Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Max Is Having the Best Time Ever!

This is Max. He's adoptable from The Animal Guardian Society. Check out his bio or fill out an adoption application!

This is a Blog Hop. Check out the other participating blogs as well by clicking on the picture below!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Featured Adoptable Dog: Boomer

Boomer doesn't mind the snow.
Never Lose Anything Again
Are you sometimes forgetful? You don't remember where you left your keys or wallet? We have an excellent candidate for keeping things in order for you: Boomer! Boomer believes that once you've touched something and left it in a different spot than usual, he has to make it his personal assignment to bring it back to you a.s.a.p. Just remember to close the lid on the laundry bin because with Boomer around, your clothes may never get to the washing machine!

Boomer came into TAGS care a year and a half ago from a Kentucky pound (just like Dixie, our January dog). We think that this handsome fellow had to spend his days as a guard dog before he was found him and put in the pound. Miraculously, he didn't end up having food- or toy-guarding issues; all he has is a little suspicion when meeting strangers. He will quickly overcome this feeling, though, once he realizes that you're one of the "good guys." In fact, if you know that you'll be meeting Boomer, don't even bother washing your face that morning. He will do it for you. He won't even be ashamed of cleaning your ears, nose or mouth. What can I say? He's a perfectionist!

In view of these qualities, he considers himself somewhat of a polymath who has already mastered "the boomerang skill" and cleaning skills and also has significant experience in interior design. He might change the order of the pillows on your couch so that it's more comfortable (for him to sit on, that is).

C'mon, throw it already!

Boomer's Hobbies
Boomer's energy level is medium to high, so he'll definitely appreciate a nice, tiring afternoon at the dog park, chasing the ball (remember, he's a retrieving champion). He won't put up a fight if another dog gets to the ball first but will stay alert and grab the ball the minute the other dog drops it.

Boomer knows the basics like "sit" or "paw." He won't mind a treat here and there, either. If you adopt him, the adoption fee will include an eight-week follow-up workshop, in which you can both learn more. Once you have gained Boomer's trust, he is all about you and really just appreciates any attention you give him.

Yes, that's the spot!
He walks nicely even without the Gentle Leader. At the beginning of a walk, he might pull a little bit out of excitement, but he will quickly adapt to your pace after that. 

Boomer is quite the ladies' man! He prefers the company of female dogs but doesn't mind males, either. He used to have some issues with fellow alpha males, but ever since one of our volunteers, Nick Iordanis, started training and socializing him, his dominance issues have been quickly fading away. It all comes down to his suspicion of anyone he doesn't know. He was probably an abandoned guard dog who is, in fact, now eager to learn proper social skills to fit in.

We recommend that Boomer go into a cat- and child-free environment so that he'll be able to get your full attention—although he views older children as people who could possibly throw his ball, and anyone who can do that for him he will love forever.

Boomer is all played out!

If you think Boomer may be the dog for you, don't hesitate to fill out an adoption application form so that you can meet him at our dog park!
Click on the icon below to like Boomer on Facebook: 

Watch Boomer fetching the ball in this video:

A Microchip Session in Photos

TAGS can microchip your pet for only $30 at various Pet Valu locations. Find out more about microchipping from this blog post or visit our website for microchipping dates.

Promotional poster
Promotional poster of one of our microchip clinics
Waiting for customers
TAGS volunteers (and Boomer) waiting for customers
TAGS bulletin board
TAGS bulletin board at the entrance of the clinic
Needle (still in the protective cap) attached to a plunger gun
Needle close-up
A close-up of the needle
First microchip
This cat came to get his microchip!
Check for microchip
First, we make sure he doesn't already have a microchip.
Rub the area
We rub some alcohol in the area where the needle will be inserted.
Click on the video to see how fast and painlessly we insert the microchip! It takes no more than eight seconds!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Recipe Post: Kong Recipes

Do you own these dog toys and wonder what to stuff inside them? Kongs make a great training toolfrom crate-training a new puppy or your newly adopted dog to keeping your dog busy when you are busy. Kongs are available at all major pet stores. Below is a list of my favourite Kong recipes, but the list of what you can stuff inside a Kong is virtually endless.

