Volunteering at Animal Services

I can honestly say that volunteering with Animal Services is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I feel so fortunate to be able to work alongside people that I respect and with whom I share a similar mindset. The staff and volunteers at Winnipeg Animal Services work together as a team to make a difference in the dog community by promoting responsible pet ownership through public education and adoption.

To be passionate about something and to be able to feel that what you are doing is making a difference, is priceless.

“Meet Colleen! She is a retired nurse and photographer. Colleen volunteers her time weekly and takes pictures of our dogs to help them get adopted. She is also part of a small team that helps maintain our social media channels. Thank you!”

“Be the change… Volunteer.”

Training Day for Adira

Adira is a bubbly, happy girl who has been waiting for far too long at Animal Services for a forever family. She came to the shelter last August as an unclaimed stray and shortly after that, entered into the adoption program.

Adira is a wiggle bum… I can think of no better way to describe her. She is also a bouncy, strong gal with boundless energy. Although Adira loves attention and loves people, it is apparent that she has had little, if any previous training. She needs an experienced owner… someone with the knowledge, time and patience to teach her doggy manners and help her to reach her full potential.

Sadly, after 6 months, she still waits.

Being in a kennel environment takes its toll on these dogs, often the high energy ones and especially the ones that see the days turn into weeks, the weeks turn into months.

Enter Yury of PAW & ORDER Wpg. a dog trainer and behaviorist. He is donating his time and talent to help Adira and other dogs just like her.

I just happened to be on hand the day Yury came in to work with Adira.

On this day Yury had a special helper named Daisy. She came into W.A.S. with her “mom” to assist with Adira’s training. Miss Daisy is a gal who had been under the care of Animal Services for over a year before she found the perfect owner. She was much loved then, as she is now.

Adira has been showing signs of reactivity so the plan was for her and Daisy to walk together both as a training and an assessment strategy.

Both dogs did amazingly well.

It was awesome to visit with Daisy and witness her happy life.

And it is wonderful that Animal Services supports Yury and the idea of additional training to help dogs like Adira. I am so proud to be a member of their team.

“Understanding your dog and knowing how to control him, develop his potentials, and resolve behavior problems, emotional conflicts and frustrations are no less essential than love and respect.” ~ Michael W. Fox

Post Update:
Happy News – Adira has been adopted!

Related Links:
City of Winnipeg Animal Services
Winnipeg Animal Services – facebook page
Winnipeg Animal Services Petfinder page

Eight Puppies and a Momma

Have a said lately how much I love what I do!

8 pups

These gorgeous babies are four week old pups who were found huddled together in the frozen earth in a den dug by their momma. All eight and Momma are now safe, warm and under the care of  Earthdog Terrier Rescue of Manitoba.

This little girl is Shannie


This little girl is Rizzo


This wee boy is Phoenix


This cutie-patootie is Zelda


This little one is Leonard


This little man is Edgar


This sweet baby girl is Lumi


This sleepy baby girl is Winter


The Momma dog is a beautiful girl… a tad shy with a gentle soul.
momma to 8pups

The papa-dog is thought to be a husky so these babies will grow to be quite large and will have adventuresome spirits. They would do best with active families familiar with the breed. The pups are still very young… only 4 – 5 weeks old. They will be ready for forever homes at about eight weeks of age. If you would like more info please contact Earthdog Terrier Rescue of Manitoba.

Adoption Day with Diesel

This past Sunday myself, fellow Animal Services volunteers, Heather and Ryan, and one of our favourite canine buds, Diesel, attended our first spring adoption event… and we had a blast. The event was held at our local Pet Valu on Rivergrove. The occasion was to promote their Paws for Prevention Event, the focus being the purposed mobile spay and neuter clinic.

Animal Services does not get the chance to attend many adoption events so we were very aware that this day would be an important stepping stone to future invites. Our canine W.A.S. ambassador, Diesel, had been under the care of Animal Services since December so was very deserving of a day out of the kennel environment… but with his history being mostly unknown it was hard to know for sure how he would react in this new situation.

