Another update on Polka which I just have to share.

I hope the furniture is nailed down.




While visiting Bella on the weekend, I also had a chance to meet Tipper. Tipper has been as TAS West for a while and I'm not sure why. She's a jovial dog who's affectionate, interacts well people and loves to play fetch as much as Bella. Tipper doesn't quite have the hang of the dropping the ball part as well as Bella but she's working on it and I know she'll get there with just a bit more training.

Get this girl on a flyball course or playing frisbee or running agility or just goofing around in the yard and she'll be the happiest girl in the world.



The best way to check on the adoption status of Tipper (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit Toronto Animal Services adoption website or call 416 338 6271 for the Toronto Animal Services West shelter. If Tipper is no longer on the TAS adoption website, it's probably because she's been adopted already.



This smart girl, Fiona, already knows to sit for food which is amazing because otherwise she has the attention span of a gnat. No worries, though. Her cute will batter down your defenses with a squeak and a nibble.




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.




Remember Bella? I took a drive out to Toronto Animal Services West on the weekend to hang out with her for a bit. I haven't seen her since she was transferred from TAS South.

Jennifer, one of the staff at TAS West has been working with Bella and wanted to show me how much she's improved. So, check this out:



Bella's transformation is nothing short of amazing. Given the limited amount of time Jennifer has had with her, Bella's walking, sitting and attentiveness are so vastly improved. Bella was always a smart girl who just needed someone to guide her and Jennifer has done an amazing job of doing just that.

Now check out what a great fetcher Bella is. She drops the ball at Jennifer's feet every time - well, almost every time, except when she gets a little confused and doesn't know which ball to fetch.:



It's lovely to see her enthusiasm and energy directed into a fun activity for everyone.

Bella's training is not perfected yet, of course, but it's plain she's capable of being a fantastic dog with some continued effort. All she needs is her very own person in order to learn what it is to be a great dog and you know she'll put in 110%, just like with everything else she does, to be the best companion for that special someone.




The best way to check on the adoption status of Bella (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit Toronto Animal Services adoption website or call 416 338 6271 for the Toronto Animal Services West shelter. If Bella is no longer on the TAS adoption website, it's probably because she's been adopted already.



From the owner of Goldie, now Pawnee:

We decided to call her Pawnee, Indiana (it's the town in Parks and Rec which is our favourite show). She's doing really well and settling in great. Though Dingo has become a somewhat crotchety old man he still plays with her very nicely (sometimes I wish they'd get a long a little less, like when they wake me up wrestling on me in bed each morning). Pawnee's a bit snatchy with treats, but who can blame her - she's still pretty underweight (though I'm working on it, fattening her up and teaching her manners). She is great about letting us brush her, which is good because boy does she shed - the drifts of hair in the apartment are seemingly endless (no matter how much we sweep and vacuum more hair appears from no where). She's only been here a week and a half, so there's still more settling in to come, but she is definitely a beloved family member already. Thanks so much for helping bring her into our lives, we cannot thank you enough.






I walked Molly, probably for the last time, on Sunday. She's been transferred up to Toronto Animal Services North where she'll at least have a bit more space to stretch her legs. They've got large, enclosed yards and she can be let off leash for a bit of a run. I know she'll enjoy that since she loves to play. She hasn't really had a good chance to play in the four months she's been at TAS-South.

Molly and Bella at TAS West might share the record, or at least be approaching it, for the longest duration spent by a dog in adoption waiting for someone to take them home.

In the months she's been at TAS South, Molly's mouthing (it was never biting) has decreased noticeably but she still soils her kennel. It's very difficult, if not impossible to properly housetrain a dog at TAS-South since housetraining requires almost constant attention and there's just not enough staff or volunteers to provide that level of care. Up at TAS-North, however, they've got large outdoor yards where perhaps Molly can spend as long as she needs to do her washroom duties.

I know some of the volunteers at TAS-South have grown quite fond of Molly, despite her idiosyncrasies. It's hard not to get attached to a dog you see every week who doesn't seem to be able to catch a break. We all wish her the best of luck in her new digs and of course we wish her a home she can finally call her own.




