How Canada became a haven for the world’s unwanted dogs

Thousands of international strays are finding a new home in Canada

by Charlie Gillis

The lives of strays such as this one, in Gansu, China, are characterized by disease and starvation (Aly Song/Reuters)

His story begins in a phone booth—or, more accurately, under it. The puppy had pawed out a refuge from spring monsoons and lay mewling as shoppers in Mussoorie, a mountain town north of New Delhi, passed him by. The wails of stray dogs are part of India’s sonic wallpaper; an estimated 250,000 roam the streets of Delhi alone, yipping and howling amid the din of car horns and motorcycles. But after several days of listening to this one, a group of schoolboys decided they’d had enough. Wary of the animal’s fleas and mange, they gathered him into a section of newspaper and prepared to throw him over a nearby cliff.

Barb Gard was not a rescuer in those days. She’d come to Mussoorie in 2003 to teach a session at its famed international school for girls and was booked to fly home to B.C. in two days. But she’d heard the pup on her walks to the town’s open-air market, and now, with the life of one bedraggled canine hanging in the balance, she decided to act. Advancing on the boys, she held out her waterproof jacket and—ignoring their warnings that the dog was dirty—wrapped him up and spirited him away.

Gard has rescued more than 200 street dogs from near-certain death in India (Brian Howell)

Ten years on, that dog sprawls on Gard’s bedsheets in Abbotsford, B.C., a portrait of health and tranquility. His name is Francis, after the patron saint of animals, and his life story is only slightly less remarkable than the Assisian friar’s. After 24 hours on an electrolyte-heavy formula, a de-worming, a de-fleaing and a battery of shots at a local vet clinic, he was tucked into a crate for a two-stop flight to Canada, with Gard as his escort. In Singapore, airline officials paged her to the tarmac to calm her screeching animal and contend with his diarrhea. “By the time we got to Vancouver,” she recalls, “he was screaming so loud, they waived the inspection fee.”

A dreadful odyssey, in short, but one that changed Gard’s life. In 2006, she returned to India and brought home five more of the ubiquitous street dogs, known as “desis,” finding adoptive homes for them once she got back. During a third voyage in 2009, she partnered with a pair of activist veterinarians in Delhi to create a non-profit called Adopt an Indian Desi Dog (AAIDD). Gard, now a retired school psychologist, has since airlifted another 219 canines facing near-certain death from disease, starvation or euthanasia, and found most of them permanent homes in B.C. by advertising them on the adoption website, Petfinder.com. In 2011 alone, she brought 100 into the country, promising herself she’d scale back the airlifts because she’d worn herself out. Then, a few weeks before Christmas this year, her phone rang again. “I brought in another seven in January,” sighs the 58-year-old. “I couldn’t resist.”

Somehow, without notice, Canada has become a refuge to the huddled masses of the canine world, as thousands—perhaps tens of thousands—flood into the country each year. It’s a Wild West sphere, with no one tracking the number of rescuees entering the country, nor their countries of origin. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), which regulates the importation of animals, has recorded a spike over the past five years in the number of adult dogs imported annually for commercial use, from 150 to 922 (some rescued dogs are included in the “commercial use” category because organizations collect adoption fees to offset costs). But that represents a fraction of the inflow, because some rescuees enter the country designated as pets rather than commercial-use animals, and because border officers don’t keep count of the dogs they inspect for proof of rabies and for general health. One Calgary-based agency contacted by Maclean’s, Pawsitive Match Inc., says it trucked in about 800 dogs from the southwestern U.S. and Mexico in 2012 alone. It continues to receive another 80 or so per month.

Meantime, animal rescue organizations from this country are a fast-proliferating sub-group on Petfinder.com, where North American non-profits and charities line up homes for needy animals. As many as 80 new Canadian groups join each year, and while not all import their dogs, enough do that a few mouse clicks can raise the profiles of canines from such far-flung locales as Greece, Taiwan and Iran. Some must be flown to Canada; others have already made the trip and are waiting in foster homes for adoptive families.

This is, in part, an outcome of our shrunken world: a dog located halfway around the globe can be in Canada a week after someone in Halifax or Toronto spots its profile on the web. But it’s also a sign of how deeply animal-welfare values have penetrated Canada’s mainstream. Gone are the days when an impounded stray was a dead dog walking: only 14 per cent of dogs taken in by SPCAs and humane societies each year are put to death (compared to 60 per cent in the United States), while the once idealistic-sounding rhetoric of the animal rights movement has gained near-universal public acceptance. Nearly nine out of 10 respondents to a 2011 poll commissioned by the Canadian branch of the World Society for the Protection of Animals said they wish to “minimize and eventually eliminate all forms of animal cruelty and suffering.”

Not everyone in the animal welfare community sees cross-border dog rescues as the next step in our moral evolution. Humane societies at both the local and national levels have raised their voices against the practice, arguing there are plenty of dogs in Canadian pounds and shelters in desperate need of homes. “We need to direct Canadians to adopt here,” says Barbara Cartwright, chief executive of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. “It can be very frustrating for a local humane society that has a dog overpopulation problem, and is looking at euthanizing animals, while dogs are being brought in from a different continent.”

Yet the airlifts go on. Last month, a group in Nova Scotia announced it hoped to bring 100 dogs from the U.S. over the next year; on Feb. 12, Pawsitive Match took 12 more dogs across the border at Coutts, Alta.; Toronto-based rescuer Dianne Aldan is expecting two more to arrive next week from Greece. Dogs, it seems, are the new beneficiaries of Canada’s fabled openness to newcomers—a furry diaspora, unleashing the joys and discontents that come with the designation. With each new shipment, the debate over who gets in intensifies, producing an echo of our periodic clashes over human immigration. “If you do want to help out in another country,” says Cartwright, “donate to the local agency that’s trying to make a difference there. The problem should be dealt with in that country, by the people of that country.”

Pet rescuers have been with us a while, of course. Animal sympathizers the world over were inspired in the 1980s by British activists who began seizing donkeys from neglectful owners, or taking stray dogs to “no-kill” shelters whence they could be adopted. Their Canadian imitators initially focused on animals on death row at their local shelters, marshalling volunteers to provide foster homes and seeking permanent owners for the condemned. By the late 1990s, some were turning their attention to Aboriginal reserves and northern towns, where a lack of funding and infrastructure for animal control had resulted in chronic overpopulation by dogs. The sight of sick canines scuttling around reserves was enough for some empathetic visitors to mobilize airlifts on the spot.

That gut-level reaction served as the impetus for many an international rescue group, as globe-trotting Canadians got a look at deplorable conditions for stray dogs in the countries they visited. For Aldan, a financial analyst from Toronto, it happened during her 1984 honeymoon in Greece, where the state of the country’s strays struck her as profoundly as the azure seas. “The dogs were just skin and bones, walking around the street,” she recalls. “If they got sick, people would just abandon them.” When she and her husband returned for subsequent vacations, they found conditions largely the same and, in 2001, Aldan took action. The result was Tails from Greece, a charity that has since airlifted 292 dogs to Canada, housing them in foster homes while seeking out permanent owners in southern Ontario.

Aldan’s modus operandi is widely replicated. She works with Greece’s handful of private shelters, identifying dogs that would make good pets and saving them from death row. She recruits tourists willing to accompany the dogs to Canada and maintains a network of foster families to keep the animals while they await what rescuers call “forever homes.” In 2011, Tails from Greece declared $40,000 in revenue, much of which Aldan spent on vaccinations and flights (about $1,200 for a crate carrying two adult dogs). Still more went to food and unexpected veterinary treatment while the animals were being fostered.

If the movement had a coming-of-age moment, though, it was Hurricane Katrina and the TV images of 15,000 dogs and cats left to fend for themselves in the aftermath of the 2005 storm. Media coverage of a Vancouver-based team that rushed to the Gulf Coast to save sodden, frightened animals inspired others to get involved—donating money, adopting dogs and, in a few cases, launching their own relief organizations. Four-legged refugees found homes as far away as B.C. and Ontario. By the time of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan two years ago, a template was set: groups swept in to execute daring rescues of animals from Fukushima’s exclusion zone, providing a level of care the wave’s human victims might have envied. Some were taken to a special animal rescue program at Azabu University, west of Tokyo, where they were diagnosed with, and treated for, post-traumatic stress disorder.

Heartwarming stuff, but for the rescue movement, the legacy of these efforts has been mixed. A handful of people evacuated from Katrina’s wake sued afterward because they never got a chance to reclaim their animals before agencies adopted them out. Years later, questions arose as to whether these self-appointed guardians of animal welfare are, themselves, adequately monitored. Last June, the SPCA removed 52 dogs from the property of a woman in Burnaby, B.C., who had helped save animals after the hurricane. Officers alleged the dogs—which were not hurricane victims—suffered from rotting teeth, infections and untreated skin ailments.

Still, the value of the rescuers’ service, post-Katrina, was hard to deny. Removing strays from the street means reducing the threat to humans of diseases like rabies and tetanus, proponents point out. Even in the absence of disaster, the self-styled saviours have ingratiated themselves to local residents by providing a humane option to deal with dog overpopulation. Aldan points to economically downtrodden Athens, where broke owners increasingly take their animals to international adoption groups, rather than simply abandoning them. “In the larger centres,” she says, “things are getting better.”

Better for people and—more important in the new ethos of animal welfare—better for dogs. That’s a key distinction to anyone trying to understand the values behind the global rescue movement, says Jean Harvey, a philosophy professor at the University of Guelph, who has studied the ethics of the animal rights movement. In past decades, she notes, animals were held in the mainline public view as objects of human use—food, labour, companions. Now, says Harvey, “you’ve got a very different group of people. You’ve got people who see animals as having intrinsic value similar to that of human beings.”

Tail from Greece: (left to right) Dianne Aldan; new owners Angela Cozea and Colin MacPherson

Typical is Ashley Bishop, a 28-year-old office worker from North Vancouver who, with her husband, Mark Alford, went looking for a dog last year. The couple had criteria: the animal had to be quiet because they live in a small apartment; Alford wanted a dog he could take running. They settled on Hank, a lanky, young desi Barb Gard had imported and advertised on Petfinder.

Bishop admits they made their choice without a second thought about animals languishing in Canadian shelters. “A creature in need is a creature in need,” she says. “Yes, there are lots of dogs here that need homes. But if you don’t adopt these dogs [from India], they’re going to die.” She expands: most countries lack the bylaws, subsidized spay-neuter programs and shelter infrastructure Canadians take for granted; that means strays live shorter and more brutish lives than their homegrown counterparts—lapping up brackish water, foraging in landfills and, in many cases, succumbing to disease.

The couple was even less disposed to forking over $800 to $1,200 for a pedigreed dog, repelled by the idea of an animal weakened by generations of inbreeding done for human benefit. “We didn’t want to spend thousands on vet bills,” says Bishop, “because the dog we got can’t breathe properly or has bad hips because it was bred down so far.” Here, too, they typify a new generation: to hundreds of thousands of North Americans who adopt dogs each year, pure-breeding is impractical, and arguably inhumane.

