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I didn't recognize Jackson when I met him a few days ago and even when I telephoned James and he looked up his original photograph, which he said I took, I wasn't sure. It was five years ago. He must've been one of the first dogs I photographed at TAS. I dug through my boxes, searching for the CDs onto which I'd burned all those older pictures. I found it. Something labeled 2007. I opened up the directories and found Jackson in the July folder except he was called Hobo back then. When I saw the old photos, it was obvious. Of course this was the same dog - same markings, same expression in the eyes but he was still a pup back then. His snout was more rounded, more characteristic of the Shar Pei breed, his few wrinkles more prominent.

I remembered this photograph. It was the first photograph I remembered taking where I thought I'd captured something interesting in the dog's personality, a certain sadness from being abandoned but also a certain regalness. I remembered this photograph, just didn't make the connection that it was the same dog as Jackson, now in front of me, barking at the camera. A lot of dogs don't like cameras pointed at them, just like a lot of people don't like cameras pointed at them, especially when that camera is held by a stranger. With treats and time, Jackson eventually settles enough to let me take some shots.

Jackson's in my neighbourhood. His owners are trying to rehome him because he's uneasy around small children and they're expecting a second child. He's still at home now, listed with a couple of local rescues but it's been months and no takers so far with a couple of serious inquiries falling through at the last minute due to the "expert" influence of friends on the potential adopters. "Rescue dogs are no good." "Rescue dogs can't be trusted." You know what those types of people are like.

We walk around the neighbourhood, Jackson's owner pushing his daughter around in the stroller while handling Jackson. I've got Simone. Simone's okay with Jackson. She didn't do her little freak out dance she sometimes does around new dogs when she's on leash. And Jackson's okay with her. Jackson seems okay with most things. I don't see any signs of anxiety or surliness or anything at all that would make me wary. But I do sense that same regal air he had even as a younger dog all those years ago. He's not haughty but he carries himself proudly, that beautifully spotted fur adorning his chest like a king's smock.

Jackson's adoption listing from his owners:

Jackson: Loyal, Obedient and Gentle

Jackson, a lovely Shar Pei / Pointer mix is six years of age. Adopted as a puppy, this loyal, obedient and fully trained boy is neutered and up-to-date on all of his vaccinations. Jackson is great with other dogs and loves to romp and play. He adores belly rubs and snuggling. All in all he is a gentle, devoted and funny guy. Access to outdoor space (i.e. parks, back yard , farmland, countryside) would be ideal. A childless home and an experienced owner are strongly preferred.

Jackson is currently residing with a family who adopted him from Toronto Animal Services South 5yrs ago. Jackson is fully housebroken and can be left alone at home unattended with no concerns about any destruction of furniture, excessive barking or the like. He has Level 1 obedience training and can sit, come, stay, lie down, halt, and take treats nicely. Jackson is fully leash trained and is highly food/treat motivated. Jackson is also great in the car, great with other dogs and loves to play and romp. He adores playing with his stuffed toys, taking naps in the sunshine, belly rubs and snuggling.

Prior to his being adopted by his present family, he suffered a fracture to his left hip, resulting in hip dysplasia and atrophy of the muscle in the hind-leg. His present owners have had the leg assessed on a regular and on-going basis (full-vet records available). Though Jackson walks with four legs, he has adapted to his hip injury by often running and turning on three legs, hopping up stairs and resting when he needs to. His new owner must be comfortable with maintaining Jackson's weight at a healthy level (through regular walks) and not hesitating to follow up with a good vet.

Jackson a gentle, devoted, funny guy who is loved dearly. It is with great sadness that his family must find him a new home. In the past year Jackson's life has changed dramatically due to the addition of a baby to his family. Jackson is nervous around children and babies, as well as people he doesn’t know. His caregivers time and attention has become split and their ability to manage Jackson's needs have become too difficult. As such, they are seeking a new forever home for their beloved boy.

If you, or someone you know, is interested in adopting this beautiful dog Jackson and providing him with a new forever home, please contact Oasis at 905-728-8500, or visit the Oasis website at to fill out an adoption application.

4 Comments to “Jackson - Shar Pei Pointer mix”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Do people often consider serious behavioural training for these kinds of problems before re-homing their dog because of uneasiness around children etc? I feel like people often give up on dogs without even considering training that could probably be rectified with a few weeks of serious training.

  2. Lynn says:

    Sometimes I can't bear to think of the lives that so many pets live. Even those that seem to have a good home, like this boy, being shuttled from place to place like this. I respect his people's wishes and I know not everyone would live and die for their pets the way many of us would, but what does it do to a dog to have to learn to love and trust all over again, over and over? I don't know, maybe it's just like the rest of us going through human relationships and having to learn those lessons as well. Most of us survive and learn to love and trust again, even after having our hearts broken. I have to tell myself that the dogs can do it too. They're probably better at it than we are. But, still, it breaks my heart.

  3. Anonymous says:

    how very sad, to be abandoned again, losing the home he has known for many years. I hope he finds a kinder home very soon. He is indeed regal!

  4. Anonymous says:

    So often I have seen pets given up to ease the added work of a new baby. Well and good if it is too much to handle. But what worries me is that the people wanting to give up their dog often label it with "baby issues" or some other fault to ease their conscience and sadly give the dog a harder time to be rehomed

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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.