Ethical Responsibility

Our Dedication

Russell Lake Animal Hospital is committed to animal welfare, the ethical treatment of animals, and strengthening the human-animal bond.

Learn more about the projects below.

In a dignified and loving way, the Dignity Project aims to showcase the elderly canine as a long-time companion and family member. Often, it serves as the last recorded memoir of a cherished friend. The Paw Project provides information on feline declawing to raise awareness of the long-term pain this seemingly minor surgery causes.

Learn more about The Dignity Project

Started in April 2014, DIGNITY is a fine-art photo project on senior canines done in collaboration between photographer Robert MacLellan and ElderDog Canada. Some 40 senior dogs have been photographed at various spaces donated across NS, with but a handful of sample images as yet released. Spring of 2015 sees the project’s shooting stage entering its final stages, after which images will be chosen by ElderDog to be used in various forms.

“The project is designed to draw attention to the issues facing senior dogs by highlighting their grace, dignity and stalwart nature. If you think of aging silver screen stars (some of whom have sadly since passed away) getting together to help their fellows in less fortunate circumstances, you’ll get the idea.

However, unlike so many photo projects regarding older animals, we designed DIGNITY to show these seniors as their caregivers, veterinarians and ourselves, as photographers, see them. Not the way the creative community sadly so often portrays them.

Each dog, without exception, would be photographed no differently than would be a human senior.

The goal was to respect our models, not to exploit their often decades of loyal companionship and any medical challenges in order to ‘get eyeballs’. There would be no cherry-picking models, no use of lighting, camera angles or funky processing to emphasize their signs of aging, illness or injury. In short, there’d be no digital artifice used to elicit unwarranted sympathy.

While getting air -time in today’s hyper-saturated ‘social media environment is tough, it wasn’t a hard choice to make.”

– Robert MacLellan

Robert MacLellan
phone: 902.957.0564
facebook: robert.maclellan.photograpgher

ElderDog Canada
phone: 1.888.336.4226
facebook: ElderDog

Learn more about The Paw Project

Russell Lake Animal Hospital does not offer declaw surgery.

Declawing is a series of bone amputations. Declawing is more accurately described by the term de-knuckling and is not merely the removal of the claws, as the term “declawing” implies. In humans, fingernails grow from the skin, but in animals that hunt prey, the claws grow from the bone; therefore, the last bone is amputated, so the claw cannot re-grow. The last bone of each of the ten front toes of a cat’s paw is amputated. The tendons, nerves, and ligaments that enable normal function and movement of the paw are severed. An analogous procedure applied to humans would be cutting off each finger at the last joint. Declawing, also known as onychectomy (än-ik-ek-tō-mē), is a major surgical and potentially crippling procedure that robs an animal of its primary means of defence. Declawed animals may be at increased risk of injury or death if attacked by other animals. They are deprived of their normal, instinctual behavioural impulses to use their claws to climb, exercise, and mark territory with the scent glands in their paws.

While some felines will have immediate complications from the procedure, it may be many months or years before the damaging effects of declawing become obvious. Declawing may result in permanent lameness, arthritis, and other long-term complications.

There are humane alternatives to declawing.

There are many options available to prevent cats from harming furniture that does not involve surgery. These include training, nail trimming and nail caps. We would be delighted to have the opportunity to discuss them with you and find the best method that would fit you and your cat.

Family members with compromised immunity:

People with compromised immune systems do NOT need to declaw their cats. Declawing cats to prevent human illness is not recommended by the Center for Disease Control, the US Public Health Service, the National Institutes of Health, or infectious diseases experts. This information has been taken, with permission, from the Paw Project Website.

More information can be found by clicking here.