Friday, April 30, 2010

THS elections - Change and RAIN slates combine

From CNW, Animal welfare slates unite in race for THS board:

TORONTO, April 30 /CNW/ - The competition for the board of the Toronto Humane Society just became a whole lot easier to understand as two groups with a similar desire - to make animal welfare the key to a reformed THS - have joined forces.

The Faces of CHANGE slate was elected at a public meeting of THS stakeholders, volunteers and supporters. The RAIN slate was a group of concerned dedicated THS volunteers. The two have united to present a unified slate under the Faces of CHANGE banner.

"We realized that two slates with so much passion for animal welfare would be stronger as one cohesive group," explains Faces of CHANGE spokesperson Marcie Laking.

The slate remains at fifteen, and the RAIN group has officially resigned from the race.

Members will vote for new leadership on May 30, 2010.

"We believe the Toronto Humane Society can be a leader in animal welfare," says Marcie Laking, spokesperson and candidate for the Faces of CHANGE slate. "But it needs a board that is professional; one with the utmost integrity and transparency. What happened at the THS under the current board of directors must never happen again."

The united Faces of CHANGE are:

- Dr. Hanna Booth - Veterinarian
- Michael Downey - President & CEO, Tennis Canada
- Kim Cohen - CEO, Brown & Cohen Communications
- Jennifer Downe - Bank Manager & THS Volunteer
- Judi King - Senior Law Clerk & ART Co-founder
- Marcie Laking - Animal Welfare Advocate
- Linda MacKinnon - Paralegal & ART Co-founder
- Dr. Karen Nasir - Veterinarian
- Peter Newell - Senior Partner, Ogilvy Renault
- Garnet Pratt Siddall - Financial Professional
- Ferne Sinkins - President, Toronto Cat Rescue
- Tom Ungar - President & CEO, MTU Investments
- Ian Wintrip - Director, Wintrip Wolkoff Shin
- Wendy Strickland - Urban Forester, THS volunteer
- Crystal Tomusiak - Criminal Lawyer, THS volunteer

To view the platform and see the Faces of CHANGE animal welfare plan, please visit

In the summer of 2009 the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals charged the entire board of directors with animal cruelty - including acting president Bob Hambley. Those allegations are still before the courts. Yet Hambley is running for re-election. The united Faces of CHANGE encourages the THS membership to inform itself and to elect a brand new board to give the THS the best possible future.

For further information: Marcie Laking, (647) 348-4156, or visit

Yet unnamed Cocker Spaniel

A little taste of summer today and this round belly guy was making the most of it, rolling in the grass, snorting the dandelions.

For adoption information on this portly Cocker Spaniel and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lobo - Husky

Don't you just love a Husky smile?


For adoption information on Lobo and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ontario Pit Bull ban ineffective according to THS

From CTV Toronto, Pit bull ban not reducing dog bites in Ont.: THS:

Ontario's controversial pit bull ban has not resulted in a significant decrease in the number of dog bites in the province, the Toronto Humane Society claims in a study.


According to the humane society's study, there were 5,428 reported dog bites in 2005, the year the ban came into effect. Here are the numbers since then:

* 2006 - 5,360
* 2007 - 5,492
* 2008 - 5,463
* 2009 - 5,345

I've never trusted the way the THS played with statistics in order to prove a point so I hope these latest figures are well researched.

Some concerns mentioned in the article which might come back to bite them:

The study does not show the number of dog bites compared to the number of dogs in the province. Nor does it adjust for changes to the province's population or for the severity of attacks.

McConachie said the information about dog bites comes from the local health networks, while the number of licensed dogs is tracked by individual municipalities and is not accessible without filing access to information requests.

“It’s possible the number of dogs could have gone up,” McConachie told CTV News. “It’s also possible the number of dogs could have stayed the same.”

Monday, April 26, 2010

A story of dreams come true

(from Cathrine)

Bangladeshi dreams are small: this man dreams of owning a rickshaw, so he does not pay most of his earnings to a Boss; that girl dreams of a pair of flip-flops; a mother dreams of clean water for her children; a beggar dreams of an umbrella.

