference by people and dogs. In 1923, when wolves menaced the deer seriously and the problems of protecting and handling the animals mounted, the herd was moved to Anticosti Island and allowed to run wild. Although protected from further interference, they did not succeed, possibly due to lack of suitable forage, and by 1939, only 7 reindeer could be counted and were soon believed to be extinct.

Ratatouille

ratatouille-on-riceOne thing I thank a long ago boyfriend for is introducing me to ratatouille. He used the Joy of Cooking recipe, but added ground beef and cumin. That radically changes it from the vegetable casserole in the Joy. Both are equally, but differently, delicious. The Joy describes it as looking “like a very successful Braque still-life” (Rombauer & Becker). So here is the original recipe with changes in italics and strikethroughs.

Joy‘s Eggplant Casserole or Ratatouille Provençale

(8 servings)

Peel, slice and salt* 1 medium eggplant (2 1/2 cups diced)

eggplant slices salted*To get of excess moisture: slice eggplant cross-wise, about 3/4-1 inch thick. Lay slices on paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Leave about 10 minutes, then turn over and salt the other side. Let sit another 10 minutes. Rinse, pat dry, then dice. (I do not peel the eggplant.)

Put in a deep skillet 1/4-1/3 olive oil

Sauté until golden:

  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 2 cloves garlic (pressed or minced)

onions-and-garlic fryingAdd 1 lb (1/2 k) lean ground beef and brown. Pour off excess grease.

Add:

  • 1/2 cup whole pitted black olives
  • 4 julienned green (and/or red) peppers, seeds and membrane removed
  • 3 cups zucchini in 1/2 inch slices (about 3 medium)
  • 2 cups skinned, seeded, quartered tomatoes (or whole, fresh or cooked)

Add drained eggplant. Sprinkle the mixture with olive oil.

vegetables-and-beef in potAdd 1/2 tsp oregano or 2 tsp chopped fresh basil (Joy says optional, I say either or both, fresh or dried.)

Add 2-3 tsp ground cumin, more or less, to taste.

Simmer covered over very low heat about 45 mins. Uncover and continue to heat 15 mins. longer to reduce the amount of liquid. Add salt and a grating of fresh pepper.

cooked-ratatouilleWhile it’s cooking, make steamed rice. Serve hot – on a bed of rice – or cold with cultured sour cream.

St. Thomas Happy Endings

From my St. Thomas Dog Blog, Dec. 11, 2010

It’s been a good week in St. Thomas for happy endings to harrowing animal tales.  First was a stranded Canada Goose in a city park.

Kathi Baslaugh fed the apparently injured goose she named Sweetie for several weeks.  When I first read about it in the Times-Journal (no longer online), I realized I had seen her and Sweetie when at Waterworks Park with the dogs one day.  I had wondered why a goose was just sitting there, not moving.  But I was concerned with keeping the dogs from investigating the matter for themselves.  I saw a woman head to the goose with a container of food.

The cold weather make Kathi realize something had to be done or Sweetie was a goner.  So she put out an appeal for help and many people responded.  They rounded up the goose and took him to Beaver Creek Animal Hospital where it was discovered he had arthritis in one wing.  Who knew geese got arthritis!  From there, he went to the Jack Miner Bird Sanctuary in Kingsville Ontario where he’ll live safely with lots of bird friends.

happy endings Yarmouth Crane operator lifting cat over top of hydro poleThen appeared in the paper a photograph of an orange and white cat atop a hydro pole.  He couldn’t get down and had been up there for four days.  A neighbour named Bob Walker, a Korean War veteran, took on the mission – Saving Private Kitty.  He paid over $400 to the power company to shut off the lines and booked a crane and operator. He would have paid for that too, but the people at Yarmouth Crane declined to accept payment for their services.

The cat, newly named Sky or perhaps Bob’s Pest, also went to Beaver Creek Animal Hospital where he’s recovering just fine from his ordeal.  Other people in town and elsewhere have been calling for contributions to offset the Walkers’ expenditure.  But Mr. and Mrs. Walker say they’ve got it covered and if anyone wants to donate, give it to the Salvation Army for the good work that group does at Christmas and year around.

It’s so nice to hear about individuals like these who saw a problem and decided to solve it, as well as all the others who rallied to help them.  Included in those others are the staff of the Times-Journal who decided that stories about a cat up a pole and a wild goose were worth reporting and following up on in subsequent days.  Thanks to all.  Indeed it warms the cockles.