We've been out in Prince Edward County the last few days. It was Simone's first time there and we were all excited she would get to spend a few days in the fresh air, open spaces and quiet. All the dogs who have gone out there have loved it, some more than others, sure, but no complaints.

Smitten is in love with the County. When we're there, she never wants to come back inside. We call her in but she just stands in place trying to decide if maybe she should just run away into the woods and forget about regular meals and a roof over her head. She loves the cold, the snow, the fields, the scents. We were out on the property and she chased a big rabbit into the bush and we were afraid she'd get lost so we yelled at her and made a commotion but she mainly stuck around and eventually came back. I'm thinking about getting a GPS tracking device to put on her collar.


Simone, on the other hand, didn't like the country much at all. Ground was too wet, generally too cold outside, too dark at night. Everything was kind of scary. On the days it snowed, she'd only walk a few minutes away from the house we were staying at and then stop and want to head back. The first time I let her off the leash, she went berserkers and started tearing around like a lunatic - I'd never seen her run so fast - and I thought she was really enjoying herself but then I realized she was just anxious and didn't know what to do. She ended up standing in front of the door waiting to get back inside.

On one short hike, Simone walked into some rose bushes and a thorn poked her in her nose and she started to bleed. She looked quite pathetic staring up at me with her big buggy eyes, not knowing how to get around the nasty plant, blood dripping from her nose. I thought she was going to cry.

Over the next few days, Simone got more comfortable outdoors but she still wasn't thrilled about the idea of going out for walks, especially at night. She didn't like that at all, walking around in near total darkness (it was cloudy so no moon). Her trepidation rubbed off on me and when a tree creaked, she'd jump and then I'd jump and then we'd both be heading back for the security of the porch light.

We're going to have to toughen her up.


I'll be posting up some recent photos of the Prince Edward County area at the PECE blog over the next few days.



Remember these pups? I'm not exactly sure which one is Barley in the old photos but in these new ones, it's pretty obvious, she's a lucky one.

From Barley's new owner:





She's doing really well! At first she was having issues with other dogs and would bark and nip at them. I'm proud to say we can go into the off-leash dog park now. If another dog is too rambunctious she'll bark and try to nip, but for the most part she runs around with a huge grin on her face chasing other dogs and barking for fun (we're working on this).

Tonight is our last level 1 obedience class. She's a star and definitely the teacher's pet. She's catching on really quickly and listens pretty well. Even when distracted by another dog in the off-leash park, I'd say she has an 80% recall rate, which is pretty great for a puppy. We're going to take level 2 when it starts in the new year.

She endured her first professional grooming experience. The mournful cries made me think she really thought I was leaving her for good. She looks a bit weird, but that's the groomer's fault. She discovered the window in the car last week (up til then, she sat and stared at the back of the seat). She still shies away from new people initially, but if they ignore her she comes around.

She's definitely a character. Into everything and a true "little sister" to Clover. She take every opportunity to annoy her ... like biting her foot when she's sleeping. Overall, she's come a long way and is a good addition to the house. We're still working out a few kinks - like the barking and peeing in the house (I'm so tired of cleaning up pee!).

If you're around the neighbourhood over the holidays and you're interested in seeing her, I can walk her by a park or Tango Coffee or some other place, so you can re-meet.

Happy holidays!




The first thing you notice are its eyes of course and the next thing is that this is one talkative pup. I don't think I've ever met a dog who had a continuous conversation with me even though I had no idea what it was saying because it sounded like the pup was talking in a combination of seal and Charlie Brown's teacher. Awr awrwah waah wah waah awr awr awr. If you know what that means, let me know.




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 or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter.




This sad little Terrier mix has got one eye bigger than the other and one ear up and one ear down - a rather lopsided dog is this girl. She's a sweet one, though - reminds me a bit of my own Simone in personality.



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 or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter.




Kudos to the woman who walked up to us while I was taking photos of Hercules and asked if she could meet him even though she thought he was a Pit Bull, which he obviously is not. He's a Mastiff mix of some sort but it does go to show how many people, even well intentioned ones, will call any big headed, short haired dog a Pit Bull and how that can easily lead to misidentification in cases of dog bites.

Hercules, though kinda giant-ish, is a big wussy and would more likely hide behind you than get out in front of you. The most dangerous thing about him is his extra large bowling ball head which he knocks into you when he wants pets.