Sheli dreamt of a tiny house of her own, so her husband did not have to pay 75% of his salary for rent. Ali dreamt of dowry for his deaf-mute twin daughters, and inheritance for his son. Doli and Poli dreamt of a place to call theirs. Shahin dreamt he could provide for his parents in their old age.


Modu and Pushpo were too young to dream, they just fought for their lives. Rani yearned to get out of her kennel and once again have a family to love and a place to roam.



Small as they are, a year and a half ago, these dreams were impossible. To buy a piece of land for even a tiny house would cost a minimum of 2.5 lakh taka, before bribes. In Canada, that's $3,700. To buy bamboo, bricks, sand, wire, cement, is perhaps another $C3,000. Then, there is the labour.

Not so much until you consider that Ali's salary is $C175 a month before he pays the rent.

But Bangladeshis are also optimistic, hardworking, and very, very smart. Ali found himself employed by bideshi who were open to the idea of helping his family. Sheli inherited two gold wedding bangles from her mother that were to go to her daughters for their weddings. Shahin got an apprenticeship that taught him basic building trades skills he still had after the job was over.

And Bangladeshis are used to being hungry.

Without telling anyone, Ali and Sheli arranged to sell the bangles, take out an interest-free loan from the employers, and live for 14 months on one meal of rice and lentils a day.Ali took on other work, Shahin hustled for any work for himself, and sewing for his sisters, exquisite seamstresses.

It was incredibly rough. Yet, while Ali and his family were constantly hungry, they had time to help others. Ali rescued two small kittens from drowning: his daughters scrounged old fish heads and tails to feed them. One, the colour of honey in the sun, they named Modu (honey), the other, a tiny black scribble of claws, they named Pushpo (blossom).

Even when there was nothing for the people, Modu and Pushpo had protein. Ali, Sheli and Shahin brought home garbage from other people's homes to feed local street dogs. Ali organised food and protection for a blind beggar woman who lived near his employer's house, and helped rescue Rani, the street dog who lived with her and almost starved to death because she had to feed puppies.

All this time, he and his family were subsisting on rice and lentils, once a day. Sometimes, they went without anything for up to three days in a row. The employers noticed that something was wrong, and worried. But Ali has his pride. He was going to do this without charity.

And he did. Yesterday, the last piece of the dream clicked into place: Rani came home.

Rani at home

I admit it: I cried. While Ali and Shahin wondered what it is about women, Sheli and Doli-Poli and I hugged each other and cried tears of joy.

A house. No electricity, but three small, plastered rooms, indoor plumbing, glass in most of the windows, a pump in the yard. Brick walls and a flat roof so that, when Shahin marries, Ali and his wife can build a room for themselves on the roof. A tiny yard, with a whitewashed doghouse ready for someone to move in. In Bangladeshi terms, it's not a palace, but, at the size of a small studio apartment in Canada, it is the equivalent of a split level ranch house.

Doli-Poli have a room, or, rather, Modu and Pushpo have a room they allow their servants to share. Ali and Sheli sleep in the middle, and Shahin sleeps by the front door.

With his dog. He never complained that his sisters were the cats' special people. But he did tell his father that, someday, he wanted to have a dog.

Last night, the family ate in the center room, with the cats and the dog curled up in a heap by the door. Rani slept, not out in her doghouse, but right next to Shahin. This morning, Ali, Shahin and Rani went for a long walk together, so Rani could become familiar with the area and meet the neighbours.


Ali tells me that Rani ran in huge circles, following her nose, but treated the neighbours with the same respect she had shown Modu-Pushpo in the living room. When Ali went to shovel up the poop, Shahin made it clear Rani is his dog, so he'll do the cleaning, thanks anyway, Dad.

Ali, Rani

All that is left is to go next Sunday and pick out the goat for Sheli, so she can have goat's milk and yoghurt for her family.

The chances are altogether too good that there will be storms and hunger in this, and every, Bangladeshi family's future. But, just for this moment, somewhere out in Tongi, is a small piece of that impossible land, where dreams come true.

