The Great Canadian Giving Challenge and Step Up for the Pups!

As most of you know, our Step Up for the Pups walk will take place on Sunday June 25th. We strategically chose to do this in June since it coincides with CanadaHelps “Great Canadian Giving Challenge”.

What is The Great Canadian Giving Challenge

Every dollar donated to our charity in June, via or CanadaHelps fundraising tools, is an entry for a chance for our rescue to WIN a $20,000 donation from CanadaHelps!  The more we raise, the more chances we have to win!

How Does Step Up for the Pups Tie into This?

Since the fundraising for our walk is done through CanadaHelps, the more we raise through Step Up for the Pups, the more chances we have of winning!

You can participate by walking on June 25th, with or without a dog, or pledge your support for one of our participants through our CanadaHelps page.  The more people that sign up, spread the word, and collect pledges, the more money we can raise to help the pups.  Dogs like Alek, Lucky, Ginger Snap (mentioned in our last newsletter) came into our rescue and received life-saving medical treatment through our fundraising efforts and your donations.  Sadly, more dogs need us each and every day. Over the last 18 months, we have seen more owner surrenders than ever before, and shelter requests come to us almost daily.

Please help us be there for these dear dogs by walking in or sponsoring our Step up for the Pups – our coffers need replenishing. For more information about Step Up for the Pups and how you can help, please visit our Speaking of Dogs website or visit our CanadaHelps page and Step Up for the Pups!

In the summer and fall, outdoor events and picnics are a great way to spend time with family and friends, get out in the fresh air, enjoy some good food, and maybe enjoy some fireworks or music.

But what about our best buddy? Do they have to stay home alone all day while you’re out socializing? With a little planning, your dog can join in on the fun too!

If you want to successfully share in summer festivities with your dog, be sure that their comfort and safety are top of mind.

Preparation is key! Here are some items to consider prior to the event to prepare yourself and your dog.

Are they invited?
This is perhaps one of the most important things to do. Contact the organizers of the event to ensure the event is dog friendly and ask any questions you may have to ensure your dog’s safety. If the organizer is hesitant (even if they are family) or say things that make you feel it is not the best place for your dog – leave them at home.

Is your dog okay with people and other dogs? At a gathering they will be meeting all kinds of people, with and without their own dogs. Have you done safe meet and greets with people of all ages and sizes and, also with dogs young and old? Have you exposed your dog to those that are rambunctious or those that are a little timid?

If you aren’t sure or haven’t socialized them, we suggest you spend some time doing this before you take them to an event. Go on a local walk. Be aware of your dog’s reaction and how they greet others – humans and dogs – and get them familiarized with meeting others.

Noises, Weather, and Fireworks!
In addition to socializing with people and other dogs, ensuring that your dog is used to noises and lots of activity such as loud music, chatting people, and cars is important before they are exposed to these things at a gathering.

Is your dog ok with umbrellas, mud, and water? What about sun hats and cooling station misters? The weather can play a big factor in what they will be exposed to at the festival – including what people might be wearing (think costumes). Be sure to look at the forecast and use that knowledge to determine whether your dog can safely attend.

Holidays and evening events sometimes bring out the fireworks. This can be very startling and harmful to your pets if they are not used to loud noises and all that excitement. Many dogs get spooked when the loud, sudden sounds of fireworks are set off and bolt in panic. Tragically, many become lost and some even lose their lives. If possible, please leave your dog at home if you are going some place where you know there will be fireworks.

Here are some suggested items for you to consider bringing to the event for your dog.

Supplies – A leash, food and water bowls, a knapsack to help you carry everything, poop bags, a dog bed, or a towel for them to rest on (or a cooling mat, depending on where you’re going.) Consider a long line if you think you might be securing them and something that you can secure the line to if needed.

Secure collars and/or harnesses – As you know, dogs can easily startle (even the most socialized of dogs), and owners need to be prepared for that.  Loose collars or harnesses are a risk if a dog startles, as they may back up and slip out then escape. Always have a buckle collar that is fitted properly. The rule is that, when secure, only 2 fingers can slip under the collar. Before leaving home, double check that your dog’s collar and harness are snug and can’t be removed by tugging and/or pulling. Put tags on their collars for identification. Another suggestion to provide extra security is to add a martingale, harness and then double leash, one attached to their collar and the other to their harness.

Food & Water – Ensure you bring a supply of food and lots of water (or know where you can get some at the event).

Toys – Bring their favourite chew toys or some enrichment toys like a stuffed Kong, a snuffle mat, etc. If they like to play fetch, then bring a ball, frisbee, or any other retrieving toy.

Treats – Healthy dog treats that can help keep them cool as well – such as frozen watermelon and apples can be great!

Great! You did all your preparation work and now you and your dog are ready to attend your gathering. Here are some suggestions for when you arrive.

