Follow iwantapounddog on Twitter

Omigod, look what I read in the paper the other day:

Misguided parents of teenagers in the Ontario Legislature came together in support of a private member’s bill this past week that would lift a ban on such potentially deadly children. These politicians would do better addressing the public’s real problems instead of trying to reverse its protections.

All the arguments made in defence of teenagers were familiar and unconvincing. The problem is “the rage, not the age,” said the co-sponsor of the bill. She correctly noted that any child can assault a person and some younger children are even more aggressive than teenagers.

“We know that tweens are as capable of violence, or more capable of violence, as so-called teenagers,” she said. True — but where a rampaging tween is likely to steal someone’s iphone, a teenager can stab someone or run over someone with a car. Indeed, both these horrors have been perpetrated by teenagers. In these cases, the rage is the age.

Yes, the critics are right: it’s hard to define all possible teenager types. But difficulty in defining a problem is no reason not to address it. And yes, bad parents are largely to blame when teenagers go rogue. So what? Bad people are the only ones likely to use a machine gun to commit robbery. But — in the interest of public safety — we ban machine guns from all, including the good.

In fact, the province’s teenager “ban” is a misnomer. Ontarians are free to have these children, provided the teens have been neutered and kept muzzled in public. Given the danger they present, teenagers can’t be legally bred or imported into the province. That seems a reasonable compromise.

The governing Liberals are correct in defending this province’s existing teenager legislation. The law isn't perfect, but it’s right in putting public safety ahead of the concerns of parents of teenagers.

Okay, I didn't actually read that in any paper but I read something similar. Someone sent me a link to a Toronto Star piece regarding Pit Bulls entitled, Pit bulls are dangerous and Ontario is right to ban them.

If you're familiar with this blog, you already know what I think about that opinion, but I'm going to say it anyway. It's shit. Not dog shit, not horse shit, not bull shit but the worst kind of shit and that's human shit because only humans can attempt to justify and self-righteously support such prejudicial and hypocritical slaughter of innocent family pets.

To highlight the ridiculousness of the piece, I did that word replacement exercise above, replacing "Pit Bull" with "teenager" and "dogs" with "children". I've got nothing against either teens or children - in fact, I've been both, once upon a time - but the word change shines a more revealing light on the reactionary mentality of the piece.

It may be a rather juvenile exercise but no more juvenile than publishing the kind of unresearched, unnuanced, compassion bereft crud I expect from The Sun, not The Star.

So who is the anonymous Star writer of that piece? The way the writer intentionally misleads the reader into thinking Pit Bulls in Ontario only have to suffer being "neutered and kept muzzled in public" and that this "seems a reasonable compromise" completely ignores the fact that perceived Pit Bulls are also impounded, caged, and killed in this province. The writer takes after MPP David "genetalia chewed off" Zimmer in that regard when it comes to ignoring the important details.

Here's a better response to The Star's Pit Bull hating piece. It's written by Steve Barker at Chicobandito.

Dear editors:

After reading the editorial “pit bulls are dangerous” (February 26), I felt the need to respond with a little common sense combined with a few facts.

I would not normally be so quick to tell a group of experts in their field how to do their jobs, but have you forgotten the basic lessons of Journalism 101, specifically research?

If, as you put it, the deed is the breed when a pit bull attacks, then is this also the case when a retriever attacks or a German Shepherd or a husky or a sled dog or a sheepdog or a Rottweiler or a “farm dog” or a Border Collie or a number of other types of dogs? Why do I list these specific types of dogs? Because they have ALL killed children in Canada and because, in the twenty-nine years that we’ve been tracking these things, a pit bull has never done so. I repeat, at least thirty-five children have been killed in this country by at least eighty-five dogs , yet a pit bull type dog has never killed a child in Canada, ever!

As journalists, does this not make you stop, for one moment, and think that maybe, just maybe, breed is not the issue here?

In 2005, Michael Bryant, former Ontario attorney general, stood up in the Legislature and listed nine bite incidents supposedly perpetrated by pit bulls over a sixty-nine day period. He used these specific incidents as his justification for introducing the pit bull ban in the interest of public safety. NINE incidents.

