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I just noticed the Pound Dogs Facebook page has hit over 2000 likes. That's barely a drop in the social networking bucket compared to the forty five million likes Bieber has but still, I feel I should have given the 2000th liker a pair of concert tickets to some Eighties band's reunion tour or a chance to win something in some mega cash jackpot but alas, while I may be able to imitate a spray-on tan DJ voice, I'm not a commercial friendly radio station. Perhaps I could offer some kisses from my dog Simone or some friendly crotch punches from Smitten instead?

Now some of you who have recently liked the page may be wondering if the term "crotch punches" is officially sanctioned by Toronto Animal Services and I can say that I'm pretty sure it most definitely is not. The Facebook page and this blog is run by me, a volunteer at TAS, and they are not official TAS anything though I do try to be as accurate as possible with regards to information pertaining to TAS animals. As such, all the opinions here and there are mine and not those of TAS or anyone associated with TAS - except by sheer coincidence - and that's why I can use words like "crotch punches" and not have to get a signed release from a squadron of lawyers who I'm sure would be tsk tsking at me a lot.

All this to say that what you read here may and will be opinionated and may and will contain foul language and may and will contain bad attitudes towards evil doers and criminals and dangerously ignorant stupitards.

More than that, though, and more importantly than that, we'll also be celebrating the happier tales of those animals who find loving homes with the help of those people who go out of their way to be decent and generous and kind towards animals who would otherwise be hopelessly abandoned.

I think a lot of people, at least the long term rescuers, are involved in animal welfare volunteering because they are driven to it, like a compulsion. I mean, it certainly isn't for the pay (which is zero, or less, in case you're wondering). Especially now, as we live our lives further and further removed from warm blooded life by our walls of cool electronica, there is a powerful pull to reconnect with things untarnished by technology, to reconnect with our good selves. Working with animals in an environment of compassion answers that pull.

A lazy ass cynic who does nothing for anyone or anything might thus say, aha, so it's all just more self-gratification disguised as compassion, to which I'd say, yes, maybe, but you're still a dick. To recast any and all acts of altruism as selfishness is only self-justification for douchebags to continue being douchebags.

Compassion is compassion and it is not diminished simply because it makes one feel good. In fact, it should make one feel good. If acts of compassion made a person feel bad, I'd say that person is pretty fucken defective and should consider not propagating his/her genes for the sake of the planet please.

Not everyone is or wants to be a hardcore rescuer, of course. Some get involved occasionally when there is room in their lives. Some are only tangentially involved in animal welfare drawn in by sympathy to all the sad faces on the cute puppies and kittens and bunnies. That's all cool. In fact, it doesn't really matter why you're here. It just matters that you are here. Whether you just like the pictures or you're only involved in dog rescue or if you are an all creatures rescuer or if you're trying to reduce the suffering of factory farm animals or if you're a habitat preservationist or a vet who does pro-bono work (nudge nudge) it's all taking steps in the right direction and that's the best anyone can do - take a step in the right direction.

Thank you all for taking an interest in helping the homeless animals at Toronto Animal Services South get adopted. The more of us there are, the more animals are saved.

And thank you, Stu, over at Facebook, for donating Facebook space to promote awareness of TAS.

2 Comments to “A Little Milk and Honey Mixed with a Little Piss and Vinegar”

  1. Vida says:

    Hey Fred, that is so cool what you have written about long term rescuers being driven to do this work. So true! I recently had an argument with my husband about this (always tough on a couple to find the balance regarding animal rescue work) and he accused me of exactly the same thing you mentioned: that it was all self gratification! Luckily my husband is not a douche bag and he really helps out tons, besides taking care of our 5 dogs... He later apologized for having said that but it's good to have what you wrote in mind: "To recast any and all acts of altruism as selfishness is only self-justification for douchebags to continue being douchebags." Thanks for the quote!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree, so what if it makes us feel good to rescue someone who would otherwise die horribly? It also makes us feel terrible when we lose, and someone dies anyway. How do the cynics dismiss that?

    If we were only in it for self gratification, the first death would be the end of it, nu? Can't speak for others, but for me, every loss is a spur to work harder, learn more, rescue another, try again and again and again. Because that death must not be meaningless, and the only way to give it meaning is to save another life that can be lived for two.

    Why do we do it? There are as many reasons as there are rescuers. Reasons don't matter except to the individual. What matters is that we do, and maybe, just maybe, the world is a tiny bit better for it. And if it's not,ask the ones who gain a life and a home whether it's worth it.

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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.