He's got some serious looking scars on his face but I think that may be from a cat who beat him up when he was younger. Everyone's always pickin' on the big guys.




Hercules was spending a few days over Christmas at TAS South but will be available soon from Speaking of Dogs Rescue.



You know how some people make these smart, cute, beautiful Christmas cards with their family pets in them with pithy captions and all? I spent a few hours last week trying to do a Christmas card photo with the dogs in it. I had a few ideas and I was pretty sure one of them would work. I got everything ready and grabbed my camera.

"Smitty, Simone," I yelled at them. They were wrestling on the third floor, making a racket. As soon as they heard their names, the noise stopped and they scurried over to the stairs to come down to me. They turned the corner, then saw the camera and froze.

"Picture time," I said in my happy voice but they weren't buying it. I'm pretty sure they were wondering how long they could last up in the attic without food and water as long as they could avoid being photographed ever again.


I finally tempted them downstairs with their new favorite snack which is crunchy Christmas chicken feet. The best thing about crunchy Christmas chicken feet is they are chicken feet and they crunch and it's Christmas.



Also, I made them myself. Stole the idea from seeing dehydrated chicken feet sold in local pet stores as an alternative doggie snack to those potentially toxic chicken strips from China. I'd bought a bag of that stuff and the dogs went beserkers over them but it was pricey. So, after that bag was demolished, I bought some fresh chicken feet (they are every bit as gross as the name implies) by the pound at the chicken store, stuck them in the oven and a few hours later, voilĂ , crack for dogs.

My first photo idea was to just have the dogs posed in front of the leaf naked but adorned magnolia tree in the front yard. We got a big plastic bucket of a hundred Christmas baubles this year and they took an hour to hang and looked nice sparkling in the sunshine of the afternoon. The dogs, however, weren't impressed, especially Smitty who just wanted more chicken feet. It was at this point that I realized how very untrained and undisciplined my dogs were. I couldn't even get them to sit still for ten seconds. If they weren't such pathetically needy creatures, I'd definitely trade them in for gerbils.

Anyway, I took some shots and the pictures sucked. The shiny baubles were lost against the brick and branches and I couldn't get the dogs to not move and look into the camera at the same time. The ingrates didn't even pretend to care about their Christmas photo.


I moved on to idea two which was not only a Christmas photo idea but also a way to get rich. Everyone's buying those reindeer antlers to put on their dogs' heads right? Well, my idea was going to be just as popular. I was going to make bauble holders out of wire coat hangers and attach them to the dogs' collars. The idea was to have a Christmas bauble dangling by string over each of the dogs' heads. It would be hilarious.


I got the coat hangers, straightened them out then bent them into a shape I thought would work. I masking taped them to the dogs' collars and tried them on the dogs. With me holding everything in place, the contraptions looked good, looked like they might work.

I got the dogs into the backyard. I put the contraption on Simone. She wasn't very happy with it and started shaking her head trying to get rid of the dangling bauble but it only kept hitting her on the head and freaked her out more. With one hand, I tried calming her down while with the other I tried to get the collar on Smitten but Smitten could see what I had done to Simone and wasn't very impressed.

I managed to get the collar on Smitten but as soon as I let her go, she ran around the backyard like a lunatic and smashed the bauble along the fence and it went flying (luckily the baubles were all plastic so nothing sharp broke off) and then got the coat hanger contraption caught in some vines growing along the fence, pulled all the vines down and then the masking tape ripped and the coat hanger came off the collar.

Smitty is smiling in the photo below because she is very happy with herself and lording over the fact she isn't suffering the same indignities as Simone.


My final idea was to just put winter hats on the dogs and photograph them. Stella and Rocky were always fine with winter hats so I figured it would be the same with Simone and Smitten.

Wrong.

Simone's head was too small for the hat I had so I had to stuff newspaper into it to give it some shape and it made Simone look somewhat like Marge Simpson.


Smitten by this point had enough and wasn't even going to entertain the idea of letting anyone put a hat on her. She went from loving pet to hissy fit two year old toddler who had just been denied the ice cream she wanted and instead had to eat boiled cabbage.


I did get this shot of Simone and played around with it in Photoshop to have it look like an ancient hand coloured photo of an impoverished babushka from some thatched roof village ruled by a descendant of Count Vlad the Impaler but it wasn't very Christmasy.


