Hey Momo, I know we haven't much of chance to have a good conversation lately on account of your deafness so I'm going to be talking right up close to your ear and maybe you'll be able to at least feel the vibration of my voice if nothing else. I really hope you haven't thought that I'd stopped talking to you this past year because I haven't. Every morning, I still said good morning to you, every evening I said goodnight. I never stopped chatting with you throughout the day even after I was pretty sure you couldn't hear me at all. And I'm talking to you now just before we say goodbye.

I took so many pictures of you. I should've taken more. I took so many videos of you and I should've taken more. I should've captured from all the different angles all the ways that made you. I don't know what I will miss most about you. Once there are enough years in a relationship, it sometimes gets difficult to discern between love and habit.

Every morning, your routine made me smile. You'd take a step off your bed and go into a long full stretch, then sneeze, then scratch and then you'd finally trot over to me, swaying your head side to side and wagging your tail at the same time. When you were younger, you'd wake me up at this point. When you got older, you'd wait until I stood at the top of the stairs, waving your harness at you, before you'd start your routine.

You always danced before eating. You always flopped into your spot at the end of the blue sofa then sighed as you curled into it. You always gently mooched for snuggles when I hadn't paid you any attention in a while. You always stayed by my side when I was home. With these simple things you were content in life, and thus I felt better about mine because contentment is contagious when it comes from a dog.

You always danced before eating, right up to the day before the stroke took you.

Your old body has put up with a lot in this life and sometimes it weighed on you, and on me as well but the weight of you is not something I ever begrudged. If love were too light, what impression would it make? It would just float away.

But now I think your body is saying, Enough already, and who am I to keep it from its rest?

I'm not going to wash your harness just yet or put away your bedding just yet. I still need to have around me a while longer some essence of you in this home, a home which we moved into together many years ago and from which you will now leave me behind.

The vet is doing her work.

I don't want to let you go though I must let you go. I hang onto you like I hang onto a precious thing in a dream hoping to pull it into reality.

She tells me it will be gentle.

I put my hand on your chest and feel your last breaths. I watch your eyes as the anxiety leaves them; they relax though remain open. You shed your tired body. I whisper in your ear as you go, hoping the vibrations reach you.

Carry on my sweet Simone, once again light and unencumbered.

- October 21, 2020




Nate and Sara are two adorable bonded Malamutes adopted about three years ago. Seems they've had a bit of an adventure recently. From their owner:

I realized it's been awhile since I have sent any updates on Sara and Nate.  They are doing just awesome!! Still full of energy everyday and loving life.

Not sure if we had told you but we live in Fort McMurray and went through the fire this past spring. We were lucky enough that our home did not burn. Came close but the fire burned across the street from us and went on the opposite direction 😃.

So Nate and Sara and their brother and sister (our cats) went on a little adventure. They were all awesome troopers while we left our home and headed down the highway away from the fire. Dogs in the back seat and cats in the back of our Tahoe in a large dog crate. It was for sure an interesting road trip.

Here are a few pics of the trip we took back to Ontario and happy times at our home in Fort Mac!!














From the owner Blondie (now Marcie):

We adopted one of the dogs featured on your blog a few years back. She was one of the dogs from Anashinabe. We adopted her from TAS South in December 2011 when she was about a year old and are so glad we did. She's friendly, affectionate, and very playful.

Thanks for all the great work you and TAS do.











This is harder to write than I thought it was going to be - hence, I've been stalling. The south shelter of Toronto Animal Services is no longer adopting out dogs, leaving that service to the other three TAS locations (North, West, East).

Some of you have commented that there have been less dogs in adoption recently compared to a few years ago. Gone are those days when there were a dozen or more listed on the TAS adoption pages. It's a good problem to have, I suppose: a big city shelter not overflowing with homeless dogs.

Still, with fewer dogs available at TAS, fewer people will see the agency as a place to find their next canine companion. I'm sure dog adoptions will never completely be reorganized out of TAS but it's been a long while since they last took in big shipments of dogs from other jurisdictions. No more trucks of anxious and expectant pups from Quebec or Ohio. No more northern dogs from reserves. No more dogs from Serbia or Iran. These days, it seems to be local dogs only and many of those are transferred to rescues for them to rehome.

