Monday, September 30, 2013

Happy Tail: Jill

Interview with Julie White - Jill's Happy New Mom

Why did you choose Jill?
We saw Jill at Pet Valu at the end of her shift. Her foster mom Gayle was picking her up. My husband spotted Jill and said "Hey did you see the dog over by the cash?" I said no and he brought me over to look at her. We fell in love with her right away. She stole our hearts, kissing us and giving us a look that said "please take me home!" 

Jill waited for a longtime to find her forever home.  She came in as a stray in the Bedford County Animal Control at 8 months old and was rescued in May the following year by TAGS.  She had an amazing foster mom Gayle and we adopted her in August.  

What did you think about our adoption process?

We think the adoption process is excellent. You don't just pay for a dog and that's it. You invest interest and time to see if this dog will fit with your family. TAGS makes sure the dog is going to a good home by insisting on the home visit and then the extended visit to insure everything works out nicely. Following the adoption there is some training which I think is great to begin a great bond with your new dog!

How was Jill's first few days with you and your family?
Our first day on the  extended visit my husband and I spent all day shopping with Jill. We looked for the perfect bowls on a stand, toys, treats, etc. It took twice as long cause Jill is a social butterfly, everyone stopped to look at her and want to pet her. Many stores later we had found everything to make her feel like home! 

How is she fitting in?
Jill on her Extended Visit
She has settled in with our family very well and we are so happy to have her in our lives. Jill's favourite place in the house would have to be in our cozy bed sleeping and chewing her bones!

She does very well on a leash and has no problems walking with our other dogs Turbo and Cheyenne. They all walk together very nicely. 
Jill also has many TAGS friends as we go to the park often. Her foster mom Gayle is still in her life as we have become great friends. I am just amazed with the work, connections and the difference TAGS makes in many ways for adoption, education, volunteering, and rescuing.

The Triumvirate!
Did Jill pick up any funny habits?
Jill likes to stash toilet paper cardboard rolls on our bed. She doesn't chew them, she just places them on our bed. No idea why!

In the morning she has more energy than my two JRTs, running around and getting the other two playing. She will take my one JRT back leg bite it and make his leg go up in the air to get him to play, it's funny to watch!

She loves to give kisses and have her belly rubbed.

P.S. she is spoiled!!!
Jill - probably dreaming about toilet paper
 Julie White did not only adopt Jill but she is now volunteering for TAGS. Thank you Julie and welcome to the TAGS team!

Are YOU thinking about volunteering, too? We are always looking for foster homes or general volunteers. Click here to apply.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

September Adoptions!

I present to thee...the September Six! These six pets all found homes this month and we couldn't be happier for them.
Please click on the image to view a larger version. 
Some Facts about the September Six
  • Bella came to TAGS as a stray back in January. Despite being from the streets, Bella lived up to her name and recently earned the title of Best Looking TAGS Dog.
  • Alara was recently crowned Prom Queen during the TAGS awards, and rightly so! This feline gets along with her feline and canine subjects, but she always makes sure they know who is the boss! Alara is a very chatty cat who loves attention - but on her terms, of course.
  • Weston came to TAGS from a local pound where he was only known as a number. However, he did not allow his time there to affect his fantastic spirit: Weston's former foster family used to call him "50 pounds of love," and everyone who meets him knows why!
  • Gunnar is one of those mysterious unlucky-turned-lucky cases. For some reason, despite being well-behaved and adorable, Gunnar couldn't find a home when he lived in the United States and was having a bad time of it in the shelter there. Yet, when he came up to Canada, he was adopted in no time! Perhaps he just wanted to be Canadian.
  • George is an energetic Cocker Spaniel who had to find a new home when his owner couldn't care for him anymore. Not surprisingly, this cute fellow was not up for adoption long before someone scooped him up!
  • Suzy Q has already had a lifetime of misadventures and we are so happy that she can finally settle down and enjoy being a dog! As a puppy, her owner passed away, leaving Suzy Q a stray. Then, she got pregnant, went to a pound, and had a litter of 5 puppies! By the time all of that was said and done, Suzy Q had become a worrisome dog and carried that nervousness with her wherever she went. Thanks to her dedicated and patient foster parents, she improved enough to find a home, one where she can continue to build her trust towards humans. (If you'd like to read more about Suzy's story, click here.)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Exercising Small Dogs

Exceptional Canine: Active Dog

By Stacey Brecher for Exceptional Canine

Just like you, your small dog needs exercise to stay healthy and happy. Small dogs are defined as those that weigh less than 22 pounds and who are shorter than 16 inches.