Healthy Treats for Weight-Watching Pooches

  • Line the inside with a thin line of peanut butter or honey (adult dogs only). You will be surprised at how long your dog will work at this simple treat.
  • Baby carrots are a super simple and quick treat. My dogs LOVE carrotsthey love to crunch them up, and they come running whenever I get the bag out for myself.
  • Use a thin line of peanut butter or honey and stuff in some breakfast kibble. When we first got our puppy, he ate so quickly that I would divide his breakfast into multiple Kongs, which slowed him down considerably.
  • Alternatively, add dry kibble to the Kong and use a carrot or a cookie slightly larger than the opening to block the opening.
  • Moisten kibble and stuff it into the Kong and freeze it for a couple of hours.
My Favourite Treats

One of my dogs' favourite treats is a combination of wet/sticky food and dry. We use one mashed banana mixed with a small container of plain, unsweetened yogurt* and a teaspoon of melted peanut butter. First, put a piece of kibble or a small cookie into the Kong to plug the hole and then fill the Kong with the banana mixture. Freeze for a couple of hours and eat! A frozen Kong can last two to three times longer than one that isn't and makes a great treat for your pooch when you head out the door in the morning. 

Our dogs love any Kong treat that starts with peanut butterwe often mix peanut butter, yogurt and pumpkin and stuff the mixture, similar to the technique above, and freeze. 

Another favourite is a bit of peanut butter followed by some kibble, then a bit more peanut butter finished off with a cookie at the end. 

As always, when feeding your dogs any human food, check to make sure that the food is safe for consumption by dogs first. Below is a list of foods that can be stuffed inside Kongs:
  • Apples
  • Applesauce
  • Bananas
  • Beef 
  • Bread
  • Broccoli (raw)
  • Carrots
  • Chicken Broth (without onion)
  • Cheese
  • Cheerios
  • Clementines
  • Dried Fruit (Bananas, apples)
  • Eggs (cooked)
  • Orange slices
  • Honey
  • Peanut butter
  • Peaches
  • Yogurt

*Ensure that your yogurt is plain and unsweetened since artificial sweeteners can be deadly for dogs.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Petsmart Adoptathon!

Clockwise from top left: Balin, Noelle, Rocky and Derby (the smoocher!)

It's time for another TAGS Adoptathon at Petsmart! This weekend from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., come out to the Whitby Petsmart or the Oshawa Petsmart to support TAGS and (most importantly) to check out some amazing dogs.

Whitby Petsmart will be featuring Derby (noon-4, pictured above), Noelle (10-1, pictured above) and Amy (1-4) on Saturday.

Oshawa Petsmart will be featuring Bella (10-1) and Balin (1-4, pictured above)

On Sunday, Whitby Petsmart will be featuring Max (10-2) and Izzy (1-4), and Oshawa Petsmart will be featuring Noelle (10-1, pictured above) and Rocky (1-4, pictured above).

For more information on the dogs that will be featured on these days, please check out the TAGS website or Petfinder for their profiles.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday...Making New Friends

(Photo credit goes to Sawyer's foster mom, Courtney)

Sawyer is eager to make friends with the resident feline at his foster home, 
but it's hard to know if his adorable face works on cats the way it works on us. 

This is a blog hop! 

Click on the image to see the other participating websites. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

How to Start Fostering with TAGS: FAQ

Are you considering fostering but don't know where to start? TAGS volunteers and foster parents are ready to help you set up for your first experience saving a dog's (or cat's) life!

How do I know if I qualify to be a foster parent?
Do you love pets? Do you have a house or an apartment with enough space in it? Do you have enough time to walk your foster dog and spend quality time with him or her on a daily basis? If your answers are yes to these questions, then you probably qualify.

Finding a perfect foster match is an important part of the foster program. By getting to know foster families better, we can help to choose the foster dog or cat that best suits the family. Foster animals come from all walks of life, some with history, most without. As is our goal with our adoption process, we want to work with our foster families to ensure that their experience as a foster is one that proves to be rewarding. 

What do I need to do to apply?
First, fill out this application form

Is this considered a form of volunteering?
Yes! Many people are not able to make time for volunteering in the traditional way, but fostering is a great opportunity for you to help out without having to change your daily routine a whole lot.

What if I already have a dog?
That shouldn't be a problem. It often even helps to have another dog for your foster dog to socialize with. 

What if I have a cat that doesn't like dogs? 
You can either try to slowly allow your cat to get used to the presence of a dog or foster a suitable cat.
Can I foster only cats?
Yes! If you prefer, you can apply to be a foster home for cats. TAGS doesn't have many, but there is always a need to save some. 

How fast will I get a dog?
It depends. Almost daily, we get notifications about dogs that are available to take from pounds, so it could happen as quickly as a couple of days after approval.

Are these dogs vetted/groomed before or after I get them?
We always try our best to have the new dogs checked out by a vet beforehand. However, sometimes there are emergency cases, in which we must place a dog somewhere before he or she gets a veterinary appointment.