And the truth is, many rescue groups can source dogs of a given breed without a whole lot of effort. Pawsitive Match has in recent years been importing hundreds of the chihuahuas that proliferated in southern California in the early 2000s, says Tracy Babiak, the chief executive of the Calgary agency. That was about the time Paris Hilton was seen carrying one in her handbag, prompting women to buy “chis” as fashion accessories. The fad gained new life when the movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua came out, adds John Murray, a rescuer based in Norco, Calif., who trucks dogs to Alberta on Babiak’s behalf. Now, with Hilton off the tabloid radar and the movie in bargain bins, Murray says he can “get anyone a chihuahua any time they want” by plucking it off death row at a California shelter. “The same thing happened with Dalmatians when 101 Dalmatians came out,” he says. “People just don’t think.”

John Murray of California takes a break in Montana with a vanload of rescuees destined for the Calgary agency Pawsitive Match (Chris Bolin)

Here, then, lies the paradox for domestic SPCAs and humane societies. On one hand, the country has largely come around to their world view. Canada has halved its euthanasia rate in the last two decades. Fully half the dogs admitted to shelters get adopted. But if the life of a chihuahua in San Bernadino, Calif., is as important as one in Saskatoon—and its death more imminent—how do you ensure the ones left in Canadian shelters aren’t forgotten?

Cartwright, the CEO at the federation of humane societies, spends a lot of time trying to answer those questions without sounding hypocritical. At least some of the tens of thousands of Canadian dogs put to death each year would make fine companions, she insists (surveys of shelters, SPCAs and vet clinics suggest three per cent have neither physical nor behavioural problems), while others could be rehabilitated.

Cartwright also raises concern about the potential for imported dogs to carry pathogens like rabies or the deadly parvovirus—though that concern seems minimal, given CFIA requirements for canines entering the country. While Canada doesn’t typically quarantine dogs, it does demand either proof of an animal’s rabies vaccinations or a vet’s note assuring that it comes from a rabies-free country. The rules are more stringent for younger dogs and for animals not accompanied by their owners (most rescuees arrive with volunteers). All puppies less than eight months old must have certificates of health showing they don’t have parvovirus, distemper or the canine flu, among other ailments.

Certainly, those who adopt foreign dogs seem motivated to keep them healthy. Last November, Jessie Oliver-Laird and Pinder Chahil, a young couple living in downtown Toronto, offered to foster one of Aldan’s so-called “Greekies,” with a view to adopting the dog if the relationship worked. The dog, alas, had cancer in a right front toe, and a vet in Toronto was forced to amputate. No sooner had Aldan’s charity swallowed the $3,000 surgery bill than the dog, Sven, tested positive for a hypothyroid condition. If they chose to keep him, Oliver-Laird and Chahil would have to pay about $100 per month for tests and medication—on top of the $350 adoption fee they’d be paying Tails from Greece.

By then, however, Sven was lumbering happily about the couple’s one-bedroom suite, located just east of Toronto’s financial district, stealing the hearts of his hosts. A wire-haired pointing griffin, he stands about a half-metre tall at the shoulders and eats about $50 worth of food per month. Aldan figured him to be eight years old—rocking-chair age for even a well-raised pooch. But to ensure he got enough exercise, Oliver-Laird, a daycare worker, took him for four walks a day outside their mid-rise co-op.

Of course, like all rescued animals, Sven had the power of narrative working in his favour. He was found abandoned on one of Greece’s many islands and spent a year in a shelter before his guardian angel descended in the form of Aldan. “We think he was just left by someone who couldn’t afford to feed him,” says Chahil solemnly. By the time he reached Toronto, Sven was solitary and diffident, rejecting a fluffy bed the couple bought him in favour of the parquet floor. But a steady flow of affection from his caretakers slowly revived his spirits. Soon visitors to the apartment were met by a friendly and well-behaved pooch—pretty much an ad for the entire rescue movement.

So when Aldan called Chahil and Oliver-Laird in early February to ask if they wished to keep Sven, the pair never hestitated. He was everything they’d wanted, and they’d played their small part in relieving the worldwide epidemic of animal suffering—a plague in which, to their thinking, borders are no longer relevant. “Any abandoned dog needs a home,” says Oliver-Laird lightly. “It just happens that this one was abandoned in another part of the world.”




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How Canada became a haven for the world’s unwanted dogs

  1. Part of the problem with organizations like the Humane Society and the SPCA is their over stringent adoption rules. It’s much easier to pay your $250 for a rescue dog and walk out the door with a happy pup than filling out form after form at the Humane Society and then have them decide you are an unfit parent. And yes, I know this is to protect the animal but I think they go a bit too far.

    • Those “stringent adoption rules” are there for a reason. This is to ensure that the dog will not be brought back and that you don’t have some whack job coming in and taking the dog for fighting for example, shark baiting, bear baiting etc. They want to make sure you know how to look after the dog, how often you will be walking the dog, where the dog will sleep, what the dog is being adopted for, have you had any previous dogs and if so what happened to them etc. I have done this screening test twice now. This also ensures that you will not abuse it and neglect it. I have rescued two dogs from the Human Society and I appreciate their screening rules. Trust me when I say that you don’t want to adopt a dog out to someone who has never had a dog before. I rescued my dog 5 years ago. You know why my dog was brought there in the first place? It was because someone bought a dog they thought they knew how to raise and figured they can’t or can’t be bothered. That is why! Any questions?

      • Natalie – these dogs have no life. So what you want to do is protect the 85% of dogs that might find a half decent life with an not perfect owner by using the excuse that maybe 10% might go to an unsuitable environment. That isn’t fair to the dog and it isn’t fair to the owners that might adopt them. What is their next best rescue? Euthanasia. Which do you prefer?

      • “Trust me when I say that you don’t want to adopt a dog out to someone who has never had a dog before” SERIOUSLY?? So, only adopt to people who were born with a dog in the family? That’s actually one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard and quite frankly, obnoxious! I’ve never owned a dog before my pup I got from PMRF last year, just a cat, (for 17 years, tyvm) but she will be with me until she dies of old age or incurable disease because, even though I am a lowly “first time” dog owner, I am intelligent, conscientious and committed. Any questions?

        • I sure hope this ridiculous idea doesn’t catch on. We already have too few homes for the thousands of dogs in shelters across the US and Canada without now restricting dog ownership to only those who have had a dog before. Part of our campaign to save these dogs from certain death is convincing people to adopt despite never having had a dog before. That’s why we have good reputable rescues to provide guidance and support to first time dog owners.

          • Yes, PMRF provided me with all kinds of info, most of which was redundant because I took it upon myself to research & learn about dogs years before I ever got one. I still have a lot to learn, of course, but I nowhere near as ignorant as Natalia seems to assume I am! : )

      • and those “stringent” rules, fail, all the time. People know how to lie and how to give the desired answers to get what they want. And even some of those who do it honestly, abandon animals or return them every day, in every shelter all over Canada and the US.

      • and yes according to the aspca over 20% of animals “adopted” from shelters are taken back to shelters

        • I see it every single day while networking death row animals.

    • Most rescue organizations have stringent rules as well!

      • So what? Having a home is better than none at all. Most people who adopt dogs do their best to care for them. It’s not right to reject people who are willing to give a home to a dog.

    • No one pays their $250.00 for a rescue dog and walks out the door with a happy pup. Rescues have adoption criteria just the same as any SPCA or city pound. Rescues have application forms and hoops to jump through even MORE stringent than most SPCA’s and city shelters. Rescues do home visits and reference checks and vet checks. I don’t know where you get the idea that adopting a rescue is as simple as handing over cash and walking out the door but I assure you nothing could be further from the truth. Nor do I know where you get the idea that every dog adoption fee is $250.00 because that isn’t true either each organization has a different way of calculating adoption fees, there is no set price for fee. Wake up and educate yourself!

      • I have a rescue dog. I paid $50 for her. I’ve never had a home visit or a reference check. She was brought up from a high kill pound in Ohio. I look through the rescue sites all the time and the standard fee seems to be $250. So what was that about educating myself?

  2. We adopted through AAIDD. Barbara has an amazing facility and programme and an even more amazing heart for these dogs.

  3. A wonderful effort all around , and yes it matters to that one dog however the amounts of funds used to bring dogs to the west can be used to donate to help the struggling groups in India to build infrastructure to eventually help their own problems. But people will not donate to that so at least we can save the dogs one at a time. Learn more about USA charity Help Animals India http://www.helpanimalsindia.org

  4. Only in Vancouver, and only by a psychologist, would this flight from reality be attempted.

    Next, a homeless shelter for bipolar squirrels.

    • love it! lol

      • I’m working on another West Coast project, to rescue seaweed orphaned by the Tusnami. Tax deductible!

    • Your sarcasm and cynicism is exactly why we have the problems we do, as a nation. Clearly, you have never felt the unconditional love of a rescue dog, and clearly you don’t deserve to.

      • no the reason we have the problems we do is because of people like you who have no sense of humor and are obviously so much better than the rest of us. How do we know.. just ask you

    • I’m not sure what you mean? Why does it matter that one of the individuals featured is a psychologist from Vancouver. Do you also believe people with red hair are souless? That all people with schizophrenia are violent murders? This is a very ignorant and shortsighted comment.

    • You’d be surprised how many thousands of people in Canada, the US, Europe and Britain have adopted animals from places like Mexico, Thailand, India, Eastern Europe etc. It’s called compassion, and most of those that I know who have done it, also have rescues from their own countries. Why is it that breeders can fly dogs all round the world in order to sell or procure particular bloodlines, and to maximize profit, and no one thinks anything of it, but those of us who adopt an already existing dog in need and fly it somewhere, and we are the mad ones? Hmmm, I know MY reasons for doing so, and they don’t involve anything like making money.

      • so what a re your reasons when you could get a local dog just as easily?

