The Great British Pet Massacre of WW II

October 6, 2020

Would you be willing to have your dog or cat killed for the sake of the the war effort? That is exactly what the British government asked citizens to do in 1939.

The British government formed the National Air Raid Precautions Animals Committee (NARPAC) in 1939 to decide what to do with pets before war broke out. They feared that they would need to ration food and that pet owners would split their rations with their pets or leave them to starve.

A pamphlet was published that suggested moving pets from cities to the country. It further stated that “if you cannot place them in care of neighbours, it is really kindest to have the destroyed.” The pamphlet contained an ad for a bolt pistol that could be used to kill them.

Pamphlet published by British Government. UK National Archives

When war broke out in September 1939 people flocked to vet clinics to have their cats and dogs killed. I can’t imagine this, taking your furry friend to have them killed because the government told them to do it.

Between 1939 and 1940 over 750,000 furry friends were killed as it turns out unnecessarily. Many organizations and individuals fought against this massacre and successfully saved and sheltered many thousands. In the end many pet owners regretted killing their pets and blamed the government for starting the needless hysteria.


Give me a new home. Stamps for pets.

April 21, 2010

Golden retriever stamp/USPS

Next time you’re looking for a pet rescue one from a shelter.

Many cats and dogs are available for adoption at your local animal shelter. These aren’t rejects, just animals looking for a forever home.

New stamps for April 30, 2010/USPS

Ellen DeGeneres is teaming with the United States Postal Service (USPS) to publize the need for homes for these animals. The USPS is issuing a set of stamps on April 30, 2010 to give this a high profile.

All the animals pictured are real rescued pets that have been given new homes. Ellen had Postmaster-General John Potter on her show recently to announce the program and the new stamps.


The Cat and Her Staff

April 3, 2009

Jackie

Jackie

I know, I know another cat, but heck everyone else does it so why not me.

This is our present cat named Jackie. We acquired her a few months ago after the last one ran off and never came back. Jackie is an animal-shelter cat originally and is just over one year old.

Funny how all cats have their own unique personalities just like people. This one is primarily an indoor cat. She wants out, but only when birds or other cats are spotted through the window.

Favorite activities include,

  • ripping and tearing cardboard of any kind, especially boxes.
  • rendering toilet paper unusable.
  • putting on nightly performances of “tearing around the house, upstairs and down at rapid speed”.
  • disposing of any flowers entering the house.
  • checking out all table and counter tops to ensure they are free of debris or food.
  • following her staff everywhere around the house to make sure they are tending to her needs.
  • greeting all cat haters or those allergic to her kind whenever they visit. I assume she is using this as therapy to remove their fears. This is not always appreciated, but afterall she is trying to help.

Her household staff consists of,

  • Dad (me) who is the primary source of food, cleans the litter box, and provides protection from other staff.
  • Cindy who usually doesn’t care for the feline order, but actually likes Jackie. She advises Dad when the food dish is empty or the litter needs cleaning. I would call her an advisor.
  • Damian who is the nightly bedmate of Jackie. Provides nice blankets and a quilt for her nighttime comfort. Also acts as a play consultant.
  • Claire and Olivia, the twins, provide “rubies” and play opportunities.

So you can see she has staff to minister to her every whim and want. What else could a cat desire? A mouse or a bird would be nice from time to time, from Jackie’s point of view anyway.


Travels With The Gang: Christmas in Maui

March 25, 2008

damiangirls.jpgI know it’s a little late, but I finally put my notes together and here is another adventure we had with the kids. Over Christmas our family vacationed in Maui.

Here I was planning on confining myself for nine hours on an airplane with the gang. Was I crazy? Damian, my dynamic six year old, and three year old twins, Claire and Livia. Would this be a vacation? Sure I thought hopefully. The time in Hawaii maybe, the flight, well that might be another story.

My wife and I loaded their carry-ons with games, coloring books, markers, books and of course goodies and snacks. Will there be enough to last nine hours? That was the million dollar question.

The trek starts with waking them out of a sound sleep at 2:30 in the morning. As usual when you want them to wake up, they want to sleep. You can bet that if we wanted them to sleep, they would be up and ready to go.

