Chloe reminds me of a cartoon character. She's constantly got a pissed-off-but-too-cute-to-take-seriously look on her face. It's all in the eyebrows. It's like when a kid wants to draw an angry face, he slants the eyebrows down towards the center of the face. That's what Chloe's got: the slanted brows. Chloe's actually adorable, of course - wouldn't get angry at anyone unless perhaps over lack of attention.



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.



Maggie and Cricket were transferred to Toronto Animal Services South from Kismutt Small Dog Rescue. They are a shy, sweet pair of females with Maggie, the more Terrier looking one, around two years old and Cricket, the black and white one, less than a year. Maggie may be Cricket's mum - we'll never know for sure - but they seem pretty bonded to each other so TAS is going to try to adopt them out together.

Maggie is definitely the more confident of the two. She'll be the first to approach someone for a scratch. She'll also be the first to warn off other dogs if they get too close. Perhaps it's the protective streak in her looking out for Cricket.



Cricket, while a bit more shy, is also much more affectionate once she gets to know you. For the first five minutes, she wouldn't look me in the eyes and then, click, she decided she had to be on my lap and wouldn't get off.



Both of them seem to be very quiet dogs so my guess is they'd be fine living in a condo especially if their owner could sneak them into the sauna every once in a while where they could warm up after a cold walk outside. On Saturday afternoon, after about fifteen minutes both these two were shivering outside even though it wasn't that cold.



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.



From Peter's new owner:

Hello!


As promised, here is Peter in his new life. He is hilarious. He loves the dog park, he likes to be chased. I think all the other owners are thankful for Pete cause he tires out all their dogs. He is FAST!!! He has learned how to sit. Next we are working on the sit-lay down combo. He has made a few friends as well. I have attached a photo of him and his cousin Jeep! A 12 year old dachshund. That photo is after a day at the farm where he met 3 other dogs as well.


We have had a few accidents in the house. However, our 'Pete-No- Pee' calendar is at 3 days!!! so we are doing good. He loves his toys as you can see... He has a bed full of them. Its a hoot!! He hides them all around the house. Under the shoes, behind the table, and beside the refrigerator. Its as if someone might take them away! If we see him hide them, he waits till we are not looking and re hides them. Its so so funny to see. He is still doing great in his crate during the week days, thanks to his noon dog walker. We just love him. He is such a great addition to our home.


I hope you enjoy these photos!


Thanks again for allowing us to have Pete in our lives!!! We will be forever thankful!





From the owners of Maxine (now Tallulah):


Here are some pictures of Tallulah in her new home. Her best friends are Angie (our other dog) and our cat Eiffel. She's doing great. Slowly but surely she's becoming adjusted to her new home environment. She's getting better on walks and as I mentioned her health issues are under the watchful eye of our amazing vets.


Big sister Angie is great with Tallulah, always willing to share a blanket, bone or chewie...or to let her snuggle close when she's feeling insecure.


She's still nervous meeting new humans, but it only takes a couple of visits with someone for her to find the confidence she needs to sniff and say 'hello'.


It was funny - she was so timid the first few days we had her, we didn't know she had any tail at all - it was tucked so tight into her little behind. Now...it's up and she can get quite the wiggle with that thing!





Me: TAS had Bart from Quebec as well but he got adopted already. Buddy is a lot like him: always happy. He looks like he's got a big smile on his face all the time.

The Other Guy: You're anthropomorphasizing.

Me: Anthropomorphizing?

The Other Guy: Yeah, you're anthropomorphazating.

Me: You mean anthropomorphizing?

The Other Guy: Yeah, anthropomorphisazing. It means to give animals human characteristics.

Me: Yeah, I know what it means but it's anthropomorphizing.

The Other Guy: That's what I said. Anthropomorphasizating.

Me: No, you just said ... I don't know what you just said.

The Other Guy: Anthropophizzing.

Me: You know I might be anthropomorphizing you too much.

The Other Guy: Whuh?

Me: Like when you smile. How do I know you're actually smiling because you're happy? I don't know that. You might be doing it as a learned reflex. You might not be experiencing happiness at all and you're just doing it because you've learned that when you pull up the corners of your mouth, people respond to you more positively.

The Other Guy: Yeah, well, usually when I smile it's because I'm happy.

