Reasons to Love Toronto 2014: #5. Because These Pound Dogs Found New Homes
The folks at Toronto Animal Services have many virtues, but they can be strangely inept when it comes to promoting adoptable animals: the low-res, anemic photos on their site, often taken in cages and kennels, make the dogs look sick, sad and skittish. The organization found a terrific unofficial publicist in Fred Ni, a computer animator who volunteers at TAS. While walking dogs on his lunch hour, Ni realized that the ones that seemed stressed and jittery in the shelter would loosen into furry fun bundles as soon as they were out in the park. To prove that shelter dogs can be as cheery and well adjusted as any pet, Ni began shooting the pups on their walks, bounding into leaves and burying their faces in snowdrifts, eyes bright and tongues wagging, and then posted their backstories and photos to his blog, IWantAPoundDog. The blog has become a viral phenomenon, attracting more than two million page views since 2009. To date, Ni has featured more than 600 shelter dogs—large breeds and lapdogs, purebreds and mutts, puppies and seniors. Many of them are adopted within days of appearing on the site. One dog, a one-year-old Lab-husky cross named Basquiat, had spent his entire life in a Quebec pound. The morning after Ni posted his photos, there was a line out the TAS door to meet him—and a High Park couple adopted him within the hour.