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Save a life, rescue a dog

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Hot dog! It’s the pet issue!

Best first pets for families Top dog trails and hikes Pet contracts




From The Editor


Piper and I at Pine Grove, a really nice (not to mention dog-friendly!) trail near Conroy Pit.

Andrea Tomkins

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grew up with a cat and a dog, and I knew that we were destined to have pets when we had our own kids, but it was a gradual kind of thing. When the girls were small we started out with Sea Monkeys. It sounds odd, I know, but Sea Monkeys are pretty interesting creatures! They’re actually a type of brine shrimp that is able to lie dormant until their environmental conditions improve. We learned a lot from the experience, and after the Sea Monkeys we graduated to real fish. We quickly realized that sea creatures just weren’t cutting it. All we really wanted was a dog; something warm and fuzzy that had a personality of its own. Many families adopt dogs when the kids are small, but my husband and I decided to wait until the girls were old enough to help participate in the care. And I’m so glad we did. It’s been almost four years since Piper, our wire fox terrier, came into our lives. I can’t imagine how we lived without her. I think that bringing a dog into our lives has somehow made us better people. What the experts say is true: dog ownership teaches many things. Being responsible for another life is a big deal, and I think kids know that intuitively. One of our favourite things to do with Piper is to teach her tricks. We discovered early on that this was a great activity for kids and dogs alike. Many dogs enjoy the stimulation that goes with learning a new trick, and for kids it can be a satisfying project that

has tangible results. A well-behaved dog is a safer dog too. Some of the commands - such as sit, stay, come, or leave it - could even save your dog’s life.

Cover Story

Meet our newest contributor!

We always like to get the inside scoop about our cover photo, so once again we asked our photographer Kate Settle for a few details about her photo shoot. Here’s what she wrote: “A lot of what I do when photographing children is not about “look at the camera and smile” but rather about capturing them being themselves in the moment and whatever that brings. Add a pet to that mix and the moment can bring complete chaos and utter tenderness, as you will see from the mix of soft bunny snuggles (on page 5) and learning how to play with, and care for a big dog. Don’t be afraid of non-cooperation of pets when you’re behind the camera and include your daily interactions with them in your family photographs. It’s a time and memory worth saving.”

Don’t forget to follow us @capitalparent

Do you know of any kids under the age of 13 who are doing something really SUPER in our community? Maybe the you know is a dedicated volunteer, or raises money for a local charity? Whatever it is, we want to hear about it. In the meantime, meet our first super duo on page 3!

These are some of the tricks that Piper knows how to do: • • • • • • • • •

“Shake a paw” “Do a dance” “Sit up” “Roll over” “Lie down” “Turn around” “Show me your tummy” and “play dead” “Pee time” “Let go”

She also knows how to jump up into my arms and jump up on my back when I’m down on all fours. (Which is pretty funny if I happen to be picking up toys and don’t see her coming.) Does your dog know any great tricks? We’d love to hear about your precocious pooches. Send your stories and photos to

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EDITOR Andrea Tomkins 613-238-1818 ext. 279 CONTRIBUTORS Dave Elder • Katharine Fletcher Anita Grace • Lynn Jatania Paula Roy • Kate Settle • Ottawa Public Library COPY EDITOR Judith van Berkom DESIGN & PRODUCTION Sarah Ellis ADVERTISING Mike Beard 613-238-1818 ext. 270

Anita Grace and her daughter Miya, 4, and Bacall, one of their two pet cats. Although cats preceded children in this home, Miya helps feed them their breakfast kibble and enjoys petting and cuddling with them.

Karen McNamara 613-238-1818 ext. 259

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Mark Sutcliffe PRESIDENT Michael Curran CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Donna Neil V.P. SALES Terry Tyo 613-238-1818 ext. 268



Send an email to and let us know about your super kid!

PUBLISHER Mark Sutcliffe

We want to hear from you! Email your feedback to or leave a comment on our Facebook page. Next month we’ll be publishing a few of your comments in the paper, so please make sure you sign your full name. Thank you!

@capitalparent |


c a p i t a l p a r e n t .c a




eing a dad is amazing. You are a role model, you are your child’s teacher, and you have the power to influence your child in many ways and help them find their way in this world. Parenting is rewarding but it is not always easy. There is no such thing as a perfect dad.

How can you be the best dad you can be? Ask yourself: • What is going well with my child? What should I try and do differently? • Is stress affecting my parenting? What can I do to lower my stress levels? • Am I getting enough sleep? Am I taking care of myself? • Does the time I spend with my children involve focused and meaningful interactions? • Who was my positive male role model as a child? What did I like about him? • What is the most important thing I want my child to learn from me? How am I going to make sure this happens? What else can you do? Even more important than “what” you do as a parent is “how” you do these things. There are many ways to play with your child. Letting your children lead the way with play shows them you value the things they like to do, which can make them feel really good about themselves. Whether you are playing house or having tea parties, your child needs you to take an interest in what they like to do. It helps to watch your child closely to see how they respond to you. Use this feedback to guide your parenting. Being sensitive and responsive to your child is the key to building a close, trusting relationship with them. Build your parenting skills We all want the best for our children. We want them to be happy, and to make sure they feel heard, seen, and understood at all stages of their lives. Parenting classes are a great way to learn more about child development and build strong parenting skills. Classes also give parents the chance to talk to other parents. There are plenty of dates, times, and formats to choose from

including groups just for dads. Consider how to parent while you’re away If you aren’t able to see your child as often as you would like, there are still things you can do. Talk to them often. Show them how much you care. This can be done through phone calls, letters in the mail, email or Skype. Try recording yourself reading some of their favourite stories so they can hear you whenever they wish. Sharing pictures with your child can also help maintain a feeling of closeness. All children need to know they are a special part of someone’s life. Here are some websites you may find helpful: The Parent Resource Centre (parentresource. ca) has a Parent Education Calendar to help you find a parenting workshop or a playgroup to enjoy with your child. Find programs for parents and caregivers of children from birth to teenage years. Most programs are open to all parents and there are some programs just for dads.

