Hot Off The Collar Blog

A ray of hope

Hot Off the Collar | Volume 9

We all get overwhelmed. The demands of work, family, health and world events can be relentless. It can weaken our resolve and make us feel vulnerable or weary.

That’s exactly how I was feeling as I read and watched story after story about the tragedy in Nova Scotia. As a former journalist, I’ve never given in to the impulse to simply “shut off” the news but yesterday and today I’ve come very close. We’re all reeling from a virus that has killed hundreds of thousands around the globe. For five weeks, the entire world has been on a virtual lockdown. Our routines have been disrupted and our personal connections have been severely restricted or in some cases, eliminated. Now, in the midst of all of that, we face an enormous national heartbreak. In times like these we would normally reach out to friends or find comfort in compassionate gatherings or vigils.

None of that is currently available and so, we cry. We weep for the staggering, unimaginable loss and we strive to understand an incomprehensible act; and we do it on our own.

No wonder we feel overwhelmed.
I want to find some magic pill that will suddenly make the world seem normal again. I want to reach into my experience and my past to come up with the one thing that will stem the incessant tide of sadness. Unfortunately I can’t. What I can offer you is perhaps, a bit of hope.

As animal welfare organization, we are often faced with days and sometimes weeks of difficult, sad and disturbing situations; situations that most of the public will never witness. Over the last 12 months, I’ve watched our team of 26 animal care experts as they navigated these waters. This is a tight knit group that is constantly watching out for each other. They find light in the darkness using humour, compassion and an unyielding desire to save every animal that crosses their path. Our veterinarian Dr. Laurie Gaines reminded me of this just yesterday.
On Sunday, a pregnant cat that was living in a foster home started the birthing process but something was clearly wrong. The foster parent contacted us and we called Dr. Gaines. She quickly pulled together a team, the cat was brought in and they performed an emergency C-section. C-sections are pretty routine for human births but much more uncommon for cats. By the time most cat owners realize a C-section is warranted, it’s already too late. Laurie and her group did a fantastic job on Sunday afternoon and despite the odds being stacked against them, one kitten was saved.When I received the photo of this little fighter yesterday, the floodgates opened. Why? Probably a little bit of each thing I mentioned at the beginning, but also because amidst the loss, the uncertainty and the heartbreak, we found a ray of hope in the commitment of our team and in the will of one, tiny kitten to survive. He has an uphill climb and many barriers to overcome but he has each of us pulling for him and hopefully that’s enough.

Sunday’s emergency surgery reminded me that our instinct to come together in times of need doesn’t disappear because of a virus or a tragedy. We see it in our health care workers, in our first responders and in hearts of those who have suffered an immeasurable loss. Physical restrictions will never stop the best of this country from shining through despite all the obstacles.
The Kingston Humane Society sends its love and condolences to everyone in Nova Scotia and indeed to everyone in Canada. This is a national loss and what will ultimately allow us to heal will be our instinct to rally together as one national community and perhaps, finding a little ray of hope amidst the chaos.

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