According to the Canada Safety Council, as many as 33,000 people were bitten by dogs in Ontario during that same time period with as many as 5,500 requiring medical treatment and 250 of those requiring hospitalization, yet Mr. Bryant, in his zeal to drum up public support for his discriminatory law, conveniently forgot to mention these during his impassioned plea for public safety. Were all of these injuries perpetrated by pit bulls? Not according to the dog bite statistics from cities such as Windsor, London, Thunder Bay, Ottawa, Toronto, and Mississauga. In fact, it appears that pit bull type dogs were involved in incidents relatively proportionate to their population, just like other types of dogs, and they did not cause a higher percentage of hospital visits or medical attention.

Every single Canadian expert in dog aggression and dog behaviour, as well as worldwide scientists in similar fields, including the leading researchers in canine genetics, disagree with your editors’ assessments of these dogs. So, instead of simply buying into the hype and writing an undocumented, unresearched, and unproven piece of fluff in order to create controversy and sell newspapers, perhaps you should put some effort into your analysis and start asking yourselves (and then us) why every dog behaviour expert on the planet, people with far more experience in these fields than you or I, argues that you and the Ontario government are wrong.

A ban on a particular breed or type of dog is the proverbial killing of a gnat with a sledgehammer. Studies from both the United States and Canada estimate that only 0.01% of dogs cause serious injury to a human being. That leaves 99.99% of all dogs (including pit bulls) that somehow manage to live with us without turning on us when we’re not looking. It also appears that, based on the unprecedented number of reversals of bans that are happening worldwide, those types of discriminatory laws were not even preventing the 0.01%.

In the meantime, the ban in Ontario (and yes, despite your claims to the contrary, it is a ban) has caused the deaths of thousands of dogs each year, dogs whose only crime was to possibly look like some ill-defined, unprovable shape of dog that the government has managed to persuade the public (and obviously some members of the media) is dangerous. As a result of this ban, dog owners have lost their houses, their jobs, their life savings. Many dog owners, including myself, have left the province, sometimes at great sacrifice, in order to escape constant harassment and discrimination.

To give you some idea of the ridiculousness of this approach, look at these annual Canadian death statistics, courtesy of Health Canada 1996:

Tobacco: 45,000
Suicides: 3,900
Car accidents: 2,900
Alcohol: 1,900
Murders: 510

Dogs (of all breeds): ONE*
* info courtesy of Dog Legislation Council of Canada and National Canine Research Council

I, and many thousands of dog owners, would greatly appreciate it if the editors of the largest newspaper in Canada would put a little more effort into separating accuracy and facts from hype and hysteria, rather than rattling off a piece of doggy doo to fill the page and create a stir.


Steve Barker (formerly of Toronto, left family and friends behind to move to BC from Ontario)

Thank you, Steve.

Update 12-02-29: There appears to be some disagreements brewing between the wiser, more experienced writers and the sliding towards mediocrity editors at The Star.

Walkom: Why Ontario’s pit-bull ban should end

Thanks to the efforts of MPPs from all three parties, Ontarians are being given a chance — a chance — to see a patently bad law buried.

That law is the province-wide ban on pit bulls, a statute enacted seven years ago on the basis of much demagoguery and virtually no evidence.

The ban’s origins were fear and opportunism.

We should all write Mr. Walkom a bunch of thank you e-mails. And maybe send some flowers.

Tia looks like an Australian Kelpie which is not a dog one sees very often in Toronto because, let's face it, Australia is on the other side of the planet and that plane ride over is a killer unless you're in first class and when was the last time you saw a dog in first class?

I thought Tia might be a prankster when I first saw her but it turns out she's a bit of a shy girl and a little unsure of her situation. We walked outside for five minutes and then she got concerned we were too far from the TAS building and she started to pull to go back. She pulled me right inside the building, upstairs and to her kennel and then when she got into her kennel, she stood there for a second and realized that was no fun either so I took her back into the main hallway and sat with her for a bit, watching all the people looking at the other animals.

The best way to check on the adoption status of this dog (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit Toronto Animal Services adoption website or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter. If the dog is no longer on the TAS adoption website, it's probably because it's been adopted already.

Worried ...

... worried ...

... worried.

Never seen a big dog look so worried.

Gomez needs some training in the you're-too-old-to-act-like-a-puppy department and he also needs some reassuring that his next home is going to be a permanent one. He's one of those dogs who will be truly amazing with the right owner or a bull in a china shop with the wrong one.

The best way to check on the adoption status of this dog (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit Toronto Animal Services adoption website or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter. If the dog is no longer on the TAS adoption website, it's probably because it's been adopted already.