When TAS South first started taking on an expanded role in dog rescue about ten years ago, the Toronto Humane Society was a mess and there were no other comparable large scale organizations in the city. Now, the THS is more stable and rescues like Dog Tales are doing an admirable job of saving homeless dogs both local and from abroad. So, the rescue environment in Toronto has evolved and maybe the vacuum left by the closing of dog adoptions at TAS South and the decrease in TAS dog adoptions in general won't be greatly missed by the public.

I'll miss it, though, as will the other volunteers I'm sure. TAS South had a good run. These last nine years, spending time with the dogs, taking their photos, writing about them, maintaining this blog and the Facebook page - these were things which anchored me. It was a commitment I always looked forward to no matter how hectic life got. I never found anything more grounding than spending time with the dogs. They always chased away any weariness from the day and enriched me with an emotional authenticity hard to find in our selfie dominated culture. A million likes means nothing to a dog who licks your hand in exchange for some simple human affection.

I always smiled seeing the elation in their faces before every walk. I was swept up in wonder witnessing dogs touch grass for the first time after living their whole lives in puppy mill cages. My sense of hope was renewed when a tail would start to wag after years of abuse, so resilient and still trusting. And there was sadness too in holding the sick ones or the old ones for the last time before they were delivered from their suffering.

I think I must've photographed over a thousand dogs in my years at TAS South and I'm sure there were hundreds more I missed and all but some very few found homes. A huge thanks to all the staff, especially the ones who cared beyond what was mandated by work, the volunteers who shared their time and made the days the dogs spent at the shelter more bearable, and especially to James Maclean who worked tirelessly, and still does, to save lives.

All good things come to an end. Dog adoptions at Toronto Animal Services South is now closed.

Fred




XO (Esso) and Remy are a brother and sister who have spent all eleven years of their lives together and it would only be right to keep them together at this point. They both have the energy of dogs half their age and like their peoples very much. With other dogs, they are barky and can come across as a rather ferocious pair. Luckily, their size makes them not so much.

They like their outside time well enough but would be just as happy on the couch, sitting on either side or on top of their person, getting bellies rubs and ears scratches.






The best way to check on the adoption status of XO and Remy (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit the 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.




As soon as I let Pico out of his kennel, he tries to jump up into my arms. Almost makes it too but I wasn't ready to catch him. Some lucky person will be taking Pico home soon, I'm sure. He's such a playful dog and how do you not love a face with a snaggle-toothed underbite?




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 the 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.



Betty was one of two dogs who accompanied me back from Serbia. Even with a broken leg which was improperly set when she was younger, she is such a joyous little thing.

In Serbia, right after she was rescued, with broken leg:





Now, home in Toronto:






I left for Serbia on April 29. While there, I encountered many strays.  Some were shy; most were curious and friendly.  None of them posed any kind of threat which is how they are often maligned.  I arrived back in Toronto a week later with two dogs, Betty and Oscar.  Here are some photos of the trip.

Betty, whose leg was broken and never set properly.  This girl came back with me to Canada.


For the first few days, I stayed with Snezana and her family along with their nine rescued dogs.


Leia, a Staffordshire Terrier, matriarch of Snezana's rescues.  A lovely dog.


The bear dog, one of several stray dogs encountered a few blocks from Snezana's home.  This one followed us back but turned away when the dogs in her backyard started barking at him.  A few days later, after I'd returned to Canada, he would return to wait for Snezana in front of her house.


This beautiful Pointer was too scared to let us get close.  He ran away from us in a frenzy, probably still looking for the owner who had recently abandoned him.




Playing, not fighting.  The strays didn't look starved and they seemed to have a pretty good life, free and easy on the streets of the Becman, at least until they get hit by a car or disease takes them or winter arrives or the dog hunters show up








Snezana goes out and feeds the stray dogs in her town and the next at least once a day.  Everyone else watches and stares.  "Many people here have backyards and can take a dog but they won't take a dog," she says.  "I send dogs to adoption everywhere else, Austria, U.K., Germany but not here."









Dog dreaming of life




Stray dog along the Sava River


And another





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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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