Frequently Asked Questions

Each dog rescue organization has their own way of going about the day-to-day business of helping dogs; processing adoption applications, writing bios, matching foster parents, scheduling meet and greets and getting their beloved charges to the veterinarian. It can sometimes be confusing, and even overwhelming, for potential adopters to navigate their way through the various procedures.  So, let’s start by explaining what we do and how we do it through an FAQ format. 

How long has Speaking of Dogs Recue been operational? 

Speaking of Dogs Rescue began as a small grass-roots organization of three or four people back in 2001 and has grown over the years to become a registered charity run by a five member Board of Directors (who are volunteers). 

Do you have paid staff?

The rescue has no paid staff and is 100% volunteer run. We have over 100 volunteers who help us with fostering, fundraising, application screening, transports, home visits, website design and support, monthly newsletter publication and meet and greets – to name just a few of the tasks that need people power to help dogs!

Why do you have an Etobicoke address but a Collingwood phone number? 

Our Etobicoke address is the one we registered with the Canada Revenue Agency when we applied for charitable status. Our rescue phoneline (705-444-SODR) is based in Collingwood where it is best utilised by our volunteers who do the adoption interviews.  The phone is equipped with voicemail where you can leave a message, however email is preferred if possible at: 

Do you have a shelter where we can visit the dogs?

We do not have a physical shelter and are a foster-based rescue. The majority of our foster homes are in the GTA but some are in outlying areas of Ontario. 

How do I see the adoptable dogs? 

Dogs ready for adoption are listed on our website on our Available dogs page and they are also on our Facebook page: Speaking of Dogs. Available dogs are listed with their profiles and pictures. Profiles include age, breed, size, gender, personality traits and medical information. Our site is updated frequently and should be current (barring any uploading or website platform glitches) at all times.  

Where do the dogs come from? 

The majority of our dogs come from Ontario and Quebec shelters.  We also partner with a shelter in the USA which is located in the State of Kentucky.  When space permits, we can take owner-surrendered dogs from Ontario. Owners surrender their dogs for a variety of reasons ranging from allergies, moving, no time to train or exercise, too expensive, personal problems and other human-related issues.  Through no fault of their own, many dogs need new families to love and care for them. No matter where the dogs originate, they all have one thing in common: they deserve a life filled with love, understanding, patience, quality care, adventure, attention and compassion. 

What is the adoption process? 

Adopting a dog is a decision that needs to be made wisely and responsibly. We do a lot of “upfront work” in an effort to make the right match the first time. Our adoption procedures may take time, but we need to know you are serious about adoption and are invested in the dog you wish to make part of your family. Our process starts with the pre-adoption questionnaire / application form which can be completed online on our website.

Please know that if the dog you are interested in is small, healthy, non-shedding and has no behaviour challenges, there will be many people interested in that one dog. Sometimes, we are overwhelmed with applications and can’t get back to everyone in good time. We are all volunteers who are doing the best we can to read over all the applications and coordinate with the foster parents.  Once the application has been completed, the process is: telephone interview, meet and greet, home visit and reference checks. Please note that not all applicants will be contacted; only applications that align with the dog’s lifestyle, physical and medical needs will be contacted.

Will I receive medical records? 

All medical records are transferred to new families at the time of adoption.  As noted, most of our dogs come to us from shelters and vetting varies noticeably from shelter to shelter.  Once in our foster program however, the dogs are taken to one of our veterinarians to have an exam, be microchipped, receive (at minimum) the core vaccinations (defined by the OVMA) against Rabies, Parvovirus, Distemper and Adenovirus-2, and be tested for heartworm, tick-borne diseases and worms (fecal sample). Many of the dogs we take are seniors; we run geriatric blood profiles on all our senior dogs (so we know more about how their body and organs are functioning) and many of them undergo dental prophylaxis and extractions if required. Dogs are examined by a veterinarian and treated for any conditions or illnesses found. We try to ensure we have covered all the medical bases prior to adoption, however it’s possible a health issue may arise post-adoption. We are vigilant about vetting but can’t make any future health guarantees.