J. J. is a happy-go-lucky young dog who end ended up at TAS-S despite his best intentions. He's quite athletic and once tried out for Cirque du Soleil but quickly realized tights and make-up weren't his style so now he's back in town trying to make a go of it here.

The best way to check on the adoption status of this dog (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit Toronto Animal Services adoption website or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter.

Some dog lucked out on the princess bed with the multiple mattresses (not to mention the toys!). From the owner of Molly, now Zoey:

Hello. On January 27, 2012, our family adopted Molly (renamed Zoey) the miniature pinscher mix.

We love her very much and feel she is the perfect fit for our family. :) We are so happy that the other dogs that came in with her were also adopted.

We actually believe Zoey picked us. When we came to Toronto Animal Services to see the other three miniature pinschers you had available, Zoey was immediately drawn to our 5 year old miniature pinscher Zero and to us. We adopted Zero two years ago from a local animal shelter. He had been left overnight in a crate outside and therefore we have no history of his life before us.

Zero and Zoey are so cute together. Zoey is very affectionate and is becoming less timid every day. She has learned many new things such as how to sit and wait for her food, sleeping in a bed at night (lol), going upstairs, playing outside in the snow and her housetraining is remarkable.

We would appreciate any information you can give us regarding Zoey when you rescued her. We would really like to know what her living conditions were like. We feel it would help us to better understand what she has been through.

We have attached a few photos of Zoey and Zero.

Max, a Border Collie, was turned in as a "stray" by his owner. He's got a great personality (supposedly he might be a bit of a barker but I haven't heard him make a peep) and his ex-vet, whom TAS managed to track down, said he was looked after well enough so who knows why he was given up. The owner isn't returning any phone calls.

Max is very much a Border Collie. He's constantly checking in with his walker when he's out for a walk. He does that crouchy thing Border Collies do like they're trying to sneak up on something. He's the type of dog who makes me want to buy a flock of sheep or a clutch of chickens or a class of kindergarten children just so I can see his herding instincts at work. I realize kindergarten children might be a challenge to herd but Max needs the workout because right now he looks like an overstuffed, hairy pillow.

Oh and the best thing Max does is he sticks his tongue out at you when he lifts a paw to shake your hand or punch your groin, whichever is closest.

Winston is a bug Pug with a big bowling ball head which surprisingly doesn't make him tip over forwards because if I my head were a bowling ball that's what I'd be doing all the time.

I suppose drinking lots of whiskey would do the same thing - not that I'd know - but at least with a bowling ball head, one would have a plausible excuse for being tipsy.

"Oops, sorry for knocking you over, miss, but I've got a bowling ball head you see," one could say when knocking someone over at a party and what an introduction that would be.

Winston needs no such ploys to introduce himself. He is a wheezing, snorting, garumphing li'l feller which is cute and very attention grabbing and all but I know if he were sleeping anywhere near me, I'd need one of those noise canceling headphones, preferably one of the newer models because I hear some of the older versions couldn't cancel out a fart from an ant. Stenotic nares is unfortunately not Winston's only problem. He's also got some neural disorder - maybe genetic, maybe from an accident, maybe from living in a cage for too long - which makes him walk funny and thus he drags his feet until the tops of them are bloody. He may also have a chronic cherry eye problem.

Winston came from a puppy mill. Puppy millers are such assholes. Really, they are the sphincters of the dog breeding world. Mr. and Mrs. Sphincter - proudly combining the stink of filthy lucre with the stink of animal abuse. How lovely. Sphincter Family Farms here to serve the Kijiji dog buying public with five hundred plus neglected dogs crying and dying in cages but, hell, no one will ever know, just wash the sickly thing in the sink before the customer shows up, tie a ribbon round its head and, snap, that's a thousand bucks in the bank and then don't forget to give the buyer that "official" certificate the Sphincters' talented progeny banged out on his computer last night between cruising on Facebook for naked pictures of his classmates and porn surfing.

It's unlikely Winston would've made it into general adoption with his health issues. That would've sucked because despite it all, despite all his ailments and worries and ongoing concerns, Winston is a stupendously adorable pooch. His personality is big and wonderful and he's a pro when it comes to getting human affection. Just ask one of TAS' brilliant volunteers. She's offered to foster Winston to try to figure out how to deal with all his various ailments.

Winston's only been with her for a couple of days now but I hear her boyfriend is already in lurve with the bug Pug. She's promising pictures soon.

Thank goodness for the saints who balance out the assholes.

