Marilyn’s Story

“We knew that we wanted to get a dog about two and a half years ago and we know that we wanted to rescue. My (Lisa’s) family had always had rescued pets so adoption was always the way we wanted to go. We scoured the Toronto Humane Society and Toronto Animal Services websites for weeks and kept tabs on our favourite dogs. I guess we were waiting for ‘the right time’ but we knew that concept is usually an illusion.

One Sunday, I woke up and told Sean that my life was not complete without a dog. We went to THS that day and did that heart-breaking walk through the grey halls of adoptable dogs. Marilyn was lying down, nose to the bars, doing her best sad bulldog face (this is a face that she would use for years to come, both on us and others-trying to convince people she is just so sad and wont they please give her a treat or share their groceries??) We walked back and forth but kept coming back to Marilyn. We tried to talk to her and engage her but she was pretty non-reactive.

We asked the staff to let us do a meet and greet with Marilyn. She was a different dog when she entered the room. All about the belly rubs and playing with the available toys. We were in love.
We bought all of the necessary supplies and picked her up on the following Tuesday. That evening she was napping and relaxing; the easiest transition we could have hoped for!

Marilyn loves people. She tries to solicit bum rubs from strangers waiting to cross the street and loves having people over to the house. She will ham it up for the entertainment of the guests by chasing her tail and playing with her toys. Her best friend is two-year-old friend Mac, who has a shirt with Marilyn on it.

A challenge that we have faced is Marilyn’s ‘dislike’ for members of her own species. As we do not know her story, we can only imagine why, but Marilyn is uncomfortable with dogs. Not necessarily aggressive, she can be reactive if another dog gets too close or is too interested in her. She tends to want to ignore most dogs and if she cannot ignore them anymore, she can ‘tell them off’. From what we have experienced, this is a trait that many dogs have and is ignored by owners but when you have a dog that people find intimidating, it becomes a problem you must fix. We have worked hard in dog socialization classes at the THS, where the staff has been wonderful with us. It seems, however, that Marilyn might behave a bit differently when she is at ‘school’ vs. home. It is a work in progress.

We have learned so much adopting Marilyn, both about ourselves and about our dog. She is part of the family, both immediate and extended. All we can do is try to give her as much love as she gives us.”  –  Lisa and Sean

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