Six months after we got married, we brought a puppy into our family. Fifteen years later, we sadly had to say goodbye to our little one, Roxie, an affectionate and beautiful Jack Russell terrier. We knew that day that it would be a while before we'd be ready to bring another dog into our lives because of the grief we felt. We also knew then that our next dog would be from a rescue organization such as TAGS.
In March of this year, I started surfing Petfinder.com and brought up the idea of getting another dog with my husband, almost certain he'd not yet be ready. I was thrilled to hear him say that if we found the right dog, we could adopt. I was even more thrilled when he suggested we get two.
The following weekend, we went to Petsmart to see the TAGS dogs. Cora, a little beagle mix relatively new to TAGS, sat in her crate silently while the other two dogs there barked excitedly, anxious to play. The poor little girl seemed frightened, and our hearts melted. Since our loss still felt fresh, we knew we were looking for a young, healthy dog who would be with us for another ten or fifteen years. Cora's age was guessed to be five (she'd been a stray, so not much was known about her), but we realized as soon as we met her that her age really didn't matter. Giving her a warm, loving forever home was what we wanted to do no matter what. Our next task was to find a dog who would bring Cora out of her shell and make a great addition to our home.
Enter Dusty. We met him at Petsmart the next day. A year-old basset hound mix, he barked the whole time we were there and paid us little mind since he was interested only in trying to play with the other dogs on site. We felt he might not be the right dog for us after all--we both work from home and can't have a dog barking all day. We left Petsmart thinking we had to keep searching for the right second dog.
The next day, I called TAGS to see about setting up a home visit with Cora. Kathy insisted that Dusty wasn't an in-the-house barker and suggested we see him too, so the two dogs (and TAGS interviewers) came to our house that evening. (We were so lucky and will be eternally grateful, first, that Kathy gave us that little push to get to know Dusty better and, second, that Annetta could fit us in on such short notice!) The dogs got along so well, and Dusty was such a fun little guy that we fell in love immediately. The following weekend we began our extended visit. We officially adopted the dogs only yesterday.
In just a week with them, we have seen such progress with Cora! This morning, once she decided it was time to get herself out of bed (like me, she likes to sleep in, whereas Dusty is like my husband--more of a morning dog), she wiggled and waggled her entire body, not just her tail, for at least ten or fifteen minutes. She loves to be petted and pushes her way in when Dusty's getting attention--her growing confidence and trust in us is so wonderful to see! Three days ago, she took the initiative to jump up and sit beside me on the couch as she'd seen Dusty do. She claimed her spot there for the morning, and Dusty took it in the afternoon. They share better than any siblings I've ever met! And as for Dusty, Kathy was right. He doesn't bark in the house at all--not even when the doorbell rings! He loves to squeak his toys, play fetch, or chew a bone, and he's always trying to get Cora to play with him. We hope one of these days, he'll successfully convince her of just how much fun it is to tug on the other end of a rope.
Although I know that we helped these dogs by adopting them and giving them a good home, my husband and I feel we're the lucky ones to have found them. We hadn't really felt certain our hearts would heal after losing Roxie--and we will always love her and miss her--but we've learned we have a whole lot more love to give and there are just so many dogs out there ready and willing to give it right back. Can't ask for much more than that!
My husband and I adopted Jillybean in late October of 2009. We couldn't have wished for a more lovable girl! Jilly loves to cuddle on the couch, un-stuff stuffed animals, car rides, and keeping her "brother" JD in line! Everyone Jillybean meets comments on her sweet dispostion and cute little face (which she uses to her advantage to get out of trouble...). Jillybean really enjoyed our obedience classes, and she almost has me trained! She loooves her cookies, and is now taking longer walks to compensate for all those training treats.
Jillybean fit into our menagery of 3 cats and a guinea pig right away - she even cuddles with the cats if she thinks no one is watching. When we adopted our second dog from another rescue group, Jilly helped make him feel welcome by covering him in doggy kisses the moment he walked through the door! Her calm energy and easy-going personality were just what he needed.
We can't imagine our lives without Jillybean - she is all we had hoped for and much, much more. Thank you so much to all the volunteers at TAGS who fostered her, took care of her when she was sick, and helped her find her way to her forever home!
Benson came to us as a foster a couple of months after we lost our beloved boys Scooby and Sparky who passed within weeks of each other. We couldn’t replace our ‘boys’ but we missed the pitter patter of tiny paws and decided that fostering would fill our need to share our home with a four-legged friend while providing a little one with a safe, warm and loving environment while he was awaiting his forever home.