        • Why does one need a reason other than seeing an animal in a desperate situation and wanting to help? We have dogs adopted here also, and most of the people we know who have adopted internationally, also have dogs adopted here. Breeders ship dogs all over the world, but since that’s to make money it’s ok? At least we are taking an existing dog in need rather than adding to a planet already swamped with dogs.
          It certainly is not always an easy thing to do, either financially or logistically, but seeing what some dogs in the world are forced to endure, I don’t know how people can see and not be moved. Spay/neuter release works, and reduces the number of animals born to a life of misery, and I have a really big mouth when it comes to this, but a tiny fraction of the ones that for whatever reason can’t be returned to the streets, get placed for adoption, and truth is they have almost no chance of a home unless adopted by foreigners. The suffering in some places is beyond comprehension, and while I can’t help them all, I do what I can. I feel for every single dog everywhere that dies because some human was not responsible somewhere back down the line, but it isn’t likely that you’ll see dogs in shelters in Canada eating dead dogs to stay alive, or freezing outside in the wet and snow with no shelter at all. And other than gas chambers which I abhor and want to see closed forever, they are ideally euthanized humanely. Not the case for shelter dogs in many countries, there are many methods used, and very few are humane. Did you see the handful of stories I put links to in my other post below yesterday? These are not uncommon stories for those regions, cruelty IS the norm in many places, street dogs are viewed as vermin to be feared, abused and killed. As Diane Rowles of RSDR in Bulgaria said, people actually go out of their way to abuse them. The lady I know who works in Kosovo who transported our 3 Kosovo adoptions, said the same thing, she has been verbally abused for walking dogs, ridiculed and spat on while carrying a tiny puppy. She has seen people cross the street to kick or beat a sleeping street dog. It is normal there and while there are the good people fighting to change things, it’s the culture and attitude and in many cases religion (many muslims loathe dogs because of their teachings) of the region in general that makes this slow to happen.
          Most of my co workers are supportive and think what we do is great, but one who is not particularly a dog person and doesn’t have one herself, asked me once why they would try to help a dog like the 3 legged girl we adopted, and why spend the money to get her here? I said why not? And she responded, I guess because there are starving children in the world. Ok, so don’t go out for coffee, or to a movie, or buy that new jacket you don’t need, or go on vacation, because there are starving children in the world. I am tired of both this argument, and the argument help people first. We also sponsor several children in other countries, and support organizations which help people, but it takes nothing away from a human to be kind to an animal, and if this is what we choose to spend our time and money on, why is it wrong simply because it isn’t what another person would spend theirs on? I just don’t understand people sometimes.

  5. You missed a HUGE issue. Many of the dogs imported into Canada are brought here without the benefit of any sort of a temperament test. It is heartbreaking as a Certified Behaviour Consultant Canine-Knowledge Assessed (see ccpdt.org) to see these dogs in my behaviour programs. Often overwhelmed, frightened and sometimes dangerously aggressive, I have seen too many of these well meant adoptions gone wrong. Instead of importing an international problem, it is time to start exporting our local successes.

    • Nice plug for your organization there! But given your lack of compassion for dogs with problems I feel that any one who truly cared about helping a dog would avoid ccpcit like the plague. The bias against certain dogs that you have would not give any such dog assessed by you and your organisation a fair judgement. Thankfully there are excellent dog assessors such as those at TAS and other caring organisations who work with compassion to make sure a needy dog is made suitable for a loving home. And these are indeed local successes!

      • Actually woodwormz, whether Sue Alexander is plugging a business or not is irrelevant, she is speaking the truth when it comes to at least some of the organizations involved in rescuing and adopting out these dogs.
        My daughter just this month adopted a rescue dog from Mexico. During the process, the facilitator was trying to convince her to take a dog that was aggressive toward children even though my daughter repeatedly told her that she has two young nieces and is hoping to have children of her own soon. It is easy to go off half-cocked and deny that this stuff is going on but obviously it is.

        • No process is perfect however I can speak directly about Tails from Greece as we adopted a dog from there. The dog had extensive health tests done in Greece before being permitted into Canada (unlike strays up for adoption in Canada) and we visited our dog in its foster home with our young daughter several times prior to adopting her. Dianne makes it her cause to make sure all dogs are adopted into suitable homes. Beat you don’t test very many Canadian dogs that end up in shelters. Many have been abused and neglected as well. Why not mention them?

          • what?/ i thought all of the dogs in Greece were sad and unwanted.. and that all of the people were starving how can they afford all of these “extensive health tests”? Who pays for all of these “tests’ and what exactly were the tests.. my vet in Buffalo says that she is seeing all sorts of health issues with “rescues” coming in from other countries.. even ones coming from the South.. many carry diseases not normally seen in the area.. heartworm, ehrlicha ( a particularly dangerous disease that has a ‘resting phase where is is hard to diagnose), certain types off parasites and more
            There are dogs available locally in every place.. think about those

        • Whether the dog was from Mexico or here, it is the same as if you were buying a purebred. Do your homework, and check out the group that you may be dealing with first. The group that I foster for does not bring up any aggressive dogs. All our dogs spend time in foster homes in Puerto Vallarta first, while they are getting healthy and getting training. If they are aggressive, they never get on the plane. That would not be helpful to the adopter or the group, and it would be a disservice to the dog.

          • I wonder what happens to those dogs?

        • Then someone was not doing their job properly, and that is what should be addressed, I have several former street dogs and yes, they often have issues that need patience, knowledge and understanding that other dogs may not, but this can be true of any dog, even a “well bred” dog from right here, that has not been handled or socialized correctly, and I can think of more than one incident of someone being talked into the wrong dog for their situation by an eager rescue worker here in Canada. And I agree with Kodiak, the dogs have to be health checked and microchipped to travel, and the dogs we have brought in were healthy and parasite free.

          • they may be parasite free at the time but many parasites and other diseases have “break through ” or resting phases even rabies cannot be ruled out

          • That is nothing more than fearmongering. No different than North American dogs. I have not heard of a single problem with adopters from any of the organizations I am familiar with or have adopted from.

          • just because you have not “heard of it” does no make it so.. heartworm was not a problem in the nothren parts of the country no it is.. Ehrlichiosis never seen in Canada or the north is now a common problem Rabies has been found in dogs from Thailand, Mexico and Puerto Rico that have been shipped in several people had to be treated because rabies is a DEADLY disease for humans and of course the dogs had to be killed

            “However, a recent case of rabies in an imported dog,
            which
            occurred despite appropriate rabies immunization before entry,
            illustrates that these regulations, even when followed correctly,
            may
            not always prevent imported rabies (6).”

            http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00001275.htm

          • With the changing climate and rising annual temperatures, things like heartworm and erlichiosis are coming anyway, sooner or later. After 20 years on the same rural property, I never found even a single tick on our dogs. Last year we had a terrible number, as did everyone I know here and other parts of Canada.
            Yes rabies is endemic in some countries, but it’s also always been a problem in North America, keeping foreign dogs out will not keep rabies out.
            Dogs that come from places like Thailand have to be chipped, vaccinated parasite treated (and blood parasites are routinely treated for also, whether or not they test positive) and blood tested and require several weeks before being allowed to travel, and this is far more than can be said for the thousands of dogs coming out of puppy mills in North America. I believe if there were any way to see statistics, there would be far more disease and health issues in domestic dogs than imports.
            Oh and btw, a vet told me last year, that the reason heartworm had made it to our area in the north, was because of a person who took dogs down south with them and came back hw +, nothing to do with foreign dogs at all. The same thing has happened with horses, we had an outbreak of wnv in our area a few years ago, all courtesy of some show horses that travelled south and back.

  6. Canadians travel around the globe in search of exotic, if cheap vacations. Most everything they prefer to buy comes from places where wages are cheap. While abroad, Aldan, Gard, and all those who do the work of compassion in the name of us all, did not close their eyes when faced with the unbearable mistreatment of creatures. Dogs are citizens of the world. We need to support both SPCA and Tails from Greece, and not conceive of them as an either/or proposition. An immigrant thinks that way: work for the new country, never forget those less fortunate left behind. No matter what language they bark.

    • dogs are not ‘citizens” of anything.. they are animals

  7. I presume all the dogs in Canada have decent homes??

    • We adopted from Tails from Greece. We weren’t looking for a dog to adopt at the time. As with so many countries in the world, there are no humane societies or protection agencies in Greece. Our dog had NO hope. Most of the rescued dogs in Canada do. If I hadn’t been introduced to our dog and fallen in love, we would still be dogless and she probably would have been dead. So, one dog in need in this world saved. Doesn’t matter from where. Oh, and btw, we are going to get her certified as a therapy dog and have her working with the War Amps Champs Program as she has a prostetic and they think she would be perfect to work with the young children. That’s what this almost forgotten dog has done lately. What have you done to contribute to society lately?

      • I’ve been involved in rescue here in Atalntic Canada since 1996. Why do you say that if you hadn’t met your dog from Greece that you’d still be without a dog today? You are very misinformed if you think the humane soceties in Canada have the $ and space to help all homeless pets in their local area. Just check on line and see how many independant rescue groups have been established to help animals in need. And with all of this, still dogs are being put down for no other reason than there is no one willing to adopt them and take them home. When you’ve spent your own personal funds for almost 20 years, then you can lecture to someone like me with your “what have you done to contribute to society lately”comment. Some of us have been out there working longer and harder than you, and you shouldn’t assume there aren’t many, many people who have done just that. You’ve made the world of difference for your dog. Thank you got that. But you won’t see and understand the larger pcture until you look outside your own scope of personal interest.

        • Actually, I made the comment as jiw liked a comment comparing what these wonderful people do to rescuing bipolar squirrels, not at you at all. And my direct family and my in-laws have been involved with volunteering at animal shelters for years and my sister has fostered dogs. Every single member of my family has rescued multiple animals from Canada. We had 3 cats (all rescues), a child that is involved in the Champs program and hubby and I work full time. I didn’t believe I had time for a dog. And I try to avoid most rescue sites because I want to adopt them all. I heard about our dog, and thought she would be a perfect fit into our home. She’s not a puppy, is low maintenance, and has given our daughter alot of confidence in her disability and will hopefully one day help others. If it were not for our specific dog, I would not have a dog. I know most dogs have terrible stories, but our dog didn’t have any hope at all, as most dogs in countries that don’t have any agencies protecting them. I’m well aware that not all dogs here get a chance at a family here either but their percentage is alot higher – there’s more hope here than in most countries. There are wonderful agencies and people helping dogs in this country as well. My comment was directed towards someone who had already displayed ignorance at the situation as a whole. I was simply telling my stories in hopes of opening up a few eyes as there is nothing worse than ignorance and close-mindedness.

        • Are you not being presumptuous? You are also one perspective and therefore do not own the right to impose and belittle others. And there are many people who do not have the same opportunity or privilege to have spent so much of their time volunteering. It does not mean their views are any less valuable or credible.

      • wait I thought you said she received “extensive health care” who provided this if not a humane society or animal protection group how could she have NO hope if she received all of this health care and why would you still be dogless.. there are lots of dogs looking for homes as for your last comment it deserves no comment

    • Not to take away from the good work of these people, this is my point too. What about the homeless animals here at home who will be put down because n home could be found?

      • Anyone who thinks this way needs to go out and help educate people who don’t want to spay and neuter, who treat an animal as a disposable possession, and who still think we should be breeding litter after litter. Many of us who have adopted internationally, also work to change things here, and network shelter dogs in our own countries, losing sleep over animals that others have thrown away, but many who like to find fault, do absolutely nothing other than speak.

    • have YOU rescued an animal and CONTRIBUTED?

