Here’s to the dog days of summer

Lynn Valley is a place where some days it seems like the trails are filled with just as many dogs as people. With the luxury of green space and yards there are many, many furry members of the community. With more families welcoming canines into their homes Lynn Valley dog trainer Valerie Barry is leading the charge to make your transition as smooth as possible, especially if you are moving from a couple with a dog to a family with a dog.


New resources for owners


Unlike many professions, those related to pets in B.C. are unregulated (some do have licencing). The BC SPCA AnimalKind launched its accreditation program in 2018 to offer some guidance to owners on humane, science-based training programs. 

“No dog professions [walkers, trainers, boarders] are regulated, which is a concern,” said Barry. “And the appropriate ways to train are not the the most popular ways to train. The SPCA’s initiative is important because it raises public awareness. Prior to this there were no standards. Having never experienced a dog, you can get some business cards and buy a google ad and get started.” 

The rise of pop-culture adoration for “leader-of-the-pack” training, à la Cesar Millan, has lead to popularity of punishment-based training, said Barry. She also cites a popular 1960s wolf study that does not pass scientific rigour that falsely promote dogs as pack animals. She also raises concern about balance training, which Barry says is deeply worrying because they will do anything to train dogs.

“They have great marketing techniques and terms that sound good,” said Barry. “Positive trainers will say they are positive trainers and we will use food to train your dog. Punitive trainers won’t tell you what they are going to do, they just give you magical sounding buzzwords.”

Without a program like the SPCA, people have to turn to Google and are surprised to find the trainer is going to use a shock collar and not knowing anything about dogs you’d be surprised what people go along with, says Barry. 

“If my dog is barking and I use a shock collar it appears to work, however there is that reinforcement that causes the dog to associate children, or mountain bikers, or joggers or whatever with pain because they are continually hurt in the presence of that something,” she said.

Positive training or rewards-based training are humane and based in science, said Barry. 

“It’s interesting when I go to visit families, often I will get the response of ‘That is what I do with my kids.’” 

Both Barry’s website Dog Partners and SPCA’s AnimalKind offer resources of positive training methods. 


Families, neighbourhoods and dogs


A walk in Lynn Valley is bound to encounter a dog or two, we love our four-legged friends here. 

“We have got fantastic trails, most of the spaces are dog friendly – you are allowed to bring your dog on leash – even the fantastic square at Lynn Valley Village,” said Barry. “On the trails people are friendly and willingly to help accommodate you as you work with your dog to train it.” 

However, one common source of conflict in Lynn Valley Barry hears about is trail interactions – especially between unleashed dogs and families. She has two big tips: always ask owners to call back their dogs – something the dog should respond to, and carry dog treats in your pocket. 

“Dogs respond to energy, so if you are scared or your kids are scared, the dog is barking – I would throw food in its face,” she said. “An owner may ask why you are feeding their dog, and explain if the dog had respond to its call or been trained you wouldn’t have but you are allowed to stop the dog from barking at or jumping on your children. 

“It can be good to ‘train’ your kids how to encounter a dog. Ask your kids to walk behind you and explain you are waiting to see if the dog is friendly. Running around and screaming will get a dog amped up – asking your kids to maintain stillness with you will calm the situation down. Asking a dog to sit can also work – especially if you have treats.” 

She also suggests being aware of the trails most popular for dog walkers and the times they frequent the trails. This time of year it is busiest from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. she said.

A personal passion for Barry is supporting families as they add a dog to their household or young dog-owners who are parents to be. 

“One of the things I am most concerned about is children and dogs,” said Barry. “I am concerned when I hear from a client that they are expecting a baby in three weeks and they have a dog that has been biting people for seven years. We need to get the information out to people who are going to have children that they need to prepare their dogs or prepare children for the addition of a dog.”

Her blog has a wealth of information on these topics – with the ultimate goal being to have happy kids and a happy dog. 

Photos courtesy of Dogpartners.ca.


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Live and local 2019

The popular neighbourhood Live and Local concert series is returning again to Lynn Valley Village. Each week there are two events hosted by the North Vancouver Recreation and Culture Commission. 