Super kid alert!


ohen (4) and Kye Williams (who turns 7 in November) take great pride in their Barrhaven neighbourhood. Their super story begins a couple of years ago when Cohen and Kye – along with their parents, Erin and Steven – noticed a proliferation of litter in their neighbourhood, especially after garbage day. Loose papers regularly escape from black bins but it’s the evil coffee cups, candy wrappers, and pop cans that are among the worst offenders. At first Erin discouraged the children’s penchant for tackling the trash for fear of germs or hazardous objects, but she soon accepted their early super-hero like tendencies and purchased plastic “garbage grabbers” at the dollar store to encourage and support their heroic ways. The kids, she says, love using the grabbers because it makes garbage collection into a game while also giving them an opportunity to hone their fine motor skills. They also have extras on hand in case other kids want to join in, which they often do, making it a collab-

orative project for the whole neighbourhood . Cohen and Kye’s family regularly go for “garbage walks” in the park, bringing along several garbage bags and the garbage grabbers. Everyone in the family knows to avoid broken glass, dog poop, and anything that looks particularly dangerous or suspicious. Those things are left for other heroes. This ongoing project has given the Williams family a valuable opportunity to help the environment and educate the children about waste reduction and recycling. Perhaps most importantly, they’re learning how everyone can work together as a community and take pride in where they live. Now that’s super. Do you know any kids who are doing something really SUPER in their community? We’d love to hear about it. Send your suggestions to and let us know whose stories we should be sharing with our readers.

24-HR Cribside Assistance ( is a fun website that was made by dads, for dads. They provide answers to basic questions about babies for new dads, and for moms too. Dad Central Ontario ( provides great parenting information for all dads, as well as free booklets and articles. You will also find links to fathering websites around the world. The Men’s Project ( offers individual and group counselling for men and their families. They also have a 10-week parenting program for dads, and programs to address childhood abuse, anger management, sadness and grief. If you need more information, check out the Ottawa Public Health blog at, follow on Twitter @ottawahealth, or call the Ottawa Public Health information line at 613-580-6744. Meet Cohen and Kye: Super Kids!

Certified Paediatric Dentist Dr. RAj-Deep Mahal B.SC., D.D.S., M.Sc., F.R.C.D. (C)

• No referral necessary • Accepting new patients & emergencies • Dental treatment provided in child friendly atmosphere

• Sedation or general anesthesia available • Dental trauma management • Treatment & continuing care (hygiene) • Free parking

1335 Carling Ave., Suite 313 (beside Westgate at the Qwy.) Tel.: 613.722.0233 • Fax: 613.722.0719 NOVEMBER 2013 3




y youngest daughter, age 6, wants a cat. She’s the only real animal lover in the family. At the park, she’s tackling strange dogs like a pro wrestler to hand out tummy rubs, while I’m wincing at the sight of doggie drool and digging through my purse for hand sanitizer. At the reptile zoo, she’s holding out her hand for the tarantula and scorpion, while I’m chanting softly to myself under my breath: my baby is safe, my baby is safe. In the woods, she’s the only one willing to offer seeds to the birds; the other two skitter away as if the chickadees are secretly hiding giant man-chomping teeth in those tiny beaks. My middle daughter in particular fears anything that moves and is not 100% human. She adores reading about animals, pretending to be an animal, playing with her stuffed animals, but in the presence of a real, living thing, she FREEEEEEAKS out. Sure, I get her white-hot hatred of mosquitoes, her nightmares about crocodiles, her terror of feeding aggressively teethed goats at the petting zoo. But even things as innocuous as butterflies, baby bunnies, and HOLY HELL, fish in aquariums

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(“Mommy, IT’S SPLASHING!”), lead her to treats in meow language. (I draw the line at panic and run screaming. saucers of milk on the floor, but I’m not above My older sister used to have a tiny little dog, a good cuddle on the couch while I pretend to a Pekingese named Ginger. Ginger was about as be Cleopatra and hum various selections by tall as my ankle and about as interested in the Andrew Lloyd Webber.) kids as a confirmed bachelor. The first time we We have explained to her many, many ever saw Ginger, the oldest was indifferent, the times that we will never get a cat. Setting aside youngest was delighted, the fact my husband and the middle one? As I are about as far “Even things as innocuous and soon as Ginger looked from being Pet People as butterflies, baby bunnies, as we are from winning at her sideways, middle daughter was franticalan Olympic medal in and HOLY HELL, fish in ly scooting up my leg shotput, I am terribly aquariums (“Mommy, IT’S allergic. A half hour in like a monkey climbing a banana tree, until she SPLASHING!”), lead her to the presence of a cat will somehow had her entire me itchy, watery panic and run screaming.” give body literally wrapped eyes, a runny nose, and around my neck like a a headache. I’ll be tired scarf, screaming in my ear lest the deadly beast for a whole day afterwards; everything I was approach. DANGER, WILL ROBINSON. wearing during the time of exposure must be Our third child has no such fears or reser- washed and fumigated. And given my current vations. She loves animals, the real thing, and (lack of) devotion to house cleaning, comshe wants one, oh yes she does. I suppose a bined with my already tired and cranky general dog or a rabbit or a bird would do, but really, persona, I think we can all agree that the added what she wants is a cat, a sweet gentle kitty burden of nasal congestion and pants covered to harass constantly with her over-abundant in cat hair would be a little Too Much For love and affection. She’s obsessed with Marie Mommy To Handle. from The Aristocats and spends at least half For a while, the youngest accepted this her time crawling around this house squeezed explanation. “Cats make Mommy sneeze,” into a size 2 white cat costume, purring for she’d sadly tell strangers at the park, grocery

