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Why adopt a rescue pup or dog? Why not buy one from an ad on the internet or from a pet store? Why not buy one from a breeder?


Why would I adopt a dog rescued from another Country when there are so many right here in Canada that need homes?


There are many reasons – all of them humane.


The growth of the internet has spurred the growth of ads selling pets. But it also provides anonymity to a more insidious growth: that of puppy mills and backyard breeders. It helps them avoid accountability when they sell unhealthy or mistreated pets to unsuspecting, over-eager buyers. And it confirms the axiom: “buyer beware.”


Each time a dog is bought from an ad on the internet, a homeless dog is left without a home. Many pet stores rely on both puppy mills and backyard breeders. Like the internet, they rely on impulse buying. A child ogles a playful puppy through a pane of glass, and that old song, “How Much Is That Doggy in the Window?” begins. Few parents can refuse the insistent “please!” of their child.


Each time a puppy is bought from a pet store, a surrendered dog languishes in a shelter. It may seem safe to buy a puppy from a breeder. But there are no laws regulating who can and cannot breed. There are no inspections of their facilities. Even a certificate from a recognized kennel club means only that the breeder has “agreed” to its code of ethics. A piece of paper is simply that: a piece of paper. Each time a dog is bought from a breeder, an abandoned dog moves closer to death in a pound. Why then, adopt a rescue dog?


There are thousands of healthy, happy and balanced dogs available from rescue organizations around the globe. Contrary to popular belief, they include purebreds as well as cross-breeds and mixed breeds. And for those intent on a specific breed, there are rescue groups specializing in just one breed. Adopting a rescue dog is saving that dog’s life. Rescue organizations are often the last refuge for abandoned and abused dogs, surrendered and senior dogs. They’re often a dog’s only escape from a puppy mill.


Saving the life of a dog by adopting from a reputable and legitimate rescue organization is meaningful, and you’ll be rewarded by the love and devotion of a dog whose world you changed.  If everyone adopted from rescues, we would not have shelters full of unwanted and unloved dogs facing euthanasia on a mass scale every day, and the puppy mills would be put out of business.




Rescues from overseas:


In Asia, millions (yes, millions) of dogs are killed each year in the dog meat trade. The suffering they face is beyond most people’s imagination.  The trade’s terrified victims, many of them stolen family pets, are crushed into cages and suffer horribly on the prolonged journey to slaughter, usually in extreme heat with no food or water for days, and many suffering suffocation or death from crushing. Horrifically, those are the lucky ones……


Those that survive the journey are transported to primitive abattoirs that should be called torture chambers. There, these poor animals are not just killed. Instead, they are often systematically and brutally beaten, skinned alive or boiled alive. These horrors are inflicted because of the barbaric belief that when they are in pain, their bodies release adrenaline that softens their meat and gives it special properties. Terror, torture, then a painful death. This is quite possibly the worst form of cruelty humans could inflict on innocent animals.



Thankfully, there is growing awareness around the world of the savage cruelty inflicted on these millions of dogs, and of the need to join as one voice to put a stop to the suffering. Organizations such as Soi Dog Canada, a division of Soi Dog Foundation, are dedicated to putting a stop to this terrible cruelty. There is a shining light at the end of this very dark tunnel, as many thousands of dogs have been saved from the dog meat trade, and Soi Dog’s work with the local authorities, governments, and citizens, is having an effect. Soi Dog rescues thousands of these dogs each year and is often their only hope.


Soi Dog Canada helps facilitate adoptions of these dogs to Canada, and hundreds of them now are living new lives of happiness, safety, and love, in caring homes across the country. Without this help from Soi Dog and from other rescue organizations working hard to create change in the way dogs are viewed in Asia, many millions would continue to die horribly, being treated with complete indifference to their suffering. It’s important that these dogs are thoroughly vetted prior to coming to Canada, which they are. Responsible, ethical, and transparent rescue work is crucial to the success of rescues being able to successfully adopt dogs out to good homes.


Why would somebody adopt a dog from overseas if unwanted dogs are being destroyed in their own countries? The dogs in Asia – their lives are at risk every day. They face the very real threat every day of being captured (many as stolen pets), and taken to the slaughter houses. There are many countries around the world where the need to help dogs that are suffering, is massive, and on a scale not seen in North America. The sheer number of dogs suffering in Asia and other countries where dogs are persecuted, abused/neglected, and often treated as worthless trash, bares no resemblance to anything found in the West. Quite simply- dogs are found every day in conditions that would make local news if seen in the West, and the need for help is massive.


In most Western countries you do not see stray dogs on such a large scale. Certainly there are animal cruelty and neglect cases in Canada and it’s important that we also help these animals and take steps to stop animal cruelty here. Most cities in Canada have authorities, many rescue groups, and organizations such as the SPCA, to help. An animal who is suffering feels the same pain regardless of what country it lives in. In most of these foreign countries where millions of dogs suffer, there are far fewer organizations, less money, and less government support for street dogs and cats than in developed countries. Because of the lower cost of living in most of these countries than in the West, a donation can have a much greater impact than in a Western country.


