Residents of Kitchener, Ont., and their furry friends have been barking at the chance to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather. Although it hasn’t been the driest of springs, you won’t find the pups complaining. From Victoria Park to suburban neighbourhoods, these are some of the dogs of Kitchener.
Kilo is three and a half years old and when asked about his breed, his parents said, “Uh, we don’t know. He’s some sort of poodle mix.”
“We got him as a puppy,” said Heather Maitland, Kilo’s mom. “We adopted him from the pound. He likes to dig and he’ll do anything for a treat.
“He has never bitten or chewed anything,” she said. “Except one time that he found my new bottle of expensive liquid eyeliner that was still in its packaging. Like, two layers of packaging. And I woke up and he had the liquid eyeliner, all black, all over his mouth and all over the bed sheets. Maybe he thought it was his.”
Percy is an 11-year-old beagle mix who has been with his owner, Gale Coschi, for five years.
“He’s a rescue. He’s an old hunting dog from the Brancroft area and they think that he kind of just lived his life outside on the end of a chain, so not a lot of human socialization and affection and stuff like that,” said Coschi.
“He loves to eat. We have to avoid the park for about a week after Ribfest. People throw the bones in the bushes,” she said. “When I first got him, whenever he saw rabbits he would go crazy, but I think he’s kind of forgotten a bit about that now. He loves walks, he loves me, he’s very personable.”
Percy had a near-death experience when he was younger that almost left him blind.
“We used to live in a house and I’d have a morning coffee and open the back door and he would have his little morning piddle before I got dressed and took him out for a proper walk. So he was outside and I went to call him to have his breakfast and I didn’t see him. I noticed a black blob at the bottom of our pool. He had been wandering in my back flower bed and I had some wrought iron planters. His collar got caught under a planter and he tried to get away but he was hooked. It was a tall goose and it tumbled him into the pool and it held him under,” said Coschi. “I must have gotten there just in the nick of time. I was still in my pyjamas, my son was also. We jumped in the pool in the shallow end and I scooped him up, holding up his back end and the water was streaming out of his mouth. He was unconscious. My son ran in and called an animal hospital and they said to bring him in. So we hopped in the car still in our soaking wet pyjamas, drove there and carried him in. They stabilized him and we went home. They had called the Guelph vet school and we brought him there. He was in intensive care for two days. When he first got there he was blind, I guess from the lack of oxygen, and in two days he made a fantastic recovery. I think the only thing it compromised was his lung capacity a little bit. So when it’s really hot in the summer, along with him being black, I can’t be out too long with him because the panting isn’t too efficient for him.”
This is Softie, a 13-year-old golden retriever who is being cared for by his owner’s brother while he’s away at university. He was a Christmas gift to his owner when he was a puppy and has been with their family ever since.
“He’s a super relaxed dog. He’s definitely his namesake,” said Devon Pianosi. “He’s a big sleeper. Softie is his namesake for sure. He doesn’t play fetch, but when he was younger he would chase after the ball, catch the ball and then just lie down. He’s very much a couch potato.
“He loves eating food. That’s very particular of golden retrievers — as soon as they get the food they eat all of it immediately,” he said.
“The only times he ever really got into trouble were my brother’s fault,” laughed Pianosi. “So once, my brother left the basement door open, the basement back door open and the gate open, so he ran away that one time. He was gone a day. Somebody found him, brought him to the SPCA, they did the little microchip tag thing and we got him back. Also my brother left out a stick of butter one time and he ate the whole stick of butter.”
Bella is a Shih Tzu poodle mix who is turning nine this year. Her mom, Chenise Leroux, has had her for five years.
“She loves to sleep. Her favourite thing is Timbits, she loves those. Just the plain ones. She goes crazy. She loves little walks. She loves visiting my grandparents,” said Leroux. “She does a lot of weird stuff. She gives a lot of judgy looks, she’ll judge you all the time. And she’s very clumsy. We live in an apartment and this window in the apartment doesn’t even have a ledge but she thought there was, so the other day she jumped right into the window, like, smack dab right into it. She does little things like that all the time.”
Leroux said that Bella gets in trouble a lot.
“When she’s mad at me if I work too much, she rips apart my clothes, she eats my buttons on stuff, she’s ripped apart my shoes, she’ll do accidents in the bathroom sometimes just to get us mad. And she knows it was her. She runs and hides and she does her little puppy dog eyes to try and get out of it, and she usually does. Five minutes and we can’t be mad at her anymore.”
This Boston terrier’s name is Daisy and she’s around eight months old. Her mom, Alyssa Newberry, said she’s very happy, energetic and overly friendly.
