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Grand River All Breed Animal Rescue

Dog Advice
Don’t Buy a Puppy from a Pet Store
May 14, 2016 at 2:29 pm 0

How much is that doggy in the window?

The answer is: usually much more than you initially expected. Even though it can be hard to walk by those sad, cute little faces, you can end up with a lot more than you bargained for. Leaving you with the potential for an empty wallet, unhealthy dog and sometimes a broken heart. 

In the vast majority of cases, dogs (and cats) that are sold in pet stores are from puppy mills. Not sure what a puppy mill is? They're "unregulated breeding facilities owned by disreputable breeders". An article from Dogster goes on to describe them as places where "dogs are often bred far too frequently, are kept cramped together in squalor and are not socialized with humans. In addition, these these breeders do not always care about the health and strength of the breed, which often results in genetic illnesses, poor health in general and unlikable personality traits."

golden retriever puppies cage

image from Dogster.com

All of a sudden that cute puppy isn't so cute after all, huh?


A sad story about a puppy from a pet store

Cruella is the story of a dog from Guelph who was bought at a pet store in Southwestern Ontario and ended up having serious health issues. The little puppy cost her owner Susan more than $4,500 in vet bills within the first month of her being home.

In a story written by the Guelph Mercury, Susan says on the day she bought Cruella, she was at the mall looking for a television. She and her daughter walked by a pet store and decided the ever-so-cute black and white shih-tzu/poodle cross was too hard to resist.

Six days after Susan and her daughter brought home Cruella from the pet store, she had lost weight and was no longer active. She lost consciousness when she was taken outside to pee and that's when her family rushed her to the vet. 

Cruella ended up having parvovirus, a highly contagious viral disease. She spent a week at an animal hospital on intravenous and drugged up on medication until she was fully recovered.

The pet store refunded Susan her $700 when confronted about how sick their puppy got, but Susan said she'll spend the next two years repaying the $4,500 loan she took out to pay for Cruella's vet bills.  

puppy mills canada

image from nopuppymillscanada.ca

Canadian law and puppy mills

Quebec is Canada's puppy mill capital. According to Humane Society International, although puppy mills exist all across Canada, Quebec hosts a large portion of Canadian puppy mills due to their poor legislation and enforcement of commercial dog breeding operations. 

Fortunately, some cities across Canada are starting to pass laws that prevent the sale of cats and dogs from puppy mills. Back in 2011, the city of Toronto passed a by-law stating that cats and dogs sold in pet stores must come from shelters, humane societies or rescue groups. 

Just this year, Ottawa has set in place a new by-law (similar to the one in Toronto) which restricts the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores. The stores will have to provide a certificate that indicates the source of the pet that is being sold. Pet stores that currently sell commercially bred cats and dogs will have five years to transition to the adoption-only model. Some say (myself included) that five years is too long to transition into these new laws, but at least it's a step in the right direction. 


How can I help?

  • Start by informing people you know. Let them know the dangers of buying puppies and kittens from pet stores that aren't from a rescue or humane society. Many people don't see any harm in bringing home a dog or cat they see in a shop window, but that's part of the problem.

    The reason why puppy mills continue to operate is because they continue to be profitable. I know it's hard to walk by that cute puppy saying "please take me home" but you have to remember that it's part of a bigger picture. Not only may you end up with a very sick puppy like the story of Cruella above, you're feeding an industry which profits off the systematic cruelty of animals. Google 'puppy mills' and if you're not already convinced they are horrible places, you will be.

    husky puppies pet store

    image from youtube.com

  • Show your support. There are many groups on Facebook such as People Against Puppy Mills of Ontario which you can join to keep up to date on laws and legislations as they change. If you see something happening in your local city, get involved! 

    Even before something is happening where you are, don't be afraid to email your city councillors and let them know how important these laws are to you. You have the power to make a difference, you just need to speak up. 

  • Are you thinking of adopting a dog or cat? Make sure it's either from a reputable breeder, such as one listed on the Canadian Kennel Club website, or from a local rescue organization. Again, part of stopping puppy mills means hitting them where it hurts — their wallets.

    Here's a list of a few local rescue organizations where you can start the hunt for your new best friend:

    Grand River All Breed Animal Rescue

    Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society

    Guelph Humane Society

    Cambridge & District Humane Society

 

 

Make sure that you're following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Not only do we share pictures of cute dogs and interesting articles, we also share pictures of animals looking for a forever home. You might just meet your new best friend when you least expect it. 

 

 

 

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Dog Advice
Can I Teach My Old Dog New Tricks?
April 27, 2016 at 11:06 am 0

The origin of an old saying

According to MythBusters, it was an English man who first coined the saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks". Fitzherbert was literally talking about dogs when in 1523 he wrote "the dogge must lerne when he is a whelpe, or els it wyl not be; for it is harde to make an old dogge to stoupe."