Damn puppies, it's like they do it on purpose. It's like their mothers give them rules when they are young: You must wag your tail. You must run and play. You must be brave. You must be strong. You must sway the human heart or else rend it asunder. That's Puppy 101. That's what they are taught to succeed in life.

Of course not all puppies succeed. Sometimes the odds against them are too great. Sometimes they cannot overcome and we see those situations more than we would ever want to see.

But then there are the ones who make you wonder.

Cini is a months old Lab mix puppy. She was bought off of Kijiji. According to the woman who surrendered her to Toronto Animal Services, Cini was running around, playing at a park and when she returned, she was walking funny. The owner brought Cini to a vet where they discovered her leg was broken.

The owner couldn't afford the vet bills and so she brought Cini to TAS and gave her over. Cini was immediately brought to a vet clinic again and x-rayed and it was discovered that instead of her left femur looking like this:

It looked like this:

I had a chance to see Cini at TAS-S before she went in for her bone mending operation. I was expecting to see a puppy lying still, whimpering and moaning, something comparable to how I might act if I had a leg broken in half like a twig. Instead, I saw a puppy with a limp, acting as though the busted leg was just a minor inconvenience.

She was supposed to be kept as immobile as possible though I'm not sure how that would have been possible without physically tying her down with straps or drugging her into a stupor. She wanted to play but I was afraid of her making her injuries worse so I picked her up and tried to keep her still. Eventually, she settled and I managed to get a few photos of her.

Just as I was finishing with the photos, one of the Cockapoo pups who was adopted out the day before was being returned because the daughter in the adoptive family had developed extreme allergies to it. The pup being returned was the girl pup, the one who was still missing her siblings.

When Cini and the Cockapoo saw each other, they just had to say hello.

They immediately became best friends.

They would've made great kennel mates. Instead, the Cockapoo is sharing a kennel with a very nice older Poodle. Cini will have a kennel to herself while she heals and that's the only time she gets sad: when she's alone and away from human companionship. It's no wonder we fall for these brave, strong creatures who don't let even broken bones dampen their spirit as long as they have our company.

It's uncertain when Cini will be ready for adoption. After the leg surgery, she'll be given a recovery period after which she'll have to go for her spay. She may spend her recovery time at TAS; she may spend it in a foster home. It'll depend on what the vet says after the surgery.

Cini's medical costs are going to be about $1500 in total and with the city services budget cuts, TAS is asking for donations:

Anyone interested in making a donation for Cini can either visit the south shelter (140 Princes' Blvd, Exhibition Place) or make a donation over the phone at (416) 338-6668 - both phone and visit should be between the hours of 10:30 am - 6:30 pm, 7 days a week. We are tracking the donations that come in for her, so anyone making a donation specifically for this puppy should mention that it's for Cini.

People can also mail a cheque to:

Toronto Animal Services
140 Princes' Blvd
Exhibition Place
Toronto, Ontario
M6K 3C3

The cheque should be made payable to "City of Toronto" (but it will be deposited to the cost centre at TAS south) and people should indicate "for Cini" on the cheque.

Donations of $20 or more will get a tax deductible receipt.

Update (2012-02-23): Cini is out of surgery and doing well. She is being kept at the vet's office for observation and to make sure she puts absolutely no weight on her leg for the next few days.

The three Cockapoo puppies were put into general adoption near end of day Friday and by the time I got into Toronto Animal Service South on Saturday a little bit after lunch, they'd all been spoken for. One had already been taken home. A couple were filling out the adoption forms for another while I was there and the last one, paperwork already done, was going to be taken home Sunday morning.

Good thing she was only spending one more night at TAS, because that last one, alone, all by herself in her kennel for the first time in her life, looked like this ...

... and if I'd thought she was going to be alone for more than a night, I would've been sorely tempted to take her home for a few days even if it meant cleaning puppy poop off the floor.

Since last I saw her a week ago, when she was shy and maybe a little scared of people, this girl's personality had already made leaps and bounds into "normal" puppy territory. While it still took a few moments before she would approach me, she no longer ran away every time I made a move towards her. I'm pretty sure if both her siblings were still there with her, their combined bravery and curiosity would have made them confident enough to approach me directly but having just lost her last companion and not understanding where or why they had gone, this little one was a little blue.

From Berkley's new owner:

Berkley is really a good boy! We got his hair cut yesterday and he does look like a Teddy Bear.