“Exercise helps to keep your pet physically fit, mentally secure, socially engaged and emotionally happy,” says Lori Morton-Feazell, Director of Animal Care and Education for Petco. “It also reduces stress and deters negative behaviors such as chewing, digging and barking.”

Exercise and the small dogIf you are considering an exercise plan because you believe your pooch is overweight, your veterinarian can examine your dog and let you know if he needs to lose a few pounds. If your dog has difficulty walking or playing, he could be overweight, and it will be important to start any exercise regime slowly to build up endurance and lung capacity.

Even if your small dog is the proper weight and is healthy, it is still important to check with your veterinarian to learn about any specific precautions you may need to be aware about for your dog’s breed, like breathing problems. Additionally, if it has been a while since your dog has exercised, start slow with short walks and play sessions.

 Always take your dog’s age, breed and health into account when starting any exercise routine.  “Begin with a 15-minute walk each day, and after the first week increase it by 5 minutes,” Morton-Feazell recommends. “Watch your dog for signs of exhaustion like heavy panting or their tongue hanging out, and remember if it is a long walk, take water to give to your dog. If your dog is used to exercise, a 30-60 minute walk daily is enough to keep him physically fit and emotionally happy.”

Keep in mind that the amount of exercise your dog needs is not equivalent to his size, but rather to his breed. For example, a small Jack Russell Terrier requires more exercise than the much larger Great Dane. Conversely, a Labrador Retriever is a very active dog and would need more exercise than a tea cup Poodle. Ask your vet about how much exercise your particular breed of dog should be getting.

Of course going on walks isn’t the only way to exercise your pup. Other options include obedience training and agility training. “Try teaching him a new trick,” says Morton-Feazell. “Some simple ideas are give paw, high five, sit and stay. This can help keep your dog emotionally happy and social.”

As far as agility training goes, many small breeds are very agile, and doing agility training through simple obstacles is a great way to experience the human/animal bond with your dog, in addition to providing exercise.

The key to getting the most out of an exercise program is getting your dog’s heart rate up, which will cause her to have a good pant. “Be careful not to over-exercise your dog and cause heavy panting or heavy breathing,” explains Morton-Feazell. “Give your dog breaks to catch his or her breath and get a drink of water.”

The best way to encourage your small dog to exercise is by incorporating toys into the workout. Puppies in particular love to chase toys and put them in their mouths. Some options for older small dogs are balls, frisbees, Kongs or other toys that can be thrown for your dog to retrieve. Morton-Feazell advises that you pick the right size toy for your dog. Don’t give your small dog a large toy as they may not want to play with it. You also want to make sure that the toy is large enough to not get stuck in the dog’s throat and cause an injury.

Most of all, keep in mind that all small dogs are different and will receive the most benefit from different types of exercises. There are no exercises that are off limits for your small dog, although some modifications can be made to accommodate their size. While playing, walking or training your dog, notice if he is tired, panting excessively or thirsty. These are signs that you may be pushing him too hard and that he needs a break and/or water.

Stacey Brecher is an editor at Woman’s World magazine, and a contributor to Animal Fair magazine. Stacey's blogs have previously appeared on Exceptional Canine.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: You Sure Are A Weird-Smelling Dog!

Sammy is getting along with his new furry friends,
 even the feline ones, at his new foster home. 

This is a blog hop. 
Don't forget to check out the other participating blogs by clicking on the image below.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Shyla's Allergic Treatments (update)

I met Shyla a few months ago. She was this sweet, sweet girl with a terrible sickness. Her sweet character has stayed the same and so did the allergies. 

Here are some updates about her:
    Shyla, please get better
  • The hot, summer weather did not do good for her condition, it actually worsened her itchiness.
  • She is showing different symptoms. While before, it used to be only on her side, now her ears, side and neck all have sore wounds from scratching.
  • The holistic treatments show little improvement. After moderate progress, a greater set back follows.
  • The raw diet did not work. 

After 20 holistic treatments, there is little to no improvements in her allergic reactions. It takes time to observe any changes in her condition, as the analyses of the effects of a new food can go for as long as 3 months. Currently, the foster parents are introducing Shyla to a dog food called Taste of the Wild. 