Events take place Wednesdays 6 – 8 p.m. and Fridays  7 – 9 p.m.


July


5 Terminal Station Blues Rock 7 – 9 p.m. 

10 Fell the Beat – Move to the smooth and beautiful sounds of Rosewood’s Marimba ensemble. 6 – 8 p.m.

12 Cayla Brooke  Jazz/Blues 7 – 9 p.m. 

17 Music & Magic – An evening of cheer with interactive crafts, magic and youth band Sm:)e. 6 – 8 p.m.

19 R&B Conspiracy Classic Rhythm & Blues 7 – 9 p.m. 

24 Starry Night – Enjoy the Mojo Stars, an R&B tinged blues-rock that is guaranteed to get everyone out of their seats. 6 – 8 p.m.

26 Wooden Horsemen Folk & Blues 7 – 9 p.m. 

31 SHINE Young Artists Music Showcase – Join a showcase of the North Shore’s up and coming talent from Creativ Music Centre, backed up by a live band. 6 – 8 p.m.


August


2 Smith & Jones Country Rock 7 – 9 p.m. 

7 Jazzy Tunes – Join East Vancouver’s unique carnival band, Tiny Islands, to learn about brass instruments through their upbeat, can’t-sit-still jazz tunes. 6 – 8 p.m.

9 Trésor Otshudi World Music 7 – 9 p.m. 

14 Roots and Rhythm – Create community with an African drum circle and learn new instruments with JOJY Music 6 – 8 p.m.

16 Big Easy Funk Ensemble New Orleans Funk  7 – 9 p.m. 

21 Hands on Fun – Creative clay play, active circus arts and make your own bouncy ball.  An Interactive event for everyone! 6 – 8 p.m.

23 Platform Soul Disco Funk 7 – 9 p.m. 

For more information visit Lynn Valley Village’s FACEBOOK or check out this video.

Year three of rockbreaking on Seymour River

The Seymour Salmonid Society is marking a “mile-stone” of sorts July 10th. The organization is inviting the public and other guests to join them in society’s Rockslide Opening Ceremony. 


Rockbreaking Opening Ceremony


“We are hoping this is our last summer of the rockslide mitigation project,” said Reese Fowler, volunteer coordinator for the Seymour Salmonid Society.

The society is leading a walk July 10th at 1 p.m. from the north end of Riverside Drive to the presentation site for 1:30 p.m. at  Fisherman’s Trail. There will be presentations from partners like the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, government representatives and other stakeholders. 

“Part of the reason the ceremony is where it is, is because it overlooks the actual site,” said Fowler. “Anyone coming up can see the scar on the side of the canyon and the boulders in the river. Some of these rocks are huge – one of them is called a house rock because it is a big as a house. Others used to be the size of a car and our aim is to blast them down to the size of a microwave.” 


The slide


An early morning in December 2014 saw nature dramatically change the Seymour River. The normal freeze-thaw cycle created a dramatic rock fall. About 80,000 cubic metres of rock entered the river with about 30,000 washing away and leaving 50,000 cubic metres in the river. 

“A rockslide broke off the canyon walls and completely blocked the river channel,” said Fowler. “It created a lake upstream of the river. The big thing is it prevented returning salmon and steelhead from being able to move up the watershed to be able spawn.”

This lead to some creative planning and a multi-year project to re-open the channel and improve young salmon habitat.

“The Society has been managing a project of rock drilling and rock blasting so we can get salmon into the upper watershed again. This is the third year and hopefully the last,” said Fowler. “In the last three years we have also been doing a Trap and Truck program in the lower river. When the salmon arrive in to the river they are captured in nets and taken to trucks and physically moved upstream of the rockslide and released. It’s a lot of manual labour and volunteer assistance to get that to happen. Some fish are taken to the hatchery as well as for breed stock to support the number of salmon that are able to spawn naturally in the river.”

The ongoing project has seen a number of highs and lows. 

“Last year was a very poor salmon run,” said Fowler. “We managed to only move 140 fish to the upper river, but in 2017 we were able to get close to 2000. We are hoping this is the last year with trap and truck and that next year the fish will be able to move up naturally. The hope is that we will have spawning salmon in the river in the years to come.”