Do older dogs transition to homes? 

Most dogs go through a period of transition and acclimation when entering a new environment and with unknown people. It is not unusual for your adopted dog to have some signs of anxiety (panting, pacing, whining, increased thirst), housetraining lapses, a lack of appetite and/or general unsettled behaviours. At the time of adoption, we will email you our adoption manual, a document that offers advice on a myriad of topics, including how to properly read dog body language, positive reinforcement training, chewing, barking, child safety and much more.  It’s important to be patient and understanding with your newly- adopted dog; becoming frustrated or annoyed will increase their stress and compromise the relationship and bonding process. We also offer a list of force-free trainers who are available in most areas across the province. 

Why do you charge an adoption fee? 

Speaking of Dogs Rescue Program is a registered Canadian charity and is run solely by volunteers – including our Board of Directors.  The adoption fee helps offset the medical costs the rescue has covered. As noted, all dogs that come through the rescue are spayed/neutered, microchipped, receive (at minimum) the core vaccinations (defined by the OVMA) against Rabies, Parvovirus, Distemper and Adenovirus-2, tested for heartworm, tick-borne diseases and worms (fecal sample) prior to adoption.  What many people don’t realize is that all our senior dogs have a geriatric blood panel run and most have a dental cleaning also. The money we spend on our foster dogs is much more than the adoption fee. The majority of the money we raise through adoption fees, fundraisers and donations is spent on veterinary and quality healthcare. 

Why did I not get the dog I applied for? 

We get a great many applications for our adoptable dogs and we consider many factors before making any final decisions. It is not a “first come, first serve” system. We place our dogs with new families based on who aligns best with the dog in terms of lifestyle, as well as their physical, emotional and medical needs. Some factors we may consider include: 

  • Would it be better for the dog to be placed in a home with someone who is home during the days?
  • Should the dog be in a home without other pets?
  • Some dogs require more training than others; does the applicant have the experience and time?
  • Can the dog be left alone comfortably for a working day?
  • Does the dog bark when left alone?  If yes, s/he would not be a good match for a condo or apartment dweller.
  • Does the dog have anxieties that need to be addressed?
  • Compatibility with children; we take this very seriously and err on the side of caution.
  • Does the dog have medical needs?  If yes, does the applicant have the resources to cover health care?
  • Does the dog shed?  If yes, does anyone in the family have allergies?

What areas do you adopt to? 

We do not adopt dogs out of the province of Ontario We have a network of volunteers who help us with home visits across the province. Not all our foster parents are in Toronto; we have foster homes across the GTA and beyond including Peterborough, Caledon, Collingwood, Newmarket, Keswick and Brampton.  

Will you be there for us post-adoption? 

Yes, we will be there for you and your adopted dog.  We can connect you with a force-free positive-reinforcement  trainer if you are having behaviour challenges; we are always available by telephone to speak with you at 705-444-7637 or email us at

What happens if the adoption doesn’t work out?

We understand that sometimes, for whatever reason, adoptions don’t work out. Should that occur, our adoption contract states that your adopted dog must be returned to Speaking of Dogs Rescue.  When we take a dog into our rescue, we make a lifetime commitment to that dog; we don’t want to lose track of any of our dogs. Email or call our rescue line at 705-444-7637 

I am interested in fostering for Speaking of Dogs Rescue, how do I apply? 

Our foster application can be found at:  

Fostering dogs in need can be a rewarding experience and requires time, patience and commitment. Similar to making good adoption matches, we also try and make good foster matches.  Before you become a foster parent we’ll need to do an in-home visitation and orientation, reference checks and ask you to read our Fostering Manual which covers a number of topics including canine behaviour, do’s and don’ts, body language, health care and safely introducing a foster dog to your family members.  If you want more information before filling out the application, please email