In this edition of The Paw Print...
In recognition of those in our community that had fundraisers in March, we wanted to thank you for all your generous efforts. It is people like you that help EHS thrive and succeed.
Thanks to Brandon Kershaw, along with Triple Crown Concerts who every year organize the Project Paws: Animal Rescue Benefit Concert for EHS. Another successful event this year!
Denise Richard and the members of the Lakeshore Yacht Club hosted an Art and Crafts Show and Sale in their clubhouse benefitting EHS. The weather certainly did not meet sailing standards, but the turnout was great and the crowd was enthusiastic. They love EHS and we love them just as much.
A massive thank you goes out to all our volunteers who helped at the booth for this year’s Canadian Pet Expo with special guest Molson! The response has been very positive for the newly designed hoodies and t-shirts.  Thank you for buying them.  
April is Pet Valu’s Pet Adoption Month. The Pet Valu on The Queensway (125 The Queensway M8Y 1H6) will be collecting donations from its customers all month long for EHS!

Leashes in the Park  - June 25.  Save the date.  New attractions, lots of prizes and a few surprises.  Stay tuned for more details as it gets closer to the event.
It is a well-known fact that cats are resilient by nature. Over the years, EHS has witnessed its share of comeback stories featuring cats recovering from adverse health or surviving horrific circumstances. However, none in recent memory quite match the story of a cat named Knuckles, whose plight came to EHS attention a few short weeks ago.
Knuckles was a homeless cat, born and raised in the construction yard of a concrete warehouse run by a kind woman named Tammy (for more information about Tammy’s warehouse, see 1st Edition of the Paw Print). As a kitten, he loved to hang out with the “big kids”, and cause trouble – that’s how he earned the nickname Knuckles. He had a twin brother, Scooter, who looked like an orange version of him.

Last year, EHS rescued and found homes for more than 80 cats and kittens at the warehouse, including Scooter. However, in a cruel twist of fate, Knuckles and a few other cats tested positive for exposure to the FeLV (feline leukemia virus), and had to remain at the warehouse. FeLV is a fragile, but contagious virus affecting 1-2% of the cat population worldwide. It can lead to suppression of the immune system and secondary diseases. Sadly, 80-90% of FeLV infected cats die within three-four years of initial diagnosis.
Knuckles in 2015 when first tested positive for FeLV
So, at the young age of only 1.5 years old, little Knuckles’ entire future darkened. He watched as his friends from the warehouse left for EHS, and were adopted into wonderful, loving homes. To avoid spreading the virus to the few remaining healthy cats at the warehouse, he and a couple of other FeLV cats were kept in a specific room. They spent their days playing and acting like normal cats, and received lots of love from their caregiver Tammy, but knew that they were unlikely to ever find a warm home to call their own.