Doli, Ali, Sheli, Poli, Shahin

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dogs in review, Apr. 25


Yet unnamed Lhasa Apso Mix

Unnamed Doberman pup

For adoption information on these and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Nothing says spring like the first exuberance of dandelions, gleefully trumpeting the return of the summer sun.

Stella is finally warm even without her jacket and Rocky crashes into the plush grass every chance he gets.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Three slates to run in the Toronto Humane Society elections

I haven't written about the Toronto Humane Society in a while because even though a lot has happened in the last few weeks, it's mostly been about politics. Similar to many others I know, there were times when I was more than ready, and in fact looking forward to, wiping my hands of this whole human stained mess. I'm not going to go into the details but if you watch any season of Survivor, you'll get the emotional gist of it.

Really I just want to sit in the backyard with Stella and Rocky and enjoy the sparkling weather. It has been most fine these past few days.

So, this one post then and then back to the lawn chairs.

A quick summary of the election situation as far as I understand it: Bob Hambley of the old board and cohort of Tim Trow will be running again with a hand picked slate of supposed heavy hitters. It's being touted that Hambley's got the support of a thousand, out of 3000, THS members already. Who knows if that's true but it wouldn't surprise me. It's not like the members have been given another obvious choice yet. All they know is that Hambley isn't Trow and Hambley has a plan.

Because all other board member potentials think Hambley has a full slate of fifteen candidates under his control (think of it as a political party with Hambley as prime minister wannabe), they also think that the only way to compete with Hambley is to form slates themselves. Though a lot less democratic, this is probably true. The power of the group will trump fragmented individuals.

It was no surprise then that ART, the Association for the Reform of the THS, decided they needed to form a slate as well and if their slate had been an undemocratically hand picked and assigned slate, like I'm sure Hambley's was, then right now I'd be eating potato chips and watching the tulips open.

Instead, several nights ago, the members of ART held open elections to select a slate to challenge Hambley. Along with several ART members, around two dozen (?) unaffiliated, concerned individuals had also entered themselves into the elections.

I was impressed by the resulting candidates chosen. For the first time in several weeks, I'm more hopeful than not that the THS may soon be run by a group of competent, compassionate individuals.

I'll just call them the Reform slate for now as it's not really an ART slate anymore. There are ART members on the team but there are several new faces as well and most importantly, the animal welfare advocates have now got a strong presence - which is as it should be. That's not to minimize the importance of the "business/professional" candidates on the slate. Their resumes are impressive (all bios will be posted up in the next few days) and it's utterly important to have people on board who have the experience and knowledge to run a multi-million dollar charity like the THS.

I'd say the slate is well balanced and we'll have to see how the personal and political dynamics play out over the next few weeks. Hopefully, they will gel as a team as they start to work with one another.

A third slate has also been formed out of mostly THS volunteers and they get a big congratulations for being the newest yet first group to publish a website with their credentials and vision statement. RAIN (Representing Animals in Need) has a clear goal of turning Toronto into a no-kill community with the THS playing a major role in that evolution.

Aside from the well-written and hearfelt candidate bios, much of the information on the RAIN website comes from Nathan Winograd's (he of no-kill fame) writings. While it makes sense not to reinvent the wheel, it would be nice to see some more THS/Toronto specific details. I'm sure they'll be working on that so I'm looking forward to updates.

Yes, I'm hopeful but that doesn't mean any of these people get a free ride. I'm going to be looking for several things:

1. A platform with a strong and enlightened animal welfare component. Ideally, this will include some indication as to how the slate intends to achieve that goal. Full disclosure: I had a small hand in drafting the Reform slate platform so I'm already kinda happy with it but work still needs to go into working out some of the details.

2. A committment to the platform. Words on paper need to be put into action. I want to know that the slate has the force of will, expertise and cohesion to achieve the ambitious goals of the platform.

3. Hard working individual board members. No duds please. Anyone thinking a THS board seat is just a resume decoration or a party conversation piece needs to think again. We all love animals. That's not good enough. Slate members have got to pull their weight and more when it comes to doing the hard work.

4. Strategies for rebuilding the structure of the THS organization. The THS is in shambles from its governance to its management to its staffing and volunteering. People make the THS work. There needs to be some major effort put into investing in people before the THS will flourish.

