Mia's already been through two douchebag owners. The first one had her undergo a painful debarking procedure then they still gave her up, handing her over to a backyard breeder/puppy miller of all things who then bred her until she could no longer turn a profit. Luckily she was rescued and transferred to Toronto Animal Services before she had to endure any further trauma.

If there is any karma in the world, Mia's next owners will shower her with love and squeaky toys so she can make noise to her heart's content.

I know it's not the case (at least I don't think it's the case) but debarked dogs always sound like dogs in pain to me.







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.



Who says you can't keep a bear as pet? Grizzly is three months old and he's already bigger than most of the other dogs at Toronto Animal Services. And like a little Grizzly, this furball is very very keen on anything food related, something which I'm sure will be an ongoing interest as he blossoms in size.





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 the new owners of Katie, now Na'vi:

My boyfriend and I adopted her back in January 2012. She's been the most amazing dog ever! We literally couldn't believe how well trained she was. She is the most calm, loving, compassionate dog I have ever met. She's the biggest sucky baby! She loves being pet and loves her belly rubs. Til this day I can't believe she was a stray. I just don't understand how someone wouldn't come looking for her. She fit perfectly into our family, I'm so glad she found us. Things happen the way they're supposed to and now she has a forever home. What was written about her on the iwantapounddog website is totally true. She's definitely a smiling girl.








 



A woman looks over and asks, Can I pet your dog? and I say, Sure but she might be a bit shy. Billie Jean gives the woman a quick once over, walks over and flops on her back to await her belly rubs. Umm, okay, I guess not too shy, I say.




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.



I never understood why anyone would name a dog breed after a tick. It would be like naming a breed after fleas or mites or something like Jumpy Flea Retriever or Molesting Mite Collie. Then Google saves the day and it turns out "Redtick" refers to all the small red patches on the breed. Huh.

CJ's red ticks, or freckles I prefer to call them, are especially prevalent around his muzzle and feet. He's a confident, intelligent young lad who is highly food motivated and still has a bit of a puppy's energy and curiosity lingering.




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.



Logan may be a year old but he's still got a puppy look and a puppy attitude about him. He's frisky, friendly and fun and will fit great in a family environment.





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 most important thing, Tisha says, is the toy selection. It's all about the toy selection.

Honey, a five year old Neopolitan Mastiff, lumbers up to the boxes full of toys and sticks her head into the first box and starts to snoot around. I can hear little squeaks and squawks as she nudges through the selection. She picks one but then decides it's not the right one so she goes back in to find another.


Honey has been at the Toronto Humane Society for almost three months now. Earlier, in the meet and greet room, Honey was on the floor, her head nuzzled in Tisha's lap who was lavishing her with affection. Snorts and moans were coming from Honey who was loving the attention. Honey is a gorgeous dog. She obviously likes to be around people. She's good with other dogs. She's quiet - except for her happy snorts. She's gentle with treats. She's not bad on a leash.

Honey had been surrendered along with another Neo Mastiff, Titus. Titus was twelve years old with bad hip dysplasia so instead of adopting him out, staff at the THS found him a retirement home with a Mastiff and horse rescue facility outside of Ottawa. Honey, herself, had some issues with her eyes and had to undergo a couple of eye surgeries to correct them so that took a bit of time but since then, she's been in adoption for several weeks now and no takers.

I ask Tisha why Honey is still at the THS and I'm told Honey doesn't present well in her kennel. She's stressing out with new people peering in at her all the time and she's gotten protective of the space. Sometimes she barks. Sometimes she lunges. I can imagine that would be pretty intimidating. I can imagine, if one didn't know any better, one might back away slowly, glad to have those metal bars keeping Honey safely in her the cage. If one didn't know any better.

I can see, though, that's not at all her normal state. Her normal state is this dog in front of me, silly with a toy in her mouth, snarfling with happiness at getting her copious skin folds scratched and rubbed.



Tisha is enthusiastic about Honey's prospects. She knows Honey will get adopted. The THS will find her a good home.

Sometimes I come in early to hang out with Honey in her kennel, Tisha says. I know she'll get into a good home but I'll really miss her, she says, and as if to acknowledge that, Honey looks up at Tisha and emits a long low rumble.









Honey is available for adoption from the Toronto Humane Society. For more information on Honey please visit her adoption page: http://www.petango.com/Adopt/Dog-Neapolitan-Mastiff-Mix-19267175



Norton is all about the chillin'. He's got a pokey little walk at an open throttle speed of half a snail's pace. There are too many blades of grass to smell, so what's the hurry?

Norton is your afternoon nap partner-in-waiting.





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 the owner of Mabel (now Gracie):

I've sent a couple of updates to the staff at TAS, but I'd love to see a happier photo of Mabel (now Gracie) on your blog. Your blog is responsible for this wonderful new addition to our family!

A friend posted your entry on Basquiat to Facebook, which drew me down to TAS in person, but I found he'd already been adopted. I toured the other cages and found Mabel off by herself, pacing endlessly in her enclosure. She didn't throw herself at every newcomer like many of the other dogs; it was obvious I would have to work for her trust, and I sat with her for some time. I returned the next day with my partner and our two other shelter dogs - a 13 year old lab mix and a 10 year old spaniel mix. The staff at TAS (Korey) helped us set up a meet and greet outside which went incredibly well, and we knew that we had found the newest member of our family.

We were off work for a week with her at our house, and Gracie's favourite place to be is still outside in our large back yard. For two days, the time she was outside was spent underneath the bushes. Each day thereafter she made measurable progress, becoming more comfortable with her surroundings, with us, and with our other dogs. She loves to be outside, loves to run full-tilt across the yard, and though she is still quite timid and easily scared, she is absolutely a new dog. We're working one-on-one with a reputable trainer, and have even been taking Gracie on some leashed walks. Our vet and trainer think she is about 5 years old.

