Happy Tails

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January 31, 2019

When our 18 year old cat Ayisha passed away in 2015, we were heart broken. Our second cat, Macy became extremely lonely and we knew we needed a friend to keep her company. My daughter really wanted a dog but we all realized that having a dog would be very different than the cats, and a lot more responsibility. My daughter embarked on a mission to prove that she was responsible enough to take care of a dog, cleaning her room, doing her laundry, making her lunches and getting A’s in all her classes. After a year of extraordinary display of responsibility, she organized an information session which included a power point presentation on the benefits of having a dog, handouts with additional information, as well as follow-up emails. My husband I realized that she was extremely motivated so we all sat down and came up with the criteria for our future dog. At the top of that list was “must love cats”! I insisted on having a mature dog, not ready to deal with all the issues a puppy would bring.

In April 2017 we visited the Toronto Humane Society to see if there were any small dogs that fit our criteria. As we looked through the kennels, the small dogs all seemed extremely hyper and bouncy. The volunteer who spoke with us recommended that we look at Cleo, a 4-year old Chihuahua mix that had just been brought up from Augusta, Georgia. As we met Cleo for the first time, she seemed extremely shy and scared. As we petted her in one of the meeting rooms, we knew instantly that she was the one for us, but were worried about her relationship with Macy. We signed all the necessary paperwork, and Cleo’s medical and dental procedures were expedited. She was ready to be picked up within a week.

Macy was not thrilled with this strange new addition and initially did not want to be around Cleo, but within a short while she realized that Cleo was not a threat, and each time Cleo was taken for a walk, Macy would be waiting for her at the door. They would acknowledge each other by touching noses and would go their separate ways. There was never a question that Macy was the queen of the house, and Cleo gave her the respect any queen deserves. To our delight, Cleo was fully potty trained and we never needed to use the crate to train her. Sadly though, our darling Macy passed away the following year.

Maybe the most noticeable impact Cleo had on us has been how she has connected us to our community. As we take her on walks, we have met and gotten to know so many of our neighbors. One neighbor that has since become one of our best friends is actually a dog trainer and in just a few classes, Cleo got to learn all the basic commands. While Cleo was initially very anxious around other dogs, Cleo has since settled down and even made some good friends, going on playdates. This past December, Cleo even took part in a pooch parade to raise funds for the THS and she loved walking with all the other dogs.

Over the past 18 months, we have had a fantastic time with Cleo and while initially we didn’t know if she would have behavioral issues, we have been amazed by her sweet and lovely character. Often we ask ourselves why anyone would ever give up such a sweet dog, but we are ever so thankful she is now a part of our family. So far she has gone to with us to a cottage over the summer and to Horseshoe Resort for a skiing vacation. Having a dog has changed our perspective on vacations we take and the best ones are the ones that include her. Thanks to her love of being dressed up, she has a lovely wardrobe and at every party, becomes the center of attention with her wardrobe changes.

We are forever grateful to the wonderful staff of the Toronto Humane Society who really helped us find Cleo, and took care of all of her medical and dental needs. The follow-up emails really showed that they cared about both families and pets. ​