Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy Tail: Chester

Chester has arrived at TAGS in June and he was adopted by the end of July! This handsome but timid dog found his home fast at the loving home of Krys Caughell and her family. 

Why Chester?
My Husband and I decided to adopt Chester because we fell in love with him when we met him. He’s such a special little dog! He seemed a bit shy at first and we knew he’d need some extra attention. But we’ve got a huge heart for animals and knew we could give Chester a very happy home. Oh, and he’s cute as all heck!

What did you think about the adoption process?
The adoption process was amazing. We felt very informed and comfortable throughout. And the organization is well run and does amazing work! We were pleasantly surprised with all of the things included with adoption – Chester being fixed, micro-chipped, pet insurance, training, week trial with food and accessories – it was more than we ever expected. I have and will continue to recommend TAGS. Adoption is the only option! (Want to help me convince my Husband that we need a few more??)

How did you find Chester? On the website, etc.. ?
Yes we saw Chester’s profile online. Actually – to be honest we almost didn’t meet him because of his picture – he looked like a completely different dog! But I’d seen his profile and looked into the organization and figured we should at least go and see him.

When you met Chester did you know right away that he was who you were looking for?
Yes and no. I fell in love with him right away because he is so adorable. But I also love all animals and I would seriously take them all home if I could. We were a bit unsure if he would be the perfect fit because of his shy and nervous temperament, mostly because we have cats. I think it was the week trial that we really knew he was our dog. Once he started to settle in and warm up to us – we could finally see the dog he really is! And he’s awesome. Best little dog ever!

What were his first days like?
His first days on the week trial were a bit tough for him I think. He was very shy, quiet and almost depressed. I imagine he was having separation anxiety from his foster mom, who you could tell he loved very much. He didn’t want to eat or play and he kept running to hide in the corner. He was also very afraid of my Husband! But after a few days, once he started to settle in and started trusting us, he transformed dramatically into a happy playful crazy little puppy.

How is he getting along with your other dogs/family members?
I have 3 cats – Alvin, Elvis and Lou. Chester likes the cats. Alvin especially – he wants to play with him so bad! But Alvin is a scaredy cat and runs. Which makes Chester think they are playing. Cue stampede. Elvis and Chester sleep and cuddle together sometimes, but might scuffle over food. And Lou is indifferent (pretty much to everything!)

Tell us a funny story or habit about Chester! 
Just one? Well, during the day he is crated. But my husband comes home at lunch everyday to let him out and spend time with him. So one day, like every other day, my Husband puts Chester in his crate and goes to work. He comes home at lunch and to his surprise there are 2 sets of eyes staring back at him from the crate. My cat Elvis must have snack in there earlier in the morning to sleep – and my husband not knowing and not seeing him just put Chester in like usual!

How did the training classes go?
Training was awesome. We learned a lot and felt like Chester did too. He could use more training I think in other areas. Like for example when the doorbell rings (even on tv) you’d think the world was ending. I’ve never heard a wee dog bark so loud!

 I could go on and on about how amazing Chester is and how much we love him. He is absolutely the perfect dog for us. He fits with our family and lifestyle so well. He is definitely the right dog for us!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Website Makeover & Blog Location

Our website recently had a makeover! Our website address is still but it looks very different from before!

As a result, TAGS Tails will be updated directly on our website instead of at this address.

Please continue to use this page if you would like to look back through older entries, but please note that some of the hyperlinks will no longer work due to our website being re-organized. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope you will bear with us as we work through some kinks with our new system. 

We will continue to bring you interesting, cute and inspiring posts about the rescue world on our new site. 

See you there! 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Why I Volunteer: Shelley

Shelley began volunteering with TAGS in 2012. At our recent volunteer dinner, she was awarded with a 1-year pin and congratulated for banking over 100 volunteer hours. Below, she tells us all about why she joined TAGS, what roles she has, and what keeps her going.

1. What encouraged you to become a volunteer with TAGS?

Since finishing my education, moving out and getting married I have wanted a dog of my own. Well, OK, let’s be honest, I’ve wanted a dog long before that – I’ve wanted my own dog since my last beloved family dog passed away many years ago. I love dogs! And cats too! I had a cat for 19 years – she’s even in my wedding photos! But since my husband and I were living in a one-bedroom apartment and despite really, REALLY wanting a dog, I knew, realistically, that we could not provide the best environment for one. I worked some evenings, some weekends and some days and knew that with our schedules we also didn’t have the time to devote to a dog. And did I mention that my husband is also allergic to cats and dogs too, to top it all off! Totally 3 strikes against me ever getting a dog! Greaaaattt. Then I thought, “How can I still be around dogs and cats without actually having one myself?” That’s when I found TAGS!

