Cocooning. I look out my third story balcony window at patio furniture, tree branches, rooftops. The snow has been falling all night, all morning. We were supposed to get a few centimeters accumulation. There's at least thirty lying on top of the deck.

Simone is sleeping in her bed, rolled up in a ball, quiet then dreaming, whinnying, leg jerking. I wake her up.

"Hey Simone, let's go out," I say and I open the sliding door to the balcony. She looks up at me, rolling eyeballs, nose still buried in her tail.

She looks outside. She looks back at me hoping perhaps I'll change my mind.

"C'mon, let's go," I say and she's a good sport and outside we go.

The snow is already up to Simone's belly when she takes a step into it and it's still falling. I can almost see it getting deeper. I remember diving into it when I was a kid, with my neighbour with the blonde hair and rose cheeks, and we lay there, warm and dry in our snowsuits looking as far as we could into the snow grey sky.

"You know if you're stuck in a blizzard in the Arctic, the best thing to do is to bury yourself in the snow," she had said to me. "It keeps you warm."

"Ok, let's try it," I said and I turned over onto my stomache, put my face in my mitts and she scooped snow on me. I could feel it being piled on over my boots, my legs, my back and finally around my head. It was noisy, all that snow settling against the hard nylon shell of my snowsuit. It was mildly scary, rather exciting. And when she stopped, there was no noise at all, just a faint glow when I lifted my head slightly and opened my eyes.

I would've stayed like that longer but I didn't want to keep my neighbour waiting. I pushed myself up, felt all the snow slide off the suit.

"Was it warmer?" she asked.

"Oh yeah, it worked. It was really warm," and I had indeed felt warmer but I wasn't sure if the warmth was from the insulating snow or from spending the afternoon with my neighbour.

"Do you want to try it?" I asked.

"No, that's okay," she said and I looked at her, trying to find some clue but I could not.

She frowned, waited on a thought, and then suggested, Let's build a snowfort instead, but I said, No, the snowbanks aren't high enough yet, and she said, We can shovel them higher, and I said, That's too much work, and so we talked back and forth about it for a bit longer and then she said she had to leave to go skating with her father, and I was too young to know that sometimes there is a meaning behind words which the words themselves do not mean, and so she left.

I'm not sure if I'm any wiser now.

Simone is giving me the evil eyebrows. Snow is accumulating on her. I take a few photos. We head back in.





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.





The 2015 Pound Dogs Calendar is now available here.

The calendars cost $18.49 plus taxes and shipping. About $13.50 of each calendar sold goes to the calendar company and the rest goes to TAS adoptions. So, basically, for every calendar sold, $5.00 goes directly to rescuing animals.

You should also be able to buy them at TAS South in about a week or so for $22 plus taxes - which covers the shipping costs the company charges you if you order through the website.

If you want to receive the calendar before Christmas, you'll have to check the company's order-by-dates to ensure timely delivery.



Luv Whiskey's new name: Marshmallow Cake. From his new owners:

I have been a long time follower of all of your blogs. Thank you for doing the work that you do. I admire you.

I thought you would like to know that it is because of your pound dog blog & photos that Whiskey found a home with me and my family. I told TAS when I was there this week. My boss sent me the link to your posting on Tuesday and I headed straight to the shelter only to find it closed due to Remembrance Day.

I headed back on Wednesday morning to meet him and we brought Whiskey home that night after my 5 year old daughter had met him. True to your description he is the most laid back Jack I have ever met. He has only been with us for 2 days but it feels like he has been with us forever.

I love him, my daughter loves him, my husband loves him. After my beloved Jack Joey passed away on February 1, 2011 I honestly didn't think that I would ever be able to have another dog.

Then came your posting about Whiskey - sorry the 5 year old says his name is now Marshmallow Cake (he doesn't seem to care). I promise that we will love him forever.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.




Jumping bean Keegan. Boing boing boing. But that's just him excited to leave his kennel. Once he's out, he's still pretty high energy in a lots of fun sort of way.






The best way to check on the adoption status of this dog (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit Toronto Animal Services adoption website or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter. If the dog is no longer on the TAS adoption website, it's probably because it's been adopted already.



Calm Jack Russell Terrier an oxymoron? Not in the case of Whiskey who seems like a pretty laid back dude.

Luv the black patches on this guy.




The best way to check on the adoption status of this dog (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit Toronto Animal Services adoption website or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter. If the dog is no longer on the TAS adoption website, it's probably because it's been adopted already.



Maggie is a Puggle, also known as a Teacup Mastiff cuz she's a hefty one.

It's the Royal Winter Fair down at the CNE grounds and lots of families pass by as I take photos of Maggie. Some stop to look. Some stop to say hello. One little girl asks if she can pet the doggie and I say yes so she crouches down and holds out her hand. Maggie goes over and sniffs her hand then her face and then she's giving the girl a face wash and the girl is giggling out of control. Her father decides he wants to say hello to Maggie as well so he crouches down and extends his hand and Maggie turns and seconds later she's trying to get on the father's lap to give him a face wash too. The mother is laughing, the brother is laughing. A small group of people have gathered round and everyone's laughing at Maggie's enthusiasm.

Later, back inside, I invite her up on the couch beside me. She jumps up into my lap. She looks at me, not sure if she's overstepped her boundaries but when I pet her, she relaxes and wags her tail. Happy little dog.

Not a bad way to spend an autumn afternoon.



The best way to check on the adoption status of this dog (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit Toronto Animal Services adoption website or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter. If the dog is no longer on the TAS adoption website, it's probably because it's been adopted already.



That face.

Gremlin face, sad face, pug face.

You pet her and her whole body wags.





The best way to check on the adoption status of this dog (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit Toronto Animal Services adoption website or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter. If the dog is no longer on the TAS adoption website, it's probably because it's been adopted already.



Squiggle butt. A bit of a squawker at the moment so no apartments.

Oops, never mind. Already adopted.






The best way to check on the adoption status of this dog (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit Toronto Animal Services adoption website or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter. If the dog is no longer on the TAS adoption website, it's probably because it's been adopted already.



You know Ragdoll cats? Well, if there were Ragdoll dogs, Reddy would be up for the job. Well, okay, he didn't go limp in my arms when I picked him up but maybe he would have if I'd given him a few minutes. Pretty relaxed little dude.

Reddy was at Toronto Animal Services for a while and then transferred to Speaking of Dogs rescue so if you're interested, you can check out his adoption profile here.







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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.
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