The best way to check on the adoption status of Molly (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit Toronto Animal Services adoption website or call (416) 338-8723 for the Toronto Animal Services North shelter. If Molly is no longer on the TAS adoption website, it's probably because she's been adopted already.



Sometimes dogs don't present well when they're in a kennel. Actually, I'm surprised any dog presents well in a kennel. They have to deal with the stress and anxiety pheromones given off by the other animals. They have to deal with the boredom and isolation. They have to deal with dozens of people walking by their cages every day who might stop for a minute or might not but who all eventually keep walking by (except, of course, for the that one family who adopts). I think that's enough to drive most dogs a little bonkers.

Bobbi is a dog who doesn't present well in his kennel. He doesn't want to be in there. He wants to be with his person. He desperately wants to be with his person and whenever someone walks by and gives him a glance, Bobbi kinda freaks out thinking maybe this person is going to finally be his person. Bobbi doesn't realize that barking and jumping and trying to get someone to pay attention to him tends to do the opposite of attract and actually scares most people away.

Outside of his kennel, Bobbi is a really great dog. He's good on a leash. He's good with people. And he's calm. It's hard for me to say how he is with other dogs because at the shelter, he's definitely stressed so his behaviour around dogs will be different. He's also a bit of a chubster.




Here's a video of Bobbi lying in the main hallway upstairs at the shelter. There are cats in the glass room directly in front of him but he ignores them. When someone passes by, you can see his eyes light up. At the end of the video, when a new family walk up the stairs, Bobbi starts to wag his tail at their possible approach (but notice he doesn't get out of control excited).

This is what Bobbi is like when he's not locked up in his cage:



I just heard that Bobbi's got kennel cough at the moment so he's on meds and he's been pulled from general adoption until he gets better. He should be available again in a few days.



From the owner of Diogee, now Gunner, an awesome update:



Dear Toronto Animal Services, James, Fred, and everyone at your west and south locations.

We can't thank you enough for taking care of our dogs during their time at Animal Services - they each had about a month in your care, and they were clearly treated very kindly.

Nearly two years ago, we had the luck of finding our dear sweet Pilot at Toronto Animal Services West. It was a rainy soggy day and after visiting two other shelters, we met "Sweetpea", a large mixsomething who was running around in the yard with some of the other dogs. Three minutes in the hallway with her, and we knew she was our family. She came home with us as Pilot that day, and we all had a good laugh, two adults trying to cajole a seventy pound dog into the backseat of a hatchback. The woman who had been helping us told me "oh you are taking home a really really good dog". At the time I had no idea how right she was.

As time passed, our family went camping, and to the beach, and met lots of friends at the dog park. Pilot has two beds and blankets embroidered with her name. The house didn't get any bigger, but we knew that eventually we would find Pilot a little brother.

Our funny little Gunner came from Animal Services South. I first saw him on Fred's "pound dog" blog, as "Diogee the Beagle" and fell in love with his little face. James introduced me to him, and he was everything I imagined. (Ok, he peed on the floor, and spent most of our time together jumping on me, but he was a happy little sweet dog.) We brought Pilot to meet him, and they got along better than we could have hoped for, sealing the deal. Diogee came home with us that day, and found his new name Gunner. I'd never had a dog sit on my lap before, let alone in the car. Our two dogs are very different, but together they make a great pair.

Gunner has acquired a few blankets and beds of his own, and has settled in very well. He dislikes the cold, but loves eating snow.

Pilot has had some yeasty ear flare-ups, but with a bit of drops and changing her food, they don't bother her as much anymore. Gunner had a bit of an issue healing his stitches from being fixed, but our vet removed the last one, and he's healing up normally.

Thank you again.







While out walking Simone this glorious sunshiny morning, I see a little dog ambling down the sidewalk with no human in tow. It's acting a little frantic, as dogs do when they are lost and searching, but as soon as it sees us, it starts running towards us. There are quite a few cars on Sorauren Ave. and it's a narrow street so I'm a bit worried the little guy might dash onto the road to avoid puddles and snowy patches but it stays on the sidewalk.