Three Cockapoo puppy mill pups came into Toronto Animal Services South a week ago and they went into adoption last night. I hear the one female may already be adopted so that leaves the two boys. As with many puppy mill pups, these ones are under socialized and when I took these preview snaps last weekend, they were still all very shy, trying to hide in the corners as far away as possible from me and the camera. After just spending a few minutes with them, though, their natural instinct to bond with humans kicked in and they started to relax and explore. The girl was the bravest and she chewed on my outstretched finger a bit and the boys weren't far behind. I could see it in them. They were on the edge of overcoming their uncertainty. They wanted to say hello but just not yet.

They're young, so they'll need housebreaking, of course, and it would be ideal if the homes they go to had older, confident and tolerant dogs to show them the ropes.

If they're still around this afternoon, I'll take some better photos of them.

The best way to check on the adoption status of these dogs (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit Toronto Animal Services adoption website or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter. If these dogs are no longer on the TAS adoption website, they've probably been adopted already.

Gucci may have a designer name but she's no snooty, high maintenance princess. She's an adorable Pug mix who is about 90% sweet (non-fattening) and 10% shy. I love how Pugs so often look either super sad or super pissed off. Gucci's got both faces down pat. Fingers crossed she's wrapped in someone's warm arms by the end of the weekend.

The best way to check on the adoption status of this dog (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit Toronto Animal Services adoption website or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter. If the dog is no longer on the TAS adoption website, it's probably been adopted already.

From the owner of Franny (now Nico):

The first thing I have to say is THANK YOU - thank you for being an outstanding human bean and doing what you do with the Pound Dog Blog (I laugh, I cry, I snort), and thank you for bringing our little pooper into our family.

My mom found your blog earlier this winter after we decided maybe we're ready for a new pooch and to rescue - we lost our big black Lab two years ago and it's one of those things that's still hard to address aloud without feeling like public embarrassment is imminent. When you posted about the Anishnabe dogs and then those awful awful awful terrible little tiny puppy pictures, my brain short-circuited and reverted and went "MINE MINE PUPPY MINE!" When they reached appropriate adopting age, I saw this and I called Mom and screeched "MOM PUPPY NOW!" and the next day we went in to TAS-S and fell in love (with everyone, really, how can you not?, but you know, we just couldn't fit them all into the car).

Franny, now Nico (our cats, Bowie and Iggy, are thrilled), is a perfect angel, shockingly well-behaved despite the Scientific Fact that puppies are destroyer ADHD insano-poop machines (to my knowledge she's only eaten one pair of shoes and one leather jacket!). She wants to be a lap dog, despite her future big dag genetics, and she's super smart, despite her hilarious battles of clumsy puppy coordination vs hardwood floor. She's just so full of love and puppy happy that she wants to be best best best friends with everything she meets, and having someone be that excited when you come home makes you just wanna explode with love. She really has brought something wonderful back to our family - Mom drinks wine and gets all sappy, "I don't know who rescued who," but she's absolutely right.

Any word on her sister? Would love to know how she's doing!

Again, a bajillion thankyous, what you do really is incredible.

Thank you for taking Nico and giving her such a good home. She looks almost full grown now and very happy indeed.

Whitney is a young Smooth Collie mix. She's the kind of dog who will pounce on you as soon as you sit down and she'll lick your face like it's the last face in the world. You think she's going to stop but she doesn't and so you push her off and she's all, "Now what do I do?" until she sees your face and thinks, "Aha, I will lick that face!" and next thing you know before you've got a chance to even say "Blech!", she's got her tongue on your mouth trying to kiss you again. That's what they mean by "smooth".

The best way to check on the adoption status of this dog (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit Toronto Animal Services adoption website or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter. If the dog is no longer on the TAS adoption website, it's probably been adopted already.

Meeka is an eight month old Yorkshire Terrier mix puppy. She's already had three homes in her short life (one for only a day) and you might think it's because she's jinxed or involved in narcotrafficking or something but actually it's because her previous owners have all melted into goo from being exposed at such close proximity to her radioactive aura of cute. Yes, they're now goo and doctors are attempting to ungoo them but since OHIP doesn't cover that shizz, the procedures are all being done at for-profit clinics and you know how expensive that can be - though I hear the doctors are all easy on the eyes and the nurses have got great uniforms. So, the question is, is anyone tough enough to handle Meeka's melting personality?

The best way to check on the adoption status of this dog (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit Toronto Animal Services adoption website or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter. If the dog is no longer on the TAS adoption website, it's probably because it's been adopted already.


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.