Me: How do I know that? I don't know how you feel. How do I know when you're really happy? I mean prove it. Prove you're happy. Wag your tail.

The Other Guy: I don't have a tail.

Me: Exactly. So, how do I know you're actually happy? Now Buddy - I know he's happy. He's wagging his tail all the time.




Buddy is one of four dogs who recently arrived from Val d'Or SPCA. Val d'Or is a community hard hit by the economic downturn and so the SPCA there is severely underfunded. When the dogs arrived off the truck in Toronto after their all night drive from Quebec, the driver removed their grungy collars and when James asked her why she was doing that, she replied they didn't have any more collars back at the shelter - which is pretty sad.

So, we're having a leash/collar drive for them. If you've got any old, unused collars or leashes lying around the house, please consider dropping them off at Toronto Animal Services South (15 Nova Scotia Ave. on the CNE grounds) where they'll be collected and sent off to Val d'Or or you can mail them directly to Val d'Or SPCA at:

SPCA de Val d'Or
1700 Rue de l'hydro
Val d'Or, Quebec
J9P 6Z2

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.



In the news a couple of days ago were two PETA supporters dressed in lettuce bikinis who had gone to Toronto mayor Rob Ford's weigh-in (he's on a diet and he's invited the public to his weekly step up onto the scale). The two women were cheary, polite and had a gift basket for the mayor to help with his diet and in return the mayor responded with not a glance and a rude "No," and moments later stomped away without any other acknowledgement.

Anyway, after watching that video, and being reminded of PETA, I thought I'd go check out how they did last year at their animal shelter in Norfolk, Virginia. After all, I hadn't stuck any forks or razor blades into my eyes lately and I figured I was getting out of practice.

The quickest way to check kill numbers at PETA's shelter is to go to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services site and if you do a search for PETA and 2011, this is what you'll see:


(If you want to see how well PETA did in other years, you just need to change the year entry in the URL to the year you want to see. Don't look at too many years and the thousands of listed dead animals, though, lest you risk becoming cynical).

So let's see. In 2011, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals at their 501 Front Street processing plant took in about 1214 cats. 2 of those cats were returned. 5 were adopted. 8 transferred. 1198 were killed. 1 was still there at the end of the year (the staff ran out of pentobarbital?). As for dogs, they took in 778. 9 were reclaimed by their owners. 19 were adopted. 26 were transferred. 713 were killed. In total, PETA took in 2050 animals in 2011 and killed 1965 of them.

That's a 95.9% kill rate.

Now before all you old school animal welfarists, who still believe saving animals means actually saving animals, get all uppity, here's what the PETA hivemind had to say about the numbers:

At one point several years ago, the state considered changing PETA's status from a shelter to a euthanasia clinic, says Elaine Lidholm, the agency's communications director.

Oops, sorry. Wrong quote.

In a December 2, 2008, interview with George Stroumboulopoulos of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Stroumboulopoulos asks Newkirk: "Do you euthanize those pets, the adoptable ones, if you get them?" To which Newkirk responds: "If we get them, if we cannot find a home, absolutely."

Oops, sorry. Another wrong quote. Oh, and by the way, PETA usually likes to kill their animals within 24 hours of taking them in. It's understandable how under those time constraints, adoptions can be a challenge.

Okay, here's a proper quote from PETA:

When an aggressive, unsocialized dog has been left starving at the end of a chain, with a collar grown into his neck, his body racked with mange, PETA will accept him and put him down so that he does not die slowly out there.

Yes, because the last thing you would want to try and do when you own a $30 million charity is remove the collar, cure the mange and socialize the dog. Obviously, the first thing you would want to do is just kill the darn thing because that usually solves the problem pronto. Grab the sucker by its collar, drag it into the van, stick the needle in, wipe off yer hands and yer done. Of course then you have to find some place to dump that meat ...

I know the doublespeak can be confusing when protecting animals actually means killing animals so here's a suggestion: just add the words "and then kill it" or variant thereof to the end of every statement from PETA concerning the companion animals they get their hands on and things should be a lot clearer.

For example, here's an original PETA quote:

As Virginia officials speaking of PETA's euthanasia rate acknowledged to USA Today, "PETA will basically take anything that comes through the door ..."

Here is the same statement amended:

As Virginia officials speaking of PETA's euthanasia rate acknowledged to USA Today, "PETA will basically take anything that comes through the door ..." ... and then kill it.