So, after taking a couple of hundred photos - thank God for digital cameras - I ended up with two possibly usable images. There's this one with Simone and hanging bauble which is close to the way I envisioned it (umm, it's funnier live) but in the background Smitten is shaking her bauble holder coat hanger and then trying to stamp it into the ground.


The second choice, the one I ended up using, was perhaps only slightly better and it was still kind of like the Charlie Brown's Christmas tree of Christmas cards with its sad, single bauble poking awkwardly into frame ... but I figured it was still better than Photoshopping Santa Clause beards onto Simone and Smitten's faces which was my genius fourth idea.

Well, the good news is there's plenty of room, and time, for improvement for next year.



What I'd like for Christmas is for O'Malley to find a home. It's been over six months now since I first met the Chocolate Lab and who knows how long he was at the pound in Ohio before he was brought to Toronto Animal Services South. Six months is like three and a half years in dog time. That's like an undergrad degree minus the partying.

If anyone out there knows someone who might be looking for a dog who's survived heartworm, being shot at and living in a shelter for at least six months, kindly pass O'Malley's info along. I'm getting worried about this guy.



O'Malley is a wonderful Chocolate Lab. He's super friendly and loves to be around people and other friendly dogs. He can get quite exuberant when he plays and of course he can be taught better manners but at present he may not be suitable for a family with young children.

O'Malley was rescued from Ohio after being shot with a shotgun. We didn't realize he'd been shot until he had some x-rays done. He's still got some pellets lodged inside him but they aren't giving him any trouble so they will be left alone as removing them would be more trauma he doesn't need. To add to his recent woes, O'Malley has also just gone through two months of heartworm treatment though he's doing fine now. Presently, he's got a bony lesion in his front right leg, a possible result of being shot, which sometimes causes the leg to ache after too much exercise. This lesion will have to be monitored so this is something you should discuss with your vet before adopting.

Due to the extended time O'Malley was at the Ohio pound plus the heartworm treatment period and then the time it took to determine the problem with his leg, O'Malley has been living in shelters for much too long, months now actually, and he's such a big teddy bear that we'd hate to see him spend any more time without a family for him to love. With all he's been through, O'Malley really deserves a good home.





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 or call 416 338 3338 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter.



From Rebecca Aldworth, Executive Director of Humane Society International Canada:

Dear friends,

I am writing to express my heartfelt thanks to every person who has helped to care for the more than 600 deserving dogs and puppies we housed at our emergency shelter. As you know, these dogs were seized in September from inhumane conditions at the largest commercial breeding operation in Canada, and they were in desperate need of care.

Without the support of each and every one of you, we would not have been able to make this sheltering operation the success it was. You should feel incredibly proud of the difference that you have made in the lives of each of these dogs. They desperately needed your help to recover from the physical and emotional impacts of the place they came from, and you were there for them every step of the way. You gave them the warmth, affection, patience and loyalty that had been missing from their lives for so long.

When custody was awarded, we immediately began the adoption process, and I am thrilled to be able to tell you that all the dogs have either been placed into homes or are in the process of being adopted. Please note that with our emergency shelter closed, Malena will no longer be recruiting volunteers, and so this email account will now be closed. However, we will keep your details on file, and we may contact you again in the New Year should we be able to assist in another dog rescue.

This seizure represents a turning point in Quebec and sends a clear message to other breeders and puppy mills: this type of cruelty will never again be tolerated in this province. HSI/Canada is determined not to rest until every dog is free from operations that put profit above animal welfare.

You have been a hugely important part of our team for this rescue operation and it is my hope that we will work together again for many more rescue operations to come. Words cannot express the gratitude that I and our entire team feel for everything you have contributed to this operation. Running this shelter truly would have been impossible without you.

Thank you again from the bottom of my heart and from all of the HSI/Canada team. We wish you and your family a well deserved and happy holiday and a wonderful New Year!

Rebecca

Rebecca Aldworth
Executive Director

Humane Society International/Canada


Now there still remains the question about whether or not the Labombards will be allowed or able to continue on with their business.



I can't believe it's taken me this long to find out about these. Eldad Hagar, co-founder of Hope For Paws animal rescue, has been retrieving abandoned dogs for years now and he takes videos and posts his retrievals online. For me, these are better than any reality TV show and I've spent the better part of the morning going through his whole library.