Of course, these are just my concerns. The real question is how will the THS membership decide? Has the membership become more aware of the situation at the THS than it has been for the last ten years? They really need to wake up and pay attention. But will they?

It is the way with charities that they are dependent on the good will of their members to allow them to continue the work they say they are doing but all this is for naught if the membership doesn't know or care about the work being done on their behalf. As well intentioned as most of the candidates are, this election is more about the mechanics of convincing the membership to support one slate or another than it is actually about good animal welfare protocols and the ability to see them through. That's unfortunate but I suppose that's why it's called politics.

The hope is that this time round, the most capable slate with the best animal welfare vision can get through to the membership and garner their support. The hope is that this time round, those in the THS membership who care deeply about the animals and who keep themselves well informed of the events at the THS, will be able to help the rest of the membership understand just what is at stake here.

Here's some inspiration:

Summit - Nathan Winograd from PetRescue on Vimeo.

You may need to use the password "nathan" to watch this video. This video was previously posted but removed and now it's here again so if you think you've seen this somewhere before and already know what the video's about, it's not because you're psychic or Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day" (though you might be. Who am I to say?).

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Brampton Animal Control wins suckage of the year award

(h/t Ian)

From Brampton Guardian, which I must commend for doing such an excellent job covering this issue, Dog seizures not an isolated case:

Brittany and Rambo are safely home once again, but The Brampton Guardian has learned this isn’t the first time a previously legally licensed dog has been seized from a Brampton home without a warrant, and owner-offered proof that they are not “pitbulls” rejected by city animal shelter workers.

Rocsi, Ruckus and Missus were three dogs seized from two separate families in the past year, and all three ended up in adoptive homes in Newfoundland. Their owners argue the dogs were not pitbulls, they were mixed-breed mutts, but they were never given a chance to prove it and they didn’t have the resources to battle the city in court.

Thank goodness Rui Branco had the wherewithal and the finances to fight the Brampton AC's threats to kill Rambo and Brittany. It's pretty obvious now that this despicable behaviour on the part of BAC has been going on a long while and like a dog that learns to shit in the house and hasn't been shown otherwise, it's become self reinforcing.

One month later, a note appeared taped to Crocker’s door from an ACO (the same ACO who seized Brittany) asking for a spay date, according to Crocker. He had made an appointment, for April, but a telephone call from Shields revealed that wasn’t soon enough, Crocker said.

That’s when Crocker’s mother dropped into the shelter to complain about the tone of the telephone conversation, which she said was confrontational. Within 24 hours, thedogs were seized by police, who accompanied Shields to the door.

“It just seemed to become personal,” Gail Crocker said.

There was no warrant, she added.

“They forcibly took them right off my front porch. Right out of my arms,” she said.

“It was crazy.”

A while ago, I was wondering if the ones who subject others to this anguish were just mindless bureaucrats but now I'm beginning to wonder if they're plain malicious and get off on the power trip of being able to invade people's homes and tear apart their families.

“She was so good. She was the best dog ever,” Gail Crocker said. “There was never any complaint about aggression, or running or charging or biting anyone.”

They were told the dogs would be “put down” if the Crockers did not find a home for them out of province, Gail Crocker said.

Jamie Lowery, the city’s commissioner of community services, defends the actions of BAC by blaming it all on the provincial legislation.

“It’s not the city, it’s the legislation,” he said. “That is clearly the biggest problem we have. That (DOLA) is very vague and ambiguous. It speaks to certain breeds, but it also brings into question about characteristics, so we are charged with (trying) to enforce or interpret the legislation."

And Lowery is right. DOLA is open to interpretation which means that if an animal control officer doesn't want to be a jerk about it, he doesn't have to be. On the other hand, these open ended laws also give stormtrooper wannabes a lot of power to terrorize families.

“I think the net that we do cast is the net of reasonableness and that is, driven by complaints, and driven by the understanding that we as a municipality have some legal obligations to the community with respect to the DOLA legislation. That really is, from my point of view, as commissioner, the bottom line, protecting the community and taking reasonable steps.”