2. What are your roles at TAGS?

Just over a year ago, I started with TAGS as a volunteer in PetSmart, supervising the dogs and telling people all about them, their wonderful qualities and our adoption process. I enjoyed informing people about the incredible journey some of our dogs have made (some from puppy mills others from high-kill shelters or similar) and I was truly inspired by these dogs’ courage and hope for a new life. And I loved seeing the amazement on the faces of people who, after hearing what these dogs had endured before reaching TAGS - like myself just a few months before - had just gained a new-found respect for the world of rescue animals in just a few moments of discussion.

Me with Rocky at PetSmart. (Rocky has since been adopted)
Over the past few months, now that I have a more regular work schedule, I now also assist with some administrative tasks and have become responsible for booking our foster dogs to be showcased in some of our supporting pet stores in Durham Region. I just love hearing when these dogs have Meet and Greets and then ultimately get adopted – and knowing it could have all started with someone seeing our dogs at the stores. It just shows that what we do here at TAGS is making a difference. And that keeps me going.

3. What are some of the memorable moments you have from volunteering with TAGS?

One moment that stands out for me is when I was volunteering in PetValu Ritson and I had Jill (a dog up for adoption) with me. And we were almost done for the day when a lovely man and woman came into the store to purchase some food for their other dogs. As I was packing up, Jill was on her leash and she started to pull me towards these people. I let her sniff and the couple thought she was so sweet. And then she followed them. All. Over. The. Store. I apologized to the couple and said “There’s just something about you that she likes I guess, but I’m sorry, this doesn’t normally happen.”  

Shortly after, Jill’s foster mom arrived to pick her up and the couple came back to where I was finishing packing up, and starting asking Jill’s foster mom all about Jill and her habits. Jill had melted their hearts. Within the following 10 days or so, the couple had set up a Meet and Greet with Jill, who fit right in with the couple’s other dogs, had a Home Visit and a successful Extended Visit and was officially adopted! It happened so fast! If I had ever had any doubt about this process, this sequence of events completely affirmed that having the dogs out in the community to meet people as a way of getting them adopted really does work, and I felt so lucky to be a witness to it. Me, myself and I had actually bore witness to a dog, who had been transported all the way from a Kentucky High-kill shelter, literally choose her forever family! And shortly thereafter, Jill’s new mom (and her teenage son) decided to volunteer for TAGS. How fantastic! (Click here to read about Jill's new life.)

4. Do you have any other comments/things you would like to share about your experiences? 

When I started with TAGS I just wanted to be around dogs and cats because I couldn’t have one of my own. But since learning about the significant over-population in Canada and the U.S. and the reality of the gruesome living conditions some animals have to endure, animal rescue has become something I am truly passionate about. I am realistic, and I know that despite anyone’s best efforts, that we can’t save them all. But shouldn’t we at least try to save, and give a second chance to as many as we can? A few hours a month of your time volunteering can make a huge difference in the lives of so many animals. That is now why I volunteer for TAGS. For those who do not have a voice of their own, let us be their voice.
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We are always looking for more volunteers!
Find out how you can become a part of the TAGS family on our website. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

For the Love of Dog...

This compassionate, wonderful account of adopting a rescue dog comes to us from Kaitlin Bernard. It was originally posted on her blog, Blank Cage, on Friday, November 22. 

