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Pug and his amazing flying tongue.

For adoption information on this dog and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

Her lovely mask makes her face so very expressive. As soon as we hit the grassy area, this JRT rolled onto her back and flopped around like a fish all the while with a big goofy grin.

For adoption information on this dog and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

Adopted over the weekend, funny face Cha Cha, a miniature Poodle, seemed frail enough to be blown over by a breeze. No matter. I suspect he's going to be spending a lot of time in someone's arms.

Claire is listed as a German Shepherd mix though her long, fine muzzle reminds me of a Greyhound.

She's a fine tempered dog but didn't quite like how long I was taking to photograph her so after a while she started barking at me to hurry it up.

For adoption information on this dog and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

From the new owners of Coby, now Charles:

We all just wanted to give you a shout and say hi and thanks for all the hard work you do with TAS. I also wanted to give an update on Charles (formerly Coby) and to encourage all who read your blog to strongly consider adopting from TAS. When I met Charles, I couldn't believe what a sweet an wonderful boy he was, and since we've come together we can't imagine a more perfect dog. He really is one of those once in a lifetime partners and we feel so lucky to have him in our lives. He is such a thoughtful guy and is kind and gentle with everything including a 4 week old kitten (he was helping to take care of one at the vet clinic a couple weekends back). All it takes to keep him happy are morning snuggles, afternoon naps, a head scratch here and there, and then a few walks thrown in between. He is such a genuinely good spirited guy, and I know that many more must come through TAS. I can't imagine not having him in our lives and I hope that everyone can get a chance to find a dog like him. I know that the best place to start is at Animal Services as it seems these dogs are immensely grateful for all of the love and affection they do receive. I've attached a photo, courtesy of, that we took at Woofstock this year. Aside from going to festivals, he enjoys his runs in the park and adventures through the city. He also has some TAS friends at our clinic, including the "Gremlin" from March 25th (who is now Earl). There's no other place I'd go for a pet now that I've met all of these.

Keaton, now Dyson, seems to be having a great deal of fun. From his new owners:

I really can't believe how much joy Dyson has already given us. He makes me laugh all day long.

Playing ...

... and playing ...

... and playing ...

... and tired.

So after volunteering with TAS for all these years, I've probably developed a bit of thick skin because going on crying jags at the shelter after hearing another hardship story is not only unhelpful but quite possibly unmanly.

For some reason, though, when I met Beauty, some pepper flakes got into my eyes.

She's a black Labrador Retriever and I think it's the contrast that got to me. I usually think of Labs as being exuberant to super exuberant dogs, full of life and good cheer. A Lab's ambition is to be a fat happy dog surrounded by a family of happy people. Labs might be way too excitable or even out of control with their crazy butt wagging energy or they may be more sedate but still enthusiastic about getting any human attention. In some Labs, this energy might even turn nasty as I've seen one too many times.

What I've never seen is a Lab like Beauty. She is afraid and a huge sadness surrounds her, not so much in her face but in her manner, the way she carries herself. She's always ready to flatten against the floor at the slightest unexpected movement or noise. And she's skeletal. And she has mange and there's a cut behind her left eye.

The first time I tried taking her for a walk, she sat just outside the door and wouldn't budge. She sat for fifteen minutes looking around at the parking lots and big brick buildings while I photographed her. She would have sat there longer but I coaxed her onto the grass and we went for a short walk before she had enough and sat again and would go no further.

I reached down to touch her and she cringed. I've had this reaction from a few dogs before - feral dogs, little trembling dogs, but never from a Lab. Beauty's knees buckled and I thought she was going to fall to her belly to get away from my touch. I waited and she waited and then the anxiety lifted from her and I reached out to her again and this time her head stayed in my hand and she did not flinch away. She relaxed.

Here was an animal we created to adore us, who still wanted to adore us, and yet someone had neglected her and exploited her to the point where she was afraid of that which she had been bred to cherish. But she still yearned for it, for us. Beauty should have been one of those fat happy Labs who live a fat happy life but instead she'd been kept in a cage and used like a machine for all of her days to produce puppies for someone's profit and she was neglected and then discarded.

