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CBC Radio has a radio show called "The Sunday Edition" and this past weekend it was hosted by Hana Gartner. Following an interview with Gail Caldwell about her new book, "Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship", in which the author discusses friendship, loss and dogs.

From the New York Times, Sunday Book Review:

It says a lot for “Let’s Take the Long Way Home,” Gail Caldwell’s ferociously anguished chronicle of her best friend’s terminal cancer, that it manages to be, among many other things, a properly intelligent examination of the way in which dogs can help heal our past, enhance and challenge our knowledge of ourselves, even shed light on the mysterious workings of the human soul. If female friendship is the beating heart of this book, then a bond with a dog is the vein of pure tenderness that runs through its pages. You feel that the women’s friendship would never have existed in quite the same way without this crucial, balancing canine element.

After the interview with the Caldwell, Gartner takes a few moments to tell the audience about her own Pit Bull, Lola, whom she rescued from an animal shelter. Here's an excerpt:

Interspecies relationships are difficult enough to explain. But why a responsible, working mother of two young children would bring the pariah of the canine world into her home is even more of a mystery. I chalk it up to providence. A poster by the elevator at work grabbed my attention and changed my life. In a totally unpremeditated moment, I rescued this adorable, cuddly little puppy -- an American Staffordshire terrier-pit bull cross, the preferred weapon of drug dealers and blood sport enthusiasts. Still, the dog didn't scare me. The reaction to it did. Friends, family and neighbours immediately let me know what an irresponsible and dangerous deed I had done. The guy next door game me the cold shoulder, my best friend refused to visit, and the vet, bemused by the aesthetic mismatch, asked if I had any idea what "this" was.

You can have a listen to the whole thing here. The part about Lola starts at 24:55.

5 Comments to “Hana and Lola”

  1. Erin says:

    My parents had, until she passed away a few years ago, a lovely Staffordshire Terrier/Border Collie cross. She was a phenomenal dog, sweet and loving, a rather proficient herder (amusing on a city dog) and fantastic with all children. When I was pregnant with my first child she would keep watch over me anytime I was over and after my son was born she was his faithful friend and guardian. We all knew what "this" was, a fantastic girl, with a loving heart who had an unfair and unearned reputation.

  2. Jenna says:

    I listened to these stories on a long snowy drive with my mum. By the end we both had tears streaming down our faces having both known the feelings of friendship and loss that Hana described. Thanks for posting the link, it was a great listen even the second time.

  3. Ian says:

    Quite a few years(maybe 4 or 5 yrs) back I remember reading a Magazine article about Hana Gartner`s pit bull.I think it was possibly Macleans but not 100% sure.It was a very touching tribute to her dog.
    Really enjoying your photographs of the dogs.
    I hope you`ll still post updates on adopted dogs if you hear from the owners.
    Those updates were very uplifting.

  4. Fred says:

    Hi Ian, if I'm not mistaken I think the radio segment is Gartner reading that exact article.

    I'll definitely post updates as they come in.

  5. Ian says:

    I posted before I listened.
    That article really stuck with me and I thought of it after Ontario did such a terrible thing to these dogs.

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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.