      • nope i breed dogs.. i sell them into great homes and they are under contract to be returned to me if they cannot be kept. i am the solution to this problem If everyone bred dogs the way i do there would be no shelters needed. I contribute by supplying the people who want pets with the best quality animal they can get at a fair price with a health guarantee.. and no guilt or no holier than thou either.

        • You are not the solution..you are part of the problem…what are YOUR qualifications when it comes to breeding animals? Are there not enough dogs out there? You are profiting from them….NOT a solution. Teaching people about what makes a good dog, teaching people about spaying and neutering, teaching people responsibility, teaching people about dog ownership, getting rid of backyard breeders and petshops….so much has to be done to stop the problem. It is a global issue and the dogs pay for it. Rescue dogs can be difficult. Our Desi dogs is one of the most difficult dogs I have ever owned. But we love her. She is so different from our domestic rescue. People need to understand the difficulties that surface from a dog with a murky history.

          • you have proved your point you may be a great home for a “difficult dog” but most people and their families want a pet that is easy to live with I do not breed “difficult dogs” I breed family pets. if you “get rid on me” who will breed good dogs.. you seem to be saying it is ok to continue to breed “difficult pets’ while trying to get rid of good breeders.. if all people bred dogs like mine there you be NO NEED for shelters at all.. you have it backwards but in your zeal to be “holier than thou” you perpetuate “Difficult dogs’ to be bred

          • And what makes a difficult pet? A bad owner. You may sell into what you think is a great home, only to find it wasn’t, and the dog you bred is now a difficult pet. Also, a first right of refusal clause is not worth the paper it is written on, they do not stand up in court. Many people will return the animal to you either because it’s the easiest thing to do, or because they feel a sense of obligation, but others will not, and there isn’t much you can do about it.
            Many years ago everyone who knew me and how much I love dogs, assumed I would get into breeding eventually. Decades before I became so passionate about shelter and street dogs, I still knew that I myself never wanted to be responsible for bringing even one dog into this world, that I couldn’t guarantee for it’s lifetime would be loved and cared for. Shelters are full of purebreds as well, and a person I know who is both a breeder and the ACO for the area (ironic really) regularly contacts breeders about animals with chips or tattoos that have gone through the shelter. When someone is tired of a dog, they don’t give a rat’s ass how much they paid for it. And again, you assume that all dogs from “good breeders” are lifelong perfect, healthy animals. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even with the issues they may come with, which with knowledge and patience can be overcome, my rescue dogs have been really good dogs. One of my most problematic, has been a purebred, who originally came from a “good breeder”. Your argument makes no sense unless there is a perfect buyer for every pup you sell, and I’m sure even you can’t guarantee that, unless you have the unique ability to read a person’s mind and know their heart.

        • @ Kerry, agreed, breeders (greeders) are a huge part of the problem. Invariably they say they do it because they love the breed, but I haven’t met one yet who doesn’t rely in whole or in part, on the income derived from it.

          • does you doctor make money? how about your attorney? do you pay your mechanic? do you contribute to farmers and ranchers making a profit when they sell their animals? or do you think all of these are “greedy” and should not get paid for the work that they do? Professional dog breeders are the same. They work hard, back up the dogs they sell and are the best source for healthy pets

          • Yes and I’ve worked in hospitals, and a lot of doctors (and vets for that matter) are asses who think they are somehow above the rest of us, treating many with contempt and disrespect.
            As far as farmers/ranchers, we live in the country and have raised a lot of what we eat. I am not a vegetarian, but I like to know the animals were well treated, well cared for, and were not kept in miserable conditions, or hauled for miles, or terrified before death. Greedy? Maybe some are, yes, but I think it is more like a disconnect between people and what they eat, as far as where it comes from. I have always loved animals, and never thought I could raise and eat one, not even so much as a chicken, but if I am going to eat meat, then I want to know that animal didn’t suffer on a factory farm, or in a processing line. My feelings about the matter should be second to what those animals have to endure.I know several “professional” breeders, and not many breeders are as conscientious as your description. If that’s how you function then kudos to you, but I would say that is the exception rather than the rule. I posted a link to a video yesterday, will post it here again, it’s about an hour long. It illustrates what has happened over the last century or so due to breeding and showing, and there is no denying that people have modified dogs for appearance rather than health and ability. This is also precisely why the border collie associations have stayed away from the CKC, because they know what will happen to the working ability of the breed if people begin to breed for show.
            http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/pedigree-dogs-exposed/

            As far as professions being paid, yes everyone has to make money, but many professions earn disproportionately to either the amount or type of work that they do. I happen to believe that soldiers who place themselves in harm’s way for their countries, get pittance while a celebrity or sports figure receives obscene amounts of money and are elevated to the status of God. Many things are not as they should be. I also prefer to work at a job outside the home, rather than profit at the expense of living creatures.

    • it is almost impossible to get a small dog from a shelter in Canada, I tried for several months – as soon as one was available, it was gone. Most of the shelter dogs and strays in Alberta are large breed dogs. Nothing against big dogs, they are just not appropriate for every person. I needed a small breed dog, which I got from Pawsitive match. If any group needs to be taken to task, it is pet stores that sell bred puppies and the random, irresponsible asshats who allow their pets to have litters to either make a fast buck or show their children “the miracle of life”.

    • I am copying my reply to someone else above here:
      Many of us who have adopted internationally, also support organizations which educate, push the spay/neuter message, and do what they can to cut euthanasia rates here at home, as well as educate the people and help alleviate the suffering of companion animals in many other countries where they are viewed as vermin, to be horribly abused. (honestly most people would be sick if they knew the kinds of abuse these animals suffer in huge numbers) The neglect and deliberate cruelty which is common in places like Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Greece, Crete, and the Middle East, or in the incredibly vicious and barbaric dog/cat meat trade in Asia, is heart wrenching, and many of us simply can not look away. It is a very small number, a lucky few that make it out, and there are also many of us who do more than our own share here at home. When people ask me now “aren’t there dogs here to rescue?” I say “yes, I have adopted several…how many do you have?” The answer is often none. I think of it as not adding to the world’s population of dogs, and to me it doesn’t matter where the dog comes from. People who want to argue, should argue with those who don’t spay and neuter, and those who treat animals as disposable objects rather than a serious committment for the life of the animal, or with those who continue to breed dogs for profit, or who view a purebred as being more valuable. The heart and loyalty of a dog do not recognize breed, yet many people do not look at a cross bred the same. We need to change attitudes as well as keep improving the numbers in shelters here at home, but a suffering dog in another part of the world, has as much right, and less chance at a happy ending than any dog in Canada or the US.

      • more tripe.. who should breed dogs? according to you no one is good enough so rather then promote the breeding of healthy dogs we continue to support the random cross breeding of street dogs and then complain about them not having homes It makes no sense If you want to stop dogs from being in shelters buy one from a good breeder

        • You are good at one thing, putting words in people’s mouths. Tripe? I think not, there are thousands of people churning out puppies for profit, and to me there is no breed anymore, I just see a living animal with a heart and loyalty to offer. I used to admire many different breeds, but as long as there are shelters with dogs being killed, there is no justification for the amount of breeding that goes on.

          • umm 85% of owned felines are castrated.. 75% of canines.. how many more will it take for you to be satisfied. yes there will not be “breeds” any more .. just randomly bred unhealthy street dogs for people to “adopt” what amount of breeding you you like to see “going on” and who should be allowed to breed dogs?

          • I don’t believe those statistics at all. Perhaps if you are counting only those who regularly visit the vet, but for the thousands in backyards across the continent, I think that’s a stretch. I don’t believe that any dog or cat should be left entire without a purpose, and I have to laugh at your last comment, as my foreign dogs have all been in general very healthy and free from any type of abnormality other than those caused by humans, but I have had issues with several dogs over the years who were adopted here. Several of them purebreds.

      • “The neglect and deliberate cruelty which is common in places like Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Greece, Crete, and the Middle East, ”

        Bigoted much? Many people in these countries love and cherish their pets as much ( if not MORE) than you do. Your “broad brush” is despicable and our i am better than you attitude is even more so

        • lolol, do you even have the vaguest CLUE what you are saying? I KNOW people who work in the region, and I KNOW many people involved in rescue there, and I am the caretaker for SIX dogs adopted from Kosovo and Romania. You are CLUELESS. One of my dogs was so severely beaten that she lost an eye, one had her ears cut off, and another had a foot intentionally cut off, and these are everyday occurrences in some of these countries. I am far from bigoted, when others are condemning an entire country or race, I am the one that speaks up and reminds them that there are many good people who fight for these animals within their own countries, many I am proud to count among my friends. These friends however, are the first to state how bleak things are there for street dogs. My god, get your head out of your ass and educate yourself, the cruelty in the region is on a scale beyond belief. Many of the shelters kill dogs by simply starving them to death, or injecting them with household cleaners subjecting them to slow horrific deaths. FACT.

        • .

        • My apologies if any of my comments are posting more than once, the page seems to be eating comments today. You sadly have no clue what you are talking about. I KNOW people who work in these regions, many involved in rescue, and I have SIX dogs adopted from Kosovo and Romania. One was so severely beaten that she lost an eye, one had her ears cut off, and one had a paw intentionally cut off. These are daily occurrences in many countries, and there are no animal welfare laws or poorly enforced ones. Some shelters dispose of animals by simply starving them to death, or by injecting household cleaners. FACT. Bigoted? I find that amusing since I am the one who reminds people that there are many decent and compassionate people in all of these countries, fighting to change the way things are. Many of these I am proud to count among my friends. Get your head out of your pathetic ass and educate yourself. If the truth offends I am really sorry.

        • Apologies for the multiple posts. Page would not post yesterday, then posted all of them!

        • My apologies if any of my comments are posting more than once, the page seems to be eating comments today. You sadly have no clue what you are talking about. I KNOW people who work in these regions, many involved in rescue, and I have SIX dogs adopted from Kosovo and Romania. One was so severely beaten that she lost an eye, one had her ears cut off, and one had a paw intentionally cut off. These are daily occurrences in many countries, and there are no animal welfare laws or poorly enforced ones. Some shelters dispose of animals by simply starving them to death, or by injecting household cleaners. FACT. Bigoted? I find that amusing since I am the one who reminds people that there are many decent and compassionate people in all of these countries, fighting to change the way things are. Many of these I am proud to count among my friends. Get your head out of your pathetic ass and educate yourself. If the truth offends I am really sorry.

        • .