Is it not evil to create something which needs to love and then deny love to that creature, imprison it, abuse it, throw it away?

Outside still, and eventually Beauty shows a preference for chin scratches. She likes chest rubs as well. Perhaps it's not too late to save this dog. I mean, of course she will be saved. Of course a home will be found for her but perhaps she can still be saved in a way so she will not be afraid of what her gentle nature desires, so she will not be afraid of us anymore.

Beauty has a facial injury, maybe a deformity. It looks like a cleft palate or it could be the result of an old, deep cut. If she were a character in a novel, the wound would be taken as a metaphor mirroring the wound within. The wound on her face won't ever heal but perhaps the wound inside her will.

For adoption information on this dog and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

More on Beauty here.

O'Malley (luv the name) is a well behaved brown Labrador Retriever who has all the personality traits of an ideal city Lab. I think he'd be a great candidate for a canine good citizen certificate and then he could go on to be a therapy dog or help find the cure for malaria or be an astronaut or get elected prime minister of Canada or whatever it is dogs of his calibre do.

For adoption information on this dog and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

Toronto Animal Services South has been getting in some pretty awesome Labrador Retrievers recently and now they've got three more who are the awesomest.

Jimmy is the youngest of the three. He's a happy, and I mean a very, very happy kid who will immediately smother you with adoration and kisses. It's like he's on a permanent dose of love potion number 9. Jimmy takes affection to a whole new level and he'll drive every last remnant of glum out of your system.

For adoption information on this dog and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

Brock is a pretty chill Jack Russell Terrier until he sees another dog and then he yowls like a banshee. It's operatic. To what purpose? I'm not sure and I didn't get a chance to find out yet.

For adoption information on this dog and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

Pako, a rough coated Collie, has got crazy face on whenever he poses for the camera. I wouldn't say he's crazy, though, more like very exuberant about making friends with everything that moves.

For adoption information on this dog and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

Then I brushed the hair out of the Shih Tzu's eyes and he gave me this look.

For adoption information on this dog and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

Maxx was originally at Toronto Animal Services but he was transferred to THS because he was a bit too energetic and untrained for TAS to adopt out. He's been at THS for 3 months now, learning better behaviours and how to better conduct himself in polite society. Now he's keen to find himself a home.

Here's his description and photos (by Mel L.):

Maxx is a four year old lab cross but he still acts like a big puppy. He was transferred from TAS on March 10th 2011.

Maxx is a high energy dog and would do well with an active owner who has large breed experience. He's been participating in training classes with the staff and volunteers at the Toronto Humane Society and has come a long way. He's really eager to learn and to please, loves learning new things and picks things up quickly. Maxx is a great student and would be very happy with an owner who will further his training.

He's a smart, friendly dog who loves to play fetch, chew on sticks, and run around. If you're looking for a jogging partner Maxx would be a great match!

If you know anyone who is looking for a new best friend please encourage them to consider Maxx. Three months is too long to be living in a shelter. You can learn more about him at

Keaton and his adoptive parents found each other at the TAS-South adopt-a-thon last Saturday. We all sat around talking while Stephen hung onto Keaton's leash and after about two hours of conversing, I realized they would be the best choice.

I would have brought Keaton over to them on Sunday but he started getting diarrhea and when it got worse on Monday, I talked to a vet tech at TAS-South and Panacure was prescribed. Tuesday wasn't much better so another dose of Panacure in the evening. Wednesday morning and it was still kind of yucky. I dropped him off at TAS in the morning fully expecting to pick him up after work but when I showed up in the afternoon, he was gone. He had already been released to his new owners. His condition wasn't critical and they were more than willing to bring him to a vet to get the issue resolved themselves.

I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to Keaton but I think it was probably better that way. Less confusion for him. I'm sure he was overjoyed to be taken out of his kennel and overjoyed to go for a walk and overjoyed on the car ride and overjoyed at being able to investigate his new home and before you know it, he'll be overjoyed with his new life.

My first foster done.

