UPDATE, 22 October 2008

David and Chiva are taking a break from the Tour de Dog but are sure to plan another ride in the near future. A sincere thank you to all of you who helped David and Chiva in countless ways. The Tour de Dog would not be possible without your support. THANK YOU!

View a Photo Documentary of Tour de Dog by Jason Houge

Tour de Dog is past states: Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ontario, and New York.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Toronto Humane Society

Yesterday, Chiva and I made our way over to the Toronto Humane Society. Just like many of the other shelters we have visited during the Tour de Dog, this one was filled with beautiful animals that need good homes.

On average the Toronto Humane Society receives 8,500 animals per year. Currently the facility is at capacity with 500 cats, 85 dogs, and dozens of rabbits. A wildlife rehabilation room is also filled with raccoons, squirrels, pigeons, and even an iguana.

Although every animal shelter visit is different from the next, the needs and challenges are very much the same. Here are a few points I would like to make:

1) There is a pet overpopulation crisis. In the United States alone, 3 to 4 million cats and dogs are euthanized every year in order to control their numbers. Although I do not have a statistic for Canada, euthanizing animals as a form of population control is also quite common. I view this as inhumane and avoidable if we want it to be.

2) The shelters run off of donations and need motivated employees and volunteers. Although some control facilities are on city or county budgets, the shelters are usually such a low priority that the funds are not nearly sufficient. It really shows when the community is not actively helping its shelter and the animals suffer in return.

3) Never buy your pet from a store or breeder. The shelters are overfilled with wonderful animals that will be put down if they do not find good homes. Go to a shelter first; buying from pet stores or breeders will only encourage them to continue breeding and selling animals. When you buy a dog or cat, a shelter dog or cat that needed a home will be put down. It is not fair when there are already so many that need homes. Give them a chance until we fix the overpopulation crisis.

4) Spay or neuter your pet to prevent adding to the overpopulation numbers. I have seen time after time now where someone has had a cat or dog that was not spayed or neutered and thus had offspring. Owners often think they will be able to sell the litter but eventually have to surrender the pups or kittens to shelters because they never sell. In fact, this is Chiva's story---she was a surrendered puppy that a family could not afford. She was dropped off and luckily found a home. Many other dogs just like Chiva are not as fortunate and are euthanized.

One of many new puppies (with similar markings to Chiva) at the Toronto Humane Society

More pups that are ready to love and to play

Thank you to those who donate. With your donations, Chiva and I are able to present a check at each and every shelter we visit. You are making the Tour de Dog worthwhile. Thank you!

A dog that may not find a home. Shelters workers say that older, black dogs are the most difficult to adopt. Please always consider black dogs when adopting at shelters.

With the help of Denice and the employees of animal shelters, Chiva and I are starting to get more and more media attention and can spread our message.

Special thanks to Ian McConachie of the Toronto Humane Society for welcoming Chiva and me and for showing us around.

David and Chiva


Ann McLean said...

I so love reading this blog. I sent your link to Oprah. I hope they pick up your story. I am sending money to the Michigan lady Denise that so desperately needs funds.
You and Chiva rock! I hope you will have a presentation of your adventures when you come back to Seattle. I live in Kirkland and would love to hear about your successful trip and fundraising.
I too have a dog from the Humane Society. I get so frustrated with my friends that insist on getting dogs from breeders. I just don't know how to open their eyes to the benefit of a rescue dog, although my own dog is a perfect example.

Keep on truck'in!

Ann McLean & Guinness the hound dog.

Anonymous said...

Hi David and Chiva,

I just found your blog on the Toronto Humane Society web page. I think you are on an amazing quest and I really admire you! I'm thinking about getting a dog from the shelter and am inspired by you and your journey.

Very well-done blog too - great writing and I love the photos. Chiva looks like a wonderful dog.

Good luck out there!
Erin C.

leigh oxley said...

hey david - and chiva!!

great tour you're on - so glad you came to ontario!! i have a rescue from toronto humane society and he's amazing!! i'm curious to know if the BSL issue came up at all during your visit to ontario, as i noticed that Chiva looks like possibly part-pitbull. it's a hot topic in the province, as pitbulls are banned, so i'm curious to know your thoughts!!

Aigle said...

Hi Dacid and Chiva.

A message to Erin C:

If you are ready for a dog and are thinking of adopting a THS one...DO IT :)

I got my beloved Amos ("the wonder hound") There in 1996. He's been my best friend since and is still fine. It's the best decision I ever made (aside form my 1984-1996 rescue, Geoffrey-the-Beagle ;)

I never have, and never will buy a dog and will probably start adopting older dogs since I, too am getting on in years.

David, I just heard of your blog from CITY-TV and will enjoy following it, you are doing a wonderful thing. -Aigle