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How did black cats ever get associated with witches in the first place? Because, seriously, black cats are not what I'd put on my top ten list of scary talismans. Like a zombie shows up and he's got someone's guts wrapped around his neck like a long sausage necklace and Dr. Frankenstein shows up and he's wheelbarrowing around this stinky meat mannequin with flies buzzing around it made up of sewn together body parts and he's mumbling, "It's alive, it's alive," when it's obviously not and then the wicked witch shows up and she's got ... a cat. Seriously? Frankenstein is all, "WTF, lady? You brought a cat?" and the zombie's like, "Guuh, nice kitty," and the cat jumps out of the witch's arms and slinks around the zombie's putrefied leg and purrs and the witch is like, "Well, excuse me for not living up to your expectations, assholes," but the Zombie points at her and says, "Guh, loser," so then she's like, "Yeah, well shut up you douchebag cuz you're going to brown your tighties when you see what else I brought," and then she pulls out a broomstick but that doesn't get the reaction she's hoping for either.

So remember, don't let other people think you're a loser. Black cats aren't Halloween props - but they do make great pets.

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

Nice to hear from Lucy's new owner so quickly. Looks like she's got a new friend and housemate.

Hola uncle James I want to say thank you for taking care of me when I was there. now I have a home and lots of love.....I am happy and coming alone well , here are some pics of me in the nice backyard I have now to play.... I also have a nice coat...

These two Doberman Pinschers have grown into some magnificent dogs.

From their owner:

Hi attached shows the now 13 month old hooligan Doberman bin boys. Dexter is on the left and Oskar is on the right. Oskie is a little bigger than his brother, 92 lbs at the moment with a little more filling out to go. Hope all is well. They are both 'working' at the winery this week.

Cloud is gone. I knew it as soon as I saw that his name had been erased off the list of dogs to be walked. The ink smudge of his name was still visible on the white board but I knew he was gone.

I think it was done yesterday. His bloodwork had come back earlier in the week. There was something wrong with him. He'd been urinating large amounts of clear liquid. Every morning his bedding was soaked. So the bloodwork came back and there was something wrong with his adrenal values, something wrong with his liver. Maybe if Cloud were a younger dog, maybe if he were a dog without the issues he had, maybe if there were more people who had shown some interest in adopting him, maybe then more tests would have been done, maybe some diagnosis, some plan ...

TAS had asked around to the other shelters and rescues to see if anyone would take him but no one offered. That's understandable. He wasn't their concern. Everyone's got more than they can handle already. No one wanted the added responsibility of looking after a sick old dog who urinates in his bed every night. I can't fault others for something I didn't offer to do myself.

So, no one is to blame and everyone is to blame.

And I had just recently written someone about how Cloud would be kept in adoption until he was found a home.

The hardest part is knowing that Cloud had finally grown to trust us. That's the thing with these damned lost dogs - they always end up trusting us to do the right thing.

Goodbye Cloud. Now you are away. May you rest well.

Bangkok is flooding and it's becoming a disaster zone. The people are scrambling to get out but many dogs are left behind as owners are prohibited from bringing their pets.

Soi Dog, a rescue organization based in Thailand, is helping out. Their Facebook page is here.

Here's a short film about Soi Dog. There's a particular point in the film where you'll understand why their dedication to the cause is overwhelming:

I don't usually push for donations on this blog but these guys could use your help. A dollar goes a long way in Thailand. Please give them a buck.

(Warning: This post contains some graphic content.)

On most days I ride to work on my bicycle along a certain route which more often than not puts me in close proximity to one of those live animal transport trucks hauling pigs to slaughter. The container housing the pigs is perforated with large enough holes that if you are close enough and look in, you can see the pigs. There are dozens of them packed in there like they're carcasses already. But they're not carcasses. They're not meat, yet. They're still alive and sometimes they're quiet and sometimes they're crying. Seeing and hearing the pigs transgresses the usually unmentionable disconnect between living creatures and food which we in the city are more than happy to maintain.

I can't imagine the terror the pigs must be experiencing.

Always there is a stench and people complain about that stench but if these animals are going to be born into the hell of a factory farm and then butchered for human consumption without ever having experienced even the simplest pleasures in life, like seeing the light of day or feeling the sun except for brief moments through those holes in the transport container on their way to dying, then enduring a little stench is a pathetically minuscule thing, in comparison, to complain about. We can be such precious little ninnies sometimes.

Also along the ride to work, now that the weather is getting colder, I've noticed a few people out with their winter jackets already - the ones with the fur trim around the hood. If it's one of the more expensive and trendy made in Canada jackets, that fur lining likely comes from wild coyotes, trapped or shot.