Ah, much better.

Or this one:

As for the "no-kill" shelters, their figures are great because they slam the door on the worst cases, referring them, in fact, to PETA. ... and then we kill them.

Makes sense now?

One of PETA's many excuses for killing so many animals is that they've got an open admissions policy. Toronto Animal Services has an open admissions policy and the last I checked, TAS has a dog kill rate of under 10% if you take away owner requested euthanasias, court ordered terminations and euthanasias due to poor health (cat number are worse but I don't know by how much). I believe the Toronto Humane Society also has an open admissions policy - though it may not be official(?). Even the OSPCA, which apparently doesn't do so well, has a kill rate of "only" 70% (can anyone confirm this?). Imagine the uproar if tomorrow any of those agencies came out and said they had a kill rate of 95%. No one from the public would ever be defending a 95% kill rate. People would be lining up to burn up their facilities. And yet, PETA and its supporters continue to come up with excuses for why it's okay to kill so many animals at their own shelter: They're unhealthy. They've got behaviour problems. No one wants them.

Those are exactly the same excuses every high kill shelter uses to justify their own killing. Both the practices and excuses used by PETA and high kill shelters when it comes to killing homeless pets are so similar in fact, I'm surprised the high kill shelters don't just operate under the PETA banner. That way, instead of reforming their shelter practices, they could just hide behind the holier-than-thou platitudes of PETA and continue the slaughter. They're unhealthy. They've got behaviour problems. No one wants them. So we kill them.

Now you all are probably thinking I have a huge hate-on for PETA but that's not true. I don't hate all aspects of PETA. I think it's great they're promoting the benefits of being a vegetarian or a vegan and they're helping to shine a light on factory farming and they want to stop the slaughter of wildlife for fur and all that other pro-animal stuff they do. And I don't care that they use borderline tasteless campaigns to spread their message (Lady Gaga wears a meat dress and she's the most popular thing in the world) although I'm not sure if some of their publicity stunts are helping or hindering them. What does irk me greatly is it seems pretty obvious to me that at the core of the PETA's anti-human, pro-animal message is a twisted belief that killing is the easy answer to suffering and whenever they are able, they have no problem giving animals the gift of death regardless of the animal's condition.

From Best Friends Animal Society:

PETA runs some very effective campaigns and we support much of what they have done to help bring an end to some of the worst abuses of animals in laboratories, factory farms, at sporting events, and fur farms.

But in the area of companion animals, we have some fundamental disagreements.

At a press conference following the arrest of those two employees, PETA president Ingrid Newkirk said, that PETA believes euthanasia is the kindest gift to a dog or cat unwanted and unloved. We simply couldn't disagree more. The kindest gift to a homeless animal is a good home. The kindest gift to an unloved dog or cat is a loving, caring place to go.


Or this one from just last week where PETA complains that TNR (trap, neuter, release) of homeless cats is cruel:

In a letter to the mayor of Albuquerque, PETA asserted that city employees are guilty of illegally abandoning animals. This is on the heels of Best Friends partnering with the city of Albuquerque in an exciting new community cat project that will save thousands of cats’ lives.

PETA is concerned that the city’s practice of neutering community cats and handing them over to rescue groups to be returned to the area where they were trapped poses an unacceptable risk to the cats’ well-being.


What do you think PETA's solution would be?

They also seem to have a special place in their twisted hearts for Pit Bulls (Bryant and Newkirk sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G). They often recommend the immediate extermination of any Pit Bulls in a shelter to "protect" them from potentially evil human owners. If they had their way all the Vick dogs would be dead instead of the majority of them being rehabbed and in good homes.


Watch The Dogs Are Alright on PBS. See more from Need To Know.

Here's an example from KC Dog Blog about PETA opposing a shelter's decision to adopt out Pit Bulls.

The Livingston County (MI) Animal Shelter is considering changing a policy that would give 'pit bulls' that enter into the shelter a chance to be rehomed (just like dogs of all other breeds that enter the shelter). People who in favor of the changes note that the vast majority of pit bulls are not violent and that temperment testing would weed out aggressive dogs of all breeds -- and if a dog is not aggressive, it should have the opportunity to be rehomed.

In their infinite wisdom, PETA has decided to speak out against a policy change.