There are no national organizations like the SPCA or ASPCA in many of these countries and laws are only just beginning to be made to help protect dogs suffering extreme cruelty. There are many differing and often conflicting views in the animal welfare world, these often resulting from a lack of understanding regarding the missions of and the resulting work performed by various animal welfare organizations.


At the end of the day is an individual’s choice where to rescue from. The important thing is to save a dog, not buy one.


Article by

Soi Dog Foundation





Are you ready for a pet emergency? Do you have pet first aid training?

Pet First Aid is defined as being the “first responder to attend to a pet emergency”. In Walks ‘N’ Wags Pet First Aid program, our goal is also to empower participants to help ease an animal’s suffering. Knowing pet first aid can also improve an animal’s chances of a successful recovery.

When people think about pet first aid, the first thing that comes to mind might be bleeding wounds and CPR. It’s easy to think to oneself “I’m careful. That would never happen to my pet”. And of course when students leave our classes, we hope to only hear about their preventive successes.

However, accidents do happen. From time to time we’ll receive a call or an email from a student who has required use of their pet first aid training. Here are a few other scenarios where pet first aid training has assisted one of our students:


As owner of an Edmonton dog daycare, Shawna Magnan was horrified when a client’s dog’s tooth became caught on another dog’s collar. The tooth was stuck and in the struggle to separate the dogs, the tightened collar caused asphyxiation. Shawna knew exactly what to do and fortunately was able to save the dog’s life. *Note: collars are now removed from the dogs inside the daycare.


Victoria Regan lives in BC’s Okanagan and works as a dog walker. Victoria was walking a client’s dog when it was bitten by a rattlesnake. Her quick thinking and training were able to assist this dog to a successful outcome.


Brittany Brown of Calgary AB told us that her dog Cocoa choked on a piece of food and became unconscious. Fortunately Brittany was able to dislodge the item and assess Cocoa, who is now fine.

As you can see, Walks ‘N’ Wags Pet First Aid curriculum covers many skills that could come in handy as a pet owner! Our curriculum specifically includes:

  • Immediate steps to take in an emergency
  • What to include in your Pet First Aid kit
  • Learn how to safely approach an injured animal
  • How to complete a Head to toe assessment
  • How to restrain an injured animal
  • How to transport an injured animal
  • Recognition of signs of common illness and injury
  • How to handle various bleeding wounds
  • Bone injuries
  • Ear injuries
  • Eye injuries
  • Choking skills
  • Artificial Respiration
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
  • Poisoning
  • Frostbite and hypothermia
  • Heat stroke
  • Burns
  • Administration of medications
  • A strong emphasis on methods of preventing illness and injury
  • And More…

Nothing makes us happier than when a new group of students leaves one of our classes. We know that more pets in our communities will be kept safe. When we receive notes, from students like Lori Campbell, of Victoria BC telling us “I would strongly recommend this class to anyone with pets not only for emergencies but preventative care as well” we know that we’ve met our goal.

Remember, prevention is the best form of Pet First Aid. However, if you are faced with a pet emergency, it’s better to have some basic skills to improve your pet’s chance of a successful outcome. Take a Pet First Aid class either in person or via distance learning to prepare yourself. Your best friend is worth it.




Lisa Wagner is Operations Director of Walks ‘N’ Wags Pet First Aid. Walks ‘N’ Wags offers Pet First Aid certification courses across Canada and in Seattle WA. Visit their web site at


Choosing a rescue dog

Shelters & rescue groups work hard to find the right homes for the dogs they’ve rescued. It doesn’t do the dog or the adopter any good if it isn’t a good fit, so they want the best fit possible. They generally do their best to evaluate each dog’s behavior and needs. Just like some people lead very active lives and other are relaxed stay at home types, dogs differ like that as well. A couple factors to consider when you’re ready to adopt a dog;


  • Your activity level – are you active and need a jogging companion or do you like to spend more time relaxing on the couch?
  • Size of dog – do you have reasonable space for the size of dog? Can you or someone in the family lift the dog if you needed to? It’s not essential, but it’s something to consider. Bigger the dog, the bigger the food budget, and larger breeds are more prone to hip problems as they age.
  • Family – is everyone ready for this? Will responsibilities be shared by family members or just one person?
  • Pets & kids – Do you have kids or other pets? Is the dog good with kids or other animals is important in getting the right match.


The benefits of choosing a rescue dog are really great. You’re rescuing a dog that’s in a bad situation and will be making it’s life so much better than it would be otherwise. Many people who’ve adopted rescue dogs say the dogs really seem to know how special what you’ve done is and the love they show for their adopters is incredible. The saying “Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, you will change it’s world” is absolutely true, and very often they bring a positive change to yours too. Whether adopting from the local shelter or an organization rescuing dogs from the street or illegal meat trades in Asia, you will change it’s life and become the most important thing in it’s life.

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