For a moment, I think the little dog is going to just keep running past us but it applies the brakes, wagging its tail and is absolutely thrilled to meet and say hello to Simone. While it's sniffing, I take hold of its collar. No tags.

I stay put with it for about fifteen minutes not sure what to do. I ask a few people who walk by if they've seen anyone looking for a dog but no one has. Finally, a couple come along walking their own dog and I ask if they might have a piece of string or some such thing handy - not expecting they would - but they suggest that maybe they might have something back at their place just around the corner.

I slip Simone's leash through the lost dog's collar and off we go. Simone's not happy with this leash sharing business. Every so often she turns and gives this way-too-close usurper the evil eye.

After a couple of loops around several blocks to see if anyone's out searching, we eventually make it back to my place. I get the dog into the car and we drive down to Toronto Animal Services South where I hand the dog off and they scan for a microchip ID. No microchip.

So then: lost dog, very friendly, looks like a Papillon/Chihuahua cross, found wandering on Sorauren Ave. Saturday morning, presently residing at Toronto Animal Services South, 416 338 6668.


Simone was not too impressed with the unexpected guest in her house.




A few weeks ago, this Chocolate Lab pup was brought into Toronto Animal Services South with a broken front leg. I've seen pups with broken legs before and I don't know what it is but they seem to act as if it's no big deal. No different with this one.

Broken leg or no broken leg, this little guy just wants to get your attention and play. He just had the pins removed recently and already he's treating his leg like there was never anything wrong with it: jumping, pulling, thumping on it despite any efforts to slow him down.




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.



Polka giving some luvin' to his new big brother at their first meet and greet:



In case you were wondering, the male fawn in the photos is 210 pounds. That's one household which probably isn't going to be burgled anytime soon.



One of the things I luv about dogs is how fully committed they are to doing whatever it is they are doing. Reba is pretty good on a leash, a good steady walker, but when we hit the snowy patch, she finds a spot, a clean spot, and lowers her head and flops down, rolling onto her back and doing that squirming thing dogs do when they are either rolling in something disgusting or rolling just for the fun of it. She flops around and she is happy beyond happy and she gets up and she drops down again and more flopping, four feet up in the air, mouth open, tongue hanging out and her world couldn't be better.

I was talking with a friend last night. Dogs, if they are in decent homes and are relatively healthy, get a good ten to fifteen years of mostly unbroken, untainted happiness. If people could get that much over the course of their average lifespans of seventy five years, I think they'd count themselves lucky.

Perhaps this is a big part of the reason for why we get dogs - we soak up their happiness, increasing our own happiness quotient.




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.



Of course I'm biased but this the most beautiful dog I've ever seen come through Toronto Animal Services South and beyond the good looks, he's friendly, goofy and will soak your face with one swipe of his tongue and knock everything off your coffee table with one swing of his tail. When I sat outside with him, people gathered around, oohed and aahed and snapped his photo. Good thing he loves attention.

He's less than a year old, so still growing, and he seems to have a voracious appetite so I wouldn't be surprised if he passes the 170 lb. mark by the time he's mature. The photos don't do justice to his size. If he stood on his hind legs, this guy would probably be able to grab whatever good eats are on top of the fridge.

Whoever adopts this Dane better get ready for all the "Where's his saddle?" comments you're going to get every time you step out the door with him - but it'll be worth it. There's no experience like the experience of walking beside a canine companion the same size as you are.





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.



With the recent slush storm last week then the freeze, melt, freeze, the ground is a mix of icy, bumpy, muddy and I'm taking my time walking. Goldie waits patiently for me. Not that I would ever do this but it seems like if I took the leash off her, she'd walk beside me no problem and not take off. Her calm and gentle nature is a real contrast to the hustle and bustle of the hockey game crowd wandering around the CNE grounds.





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.



Moka's got a case of puffy-cheek-itis with an additional side symptom of one-ear-up-one-ear-down-osis. He's one of three dogs rescued from a reserve up north and he is one nice pup.




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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