But don't worry, the environmentally sensitive Canadian company who manufactures these jackets tells us, because fur is a renewable resource so it's all good.

If the jacket is a cheaper one, a style knock-off, something made in China, then the fur likely comes from a dog - either a dog just like any of the ones profiled on this blog or a raccoon dog which is somewhat related to the canine family but looks like a cross between a raccoon and a fox.

In China, it's often cheaper to use real fur than decent quality fake fur so sometimes, depending on the target market, real fur will be labeled as fake to quell a Westerner's guilt (so how can one tell the difference? Do the burn test).

Image from HSUS site here.

Stories and photos and videos abound on the internet describing some of the horrors these dogs and raccoon dogs endure just so we can have their soft pelts tickle up against our satiny, baby sensitive faces but don't worry. Everything is alright. Fur is a renewable resource.

Later, I listen to part of a program on CBC Radio about a Canadian woman who breeds thoroughbred horses and she's supposed to be a good breeder with excellent stock but she's complaining about how recent changes with the law in the U.S. has caused a huge influx of cheap horses into Canada and how she now has to sell most of her stock as meat because of the competition and isn't it horrible for Canadian breeders and I remember thinking it may be bad for the breeders but it sounds much worse for the horses. Horse slaughter in Canada is not cruelty free (Warning: this CBC link has graphic videos). Slaughter, in general, is not cruelty free.

I look at the photo embedded in the CBC article. I can't quite make out what's going on at first but then I realize it's like a set from one of those torture porn movies which certain segments of our population can't seem to get enough of these days. I suppose those Hollywood set designers have to get their ideas from somewhere.

On Facebook, someone has a link to an article about orangutans who were captured and beaten and left to die because they were foraging too close to human villages after their forest habitat had been cut down.

So, those people are barbarians for killing orangutans who trespass upon their ever expanding human territory. What are we then for killing black bears, and polar bears, and any other wild animals we encroach upon, interfere with, exploit and then suddenly feel threatened by? But of course this territorial behaviour is not surprising given that we treat members of our own species no better.

Animal exploitation is the history of humankind. Every time we eat, every time we build, every time we do almost anything results in the death of other creatures. That's nothing new and it's not unique to our species. The continuance of any life demands the exploitation and death of another. All life is guilty of ending life but there is something particularly damning about how we humans are so good at institutionalizing and rationalizing animal slaughter on an incomprehensibly massive scale and this slaughter is almost never quick and easy. It is too often long and tortuous, sometimes lifelong and tortuous.

Over the last few months, picketers have been standing along my going to work route holding up signs decrying the butchery of those factory farmed pigs, trying to give a voice to the thousands every day being sent into the slaughterhouse. I'm guessing these people are from Toronto Pig Save and I admire them for putting themselves out there, standing for who knows how long under a stoplight in the middle of traffic, to defend those animals. They hold up their signs and wave them at the cars. Some people honk at them - in support, I think - but most just drive by. I wonder how often their message hits home and changes the direction of a human heart.

The Dog Legislation Council of Canada, a not-for-profit corporation that has been at the forefront of fighting Ontario's dog ownership ban, is delighted to host the Canadian premiere of the documentary film Beyond the Myth on Saturday, November 5 at the Fox Theatre in Toronto. The film—which has been screening across the U.S. to rave reviews and high praise—aims to educate the public about the discrimination unfairly placed on Pit Bull-type dogs and their owners, as well as underscore the ineffectiveness and harmful impact of breed specific laws.

Beyond the Myth is a film about dogs commonly referred to as “pit bulls” and those who love and defend them. It intelligently explores the contributing factors behind the public’s fear of the dogs, and examines the conflict existing between advocates and opponents of breed discriminatory laws. It investigates the myths associated with "pit bulls", challenges the idea that they are inherently vicious, and presents eye-opening research regarding the media’s role in influencing people’s opinion on dangerous dogs.

Libby Sherrill, the filmmaker and former producer for Home and Garden Television (HGTV), first decided to tackle the film as a grad student at the University of Tennessee. Three years later, her theme has been honed to reveal the perils of breed-specific legislation as carried out in three cities that ban "pit bull-type" dogs: Denver, Miami, and Cincinnati—along with San Francisco, which requires the animals to be spayed and neutered. Denver enforces their ban more stringently than most, killing more than 4,000 dogs since 1989.

Sherrill has poured energy into a film she hopes will bring about awareness to both the cruelty and ineffectiveness of Breed Specific Legislation, as well as debunk the myth that pit bulls are inherently more dangerous than other dogs. “I along with every major animal organization in this the U.S. who know something about dog behavior believe every dog, like every person, should be treated as an individual and given a legitimate chance for a great life with a responsible human”, says Sherrill.

