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How TAGS Began

It’s been over 30 years since Kathy Asling found an eight-week-old puppy on the street. She immediately called every possible link to the pup’s owners and ran an advertisement in her local newspaper. A reporter who saw the ad called Kathy to write a cover story.

Although no owner was ever located, Kathy received almost 200 calls from people wanting to adopt the puppy. She instinctively screened prospective adopters and conducted home visits. Kathy decided on a home but had names and numbers of several families she felt would also provide a loving home to a dog. The next day, she visited the local shelter and started “matchmaking” by contacting the people who had called her looking to adopt.

Identifying the need for someone to step up and save good dogs from being put to death, Kathy and her daughter came up with the name The Animal Guardian Society (TAGS). In March of 1987, the first Durham Region-based rescue was formed. Kathy set out to meet with individuals who could mentor and guide her into developing a program that would operate with integrity and ethics that would promote humane education to our community and find homes for displaced animals.

Perhaps the most difficult task in the early days was creating relationships with Animal Controls. Rescue in those days was a foreign word, and the constant struggle to save animals from death and research labs became a task that proved to be emotionally and physical draining. It soon became evident that this was not the job for one person. Kathy needed help.

Now 30 years later, and with thousands of dogs successfully rehomed, she has yet to stop! Kathy and her corps of volunteers work closely with animal shelters, humane societies and the community to improve the lives of canine citizens.

Article written by: Lorraine Houston, September/October Issue of Pets Magazine 2001.

Vision Statement

  • To sustain the operation of our program and continue to serve and protect the animal citizens of our community.
  • To never see any animal abused, abandoned or left unwanted.
  • To continue to provide medical care and training to animals in our care.
  • To construct a shelter that will provide safe housing for animals until permanent homes are found.
  • To ensure that our shelter offers a centre for learning and education to our community.
  • To see no animal put to death in municipally run shelters because they are overlooked or due to lack of space.
  • To encourage those who profess their love and dedication to animals to take a stand to educate and participate in the cause of rescue.
  • To see the day when rescue will no longer be necessary, as all animals will have safe, loving homes.