“There isn’t really anything she dislikes,” said Newberry. “She loves everything. She loves going to the park, other people, other dogs, playing with toys. She hasn’t really gotten in any trouble yet. She’s just really hyper. She’s always so happy. She’s really cute and it cheers you up when you’re in a bad mood. She doesn’t have a favourite toy but people just keep bringing her toys so it’s kind of like whatever the newest toy is is her favourite. She also has a toy that we got when we got her and she normally likes to have that in her crate with her when she goes to bed.”
Ted Kiernan is the proud dad of Zoey, a 10-year-old Australian cattle dog.
“She was abused before I had her,” said Kiernan. “She got taken away from her original owner and one of the neighbours went over and got her back from the Humane Society and adopted her, but she was a little snappy with the kids. So she passed the dog onto her boyfriend, which was a friend of mine. He had kids so he couldn’t keep her either because she was getting snappy with those kids. So I said, ‘Give me a shot with her and I’ll see what I can do,’ and I’ve had her ever since.”
Kiernan said he takes Zoey wherever he can. “I take her everywhere I go except for work so she goes to my parents’. Besides that, if you see me around, you see Zoey around. She’s all personality. She talks to my mom. Her and my mom communicate just by looking at each other. My mom knows what she wants and she knows what my mom wants. And she loves my dad. She loves my parents more than she likes me. She knows I’m her owner and all that, but definitely when she sees my parents there’s a lot more excitement. Tail starts wagging, the love. She hops up into my dad’s lap and looks at him with love. She has a lot of personality, this one. She’s my baby.”
The only trouble Zoey has ever been in was running away once.
“She ran away once for two days. Worst two days of my life. She was gone 46 hours. I got no sleep for that 46 hours. Lived on nothing but Red Bulls. She’s a doll.”
According to Kiernan, Zoey is on a diet and has lost 8 lbs so far.
“She’s food motivated. Food’s on the table, that gets her attention,” he said. “She lost 8 lbs because she’s on a diet now. That was from the food scraps grandma used to feed her. Spoils her. The table scraps have stopped now, those have turned into little baby carrots. We keep those on the table and if she wants one we just give her one of those. She’s on weight control food. Get a dog. If you’re thinking about it, get a dog. They change your life. Life’s better with a dog.”
Gino is a one-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog. According to his mom, Sandy Bagnarol, Gino weighs 97 lbs and will grow to be around 120 lbs.
“He loves people, he always wants to be right by your feet,” said Bagnarol while smiling. “His biggest thing is sitting between your legs. That’s where he feels most comfortable. He’s a little shy of people right at first.”
“His first year, he’s getting his teeth,” said Bagnarol when asked about any trouble Gino gets in. “So he’s chewed all the baseboard around the doors and all the stringers down the stairs. Which, I’m happy my husband is very handy that way, so we’re waiting until he’s finished that and then we’re replacing all of it. But they usually only do that at the beginning.”
“I think the funniest thing that he does is that at about 7 a.m., he will tip toe into my bedroom and look to see if I’m awake,” said Gino’s mom. “If I’m not, he will lie down by my bed. But as soon as he hears me stirring, he waits for me to say, ‘OK!’ And then up on the bed he goes and then he wants to snuggle. That’s what he likes to do right now. My favourite thing about him is how cuddly he is. He’s just like a big teddy bear. Especially when he’s sleepy. He just likes to lie with you and sleep with you. They’re just big teddy bears. My granddaughter is only three, but they get along very well. She climbs all over him and he’s very protective of her. On the porch, he’ll pace back and forth with her.”
Remington is estimated at being around three years old and is an American English coonhound. His mom, Lissa Whitelaw, adopted him from a rescue and says he has come a long way in the time that she and her husband have had him.
“He was from Kentucky,” said Whitelaw. “We’re assuming he was a hunting fail. So down in the states, some unhealthy owners will dump their dogs if they don’t hunt. We think he’s gun shy because he responds to loud noises so severely, he’s terrified. Funnily enough, he doesn’t mind thunderstorms and fireworks don’t seem to bug him if he’s in the house.”
“The rescue said he was three to five years old, laid-back, easygoing, so I said, ‘Okay, great.’
However, Remington wasn’t laid-back; he actually shuts down and is at times terrified.
“He had PTSD and panic attacks, that’s what the vet diagnosed him with. He wouldn’t go near my husband for three months and my husband’s a very gentle man. He hid in the bedroom, I had to physically drag him out to go to the bathroom. We had dog friends come over and that was what got him used to stuff. But it was probably six months before he would actually approach my husband. And now he’s his best friend. We’ve had him a year and a half. When the vet assessed him, she said, ‘You’ve got yourself a young one,’ like maybe one year old when we got him. Which would explain a lot of behaviour. He would pull baseboards off and chew them because of his anxiety. So we crate him, and he’s the first dog we’ve ever crated and he’s fine with it. But he’s a sweet, goofy boy … He was a lot of work but he’s been an absolute sweetheart. A year ago, he wouldn’t even be in this room with us. He would have ran and gone to hide and not been able to handle it.
