adoptable dogs in durham region

At Last, I’m a Volunteer

Dixie is very nervous, much like my Cora. She came to TAGS as a puppy and is now only a year old and hoping for a forever home.

When we first looked at adopting Cora and Dusty in April 2011, I learned a lot about rescue. I knew then that I wanted to help out in some way. But when we first brought two dogs into our home, especially super-timid, scaredy-dog Cora, I had enough on my plate (their training classes, cooking for them, walking them three times a day, trying to convince Cora we weren’t going to beat her, plus, of course, editing full time and teaching part time). And then, we decided to adopt a third dog—in part, to give another rescue a home—and free time was even more at a premium.

Four-year-old Biscotti is up for adoption through TAGS. I know I shouldn’t have favourites, but I can’t help it where she’s concerned!

It took about a year for us to really get a good groove going with the three dogs. We have a fantastic routine that includes two daily walks, scheduled meal and snack times, regular dog park visits for socialization, and occasional training courses. The dogs know what’s expected of them, and for the most part, they cooperate quite well. We often talk about how lucky we are to have three such well-behaved, well-adjusted (relatively speaking in Cora’s case) dogs, but, in reality, there has been a lot of work in getting to where we are.

Josie is a very timid girl rescued from a Missouri puppy mill, where she was used as a breeding dog.

Once we adopted Cora and Dusty, I stayed connected with the rescue, offering editing and writing help on occasion. But it wasn’t until July of this year that I decided I had time to start giving back more fully to the rescue that had saved Cora and Dusty. The Animal Guardian Society (TAGS) is, from what I’ve seen, unique among rescues. Its screening process—like the one we went through to adopt Hogan from Rat Terrier Rescue Canada—is quite involved, and then once a dog is adopted, the owner must attend training classes with the dog (included in the adoption fee, which is actually cheaper than many rescues’ adoption fees). While some people may balk at having to do training courses, it makes perfect sense to make them mandatory—dogs who are trained are much less likely to be surrendered at a later date. A prospective dog parent’s willingness to do the course also assures TAGS volunteers that the adopter is dedicated to spending time with and energy on his or her new family member.

Raggs was part of a family for ten years but was given up because he “got too old.” Now he’s looking for a good home to spend his remaining years in. Sad.

Anyway, in July, in my role as a volunteer, I started showing TAGS dogs at Petsmart. Since then, I’ve spent one Saturday each month with a variety of wonderful adoptable dogs. Some have been surrendered by their owners; some were strays; some came from high-kill shelters in the U.S.; some from overfull Canadian shelters. All are really sweet dogs deserving of a good home, and I feel so privileged to spend time getting to know them and sharing their stories with prospective adopters. Volunteering for TAGS has proven to be a really rewarding experience, and I strongly encourage you dog lovers out there to consider lending a hand at a local shelter or rescue. Even a few hours a month can really make a difference for homeless animals wanting nothing more than to be loved.

In one week, all of these dogs were adopted from TAGS. It was a very happy week! So many dogs still need homes, though.