Restoring habitat


The opening of the Seymour River is one part of a larger plan to improve the habitat for salmon.  

“We have drilling contractors there during the week drilling holes and at the end of the week they fill up the holes with explosives and they set off the charge,” said Fowler. “They repeat to create a smoother path. For the salmon it’s about gradient, it can’t be too steep or have too big a jump. We are trying to smooth it to about a 7 per cent gradient.

“During the summer we do rock breaking but the rocks are in still in the channel. In the fall when the heavy rains come we let the river do it’s natural cleaning process and move those rocks along. We hope there will be some decent rain and it will flush the remaining rocks out and clear a path that will enable the salmon to through.” 


Community in action


Besides the paid professionals dealing with the slide, there is also a roster of 950 volunteers that support the Seymour Salmonid Society throughout the year. The rockslide project has a budget of about $1.2 million – all from donations and government support. 

“It’s a lot money but its a drop in the bucket for the wider ecosystem restoration we are trying to do,” said Fowler. “Creating passage is one thing but you then have to create the habitat to spawn in as well. It’s about creating off-channel habitats – river gravels and ponded areas so the young salmon and steelhead can live. They live in fresh water for a year before they move out of the system into the ocean. We create the habitat for the young fish to grow to a decent size and survive the two to three years they need to before returning.”

 The Society is working on 40,000 square metres of habitat compensation in the 15 km river between the mouth and the Seymour dam. 

“It’s an interesting dynamic here in that the Seymour River is quite a steep sided valley so there aren’t a lot of the flat areas next to the channel to find those spots and create that habitat,” said Fowler. “It’s a challenge but most of the spots we have found can be used to increase that habitat area.”

To learn more about the Seymour Salmonid Society visit its website. For more information on the July 10th Rockslide Opening Ceremony visit their Facebook page

Images courtesy of the Seymour Salmonid Society and Sage Fly Fish.

Loving Zambia from Lynn Valley

Argyle student Hope Pearmain and her mom Debbie are returning to Zambia at the end of June. It’s a story of fate, coincidence or a divine plan depending on your point of view.


Project Samuel


Today, the Lynn Valley family is supporting the education of 24 orphans in Africa, after a Texa’s businessman went to Zambia was compelled to make a difference 2006. His young son, Brenden Vowell, now leads Project Samuel and later met – and went on to marry – a North Vancouver girl, Kim Close. It was Pearmain’s relationship with Close that brought the family to Zambia last summer.

Hope Pearmain

The Pearmains spent a few weeks in the Chibombo District, three hours north from the capital of Lusaka, at Project Samuel.

“It’s super rural,” said Debbie. “It’s like living in the 19th Century. They don’t have electricity. They cook over open fires. They wash their clothes by hand in tubs. The people live in a basic hut structure.”

The small organization started by the Vowell family sits on 257 acres of land with four homes with hopes of making a difference in the lives of some of the 1.4 million Zambian orphans (that’s 10 percent of its 14 million population).

“We are used to seeing homeless people here that are usually adults or maybe teenagers and that is upsetting but over there, there are five – six – seven-year-old kids running around the streets homeless,” she said. “It’s tragic.”

Project Samuel is a youth revitalization project aiming to raise leaders who will stay and rebuild their nation, said Debbie. With such a big challenge Brenden, then in his early 20’s took custody of 24 children – choosing to take full responsibility and invest totally in improving the lives of those children and their communities. The Pearmains arrived last year to help the Vowells as they welcomed their first birth child and learn more about the project.  It was a life changing experience.


Starting with education


Debbie Pearmain

The Pearmains were naturally drawn to schools in the area in part because their children, then 12 and 15, could relate strongly but also, dad, Mark, is the superintendent of the North Vancouver School District. Schools are little more than walls and roof with a painted blackboard – and expensive, said Debbie.

“Here every child has the right to an education,” explained Debbie. “In Zambia that’s not how it works. It costs $80 USD a term [including uniforms, supplies, tuition and supplies] and the average family lives on one US dollar a day.”    

With a background in HR corporate training and coaching Debbie joined Mark at a number of professional days for Zambian teachers.