How much of the expenses are covered by TAGS?
100% of the expenses are covered by TAGS, including medical care, food and treats, bedding, grooming and training.
What kind of dog food does TAGS use?
TAGS uses high-quality dog foods.

Some people foster lots of dogs! Quin & Rye (on the right&middle) 
are adoptable
How do I attain the dog food?
You can pick up your share from our dog park. Please ask for directions.

What other duties do I have as a foster parent?
Other than providing a loving foster home and doing some basic training (our training experts can help) with your foster dog, you are required to transport your pet to either the Whitby or Oshawa location of PetSmart for a dog showcase at least once a month. TAGS presents its adoptable pets at PetSmart every weekend so that people can get to know our organization and animals a little better.

There are also other events to which you may be required to bring your foster dog—for example, TV promotions or a puppy room event for university students, if your schedule allows.

Can I rename my foster dog?
Yes. Actually, our foster parents made up a Scrabble-like game to give more creative names to the newcomer dogs. But if you want, you can keep his or her original name.

What if I want to adopt my foster dog?
TAGS has a rule that you cannot adopt your first foster dog. But you can adopt your second (or any subsequent) one.

It's important to understand that by fostering, you are saving not just the fostered dog's life but potentially the life of another dog, too, who is still in a shelter waiting for a foster home to become available.

If you have any other questions, please let us know in the comments section!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: When There's Nothing on TV...


Kip decides to take a nap instead. Kip was adopted last August and is living a happy beagle-life in his new home!

This is a blog hop. Check out the other participating websites by clicking on the image below.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Cats of TAGS!

Happy Monday! Or should that say Meow Monday?

Cat ladiesand gentlementhis post is for you. Today we are featuring the cats of TAGS! They come in different shapes, sizes, colours and genders, but they do have a few things in common: all of these furry felines are litter-trained, spayed/neutered, have up-to-date vaccinations and are available for adoption through TAGS

(Click on the image to view a larger version.)
Alara is an eight-year-old female who uses her voice to get what she wants: whether she's hungry, thirsty, or just wants attention, her meows and chirps get the point across. She loves to sleep in boxes but loves getting treats even more! This silky soft feline has lived with many dogs during her time in foster care and doesn't seem to mind them one bit (she does make sure they know who is the boss, though!). Alara's foster mom loves her for her independence and her persistence and the way she makes her feel special by climbing into her lap for cuddles. 

Cali is new to the TAGS program, so we are still learning more about her. What we do know is that this four-year-old calico loves attention and would be happy being pet all day long! She currently lives with a couple of dogs, and if they approach her nicely, she takes no issue with them: she was even caught snuggling with one of them! Cali's foster mom describes her as a "gentle soul who loves attention and purrs up a storm if you so much as look at her."

Justice is a beautiful tabby who is approximately five years old. She was found under the Oshawa Court House. Shortly after being rescued by TAGS, she gave birth to a litter of kittens. All but one were adopted, and she and her remaining kitten (Thornton) are both available for adoption through TAGS. Justice is a small cat who is very friendly and would make a great addition to any home! 

Little One is a black, short-haired female who is just over a year old. Little One was surrendered to TAGS with her sister, Monkey, because their owners were unable to give them the care and attention they need. Her silky black coat makes her irresistible; you can't help but want to pet her! Little One and her sister, Monkey, are quite bonded to one another. They both love to play and cuddle. 

Monkey is a tortoiseshell who, as you can tell from the photo above, is not very photogenic. Don't let the picture fool you, though! This one-year-old female has kind eyes and a silky coat of brown, tan, orange and black. Like her sister, Little One, Monkey is playful and cuddly.

Archie is our youngest TAGS cat. This male tabby is about six months old, so he is spunky, curious and very loving. His foster mom says he loves to give her lots of kisses, and he gets along with her other cats. Archie was found cornered by some dogs who were taunting him, but he has since learned to trust the dogs he lives with and gets along with them just fine! Archie can't wait to join your familywe promise his curious personality will never cease to amuse you! 

Thornton is a black and white male who is approximately four years old. As mentioned above, he is Justice's last remaining kitten, and as such, he loves to snuggle with his mama. Thornton is more timid than his mom and is nervous around dogs.
- - - - - 

Did you know? 

The process  for adopting a cat is similar to that for adopting a dog, but there are a few differences: 

1. The adoption fee is $100 instead of $345.
2. The meet-and-greet and the home visit steps are usually combined.
3. We skip the eight-week follow-up workshop.

Put in an application to adopt a cat today! 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Free Massage for Adopters

TAGS will lighten your mood!
CC image courtesy of Denis Savard on Flickr
Has all this snow and cold slowed you down, too? 

