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On Sunday, I went to visit Charlie, a German Shepherd Dog mix, who's been at Toronto Animal Services West for four months waiting for someone to adopt him. A dog not getting adopted for this long is usually due to some fairly challenging behavioural issues so I was expecting a loud, frenzied, ADHD afflicted dog.

That's not how it turned out. Charlie is rambunctious - and that, I suspect, is due more to being locked up in a kennel by himself for twenty three hours a day than anything else - but he's very much owner focused and a lot of fun. Some dogs might get depressed or ill after being caged for so long. Not Charlie. His resiliency and his ongoing affection for people is a wonder to see and yet heartbreaking at the same time as he still has to spend his life in a kennel hoping someone will some day come by and see his loyal and affectionate nature beneath the bluster.

One of Charlie's main hurdles is his poor cage presentation so when a person walks by his kennel door, he can get highly aroused and jump up and down and maybe bark. For most people, this sort of behaviour is pretty hard to get past. However, Charlie only acts this way with strangers who approach his kennel door. This is how he behaved when I approached after I'd already met him outside for only a few minutes. Please note, the dog doing most of the barking is not Charlie.

Here is Charlie showing some of the commands he's learned recently:

Charlie, when he is first taken for a walk. High energy and excited.

Charlie settling on the walk after a few minutes. Note how often he's checking in with the walker:

This is what Chris, one of the volunteers at TAS West, has to say about Charlie:

Charlie is a high energy dog with big-time smarts who loves people. He can be excitable and a little jumpy in his kennel, but once out and walking he settles down quickly. Charlie will need an owner who loves to walk (or better still run) because this boy likes to go…and go…

Charlie learns incredibly fast. He loves liver treats and will work hard for them. In a few short weeks he’s learned sit, down, paw and touch. He’s also learning to walk on a loose leash, and if he pulls you just say his name and he comes back and sits in front of you. When he’s off leash in the fenced yard he responds well to ‘come’ and will run full speed back to you, then drop into a sit and wait for his treat.

Once he gets to know you, Charlie is your best friend – his tail never stops wagging, whether he’s playing fetch (or keep away) or coming for a neck scratch. He is a clown and will keep playing until you beg him to stop.

Charlie will need exercise and more training. If you’re willing to put in the time and be patient, you’ll be rewarded with a great dog with loads of personality who will just want to make your life one big play-date.

The best way to check on the adoption status of Charlie (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit Toronto Animal Services adoption website or call (416) 338-6271 for the Toronto Animal Services West shelter. If Charlie is no longer on the TAS adoption website, it's probably because he's been adopted already.

7 Comments to “Charlie - German Shepherd Dog mix”

  1. deva says:

    Thank you for posting such a complete profile. I hope someone will see it and fall in love. Maybe even a home by Chirstmas! What a handsome and personable chap.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have to agree with deva he sure is a handsome and personable chap. I pray that he'll get a wonderful loving home with good loving people or person before Christmas poor guy. Good luck Charlie.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know if Charlie got adopted cuz I don't see him on the site. Plz update us on Charlie. I hope he did find his forever home.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Your blog is fantastic .It gives a whole different purspective of the dogs Grear to see he was adopted a few days later coinsidently .Hope we find ours soon.

  5. Fred says:

    Yes, Charlie got adopted!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Awesome news for dog lovers. Way to go Charlie. Thank you Fr ed for the update we all appreciate it.

  7. Wendy says:

    YAYYYY! Thanks for the update, Fred! Someone must have come across this site, noticed, fell in love, and then instantly went out to adopt him :D

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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.