Days turned to months, seasons changed, and in early March of this year, a serious upper respiratory infection spread through the remaining few cats at the warehouse, most of who were either FeLV positive or feral. For the FeLV cats, like Knuckles, a simple URI that healthy cats can often recover from, turned deadly. One FeLV cat named Tango was found dead, alone and in his litter box on the day he was scheduled to go to the vet.  Tammy obtained medication from her vet to treat the other cats, and some were doing better, but Knuckles had a hard time. He stopped eating and drinking, lost weight, became so congested he could barely open his eyes or swallow.
Tammy took him to Kipling Animal Hospital, and was worried he wouldn’t survive the trip.
She described him as follows:
“You could smell the toxins on his breath from his kidney's that were not able to function properly. He went down in weight to about five pounds and was having a hard time breathing because he was so congested and was severely dehydrated.”
Knuckles' first day at Kipling Animal Hospital
Given Knuckles’ poor condition, and his FeLV diagnosis, it became clear to all that the most humane thing to do would be to euthanize him.
Tammy asked that Knuckles be sedated first, so he would fall asleep and not feel any pain. Dr. White provided Knuckles with a dose of sedation that was strong enough to put a healthy cat into a deep sleep.
However, a miraculous thing happened. Knuckles, despite his extremely weakened condition, refused to give up. As Tammy was holding and kissing him, he continued to fight the sedative, trying to walk even as the sedative was numbing his back legs and he couldn’t walk properly. Knuckles stumbled and fell several times but kept getting back up. After about 20-25 minutes of this, he continued to move and flex his paws to show Tammy he was still there every time she gently asked him. Dr. White and his staff were shocked.
Tammy then realized that Knuckles was trying to tell her he wasn’t ready to give up. He wanted her to know that it wasn’t his time. She immediately decided that she needed to do everything she could to help him win this fight, and asked Dr. White to put him on IV instead. The chances of Knuckles surviving the night were slim, and Tammy had to be prepared for the likelihood that he might pass away alone. However, Knuckles survived, against all odds, and began a new course of antibiotics.
Knuckles - Day 4 of vet visit
The next few days for Knuckles were very difficult. He still wasn't eating as the fluid buildup made it difficult for him to even breath and swallow, and his eyes were so runny he could barely open them. Dr. White recommended a blood test before proceeding with treatment, as he expected to see major organ failure, kidneys shutting down, etc. There was concern that the dose of sedative intended to put Knuckles into a deep sleep might have done damage to Knuckles’ organs in his weakened state.
Incredibly, the blood work came back normal, and day-by-day, Knuckles gradually improved. After five days of being hooked up to IV fluids, Knuckles finally began eating on his own.
Tammy described it as:
“One morning, after almost a week of barely hanging on, he started eating on his own.  So as we looked at him in disbelief, he looks at us like 'I told you".
Knuckles' last days at vet
Four days later, after EHS put out an urgent call for a foster on behalf of Tammy, Knuckles found a wonderful foster, and learned for the very first time what it’s like to be in a home.
To this day, Dr. White and the dedicated staff at Kipling have no explanation for how Knuckles managed to resist the sedation, much less survive this entire ordeal.
Dr. White stated:
“Knuckles is the definition of determination. He came to us lateral, in critical condition and was sedated for euthanasia, but little Knuckles wasn't ready to give up. He fought through the strong sedative and his foster mom, seeing his fight and strong will to live, decided to give him a second chance. He battled a bad upper respiratory infection, and severe dehydration, on top of having feline leukemia, to make a miraculous recovery. Never have we seen a cat with such a fight to live.”
We may never know why or how Knuckles survived, but it is clear that despite his FeLV, he still has plans here on earth and he is determined to follow through with them.  Knuckles’ intense will to live is equaled only by his sweet and affectionate nature. Knuckles loves to be pet, and given belly rubs, and will purr like a motor if given attention.
Knuckles in his foster home
Although Knuckles is currently safe in a temporary home now, there remain at least three other friendly FeLV cats still in the warehouse, who are still looking for homes of their own. Please spread the word about Knuckles and the FeLV warehouse cats, and email if you would like more information about how you can help.  No cat should be left behind.
As Tammy observed:
“Knuckles, this homeless cat that lives in a warehouse with his few remaining friends, had just taught us all a huge lesson on never giving up. Maybe we can take that lesson and use it for our own situations in life, but maybe he was also teaching us not to give up on them.”
Interested in becoming involved at EHS?  Want to make an even greater difference in animals’ lives?  Then consider becoming a member of the Etobicoke Humane Society.  As a member, you are entitled to vote at the Annual General Meeting and participate in members’ meetings to help shape the direction of the organization on matters related to animal welfare.  Membership fee is eligible for a tax receipt.

You can also apply to one of our open board positions.  Click here for our open positions.
Become a Member

EHS Dog Update: 2016 First Quarter Review


2016 is off to a busy start as we had 23 dogs coming into our shelter in the first quarter. This is a significant increase from eight dogs in the first quarter a year ago.


Our Behaviour, Assessment, Rehabilitation and Training Team (BART) have been very busy assessing each incoming dog and outlining individual training plans. Our adoption coordinators have been busy interviewing and doing home visits and nineteen dogs have found their forever homes.


It has been an interesting first quarter as we saw in unusual influx of small dogs (Lhasa Apso, Shih Tzu and Chihuahua). Precious, Buddy Bear and their son Buckley touched our hearts as their owner passed away leaving four dogs and three eventually found their way to EHS and are now in their forever homes.

