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.



Grover has already been adopted, just this past weekend, but he's such a handsome lad and a real sweetie so here are his pics anyway.





All three kilos of Benjamin stands shivering in the wind as I take his photo on a cloudy Saturday afternoon. He smells the snacks I'm holding and puts on a brave face and takes what I offer him. It takes him almost thirty seconds to chew through a small piece of dog cookie then he looks up for more.

Someone left Benjamin in a park. They left his name tag on his collar but scratched out the phone number where I guess once upon a time they would've taken a call to inform them their dog was found. These days, not so much apparently.

Benjamin has been transferred to Speaking of Dogs Rescue so if you're interested in adopting him, you can get in touch with them through their website: Speaking of Dogs.







Lanny finds a stick, picks it up, shakes it, walks with it, quite happy until he sees a bigger stick. He drops the smaller stick beside the bigger one and looks at the two and then takes the bigger one. He shakes it, walks with it and he's quite happy until he sees an even bigger stick. He changes up sticks two more times until he's carrying around a plank.

Lanny's a bit of a puller on leash - nothing some good training can't change - but in the meanwhile, finding him a big log he can carry around might slow him down a bit.





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.



Freebie was found abandoned, a 7 month old Shih Tzu. A napkin with the words "Free Dog" written on it was attached to him.

Outside, he walks beside me, avoids the puddles, hardly pulls at all. When I crouch down, he stands uncertain for a moment then comes over, tail wagging. I check out his face. There's some hair loss there - only makes him look even more forlorn. I'm guessing anyone who was willing to dump the little guy in the middle of winter probably wasn't too careful about feeding him anything healthy.

I move a few stray hairs out from in front of his eyes and he wags his tail even faster.

"Someone's going to sweep you up, take you home, and never let you go," I tell him.






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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