Forget Black Friday sales. Bid on auction items and save puppies instead. Like Jade….
“Jade is such a beautiful dog, I don’t know why she hasn’t been adopted yet,” says Wendy Peron, director of Monkey Dog Rescue based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. “She’s an amazing 21-month old Mastiff-cross and she’s been in a foster home longer than we thought.”
Jade is one dog waiting for her forever home like so many currently with foster families (rather than a shelter), and Monkey Dog Rescue is one of many grassroots animal rescue organizations which are cultivated thanks to sheer guts, a will to save the abandoned, and countless volunteer hours.
A network of foster homes is essential to running shelter-free rescues (often taking animals out of crowded or high-kill shelters), and so is social media.
Distributing beautiful images online is essential to getting furry friends forever homes.
Monkey Dog Rescue is Wendy Peron’s passion project, founded one year ago and bolstered by five foster homes and twenty volunteers. United by a common goal – finding forever homes to abandoned and surrendered dogs of all breeds and ages – the organization has helped six pups find fur parents, including one very traumatized Shih Tzu with behavioural issues.
So far dogs have come from other rescues and over-crowded shelters, and the organization is expecting some rescued from the Dominican Republic soon. Non-profit incorporation was completed recently, Wendy says, which took a lot of paperwork. Registered charity is clearly the next step.
For now, fundraising includes photos with Santa, Valentines’ Day photos, paw print ornament painting (which my dog Victor did) and online auctions, the latest running on the organization’s FaceBook page from December 5 to 9, 2019. (Changed from November 30)
Unlike other similar pet rescues, Monkey Dog has an unofficial central location: My Dog’s Café & Bar at 229 Locke Street South in Hamilton, Ontario. My Dog’s Café is a dog-friendly restaurant where dogs are welcome (and people too).
If you’re ever in the Hammer, check it out. But you must love dogs.
“I’ve had people come in to visit or apply to work here,” Wendy says, “who said they didn’t like dogs.” This is not the place for them. At any given day – Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm – there’s at least one or more (usually more) dogs excitedly running between two rooms, greeting new-comers at the door, and snaking around the feet of coffee-drinking pet parents.
Opened in February 2017 as a dog-friendly coffee shop serving up ‘people’ baked goods, dog treats, grilled paninis and avocado toast, My Dog’s Café is Wendy’s full-time business. The second of its kind to open in Hamilton, where dogs can socialize with each other while people do the same over lunch. (There’s a third dog café in the city; we visited recently to get our fall pics done – check it out here).
“I didn’t know you can bring the dog inside,” I overheard a first-time customer mutter into her phone, “and the dogs just run around.”
My Dog’s Café took over the space from a previous tenant who renovated the Victorian-style house, common along Hamilton’s Locke Street, a gentrified street currently recovering from year-long construction that almost shut down access. (The cafe’s Grand ‘Re-opening’ is November 30, 2019).
Nonetheless, My Dog’s Café survived to brew another day. A floor-to-ceiling glass barrier separates food prep from the dog zone – a demand of the Health Code. Rooms are homey but a bit crowded on weekends, when My Dog’s Café becomes a neighbourhood hub, where everyone might not know your name, but they’ll remember your dog’s.
(Note: you’ll have to live close enough to pick up prizes from the café).
Travel Guide: Hamilton, Ontario – about an hour drive west of Toronto – brands itself as the City of Waterfalls. Find the right trail, and you’ll have some potential dog-friendly adventures. Three dogtrotting.net has left paw prints through are Albion Falls, the Ancaster Village Waterfall and Devil’s Punchbowl, starting at Battlefield Creek heritage site. Our complete ‘Dog-friendly Hamilton, Ontario Guide’ is in the works.