But why bother with second hand accounts when you can go to the horse's mouth for material? In PETA Comes to Pit Bulls' Aid from PETA's official blog, the writer waxes on about what a great job they did getting an owner to surrender his neglected Pit Bull and then they killed it. They claimed that the dog was too far gone and if that claim came from a shelter which didn't have a 95% plus kill rate, maybe I'd believe them. In this case, not so much. Notice, however, that none of their supporters dare question the legitimacy of the kill in the comments section below the post.

And I could go on. It's endless.

If you want more punishment, try these links:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/douglas-anthony-cooper/peta-kill_b_1352462.html

http://www.nathanwinograd.com/?p=1199

http://www.petconnection.com/blog/2008/03/28/petakerr/

http://www.honestdog.com/2012/02/23/how-peta-is-betraying-vegans-and-the-animal-rights-movement/

A lovely postcard from Ingrid Newkirk, head of PETA, to Nathan Winograd.



This Flat Coated Retriever pup, transferred in from Val d'Or, lasted all of maybe an hour in adoption on Monday morning before she was whisked away home. All four of the dogs from Val d'Or have got their own great personalities and this girl is demure with just the right touch of sweetness.





This girl is one of four dogs who recently arrived from Val d'Or SPCA. Val d'Or is a community hard hit by the economic downturn and so the SPCA there is severely underfunded. When the dogs arrived off the truck in Toronto after their all night drive from Quebec, the driver removed their grungy collars and when James asked her why she was doing that, she replied they didn't have any more collars back at the shelter - which is pretty sad.

So, we're having a leash/collar drive for them. If you've got any old, unused collars or leashes lying around the house, please consider dropping them off at Toronto Animal Services South (15 Nova Scotia Ave. on the CNE grounds) where they'll be collected and sent off to Val d'Or or you can mail them directly to Val d'Or SPCA at:

SPCA de Val d'Or
1700 Rue de l'hydro
Val d'Or, Quebec
J9P 6Z2



Nathan Winograd, the leading proponent of the no-kill movement, was in Toronto on Saturday giving a talk about the history of animal welfare in the United States starting with the formation of the first ASPCA and leading up to and including the philosophy and practices of modern day no-kill. This event was organized by the Organization for the Rescue of Animals (ORA), the group who also brought Bill Bruce, the much lauded head of Calgary Animal Services, to town a few months ago.

The no-kill strategy is a methodology by which a shelter or pound can achieve a save rate of greater than 90% of behaviourally sound and healthy animals and the bar for being behaviorally sound or healthy is set humanely low meaning that just because an animal may have resource guarding issues, for example, or is blind doesn't automatically make it a candidate for termination.

No-kill is the most compassionate of all the animal welfare strategies out there and it may also be the most divisive and most difficult to achieve. It's divisive because nobody in animal welfare likes to be told they're wrong and Winograd has no problem telling people they're wrong and he advocates removing those people from their positions whom he considers to be standing in the way of reforming the front lines of animal welfare. And no-kill is the most difficult to achieve because, let's face it, it's easier to kill an animal in the name of overpopulation, disease control, lack of resources, compassion, etc. than it is to find homes for them all.

Whether you think you agree or disagree with the idea of no-kill, it's always good to read about the principles, successes and failures behind it before forming too much of a judgment because after more than ten years of talking the talk and walking the walk, there are a lot of other people's experiences to draw upon. Some have resulted in happy endings, some not so much and in all cases, it's hard work.

Here's an excellent article from The Austin Chronicle, "Walking the No-Kill Tightrope", which talks about the challenges behind achieving and maintaining a no-kill shelter in Austin (they've maintained their no-kill status for a year now). Some quotes:

As for Smith, she's aware of just how precarious a shelter director's job security is these days and just how tenuous Austin's hold on no-kill may be. Yet she says she's not worried about her job or her standing. In the age of no-kill, she says, controversy and conflict are just part of the shelter director's job.

"I do what I think is right, and I think the numbers show that we're doing something right," Smith says. "I stand by every decision. I can't worry about the protests and the possibility of angry people. I'm not in this to get elected one day."


Which is a success story but then there's also:

Hinze ... accepted a job running the Companion Animal Alliance, a nonprofit charged with making the East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Control & Rescue Center in Louisiana a no-kill facility. In 2010, the facility had euthanized more than 6,000 animals.

