Damn puppies, it's like they do it on purpose. It's like their mothers give them rules when they are young: You must wag your tail. You must run and play. You must be brave. You must be strong. You must sway the human heart or else rend it asunder. That's Puppy 101. That's what they are taught to succeed in life.

Of course not all puppies succeed. Sometimes the odds against them are too great. Sometimes they cannot overcome and we see those situations more than we would ever want to see.

But then there are the ones who make you wonder.

Cini is a months old Lab mix puppy. She was bought off of Kijiji. According to the woman who surrendered her to Toronto Animal Services, Cini was running around, playing at a park and when she returned, she was walking funny. The owner brought Cini to a vet where they discovered her leg was broken.

The owner couldn't afford the vet bills and so she brought Cini to TAS and gave her over. Cini was immediately brought to a vet clinic again and x-rayed and it was discovered that instead of her left femur looking like this:


It looked like this:


I had a chance to see Cini at TAS-S before she went in for her bone mending operation. I was expecting to see a puppy lying still, whimpering and moaning, something comparable to how I might act if I had a leg broken in half like a twig. Instead, I saw a puppy with a limp, acting as though the busted leg was just a minor inconvenience.



She was supposed to be kept as immobile as possible though I'm not sure how that would have been possible without physically tying her down with straps or drugging her into a stupor. She wanted to play but I was afraid of her making her injuries worse so I picked her up and tried to keep her still. Eventually, she settled and I managed to get a few photos of her.



Just as I was finishing with the photos, one of the Cockapoo pups who was adopted out the day before was being returned because the daughter in the adoptive family had developed extreme allergies to it. The pup being returned was the girl pup, the one who was still missing her siblings.

When Cini and the Cockapoo saw each other, they just had to say hello.


They immediately became best friends.


They would've made great kennel mates. Instead, the Cockapoo is sharing a kennel with a very nice older Poodle. Cini will have a kennel to herself while she heals and that's the only time she gets sad: when she's alone and away from human companionship. It's no wonder we fall for these brave, strong creatures who don't let even broken bones dampen their spirit as long as they have our company.


It's uncertain when Cini will be ready for adoption. After the leg surgery, she'll be given a recovery period after which she'll have to go for her spay. She may spend her recovery time at TAS; she may spend it in a foster home. It'll depend on what the vet says after the surgery.

Cini's medical costs are going to be about $1500 in total and with the city services budget cuts, TAS is asking for donations:

Anyone interested in making a donation for Cini can either visit the south shelter (140 Princes' Blvd, Exhibition Place) or make a donation over the phone at (416) 338-6668 - both phone and visit should be between the hours of 10:30 am - 6:30 pm, 7 days a week. We are tracking the donations that come in for her, so anyone making a donation specifically for this puppy should mention that it's for Cini.

People can also mail a cheque to:

Toronto Animal Services
140 Princes' Blvd
Exhibition Place
Toronto, Ontario
M6K 3C3

The cheque should be made payable to "City of Toronto" (but it will be deposited to the cost centre at TAS south) and people should indicate "for Cini" on the cheque.

Donations of $20 or more will get a tax deductible receipt.


Update (2012-02-23): Cini is out of surgery and doing well. She is being kept at the vet's office for observation and to make sure she puts absolutely no weight on her leg for the next few days.



13 Comments to “Cini - Yellow Labrador Retriever puppy mix”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Just curious, is there an online donation method?

  2. Fred says:

    There should be but, no, unfortunately not.

  3. Alex says:

    Has Fred got a secret side job illustrating medical books? The amazingly lifelike drawings of X-Rays can only be told from the real thing by a careful examination of the pixels.

  4. Fred says:

    Alex, thank you for noticing.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I was looking for an online way to donate also. It would be good if they set up paypal options :-) I want to say that our dog was also rescued by TAS and they spent quite a bit of money on her and we continue to be grateful over 5 years later and will be always grateful. She suffered so much until TAS brought her gave her the surgery she needed and nursed her back to health. I will be sending in a donation towards Cini's care. We also donate something each time we visit. thank you TAS for everything you do.

  6. Fred says:

    Anon, agreed about the online donations thing. And thank you for adopting and donating.

  7. I really enjoyed your article. More power to you!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know if she is still up for adoption? Or has she found a loving home?

  9. Fred says:

    Cini is doing fine but still healing from her surgery before she can be put up for adoption. I'll have an update on her soon.

  10. She reminds me of the dog I had when I was a kid. Is she available for adoption?

  11. Fr ed says:

    Hi Ulga, Cini has been adopted but thanks so much for inquiring about her.

  12. Thanks for getting back to me so soon! I'm glad she's found a home, and I'll be on the lookout for a pup exactly like her :)

  13. Anonymous says:

    is the cocapoo still up for adoption?

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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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