Freckles leans against the door to her kennel and looks at me. She presses her head into the wire mesh. I go over and say hello, scratch her ear through the mesh. She sinks to the ground on her back, waits for a belly rub. "I'll be back in a bit," I say to her as I've got a couple of other dogs to walk first. She looks at me like I've done her wrong.

Later, I take Freckles out with another volunteer who's walking Delia. Delia's a pipsqueak. The two want to play but leashes get tangled and Freckles steps on Delia. I pull Freckles back but Delia keeps barking at Freckles to keep playing. Freckles wants to oblige so she pulls. Leashes tangle. Freckles steps on Delia. Repeat. It's too bad the management at Exhibition Place won't oblige Toronto Animal Services by allowing them to put up a fenced in run. It would be fun to watch Freckles and Delia off leash in supervised play.

Freckles is adorable. I don't how anyone could've given her up. Maybe there's a sad story there. Well, any story with a dog being abandoned is a sad story but you know what I mean. I'm pretty sure the next chapter is going to be very different for Freckles. I'm pretty sure whoever gets Freckles next is going to hang onto her for life.






The best way to check on the adoption status of this dog (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit Toronto Animal Services adoption website or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter. If the dog is no longer on the TAS adoption website, it's probably because it's been adopted already.



Delia's so frickin happy to be outside with her pal Freckles, she could burst - and quite often she does with a round of yaps imploring Freckles to play. Freckles obliges by getting down to Delia's level and paws her but Delia scuttles around to avoid the descending foot and leashes get tangled and Delia gets stepped on by Freckles - which might put off some small dogs but not Delia. She wants more, size differences be damned even if Freckles is ten times more massive.

Delia's only seven months old. Brave little one and cutest pup I've seen in ages.





The best way to check on the adoption status of this dog (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit Toronto Animal Services adoption website or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter. If the dog is no longer on the TAS adoption website, it's probably because it's been adopted already.



Every few steps Samantha stops, frozen by anxieties caused by environmental stressors only she perceives and then I have to gently lift her up and push her along a couple of steps before she'll move on her own again. It takes a while for us to reach the door then it takes a while longer to reach a spot where I can photograph her.

Samantha is probably related one way or another to Brandy as she was rescued from the same breeding factory as Brandy but unlike Brandy, Samantha is actually a little more outgoing despite her hesitancy with walking on a leash. Someone will fall for her, no doubt, and with a little TLC, she'll be sparkling.

This lovely, unassuming girl has been transferred to Speaking of Dogs rescue and she is available for adoption through them: http://speakingofdogs.com/available-dogs/.





"You're gonna want to muzzle that one when you walk him. He's a nipper. He's just playing but he'll go after the leash and then he'll go after ..." and the other volunteer walker points to her sleeve where it looks like there might be a tear. But I don't muzzle him. I grab the chain lead instead.

Harvey leans in as I scratch his soft floppy ears. All hounds are love hounds. I leash him up no problem. He tests the metal chain with his mouth, decides it's not worth it and that's it for his bad behaviour, other than as soon as we're outside, he pulls like a hound chasing a scent, which is what he is and so he is his nature.

Harvey came into the shelter in January with an injured foot which required surgery so he's been there a while. He's got a lot of pent up energy built up from the last four months of living in a kennel. When we first walk outside, he's hyper, trying to gather up every scent in the air, wants to go in every direction. Ten minutes later, he's settled, still pulling but in just one direction, not zigzagging.

At first, I think he might one of those eager dogs who cannot be distracted when on scent but he pays attention as soon as I bring out the snacks. Well good, I think. So he can be trained with the right incentives. Well, I mean any dog can be trained with the right incentives. Someone just has to want to try.

Harvey gives me a smile and I take his picture. Looks like he wants to try. Just needs the other half to help him along.





The best way to check on the adoption status of this dog (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit Toronto Animal Services adoption website or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter. If the dog is no longer on the TAS adoption website, it's probably because it's been adopted already.



Romeo jumps, puts his paws up on the desk at front reception. "He needs surgery on his elbows, might be thousands of dollars. Who's gonna want to take on that responsibility?" someone tells me. But I don't see it, not yet. He's a big fellow and right now he's just happy to be out of his kennel and visiting his friends behind the desk on his way outside.

The sun's been trying to make an impression all morning. I can feel the warmth of it trying to fight back the chill of the wind. Romeo doesn't care to express any thoughts on such nuances. He just wants to greet everyone we pass so he pulls toward them. Not well trained, this guy, and it wouldn't have taken much, him being a Shepherd, if only his previous owner had bothered. Romeo pulls and people back off. All they see is a big dog straining on its leash trying to get to them. Who can blame the nervous ones?