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store, and library. But then one day, we had to pick something up at a friend’s house. They have a cat. We were there for 10 minutes. And I did not sneeze. WHAT. THE. HELL. I have heard about this incident A LOT. My husband has heard about it A LOT. Her two grandmothers have heard about it A LOT. The people from the park, grocery store, and library all know the story. The whole event was HIGHLY SUSPICIOUS. Her parents were clearly hiding something, and my Junior Matlock was on the case and just as cantankerous. Then, a few days ago, the cat from across the street wandered into the backyard while the youngest was playing outside. She called me and I stuck my head out the patio door, telling her it was okay to pet the cat. She stroked it for a minute or two while I watched, then it slipped under the fence to check out the next backyard in the row. And guess what? In two minutes of outdoor exposure to a cat, from 15 feet away, I DID NOT SNEEZE. The prosecution rests. There is no reasonable defense. Mommy has been proven a liar. The sentence is to produce a cat, any cat, right now. Luckily, I’m the adjudicator of this kangaroo court. Not guilty; case dismissed!


Rat, gecko, betta fish, bird? What’s the best first pet for your family? BY ANITA GRACE


our kids are hounding you for a pet, but while they might imagine playing a frolicking game of fetch, you imagine doing the walking, the feeding, the poop’n’scooping. “Most times it’s moms and dads who will be assuming responsibility for a pet,” says Jeff Stanke. He and his brother Kelvin are owners of Critter Jungle, a neighbourhood pet store in Ottawa’s west end. Yet pets can also be an excellent way to teach kids about responsibility and allow them to develop that unique bond with a loved animal. But you don’t have to commit to a dog or cat just yet. There are other options to explore. Betta fish (also known as Siamese fighting fish) can be excellent first pets. These colourful, exotic looking creatures aren’t picky about their environment, meaning they can live in a small tank in the kids’ room, and they won’t mind if their water isn’t pristine. Jeff says even a four-year-old can get involved in the care of a fish by helping with the feeding. Slightly older kids can help clean out the tank. Sure, they aren’t cuddly, but they are quite personable and will dance around for familiar people. They are also not much of a financial investment, selling for less than $10, with tanks only a few dollars more. But if your kids want something a little more

interesting than a fish, a crested gecko is a good option. Since geckos are nocturnal, they will be more active in the evening when kids are home from school. As they become familiar with their owners, they will lick a child’s fingers or even climb on a child’s head or shoulders. This summer, LeBreton Flats-area mom Diane Goodwin, bought two crested geckos for her kids Tali, 13, and Luka, 8. Having recently moved into an apartment, their options were limited as to what kind of pet they could have. Although she admits that she takes primary responsibility for the geckos, she gets her kids to help out with their care. “Geckos are a bit boring,” she acknowledges, but she appreciates that her kids are learning about the species and sees that as the kids and geckos become more familiar with each other, their interactions become more rewarding. The cost of a crested gecko starts at around $90, while a furnished enclosure will set you back around $120. But if you don’t think fish or geckos would be engaging enough for your kids, guinea pigs come highly recommended. Ethel Quade at Carlingwood’s Pet World explains that they are solid enough that kids can hold on to them and they don’t bite as hard as hamsters can. Westboro’s 11-year-old Jack Stewart says his guinea pig, Fudge, is “an awesome pet.” Fudge com-

municates with whistles, likes being held, and will even twirl around for treats. “He’s well loved in this house,” says mom Siobhan Stewart. “He’s also a big responsibility.” Jack and his brother Finn, 7, give Fudge his daily meal of hay and make sure he has fresh water with Vitamin C drops. Fudge also needs his poop scooped every other day (Jack’s job) and his cage needs to be cleaned out every week, which dad does while the boys give Fudge a bath. Guinea pigs start at around $25 and their enclosures at $90. Rats are surprisingly intelligent, responsive and affectionate animals, which might come as a surprise to some people. They’re also not a large financial investment, selling for around $20. “They make good pets,” says Jeff Stanke. “They have an acute awareness of who we are and respond to our voice and scent.” Julie Metcalfe agrees. Her daughters Grace, 9, and Maisie, 7, love their pet rat Phoebe. “She’s very affectionate and gentle,” the Westboro mom says. “The girls love holding her and playing with her.” She adds that kids don’t have preconceptions about rats like adults do. “We’re actually thinking of getting another.” Like rabbits and guinea pigs, rats will do their business in a corner of their enclosure and are quite neat. So if you’re thinking that mice are

cuter than rats, consider that they have no bladder control so their enclosures (and everything in them) can get pretty smelly. For those inclined towards a feathered friend, Jeff recommends birds that have been hand-raised, which speeds up bonding time. Most budgies have been hand-raised for generations, so they can take to people quickly and won’t bite. However, Jeff warns that birds can be nervous around children. “They get intimidated by their energy.” Still, if your kids have the quiet temperament for a bird, budgies can be quite responsive and can even learn to speak. It’s worth noting that budgies are flock creatures, and need company and daily attention. Budgies sell for around $27 and a cage starts at around $70. The life expectancy of a pet is also something to take into consideration. A turtle can live for 40 years. Lizards live 15-20 years, budgies a little less (10-12), while small animals like rats and guinea pigs typically live only 3-5 years. Fish, fowl, or animal, whatever you choose for a first pet, Jeff Stanke recommends that it should never be given as a surprise gift. The acquisition of a pet should always be something decided together, with recognition of the responsibility, as well as the fun times, that it brings.