I won’t lie, when my boyfriend and I first entertained the thought of getting a dog I had my heart set on a Shiba Inu. I researched the breed, I contacted breeders, I picked out names, I watched training videos on how to deal with the notoriously headstrong breed. I had my perfect little boy all dreamed up, a red Shiba puppy named Oden. Then something happened, my sister (who has the biggest heart of anyone I know) adopted two dogs from a local rescue group called The Animal Guardian Society(TAGS). They were a pair of brother and sister Border Collie/Basset Hound mixes from a high-kill shelter in the States. They flourished in my sister’s loving household. They were remarkably well-balanced, healthy, happy dogs.
My sister’s experience with adopting totally changed how I viewed rescue animals. I thought adopting meant going down to the local pound and looking through the cages and being heartsick that you couldn’t take them all home. After spending just a few minutes with an animal, you would have to decide whether or not to take it home, knowing little of its behaviour. Then would come the nightmare of re-training a broken animal that has been through goodness knows what. Let me take the opportunity to acknowledge my complete and utter ignorance. This is NOT the case at all. There is absolutely nothing wrong with adopting an animal from a shelter. Some of the best behaved dogs I know came straight from shelters. But I also learned that this is not the only option. There are tons of rescue organizations that take animals into their care and place them in foster homes. Volunteers with huge hearts take these dogs into their homes and they live with them as a member of their family.
When it came time to add a dog to our family, we turned to Pet Finder (think Kijiji for rescue animals). It didn’t take long before we fell in love with Leia, a cute, shy-looking, 1-year-old Boxer/Catahoula Hound mix from TEAM Dog Rescue. Everything about her bio resounded with us. It wasn’t quite a happy ending just yet though. We contacted TEAM only to find out she had already been adopted. Saddened, but realizing it was par for the course, we started to look at other dogs. But then something fateful happened; the person who adopted Leia realized it wasn’t the right fit and made the difficult decision to take her back to the rescue organization.
We met Leia shortly after Christmas. She waddled into our house wearing this little red sweater and she stole our hearts instantly. She didn’t want to walk on the tile and she wasn’t a fan of the hardwood, so she curled up on the area rug and took a snooze while we talked to the people from TEAM. We heard about how scared she was on the transport up here from North Carolina. She was picked up as a stray who had recently had puppies. We heard how she was scheduled to be put down the day after TEAM sprung her. But we also heard how she was flourishing in her foster home with two other dogs. They told us how she was the middle of her pack, dominating the fosters’ big Boxer and submitting to their little American Eskimo. We saw right away what they meant about her being a cuddle bug once she trusted someone.  
People say they “just know” when they meet the right dog for them. It’s cheesy and cliché, but it’s true. We filled out the paperwork, gave TEAM our references, and after we’d been thoroughly checked out, they brought her to us on New Year’s Eve. We decided to forego the typical New Year’s party and spent a quiet night at home with just the three of us, my sister, her boyfriend, and her two dogs.  
Now, I by no means intend to paint the picture that owning a dog is all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes it’s hard. Just like any dog, Leia has issues that we work on every single day. But we also remember each and every day that her life is a gift in our lives. We don’t know exactly where she came from, we don’t know her story, and we’ll never know what she looked like as a puppy. You very quickly realize none of this matters.  
Leia has truly changed our lives. She has turned us into rescue advocates and passionate dissenters against breed-specific legislation (a serious problem for Ontario rescues that are forced to deny help to the breeds that need them most of all). She has made me more compassionate when it comes to animal welfare. I’m more conscious than ever about the products that I use and the food that I eat. She makes the end of every work day even better because I know she’s at home waiting for me and will be happy to see me no matter what. She makes our house a home and our couple a family.
Getting a dog isn’t about owning a dog. I wish I realized this sooner. When you stop thinking about it like shopping for a designer handbag and start viewing it as finding a new family member, adopting is the only thing that makes sense. I don’t think I’ll ever understand buying from a breeder again. At one point it’s what I wanted, but I know I will never “buy” a dog in my lifetime. There are so many dogs out there that need homes and will die without one. Plus, there is no reason not to adopt. It’s a huge benefit to get a dog that’s behaviour has already been assessed. A lot of people buy based on breed for behaviour, but breed does not necessarily guarantee predictable, uniform behaviour. What better predictor of behaviour than someone who lives with the dog and can tell you if he barks a lot, or sleeps a lot, or how he is with kids, cats, and other dogs? And if you do happen to want a specific breed, there are pure bred rescue dogs out there. There are also wonderful mixes. My sister is currently fostering a gorgeous, well-mannered Dalmatian/Lab mix. What I’ve also learned is that many rescues will work with you if you have a particular breed in mind. If you can find it online somewhere, they can usually help you arrange transport to where you live. And it’s not very hard to find puppies if you really want to raise the dog yourself. Also, don’t think you need any sort of special training experience to adopt a rescue dog. They all come with their own unique quirks, but I swear up and down that if we raised Leia from a puppy, she would have way more behavioural issues. Plus, when we adopted Leia, we essentially got adopted into the TEAM community. They have wonderfully fun fundraisers and a Facebook group where you can ask behaviour/medical/and any kind of dog question. When Leia had some stomach issues shortly after we adopted her, two of the directors from TEAM were on the phone with us and the vet’s the entire weekend and they even offered to pay for the medical bills related to the issue.
I guarantee you, your next family member is already out there in need of a loving home. When you go in with an open mind and an open heart, you’re sure to find a furry piece of your life you didn’t even realize was missing. So when the time comes to welcome an animal into your family, please consider adopting.
P.S. This all goes for cats too.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Santa's Little Helper

Yogi Bear is ready for his first Christmas! 