        • Bigoted for stating truthful facts am I? Cruelty is the every day norm in the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Yes there are people who care, but they are often ridiculed and targeted, and most people in these regions do not care, they are at best indifferent to the strays, and worst, horribly cruel. It’s like a passtime to some. People will intentionally run street dogs over, hang them from trees, impale them, set them on fire, beat them, stab them, rape them, and throw boiling water on them. Follow the Rudozem Street Dog Rescue in Bulgaria for awhile and see for yourself. All you have to do to get an idea is read what is written on the home page: http://www.streetdogrescue.com/
          In fact all you have to do is watch the short video on how the rescue started to get an idea of how bad it is there and in neighbouring countries.
          Stray control may be simply rounding up and killing, sometimes by starvation in isolators (supposed shelters), sometimes by beating, sometimes by injections of household cleaners which take hours to kill a dog in agony, or by mass poisonings, or shooting. Numerous photos exist of puppies trying to nurse on dead bloodied mothers who were shot. Many of these dogs are not a clean kill and suffer for many hours or days before death. Italy undertook mass poisonings this past spring to clean up the beaches before tourist season, and again, there were puppies trying to nurse on dead mothers. Truth isn’t bigotry, and if you want to find out, you will see what I mean, but something tells me you would rather assume that anyone who suggests such things is an idiot. I guess I am also a bigot if I tell you that countries that are predominantly muslim are particulary horrible for street dogs? Many muslims loathe dogs, their teachings tell them that they are unclean, and that black dogs are the devil and MUST be killed. I have been walking my sister’s black dog in Toronto and had a group of muslim schoolchildren scream and run to the opposite side of the road. Yes, in Canada. FACT! This is why we are now seeing cases of people with guide dogs being refused access to some taxis and buses with muslim drivers in Britain and yes, Canada – happened in BC. It’s why muslims in Spain tried to have the government in one city ban dogs in public places. Their retaliation when they lost, was to poison dogs.
          I know someone who works with an organization which rehomes street dogs from Iran, and the government there has outlawed pet dogs on religious grounds, so thousands more have been tossed into the streets.But despite what I say being FACT, I am a bigot, lol. Well dare to look for yourself, have a good long look at the dog meat trade photos? So because it is fact that this torture continues in several parts of Asia, I am bigoted for saying so? Get a grip!
          Oh and btw, we have dogs rescued from that horror too.
          Here are just a few of the more well known stories, but if you follow the rescue groups in some of these countries, you will hear of things like this daily.
          http://inmemoryofvucko.org/2013/02/23/dog-beheaded-in-bosnia/

          http://inmemoryofvucko.org/photographs-and-videos/

          http://www.care2.com/news/member/432612950/1461193

          http://serbiananimalsvoice.com/2010/03/29/bulgaria-dog-has-all-four-legs-cut-off-with-an-axe/

          http://balkansanimalsuffering.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/serbia-nis-city-190310-%E2%80%93-dogs-drowned-and-then-hung-from-tree-%E2%80%93-newspaper-translation-and-protest-letter-to-mayor-of-nis-city/

          Read at the end how 50,000 galgos meet their end when hunters have no more use. One favourite is called “piano playing” because the dogs are hung with their hind feet touching ground, they can take hours or days to die. WELL documented.
          http://galgorescue.org/spanish-galgo/

          Dog rape, common in several countries. Legal in some.
          https://www.facebook.com/pages/Justice-for-the-dog-brutally-raped-and-killed-in-Sincan-Turkey/198793526807906

          Dog meat trade in several Asian countries, INTENTIONAL death by slow and horrific torture because of the belief it improves the meat. Well documented FACT!
          http://www.google.ca/search?rlz=1R2GGNI_enUS444&q=dog%20meat%20trade&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=GTfkUfunDofrygHTp4HYBQ&biw=1600&bih=721&sei=QTfkUa-GBMvryAHKh4G4Bw

          Boiling alive, skinning alive, burning the hair off with blow torches alive, all in view of each other. Just a few of the preferred methods. Don’t believe it? Google, or visit Soi Dog Foundation, and Trade of Shame:
          http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&biw=1600&bih=721&site=imghp&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=dogs+meat+trade&oq=dogs+meat+trade&gs_l=img.3..0i24.54576.58297.0.58579.15.11.0.4.4.0.196.1252.3j7.10.0….0…1c.1.19.img.2mZ_4z9MKQI#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=7sntJcp24-srcM%3A%3BWAh9BhW7LgcfsM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fcauses-prod.caudn.com%252Fphotos%252Fphotos%252FKX%252Fk2%252FeS%252FeW%252F1V%252FAy%252FqM%252FOrB.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.causes.com%252Factions%252F1665543-nobody-touch-the-dog-stop-dog-cruelty-and-tortures-in-china%3B640%3B426

          and the list goes on, and on, and on, and on. Yes, you need to educate yourself. You appear to be one of those who don’t want to know however, as is te case with most breeders, who profit from the sale of purebreds. They all say the same thing, we don’t make money. BS!!!

      • You want to argue with ME? Well, my purebred, 5 year old, intact bitch has never even so much as had her butt sniffed by another dog, male or female. So don’t blame ME for pet overpopulation!!! My dog has not and never will be bred. Having animals spayed/neutered is a cash cow for all the vets, and it is the lazy person’s (most!!!) contraception. You can just take your finger-pointing generalizations and shove them you-know-where!!! I only buy purebred pups, from only the best breeders, for a very good reason. My pups have all had LONG, HEALTHY LIVES, and I happen to like it that way. No hip-dysplasia. No seizures. No other genetic crap. While I feel sorry for homeless dogs and other animals, I feel far more ANGER towards humans who, for the most part, have proven to be (at least in my 59 years of first-hand experience) stupid a–holes, at best. Look at ANY problem on this planet. It was ALWAYS caused by at least 1 human… duh… You wanna fix all of the world’s problems??? Start with all of the humans… FIX them to begin with. Oh, and by the way, every single pup in the litter I’ve been waiting for, but one, was already spoken for with $$$ well before they were even born. And the 8th pup had a LONG waiting list that no doubt fought hard for that last pup. This, IMHO, is the way it ought to be… but tell me, WHO really cares what I think? Everyone here just wants to be RIGHT…

        • I agree with you in that spaying/neutering is a cash grab by vets, and I am very outspoken about this fact. I have to say however, that you would be the huge exception to the rule, most people are not so conscientious when it comes to unaltered animals. I also personally would prefer not to put an animal through the torment of being in season repeatedly over years, and never being able to satisfy the urge to mate and rear babies.
          And you said it – every pup but for one, spoken for with DOLLARS. The almighty dollar.

  8. I adopted fron Dianne Alden through Tails From Greece and I am sooooooo gratefull to her, she made things easy and painless and I just love my little Lilly!! Thank you Tails From Greece!

  9. There is an endless pit of suffering animals in these countries. It would be better to spend the money trying to get animals spayed a neutered in these places. There are countless dogs already being euthanized for no good reason in North America. Save some of them! I think the whole thing is a bit ridiculous….

    • its a nice idea in theory to get these animals spayed and neutered in these places, but it works in theory only. In reality, the numbers are prohibitive, and we are up against cultural differences and politics.

    • There are several organizations that do just this. CANDI works in Mexico running large spay/neuter clinics as many times a year as they can afford (2-3x). The rescues often work together with these groups to both send volunteers and take on the worst dogs found during the clinic.

    • Many of us who have adopted internationally, also support organizations which educate, push the spay/neuter message, and do what they can to cut euthanasia rates here at home, as well as educate the people and help alleviate the suffering of companion animals in many other countries where they are viewed as vermin, to be horribly abused. (honestly most people would be sick if they knew the kinds of abuse these animals suffer in huge numbers) The neglect and deliberate cruelty which is common in places like Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Greece, Crete, and the Middle East, or in the incredibly vicious and barbaric dog/cat meat trade in Asia, is heart wrenching, and many of us simply can not look away. It is a very small number, a lucky few that make it out, and there are also many of us who do more than our own share here at home. When people ask me now “aren’t there dogs here to rescue?” I say “yes, I have adopted several…how many do you have?” The answer is often none. I think of it as not adding to the world’s population of dogs, and to me it doesn’t matter where the dog comes from. People who want to argue, should argue with those who don’t spay and neuter, and those who treat animals as disposable objects rather than a serious committment for the life of the animal, or with those who continue to breed dogs for profit, or who view a purebred as being more valuable. The heart and loyalty of a dog do not recognize breed, yet many people do not look at a cross bred the same. We need to change attitudes as well as keep improving the numbers in shelters here at home, but a suffering dog in another part of the world, has as much right, and less chance at a happy ending than any dog in Canada or the US.

  10. OK, I’ll say it. I wish people could show this level of compassion towards poor and homeless people in Canada. Imagine if all this money and time spent rescuing dogs in foreign lands was put toward providing shelter, food, education and career assistance for PEOPLE here at home?

    • it is heartening to see that among the many comments on this article, only few fell into that well known favorite trap dog vs. human. the cynics (who are rarely vegetarian) see through this immoral concern with animals. they know people are so much more deserving of compassion. all those homeless, if we could only pay $200 put them in a cage and send them to a good home! yet the homeless themselves know that with a dog by their side, the caring citizen will drop a buck easier in the cup. why is that?

      • So how many homeless do you house?

        • enough to feel i am in a position to talk about what it takes to help fix that problem. there is no comparison btw helping dogs and helping people, that is all i mean. so do not make it. stay with the problem at hand.

          • It takes nothing away from a human, to be kind to an animal, and in my experience, the people who are compassionate to animals, are usually at least equally compassionate to humans, though rarely the other way round.

    • Compassion and kindness are things that spread… showing compassion towards animals makes a human heart grow…. Watching someone being kind to an animal will make people act with kindness towards others…animals and humans alike!

  11. My late dog Sunny was rescued from a high-kill shelter in Ohio and got to me via transport truck volunteers to the GTA. He was the greatest dog I ever knew.

  12. I adopted a puppy from the Bahamas- called a Potcake. my family and I were looking here for a while, and every time we went into the local humane societies, the only dogs there were pitbull/Rottweiler/other large crosses that just would not work in our house- they were either to big for the house, made my mother uncomfortable (she is nervous with bigger dogs) or needed a lot of vet bills covered. I had heard about Potcakes through a coach of mine, and it seemed perfect. not only is my puppy not going to get to big, but it was cheaper flying her in and adopting her, then going to our local places; and we could determine what size of dog we could handle. As bad as I feel for dogs in Canada and wish they could all find homes, the humane societies don’t make it easy to adopt, with a lengthy process. If/when the time comes, I wouldn’t think twice about adopting a second dog from a different country and saving their life. I should also mention that the women who I got my dog through fixes all puppies unless they are found to young.

  13. Maybe instead of vilifying those who may stand on the other side of this issue, celebrate that both sides choose responsible pet ownership and choose to adopt rather than perpetuate the breeding of ‘purebred’ or ‘pedigree’ animals. In the end, we are all on the side of protecting and saving animals in need.

    • who should breed dogs? should all dogs be “rescues”? should all dogs be crossbred and then claimed as “rescues”. will there always be an endless supply of “rescues”? should rescues be the only dogs available to people?

      • No one has all the answers, but until populations of homeless dogs are at manageable levels, to the point where shelters do not euthanize for lack of space, then perhaps breeders should think about WHY they breed. I guarantee you that the majority factor in money somewhere along the line. There are purebred dogs going through shelters and rescues every single day, they are not immune to the carelessness of a throwaway society. Something that is so easy to get and so easily discarded, is often just not valued, plain and simple.