Bear was our second transfer from Toronto Animal Services, East Shelter and we continue to work with them to help find homes for dogs that they find challenging to place.
In March, a dog was found wandering near EHS and was turned into us. The dog was badly in need of grooming and an amazing transformation occurred. After posting on and filing a found report with Toronto Animal Services, the dog was not claimed. He was given the name Kai and was put up for adoption.
Koko, a shar-pei Mix dog that was surrendered to Westway Animal Clinic in late fall 2015 with a mysterious illness. Our veterinarian did not think the dog would survive but with aggressive medical treatment Koko survived. Koko went into a foster home, continued to gain weight and with lots of love, he was adopted by an amazing family at the end of January.
We continue our relationship with the Toronto Humane Society Spay/Neuter and Vaccine Services where they offer to lower the cost of spay/neuter services. Six dogs received spay/neuters in the first quarter and we could not do it without our dedicated volunteers who drop them off at 7 a.m. and pickup at 4 p.m.
For our volunteers, we make a commitment to their training, to enhance their skills in working with the dogs. We continue with our monthly dog language presentations and Canine Language and Social Skills (CLASS) Module 1 training. Module 2 was released  and Module 3 is in the works.
If you are interested in becoming a dog volunteer, please visit our website and fill in a volunteer application form. We’d love to hear from you!
When interviewing new EHS volunteers, one of the questions we ask is “If you knew someone who was deciding between adopting or buying a pet, what would your advice to them be?” As you may have guessed, it’s almost always “I’d tell them to adopt!” but we have heard other responses too. Usually, those who are unsure of what to say might say someone looking to adopt a puppy would purchase a dog from a breeder, or someone inexperienced with dogs might chose not to adopt because those dogs have a “torn up past.” When we get these answers we do try to briefly explain some of the myths and stigmas associated with a rescue dog; but on the inside we are excited for this type of new volunteer. They want to get involved, they want to learn, and they’re going to see a whole new side of what we do. We also imagine these volunteers will share their new knowledge with family and friends, thus helping us to educate the public about rescue animals.

I thought I knew a great deal about dogs and adopting before becoming a volunteer, but I was wrong. I’ve learned more in the past year volunteering at EHS than in my lifetime, which was for the most part, surrounded by dogs. As an EHS volunteer, I’ve jumped at many opportunities to learn more about dogs, training, and adoptions from EHS’s Dog Behaviour course, Canine Life And Social Skills (CLASS) training, Pet First Aid, and tons of YouTube videos made by either online training professionals or our very own Behaviour Assessment Rehabilitation and Training (BART) Team. It’s amazing how much you can take in as an EHS volunteer. It’s important we also pass on this learning to as many people as we can. Changing the mind of one family to #adoptdontshop saves a life!

A few myths about dog adoption debunked:
  1. Dogs available for adoption at a shelter are all old.  FALSE! It’s possible to find rescue dogs of all ages. Puppies require more specialized care and training and can sometimes be placed in a foster home until they are ready for adoption.
  2. They’re in the shelter because something’s wrong with them.  FALSE! This blanket statement does not apply as each dog has a unique personality. These personalities will either jive with your home and lifestyle, or not. Shelters will work with potential adopters to find the right fit. Also, the reason a dog comes to live in a shelter varies. We see dogs whose owners got sick or passed away, people who were forced to move, owners who did not realize the time and financial commitment that owning a pet entails, etc. The argument these dogs are simply “broken” is not valid.
  3. You’ll never know their history.  FALSE! Sometimes a shelter will have more information about a dog’s history than a breeder. All of our EHS dogs go through an evaluation with our BART team, and then volunteers have an opportunity to get to know their quirks.
  4. Adoption fees are so expensive! FALSE! This myth is obviously subjective but remember all the shelter does/has done for the dog – housing, food, vet tests, medication and immunizations, spay/neuter, etc. You’d be hard pressed to find a dog at a breeder for less than the adoption fee.
  5. Shelters don’t have purebred dogs.  FALSE! On average, 25% of rescue dogs are purebred, and if that’s not enough, there are rescues out there for practically every breed of dog.
When looking for your next furry companion, check out your local humane societies, rescues and city animal shelters. Remember #adoptdontshop!
Our volunteer reading while Harley snoozes after a long day of cuddles.  Harley was adopted in 2015.
Make a Donation
The Etobicoke Humane Society is an independent, 100% volunteer run, no-kill shelter.  Support EHS by making a donation.  All donations over $20 will receive a tax receipt.
Copyright © 2016 Etobicoke Humane Society, All rights reserved.

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Etobicoke Humane Society · 67 Six Point Rd · Etobicoke, On M8Z 2X3 · Canada

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