She is an amazing creature, extremely loving after all she has been through, and we can't wait to see the dog that she becomes in time.





I love this photo. It captures a perfect moment:






Someone breeds them then can't take care of them. These three guys and one girl (the tri-colour one) are all available. I'll let the pictures and video do the talking.








The best way to check on the adoption status of these pups (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 pups are no longer on the TAS adoption website, it's probably because they've been adopted already.



(Warning: this post contain a somewhat graphic image. It's the first image in the post, so scroll by that one and look away if you don't want to see it. The rest aren't so bad. All photos in this post were taken by E.J. Lazaga unless stated otherwise.)

I've been having a hard time with this for a few months now and usually when I have a hard time writing something, it's because I'm uncertain about it.

In February this year, I became a director of the Toronto Humane Society. This is a temporary, appointed position to fill in a vacancy left by a departing director and this position will last about another three weeks when the Annual General Meeting will be held and where, if I am to stay on the board, I will need to be voted in by the membership.

The last time I was elected for anything was when I was ten and chosen by my cohorts to throw a snowball at the high school bully down the block who had caved in our snowfort. The following action resulted in a fat lip. Hopefully, these elections will be less exciting.

But the elections aren't what I'm uncertain about. I'm offering my services and if the membership chooses to accept the offer then I've got more work on my plate. If they choose a better prepared candidate over me then I can finally catch up on "Game of Thrones" - people at work are talking about the show and I've got nothing to add to that conversation.

The thing I was uncertain about, with regards to the THS, was the same thing a lot of people in Toronto are uncertain about when it comes to the THS and that is whether or not the THS is a worthwhile enough agency to contribute one's time, energy and money. The THS does good work - there's no doubt about that - but a lot of individuals, rescue groups, other agencies - like Toronto Animal Services - do good work. With the THS comes significant overhead costs, funding issues, constant rumblings of internal discord and then there's that matter of trust. The bad taste left behind by the scandals of the previous administration (who are all gone now) still keeps the public doubting the sincerity and efficacy of the organization.

So, given my own doubts, I kept asking myself, Do I really want to get mired in the politics of the Toronto Humane Society?

Then, I heard about Angel.

Angel arrived at the THS in early February of this year.


She was an owner surrender. The owners could no longer take care of her or her medical bills. The demodex mange which had taken over her entire body seemed relentless, allegedly made worse by an improper prescription of steroids by a vet. Angel was bleeding. She was in pain. Almost all her fur had fallen out or had been scratched off. Her feet were so swollen, they looked like they'd been skinned. Parts of her face looked like hamburger.

Eric Jensen, a THS staffer at the front desk saw Angel when she was brought in. He said he'd never seen an animal look worse.

Surprisingly, or maybe not surprisingly given what we know about dogs, Angel still managed to walk up to him and wag her tail.

The THS took Angel in and Eric volunteered to foster her. Angel turned out to be a six month old pup, a probable mix of Bull Terrier, Boxer, Collie and others. Her initial regimen was two medicated baths a week to treat and relieve her mange ridden skin, daily doses of medicine and supplements, bi-weekly skin scrapes to check on the progress of the mange, along with shots of antibiotics.

Three hundred mites were found on Angel's first skin scrape. I've seen skin scrapes. It's only a very small patch of skin from which the vet samples.

The following photos, taken on each of Angel's visits to the THS vets over the next three months, tell the story better than I possibly could. Start from the first image above then scroll through all the following images. If these don't renew your hope for whatever goodness in this world you seek, then I don't know what will.

February 22, 2013

March 2, 2013 (notice her duck boots to keep her from scratching herself)

March 15, 2013

March 30, 2013

April 13, 2013

April 27, 2013


Not surprisingly, Eric has decided to adopt Angel. The way he describes her now, Angel sounds like so many other nine month old puppies: tons of energy, happy and friendly with everyone, tail wags so hard it's like a weapon, loves fetch, has started carrying a ball around. And, her last skin scrape yielded no mites.

Eric also has another foster dog and a sixteen year old palliative care foster cat. I ask him about the other staff, if they all have fosters in their care as well and generally they do. The care of animals started out as a responsibility for most of them long before it became a job.

This is what amazes me most about the Toronto Humane Society: all these people who have gathered together to help animals. People don't go into animal welfare as a career expecting to get famous or rich or powerful. Salaries are not great and job security is uncertain. There aren't even the lavish, more publicly celebrated accolades associated with other charities of a more anthropocentric nature to look forward to. Animal welfare work is a compulsion to do good for those creatures who will probably never be able to say thank you but who thank you nevertheless with their good health and better lives.

We need the Toronto Humane Society because it's not just a shelter for homeless animals but it also provides inspiration for those who believe people are capable of looking beyond themselves and that compassion for others extends to compassion for the most vulnerable.

The Toronto Humane Society is and needs to be a good and better role model.

Going forward with Pound Dogs, I'm going to start occasionally posting more in-depth profiles of some of the dogs who arrive at the THS looking for shelter. I'd like to share their journeys with you from their intake to, hopefully, their adoption.

If you don't already, I hope you'll consider supporting the THS, maybe by becoming a member or making a donation. It's a good thing they do and you know they're going to need your help to keep doing it.


Here are some stats on the THS for 2012:

Almost 3000 animals were adopted out.

Over 2000 animals have been fixed since the THS Low Cost Spay Neuter Clinic was open last summer.

Over 36,000 volunteer hours were logged.

Over 1000 palliative, special needs and juvenile animals were placed into foster care.
(Above photo by Eric Jensen)





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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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