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Another one who doesn't like the outdoors. I open his kennel door. Cloud doesn't back away but he sits and leans into the wall. I put the leash on him and he doesn't budge. I try to coax him out. Nothing. I try to tempt him with treats. Nothing. Luckily a staffer walks into the room and she manages to convince him to step out of his kennel. She warns me that he isn't going to want to stay outside for long.

She's right. We go out the main door and he anxiously pulls me over to the grass and pees. He sniffs a few more spots nearby and pees at each one. Then he decides he's had enough and pulls me back towards to the entrance. It's a frantic pull and he's strong. I could keep him outside but it would be a struggle and what would be the point? His anxiety level is already high and it rises when he feels any resistance I might offer. Less than a minute after stepping outside, we are back inside.

Cloud isn't relaxed inside but he's less anxious. He won't walk outside so I decide to walk him around inside the facility, or rather I just let him lead. He takes me upstairs right back up to his kennel.

"You've got to be kidding me," I say to him. He's inside his kennel, looking at me. I'm just outside his kennel holding onto his leash. The other two dogs in the room are barking and jumping and trying to get my attention as if to say if he doesn't want to go out then take us out.

We stand there for fifteen seconds. I decide I'll spend some time with him in his kennel if he won't come out but then he does. He's changed his mind.

He leads us on a tour of the facility. He sniffs all around the upstairs, unfortunately goes pee in a couple of spots, leads me downstairs right up to the front door but when I open it, he turns away and leads me back inside. We go upstairs again for some more exploratory walking.

I try to get him to sit with me for a bit on the bench upstairs but he gets anxious in the open space, constricted in his movement by the leash. Can dogs be agoraphobic, I wonder. I take him into the fishbowl, the room with glass walls where potential adopters can hang out with dogs they're interested in. He does a perimeter sniff, checks out the empty food dish.

He's been pretty much ignoring me up to this point. I've just been an anchor at the other end of the leash. However, now that he's off leash and stuck in a room with me, he comes over and stands beside me. I scratch his back and he likes that. I scratch a little harder and he starts doing a happy dance, stepping back and forth between his two back feet and wiggling his butt. When I stop, he twists his head around at me to say, "More," so I start again and again more happy dancing. When I stop, he nuzzles my hand. Finally, some engagement, so I reward him with even more scratching and some ear rubbing.

Eventually, I sit down on the floor. He understands that the scratching session has ended. He lies down a few feet away. He looks through the glass wall at the world outside.

More on Cloud here.

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

4 Comments to “Cloud - Akita Labrador mix”

  1. Poor wee beastie, why is he so frightened of the outdoors?

  2. Fred says:

    The heat? The noisy CNE grounds? The smell of horses? No one really knows.

  3. GoLightly says:

    Some dogs have a prolonged fear period, and this poor lad probably never saw much of the outside world:( His eyes are so guarded.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I hope he gets over his anxiety about the outdoors with time. Patience and love can really turn a dog around :)

    I have such fond memories of that fishbowl room. Meeting my dog for the first time and getting to know him better while throwing around a sopping wet tennis ball. Great memories! Thanks TAS South!

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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.