Choosing a first pet is a big decision. Jeff Stanke from Critter Jungle helps Will (3) and Andy (5) Bradbury. PHOTO BY KATE SETTLE

Jack Stewart (11) and his brother Finn (7), hold their guinea pig Fudge, a pet, Jack says, that is better than a dog or cat. PHOTO BY ANITA GRACE NOVEMBER 2013 5


Save a life, rescue a dog

Get it in writing with a family pet contract




espite being deeply concerned about animal rights for years, I only recently became aware of the plight of dogs who end up homeless. I’d always thought that since people love dogs, there must not be a problem with dog homelessness. Unfortunately, I was not correct, and the situation is even worse for cats. Every year in Canada, thousands of dogs are admitted to animal shelters. It’s often no fault of their own, or is due to behavioural issues arising from lack of training. Shelters are strapped for resources and space. It’s an uphill battle, and there isn’t always a happily ever after. In Ottawa there are dog rescues with tireless volunteers who fill in some of the gaps. I volunteer for one; Sit With Me rescue goes into shelters and springs as many “last chance dogs” as possible, regardless of breed or age. The network of volunteers and foster families work with each dog to help them become the best pet possible before they’re adopted into “forever homes.” I’ve fostered twice so far, and the experience is incredibly rewarding. With care and attention, I have seen dogs flourish. Many rescued dogs I have met are better behaved than the average dog, including my own. Each dog is an individual, with his or her own personality and zest for life. Rescue dogs are sometimes per-

ceived as being less valuable, or more problematic than dogs that are purchased in traditional ways. I’d like to share some reasons why rescue dogs are an excellent choice for your family.

your family’s lifestyle and needs, and ensures that the dog you adopt is the best possible match. If you’re really set on a specific breed, there are breedspecific rescues as well.

Ongoing support Introducing a dog into your home can be a challenge but when you adopt from a rescue, you are becoming part of a family. Sit With Me, for example, has a support system and network in place for the dogs it places, and volunteers have significant dog experience. I felt immediately accepted, and part of something bigger.

Adoption fees go a long way Adoption fees cover some, but not all, operating expenses for rescue groups. There’s almost always extra fundraising that needs to be done. It’s worth noting that the adoption fee is often less expensive than what you’d pay for a dog at a pet store, and the dog also comes spayed/neutered, and vet checked. 

You get the whole story


Since rescue dogs are all fostered before they are adopted out, you know exactly what you’re bringing home. The foster family can often tell you their quirks and best traits, and they’ve generally already been trained to a minimum standard. Puppies are cute, but they’re a lot of work! With rescues, a lot of that work is already done.

Being separated from everything that’s familiar is a stressful experience—for humans and dogs. When you give them back the stability that they’ve lost, they are grateful and usually show it in a variety of ways.

Personalized match making Dog rescue groups take matching dogs with families very seriously, which is why there’s always an extensive application to fill out. This helps determine

Be a hero And finally, perhaps the most important reason: You are actually saving a life when you adopt a dog. Saving a life. How often do we have that opportunity? You can be a hero to a dog who might otherwise not get a second chance.


f you’re thinking about bringing home a pet, it’s important to talk about it as a family first. Everyone needs to understand that pet ownership is a daily responsibility, and it’s a long term one as well. Who is going to feed the pet, pick up after it (or keep the tank clean), and give it the attention it deserves? Having a family meeting about it is one way of making sure everyone is on the same page, but parents can take that one step further by designing a simple “pet contract” to spell out expectations and really hit the point home. A contract can be especially useful if there are multiple people who will be involved in the pet’s care. So for example, you may decide that your son will be the person responsible for feeding the dog, and your daughter will give it a good brushing every day. Mom and Dad can take on the bigger jobs, like bringing the dog to the vet and brushing its teeth. This way there’s also no debate regarding pet-related chores. Use a word processing program to design your own contract according to your own criteria and what kind of critter you are welcoming to your home. If you’re adopting a dog for example, consider including some of these points to your family contract: • I will give my pet fresh food and water every day. • I will keep my pet clean and well-groomed. • I will give time and attention to my pet every day. • I will help train my pet and make sure he/she is well-behaved. • I will make sure my pet is safe and comfortable at all times. • I will not let my pet come to any harm. • I will be gentle and patient with my pet.

If you’re feeling creative, you can include a photo of your pet on the document as well. Younger children can help decorate the contract with pet-related pictures so they can put their own mark on the family contract. Once all of the parties have signed on the dotted line, post the contract in a prominent spot to help remind everyone of their responsibilities. Hopefully when the newness of having a pet wears off, the contract will serve as a helpful reminder.

Want to foster or adopt a dog?

Here are a few local multi-breed rescues (there are many more!):

Left to right: Freyja Tourigny, Yves Tourigny, Lilac (from Sit With Me), Pamela Tourigny. PHOTO BY L GRAVELINE PHOTOGRAPHY 6 NOVEMBER 2013 | c a p i t a l p a r e n t . c a |

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• Sit With Me: • Hopeful Hearts: • Genesis Dog Rescue: • Valley Animal Rescue: • New Beginnings:


Best “pooch” practices and top Ottawa dog trails BY KATHARINE FLETCHER


o matter where we roam with our wonderful companions, dog owners always need to remember that there are rules to be followed. Owners must be responsible dog walkers so that dogs of all breeds remain welcome in our parks, in both our urban and rural venues. It’s not glamorous, but people need to know that they must always be prepared to stoop, scoop, and remove dog waste. It’s not just common courtesy, it’s a matter of public health. In addition, signs posted in many parks and trails ask that dogs be kept on a leash. This seems particularly important in the wake of recent events at the Experimental Farm, but it also applies to places such as Gatineau Park, where dogs enjoy running and chasing wildlife.