I take him to a shaded area amongst some pines. I take his photo. He's almost two but he's got the one ear up, one ear down look of a pup. I wonder if he'll get a chance to see both his ears fully upright.

On the way back, he starts to limp. He's on pain meds but even this short walk was too much for him. He still pulls, though, trying to make new friends with passers-by. People, with their wishful weather thinking and thus under dressed for the day, pull their thin jackets and sweaters tighter around themselves against these late winter winds. I look up and the clouds are winning the day. Romeo and I walk back into the shelter.





The best way to check on the adoption status of this dog (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit Toronto Animal Services adoption website or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter. If the dog is no longer on the TAS adoption website, it's probably because it's been adopted already.



A couple of photos of Brandy, now Hope, in her new home. She's doing great.




Brandy needs to be carried outside because she is terrified. She's been a breeder dog all her life at some puppy mill and her owner finally decided to relinquish her when he figured she wasn't any more use to him. Well, at least he didn't shoot her or worse like millers tend to do.

She's like a pose-able doll. I place her down and that is the position she holds. Frozen, uncertain. I pick her up and lay her down on the blanket and she lies there. She is outside. She hasn't been outside her whole life. She is nine years old. Only her head moves from side to side as she looks around. This is some scary stuff, so she shakes. I take some photos, take a video and that's enough for this session.


Back inside, we sit on the couch in reception. Brandy's head is on my lap but it's at least ten minutes before she stops shaking. Every time a dog walks by, she perks up a bit, tail wags a bit.

Brandy's in a foster home with Speaking of Dogs right now, and available for adoption to someone with enough time and a big enough heart to see her through this transition to a better life.

Here's her link for more info: http://speakingofdogs.com/available-dogs/ (click on the Brandy link when you get there).





Benjamin, with his new haircut, on his way to his new home:



Best guess is Darryl Dixon is Hound mixed with Great Dane. He's got the face and the long lanky legs of a Great Dane and the colouring of a Hound. The Hound in him wants to chase the scent. The Dane in him wants to get cozy on the sofa. The Hound in him wants to keep his nose to the ground. The Dane wants to stand up and hang onto your shoulders. Two great dogs in one.




The best way to check on the adoption status of this dog (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit Toronto Animal Services adoption website or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter. If the dog is no longer on the TAS adoption website, it's probably because it's been adopted already.



Balto was bought as a puppy present for their child. When the child got tired of Balto, the parents dumped him off at TAS.

Now Balto is all about greeting his friends. When we walked by James, Balto turned and pulled me back toward him and then jumped up, paws on his chest and gave him a kiss before we could continue with the walk.





The best way to check on the adoption status of this dog (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit Toronto Animal Services adoption website or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter. If the dog is no longer on the TAS adoption website, it's probably because it's been adopted already.





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A request

The reason for this blog is to help get specific dogs adopted from TAS but equally important is to try to normalize the idea of shelter dogs being just as good and just as desirable as any other dogs including those which are regularly merchandised by backyard breeders, puppy millers and those few remaining pet store owners who still feel a need to sell live animals. The single greatest stigma shelter animals still face is the belief that shelter animals are substandard animals. Anyone who has had enough experience with shelter animals knows this is untrue but the general public hasn't had the same experiences you've had. They see a nice dog photo in a glossy magazine and too many of them would never think of associating that dog with a dog from a shelter. After all, no one abandons perfectly good dogs, right? Unfortunately, as we all know, perfectly good dogs are abandoned all the time.

The public still too often associates shelter dogs with images of beat up, sick, dirty, severely traumatized animals and while we definitely sometimes see victims such as these, they are certainly not the majority and, regardless, even the most abused animals can very often be saved and made whole again.

Pound Dogs sometimes discusses the sad histories some of the dogs have suffered. For the most part, though, it tries to present the dogs not as victims but as great potential family members. The goal is to raise the profiles of animals in adoption centers so that a potential pet owner sees them as the best choice, not just as the charity choice.

So, here's the favour I'm asking. Whenever you see a dog picture on these pages you think is decent enough, I'd like you to consider sharing it on Facebook or any other social media sites you're using (I know many of you do this already and thank you for that). And when you share it, please mention that the dog in the photo is a shelter dog like so many other shelter dogs waiting for a home. If we can get even five percent of the pet buying public to see shelter dogs differently, to see how beautiful they are and how wonderful they are, and to consider shelter dogs as their first choice for a new family member, we can end the suffering of homeless pets in this country.
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