This guy thinks that costing Rui Branco $20000 in legal fees to save his dog's life after it was seized from his home without warrant falls within a "net of reasonableness"?

This guy thinks that taking dogs from their owners and forcing the families to pay shipping costs to exile their pets to other provinces or else the pets face death falls within a "net of reasonableness"?

I think someone is mistaking a net of reasonableness with a sac of bullshit.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Brittany and Rambo free at last ... pretty much

From Brampton Guardian, Dogs freed, ruled not pitbulls

They’re free!

An independent veterinarian has ruled Brittany and Rambo are not pitbulls, which means after 97 days in the pound, the two dogs are finally home.

And Rui Branco, owner of Brittany is now $20000 poorer from all the legal bills he's incurred fighting to get her back since Brampton City impounded his dog.

Way to go Brampton officials for being such dicks but since you finally saw reason, or maybe it was the mounting legal headaches and public outrage, at least now you can say you're not total dicks.

Or can you?

Not enough to let bygones be bygones, even when they were in the wrong, the City has ordered that both dogs be designated “potentially dangerous” and they must wear muzzles when out in public, and furthermore, in what can only be described as the result of a bureaucratic snit fit, the owners must now post big red signs on their property warning people about their dangerous dogs.

By my reckoning, the most dangerous dogs in Brampton are the ones working for the city and the sign they should be wearing is a big L stamped on their foreheads.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Update on Hook

From the owner of Hook (now Chérie):

Here is a few pictures of my darling, beloved Chérie! She is wonderful, I am the happiest to have given her a good life.

Have a great day,..see you soon

Update on Austin

From Austin's new owners:

On Austin's behalf we'd like to thank Toronto Animal Services and Happy Tails Rescue for taking care of and rescuing him. He is really a very sweet dog.

Austin is still as playful as ever. He loves playing with balls and is good with fetch. We sometimes put a ball in a sock which he then likes to take one end of and swing around in circles. It is very funny to watch.

Austin is such a sweet and gentle soul that one our neighbours' children like to "borrow" him to take care of occasionally. He loves to cuddle and show his belly for belly rubs. Even being calm and laid back he does like his walks also. For a small dog he can keep up a good pace for hour-long walks. He gives us the opportunity to do our exercise too. We also like to bring him for other outings as well since he is an excellent car passenger.

The skin under his eyes looks good. It has gone completely back to it's natural colour after recovery from the skin infections. He fur is growing nicely to the extent that it is almost time for a haircut. He is looking very handsome.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Troy and Margi - Border Collies

I'm not sure if Border Collies Troy (top photo) and Margi (bottom photo) are siblings but they sure are stuck on one another. Troy is more outgoing than Margi when it comes to people but she warms up fast enough with anyone who shows a little patience and wants to be her friend. They are both way too underweight and their TLC regimen will have to include adding on some pounds.

For adoption information on these and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Rocky's picked up some very particular ideas about redecorating the house. For example, Rocky doesn't like this table ...

... so he knocks it over.

Rocky doesn't like this gate at the bottom of the stairs ...

... so he knocks it over.

Rocky doesn't like the way his bedding is made ...

... so he unmakes it.

Stella doesn't like all this rearranging so she stays out of the way and closes her eyes and sighs.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Scout - Schnauzer

Dogs seem to be flying out the door at Toronto Animal Services South even before I get a chance to post up their photos here. This Schnauzer is named Scout but I think he looks like a wizened old wizard. He might be adopted already since I didn't see him the last time I was in or maybe he cast a spell and walked through some walls and got outta there.

For adoption information on Nigel and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

Friday, April 16, 2010

We should be able to do better than this

This dog was no prize. She was old, deaf, didn't see very well. She hobbled. She was way too skinny, had patchy fur. She soiled herself all the time probably from loss of bowel control given her age. She was stand-offish. I spent almost half and hour with her and in that whole time, I couldn't get her to pay any attention to me except when I had a treat in my hand which she sniffed and turned her nose up at.

It would be very easy to toss dogs like her away (someone certainly did). I ask myself if my compassion for an animal is based on what I get from the animal or what I give to the animal. If it's based on what I get from the animal, then is it truly compassion or is it self indulgence? When we assess a dog, formally or informally, do we assess the dog's worth or the dog's worth to us?