Benny was a challenge from the start. The first night he was resource guarding a rather large rawhide. He didn’t realize that nobody here was going to take it away from him. He was chewing so vigorously though that he cut his gums and we had to get the rawhide away from him to allow his gums to heal. A bowl of food eventually convinced him to give it up. Benny likes to get behind the couch to watch the world through the picture window – knocking lamps and other items along the way. We moved those things to allow him better access. Later on he scratched at the front door when we were away, his separation anxiety getting the better of him. Eventually he learned that we were coming back and he stopped scratching the door. He is a fence fighter too, always listening in the backyard for the sound of the dogs that live behind us. If he hears them he tears to the back fence to do battle. He gets so excited that he chews the fence sometimes. We’re hopeful that, over time, he will realize that each time he fence fights he goes back in that house and that if he doesn’t fence fight he gets to stay outside - this might be a longer term project for us. His beagle nose leads him to food and he has encouraged us to put all our food much higher than we would have thought necessary. He reminds us when we forget, like the time he got up on the dining room table and plucked a bag of bagels out of Cathy’s bag and proceeded to eat 5 of the 6 bagels! When I came home there was a bagel in a plastic bag on the rug in the livingroom and pieces of bagels scattered around the floor and one stuffed beagle lying contentedly on the couch. Benny didn’t need dinner that night!
Benny loves other dogs and strains very much on the leash to go and see them. He howls his greetings and is so exuberant he sometimes startles the other dogs we meet. He came to us a wee bit on the portly side but he is now quite trim. He loves his walks and he holds his tail high as he wanders the trails, nose to the ground, ‘reading’ his pee-mail and enjoying the outdoors.
Benny is very affectionate with the two of us, often nuzzling his muzzle under our chins or resting his head on my lap as we watch TV together. He has a need to be touching both of us so he often stretches out on the couch so that his head rests against one of us while his feet are touching the other. He gets up with me in the morning to have his brekkie but then zooms back to bed to be a cuddle monkey with Cathy, he loves to sleep in!
I took Benny to obedience class to help make him more adoptable. Benny already knew sit and he instantly raises his paw when he sits. He learned ‘stay’ and ‘down’ (I’m actually most impressed with his down). Very vocal and exuberant in class he could be distracted at times. He really excelled at ‘come’ and a beagle’s love of food is truly a great motivator. I was quite proud of him when he took ‘top dog’ honours at obedience class (and more than a little surprised too).
It took Benny about five months to truly settle into our home. In that time we had ups and downs and we became strongly bonded. Benny had been in the program quite a long time and had endured multiple moves and disappointments. We didn’t want to see him have to start all over again. In the end Benny had already found his forever home - it had just taken us six months to realize it too. So we signed the paperwork and Benny is officially in his forever home (he doesn’t seem to have noticed any change at all!). We are thrilled and looking forward to a long, healthy and happy life together with Benny!!
We adopted Tia in April 2008 and from the first day she came into our home she grabbed our hearts and immediately became our beloved little girl. She is the sweetest little pup who makes us laugh and who loves to cuddle with John, sleep under the covers, loves her treats and toys and can do several tricks. She can't wait to go for her walk but also likes sleeping in!,
We have many nicknames for her but our favourites are Teapot and Teabag. She recently was selected as one of the favourite entries in the Whitby newspaper dog photo contest and is definitely one of my favourite subjects to photograph.
She is one spoiled little monkey (another nickname) and we cannot imagine our lives without her.
Thank you to TAGS and their foster parent program for bringing Tia to us.
Susan and John Mckay
We have always had Spaniels, usually two at a time. When our last dog passed away we were recommended to TAGS. Don checked them out and liked the fact that they interviewed us to see if we were good for the dog, unlike other organizations which simply take your money and give you the dog.
Daisy, the curly Cocker Spaniel in the picture, came to stay with us and became Don’s sidekick. We went to all the lessons provided by the adoption agreement and I had fun watching Don and Daisy playing all the games. By the spring we were ready for a friend for Daisy.
Myrtle, the straight-haired Spaniel came to us at the end of April this year and the staff at TAGS once again gave us time to decide if Daisy wanted Myrtle to stay forever. They are both loving and friendly dogs so they do not argue or squabble but share everything, even food. They look out for each other and are like two peas in a pod. Daisy has never liked staying out in the backyard for long because of her experience as a pup but now the two of them sit on the back step watching the birds. We are so pleased that we adopted them thanks to TAGS.
