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For people who don't know dogs from Adam, a dog is a dog is a dog. For people who know dogs, this is, of course, bunk. Sure they've all got some obvious similarities, like they tend to walk on four feet, are inclined to pee on posts, live life to the fullest and in the moment (hence the peeing on posts, I suspect), and are loyal to a fault, but otherwise, it doesn't take much effort or insight to see that each and every dog is about as different as each and every person. Even within similar breeds, there are vast differences in personality. Some dogs are extroverts, some are introverts. Some are comedians, some are drama queens. Some love a good rowdy time, some prefer not to get their hair ruffled. Some like to eat their vegetables, some don't. Some like punk rock, some like classical. The list is endless.

We've been told over and over that we shouldn't anthropomorphize dogs (or any other animals for that matter). I say, we don't anthropomorphize them enough. Obviously, dogs don't communicate the same way humans do, and they don't reason the same way some humans do, but to wholly neglect the fact that each and every dog has a different personality is to turn a blind eye to something wonderful and it closes the door to discovering that wonder. Humans have shared their lives with dogs for ten thousand or more years now so it's no wonder that our partners on this planet are as varied as we are. After all, we made them that way, to reflect that which is best in us.

I photograph the dogs at Toronto Animal Services South for their adoption website. Here are some of the greatest personalities I've had the pleasure to meet.

2 Comments to “Personalities”

  1. beautiful pictures and as always, beautiful to read your words. i discovered your old blog too late but it remains on my blogroll, as it is my sometimes guilty pleasure to read your old posts. good luck with this new one. i'm glad i was able to click in today. i tried yesterday but got a message that it was invite only.

    p.s. georgia little pea is a dog and i am her human. how's that for anthropomorphizing? :P

  2. Ian says:

    Pictures are beautiful.
    Your writing is wonderful.
    You`ve been missed.

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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.