It would have been a miracle if the owner had shown up and claimed her, saved her from being euthanized. Maybe it was time for her to be euthanized anyway. Who knows what underlying medical issues she may have had to result in her looking so raggedly - or was that the result of neglect, neglect right up to the end?

I wanted to take this dog home for a week. My intentions were not pure. I think I mostly just wanted to assuage my own guilt at participating in her abandonment by not merely being just another bystander.

I wanted to take this dog home for a week because even though she was not a dog that immediately warmed the heart and even though she was a dog in the last stages of physical decline, she was also not a dog that deserved to be abandoned and left in a cage for the final few days of her life away from all that was familiar. She deserved a week at least, a last few days of something akin to a home before she was delivered to the other side of life.

I don't know what I was thinking, though. Rocky never would have tolerated her. And with Stella's health the way it is, there was no way I was going to impose a new dog on her, especially one that was going to require so much time and work.

So it didn't happen and now she's gone.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Update on Barkley

From Barkley's new owners:

Just wanted to write and let you know how everything is going with Barkley.

From the day we brought him home two Saturdays ago it was like he had always been part of the family. He is such a loving, attentive and smart dog. Within the first week he was already house broken, sleeping on the mat next to our beds and going into his crate no problem.

We still need to work on the barking and jumping but it's already calmed down some and most of it is probably just due to youthful exuberance.

Attached are some pictures of Barkley's new everyday life.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking such good care of Barkley and bringing him into our lives. He is a most wonderful dog!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The end of an era

From today's court decision by Justice Brown in the Superior Court of Justice - Ontario:

The Board of Directors of the TBS has dropped the ball big-time on the issue of what to do with Bandit. The Board's confused postiion on "Bandit" is not a good start to implementing a settlement which was supposed to put a new face on the THS. Those who run the THS - the Board - have to get their act together. Much time, effort, and expense has been spent over the past two months by all involved in this application. After all that, for the THS to come before the court asking to keep "Bandit", or seeking "directions" for a problem which is not a problem because its soulution lies in the hands of the THS Board, signals to me that the Board perhaps has not yet recognized its obligations to the public and under the defined animal care regulatiory regime, and that I was premature in giving the Board credit for having done so in paragraph 19 of my April 1 Reasons.

Let me be blunt, since the more nuanced language of my April 1 Reasons seems to have been lost on the THS Board. If the Board of the THS truly intends to turn over a new leaf, then do so. Stop playing games ... It is time for the THS Board of Directors to start acting professionally in its governance of that organization.

I dismiss the motion by the THS to vary the Settlement Order to permit it to keep "Bandit". No operational conflict exists between my order and the orders of the courts below, including the stay. Two clear options are open to the Board fo the THS - either put down "Bandit", as section 3 of the Destruction Order permits, or immediately file a notice of abandonment of the appeal of the Destruction Order and turn "Bandit" over to the OSPCA who can then deal with the dog. Whichever option the THS decides to choose, it must be implemented by 5 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday, April 15, 2010. If I learn that "Bandit" remains in the possession or control of the THS after that deadline, I will reconvene a further hearing on my own motion pursuant to the court's broad jurisidiction to supervise charities.

From the Toronto Humane Society:

We do not agree with His Honour’s comments about the Board’s attitude or its judgment but we respect the Court. We are in compliance with His Honour's order of April 1st. There are no animals remaining at the THS shelter.

Bandit has been euthanized to the dismay of many THS members, staff and volunteers who cared for the dog over the years. The staff and Board of the organization thank those who worked hard for a different solution.

We have turned the page and we are focussing on the future. Under the direction of Garth Jerome, the THS expects to resume its position as one of Canada’s leading animal welfare organizations.

Bandit represented the best and the worst of the former Toronto Humane Society under the helm of Tim Trow - all the promises made and all the promises broken. I wonder if anyone will ever know why Trow took this dog under his wing, notorious for having mauled a child, promising to rehabilitate him but mostly just keeping him alive in his office.