According to the holistic vet, in many cases tests and treatments might take up even 2 years until the solution is found. They have to take many factors into the consideration, such as food, weather or environment changes. So far, it's hard to tell what it is for Shyla. They are suspecting it to be either seasonal allergies (her symptoms worsen around spring time or early summer), food allergies or an autoimmune disease. 

After all your generous donations, we received $245. Shyla and the TAGS team would like to thank each and every one of you who donated! It is hard to donate nowadays when money is tight but sometimes it is even harder to see a poor little soul suffer from something that's hard to trace. The vet appointments and the dog food are not cheap so we would like to ask you to spare a little change for Shyla if you can. 

Even if you can't, we are very open to hearing any ideas, tips or well-tried out methods that you know have helped other dogs suffering from allergies.The solution might just be around the corner.

You can click here to donate:

Friday, September 20, 2013

Aviva to Grant Our First Shelter

It's that time of the year again. Aviva is holding another contest to reward some of the most hard-working charities that have the best ideas.They give $5,000 to every finalist and will fund the entire project idea of the winning non-profit. Just imagine! If only we could get to the finals. If only we could be noticed.

We are a small charity but we dare to dream big. We always have. When others turned their backs on injured, old or difficult dogs, we were always there to help. Because we ALWAYS give a second chance. We run out of resources more often than what would be acceptable. Even when our foster homes could not take any more, someone always stood up and made some extra space in their homes to take another sweet dog from the cold floor of a high-kill shelter. 

Our volunteers always go the extra mile because the thought of losing a precious soul is unbearable. But we have our limits, too and unless we break the law, we cannot foster more dogs than what is allowed. That is why The Animal Guardian Society is proposing to set up its first shelter. It will be more than a shelter. Don't picture anything with rigid walls and windowless rooms. This will be more than that. This will be an inviting place where abandoned dogs can start living the way they are supposed to live. We will provide rehabilitation both for their health and their soul. We will provide hydrotherapy, massage, acupressure, low laser therapy, underwater treadmill and wheelchair fittings. We want these dogs to be ready for the loving homes that are waiting for them somewhere out there. With the space and the resources available, we will be able to reach out to schools and offer programs to educate children about safe behaviours around dogs.

We will submit our idea to Aviva's contest on September 23. Voting starts on September 30. Voting is free. The rehabilitation of all those dogs is priceless.

You can start making a change by voting for us and sharing this idea. CLICK HERE to check out our idea.

THANK YOU for your help!!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Paws and Hearts Jamboree - It Was a Fun Day!

A Beautiful Day to Be Outside With the Dogs

I'm so happy that the weather was good. With a bad weather, everything looks different no matter how hard you were working on everything. And we were working hard on this alright! Our Event Planning Committee (along with GPAWS) met for two hours every week for four weeks to make sure that you and your dog had a great time. And it seems like you did!

We had one of the best local bands play music for us all day - Sean & Dave's Duo, Hard Tymes, Loud n' Clear and The Winter Vault.

Our Silent Auction was a great success, with lots of items and donations. Some people were able to get some really good deals! Our thank you goes out for the following people and companies who donated:
Inner Reflections Massage, Marie, Ladybug Massage, Cedarcove Wellness, Indulgences Gifts & Decor, Karen Koene, 99th Monkey, Aye Lighthouse, Dr duQuesnay, Valerie, Nicky MacDonald, Heather, Sandy, Andrea, Spinning Wheel Alpacas, Green Street, Nikki, Adrienn, Spruce Tree Unique Gifts & Home Decor, Hampton, Shari's Quest, Janet, Eldon Lighting, Christmas in the Village, Rolling Acres Restaurant, Blunt, Timeless Essentials.

Having such a huge dog park has its advantages - there were lots of people with lots of dogs. It was the perfect way to socialize! We got to meet many of our former TAGS dogs, too! Our selection of vendors were great, our visitors had a big variety of items to browse from. A big thank you for the following vendors for coming out and making this day more colourful: Scentsy Consultant, 5 Tails Boutique Dog Clothing, Norwex, Stewie's Cool Stuff, Tangles Pet Grooming, Apple Melon Designs, All Pawz, Multi Menu, Outside the Box, Parkadilly, Indulgences Gift & Decor, Marion's Dog Coats and Shari's Quest.

Everyone loved the doggie games, directed by our very own Sandra. We had racing, Simon says and hot dog eating from a water bowl. I would say that the dogs' favourite was the hot dog one!
A special thank you goes to Emma Joynson and her agility group, performing some cool jumps and sprints during the agility demonstration.

