EDITORIAL: Winter pet safety

Every pet owner’s worst nightmare.

My dog fell through the ice.

Luckily, he was able to pull himself back out. Typically I keep him away from the river in the winter. This time, he was out for an adventure with a friend. She told me what happened slowly, and my heart dropped, even though he was standing right next to me and was totally fine.

A few weeks ago, someone lost their best friend through the ice on the river. Firefighters arrived on scene, but it was too late. There were no signs of the good dog.

Accidents like these can happen to anyone. Even responsible pet owners. All it takes is averting your eyes even for a second, and the worst possible outcome could happen right in front of you.

It is important to practise safety around the rivers at any time of year, and especially in the winter. Deer and other animals constantly use the ice as a crossing, carrying their scent with them out onto dangerous territory.

When I was younger, my grandmother lost a dog in the winter. Presumably, it went through the ice at the river.

I’ve been told the worst thing someone can do is go out to try and get their pet. I’m not sure what my reaction would be. I’m fairly certain I would fight a bear for my dog, even though I know it is extremely dangerous. He’s my fur child, and I would never let harm come to him.

This is why it is so important to either stay away from the rivers, or keep your loved ones leashed.

If you haven’t heard of pet insurance before, you might want to check it out. I spend about as much as my Spotify and Netflix accounts combined for both my dog and my cat. All too often, I hear of people with sick or injured animals who aren’t able to afford the care that they need. There are plenty of insurance providers available online, and I’ve even heard of some banks (in other provinces) offering insurance. I have donated to friends and family, even strangers, to help their pets get better.

I am grateful in Golden that we have so many wonderful services available for our pets. We have amazing veterinary care, even if we have to travel for emergency services. We have animal volunteer groups, and amazing service providers who are equipped to rescue animals in dire situations. We have great bylaw that collects lost pups and helps them find their way back home.

In a town with probably thousands of dogs, let’s make sure they remain safe and cared for.

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