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Marcie Laking and I are driving to Montreal. There are empty dog crates in back. There are orange and white flashing lights on the roof. There is a logo on the side of the van which says: Toronto Humane Society Rescue.

Marcie is driving. She tells me she likes driving which is good because I don't.

The radio is on, Marcie flipping the stations. She seems to know every song and the lyrics of every song but favours rock and roll. Marcie was born in the Eighties, grew up in the Nineties but her father had the music on all the time at home and he preferred rock so that's what she grew up with.

Marcie just got laid off from her job. She says this'll give her more time to do volunteering. She says the few hours last week she spent volunteering again at the homeless shelter was the most satisfying thing she'd done in a long time. For a while there, she'd been too busy to go. Full time job, heavy involvement with the parent council of the aboriginal school her daughter is enrolled in, president of the Toronto Humane Society.

None of this life was planned. Marcie doesn't lead much of a planned life.

She opens her hand bag and pulls out a foil package of something. "My daughter asked me if I had a snack for my trip and then she put a Pop Tart in my purse."

Our talk is random. Marcie in sound bites:

I'm at the park and there's little girls with bras on. It's all those chemicals in meat making eight year olds grow tits. Kids getting sexed up way too young. It's like when I was twelve, if I saw a penis I'd be calling the cops. "Hey, cops, there's a penis outside." The only time I got the sex talk from my dad was some advice about dating: "If a guy tells you he loves you while he's trying to undo your pants, he's not telling the truth." Don't take any pictures of me walking out of a shelter bawling my eyes out.

This ain't over but I'm only writing as we go when I have a moment so bear with me. We're on this trip for the next four days.

2 Comments to “Road trip 1”

  1. mel says:

    So many questions. Why are you with THS? Why are you going to MTL?

  2. SA MVH says:

    Fred, are you going to LaChute, Quebec where Paws R Us puppies are? Wherever you are going it is fantastic and I love your road trip story. You are so dedicated to animals and I just love you for that.

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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.