Tips & Information

Orphan puppy becomes animal advocate's best friend

Written by


Published on: Mar 06, 2017

She is a high octane, four season, all weather, outdoor adventure dog and finding ways to exercise her that leave her more tired than me can be a real challenge

I've been a member of the claims team since January 2013, putting to good use my 35 years of experience as a veterinary assistant in small animal clinics. I had my “a-ha” moment 38 years ago while attending pre-vet courses at the University of Manitoba where I met a little calf and realized she was no different than a dog. I adopted a vegetarian diet (I now consider myself a “veganarian”) and got involved in animal advocacy.

Debbie and Shale Debbie - Petsecure Assistant Claims Adjuster

Some of the activities I've engaged in include producing and hosting "Animal Rights Forum" on VPW Public Access TV in the 1980's, doing presentations at schools, making a speech at the Manitoba Legislature regarding the Provincial Animal Care Act, and wielding my mighty, mighty pen to write letters to the editor, letters to politicians, articles for local publications and a guest blog for the Winnipeg Humane Society. My latest project allowed me to wield my drum sticks and drawing pencil as I put on "Drumstix!"- a benefit gig in support of the Humane Society's first ever VegFest to be held September 16 and 17 this year at the University of Winnipeg.

But we can all advocate for the animals every day by simply making mindful, informed choices about the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the products we use and what we do for entertainment. If everybody did their little part, it would make a big difference.

I have had many companion animals in my life and am currently the guardian of one dog, two cats and a tank of fish . . . all rescues. Yes, even fish need rescuing every now and then! This is the tale of my dog Shale:

I adopted Shale from Manitoba Mutts. Originally from Norway House, her litter was orphaned shortly after birth when their mother was hit by a car. The babies were delivered to the Winnipeg based rescue where a dog named Sunday, who had just finished nursing her own puppies, took on the job of mothering the little ones. Manitoba Mutts guessed them to be Husky/German Shepherd crosses but, given Shale's appearance and demeanor, I suspect her mama "took a walk on the wild side".

Shale came into my life when she was 7 weeks old. As she outgrew puppy-hood she sprouted super model legs and matured into a super natural athlete! She is a high octane, four season, all weather, outdoor adventure dog and finding ways to exercise her that leave her more tired than me can be a real challenge.

In the winter we ski-jor. This is an activity where your dog in harness pulls you on your skis. I call it either "urban mushing" or "canine bumper-shining". It is truly a team sport and a real work-out. The rest of the year I run her beside my bicycle, hooked up with an attachment called a Springer that helps keep her safely away from the bike and also absorbs 90% of the pull should she happen to spot "Mr. Squirrel" during our ride.

I often joke that she is no "post-menopausal model", but I can proudly say that my heart rate is currently at a personal best of 55 beats per minute!