Today the saying is used in many contexts. Generally it's used to mean that it's near impossible to change someone who's set in their ways. But does it hold true when it comes to dogs? Does a dog, past a certain age, lose the ability to learn? 

old dog 2

image from yourdog.co.uk

You can and should teach an old dog new tricks

Not only can older dogs learn new things, it's important to keep them mentally stimulated (as much as it is younger dogs). I've lost count of the number of times someone has come to me with a dog that they exercise like crazy and can't seem to figure out why the dog is still unsettled. 

The answer in many cases can be a lack of mental stimulation. For most dog owners taking their dog for a walk every day makes sense. Whether they do it themselves or hire an awesome dog walker to do it for them, the idea of a dog needing exercise seems natural. It's easy to forget that dogs need to use their brains too. Dogs are smart, and teaching them to use their brains is both fun and rewarding. 

Teaching an old dog is like a broken elevator

So while teaching an old dog isn't impossible, it can be more difficult. It's why I always express the importance of getting a puppy trained when they are young instead of waiting until the dog is older.

Another old saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" also applies here. Better to nip behaviours in the bud before they have to be untaught or retrained later on. 

dog elevator

image from kare11.com


Think about yourself. No matter how old you are, you're set in some of your ways. Getting you to change your habit takes effort. Whether it be to become more active, to eat healthier or quit smoking. Old habits die hard. 

I liken the experience to a broken elevator. Pretend for a minute that you live in an apartment building on the 5th floor. You've lived in this apartment for just over three years now. Each day you come home from work, enter the lobby press the up button and wait for the elevator to arrive and open its doors. Each day the same pattern starts to develop: Press button, wait... elevator doors open. Press button, wait... elevator doors open; etc.. 

The elevator is still broken, what do you do?

One day you get home from work and the elevator isn't working. You press the button like you normally would and you wait and wait, but no elevator arrives. Do you:

A) Say "oh well" and take the stairs right away (with enthusiasm)

B) Throw a rope with a hook attached up the side of the building and start climbing 

C) Frustrated, press the button repeatedly saying "C'mon you stupid thing.. work!"

old dog
If you were being honest, your answer was most likely C. It's the same with your dog. When you're trying to change behaviour, they're always going to try what worked for them in the past first. They'll take the path of least resistance (the elevator) before looking for another option (the stairs). 

Essentially when you're teaching your dog a new behaviour (or shaping an old one), you're teaching them about the stairs in the apartment scenario. In order to reinforce taking the stairs as the default behaviour you also need to reinforce that the elevator (the old behaviour) is broken - no matter how many times your dog tries to press that "up button".

If you're consistent, your dog will go for the stairs first because it is the path of least resistance that creates the same desired effect. Obviously the longer a dog has used the elevator (or their old behaviour), the longer it'll take them to learn to use the stairs. 

old dog bed
Old dogs still have lots of love to give

Training an old dog isn't impossible. It might take some time, but it can be done. All of us are stubborn in our behaviour patterns. Patience and consistency are the keys to creating positive change and teaching your dog a new trick. 

If you're interested in the MythBusters findings about training an old dog new tricks (mentioned above), you can find them here.

Senior dogs can be the hardest to find homes for. Many people prefer a young puppy instead of the old classic. Old dogs can have lots of love and fun left in them (we'll write about great reasons for adopting an older dog in another post). So if you're thinking of bringing a new dog into your family, consider adopting one in their golden years. 

Looking for an older dog? Contact the Grand River All Breed Animal Rescue or your local Humane Society of Canada and see what dogs they have searching for their forever homes. 



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TM News
Grand River All Breed Animal Rescue
February 2, 2016 at 12:12 pm 3

Helping animals

As you'll see on the Our Story page of our website, the mission of TuxedoMutt is tri-fold:

  1. We want to provide a reliable service that dog owners can count on
  2. We want to create seriously good paying jobs
  3. We want to help animals

We're very excited to announce that 10% of TuxedoMutt profits will go directly to the Grand River All Breed Animal Rescue (GRAB).

Grand River All Breed Animal Rescue Logo

image from grandriverallbreedrescue.ca

I adopted my dog Casey from GRAB a few years ago and she's been a wonderful addition to my home. Not only is she my dog Dakota's best friend, she's also stolen a big piece of my heart.

Before Casey came to me, she had a pretty hard life. Because of the care in the foster home that Casey lived in through GRAB, she is a such a wonderful and loving dog now. You'd have no idea of her past life. She's the most affectionate and caring dog I've ever met. I'm so glad I made the decision to adopt her.

Casey digging in the garden

Who was digging in the garden?

In case you haven't heard of the Grand River All Breed Animal Rescue before, they do not operate a shelter, instead GRAB is a network of foster homes. Animals live in a home environment before they are adopted to their forever homes.

To learn more about Grand River All Breed Animal Rescue, visit their website or connect with them on Facebook or Twitter.

If you'd like to make a donation, you can do so directly on their website. They've also got a Wish List of items you can donate which helps them to care for the animals in their foster homes.

 

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