Only Trow and Bandit will ever know the true bond established between Trow and Bandit - if the dog ever became a pet or if it was kept alive as a big fuck you to anyone who thought they could tell Trow how to behave. In those last few moments the two of them had together, when Bandit ran at a police officer who had entered into Trow's office, and had to be pepper sprayed down, I wonder if Bandit was protecting the only man who had ever protected him or if he was just protecting the space for himself or maybe he was thinking, please, please get me out of here.

I only ever saw Bandit twice. The first time, a few days after the raid, he was being walked down a back hallway, a rotund, lumbering brown dog not looking at all notorious. From a distance, he looked more like a Lab than a Pit Bull. He looked like a dog and that was all.

The next time I saw him, it was through the cage door of his kennel. I looked at him and he stared back. I was waiting for a reaction, a lunge at the door or a wag of a tail but there was nothing. We just looked at each other and I could not read him.

Whatever you have done, Bandit, whatever was done to you, I hope you are finally able to rest in peace.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Stella's big heart

Stella's got such a big heart, it seems she never manages to fill it. While all the other dogs at the dog park are running amok playing at being dogs, Stella goes from owner to owner, sidles up to them, asking for the touch of a hand on her back or fingers to scratch her ears. And if the person is face to face, Stella will look them in the eyes and give a kiss and if the person is not careful, that kiss becomes something a little too personal for most, landing well inside the mouth. Stolen kisses are her specialty.

That's not to say Stella loves everyone. She always been wary of a stranger's hand reaching out and she can be quite a monster around vets. At least until Sunnday night. Sunday night, the vet told me, she was apparently no trouble at all.

Wonders never cease, I thought, as we were checking out of the emergency clinic. Then, just as we were walking to the door, Stella teetered and stumbled and fell and she could barely get back up. A technician came over and we took Stella back into an examination room and the cardiologist came in. It amazed me then when Stella just stood there, allowing the vet to examine her, to poke and prod and clip sensors onto her, as though she'd been okay with this all her life.

And there I could see on the graph, Stella's big heart pounding away, wild and unconstrained and wanting to burst out of its cage, this sudden tachycardia probably caused by the thought of going home.

I'm told dilated cardiomyopathy and associated congestive heart failure are congenital. They occur in a lot of the bigger breeds. The heart muscles weaken, the heart expands and expands and eventually fails. Sometimes the failure is catastrophic if arrhythmia is involved. Sometimes it is a slow decline as the heart supporting drugs stop being effective. The vet says eight months on average is what to expect after DCM is diagnosed. That would give us the summer and most of the fall.

This will be her summer then. As her heart gets bigger, it will be filled with sun and breeze and warmth and love.

One day Stella's heart will become so big, it will lift her up and carry her away.

Monday, April 12, 2010


This is Nigel. He's supposed to be a Dogo Argentino mix but who knows. Dogos are usually all white and have their ears cut down to almost nothing. Thank goodness Nigel got rescued before he got his ears cut.

There's a hint of blue in his coat which matches the hint of blue in his awesome ochre eyes. He's basically gorgeous.

Except for his flapper feet. It's hard to tell from the photos but Nigel's got feet fit for a clown. He's either going to grow up to be a really big dog or a giant duck. I wouldn't be too surprised if he had some Great Dane in him. He's only four months old and already 40 - 50 pounds(?) Good thing he loves everyone and everything and if things turn out, everyone and everything will love him back.

For adoption information on Nigel and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Peanut - Rottweiler cross

For adoption information on Peanut and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Penelope - German Shepherd

For adoption information on Penelope and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Border Collie pup

This young lad was found wandering the streets of Toronto. There are dozens of guesses as to what happened to his face but no one knows for sure and his owners certainly aren't stepping up.

For adoption information on this Border Collie pup and other dogs (and cats and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Update on Burt and adoption notice for Holly

I wanted to mention that I received a comment from Luan at Southern Ontario Border Collie Rescue about Burt, one of the five feral Border Collie pups who came into TAS South almost two years ago. Luan had taken two of them into the rescue but sadly Burt's brother, Ernie, had to be put down for developing aggression issues with other dogs and people.