The food court was busy as you can expect from a busy jamboree! A big shout out goes to our food volunteers, especially for the cooks. Great job, everyone, thank you for helping us raise some much needed funds.

Check out this little video below of our food court, the TAGS booth and some of the vendors. Stay tuned for a longer video to come soon...

Thank you everyone who came and participated! See you next year on September 13, 2014!

Wordless Wednesday: Paws and Hearts Jamboree edition

Boomer, our success dog who was adopted not too long ago, is now happily playing with a child. What a great day!

This is a blog hop. Don't forget to check out the other participating blogs, as well by clicking on the image below:

Friday, September 13, 2013

TAGS Awards: Part 3

In Part 1, we revealed the winners of awards such as Prom King and Prom Queen. Then, we showcased the adoptable pets who stand out for having interesting and unique qualities, such as Best Bark or Best Eyes, in Part 2.

Today we present the third and final category of awards.

Most Likely To...

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To find out more about any of these adoptable pets, click on their picture above for a direct link to their online bio. If and when you are ready to adopt, please submit an adoption application! 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: A Toothless Grin

Quincy no longer has his teeth, but that didn't stop
him from looking cheerful at PetSmart recently. 

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

Monday, September 9, 2013

Paws N' Hearts Jamboree!

TAGS (The Animal Guardian Society) and Guardians Promoting Animal Wellness  (GPAWS) are partners in hosting an outdoor fundraiser event next Saturday, September 14, 2013. 100% of the money raised from the event will go to animal rescue.

Location and how to get there:

Tickets: $7 in advance and $10 at the door. *Kids under 12 are free* Email your ticket request to

Door Prizes: Drawn every hour 12:00-6:45

Combo: hamburger or hotdog, chips, corn, pop = $5.
Individual foods: burger: $3, hot dog: $2, water or pop: $1, corn: $1, chips: $1, coffee: $1

  • Demos!
  • Vendor booths!
  • Silent auction! 
  • Doggy games!
  • BBQ & corn roast! (Food, food, food!)
  • Live music from Hard Tymes and other great bands!

Bring your family, friends, your dog(s)--everyone is invited !

*At the event there will be a fenced-in dog park. We ask that no dog is left unsupervised please.*

Vendor information: Be a vendor for this event for just $25 (two to three people per booth). Vendor does not need to be doggy/pet-related!

Short video about the Paws N' Hearts Jamboree:

Friday, September 6, 2013

TAGS Awards: Part 2

Last Friday we posted the first batch of awards the TAGS adoptable pets gave out to each other during a recent celebration. Today we are excited to present the next category of awards...the "Bests."

Please check back again on Friday, September 13, for the third and final batch of TAGS Awards, the "Most Likely To..." category!

It sounds like a yodel mixed with a bark!

(Shorty & Ruby were just adopted,
but weren't at the time of the party)   

(It's in the name!)
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To find out more about any of these fantastic adoptable pets, click on their picture above! Or, if you already know you're ready to adopt, visit our website to submit an adoption application.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Foster Home Needed!

Cali's foster mom moved away, so this purr machine
 needs a new foster home to live in while she waits to be adopted.

Check out our website if interested and please spread the word!

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

Monday, September 2, 2013

August Adoptions!

Congratulations to all nine dogs who were adopted last month!

Click on the image to view a larger version.
Some Facts About the August "Adoptees"

  • Chewie was named through a contest on our Facebook page. He got his name because the contributor thought he resembled Chewbacca!
  • Shorty and Ruby are brother and sister! As seniors who came as a pair, it was difficult to find them a home, but they won the hearts of their foster family and have now become a permanent fixture.
  • Spike has been with TAGS since last September and his high level of energy was a lot to take for the first few families who came to meet him. Luckily, the right match came along!
  • Jill is a social butterfly and is happiest sitting at someone's feet chewing on a bone.
  • Rya is a beautiful Beagleman (Beagle/Doberman Pinscher mix) who is so great with children, all of the kids who lived in her foster home's neighbourhood used to flock to her whenever she went out for a walk.
  • Becky is 15 years old and was found as a stray. Her front teeth have been worn away, but that doesn't stop her from loving treats of all kinds! She always finds a way to eat them even if it takes her awhile.
  • Molly was adopted by her foster mom in record time because of an immediate bond that was formed between them. They were caught snuggling under a blanket on Molly's first night!
  • Johnny M went on an adventure and was lost temporarily during his extended visit. After he returned (on his own!) his new family knew they couldn't bear to see him go again and signed the adoption papers as soon as they could.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Babies and Doggies

My family dog Casper relaxing with our neighbour Andrea. Read my blog post about Casper.
One of the ways dogs come into TAGS is as surrenders. When I originally began volunteering, I would look down on the surrendering families with disdain. However, I have come to really appreciate the people who surrender their dog to be rehomed.