“Education is expensive and the dropout rates are high,” she said. “Then in Grade 7 the government begins to mandate exams but the students don’t have the literacy levels to be successful.”

Children in a classroom.

They spent one teacher enrichment day just teaching how to teach an exam that students had never been able to pass.

“Everyone showed up – all the teachers, even the vice principal,” she said. “They are working so hard but without the resources and training they need.”

Even Hope stepped into to teach.

“Hope had a Grade 10 education and was actually in one of the schools teaching because we went into one of the classrooms and they were working on a math problem that no one could solve,” said Debbie. “As a mom I had tears streaming down my face because I was so proud.”


The vision is long


Teacher enrichment.

Last summer’s trip had a deep impact on the Pearmains.

“When we came home we sat down with our kids and said ‘We have had this experience, so now what? What do you want to do?’” she said. “We decided as a family our mission will be to keep these kids in school. We can’t help everyone we saw – but we can help these 24 kids at Project Samuel.”

It’s a plan that was quickly supported by people in Lynn Valley and across the North Shore.

“We did some small fundraisers with family and friends and we have raised enough money for two years for all the kids to go school,” said Debbie. “There are crazy stories of people helping us – reaching out on social media. Random people who I haven’t talked to in 20 years sent us cheques.”

North Vancouver donations.

Pearmain highlights the donations of Park and Tilford Cobs Breads for their support of bake sales and the ongoing support of Dave Smith of SmithWerks Carpet and Upholstery Care and the North Shore Alliance Church. Even Grade 5 and 6 students at Vancouver Christian School raised $5000 at their entrepreneur fair. Plus local Lynn Valley families who have donated soccer gear and necessities, including the North Shore Girls Soccer, North Van Football Club as well as the Argyle PAC. These donations are important part of a soccer outreach program in the rural villages, said Debbie.

With Hope asking to go back, the Pearmains wanted to do even more.

“The system isn’t perfect but we have so much here in North Vancouver. We are blessed to have the North Vancouver Literacy Centre. We’ve got this unbelievable resource that we were connected to because our son struggled with reading,” Debbie said. “I started meeting with Susan McLean  – she has put resources together and has been teaching me how to teach reading.”

The year has been spent creating curriculum for students as well as professional development for teachers. It’s not all business though. There were be plenty of soccer games, movie nights, community days and picnics. The long term goal for Project Samuel is to help more children, be self-sufficient and earn income with its farm and ultimately help create a stronger Zambia.

“My personal mission is to do anything here in North Vancouver I can to get the word out. There are 24 kids who will need to go to college. There are two graduating this year. I want to send each child to college – $1500-2000USD commitment per year per child. They have 24 kids to help. If people want to partner with us on this they can receive tax donations and email me for more information,” said Debbie.

“My vision is long. Not only do I want to see them read and finish high school but I want them to be able to give back to their communities and help break the cycle of poverty for their families in the future. It’s unbelievable – the kids have such dreams but they don’t even know all their options – they don’t know what they could be dreaming about.”

To learn more about Project Samuel visit its website or reach out to Debbie.

To donate go to: icmsgo.com. Then click: DONATE, select: Canada, agency: project Samuel Foundation, supporting: children and project giving.


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Father’s Day 2019

June is here and it’s been a fantastic spring. With what little rain we have had sticking to the weekdays, the weekends have been perfect for fun. Cross your fingers Father’s Day weekend will be just the same.


Go fish


fishingThe weekend to celebrate Dads also marks BC Family Fishing Weekend.

During BC’s Family Fishing Weekend free fishing events for anglers and families are held around the province. This is your opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors with loved ones and learn the joys of fishing. Knowledgeable volunteers are on-hand to teach you the tricks of the trade. In addition, Canadian residents can fish licence-free for the entire three days (but certain rules do apply – see the Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis for details).   

Members of the Seymour Salmonid Society will be at Rice Lake June 16 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.


Lynn Valley Village


Lynn Valley Village is hosting its annual Father’s Day contest.  Local merchants have put together quite the gift basket for one local Dad. Visit the Lynn Valley Village website to enter.


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.