Whether it’s a squirrel or a black bear, or another dog, it’s prudent to keep pets well in hand, but leash laws involve more than that. It’s also about being able to manage your dog. Dog leashes must be held by people who are physically able to control the animal. It may not be a good idea to let young children walk the dog unsupervised in some places. The NCC also stipulates that dog owners can’t have more than two dogs running free on offleash designated lands. City of Ottawa also has its own rules. For example, dogs are prohibited from being within 5 meters of all children’s play areas and pools. Again, this makes sense for all sorts of reasons, the most important being cleanliness and also, ensuring children (and parents) do not become scared of dogs because they are roaming free in play areas. When it comes to finding a nice park in which to walk or play fetch with our four-legged

friends, it can be challenging - but not impossible - to find a new spot that will be fun for everyone. NATIONAL CAPITAL COMMISSION GREENBELT, OTTAWA-GATINEAU

Off leash and dog friendly Right in the city: Bruce Pit, Conroy Pit, Rockcliffe-Hillsdale, Pine Hill, Stanley Avenue Park, and parts of Hampton Park are dogfriendly, off-leash parks. If you’re heading out on a longer walk, it’s a good idea to bring water too, for you and your dog. Little known fact: Dog owners are required to keep pets away from fountains and shorelines. Dogs are actually not allowed to be within 3 metres of any shoreline on NCC land. You can find more information as well as maps of the parks and trails on the NCC website: On leash and dog friendly Leashes, which cannot extend more than 2 metres, must be used on the one or two (maximum) dogs that you can bring to most NCC lands in the city. It’s always a good idea to look up your destination before heading out with your dog in order to avoid disappointment. Some NCC trails are off limits to dogs at certain times of the year. Dogs are not allowed on any Greenbelt trails in the winter (December 1 to April 14) because of skiing and snowshoeing. According to NCC regulations dog walkers cannot ski, in-line skate or ride a bike when in charge of their pets either. You can find out about Gatineau Park trails specifically by telephoning the park at 819-827-2090.

Brewer Park Conroy Pit 3 Jack Purcell 4 Bruce Pit 1


If you’re looking for a change of scene, any of those places would make a great destination for the whole family. Pro tip: dogs can get so filthy during a good outdoor romp. Bring a blanket to cover your car seat or your lap. A cautionary tail, or tale Another popular place to let dogs run off leash is the Arboretum near Dow’s Lake, but take care with any word-of-mouth recommendations that come your way. Dogs are actually not permitted to run free in this area. If you want to avoid a $125.00 fine (which can be levied here in the City of Ottawa, pending your circumstances with your pooch) simply contact the City to discover your dog’s – and your – rights before you go. Are you ready to head out, because it’s time to discover another trail or dog-friendly park! Just follow this simple three-step process: Get informed about where to go Grab the dog, the leash and the poop bags Go outside and play! Katharine Fletcher is author of Capital Rambles: Exploring the National Capital Region. She is also author of Historical Walks: The Gatineau Park Story, and Capital Walks: Walking Tours of Ottawa. Collect them all to discover walks, canoe day trips and more – right here at home!


Jenna and Will Bradbury (3) take Marley for a walk (although it’s hard to know who’s walking whom). PHOTO BY KATE SETTLE

The City of Ottawa website ( lists an extensive set of dog-friendly parks which are sorted by neighbourhood. For example, in Ward 1 (Orleans) there are almost 40 places where dogs are allowed either on or off leash. With 23 neighbourhoods listed, there are many spots in which dogs are welcome. Top picks according to dog lovers on Yelp reveal that the favourite places to walk the dog include:

Get informed Check the National Capital Commission (NCC) website to read more about the regulations that apply to Gatineau Park, as well as dog-friendly destinations in the Greenbelt:

Canada Chemists Pet Pharmacy Dispensing services for your pet’s prescriptions at very competitive prices. • We carry the same medications as your vet at fair prices for prescription drugs, over-the-counter products, high-quality vitamins and supplements for your pet. • We provide city-wide delivery or mailing of medications at your convenience.

Riverside Professional Centre, 1919 Riverside Dr, Suite 102, Ottawa, 613.523.3066

Andrew Macfarlane •

s! e i t r a p y a d h t r i b We do 613-482-4029 NOVEMBER 2013 7


A healthier approach to pet treats BY PAULA ROY


uch like humans, pets respond well to treats, especially edible ones. During training phases, or even just for daily good behaviour, we gladly supplement their diets with all manner of tasty rewards. The downside? We may be spoiling our furry friends to the detriment of their health. Dr. Jane Gates, veterinarian and co-owner of Ottawa’s Fisher Glen Animal Hospital, confirms that too many treats can be too much of a good thing for many pets. “They are the same as humans; if they eat an excessive amount of the wrong thing, they will suffer for it,” she explains. “Not only is giving too many treats on top of a pet’s regular diet the leading cause of obesity, but there are also other health issues that can arise, given that many treats, depending upon the quality you purchase, can be very high in salt, sugar and fat.” Dr. Gates says that it’s important to take a look at where the treats you typically offer Fido or Fluffy originated. “The pet food industry is largely unregulated, so pet products coming from China, for example, may contain harmful ingredients that are not listed on the label. It’s very much buyer beware.”