  14. It always amazes me to hear people comment on animal rescue organizations in a negative way. There is no difference in a persons passion who wants to help, whether it be animal or human and I find those who can’t see the positive in this story are the ones that do nothing for either. If EVERYONE helped in some way this world would be a different place.

    • Thank you for this insight. It is incredible the compassion of these people and I am sure they have made a huge difference for both dogs and their humans!

  15. I deeply appreciate any organization that strives to alleviate the plight of animals regardless of locale. I chose to adopt a dog from Greece without a thought of where it was coming from. It was an animal in need that had no chance for a future. A life saved is a life saved, plain and simple.

  16. So sad that dogs are still euthanized in Canada or left to starve to death and die on First Nations yet countless dogs are imported. We have our own very serious issues with an overpopulation of dogs in Canada and need to fix that before dogs are imported. It is not possible to rescue all of these dogs and a more long term solution of spaying and neutering is really the solution.If we continue to import dogs, these countries will not try to solve their overpopulation issues.

    • reserve dogs are typically large breed dogs, are you suggesting that if one wants a dog, someone like you will determine what kind and size? Sort of a doggie dictatorship? the only other reliable way to find a small breed dog in Alberta is on kijiji or from a pet store, neither of which I would support.

      • I see this as the reverse.. YOU are the one dictating to others. Do not breed.. only “adopt” only get a ‘rescue” never buy a dog where you want to only where YOU want them to. doesn’t the very fact that there are no small dogs available tell you something?

        • there are small dogs available – lots and lots and lots of them, from California/Mexico, probably most US states. That is because people are breeding them in puppy mills – does the world need more puppy mills? Or genetically defective, inbred dogs?

          • Yes absolutely, there are a lot of small dogs available. Just get on fb and look at the shelter death row dogs, and rescue pages.

    • Agreed!!

      • Agreed what? That other countries need to spay and neuter? How about mandatory spay neuter for ALL First Nations dogs around the country!

    • First nations are among the worst offenders for overpopulation and abuse. And any Odets of help are rejected. The reserves are not subject to any animal control bylaws and often flaunt their right to let their dogs roam and make puppies. Time to crack down!

  17. I have a Mexican rescue from Pawsitive Match. It was the single most effective change I have made in my life – I bettered my life and the life of a dog doomed to live in a garbage dump or on the streets, dying of erlichea. Until you have travelled to countries with dire conditions, you cannot understand that its a cultural issue – how we treat our anmials is different from how they are treated in India, Mexico or any third world country. I am not disputing that there are plenty of dogs in Canada who need saving, but if you know the deplorable situations that these dogs are subjected to…..being shot, being dragged, being kicked, thrown out like garbage, or burned with boiling cooking oil….you could not turn your back either. I will not feel guilty for saving a Mexican dog. He needed me, and I needed him. As far as I am concerned, you are either part of the problem, or part of the solution. Don’t buy, adopt. Don’t complain, participate. Don’t judge, CONTRIBUTE.

    • I so agree, I have a Mexican rescue, through Mexpup. He was neutered, had all his shots and tests to make sure there were no health issues and had to have numerous vet clearances before he was brought into the country. I am a foster home for Mexpup, and he was my second foster, and a failure. He has been with me for a year and a half now and I have not once thought it was the wrong choice. He had scars on his back from something nasty, and would not have survived long down there. He is perfect for me, and my loving companion that I was missing. When Mexpup adopts their dogs out, they do a home check and have the adopters sign a contract, of care and safety for the animal. If they find they can not keep the dog, or care for it properly, we take it back into care. So none of our dogs end up in another shelter to sit and wait for their forever home. Mexpup is a registered, non-profit group and the fee for adopting the dogs covers part of their vet bill only. I was at the SPCA a few months back looking at a pet for my son. There was a pricelist of what they want for their dogs. I was shocked! If they don’t want the dogs sitting in there for so long, possibly they should charge a more realistic rate for adopting. In Canada, we do not have kill shelters, so yes it was an easy choice for me. Take a dog out of an Acopia, where he faced certain death, and give him a loving life, or go to a local shelter, where the majority of the dogs were either far too large or energetic for me. If you saw the pictures of these poor animals, missing limbs, most often not removed by a vet, covered in mange and suffering horribly, then saw them after they are brought into care and got the help that they need, You would know this is a good thing you have done. The only thing I would suggest, is that no matter what group you go through, make sure they are registered, and that things are done properly, to make sure those animals are clean and free of disease before they come to Canada.

  18. I really wish people wouldn’t be so blind about the plight of sheltered animals here in Canada, BC and in particular Vancouver. For these animals for pity sake, consider adopting them before you go elsewhere in the world and adopt them. Support your local shelters first before you support out of country (and province for that matter) shelter and most importanty consider adopting a sheltered animal before you “buy” a “Milled” animal!!

    • The day my partner and I decided to move in, I started checking my local shelter everyday. Unfortunately the place we rent only accepts small dogs and my partner is allergic to certain breeds. I then began to spread my search to different shelters in my province and even some out of province. A few dogs seemed appropriate, however when I inquired they were gone. With the organization we did adopt from, they were able to interview my partner and I, inspect the house, allowed us to spend time with the dog and then gave us a few days to discuss. I say support the adopting of a dog in need regardless of locale.

  19. What about the disease factor? How many of these dogs, which they clearly state are sickly, have potentially brought a new disease to Canada? One that could. It only affect dogs, but be zoonotic and jump to humans. I understand that “dogs don’t see borders” but neither do viruses.

    • Disease Factor? Funny one of the many Canadian dogs we have/had adopted came from a local Humane Society shelter. She had caught parvo there at the shelter, We had her treated, thanks to our Vet. and she pulled through. Our Vet reported it to shelter they cleaned house by destroying all the dogs left there. Not attempt of treating them. If the dog makes it to the shelter.The shelters overseas treat the animals for the illness, not dispose of them like garbage. These shelters also provide free spay neuter services.

    • RK makes a good point, there is MUCH disease in Canada, parvo being the most prevalent. We have dogs adopted here, and from abroad, and those that came from abroad had to be vaccinated, microchipped and health checked, and they arrived healthy and parasite free.

  20. I adopted my Mexican pup from PMRF last year during a difficult time in my life. I went to an adoption fair and there she was. It did not matter to me that she was from afar; I loved her from that day forward and she is the best decision I have ever made. Adopting has given me a broader knowledge of animal welfare issues in Canada as well across the world. There are no easy solutions to the welfare issues this country and others face but I do know one thing, it starts with individuals. Adopting has made me want to give back in the community and also internationally because a life is a life. Helping here or helping there does not matter. It just matters that you in some way if you can.

  21. The discourse this article has precipitated is phenomenal.

    It is fair to question why domestic dogs in need of adoption exist in Canada. It is fair to question why we have homeless. Money is certainly not the answer as we are one of the wealthiest nations in the world. What seems to be a more probable case may be the laws and implementation of these laws.

    We should be asking questions like: “Why are pet stores still allowed to sell dogs? Why are breeders and “puppy mills” still allowed to populate dogs when we have dogs in shelters? Why are these shelters not funded more by our taxes? Is the government allocating funds in the best interest of our societies most vulnerable?”

    My personal view is that it is morally wrong to take on an ethnocentric view. I would like to thank these individuals, regardless if they are going abroad or are staying home. You are all amazing for donating your resources.

  22. While my heart breaks for these dogs, we should be spending money in the countries in which they live, with spay and neuter and rehoming programmes. We should not be bringing in so many dogs from other countries. Canada has it’s own dog problem with hundreds of dogs every day finding their way to shelters and rescue organisations, having been abandoned, injured, abused or tied up and neglected. We should be putting all our resources in Canada to helping these dogs first.

    • Agree!!

    • As I have already stated more than once throughout my comments here, the organizations which rescue in other countries, are almost exclusively also involved in efforts to spay/neuter/release, which is proving to be the most effective method of controlling numbers. Just google – Soi Dogs the movie, and see what they do. The fact remains however that of the fraction of dogs that actually get the chance to be adopted, the overwhelming majority only get that chance due to foreigners.
      Many people put tremendous resources into helping here at home as well, ourselves included, however I refuse to feel guilty for being moved to adopt dogs that have known nothing but cruelty in other parts of the world. I have one that was beaten so severely in Thailand that she lost an eye, I have another that had a foot intentionally cut off in Kosovo. (both every day occurences in these countries btw) If you can ignore stories such as these good for you, perhaps you sleep at night, but in addition to the dogs we have adopted from overseas, we put efforts and support into education for those regions. It doesn’t mean we don’t work equally hard for dogs here in Canada.
      Please tell me why is it that a breeder can send dogs all round the world, buying and selling particular bloodlines, and because they are using these dogs to profit, it’s ok, but those of us who take a street dog that had virtually no chance of adoption, and by whose adoption we didn’t increase the planet’s population by even one, are viewed as somehow caring less about dogs here at home? My overwhelming experience, is that the people who criticize, are normally those who do nothing on either front.

  23. As a Canadian living abroad and working in animal welfare in my adopted country, I read this article with great interest. I applaud the work of groups finding homes in Canada for dogs from abroad. The people who criticize this work are usually the same people who don’t help people or animals. Canada is a big, beautiful country, with so much land and so many resources. Stay compassionate Canadians. The world needs your help.

  24. I volunteer with & foster for a rescue society in Alberta. While I agree with the sentiment that we have dogs in our country that need rescue, how can you fault anyone for saving an animal’s life, no matter where they are from. We bred these animals as companions. It is our duty to help them, as they cannot help themselves. People, on the other hand CAN pick themselves up and change their lives. Animals can’t.

    • So true.

  25. Northern Dogs face the same end as dogs in these other countries. I’ve heard and read where animal control or the police or residents go in and cull the dogs, ie kill. So clean up our messes here and then work to save dogs elsewhere. Take the dogs out of the shelters here, find them ALL homes, then worry about dogs in India, China etc. There’s no excuse for homeless anything here, be it dogs, cats people. I have animals, 3 out of 4 of my cats are rescues. My dog’s mother came from Northern Ontario, my first dog was a pound dog. I’ve seen video of dogs being rescued off reserves, with a little grooming, food and care, these are gorgeous dogs. My dog looks like alot of the dogs you see now on sled teams.

  26. Google “Dogs With No Names” if you want a good example of just the tip of the iceberg of the homeless suffering plight we have here across our good ‘ole Canada. Our First Nations reservations are home to tens of thousands of homeless feral dogs scavenging for water and food, and most not making it through our harsh winters. Ponder that and justify the expense of air fares and shelter occupancy from importing.
    I feel for the entire worlds animal populations, but it is abysmal what we ignore right here at home. The above is a book written by a local vet and is wonderful, enlightening and is trying to do something to curb the problem.

