Saturday, July 4, 2009

Daytrip to Toronto Animal Services North ...

From here.

I have to admit, it felt a bit strange going up to Toronto Animal Services North. First of all, it's at Sheppard and Keele and for someone who rarely goes north of Bloor, that's way way up there for me. When I finally find the place and walk through the main entrance, I get that feeling I used to get whenever I started at a new school or a new job: a touch of nerves, a touch of excitement. Weird.

I'm up in Downsview to see Bach. The plan is to check out his new digs at TAS North and then swing way over to Hamilton to visit the Hamilton/Burlington SPCA and see how they're treating our dogs from TAS South, Keenan, Olga and Dakota. I mean, they're not our dogs. They're no one's dogs - and that's the problem - but still, there's a sense of, I guess, responsibility, although it's not even that. It's more that they were in our care, under our roof, and like with guests, friends, whatever you want to call them, it's only right to see them off, to make sure they are safe, delivered into good hands.

I'm pleasantly surprised by TAS North. They've got it good up there. Built in the well-moneyed Mel Lastman years of North York, they sit on a nice chunk of land. The outdoor dog runs are more like grassy fields. Well, actually, they're not like grassy fields. They are grassy fields. I wish we had the land at TAS South for something that splendid. Then it wouldn't be so much like a shelter as it would be like going to a dog park.

The only thing strange about all that space, though, is that there are no dogs out there running around in those nice fields. That may have something to do with TAS North being short staffed because of the city strike so I'll have to go up there again when things are back to normal and see how well used they are. I'm told there aren't any volunteers up at the north shelter so the fenced in fields are used all time by the staff to let the dogs run around leash free.

The indoor facilities are pretty nice too. Well, the dog kennels and cat cages are nothing to brag about - but then when are they ever - but much of the space is natural sunlight bright and open. And the cat room is the best cat room I've ever seen.

It's like it was once a multi-stepped auditorium refurbished into a cat lounge with loads of cat beds and scratching posts and toys and, of course, several friendly cats.

The busy staff are pretty accomodating as well. Since the regular staff are on strike, everyone working there is probably a manager of some sort doing someone else's job but they seemed to be pulling it off well enough. Granted, some of them are working twelve hour days, six days a week, so it can't be easy. They are probably hoping for this strike to be over more than anyone else.

The most important thing, though, is that it looked like Bach is doing well. He's been started on his heartworm meds so his time in the shelter isn't being wasted. People are looking out for him up there and that's good to hear.

They bring him to meet me in an internal courtyard, open to the blue sky above. We're surrounded on two sides by the cat lounge and the cats seem to be as curious about Bach as he is about them. Between belly scratches, Bach gets up and watches the cats who are pawing at the glass wall separating them.

Yeah, he seems okay there. I'm sure he spends most of his days in his kennel and that can't be pleasant but on the heartworm meds, he can't be allowed to physically exert himself anyway. While it may not be the best situation for him to be in, it may be the safest.

Just before I go, I ask about the lack of dogs up for adoption on the TAS site and I'm told that last week around thirty dogs were transferred to Hamilton/Burlington SPCA and thirty dogs, in all likelihood, cleaned out all the TAS adoption dogs. Doing the adoptions on top of everything else must have been too much for the skeleton crews to handle.

I give Bach one last ear scratch and then it's time to head to Hamilton.

Daytrip stuff continued here.

More on Bach here.


House of the Discarded said...'s Xanadu for the cats at TAS North! It hurts my heart when I think of all the cats at the overcrowded shelters.

I'm so glad you were reassured about Bach. :)


CyborgSuzy said...

That cat room is unbelievable.

Marcie said...

Next time you are way up North give me a call, TAS North is just up the street from me.