We know the feeling, so one of our volunteers, Elaine Brien, decided to organize a yearlong contest for our adopters.
Elaine is a registered massage therapist working in a Whitby massage salon. Starting in February, she will draw one name a month from among our adopters in 2013, and the winner will be entitled to a free massage!
If you're lucky, you can enjoy relaxing massage therapy—either one hourlong session or two half-hour massages—at CalmingFX. The draws will take place at the end of each month through December 2013. The winners will be notified by email or phone.

Good luck!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Learn Your Mutt's Breeds!

Even though you love your dog no matter his or her breed, it’s a lot of fun—and not at all expensive—to find out what breeds make up your dog.

Knowing your dog’s breeds can also help you and your veterinarian anticipate and, in some cases, prevent breed-specific health problems—or, at the very least, help you save some money by purchasing insurance against them. (In my case, if I had done DNA testing earlier, I would have saved a bundle by insuring one of my dogs for hip dysplasia, which all five of the breeds he has in him are prone to and which he was diagnosed with just past the age of one year.)

But not only can DNA-testing your dog satisfy your curiosity and give you valuable health information about your pet; your purchase of a kit can also help out TAGS! We are selling DNA testing kits from Mars Veterinary, an American DNA testing lab, for just $55! This is cheaper than any of the three DNA kits I recently bought for my dogs (before TAGS had kits available, of course!), and the best part is that $10 of your purchase price stays with TAGS!

Getting your dog’s DNA sample is easy:
  1. Insert one of the provided swabs (they look like long Q-Tips) into your dog’s mouth between the cheek and the gums and, using a circular motion, rub the swab against the cheek. I found it best to do this first thing in the morning before my dogs ate, drank, interacted with one another, or played with toys—activities that could sabotage the integrity of the test.
  2. Put the swab in the provided envelope.
  3. Repeat the process with the second provided swab.
  4. Fill out the provided form or register your DNA kit online. (By registering it online, you can check for updates on the testing process.)
  5. Mail the kit to the testing lab. The test kit includes a postage-paid envelope; however, it’s American postage, so you will have to buy the postage to send it to the United States. (I think it cost me less than $3.)

That’s it! It’s easy, and it’s really a whole lot of fun learning your dog's ancestry and investigating his or her various breeds!

To get your kit, email TAGS at

(If you’re interested in learning about the surprises I was in for and my thoughts on the DNA tests we did, go to to see Cora’s, Dusty’s, and Hogan’s DNA test results!)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: All Played Out!

Rocky is soooo tired! He's up for adoption, too.
 To read more about our adoptable dog Rocky, click here.

This is a blog hop. Don't forget to check out the other participating blogs, too!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

TAGS Dogs at PetSmart Oshawa

We love to showcase our dogs around the community at various outreach events so that people can find out more about us and maybe even find a new family member.

You may already know that we can be found in the Whitby PetSmart every weekend, but did you also know that we've started setting up shop in the Oshawa location as well? Every Saturday from 12:00-4:00 p.m., we are there to share information about our adoptable dogs, the adoption process and volunteer opportunities.

Yesterday, Shelly, Sam and Jennifer were the volunteers on duty, and Balin and Rocky were there with tails wagging to meet and greet visitors.

Rocky and Shelly pose at the TAGS booth.

Rocky's eager to play. Balin watches from the background. 
Balin sits pretty, eagerly waiting for a treat. 

See you again next weekend!

Friday, February 1, 2013

January Adoptions!

Whew. Hard to believe it's already February!

TAGS has been having a busy but wonderful 2013 so far. When we weren't hosting a Pub Night fundraiser or sending our adoptable dogs to college, our volunteers were taking two lucky dogs and their new families through the TAGS adoption process

Click on the image to view a larger version. 
Azrial, also known as Zee-Zee, is a ten-month-old sweetheart. TAGS rescued this border collie mix in September from a high-kill shelter in Kentucky. Azrial's long legs make her a great runner, and although they cause her to look a bit awkward sometimes, they just add to her charm. Last fall, her littermates, Chappie and Blossum, were adopted, and we are so happy that Zee-Zee has found a home now too.

Zee-Zee at the TAGS dog park on her adoption day.
She fits right in with her new family! 

Clover is a Maltese mix and her age is estimated to be around four. Clover catches the eye of everyone she meets because she is small, spunky and adorable! Clover was rescued from a puppy mill, where she was used as a breeding dog. Now that she's been happily placed in her fur-ever home, she can spend her time playing and snuggling instead of tending to pups. 

Congratulations, ladies! 
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