Here are my two favorites so far. In the first one, Eldad rescues a very scared Pit Bull who has been living in a ditch.



This second one is not exactly a rescue but shows Eldad interacting with a terrified dog who has just been pulled from a pound an hour before its scheduled euthanasia. This shows how easy it can be to misjudge a dog in a high anxiety environment like a shelter (or, in this case, a vet's office).



You can see the rest of Eldad's videos here on Youtube. I hope you've got nothing to do for the next hour or two.



They call Tucker a repeat offender because he's been at TAS several times now. In the past, his owners always came by to pick him up. This time, it seems Tucker's owners are a no show - which, in the long run, might be a good thing for Tucker because what kind of owners let their dog run away over and over again. It's like they're living in the Seventies or something.

In the short term, however, while Tucker is a very affectionate dog, he's not doing very well in the shelter environment. His anxiety level is rising and now I see him shivering in his kennel. I take him out and after a few minutes of ear rubs and chest rubs, his shaking settles down; his glance is still unsure because he knows he has to go back into his kennel. He's not up for adoption yet but when he is, hopefully someone will take him home before the environment stresses him out any further.




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 or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter.



Some German Shepherds can be a bit aloof but not Jazz who is a happy leaner especially if there are back rubs to be had.

Her soundtrack is "Round About Midnight" played by Thelonious Monk.






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 or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter.




Chad is a ridiculously cute Chihuahua. The amount of cooing this big eyeballed dog elicits from strangers young and old is enough to melt even the grinchiest grinch's heart upon which the grinch would probably keel over and expire because it's a scientific fact that most creatures can't carry on without a working heart.

Chad is a grinch slayer.




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 or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter.




The first time I saw Eclipse was through the cage door of her kennel and at the time I was there in the room to take out another dog. She stared at me and when I approached her cage, I could hear a low grumble coming from her.

The next time I saw her was a few days later and this time she just looked at me but didn't make any noise.

Saturday afternoon, I had her out and while she was still a little uncertain about me at first, she eased up and started taking treats from me and obeyed some simple commands.

So, Eclipse can be quite anxious around strange men. As far as I can tell, she seems very comfortable around women, at ease enough to initiate play and give kisses to women strangers. Even around some men, she's less nervous, approaching them with tail wagging but I think that's the exception, at least as far I can tell in the shelter environment.

Eclipse is a beauty and no doubt many people will want to meet her but slow and respectful introductions, especially with men, will be a must. In this, she reminds me of my Stella who had an equal suspicion of men she didn't know. And like Stella, once Eclipse lets you in, you're in. I scratch her ears; she nuzzles my hands for more; I rub her chest; she leans in and licks my face.



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 or call 416 338 3338 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter.




Though Saturday was a sunny day, the sun wasn't strong enough to push back the cold. This little JRT was fine as long as we were moving but after a couple minutes of standing around while I snapped photos of him, he started shivering. Poor little guy is definitely going to need a puffy coat this winter and while you're out getting your new pooch that warm coat, you might also get yourself a celebratory bottle of single malt since the LCBO is sort of on the way to the pet clothing store anyway and cuz red nosed Santa never shares the good stuff. Ho ho ho.



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 or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter.




Momo is the perfect little dog for someone who is looking for a perfect little dog. He's perky, friendly and a natural heeler and he would be more than happy to keep someone's lap warm. He's like the ideal comfort pet and even his name, in the traditional tongue of the vikings, means "little warm woolly sweater but not made from that itchy wool because wearing that stuff is like wearing cactus needles - and I'd rather sail from Norway to Newfoundland in an open boat than wear that - but instead made from a softer wool, like Merino wool for example, which is great because it keeps you warm even when it's wet not like nylon fill which is totally useless when damp" so that's got to tell you something because vikings, while brutes, would never lie, especially about poodles.



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 or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter.




If these two puppies aren't trouble, I don't know what is. They are the remaining siblings of the four puppies rescued from Anishnabe. It's pretty obvious the first two adopted were the goodie two-shoes of the family who will grow up to be loyal and obedient dogs and these two are the evil twins who will grow up to be graffiti artists.





Don't say I didnt' warn you.

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 or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter.





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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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