  27. I just rescued a puntacana dominican dog and have met the local vet and a lady who has established an organization in Dominican called the red collars. She has been trying to work to control the population in her country and has even proven that it can be done with a spaying program. The government does not care nor do the hotels who find it less expensive to hire a local to poison them. Canadians and Dominicans have tried talking with the resorts in Punta Cana to show them that they are poisoning the ones they have worked so hard raising money to spay. No one wants to listen.It costs 10.00cad to spay a dog there and over 200 cad here. Makes me wonder. With A rescue donation, schools in that country are helped and clothing goes back with the empty dog crates.Governments should be paying attention and all these resort chains which are from many areas around the world should work together with the locals and there in lies the solution .

    • over 200 dollars to spay – i WISH!

      i was quoted $503 dollar to neuter my 2yr old dog.

      then i realized that neutering is actually a non-issue, since i am a responsible pet owner who doesn’t let him racket about and who has built a relationship such that he knows he’s not to mount. of course, i can’t do anything about neutered males attacking him (this is a known problem with altered dogs) but i’m not going to jeopardize his health because others cannot and will not control their dogs.

  28. I am a dog owner, I love our Sandy, he is here at work with us today as a matter of fact. We make his meals daily from scratch, walk and play with him everyday and he is a rescue,…so what I’m about to say will not be popular with a certain sector of the animal loving population. Bottom line, tens of thousands of dogs are euthanized in Canada every year. Think about that people. Perfectly lovable, adoptable beautiful animals die in our shelters every year. Why! Most of us just want to help and sometimes we do not realize the social injustice we cause with our good intentions. If you want to help, we need to adopt at home first, then lets look at the incredible, ungodly cost of bring dogs in from overseas. Wow, what a privileged world we live in…with all our social issues in the world, let alone our own neighbors. Think of all the good that could come from the money, love and effort…it boggles the mind. All of the good will could go to animal shelters, IN THOSE COUNTRYS, where they could be treated, vaccinated and if THEY ARE UNABLE TO FIND LOVING HOMES, they could be given the resources to put the animals down HUMANELY. Sometimes doing the right Thing is tough, But if dogs and cats are being euthanized in Canada, by the tens of thousands,…we need to start thinking about more, than ourselves.

    • “Perfectly lovable, adoptable beautiful animals die in our shelters every year”

      perfectly lovable, adoptable children get returned to the CAS every year.

      why is that?

      could it be that picking a dog, like picking a child, isn’t a matter of bellying up to the counter and saying “yeah, i’ll have a number three male, blond, blue, and can i get a side of fries with that? oh – can i get him extra dark, too?”

  29. The comments people give to justify bringing in diseased dogs from other continents are dangerous and irrational propaganda put out by the animal rights cults. Many of these animals bring parasites not known to this country putting all livestock and humans at risk and destroying the farmland with dangerous bacteria, insects and parasites. Sleeping sickness use to be confined to Africa and now has appeared in the US due to such irrational actions. The bot fly was removed and so was canine rabies both of which have been reintroduced to the US by these rescue groups. The lie that has been propagated by the animal rights cults against purebred dogs as being less healthy haven been proven to be outright lies. Well bred purebred dogs by show breeders must be healthy or they cannot withstand the competition. All living creatures have 20 to 30 genetic issues some minor and others more severe. This is nature’s way of protecting the species should some on foreseen problem arise. Sickle cell anemia prevents malaria but only allows the person enough life to raise the next generation thus ensure the survival of the species. Mixed breed dogs or feral dogs have over a 129 possible genetic illnesses whereas most mixed breed dogs usually average only 6-10 genetic problems that might arise and more often than not do not simply because the breeders who care breed out these possible genetic issues. NO one is controlling the breeding of mixed breed or feral dogs and one can tell they are not healthy just by looking at them. Borders are relevant for the protection of human beings we have rules to prevent the transportation of exotic and dangerous diseases. To put animals above human beings is a travesty that should not be allowed. Heartworm disease a parasite born death decree has not moved all over the US instead of being limited to the southern regions thanks to the rescue groups who move dogs around this country to find them homes. We are now hearing from people who adopted these strays to find that the bite rate is up, illnesses in children from these animals is up and vet expenses are more than these people thought they would have to spend simply because these animals are not fit. Most alarming is the increase in direct contact with rabies infected animals as these animals come from places where rabies is not controlled especially the dogs from Puerto Rico, China, and India. This is where emotionalism and irrational thinking has taken over these people’s minds who have become so obsessed with the state of these animals that they are willing to risk your food supply, your health and the health of your animals in order to feel heroic because they have saved some stray animal. This needs to be stopped before it is too late for our own animals health, our children’s health and our future health of this country.

    • What an absolute crock of shite! We have adopted multiple dogs from overseas and know dozens of other adopters around the world, and I know of NOT ONE person who has had ANY medical issue that arrived with the dogs, except for a recurrence of demodectic mange, which is easily treated, and is also seen all the time in dogs everywhere here in North America. You mention heartworm, well hate to tell you but the rising annual temperatures mean it’s working it’s way north anyway, and anyone who has their dog here on the proper monthly parasite preventative, need not worry.Would like to know who is bringing in all these “diseased” dogs you speak of, the dogs we have imported were subjected to all kinds of tests before even being considered for travel! They were vet checked, vaccinated, parasite treated, and sterilized before they left, and have been healthier than dogs we have had from right here at home. The same can not be said of dogs which criss cross this country all the time. Absolutely laughable.

    • I hate to tell you, but with increasing annual temperatures, heartworm is working it’s way north anyway, and anyone who has their dog on the correct monthly preventative, does not need to fear it. Our dogs from overseas were subjected to far more tests, vaccinations and scrutiny, as well as sterilization, than most that criss cross this country every day, and of all the people around the globe that we know who have adopted internationally, not one has had any medical issue come up, except demodex, which is treatable and is found in dogs everywhere including here. These people who are “importing diseased dogs” that you speak of, are who?
      No one is controlling the breeding of mixed breed and feral dogs? Pure bred dogs must be healthy or couldn’t stand the competition? lol. Watch this, ALL of it, and give me that argument again!
      http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/pedigree-dogs-exposed/

  30. The comments people give to justify bringing in diseased dogs from other continents are dangerous and irrational propaganda put out by the animal rights cults. Many of these animals bring parasites not known to this country putting all livestock and humans at risk and destroying the farmland with dangerous bacteria, insects and parasites. Sleeping sickness use to be confined to Africa and now has appeared in the US due to such irrational actions. The bot fly was removed and so was canine rabies both of which have been reintroduced to the US by these rescue groups. The lie that has been propagated by the animal rights cults against purebred dogs as being less healthy haven been proven to be false and based upon no research at all. Well bred purebred dogs by show breeders must be healthy or they cannot withstand the competition. All living creatures have 20 to 30 genetic issues some minor and others more severe. This is nature’s way of protecting the species should some on foreseen problem arise. Sickle cell anemia prevents malaria but only allows the person enough life to raise the next generation thus ensure the survival of the species. Mixed breed dogs or feral dogs have over a 129 possible genetic illnesses whereas the majority of purebred dogs usually average only 6-10 genetic problems that might arise. Because the breeders who care breed to control these genetic issues the great majority of purebred dogs are healthy. NO one is controlling the breeding of mixed breed or feral dogs and one can tell they are not healthy just by looking at them. Borders are relevant for the protection of human beings we have rules to prevent the transportation of exotic and dangerous diseases. To put animals above human beings is a travesty that should not be allowed. Heartworm is a parasite caused death sentence and life long expense for the pet owner. It was previously only found in the southern regions, but has move further north due to these rescue groups shipping infected dogs north for more money. We are now hearing from people who adopted these strays to find that the bite rate is up, illnesses in children from these animals is up and vet expenses are more than these people thought they would have to spend simply because these animals are not fit. Most alarming is the increase in direct contact with rabies infected animals as these animals come from places where rabies is not controlled especially the dogs from Puerto Rico, China, and India. This is where emotionalism and irrational thinking has taken over these people’s minds who have become so obsessed with the state of these animals that they are willing to risk your children’s health, your health and the health of your animals in order to feel heroic because they have saved some stray animal. This needs to be stopped before it is too late for our own animals health, our children’s health and our future health of this country.

    • I hate to tell you, but with increasing annual temperatures, heartworm is working it’s way north anyway, and anyone who has their dog on the correct monthly preventative, does not need to fear it. Our dogs from overseas were subjected to far more tests, vaccinations and scrutiny, as well as sterilization, than most that criss cross this country every day, and of all the people around the globe that we know who have adopted internationally, not one has had any medical issue come up, except demodex, which is treatable and is found in dogs everywhere including here. These people who are “importing diseased dogs” that you speak of, are who?
      No one is controlling the breeding of mixed breed and feral dogs? Watch this, ALL of it, and give me that argument again!
      http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/pedigree-dogs-exposed/

    • sorry – but your statement that it’s importing dogs from southern areas that has caused heartworm to spread is very false.

      first off, if you’re an ontario vet, then you are fully aware that the reporting of diseases like heartworm is strictly voluntary. right now, if you check, you will see that (for example) north bay ontario is heartworm free.

      however, i have certain knowledge of three dogs – on the same street in north bay! – that are heartworm positive. two of them are local born and bred and have been fighting heartworm for years. the third is a dog from florida who was rescued and imported in november of last year – he was a weak positive but after one shot of doxycycline and a few months of heartworm preventative (revolution), he has tested negative twice in a row (the other two dogs, btw, are still testing positive even after imiticide). but you check, the most current statistics are still zero.

      in north bay, my bff is STILL seeing mosquitoes – that never happened even a decade ago. august was the end of mosquito season.

  31. I applaud her generosity and her heart behind her efforts HOWEVER, has she not looked around Canada and seen Canada’s problems with unwanted animals?

    RIGHT HERE AT HOME, right here IN QUEBEC; thousands of dogs die every year: euthanized because they are unwanted. MANY DURING MOVING SEASON. Many abandoned street side. We are OVERWHELMED with puppy mills. Are the abandoned and sick dogs here, on death row and slated for euthanasia not worth saving? All that money spent on travel expenses alone to India or whatever could be spent on SPCA’s and rescues RIGHT HERE!!!!!

    We are ALREADY OVERPOPULATED!!! She’s simply adding to it by bringing in MORE!!!

    Sorry, but I think she’s just adding to our already current problem.

    • And what have you done to alleviate the situation? How many dogs have you adopted here? How much time do you spend networking shelter dogs here? What do you do to educate others here?