Not two months after arriving in Louisiana, Hinze resigned from the nonprofit under a cloud of controversy. After CAA announced its arrival at the shelter with a vow to end euthanasia, the number of animals being dropped off at the shelter skyrocketed. Hinze had neither the money nor the infrastructure to respond with a viable adoption or fostering strategy. Complaints of overcrowded cages, unsanitary and unsafe conditions, and animal-on-animal bullying – confirmed by a law enforcement investigation – followed, plaguing Hinze's short tenure. CAA started doing emergency euthanasia by the end of August, and by Sept. 27, Hinze was gone, the casualty of a policy decision built around good intentions and little else.


It can be a thin line between no-kill and hoarding just as it can be a thin line between euthanasia and killing for expediency.

Winograd believes the success of a no-kill shelter depends on leadership. We may want no-kill but we need people who are willing to put in the time and the sweat equity to make it work. We need outliers who are willing to stick their necks out not just demanding change but actually creating change.

Here's an example from the No-Kill Communities blog, "Manatee County Implementing the No Kill Equation":

The news out of Manatee County just gets better and better. Manatee is the Florida county where shelter director Kris Weiskopf decided to make the county no-kill after attending one of Nathan Winograd’s seminars. He had a lot of community support and backing, and the county government even officially signed on to the no-kill plan. The result has been a great turnaround and some inspiring progress.

The county has gone from a live release rate of 45% before the No Kill Equation was implemented last summer up to a 77% live release rate currently. Weiskopf believes that they will meet their goal of 91% by the end of the year.

...

Manatee County has served as an inspiration to the surrounding communities as well. Sarasota County is interested in the program, and Hillsborough County (which includes Tampa) recently honored the Manatee County workers at their own no-kill seminar, where Weiskopf introduced Winograd. If Manatee County can get to no-kill, then any county in the United States can. It just takes leadership and the No Kill Equation.


None of this is easy, though, and perhaps the hardest challenge in making no-kill successful is getting the major stakeholders on side. No-kill has to be a community event. That's why it was heartening to see, at Saturday's talk, representatives from Toronto Animal Services, Toronto Humane Society and, from what I was told, the OSPCA. Plus, city councilor Glenn De Baeremaeker gave the opening remarks, encouraging the audience to flex their political muscle for animal welfare. Even Winograd was surprised at the make up of the audience, commenting at the beginning of his speech that he almost never sees people from animal control or even the main charitable animal shelters at his talks because usually they are convinced his no-kill ideas are borderline crazy if not outright evil and will never work.

In the decade plus long crusade for no-kill, however, Winograd has proven his detractors wrong in more than thirty communities ranging from large urban centers like Reno to small rural towns like Tompkins County, from liberal enclaves like San Francisco to more conservative ones in the south. It's interesting that along every step of the way, the main critics of the no-kill movement have been other animal welfare organizations.

Here's an excerpt from the Lynchburg Humane Society blog:

I had the pleasure of having an interesting conversation with a member of another humane organization this past weekend. They are an SPCA that takes in animals for a number of localities and operates as the pound for their area. She asked how we were doing in Lynchburg and I, of course, was excited to tell her about our recent success about our save rate being 84% and having no healthy animal lose their life in our shelter in 2010 and how much the community has embraced the changes as we move toward becoming No Kill. She immediately went to defense mode and asked me loaded questions to prove I was wrong and of course explain to me how our programs wouldn’t work for them.

Winograd doesn't take any of this criticism lying down. He seems to do constant battle with the other major animal welfare organizations, especially the HSUS, the ASPCA and PETA (which is arguably the worst practitioner of the "better dead than fed" school of animal rights).

From "My Disturbing Encounter with the Mind of PETA":

He [a PETA employee] then explained that he has the right to round up and kill cats, even if they are not suffering, simply because he “believes” they might suffer. In fact, he said that no matter the circumstances, killing is not unethical — even convenience killing — because it is just like being put under anesthesia for spay/neuter, with the only difference being that the animal never wakes up.

As a responsible citizen, I would never propose that the only response to someone like that is a one-two punch to his nutsack.

