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(Continued from here.)

Cloud has been at Toronto Animal Services South for over two months now and he still doesn't like going outside. He knows enough to do his bathroom breaks outside but he's like the winter camper who reluctantly exits the warmth of his cabin to find a sheltered spot, pees and scrambles back in as quickly as possible.

I've been "walking" Cloud pretty well once a week since he arrived and it's the same thing every time. I put the leash on him. I half encourage, half drag him out of his kennel. Once he's out of his kennel, he's okay about making his way to the exit. We go out, turn the corner of the building. Cloud sniffs, pees, sniffs, pees, sometimes poops then he turns around and wants to go back inside.

I try to make him linger a bit, smell the flowers and all that, but he's a strong boy and if try to keep him outside against his wishes, his anxiety level shoots up, he gets frantic and it's like playing tug of war with a tractor and what would it accomplish anyway other than producing an even more stressed out dog and a dislocated shoulder on my part.

Cloud runs/drags me back to the door and if I don't open it quickly enough, he starts panting and scratching at it demanding immediate entrance.

I'm no psychiatrist but I think Cloud is an agoraphobe. Seriously.

Of course I feel sorry for him but I can't help thinking there would be lots of applicants for this guy if he were presented properly. Think of all the people who would like to be dog owners but don't get a dog because they don't have time to walk or exercise one. Cloud is perfect for those people. He's about as close to being a trouble free teddy bear as any living creature could possibly be. Feed him, make sure he's got water, take him outside to the backyard for literally five minutes or less a few times a day and the rest of time just set him up on the bed or sofa and he'll be perfectly content.

Or at least he seems content staring out at the world as it passes him by. Who knows what inner turmoil, if any, he endures.

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

8 Comments to “Cloud”

  1. NK says:

    Having never been to the Toronto Humane Society, do they perchance put a little typewritten card on the front of his cage? A little blurb pointing out his good features and who might be a suitable owner would be great - possibly they already do this?

  2. selkiem says:

    I wonder what happened to this guy to make him so frightened. Do you think backyard breeder or puppy mill? And Fred, how is the little jack doing? Has been on my mind since you posted.

  3. Laura HP says:

    Cloud is such a weirdo. I say this lovingly, because he's sweet and adorable and a favourite around the shelter, but man he's a strange dog. I guess a more complimentary term would be 'quirky'!

  4. Fred says:

    NK, at TAS sometimes there are descriptions on the kennel doors, sometimes not. Cloud should definitely have one. Thanks for the suggestion.

    selkie, I've never encountered a dog like Cloud so I can't even begin to guess why he behaves the way he does. As for the JRT, he is doing well, at least physically. All the tubes are out and it looks like his wounds are healing. I'll definitely be checking up on this guy.

  5. deva says:

    I have heard of dogs who have spent their whole lives outside reacting this way once they are in a home - they are afraid they may never get back inside again. Is it possible this is Cloud's story? I hope someone will take him and love him and show him he doesn't have to worry about being let into the house, because it's HIS home now.

  6. selkiem says:

    Actually, thinking about his behaviour, there was a dog I used to walk at the THS with very similar behaviour - except more aggression. But the littel guy I used to walk was FRANTIC when he was outside; I would barely get him out before he was trying to drag me back inside. I walked him frequently for at least a year (in bewteen two very short failed adoptions) - and eventually, after a LONG time, he began to trust me. I used to go and just sit in the park up the road and give him some slack on his lead. Once he was actually away from the shelter, I found he would perk up a bit. Eventually he did get used to - and LOVED - walks - but it took a lot of time and patience.

  7. anon says:

    I hate waking up every morning, checking TAS and seeing that Cloud is still there. Is there noone who could even foster him for a while? What is going to become of him? He has been there so long? It's killing me (I have asked every single dog loving person I luck...which presumably is happening there as well). Can you put another blurb on your blog promoting him?? Is he going to fall through the cracks and end up as one of the 2% or so that don't make it out of there....

  8. Fred says:

    I saw Cloud yesterday evening and as much as a dog can be happy at any shelter, Cloud seemed pretty happy - well, happy isn't the right word but he was okay. He actually seems more at ease these days, going for slightly longer walks, being quite social with people, wanting to hang out. He's still got his problems no doubt but perhaps on a day to day basis, things aren't so bad for him. I can't say what's going to happen to him but I'm thinking that as long as he remains stable, behaviorally and physically, TAS will keep him sheltered and continue to try to find him a home.

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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.