    • I completely agree with you VHunter. The need to adopt from abroad is reducing the problem to this one dog that you have fallen in love with and can’t bear to “abandon”. In the meantime you are closing your eyes to the real problem which is also a political and social one. As long as we don’t have stronger laws to protect animals from abuse and neglect, people will continue to see animals as “things”. We HAVE to start at home and part of our work has to be political. I also believe that there is a selfish aspect to adopting from abroad. E.G. wanting tat small dog, or making yourself feel good. In reality the thousands of dollars spent on importing dogs from abroad could go a long way either in their countries of origin or locally here. I also can’t help but suspect that someone is making a business from all of this (i.e. some resues being more like brokers than rescues). Speaking to the dangers of desease, $20.- may go a long ways in countries like India or Mexico, where you have high levels of corruption, to provide health certificates that are worth nothing. So, the concerns about health issues brought into the country are real. One last comment to the person who is a breeder. Having owned rescue dogs and pure bred dogs: High quality breeders are not the problem here. What gives people the right to demand that everyone should rescue? Rescue dogs would be more what some people would be able to handle (- my last rescue dog was a very challenging dog and when he died at age 15 I decided that my next dog would be a well bred, well socialized pup who would be able to be looked after by everyone. Don’t get me wrong, I did not regret getting my rescue and he was a great dog in many ways BUT there were lot of sacrifices I had to make – simply something that not everyone can or wants to do.)
      Rescue or pure bred, I think while we should think globally we must act locally to make a real difference and in order to sustain our efforts it can’t stop with adopting 1, or 2, or even 3 dogs. We have to fight for differences in laws and attitudes – it’s called educating people.

      • Selfishness? I assure you I do without many things to be able to do what I do, regardless of what country the dogs are in. “High quality breeders” is an interesting statement, firstly considering what breeding by “quality show breeders” has done to most of the breeds we currently know, and secondly since they are generally the ones who make the most money from breeding. They are also the ones who fly dogs back and forth all over the world in order to profit more, yet because they are in business, attract no criticism
        Yes there are some scam artists involved in animal rescue in every country, and some of the worst are at work right here in North America, pulling dogs to foster, collecting funds donated for them by caring people, and then dumping the dogs. Happens regularly, and those of us who network dogs share names and photos to try and avoid others being duped, and more importantly, no more animals suffering at their hands.
        I am assuming since you think that “the thousands of dollars” could be better spent, that you do not smoke, drink, eat out, buy coffee, go to movies or on vacations, or treat yourself to anything at all, as that money could go to better use? If not, then you have quite the nerve to suggest where others should spend their spare dollars.
        I said to someone else, that no person has all the answers, but you talk about changing things here at home, well my attitude changed when I became involved in rescue, and realised that until every dog is considered of worth, and not just those in a pretty package with an impressive pedigree, that nothing will change for the better. I have always admired several breeds, but to me a dog is a dog is a dog now, they are all deserving.
        Educating people is definitely what needs to be done, I agree on that point, however I believe that must include all countries, not just our own, and if you think that things would improve here if no one ever imported another dog, give your head a shake.

  32. As an animal welfare advocate and past rescuer – I understand the heart behind rescuing ANY dog. My concern is what is best for the entire community of dogs. When in Nova Scotia we don’t have laws tough enough to get a tethered samoyed pup in outrageous and abusive conditions off a 24/7 chain why are we looking elsewhere to bring in dogs? Wouldnt it be better to build a shelter/rescue system that works with supported and enforceable laws? Then we could be the best example to other communities as to how it is done. In the last short while there have become 80 sled dogs in BC needing rescue, 27 dogs rescued from hoarding in Manitoba, puppy mill seizures, airlifts of dogs from Labrador, too numerous to mention tethering cases across the country, dogs dying in hot cars, dogs and families needing services due to flooding etc. These are CANADIAN DOG ISSUES. To me I look at these situations where is it better to teach a community how to make a well.. or offer them a glass of water? I am compassionate enough to appreciate all the hard work ANY ethical rescuer does…. and will respect their right to choose what dogs they want to rescue. I just wish Canada could be a MUCH better example to the world on how animals should be treated. That is the best way we can help more animals worldwide.

    • Great contribution. Couldn’t agree more with you Heather!

      • You two must know each other.

        • no, both heather and you, becca, have excellent points.

          if the shelter system were actually functional and accessible, ppl wouldn’t feel compelled to turn to foreign adoption. at least they’d get more bang for the large sums of money they put out. many shelters here in ontario charge for a stray mutt as much as a breeder charges for an unpapered off-standard purebred.

          where i live, we don’t even HAVE a shelter for dogs. if you have a litter of cute adorable kittens, then the pet store will take them in if they’re not too crowded. otherwise, adult cats and all dogs go to the pound in the next city where they are put down because space is reserved for ratepayer’s animals. but oh, of course they charge us the exact same surrender fee even though the animal won’t have a hope of being adopted out.

          that’s how i ended up with this flea-ridden, worm-infested 5mo old behemoth of a chimera (who is omg sweet as sugar and cute as two buttons when she looks at you with those eyes!).

    • And as I just said to someone above, if we never imported another dog from anywhere, nothing would ever change here. Breeders fly dogs all over the world to “improve” lines, but as they are in business, they seem to be above reproach.
      I have several dogs adopted right here as well as my internationally adopted dogs, and overwhelmingly, the people who criticize do nothing for dogs in need anywhere.
      Yes we need to change laws and attitudes here, but those of us who have internationally adopted dogs are usually the ones trying to do it here as well as elsewhere, while many who find fault do nothing more than talk.

  33. The real problem lies with the mass consumption of pets (particularly puppies and kittens) in North America. Rescuing these animals is certainly humane but it likely does nothing to stem the flow of strays or address the real issues behind the millions of orphaned animals in the USA. The problem is that we have a society and lifestyle in North America that is not pet-friendly and most families with Mom and Dad commuting* and the children in extra-cirriculars have no time for pet’s let alone a puppy requiring a great deal of attention and over a decade or two of care. Sadly, puppies and kittens are a commodity marketed by reality TV (in the case of Pick-a-Puppy) and the masses go out and purchase these animals like any other consumer good. How many underestimate the committment? How many realize they can’t make the committment after they have had the dog for about 6 months+? In my circle of friends and acquaintances I know of at least 1/2 dozen who gave up or euthanized pet’s they never should have acquired in the first place. I won’t get much support for writing this but most families are ill-equiped to have any kind of pet because their lifestyle is incompatible but they just don’t get it.

    *worse yet, single-parent and divorced couples juggling custody and commutes!

    • 730 yesterday morning (a sunday!) my doorbell rang.

      now i have a 5mo old puppy who, at about 5lbs underweight, weighs 30lbs; is all ribs; has a nasty case of tapeworm AND roundworm; has no housetraining at all (she was left locked on the porch or turned loose to roam around untethered in an unfenced yard); and has fleas.

      quote of the day: “she ran out of food yesterday or maybe the day before but we’re moving in a couple hours so it wasn’t worth it to buy any more”.

      on top of all that, she’s part german shepherd, part rottweiler….

      …. and part basset hound!

      tan rotti markings are brindled
      face is GSD shaped
      ears are brindled, overlarge, half-prick, and very floppy
      body of a rottweiler
      tail and legs of a basset hound.

      oi, vey.

      i saw her the day they got her – i told them to send her back, she’s far too young bec her eyes are still blue. they assured me they’re supposed to be and i said you’ve been had. she’s too young to be away from her mother. then i suggested that since they have an 8mo old baby, a puppy is a really bad move right now – they scoffed.

      there is a guy coming tomorrow to look her over – before his illness, he was a professional trainer for the CNIB (basic obedience and puppy training) and he’s very familiar with the conditions often found with throw-away pups. bec of his illness, he can’t manage high-energy dogs but she is amazing low-key for a pup. it’s not medical, either, the vet cleared that. if he doesn’t want her, i’ll get her vetted and trained so she will find a very good home.

  34. it’s the same thing as with orphaned children.

    perhaps if canadian shelters didn’t charge such exorbitant fees – hundreds of dollars! – and require the putative adopter to jump through a mind-numbing series of hoops (one rescue requires not only a home visit but an initial in-shelter visit that must include not only every member of the family, but also anybody who frequents the house on a regular basis including but not limited to extended family members, babysitters, employees such as housekeepers and gardeners, visiting nurses, etc!), ppl wouldn’t be so quick to look to other countries or to breeders. [btw: they've done studies and it doesn't matter how restrictive and nitpicking the adoptive process is, there is no difference in the outcome statistics]

    why should i pay the same for a shelter mutt as i would for an unpapered purebred or a dog that comes with an exotic story?

  35. People really need to wake up. I fostered for years and felt great doing it. BUT, rescue has become a well oiled pr machine and big business. Lots of for profit rescues, doing everything from displaying dogs in malls to making people feel guilty for buying a well bred dog from a responsible breeder. If someone chooses to go to a breeder they are not responsible for a shelter dog dying. That is nonsense, it is the person who surrendered the dog who is responsible. There isn’t an overpopulation problem, look at the numbers. They will show you that there are more than enough homes for all the shelter dogs and all the breeders pups every year. So why are shelters euthanizing? Poor management practices and the transporting of dogs to fill the shelters.

  36. A rescued spitz urgently requires a loving home. He is fully vaccinated, neutered and dewormed. If no adoption is followed he will have to be back on streets.i only have him till 26th of this month, then i will have to abandon him. please adopt the playful loving and sweet dog. contact on 8879501306. Thanks

  37. As a breeder, I am offended by the overall consensus that pedigreed dogs have health problems and are weakened by inbreeding. Quality breeders differ. I show and breed Champion dogs. My dogs are all checked by OFA Foundation for Animals (OFA) for healthy hips that are free of dysplasia and are tested for hearing before they are ever bred. I breed for good temperaments, healthy dogs and of course beauty. I always take any dog back that happens to get into a shelter environment. Mine leave here microchipped and registered to me so they will always come back to me if needed. I have rescued many dogs of my breed and others and rehomed them to loving homes. I love all animals and respect life and God.

  38. Thousands to save a dog while street children are abused and go hungry. Only in the West can we afford to skew our sense of values and justify it on compassion.

    • But countries won’t let you adopt street children. There’s a difference.

  39. I just adopted a dog from a so called dog rescuer. I suspect they are more a dog broker. I paid $400 for this dog and the rescue person yelled and screamed at me and told me she’s sorry she gave me the dog – because I had it vaccinated. These rescuers have far too much power and it has definitely gone to their heads.

  40. It’s too bad people don’t spend the money on spay/neuter initiatives. For the cost of transporting a dog, several could have been spayed/neuter in the community of concern, thus preventing the misery of future offspring. It would boost the infrastructure for local spay/neuter. I understand people connect with individual animals, but if you want to make the best use of your dollar, prevention is far more effective.

  41. I think that dogs, and all pet should taxed ,especially the ones that use the outdoors as their toilet , and pollute our water system. In a municipal Housing complex, that I know, there are dogs as big as myself living there, in the elevator, they take the space of three persons, they consume as much as an adult. I wish they paid their fare share as well. The bigger the pet, the more you pay taxes.

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