Finally we get up. Next we are waiting for the cab to take us to the airport. The cab shows up at 3:30. We load up and then the cat escapes into the cold darkness. Damian and I are chasing it around the yard and it is managing to make us look like fools. At last we pounce on her and toss her back into the warmth of the house, With the cat rescued from death by deep freeze we are on our way to the airport.

At the airport we get lucky and are near the first of the line. Check in, customs pre-clearance and security goes well. Damian is convinced to remove the wheels from his Heelies. Claire refuses to let security x-ray her “little Barney”. This is one of her favorite stuffed toys, she is a Barney freak, and she is not about to part with it. Finally we manage to get it in the x-ray and returned to her. God knows it might have contained a bomb.

The first leg of the flight, Calgary to Denver, goes well. Kids are on their best behavior. The food holds out and the batteries are still working.

Damian sits with me and says, “Dad when we get to Maui I am going to run into the room, get my swim suit on, and jump into the pool.” I decide then and there I better catch some zzzz so I can keep up with him. So I make that my goal. We’ll see how that works out.

Next we board the plane to Hawaii. After sitting on the tarmack for over one hour waiting for “connecting” passengers and their bags, we finally start moving. Halfway through the flight, “the boy” decides it is time to pester the sisters. Hell, it’s been way too quiet and uneventful, at least in his opinion. A melee ensures and separation is the order of the day. When we finally get his “engine” at an idle peace settles over the passenger compartment of the jetliner.

Food has run out and we still have 4 hours to go! My kingdom for some M&Ms. Are we there yet? No that is not the kids braying that, it’s me desparately hoping the pilot has made a mistake and the islands will suddenly appear and we will be on solid ground where I can actually give them a timeout.

Turns out that United Airlines has a contest to see how long it takes to get halfway. I can tell them. It takes several fights and lots of crying, from the kids, and parents before reach that milestone.

They say that countries will always find a way to start a war. My kids parallel the Middle East, any excuse will do. Share is not a word in their vocabulary.

Finally we are at the condo. Very nice one bedroom with large pullout in the common area. The kids decide they all want to sleep in the king-size pullout. They are so tired that it works out well. Damian in the middle with sisters on either side. Big brother is so good to them.

Before bed they go swimming with Uncle Mac, Colin and Caleigh. Meanwhile Cindy, Karen and I hike down to the nearest store for some provisions. The road is super busy with little or no sidewalk. It is so dark it is dangerous walking. We return with basics for the morning.

We are all so tired. To bed with plans for finding a nice beach in the morning.

To Lahania today and the supposedly number one beach in Maui just to the north. It was OK but lots of rocks. Very hot today. Damian and the girls had a blast in the sand building sand castles and burying Uncle Mac. Tried to get on glass bottom boat but full up so will try again tomorrow. Lahania is an historic whaling town from the 1800s with many old buildings. The old court house and jail had a huge Banyan tree in front. This building was once the capital of Hawaii. It is the spot where the official ceremony took place lowering the Hawaiian flag and raising the American flag. This made Hawaii a territory of the United States in 1888. The tree resembled an octopus with its many convoluted branches. Kids climbed all over it before we realized that we weren’t supposed to do that, oh well the kids had fun. Tomorrow snorkling and perhaps the glass bottom boat. Sure beats the heck out of the snow and ice of Calgary.

Snorkling at a local beach today. Lots of fish and a reef/rock formation that came right into shore. Not deep and good viewing. Saw about 20 different species of marine fish.

Back to the condo and a steak barbeque this evening. Christmas Eve. Strange but true. Christmas Day will be a luau on the beach. Maui is fantastic.

Christmas morning we went to Big Beach down the coast from Kihei and relaxed in the sun. Later in the afternoon we went to Lahanai to the luau. The dances and such were excellent, but food was terrible. What a disappointment. All in all a good time though. They did have a special buffet for the kids with chicken fingers and fries.

I was dreading the flight home because sister-in-law and family wouldn’t be with us. They left a day earlier, we had to spent an extra night in a hotel near the airport. I extended the rental car which was one of the smartest things I did. We spent the day at the local mall and took the kids to two movies before heading to the airport.

Turns out we were worried for no reason. The kids were so exhausted that they slept all the way back to San Francisco and then to Calgary. Damian was awake for the last two hours, but he and I watched The Simpsons on my laptop and he drew pictures.
 


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