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Happy Tail: Wyatt

Our long-time volunteer, Cathy Lloyd has recently adopted Wyatt and we wanted to know how he was doing. It seems that this adoption was meant to be! Wyatt was rescued from a high-kill shelter in Kentucky this March. It didn't take long for this sweet boy to find his new home and now he is happier than ever!

Why did you decide to adopt Wyatt?
Wyatt before he arrived at TAGS

We simply fell in love with the little guy. We have adopted so many dogs through the years. We don’t really go looking for a new family member, it just happens.   

When you met Wyatt, did you know right away that he was who you were looking for?

I met Wyatt at one of our TAGS social functions and he made a huge impact on me. I really wanted to take him home with me right then and there!  He seemed so small and vulnerable and I went home and told my husband about him. I already felt connected to him. Then Wyatt was at Petsmart one day while I was there for TAGS, and I called my husband to come and meet him. He fell in love with him too…and the rest is history.

What were his first days like?

Wyatt settled in really well. He was a little timid and he still is sometimes. But he loved playing with Wally, our four year old Vizsla/Mastiff mix. They hit it off right away and are best buds! Wyatt got along well with our other dogs too.  I think he thought he was at the dog park. Wyatt bonded with us quickly too. He loves to cuddle. He would curl up beside me or even in my lap if one of the other dogs was lying beside me. He is such a sweet boy.
Wyatt meets Cathy at PetSmart

How did the training classes go?

Well, let’s just say that Wyatt didn’t graduate at the top of his class!  He did ok, and did much better when we trained at home. But once he saw the other dogs in his class, and if his foster family was around, he was more interested in visiting than learning. 

Tell us a funny story or habit about Wyatt!
Best friends

Wyatt likes to sneak things to play with. One of his favourite things is the toilet paper roll. He’ll sneak it off the roller and then run around the house with it leaving a long trail of toilet paper behind him. While our other dogs enjoy a rawhide bone treat, Wyatt will take his and try to bury it in the couch if he can’t get outside.

How is he getting along with your other dogs/family members?

Wyatt loves everyone. He loves our other dogs, especially Wally. They are best of friends and play together all the time. Wyatt is Wally’s shadow. 

Anything else you would like to share about Wyatt?

Wyatt is such a treasure. He plays hard one minute, and the next, he’s cuddling with you. In the morning, he likes to jump up on the bed and have a little snuggle before we get up. He is so affectionate. We feel so fortunate to have him in our lives.

Monday, December 2, 2013

November Adoptions!

10 pets found forever homes in November. That is our highest month all year! 

All of these animals have had a tumultuous go of it over the past few months, or even throughout their whole lives. We are so happy that they all found a new home just in time for the holidays!

Special acknowledgement is in order for Diesel, Josie and Dakota.

Diesel was with TAGS for over a year before finding a home. Despite being playful, energetic and adorable, he just couldn't seem to find the right home for him...until now!

Josie came to TAGS when the puppy mill she was living in closed down. Since she was used for breeding her whole life, Josie didn't know much about how to be a dog and it was a very long time before she even trusted her foster mom. Luckily, Josie doesn't have to learn to trust someone new ever again. Her foster mom decided to give her a forever home. (When this was announced at the TAGS Volunteer dinner, applause immediately broke out.)

Dakota is the only senior adopted in November, and as such, he's now our poster boy for "Adopt a Senior Pet Month." Way to go, Dakota!
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Thank you to all of our foster parents for taking care of these lovely animals when they had no one else to go to. You are the true heroes of TAGS! 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Save a Life - Become a Foster Parent!

Today we have a special feature on our blog- a video! It provides insight about the experience of becoming a foster parent for a rescued animal. 

One of our volunteers and foster parents, Courtney Bernard, put this together. Enjoy! 

As 2013 winds down to a close, we ask that you look forward into 2014 and ask yourself what you can do to give back to the community. If the results of your brainstorming lead you to "I want to help animals," please consider TAGS as your avenue to do just that!