This must be kinda like how it feels when one's child moves out of the house. Happy and sad all at the same time. The house is more quiet than it's been for three weeks now with no more mad dashes and no more wrestling. Even though Smitten had a lot of fun with Keaton, I think she appreciates the break from his antics. Tonight she was finally able to carry her favorite squeaky plush toy to bed with her without having Keaton snatch it away from her to instigate a pre-bedtime tussle.

We can finally get the furniture clean again. I can sleep in again. I don't have to rush home from work anymore to release Keaton from the evil crate. My weekends are free again. No canine responsibilities again.

The trade-off, of course, is not having Keaton around to put a smile on everyone's face.

Having Keaton and then not having Keaton reminds me of what I'm missing but also tells me I'm not ready to own another dog yet (we've got Smitten but Elizabeth looks after Smitten mostly), at least not until this especially busy summer is over. Not enough time and too many weekends out of town. And, I have to admit, as much as I liked Keaton, I felt within me a small sense of detachment. That was partially because I knew he wasn't going to be with me for long but also because the memory of losing Stella and Rocky is still too close.

I'm glad Keaton was my first foster. Except for that bout of the poops at the end, it was pretty much an ideal fostering experience. Now Keaton's on to bigger and better things and, as a bonus, he's still in the neighbourhood so I can always look forward to seeing him in more wrestling matches with Smitten.

There's no denying the attraction of the perfect black Labrador Retriever pup. This pretty girl barely made it into Toronto Animal Services South before she was adopted.

For adoption information on this dog and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

The Toronto Animal Services South Adopt-a-Thon at Dufferin Grove this past weekend was a huge success. I don't have the exact numbers but dozens of animals including hamsters, gerbils, cats and dogs found new homes.

Keva was adopted as was Keaton though Keaton is still with me for a day or two until his tummy gets sorted out (had a bit of the runs the last couple of days). I'll miss seeing him every day but I think Smitten might miss him more once she realizes he's gone. I'm very happy with his new family, though, especially since they're in the neighbourhood.

This little girl below, a Chug?, a Pughuahua? was also grabbed up. She's a precocious little whippersnapper who obviously charmed someone to bits. When I was walking her, we passed Rocky, a very big Doberman Pinscher, and without hesitation she stood up on her hind legs and started giving him kisses on his face. He returned the favour and she came away happy and with a very drenched head.

Thanks to everyone who put on the event and congrats to all the wonderful new pet owners.

For adoption information on this dog and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

update (11-06-16) Kilo has been found.

(message from Toronto Humane Society)

Earlier this week we had an unfortunate incident occur when a foster dog ran away from his temporary home. That pooch is Kilo, a black and tan-coloured mastiff mix, weighing approximately 30 kg (pictured). He was lost in the St. Clair and O'Connor area in Toronto.

Three-year-old Kilo was surrendered to us in early March with a broken leg which has been healing well. He also suffers from a torn shoulder, which is why he was put in foster care.

Kilo's foster parents as well as staff and concerned Toronto Humane Society supporters are now on the search for him but we need your help.

Here are some ways you can assist:
• If you see Kilo, please contact us and let us know where you spotted him. (Do not attempt to restrain the dog yourself).
• Spread the word to your friends and family and ask them to be on the lookout for Kilo or if they think they've spotted him.
• If you or someone you know will be out and about this weekend print out a photo of Kilo and ask people in park or other common dog walking areas if they've seen him.
• Go virtual with this message and again share Kilo's details with your friends and family and ask them to help with the search.

If you or someone you know has spotted Kilo or has any information on the dog's whereabouts please contact the Toronto Humane Society. During operating hours you can reach us at 416-392-2273 (press "0" for the front desk). If your call is after hours, please leave a message at ext. 2145 or 2248.

Preventative measures

If you are a dog owner yourself, the Toronto Humane Society would like to take this opportunity to remind you of tips that can help prevent your animal companion from running away from home.

These include making sure your yard is escape-proof; if any spaces need to be fixed, don't delay. Train your dog to respect your commands; no dog should be allowed to bolt out a door, even to a fenced area. Teach him to sit while the door is being opened, and to not go out until you give him a release. Your dog should also wear a visible tag at all times with your contact information on it.


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.