“His favourite thing is giant cardboard tubes,” she said with pride. “A client of mine gets them for him. He’ll spend hours ripping them to shreds. When the toilet paper rolls were near the end he started stealing them so then I’d give him the paper towel rolls and he got so excited. I have my own business doing reflexology and a client said to me, ‘I can get you these really big industrial rolls.’ I said, ‘Seriously?’ Three feet long and really thick. He goes insane with them, he loves them. Toys, he will eat. He will ingest toys and the vet said he’ll have an obstruction so to get rid of the toys. So he loves bones and he loves cardboard. If he eats a little bit, it will go through his system and it’s not a problem. He just seems to rip it up and make a heck of a mess. And he loves zooming around in the yard. He’s like a nutcase when he runs. He’s such a nut bar. He loves to dig holes. So we got him his own dig box. He has his own sandbox out back and he digs to his heart’s content. We’ll hide sticks in it and he’s like, ‘Oh my gosh I found a stick!’ That prevented him from digging in the yard.”
According to Whitelaw, despite Remington’s shyness around humans, he is quite popular with other canines.
“He’s very playful with other dogs in the neighbourhood, and we’ll get knocks on the door, ‘Hey can my dog come in and play?’ He’s got all these girlfriends and they all come over to play because he’s so good with them. And he’s really good at reading dog language. If it’s too much for them, then he backs off. Our last two dogs were friendly but they didn’t really play. But now people knock on the door and ask if their dog can go in the backyard with him. And he’s just great. Big or small dogs, he’s good.”
These dogs all have homes in Kitchener, but the following three dogs are currently up for adoption at the K-W Humane Society, located at 250 Riverbend Dr., Kitchener.
Benoit is just under eight years old and a Pekingese Japanese chin mix. According to adoption counsellor Reiley Schause-Merrifield, Benoit is a very confident, friendly, curious and happy dog.
Christie, an eight and a half year old lab mix, will make a great family dog, according to staff at the K-W Humane Society.
“She was a surrender because her previous family couldn’t afford to keep her anymore. We do an assessment on all of our dogs, so they are behaviourally assessed on a standardized test. She did well on hers,” said Stacy Murphy, a registered veterinary technician there.
“Yeah, about as perfect as it gets,” agreed Schause-Merrifield. “She’s incredibly sweet. She’s very calm, very well-mannered, definitely doesn’t have the energy of a typical lab anymore but it’s because she’s eight. But she’s still very active, very happy and loves her walks. She’s a very sweet and lovable dog.”
Ferguson is a two-year-old border collie mix.
“He’s incredibly intelligent, incredibly high energy, but he’s really fun,” said Schause-Merrifield. “He is a little mouthy, which is fairly typical of herding dogs, but that’s OK, he’s not actually making a bite. He’s just exploring with his mouth.”
Schause-Merrifield described the adoption process.
“So somebody comes in after finding a dog that they like and we get them to fill out a survey telling us more about themselves, their situation and what kind of dog they’re looking for so that we can tell if the dog that they’re interested in is a good match,” he said. “After that we tell them about the dog, everything that we know. Personality, what the dog likes, dislikes, et cetera, as well as a bit about the dog’s previous situation. After that, they have a chance to interact with the dogs. Treats, we can have them out for walks, tricks, just spending time — getting to know the dog, which tends to help out a lot with the adoption, to see if it’s actually what they’re looking for or not. After that they fill out an adoption agreement if they’re still interested in taking the dog home. As well we just go through some more information about vet animal care, what we expect from them to take care of the animal going forward, and then after that the dog can go home.”
Adoption fees for dogs at the K-W Humane Society are $300. According to Murphy, this adoption fee includes various things that the dogs may need before adoption.
“The fee includes everything that’s already been done to them,” she said. “They’re either spayed or neutered, they’re microchipped, they’re vaccinated, the dogs get kennel cough vaccine, rabies vaccine and the distemper vaccine. They’ve been given a de-flea and dewormer medication. In the case of her (Christie), she was already spayed when we got her, but we did some blood work on her ’cause she’s older and we wanted to make sure that everything was working well. So we did blood work on her and everything came back normal, especially for an old lady, it’s nice to have normal blood work. But yeah. We do all sorts of stuff to them before they get adopted. If they came in sick, if they came in with wounds or a broken limb or something we would actually fix all of that before adopting them out. So often times there’s several hundred dollars worth of things that we’ve already done but they still go out for $300.”
To find out more about adopting Benoit, Christie or Ferguson, visit the K-W Humane Society.