We are currently looking for volunteers to help us with many areas, and we are always in need of new foster homes. The more foster homes, the more lives we can save!

For more information on how you can help TAGS, or to become a foster parent, visit our website.

Friday, November 29, 2013

November Recap!

TAGS had a busy November! 

In addition to our regularly scheduled sessions at Whitby PetSmart and local Pet Valu locations, our volunteers were busy this month with several exciting events. Tags Dinner (November 16)
TAGS hosted its volunteers and supporters on Saturday, November 16th for a dinner to celebrate its 26th year serving the Durham Region community. A silent auction was held which raised over $1,000 for the organization.
A big congratulations goes out to the volunteers who were recognized at the dinner! We had 41 "One Year" milestone achievers, two "Five Year" keeners, and FOUR volunteers who were honoured for reaching the 10 year milestone. It was a very inspiring night, thank you to all of our volunteers for their contribution to TAGS, we couldn't do it without you! 

10 Years with TAGS! 
Photo credit: Heather Harton
The festivities were capped off with a slideshow of all of the dogs adopted in 2012 and 2013, bringing back memories of some of the lives TAGS has managed to improve and save in the past two years. 

UOIT Puppy Room (November 20)
What an uplifting day! Quincy, Jasper, Snoopy, Roxy, Sheldon and Biscotti were dispatched to the UOIT campus to bring smiles to stressed out students as they prepare for their exams.
Snoopy, a 9-month-old Dalmation mix was the most energetic dog to come out to play, while Sheldon, a Chihuahua mix and Biscotti, a Cocker Spaniel/Hound, preferred to win hearts by cuddling up to students.

Biscotti working the crowd.
Photo credit: Heather Harton
TAGS also visited the UOIT and Durham College campus earlier this year. Another visit is planned for early 2014.

Pet First Aid (November 24)
This course was taught by veterinarian Dr. Tanya Varley, or Dr. Tanya as she prefers to be called.
Participants learned:
-How to correctly bandage a wound on the leg, using gauze and sticky vet tape
-What key items to have on hand in a Pet First Aid Kit
-How to correctly administer CPR using compressions and breaths for small and large dogs and cats
-What human medications can be used for treatment of some animal ailments & which ones NOT to use
-What human food can be given to our pets to cure an upset tummy and which ones NEVER to give
-Having the knowledge and the confidence to treat a sick or injured pet and when to go to the vet

Oliver's mom learned how to bandage a wound.
Photo credit: Julie White
Needless to say, a broad range of subjects were covered throughout the day. Dr. Tanya answered any and all questions directed at her, which added to the value of the session by far. It was also interesting to learn her perspective on when you need to go to the vet versus knowing when it may not be necessary. This distinction is not always clear. We were also able to discuss more intense subjects such as dealing with an emergency situation in the event a veterinarian was not easily accessible. It was stressed by Dr. Tanya that it is an owner's responsibility to avoid unsafe situations: there is a fine line between letting your dog enjoy itself, and knowing when it is a good idea to stop an activity when it could be unsafe or dangerous.

November was also a very busy month for adoptions! Our adoption committee has been very busy these past few weeks reviewing applications, scheduling home visits, and walking potential new adopters through our adoption process. We'll reveal the adoptions on TAGS Tails this upcoming Monday, December 2. 

New Arrivals
Learn more about these dogs on our adoptions page.
This post was written by Nick.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: I'm a Goat!

Mulligan was being cheeky at PetSmart Whitby last weekend.
He decided to channel his inner goat and climb on his foster mom!

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

Christmas is one month away!
 That means it's time to get your annual Santa photos taken with TAGS!

Date: Saturday, December 14
Time: 11:00a.m.-3:00p.m.
Location: Pet Valu (Kendalwood)
Cost: $10 and all proceeds go to TAGS

Please share this event with your friends by joining our Facebook event and inviting others!

We will also have a booth set up in the store that day with an 
adoptable dog or two, so be sure to visit!

Happy Holidays! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Featured Adoptable Dog: Jasmine!

Our volunteer and foster mom Julie sent us some useful information about her new foster dog, Jasmine!

Jasmine is a 65 pound St.Bernard mix who is estimated to be about 8 years old.  She has a beautiful face that beams love toward everyone she meets. Her deep, soulful eyes definitely have a way of pulling people in, and once she has them, she showers them with love.