General Admission is $10 with advanced tickets available here.

Beyond the Myth at the Fox Theatre, 2236 Queen Street East

Saturday November 5th at 7pm, Facebook page here.
Sunday November 6th at 4pm, Facebook page here.

With a name like Huggy Bear, I was expecting something a bit weightier in the kennel but instead this little guy pokes his nose out from in between the bars. More like Huggy chipmunk I think.

This guy would not settle down for his photos until I sat down beside him and let him clamber into my lap and then he made himself comfortable like he'd been there all his life. Only then could I extricate myself for seconds at a time to take a few shots before he'd want more lap time.

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

Lucy is the last remaining Schnauzer puppy mill pup who came into Toronto Animal Services South a couple of weeks ago. She's the one who was sitting the water bowl for protection.

When I went to take her out for a walk and take her photo, she was frightened out of her wits probably now even more so with her siblings gone and being left all alone in her kennel.

I put the leash on her but she wouldn't walk out of her kennel so I picked her up and carried her out into the hallway. I set her down to see if maybe she'd take a few steps but it was like her feet were stuck to the floor. She dared not take a step and stood there trembling.

I picked her up, carried her outside where she went poop and then her legs froze up again and the trembling resumed.

After a few minutes of this anxiety, I picked her up and brought her back in. We sat on a couch for a while and I could feel her relaxing a bit but then the slightest new noise would set her off trembling again.

So here we are with another unwanted victim of a puppy miller who didn't bother to take the time to properly socialize his dogs. This pup is lucky to have been rescued as most millers would just kill the ones they can't sell.

This very gentle girl will eventually come out of her shell but she needs a quiet home with perhaps a calm, friendly older dog to show her how not to be afraid of life.

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

Icy blue eyed gentleman. Major is a major lovebug. Nothing wrong with this guy a whole lot of feeding and twenty extra pounds won't fix.

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


This little dollface is in adoption right now. She's a small 'un but takes no guff from the big boys.

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

This recently bred Daschund/Chihuahua? mix is a real sweet pea who still needs to be spayed before she goes up for adoption. Right now, because of her recent pregnancy, her belly sometimes drags on the ground when she walks. That can't be much fun.

Update: Pattie was spayed and is now available for adoption.

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

From VBS:

This wonderful little female Terrier of sorts really needs a trip to the groomers to bring out the shine in her.

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

Nicki Lee is a pint sized scraggle muffin who likes her people too much to share with other dogs.

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

Delilah could be no more lovely if she were made of sun and honey.

Delilah was adopted two days ago.

Some Chocolate Labrador Retrievers are called chocolate for good reason. Everyone fawns over O'Malley.

O'Malley was sent back to Ohio for his heartworm treatment (couldn't get enough of the drug here in Toronto for some reason) and now that he's all fixed, he's back at Toronto Animal Services South getting ready for adoption.

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

Sometimes the best thing about having a dog beside you is that for a moment there is suddenly nothing wrong in the world.

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

Unless a thorough background check is done on a prospective new owner, giving a dog away for free is not a good idea because you never know where it might end up.

Now you might be thinking the above video is a bit over the top alarmist but backyard breeders/puppy millers scouring the internet for online free dog to good home ads are way too prevalent. They're generally looking for younger, unspeutered animals to lock up in a cage to be used as breeders for the rest of their useful lives.

Recently, a rescue Toronto Animal Services South works with was able to save a female French Bulldog from a miller who frequently finds breeders from families giving away their dogs for free. The dog was one of a pair of Frenchies, and the miller was getting rid of her because she'd already been spayed but he wanted to keep the male because he was still intact. I wonder if the original family knows or cares that one of the dogs they gave away will likely be spending the rest of his life in a cage.

This Pug and Puggle pair at TAS-S came from a puppy miller from the same rural area, a farm west of Kitchener, as the miller who took the Frenchies. They walk well on a leash and they like people - not typical of puppy mill dogs who have limited to zero exposure to both - so it's quite possible these two were once family pets as well.

If they were once family pets, they've forgotten their no peeing indoors rule but who can blame them. A dog gets put in a cage for a few years and of course it learns to urinate and defecate where it sleeps and forgets everything else. With regular daily walks outside at TAS-S, maybe they'll have it figured out again before they are put up for adoption.

At first I thought these two lovebirds were a bonded pair but apparently the amorous feelings are a recent development due to the female being in heat. Once the attraction period is over, they will likely be separated and adopted out individually. Of course if someone wanted both dogs ... well, they are awfully cute together.

Pug - male

Puggle - female

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

Happy boy Hunter.

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


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.