(Reprinted from Toronto Animal Services website here.)

On June 27 of this year, Toronto Animal Services received a phone call about a stray dog. The dog, a young un-spayed female, was picked up and brought into the Toronto Animal Services east region shelter where staff named her Twiggy. She was a medium to large dog in height, but at only 19 pounds, she was one of the thinnest dogs the staff had ever seen. She was very sick, pale and depressed, but her appetite seemed normal.



Despite care during her first few days at the shelter, Twiggy's condition worsened. Test results were inconclusive. She was hospitalized on July 4, at Rouge Valley Animal Hospital where she was diagnosed with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (an inability to properly digest food due to lack of digestive enzymes made by the pancreas). On July 5, she was transferred to Toronto Veterinary Emergency Hospital and Referral Clinic for treatment and further diagnostics.

With treatment, Twiggy slowly got better. Two weeks after starting treatment, she had gained more than 2 pounds, and was becoming more active. She was discharged from the hospital and placed in a foster home through Toronto Animal Services to continue her treatment.

It soon became apparent that Twiggy wasn't walking normally. This had not been noticed earlier because Twiggy had been so lethargic. She didn't appear to be in any pain and other than her walking, her health was improving. Twiggy soon weighed almost 28 pounds – gaining almost 50% of her body weight.

With the added weight, however, it was obvious the issues with her leg needed to be addressed. Twiggy received more tests and an orthopaedic examination. Her veterinarian found that the ligament over her knee was ruptured and her hip joint was dislocated. Twiggy was going to need surgery, but since she wasn't in pain, she would have to get healthier before the procedure could be done.

Finally, on September 19, Twiggy had surgery. She spent her recovery with her volunteer foster parent and has blossomed into a normal, healthy, wonderful companion.


Twiggy's treatment and surgery was made possible by donations made to Toronto Animal Services and the generosity of her volunteer foster parent. Without these two crucial elements, Twiggy would almost certainly have died.

Currently Twiggy is living with her foster family, and is seeking a permanent home.

Toronto Animal Services believes that residents of Toronto can help animals right here in Toronto. There are many ways that can be done. Two of those ways are to become a donor or a volunteer foster.

The volunteer foster program provides temporary homes to shelter animals requiring extra care and growth outside of the shelter to prepare them for adoption. Foster parents provide a temporary loving and caring environment for the animal to thrive.

Donations support programs such as spay/neuter, extended veterinary care, shelter enhancements or pet adoptions that can all make the difference between life and death for a shelter animal.

Consider becoming a foster parent, making a donation or adopting a pet today.

For information on volunteer fostering, call Toronto Animal Services at 416-338-7297.

UPDATE: Twiggy has been adopted by her foster parents.



4 Comments to “Twiggy”

  1. Anonymous says:

    oh such a relief to hear that Twiggy has been adopted by her wonderful foster parents!!!!!!!!! I couldn't bear the thought of her suffering a loss again! TAS surely deserves the support of compassionateTorontonians

  2. 001mum says:

    At first I thought you were showing an X-ray of a dog,for a split second I didn't understand what I was seeing. Such loving,attentive,tenacious care for Twiggy. She is a beautiful dog. Her body and coat colour/ sheen is impressive. Congratulations to all involved!

  3. Fred, you *know* I've seen some terrible things in faraway places, but I swear I have never, ever seen a dog that thin that was still alive. Twiggy is a walking miracle today, and a tribute to the legions who care enough to help in any way they can.

    If you can't adopt, foster. If you can't foster, volunteer. If you can't volunteer, donate. If you can't donate, educate. Anything you do can mean the difference between death and life for animals like Twiggy.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I cried so hard , I can't believe she survived , I'be never seen anything like that in my life. She definitely has Angels watching over her. Thank you so much to the foster parents for adopting Twiggy.......

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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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