TAGS rescued Jasmine from a shelter in Shelby, Tennessee. Apparently Jasmine was a stray before being at the shelter, but I feel like Jasmine is way too well behaved to have been a stray. I believe she was betrayed by her family and left behind for no reason, and I can only assume that her family regrets that decision. She is a perfect dog.

Jasmine is a social dog, amazing with anyone who wants to pet her and give her attention. If you so much as indicate that a tummy rub could be in her future, she will be on her back in a heartbeat. Even if you're just standing there with your hands by your side, you can expect Jasmine's head to nudge you for a few head scratches. But as much as she loves people, she  also loves other dogs and often wants to play.

She's adorable upside down and right-side up! 

More than anything else, Jasmine loves to hang out with you and make you happy. Since beginning her stay with us, she has learned how to go up and down the stairs, just to be with us. I’m so proud of her for wanting to learn, and her motivation is very endearing.

Jasmine is fully house trained and walks very well on a leash. She sits and listens well, and is classy like her name suggests! I would love to see Jasmine adopted by a family who has kids and another dog for Jasmine to play with. She is very young at heart and I believe she will continue to age well with youthful energy around her. However, because she is so easy going, calm and gentle, she could probably be happy in any home! But...she is a big girl so a roomy home might be nice!

Scrub-a-dub-dub, Jasmine's in the tub!
(at Clarington Dog Wash)
I really cannot say enough good things about this dog. She is a gentle , sweet, loving dog that wants to be loved forever. She really is a treasure and deserves a wonderful forever home of her very own!

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Since Jasmine is over the age of 7, she is considered to be a senior.
Therefore, her adoption fee has been reduced!
The regular adoption fee is $345 but the cost to adopt Jasmine is half of that!

Interested in adopting Jasmine or one of our other special seniors? 
Check out her bio and submit an adoption application online! You will be glad you did. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Riding Shotgun

Jill & Colt decided to share the front seat!

(p.s.: They are siblings now! Colt was adopted by Jill's family this month.
Stay tuned to find out who else found a home in November.)

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Monday, November 18, 2013

What Blossom's "Gotcha Day" Showed Me


I'm Snoopy and I am new to TAGS -- so new that I just got sprung from the pound on the weekend! At first I just thought I was going out for a walk, but then I got to go on a car ride! After my car ride I had a check-up, a bath, and got to go pick out a new toy at PetSmart. Along the way I got to sniff and lick so many great people. I really was expecting to go back to my cage after all of the excitement, but instead I got the best surprise of all...

...I have a foster home! No more pound life for me! This means that I get to run, play and hang out with other dogs and cuddle up with nice people. It's all been very exciting!

Just chillin' at my new foster home. 
Oops. Just had a bath and already dirty again.
At least I look more like my Dalmation side this way! 

That's me with my new toy in the car on the way "home."
I was pooped after all of the excitement!
At my foster home I live with two dogs named Chappie and Blossom. They tell me I am not the first "foster" brother they've had, and by now they know a bit about how things go. Apparently I will live here for a bit and then one day I will get my own family! I asked them how they know this for sure, and they told me that they went through it too, just last year.

Chappie telling me about being a foster dog. 
Chappie and Blossom are siblings who were rescued from a place called Kentucky in September of 2012. Their sister Azriel came with them too. They said life in Kentucky was no fun at all, but then they moved to Canada where they lived in a home with a few other dogs, like what I am doing now. As part of a foster dog's job, they had to go and hang out at pet stores every so often to try and meet their new family. Chappie got adopted first, and about a month later his new parents decided they just had to reunite the dynamic duo, so Blossom got adopted too and the rest is history. 

Now, I didn't want to be rude, but their story seemed a bit far-fetched.  From my experience so far in life, a dog doesn't stay in one place for too long. And they definitely don't get to be part of a family.

However, I was proved wrong last night! My new foster family threw a party just for Blossom! They called it her "Gotcha Day." I learned that humans who own rescue dogs celebrate the day they adopted their new furry friend because they don't know when their real birthday is.

Happy 1st Gotcha Day to Blossom!
(that's me in the bottom left)
Hearing them all talk about how happy they were to have Blossom in their lives for a whole year now really gave me hope. I can't wait to get adopted so I can have my very own Gotcha Day.

Wish me luck!