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She cautions to be similarly wary of pet foods or treats that claim to be natural, organic or holistic. “Again, it’s often all marketing hype and no substance.” She is not opposed to commercially prepared pet snacks but advises that moderation is key. “I am a fan of those dehydrated liver treats because rather than giving your pet a whole cookie you can break off the tiniest corner for a training reward and the animal will be just as happy,” says Dr.Gates. Well-meaning dog owners have long offered bones as a treat but they’re also not a great option, according to Dr. Gates, relating the words of a veterinary dentist who says, “don’t feed your dog anything you would not want to rap against your knee.” In other words, if it’s too hard for your knee, it’s too hard for your dog’s teeth. She’s also not a fan of rawhides or pigs’ ears. “If the dog chews off a large enough piece it can obstruct their digestive system. And some of these popular treats come from places where there is no regulation at all, so they could be coated with harmful chemicals.” There are lots of easy alternatives to commercial pet treats, including raw fruits and vegetables. “It’s best to start your pets on these kinds of treats at a young age if pos-

w w w. f a c e b o o k . c o m / C a p i t a l P a r e n t |

Here are two recipes that have been pet-tested and approved! DIY

sible as they do form some degree of likes and dislikes early on,” says Dr. Gates. “Cats, in particular, can get fixated on textures and shapes. Dogs – especially food-motivated breeds like Labrador retrievers – may be more likely to accept vegetables such as raw carrot sticks as a treat, but you need to still be reasonable about the quantity of treats you provide.” It is important to note that there are some fruits and vegetables that pets cannot tolerate, and in some cases can be severely toxic. Dr. Gates recommends avoiding onions, garlic, grapes, raisins and macadamia nuts, adding that older dogs may also have trouble with cruciferous vegetables (just like older humans often do). Dogs love apple slices and frozen bananas, but because these are high in natural sugars, they should only be given in moderation. Another important consideration when it comes to giving your pets snacks is using a treat toy or treat dispenser. There are lots of great ones on the market, and many experts agree that it is a good idea to make the animal work for their food as it is stimulating for them. Homemade treats are a great option because that way you know exactly what you are feeding your beloved pet.

@capitalparent |

VEGGIE DOG CHEWS You will need: 2 sweet potatoes, peeled

1 2 3 4

Preheat the oven to 200°F. Slice sweet potatoes lengthwise into thin slices (1/4” or thinner).

Lay slices out on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake 2 – 3 hours (time will depend on thickness of your slices) until sweet potatoes are completely dry and hardened.


Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.


Sound advice about pets


With a few kitchen staples it is easy to create tasty, nutritious treats for your dog or cat. PHOTO BY PAULA ROY

CAT CRUNCHIES You will need: One, 6-ounce can waterpacked tuna 1 cup cornmeal 1 cup flour 4 – 6 tablespoons of water

1 2

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Put tuna and its liquid, cornmeal and flour in a bowl. Add 4 tablespoons of water and mix

thoroughly with your hands. Add a little more water as needed to make a dough that will hold together enough to be rolled out without falling apart.

t’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of bringing home a new pet, and as a result it can be easy to forget to do the research that’s needed before making that big commitment. We asked Capital Parents to share tried-and-true advice that might be helpful for other families who are thinking of buying a new pet, and this is what they said:

Roll out dough between two sheets of parchment paper to ¼” thickness and cut into treat-sized pieces with a sharp knife.

Mimi Golding: “Be up front about the care requirements and who’ll be doing the care. I would also suggest a visit to a friendly vet to have her/him give you their opinion on the breed, compatibility, expectations (e.g. food, exercise, temperament), and trainability.”

4 5

Pamela Tourigny: “Definitely research the kinds of animals you’re considering so that you don’t end up with big surprises…. Don’t just base it on size, or perceived cuteness.”


Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until the crunchies are golden brown.


Let cool on baking sheet and store in airtight container in the fridge for up to one week or freeze for longer storage. If frozen, thaw before feeding to your lucky cats.

Alison Weatherston: “Do not believe your little darlings when they promise to feed and walk and pick up poop forever if you get them the much-coveted dog. Be aware that the dog will end up being your dog. Because letting him out at 5:30 when you get up, and then feeding him, is much

less work than getting the child up to do it. At least in my house.” Olivia Lamarre: “Hamsters are singular creatures; they don’t like being in the same cage with another. We bought a second one so the first one wouldn’t be lonely and they fought and one was injured and died. Also, don’t mix goldfish and tropical fish in the same tank. The gold fish keep growing and can overpower and even sometimes eat the other fish, and create 10 times more waste than the smaller fish.” “Make sure you research the health problems that go with the certain breed, so you know what to expect. Our Pekingese/ Shitzu was only 3 when he was paralyzed with 2 disks gone in his back; turns out it goes with the breed. Expensive vet bills or putting the animal down was the only option. Happy to report he is still a part of the family and got about 80% of his usage back but do your research first.” Jen Hughes: “Try pet sitting someone else’s cat/dog/hamster/whatever for a weekend first to see how the family handles the added work. We are new dog owners and while I knew I was going to be the one

doing most of the care, I don’t think anyone else in the house realized how much I’d be bugging them to help me!” Alan Viau: “It is important to match the animal temperament with your family. We made sure that our cats, dogs, horses and even our llama were all easy going and relaxed... like we are. We’ve always had animals around and the kids have grown up appreciating them. My daughter predictably switched her attention from horses to boys when she grew into a teenager. So now I ride her horse. The kids’ cats became our cats when they left for post-secondary studies. In reality, you as parents are the ones who will deal with the pets, so you better like them too.”

Did you know that Capital Parent is on Facebook? Follow us at CapitalParent to connect with fellow parents and get the scoop about great family friendly events, recipes, and parenting news.

Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary Grades Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary Grades Before & after school supervisionElementary Grades To register or arrange a school Preschool, Kindergarten, BeforeFrench & after school supervision Extended program tour, please call or emailTo register or arrange a school Before & after school supervision Independent, school Extendednon-profit Frenchco-ed program Extended French program tour, please call or email Extracurricular programs including: skating, gymnastics, dance, science, jiu jitsu & violin co-ed school Independent, non-profit Extracurricular programs including: skating, gymnastics, Low student-to-teacher ratio Extracurricular programs including: skating, gymnastics, dance, science, jiu jitsu & violin Advanced preschool literacy program dance, science, jiu jitsu & violin Diverse international student community Low student-to-teacher ratio Low student-to-teacher 50 Vaughan Street, Flexible full & half day programsratio Advanced preschool literacy program Ottawa, ON K1M Enriched curriculum: Music,literacy Art, IT, French, Spanish Advanced preschool program



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Parenting blogs we love: My Ottawa Life BY LYNN JATANIA


elanie Kealey of My Ottawa Life ( is always open to the new – new foods, new experiences, new thoughts. She’s excited about the world, fascinated by beauty, and always looking to expand her horizons. When she started her blog, she loved to share things she’d learned about home cooking, photography, and design. But this past year, something really new happened: she became a mom. Since her adorable son Julian was born, the learning curve has gotten a bit steeper – but quite a bit more fun, too. Melanie is always willing to tackle her new family life with an upbeat spin and a happy smile, and her stories of home life with Baby J radiate with warmth and affection. She hasn’t let new motherhood slow down her love of adventure at all, either – with baby in a carrier, she and her husband have already ventured on a few trips around Ontario, and have great tips to share on taking baby to hotels, restaurants, and parties with friends.

Melanie still manages to keep up with her love of food and photography, too. Her blog is a beautiful place full of gorgeous shots of her family, her friends, and best of all, delicious dishes she’s prepared herself. It’s sensible, simple, tasty food that will give you that Mom’s Kitchen feel, with plenty of meat-free options, and even some mixed drinks ideas for days when you’re up for a bit of a celebration. Of course, life with a new baby isn’t always sunshine and roses, but even on those tired, difficult days, Melanie can always turn things into a learning experience, finding the positive in every situation. As her family grows, we’re along for the journey, and we can all bask in the glow of this beautiful Ottawa life.

Noteable Quotes “I can’t help but feel a little sad that summer seems to be officially over, and it’s getting cooler and

Find furry friendship!

crisp, especially at night with the sun sinking earlier and earlier each day. I’m excited for fall colours and clean fresh air and Halloween but I’m loving all the things we’re able to do outside right now. This past weekend was normal and really nice. I went for a long rambling walk with one of my best friends and even though we got caught in a rainy drizzle, we also walked and walked and had fancy coffees and talked about everything. I’m getting ready to start Baby J on solids this month so I wanted to hear her experience and advice. It’s pretty amazing how much I’ve learned and am learning this year. When I think back to the early days and weeks of mamahood, I would do lots of little things differently now that I have a better handle on it, but I’d also do it all the same. Because I’ve just learned so much to get to where I am now. And solid food is the next learning curve to tackle – advice welcome!”

Meet Melanie Kealey of My Ottawa Life.


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Register now for 2013/2014 School Year For information call (613) 722-7500




9:37 PM



arents and educators around the world know that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to guiding children’s development and learning. It is from this foundation that the Montessori system was developed and its principles and methodology continue to grow in popularity more than 100 years later. Celebrating individual uniqueness, Ottawa’s Montessori schools provide an environment where students happily learn, work and play together as they develop their skills along with respect and compassion for others and the world. Dr. Maria Montessori believed that even for very young children, education should be about much more than simply acquiring academic knowledge. She developed a method which emphasizes independence, choice, freedom within limits and an innate respect for children’s natural social, physical and psychological development. Under this framework, Montessori schools strive to help students as young as 18 months begin to develop creativity, self-esteem, problem solving, critical thinking and self-discipline. A cornerstone of the Montessori Method is that each child should be allowed to develop and learn at their own pace and rhythm, according to their individual capabilities, interests and needs. Classrooms emphasize choice and discovery, guided by certified teachers and using carefully designed materials at different levels of ability. Hands-on, experiential

learning takes priority, allowing children to experience concepts in a concrete, sensory way. Montessori schools offer mixed-age-group classrooms in which children of differing education levels, abilities, and ages are grouped together and taught to learn from one another. Younger children quickly begin to emulate the older children’s attitudes, skills and behaviour, and older children get the opportunity to reinforce their knowledge, empathy and social skills by helping and mentoring the younger ones. This multi-age interaction not only facilitates learning at one’s own speed, it is also one of the most cherished elements of a Montessori classroom. Montessori schools are praised for inspiring confidence and nurturing children’s innate desire for learning, discovery, and social interaction skills. This occurs in an environment where teachers serve as encouraging guides, rather than traditional instructors, thereby engaging and supporting the individual child. One of the greatest outcomes of a Montessori education is that children learn how to learn, discovering that the process of acquiring new skills, knowledge and experience can be as fun as it is rewarding and enriching. Best of all, the habits and skills which a child develops in a Montessori classroom last a lifetime and are usually accompanied by a lifelong enthusiasm for the pursuit of knowledge. C C M M Y Y



Westboro Montessori School

307 Richmond Rd. & 387 Danforth Ave. • Ottawa, Ontario 613.321.0788/ 613.670.0712 •

Toddler and Bilingual Casa/Primary Programs Toddler level: 18 – 36 months Casa/Primary level: 3 to 6 years old

Where children are inspired to make a difference NOVEMBER 2013 11


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PARENT TO PARENT top 5 books



any kinds of animals migrate, including birds, mammals, amphibians and even insects. Some of their stories are really fascinating too. For example, did you know that some birds fly incredible distances when they migrate? The Arctic Tern travels between its Arctic breeding grounds and the Antarctic each year. That’s 19,000 km each way! These top picks come from Kristina Roudiy at the St-Laurent Branch of Ottawa Public Library.