After a few years of volunteering, my attitude toward surrendering families has become "At least they love the dog enough to surrender it to a rescue group." It takes a lot of courage to realize that the dog you own no longer fits into your lifestyle. It takes even more courage do to something about it.

One lifestyle change that leads some families to this decision is the addition of two-legged family members. Babies. Many people are taken off guard by how their family dog, who they have owned together as a couple for years, suddenly changes when the baby arrives.

To further investigate what is really going on, I have asked TAGS founder and certified dog trainer Kathy Asling a few questions regarding the topic.

We often hear from surrendering families that the dog has “changed” and has been acting aggressively. Has the dog in fact changed?

OK, this will be the last photo of Casper,
I swear!
Dogs are often adopted prior to couples having children, which is why it is of the utmost importance to socialize your dog with children of all ages.

These dogs need to become familiar and comfortable with the sounds and the movements of children from newborn to teenager.

If the expectant family has not done their homework preparing the dog for the new arrival, then, yes, you may see behaviour changes. Is this really aggression? In my mind, no. It is more often related to fear and uncertainty. What is this new thing that makes noises and gets my owners to run and give it attention? 

Another common mistake is owners who only give attention to their dog when the baby is asleep. It is important to teach the dog to bond with the child. Giving the dog treats and attention while the baby is awake will help the dog to learn that good things happen when the baby is awake. Walk the dog when you walk the baby, and include the dog in activities with the new baby that are safe.

What advice would you give to a pregnant woman about her dog(s) from here on out?

Socialize, socialize, socialize! Ask friends and family, neighbours who have young children to work with you and your dog. Prepare the dog with baby sounds—these can be purchased or downloadedand play them over and over so the dog becomes familiar with them. Reward the dog with attention and treats as these sounds play.  

Help your dog not to feel anxiety when they hear baby crying noises or laughter or screaming. Teach your dog boundariesare they allowed in the baby's room? Let them smell the baby's clothes, blankets.... We all know that smell is a high form of communication in dogs, so help them to get used to these new smells. 

And role play. Yep! Grab a doll, wrap it up in a receiving blanket and go through the same motions you will be doing with the new baby.  

Help the dog to get used to the routine.  

I also strongly suggest that if you have a dog that is very dependent on you for entertainment, start finding toys that will provide the mental stimulation your dog needs without you. There are many great products on the market today. 

And of course teach your dog basic commands: sit/stay, down/stay.This will become very important when the baby starts to crawl and walk. Because they stumble and fall, a lot of dogs become very nervous, so teach your dog a boundary of 4-5 feet away from the baby unless you invite the dog in closer.  

Never, never, never, leave a dog and child unattended. That should go without saying. 

What is the best way to introduce a dog to the new family member?

When the big day comes and you are coming home with the new baby, be prepared that Fido will be very excited. Any of us who own dogs know that when we leave and return, our dogs are always happy to greet us.

Trusting that you have done all your prep work already, the dog should be fairly calm. As long as the dog is behaving calmly, you can hold the baby in your arms and allow the dog to gently smell the baby. Ask the dog to sit and offer a very yummy reward, something your dog doesn't normally get but that is very high in reward, like pieces of chicken. 

As long as the dog behaves calmly, keep giving this wonderful reward. What does Fido learn? Yum! I like this “new thing”I get great treats when it's around!

It's always a good idea to ask someone to bring home a blanket that has been around the baby at the hospital so the dog has a chance to get the scent of the baby before you arrive home.

Does the age of the dog matter? (Can an old dog learn new tricks?)

Absolutely they can. Over the years, I have had many older dogs come to classes. Most have never been taught formally before. Regardless of the age of your dog, dogs love to learn. They need mental stimulation just as much as physical. Teaching an older dog can give them purpose and add some spice in their lives.

Today we hear of people in their 80s and 90s getting degrees, so whether it's humans or animals, never underestimate them because of their age. 
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