Well… we needn’t have worried… Diesel was a star. Diesel is a young Rotti / Shepherd mix with a biggish squarish head and deep brown eyes that will melt your heart. He loved being out and about and he loved all the attention.


At one point, much to our surprise and pleasure, we, the W.A.S. volunteers, found ourselves alone at our table, while Diesel strolled around the store with the Pet Valu staff, meeting new customers and even spending some time behind the till. What a hoot! Diesel loved every moment of it. And we were so proud!


The day was a huge success, the icing on the cake being the decision by Heather and Ryan to take Diesel home as a foster rather than returning him to the shelter. Bless their kind hearts.

Ryan, Diesel and Heather ... ending the day with a massage chair.
Ryan, Diesel and Heather … ending the day with a massage chair.

Related links:
Diesel’s Petfinder Profile
Pet Valu
Pet Valu Rivergrove (facebook)
Winnipeg Animal Services (facebook)

Deserving of a Second Look


In the shelter, the kennel area for the adoptable dogs is a noisy and often chaotic room. Just the movement of opening the door and entering can set off a chain reaction of barks and howls… a chorus that winds and bounces in its intensity as dogs rush to the front of their pens, their reactions fueled by the opinion of the dog next door. This is the norm and staff and volunteers are accepting and used to the commotion.

whoIam2Not so much new visitors, and this is the sad part. First impressions can be lasting.

But in the shelter environment it is ALL about taking that second look.

As difficult as it may be, it is so important not to judge a dog by his kennel ways, even though at times the antics can be almost intimidating. But, in 9 times out of 10, what is seen is NOT reflective of who the dog really is.

We ( the staff and volunteers ) interact with the dogs so much that we come to know the real dogs residing in the pens and it is quite disheartening to see how their kennel antics hurt their chances of getting adopted. We can’t really blame the visitors… we see what they see. It’s just that we have come to know (and care for) the real dog as well… the one they don’t see… unless they pause and take that second look.

We do our best to educate potential adopters and are more than happy to set up a meet and greet in a more private space. An outdoor enclosure is the perfect choice… a place where the dog can feel safe and can relax, away from the stress and away from the influence of 20 other barking buddies.


Once taken outside, seeing the transformation never gets old. Sometimes there may be a bit of lingering hesitancy but patience is all that is required. A little time and a few more sniffs and poof, the uncertainty dissipates, especially if a favoured toy or ball is spotted. The ears tip forward, the nose dips down. With a few body shakes, the shelter dog persona disappears and a completely different dog emerges… often a bouncy and fun loving guy looking for nothing more than for someone to toss that ball.


Here is where we are witness to the true nature of this dog, the happy goofy dog, the real dog that we so wish everyone could meet.

So please, if you are thinking of visiting the shelter in hopes of getting a dog, take the time to take that second look… you may just find yourself gazing into the eyes of your new best friend. Well worth the effort and well worth the time, wouldn’t you say.








Related Links:
Friends of Winnipeg Animal Services … facebook page
W.A.S. Petfinder Page
W.A.S. Adoptapet.com page

Home For The Holidays

Lucy~ an adoption event presented by D.R.E.A.M.

Many folks and many adoptable dogs braved the -20C cold to get together at Sprockett’s Doggy Day Camp to enjoy a family fun adoption event.

Five local rescues took part as did various canine care specialists who provided table displays set up to encourage and promote proper health and nutrition. All of this was presented and provided by D.R.E.A.M., a group of caring and passionate dog-lovers working hard to promote positive change for animal welfare in Manitoba.

Harper and Piper

I was very happy to be one of the crowd, camera in hand. I had a fabulous time visiting with friends in the rescue community and snapping photos at every opportunity. Featured here are many of the doggy faces in attendance, all hoping to find their forever homes for the holidays.

Thanks D.R.E.A.M. for a fun time, a productive event and for all that you do.