Is This Panama? A migration story, by Jan Thornhill (Ages 5-8)


Ookpik: the Travels of a Snowy Owl, by Bruce Hiscock (Ages 6-10)

Top toy picks BY ANITA GRACE

Fur Real Friends: Cuddles My Giggly Monkey

is a delightful plush toy that responds to touch and motion through a variety of sounds and actions. Swing her by her arms and she’ll say ‘Whee!’ Put her bottle in her mouth and she’ll make sucking noises and want to be burped. Toy testers with the Canadian Toy Testing Council (CTTC) went bananas for Cuddles, and kids age 4+ gave her a top 3-star approval.

When Sammy, a young Wilson’s warbler, wakes up one frosty August morning near the Arctic Circle, he realizes he is alone. Sammy sets off on his journey, stopping to ask various animals that he meets along the way: “Is this Panama?” From the caribou heading to his winter forest to the monarch butterflies flitting to Mexico, every animal has a different destination and different advice for Sammy.

CTTC volunteer testers try out newly released toys every year and their feedback is compiled into the annual Toy Report, which will be available at in November.

Ookpik, “snowy owl” in the Inuit language, grows up during a short Arctic summer when prey is scarce. His instincts tell him to fly South, over the great forests of Canada, and into the USA. Hiscock’s vivid watercolours depict the changing landscape, from treeless Baffin Island to the dairy country of eastern NY. Includes additional details on snowy owls.

Bird, Butterfly, Eel, by James Prosek (Ages 5-10)

3 4

Bird, Butterfly, and Eel spend their summers on the same coastal farm, but in the fall they go to very distant and different places. Prosek uses their incredible journeys and his own sun-kissed paintings to introduce young readers to the basic elements of bird, fish, and insect migration. The author hopes that the reader “…will want to protect them for future generations of humans to stare at in wonder.”

Great Migrations: Whales, Wildebeests, Butterflies, Elephants, and other Amazing Animals on the Move, by Elizabeth Carney for National Geographic Kids (Ages 8-10) Many animals make annual migrations, from the army ant to the sperm whale. These incredible stories of strength and survival are magnificently documented in Great Migrations, the children’s illustrated companion to the upcoming 7-hour National Geographic movie. Scientist and other experts also address the effect of climate change on animal migration.

Silverwing, by Kenneth Oppel (Ages 9-12)


Shade, a newborn silverwing bat, is blown away from the rest of his colony by a storm on his first annual winter migration. Now he has to find his own way to the winter colony to survive. He must face dangers such as owls, rats, cold weather, meat-eating, tropical rainforest bats and the uncertainty of what humans intend regarding the banded bats. This is the first volume in a thrilling adventure trilogy.

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Brigida and Fortunato Aversa and twins Estella and Antonino (3) live in

Riverside South. They are Ottawa natives who love their city and fall is their favourite time of year. It’s their family’s tradition to go to Millers’ Farm to pick out a pumpkin, a bushel of apples and their famous pumpkin pie.



family snaps

We’d like to see your BEST family photos! Submit your favourites and you might see one or two in a future issue. For more details go to

If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping in the same room as a mosquito.

- Proverb

Our family calendar Enriched Bread Artists open house October 24 – November 3 Enriched Bread Artists (EBA) is a collective of diverse Ottawa artists who work out of a former bread factory on Gladstone Avenue. EBA artists host an open house every year, and it makes a great family outing. There’s always something interesting to see and talk about. You can meet the artists, snoop around their workspaces and of course, get up close and personal with all kinds of creative projects. And it’s free! For specific dates and times go to openhouse.htm

52nd annual Rockcliffe Park Book Fair November 1-3 This is the best time of year to stock up on new reading material, and it’s great to be able to do it on the cheap. Here’s your chance to browse










editor ’s


through thousands of good-quality used books, videos, DVDs, CDs and games for all ages. Books are restocked daily. Don’t miss the café and kids’ craft table. For more information contact or go to

Kick IT – a dance club for kids November 2 The Centrepointe Studio Theatre will be converted into a hip hoppin’ dance club for children age four to ten. It’s a great opportunity for kids to get the wiggles out and show off their best moves... or learn new ones from the Centrepointe dance crew! While the kids are groovin’ on the dance floor, mom and dad can hang out in the Big Kids Coffee Bar or shake it up with the kids. Tickets are $5 and are only available at the Centrepointe Theatre Box Office or by calling 613-580-2700.

Ottawa StoryTellers Children’s Festival November 9 - 10 Celebrate the art of storytelling at the 2013 Ottawa StoryTellers Festival. There are a variety of activities planned at the NAC and at Library and Archives Canada. Most are free. The Children’s Storytelling Workshop sounds fabulous. It’s called “Recycling Words” and takes place on Sunday. Children will learn how to adapt, recreate and put a new twist into traditional tales and develop their own classic stories to thrill friends and family. For more information (as well as advance registration info) go to www.

Remembrance Day November 11 There will be several events to commemorate Remembrance Day in Ottawa but the National Remembrance Day ceremony at the

National War Memorial downtown is perhaps the biggest and most recognized. For details go to: Wherever you are, don’t forget to take a moment to remember.

Ottawa Senators Hockeyfest November 23 and 24 Explore and enjoy all things hockey! Fans of all ages will be able to meet former NHLers, take photos with great hockey trophies, test out their hockey skills and new equipment, nab deals on used equipment, and more. Buy tickets online at and save. We want to hear from you! Do you know of an event that Capital Parents would like to hear about? Submit your information to NOVEMBER 2013 15

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Capital Parent November 2013  

Ottawa parenting newspaper

Capital Parent November 2013  

Ottawa parenting newspaper