Nathan's total talk was two and a half hours long with an additional leadership session afterward (which I unfortunately didn't have time to attend) and while I'd already heard or read pretty well everything Winograd had to say - via the almighty internet - the event was enjoyable and reinforced my convictions concerning animal welfare.

No-kill requires strong leaders for their organizational and inspirational skills.

No-kill requires cooperation between stakeholders for their access to resources, their expertise and their volunteers.

No-kill requires community support because that's where all the animals get rehomed and it's the source of all funding.

No-kill requires sound strategy and planning and Winograd's no-kill equation is a good place to start.



If you are at all interested in the no-kill philosophy, I highly recommend you read as much about it as you can, if you haven't already done so, to learn the steps and effort it takes to achieve it and also about the cautionary tales of good intentions gone wrong due to inadequate planning and organization.

Start here for some quick inspiration and then here for the nitty gritty and type "no kill failures" into Google for cautionary tales (though some of the cautionary tales were written by idiots so sift through them with a critical eye).



As if this face weren't enough ...


... Chloe's also got this one ...


... and this one ...


... and this one ...


... and this one ...


... and this one.


Is her personality every bit as precocious as her facial expressions?

Yes indeed so hurry on down if you want her.

Chloe is one of four dogs who recently arrived from Val d'Or SPCA. Val d'Or is a community hard hit by the economic downturn and so the SPCA there is severely underfunded. When the dogs arrived off the truck in Toronto after their all night drive from Quebec, the driver removed their grungy collars and when James asked her why she was doing that, she replied they didn't have any more collars back at the shelter - which is pretty sad.

So, we're having a leash/collar drive for them. If you've got any old, unused collars or leashes lying around the house, please consider dropping them off at Toronto Animal Services South (15 Nova Scotia Ave. on the CNE grounds) where they'll be collected and sent off to Val d'Or or you can mail them directly to Val d'Or SPCA at:

SPCA de Val d'Or
1700 Rue de l'hydro
Val d'Or, Quebec
J9P 6Z2

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.



Bart is a teddy bear dog from Val d'Or and while Goldens and Golden crosses are generally fine dogs and all, Bart is especially impressive.

Physically, he's big, maybe overweight in the same way Santa Claus is overweight. Personality-wise, he's also big in the same way Santa Claus is big by which I mean lots of "Ho ho ho!", not lots of bull in a china shop.

I have a soft spot for the bigger dogs but sometimes they come into TAS full of piss and vinegar and untrained and ready to yank your shoulders out of their joints as they pull you across the parking lot on their not-long-enough walks so for a moment after I see Bart, I'm wondering if I should wrap my arm in some tension bandage and put on a back brace and maybe get a pair of goggles but then Bart sees me and he sits and I decide to man up. He gets a bit excited when I open his cage door and he squirms a bit as I try to find the collar loop to clip the leash onto but other than that, no surprise bear hugs or double paws to the face. We walk across the small room and as I am reaching for the door to let us out, Bart sits again and waits. Usually the dogs can barely contain themselves at the sight of an open door and charge through but Bart looks at me and waits for me to move before he walks through the door with me.

Outside, he is equally well behaved. He hasn't been trained to heal but he walks pretty well beside me, pulling only occasionally and even that was mostly just me feeling his weight at the other end of the leash.

We walk. We meet people. We take his photo and throughout all this he is exceptionally happy. He's happy like he's with his best friend in the world whom he hasn't seen in five years happy and his happiness is contagious. How could it now be? Bart is what being a dog is all about.




Check out his most excellent ears:


Bart is one of four dogs who recently arrived from Val d'Or SPCA. Val d'Or is a community hard hit by the economic downturn and so the SPCA there is severely underfunded. When the dogs arrived off the truck in Toronto after their all night drive from Quebec, the driver removed their grungy collars and when James asked her why she was doing that, she replied they didn't have any more collars back at the shelter - which is pretty sad.

So, we're having a leash/collar drive for them. If you've got any old, unused collars or leashes lying around the house, please consider dropping them off at Toronto Animal Services South (15 Nova Scotia Ave. on the CNE grounds) where they'll be collected and sent off to Val d'Or or you can mail them directly to Val d'Or SPCA at:

SPCA de Val d'Or
1700 Rue de l'hydro
Val d'Or, Quebec
J9P 6Z2

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.



