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November 18, 2011

Road to Recovery Paved with Dedicated Volunteer Support

Humane Society International/Canada


  • Getting much-needed care. Kathy Milani/HSI

  • Needing love and attention. Kathy Milani/HSI

  • Basking in affection. Elise Ledsinger/HSI

  • A dog named Taffles with a donated toy. HSI

  • A sweet dog. Elise Ledsinger/HSI

  • Learning to walk on a leash. Elise Ledsinger/HSI

  • Each dog is given attention. Elise Ledsinger/HSI

by Rebecca Aldworth

Nearly two months have passed since we helped rescue more than 500 neglected dogs from the largest commercial breeding operation in Canada. Since then, HSI staff and volunteers have been working around the clock to make sure the rescued dogs and their newborn puppies are receiving the critical care they need to continue their road to recovery.

Dedicated and compassionate

Not a day goes by that we do not see remarkable improvements in the dogs at the shelter because of the dedicated volunteers who have stepped forward in this urgent time of need. Every day these volunteers, many of whom work at least twice a week at the shelter, and usually from sunrise to sunset, make sure the dogs have comfortable and clean places to sleep, are properly socialized, and are given the affection that they have lived without for far too long.

Give now to make a difference for these dogs and others.

With nearly 30 volunteers a day needed to run the shelter, in addition to a dedicated team of staff and veterinarians, it is no surprise we have all forged bonds with each other that will likely last a lifetime. The deep love we all share for animals is what has brought volunteers from as far away as British Columbia, Halifax, Florida, and California to the emergency shelter.

Giving and receiving

There are so many wonderful stories coming out of the shelter every day. Many volunteers report how caring for these dogs and puppies has helped them, in some cases even to cope with their own personal pain, stress and anxiety. It astonishes me how quickly these neglected dogs have learnt to give love back to humans.

Only a few weeks ago, these animals were denied their most basic necessities. Now they are safe, and the emotional healing is making an incredible difference in their lives. But the road to recovery has not been easy for most of the dogs. One poodle mix we named Henry collapsed on the ground when we brought him outside. After so long confined in this commercial breeding operation, it seemed he had to learn just how to walk on solid ground. But today, with the hard work and dedicated support of so many volunteers, he is starting to walk with confidence on the grass. His recovery is literally happening one step at a time.

With your help, we will continue to bring skilled volunteers from across Canada to tend to the rescued puppies and dogs. We are so grateful to all the volunteers that haven donated so much of their personal time and energy. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for giving these deserving dogs a better life.

Read earlier stories about this rescue and learn more about how to help.

Rebecca Aldworth is executive director of HSI Canada.

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