- Snoopy 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Where To Find Us This Weekend

Every weekend TAGS sets up a booth in Whitby PetSmart on Saturday and Sunday from 12-4p.m. We can also be found at various Pet Valu locations across Whitby and Oshawa on Saturdays.

We use this opportunity to talk to visitors about the dogs TAGS has up for adoption, the adoption process, and areas where we could use some more volunteers. However, no matter how interesting the volunteer on duty might be, the main draw is, of course, the animals we have there with us.

This weekend we have quite the line up!

See you there! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: What A Big Tongue You Have!

All the best to lick you with, my dear! 
Bessie tried out for the part of the Big Bad Wolf, but she didn't quite fit the part. 

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Sign Up For Our Pet First Aid Course!

You cannot predict when an accident will happen to your pet, but you can most certainly be prepared for it- especially as the cold weather and the holidays are approaching since the number of injuries usually increases at this time of the year. Remember these useful tips when you find yourself in this situation:
Roxy is available for adoption.
  1. Don’t panic. Staying calm and acting quickly are key. If you manage to make decisions fast, you could get ahead of the problem, preventing it from becoming more serious. 
  2. Console your dog. Talk to him or her using a calm and relaxed tone in your voice. Your animal is just as much in shock as you are, so it’s your job to make sure he or she is in a resting position. 
  3. Move your dog carefully. If necessary, always move your injured dog as smoothly as possible, especially when you are about to transport it. Make sure to support his or her head in the case of head injuries or trauma. 
  4. Stop the bleeding. Stop bleeding by putting pressure on the wound with your finger or a bandage. 
  5. Remove everything that’s blocking the airway. Clean your dog’s mouth of excess saliva, vomit or blood to make space for the air-flow. Apply CPR if necessary. 
Enroll now in our Pet First Aid Course to find out more details and to gain practical experience that could save your pet’s life one day! Taught by Dr. Tanya Varley, a certified veterinarian the course runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Coffee breaks and a free lunch are included. 

Don’t forget to bring your pet!
Location: Quality Suites, Bloor and Grandview, Oshawa.
Date: Sunday, November 24
Cost: $99

E-mail us here or call us (905-263-8247) to register!

(This post was written by Audrey)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Why I Volunteer: Emilee

This post has been contributed by one of our long-time volunteers, Emilee Gassien. She was the first TAGS volunteer to reach the 10-year milestone mark and is the unofficial Mrs. Clause for TAGS. In this piece, she tells us how she became involved with TAGS and how her roles have changed over the years. 

I met Kathy Asling, the founder of TAGS, at PetSmart about 13 years ago. At the time, I had a little Schnauzer named Gracie. I had just retired and was looking for something to do to make myself feel useful again, and TAGS seemed like a great place to do just that. I gave Kathy my phone number and told her to contact me when she had a chance.

A few weeks later she called, but the timing was no longer good for me. Unfortunately, I had just lost my beautiful Gracie. She was hit by a car and I was devastated. I told Kathy I would call her again when I was feeling better. A few months later, I was ready, and my journey with TAGS began.

Over the years, I have helped TAGS in a variety of different areas. I have volunteered at many a PetSmart shift, I've assisted with home visits, and I do a lot of fundraising for the organization. I set up booths at our events to sell baked goods and products, and I am often at the booth again when we have our TAGS display showcased at places around the community, such as the Oshawa Centre. Every year I host a yard sale for TAGS in Port Perry, which has become quite the "yard sale town" over the past few years.

Emilee at the TAGS booth during the Furry Friends 5K last June.
While volunteering with TAGS I have also fostered several dogs; my first foster dog was a giant Schnauzer, and I instantly found fostering to be very rewarding. It is so nice to see a dog you have cared for go to their forever home.

The last rescue I fostered was Eddie, formerly known as Vedder. Eddie is a Havanesse and since I already have two Havanesse of my own, the foster coordinator at TAGS thought my place would be the best place for him. Well, they were right...and they were also wrong. We fell in love with him, and as his adoption papers were signed, I'm afraid my days as a foster parent ended. That was two years ago.

Over the years, I have seen so many great dogs find forever homes. Really, there are too many to count at this point. It is so rewarding to know that I had a small part in making that happen.

* * * * * 
Emilee has clearly helped TAGS immensely over her years of being a volunteer.
We would never be as successful at fundraising without her dedication and effort.
Click here to find out how you can help, too!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Two Peas In A Pod

Molly (adopted in August) and her foster sister
Willow (still available) are so close, it's difficult to tell them apart!

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