Roxy reminds me of my own Simone if Simone were a smushkin. Their personalities are similar in that both are a little bit timid at first but warm up quickly and then it's all kisses and crawling onto laps.

They've also both got brindle coats though Roxy's brindling is more apparent and acts as camouflage as evidenced this afternoon when I walked by her cage and - granted I wasn't looking directly into her cage - it was more out of the corner of my eye - I thought she wasn't there and then spent five minutes asking around for her before I went back to her cage and there she was, quiet and hiding openly against her blanket.

This super camouflaging ability will come in handy if Roxy ever wants to be a stealth bomber or, more likely, as a crucial survival skill post zombie apocalypse.




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.




This is Angel who has just found a home through one of the volunteers at TAS-South.

Angel is a recent transfer from Open Arms Pound Rescue. Like many dogs brought up from the States she is black and very friendly and probably would have been euthanized in the States because she is black and there are too many black, unwanted dogs down there and her friendliness wouldn't have saved her.

It's weird there's such a strong anti-black dog sentiment in the States (and other places?) considering how black dogs do so well here in Toronto. Certainly at Toronto Animal Services I haven't noticed black dogs waiting longer to be adopted. And Black Labs, for example, are almost de rigueur in Toronto whereas down south they're being marched off to the gas chambers.

Is this just a Toronto thing?

Here's my theory. Toronto is one of the world's most successful multi-ethnic cities, maybe the world's most successful, and this general acceptance of visual differences in the way people look has translated into the dog world with a greater acceptance, or perhaps rather, a breed/colour blindness (in a good sense) when it comes to adopting dogs. Of course most of us still have our preferences but perhaps those preferences, for many, are just a starting point and someone sorta thinking about adopting a red Doberman might end up going home with a black Great Dane if the personalities jive.

Whatever the reason, Toronto does well for its black dogs and that's a good thing for dogs like Angel.




I've met some pretty fierce Chihuahua's in my time. Cathy is not one of them. She starts out shy and then seems to get shyer. The secret to warming her over is to give her a lower back rub and if you scratch the right spot, her back leg starts to extend out like some wacky wind-up toy.

Bad boy actor Mickey Rourke once had a Chihuahua he carried around with him all the time and I used to think it was just a prop to give the paparazzi something to photograph. Now I can see how a little gal like Cathy could easily entrance a tough guy's heart (and Rourke did absolutely adore his little one). Those big quivering doe eyes looking for love and protection against all the scary things out there should be a call to arms for any self-respecting man's man.




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.



You know how we celebrate the milestones of our lives with birthdays and weddings and anniversaries and the like? Well, I think there should be a new annual celebration called Speuter Day for our pets which would be like birthdays except, ironically, it would be more about celebrating not being able to give birth though I'm sure our pets won't quibble as long as there is steak involved.

Imagine all the witty one liners those otherwise bored greeting card copywriters could come up with around gonad freedom day. Hallmark, are you paying attention? And don't forget to send along my way those royalty cheques when this idea takes off.

Along with a bunch of other new arrivals, today is Peter's Speuter Day. I'm sure he's not looking forward to it but that's because no one has mentioned it to him and that's probably for the best. Peter is a handsome young Beagle, and like that Beagle from a couple of weeks back, Tinkerbella, who was here and gone in no time, Peter is also a non-barker apparently. At least no one's heard any barks or howls coming from him although I did hear a couple of mouse squeaks when he wanted some attention.

Beagles are generally pretty affectionate but Peter is uberaffectionate. When I sat down to take his photo, he draped himself over my lap and wouldn't get off. I'd lift him off and he'd just clamber back on. I tried holding the camera as far out as possible and took some shots with it facing back at Peter in my lap. Most of those didn't really turn out.



I was finally able to get a few with him standing a few feet away but he wasn't terribly happy about that.



Anyway, Peter, HAPPY SPEUTER DAY!!!

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.



The fans at the soccer game were stamping their feet and the noise from the stadium frightened Cameron and he crouched down low to the ground. When he realized a giant monster wasn't coming to swoop him away, at least not immediately, he relaxed a bit and he took some snacks I offered him.

Cameron is a young Collie mix found as a stray in Toronto. There's a touch of brattiness about him - which just goes to show he's able to think for himself - and his previous owners didn't bring out the potential in him but with a bit of training and structure in his life he will be a great dog.




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 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.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------