Luan has been working really hard with Burt and just recently he was adopted. Here's her comment reposted here:

BURT HAS BEEN ADOPTED! 20 months after his arrival here, his perfect people found their perfect dog. An older couple, both retired, but who still like to go for long daily walks and wanted a canine friend to accompany them. People with experience living with shy dogs. They came, they saw Burt and Burt decided that he liked them, too. So a few days later I drove him to their rural home, not all that far from my place. Three weeks and three progress reports later, all is tickety boo. Burt is enjoying his long walks, and he is making friends with the local canine population. I have been promised that he will be brought back for the occasional visit and a chance to play with his old pals. And I have been told that as far as Rescue goes, I am never getting him back! Bye bye Burt, may you enjoy your new people and new life. Miss you? Naw, (sniff) what makes you think that?
Hope we get some pictures of him with his new family sometime.

Meanwhile, Luan has a special needs Border Collie who's looking for a home.

From Luan:

I have a little special needs Border Collie here that really needs her own foster/adoptive home. I am hoping that someone reading your blog might be able to give her the love, commitment, and special care that she so deserves.

Holly is blind - to rapid onset cataracts, the result of untreated diabetes. She still has some peripheral vision and manages to avoid most objects. There is a possibility of cataract surgery to restore her vision, but it is very costly. She has been bred - regularly from the looks of it, and then dumped, probably when her drinking and pissing everywhere and bumping into things got too annoying. She wound up sitting in an Northern Ontario shelter for a month with no medical care, and was slated for euthanasia at Christmas if a Rescue was not prepared to save her. She is now doing well, although getting her blood sugar levels and insulin doses stabilized is proving a challenge. She still needs to be spayed - I was hoping to get her diabetes stabilized first. When she arrived here on Boxing Day she was 23 lb waif. Her body was literally feeding on itself because of the untreated diabetes. She is now on grain-free kibble and a much healthier 34 lbs.

Someone at some point in her estimated five years of life must have loved her - she very petite and pretty and one smart cookie. She is affectionate, easy to handle (and needle), knows her obedience commands and she is quick to respond. She is very adept at telling you what she wants and needs, and sings when the mood strikes her. She loves cuddles and being with people. However she hates hates hates being around other dogs. She hasn't hurt any, but her anxiety goes into overdrive and she snarls and carries on and snaps at them if they get too close. She has learned to tolerate my older "housedogs" and they have learned to avoid her, and for the most part things are peaceful. But she is not happy in a multi-dog household.

Holly needs a home that understands and is knowledgeable of diabetes. She is still at the stage where she needs regular blood glucose curves to determine the number of units of insulin she requires (she is currently getting 4 units twice daily). One without other animals. She is happy to have a well-fenced backyard, lots of pee-breaks, and lots of loving - she is not a terribly high-energy Border Collie and does not need long walks. What Holly needs and deserves is a world full of love and kindness, something that she has been seriously short-changed of up until now.

In the meantime, Southern Ontario Border Collie Rescue is appreciative of any monetary donations to assist with Veterinary care for Holly and the other foster dogs. Donations made through
Helping Homeless Pets can be issued a tax receipt and go directly into the Veterinary medical account when directed specifically to Southern Ontario Border Collie Rescue.

Luan Egan
Rescue Co-Ordinator,
Southern Ontario Border Collie Rescue
905 473-9050

Adoption notice - Sunny

(from Laura)

Sunny's been in the shelter way too long. He's an older boy, 7 years old, and was surrendered by his owners in August. He was in the shelter for four months and finally got adopted in December - unfortunately that lasted less than two months. They returned him in mid-February, apparently because he didn't get along with their other cat. Now it's almost two months and he's still there and pretty depressed. He's a sweet cat who loves to be stroked and will sit in your lap, but right now he just sits in the corner, so people don't really notice him. He definitely needs to get out of the shelter. He'd do better without other cats. He's not aggressive, he's super-passive, but he gets upset with most other cats. I don't know how he is with other animals. But he really is darling, and gorgeous, and he deserves to spend the rest of his life with a family who appreciates him.

For adoption information on Sunny and other cats (and dogs and other animals), please visit Toronto Animal Services.