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A thunderstorm threatened but did not follow through. Instead, just half an hour of heavy rain. Thinning clouds shift. Sun comes through in pencil beams. The sky holds onto remnants of grey in the eastern horizon. In the west are lighter hues.

Simone avoids the pools on the sidewalk, veers from wet protruding branches of unkempt hedges. She jumps and barks, indignant, at cars that speed too quickly through puddles, splashing the sidewalk, almost splashing her. The rain has washed away most of the scents so there is little reason for her to stop. Our walk is brisk.

I take my jacket off. I never seem to get it right. The weather confounds me. Too many layers. Not enough. These little things confound me. Every action requires a decision to be made. Should I tie the jacket around my waist? Should I carry it in my arms? I'll carry it in my arms.

Simone is sniffing around a large hosta. She is studious in her sniffing. It is almost ritualistic. A blue eyed husky comes up from behind and lifts its nose at Simone. Simone glances back at it. Two years ago, she would've kicked her feet in fright to get away. A year ago, she would've turned and barked, hackles up. Now, she goes back to sniffing.

The trees have captured the earlier downpour. The wind blows and leaves shed their water so along the road it rains under each tall tree and each drop is lit by the warm sun of the soon-to-be dusk such that the drops look like cascades of gold.

We walk around the perimeter of the dog park. Simone watches the dogs at play. They are formed into pairs and trios. Two dogs, each with dark, longish hair are facing off, barking at each other - to what end? For the joy of it, I suppose. Two other dogs are wrestling in the wet sand. One on top, then the other. Simone looks at them then looks away. She is leery about roughhousing. Two smaller dogs, Beagle mixes perhaps, are chasing a third, a mixed Husky pup rescued from the north, who is not yet much bigger. "Doesn't that look like fun?" I ask Simone who is grazing the tips off new grass. Last thing in the world, I am sure she would say.

The sky is painted in newborn colours - clouds blue, pink and white. There are still large patches of brown in the park. No worries. The rain will bring everything back to life because life follows water. There is no choice in this regard. The breeze carries along a rising, moist, earthy scent. The breeze is just cool enough. My jacket is ready just in case. It's been a long long winter but spring always follows. There is no choice in this regard and this expectant season has finally arrived.

A few years ago, a rescue dog from Quebec named Bach was brought the Toronto Animals Service South to be adopted out. He was large, had a thick white and grey coat and captivating glacial blue eyes. He was also one of those dogs who had the personality of the ideal dog you always wanted when you were a kid: friendly, playful, rolls over for big belly rubs. It didn't take long for him to be adopted out except a few weeks later, he was returned because the owner discovered he had heartworm and she didn't want to deal with the expense and effort of treating him. He probably caught it in Quebec and so TAS treated him and once he was cured, gave him back to the owner.

Two weeks ago, she returned Bach to TAS again (TAS West this time) and this time for good.

At TAS West, because of his age - he's now ten - and because of the glaucoma he's developed in his eyes and the lipoma (fatty tumours which are generally benign but should still be checked out) on his chest, he failed his medical to get into adoption. This could've meant euthanasia for our sweet, once again abandoned Bach.

But, someone at TAS West recognized him - seriously, you'll not forget this dog once you've seen him - and called James at TAS South - James who had originally had him brought over from Quebec - and asked him if this was one of his dogs and of course it was. So Bach was pulled and he has since been transferred to Speaking of Dogs Rescue where he is presently living with a foster family and available for adoption.

Yes, he's an older dog and yes he's got some health issues and yes he'll probably break your heart one day but he's a lovely dog and he's been through enough and so much deserves a real family who'll stay by his side in his senior years.

You can read more about Bach here from the first time he came through TAS South. If you're at all interested in finding out more about Bach's present adoption status please check out his profile at Speaking of Dogs here (Bach's been renamed Robert so click on Robert).


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.