Pauline and Don Langridge
My husband Mike and i have had the privilege of adopting 3 of our dogs from TAGS and all the dogs have been awesome, such a gift to our family. First there was Toby, a senior gentleman who was a shepherd husky cross. He was about 12 years old when we adopted him. We had him for about 18 months before he passed, we were honoured to show him love and affection and a lovely life for that last year and a half. Many people can't understand why we would adopt such a senior dog but our believe is that every dog should be loved and cared for until their end so although our hearts ached when he left us we at least knew we did right but that old boy. He was worth every tear we shed. We have no regrets only wonderful memories of how he used to love to just stand outside while there was a heavy downfall of snow and just absorb all that winter had to offer, we started calling him northern at that point and his hearing was going so he didn't mind he just answered to our whistles anyway. We have a lovely picture of him with his ashes and his collar around the urn. think of him often with pride on how he lived with horrible arthritis and in the end cancer. What a brave boy.
Then we adopted Sasha a Rottweiler cross. She was much younger and we've done a lot of training with her and we have such a strong bond. She's been an important part of our lives now for 8 years. She does agility and some tracking oh yes and she loves her beer although it's not good for her she will steal the cans and puncture them if left to her own devices. We should have named her hoover because she's such a food hound. Shes an absolute pleasure to have around the house and everyone who first meets her is usually a bit nervous just because she's a rotti but if only they knew what an awesome breed the Rottweiler is when raised in the right environment. Give her 10 minutes with any scared human and they're putty in her hands. She rings the back doorbell when she wants in which many people think is amazing, we taught her that trick. She loves her time to run and play and gets along with other dogs and is good with children although bowls them over with her size but she's just a gentle giant. Wouldn't want to think of our lives without her.
Okay now we come to our work in progress our third gem from TAGS. His name is Fletcher and we've had him 5 and a half years. He's a Jack Russell Terrier but we say Jack Russell Terror but of course that's not true we're just poking fun. He's an amazing dog and so resilient. He's quite the comedian, loves to sing(Bark) and dance. Loves to play ball and he's even done some racing which he is awesome at and a couple of weeks ago he did an earth-dog training session and was okay but of course Fletcher being such a love thought that rat was for kissing, not a killer at heart. He is filled with a love of life and everything that that entails. I'm writing about our dogs to help you all understand the utter joy that a rescue dog can bring into your life. I'm not saying that there is never a challenge or two but the joys, pleasure and fun hugely out way the odd challenge of getting that rescue dog used to his new environment. If you approach it with love and understanding you can always look back on your decision and know you did the right thing for that dog. You gave that dog a second chance in life and they won't forget it. My husband and I will always rescue and someday perhaps we'll have enough property to open up a sanctuary for old or sickly dogs because these are the ones that no one seems to want to have in their lives and what a shame because they truly are the most needy but rescuing any dog that's found itself on hard times is so worth it.
Mike and Darlene Flynn Ajax Ontario
In the fall of 2008 a cocker spaniel was rescued by TAGS from the Whitby pound. She was placed in foster care and named Scarlett. Our family looked after her while her foster mom was on vacation and I also trnsported her several times to Petsmart. During these times Scarlett became quite attached to me and I must confess the feeling was mutual. One Sunday, several families came into Petsmart who were interested in Scarlett and I started to get a little worried. You see, I was thinking that this girl would fit in quite nicely into our family with Casey our golden and Finnegan our bichon. On the way home to her foster mom that day, I detoured to our house and told hubby that she would soon be adopted and he said "well, I guess we'd better hurry up and put in an application hadn't we?" She is now a loving part of our family and I truly believe that she "chose" me to be her forever mom.
We adopted Leroy our Plott Hound in the spring of 2008. His face and unique colors drew us to visit and finally adopt him. His big brother Bear, our Bernese mountain dog has welcomed him into our home and continues to show him the ropes. Leroy is a bundle of energy and a source of constant smiles and memories. He loves to run at the Harmony dog park and at his Great Uncle Mike's farm and Grandma and Grandpa's farm. He loves to help cook meals and BBQ especially. Leroy is full of love and gets lots of love in return.
Jeff and Sandy Doucette
Michelle and Jay Di Febo
We adopted Karma last winter. Initially my wife was wary since she is nervous of dogs. Karma is young but is very well behaved and it didn't take long to win over Susan. Our two boys play ball with her in the backyard and it is cute watching her playing with a soccer ball. However the squirrels aren't very happy!! Karma is a member of our family and we couldn't live without her.
Thank you Russ and Deanna for introducing us to Karma.