Acclimatize & find shade – When you arrive, you want to acclimatize your dog to their surroundings and what’s going on. Walk around with them and visit booths and people. If you are unsure of how your dog will react, be prepared to leave. Park close-by so you can take them home if they are nervous or too hot. Once you are at the event, if it’s sunny and hot out, you want to find an area that has shade.

Secure your dog – If you can, secure your dog safely either on their leash or, maybe, to a tree or a stake in the ground – you need to be always supervising your dog on those long lines. Make sure that they’re not getting their legs tangled – that can easily happen if we’re not supervising. Bring their bed or blanket for them to lie on. Ensure that the leash is secured firmly, and that there are no hazards or ways that it can get loose, and the dog can take off.

Beware of food and trash – Events will have food and snacks, so keep your dog away, especially from the cooking areas. Be aware of picnic scraps that could cause them harm. Stay away from the trash because that’s where everybody is going to be throwing away all their paper plates or food. There could be grapes, onions, garlic, cutlery, or hotdogs – all of those things can be dangerous, even toxic, to a dog. Watch out for chicken bones and chicken wings, as those cooked bones that are shattered can be harmful if they’re ingested by the dogs.

Keep them entertained – Scatter a few treats and toys at the area you selected for them so that they can keep themselves entertained. Bring a snuffle mat or stuffed Kong for fun. Also make sure that your dog can explore the area that you’re around. You know they love to sniff and explore.

Hydrate – Always make sure that you have fresh water for your dog, especially in the heat.

Stay close to your dogs. Keep them in your sight. Don’t abandon or leave them. And especially when you go to a festival or other event, do not secure your dog and then leave them unsupervised while you’re walking around, when there are all kinds of different members of the public around. You don’t want to risk frightening or, worse, losing your dog.

Most of all, make sure both of you are having fun and enjoying the event.

Corey McCusker, CPDT-KA

is the founder of Muttz with Mannerz Canine Academy located in Stouffville. In addition, Corey is an evaluator for St John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program and created the first Kids & K9 Camp in Canada.

Meet our May Feature Dog: Danny

This expressive face belongs to Danny, a 3-year-old, spayed female Mastiff/Lab mix who is a real cuddle bug. Currently Danny is in a foster home where her foster mom has been getting to know her.  She tells us that Danny is such a smart girl, walks well on leash, is fully housetrained, and quickly attaches to her human.  So, it came as no surprise to us when we recently found out that Danny is a registered service dog! This 90 pounds of love gets along great with her foster brother Puggle.  She loves attention, enjoys hanging out in the backyard, chewing on sticks or rubber toys, chasing balls, and goofing around on her own.  She’s fine being home alone and is pretty chill, snoozing on the sofa, floor or her bed during the day.

Sadly, Danny is still adjusting to life after her previous human passed away. She can be fearful when meeting new people and growly and wary of anyone new in the house; so slow introductions are required.  She is afraid to get into the car, and helping her overcome this fear will take some patience. She doesn’t go up or down indoor stairs.  Danny needs to be in a home that does not have cats since she will chase them.

The rescue had a trainer go to Danny’s foster home and have a private consultation to address her fear of cars.  The session went well and the foster mom is working on the training techniques recommended.

Danny’s foster mom says she is such a wonderful girl who just needs someone with love and patience to help her overcome her fears.  If you are that person, please click here to find our adoption application.

If you are interested in giving Danny her forever home,

click here to visit our adoption application


Boston Terrier / Pug / Mixed (short coat)


Cattle Dog / Mixed (short coat)


Catahoula Leopard Dog / Labrador Retriever / Mixed
(short coat)Male


Retriever / Mixed (long coat)


Shih Tzu (short coat)


Beagle / Labrador Retriever / Mixed (short coat)


Poodle (Standard) / Golden Retriever / Mixed (short coat)


Beagle / Mixed (short coat)


Poodle (Miniature) / Retriever / Mixed (short coat)


Shih Tzu (medium coat)


Terrier / Mixed (short coat)


Great Pyrenees / Mixed (long coat) Male

Dear Speaking of Dogs Rescue,

Jacob (aka Auggie) is doing amazing! He is very healthy and weighs about 62lbs now. Seems very happy, always smiling like a big goofy doof. No health issues at all. We do have health insurance on him though just in case. We have taken him to several training classes and he has done very well in them.  We found an amazing trainer who has worked with deaf dogs before. His recall is a work in progress, but we are continuing to work on it since it’s a difficult one for a deaf dog. My husband takes him to work with him almost every day building film sets and he gets tons of love and walks while he’s there. Last summer he even got to play with someone famous. Who knows, maybe he’ll get discovered while he’s at work. He loves it outside and is always sitting on our patio box surveying his kingdom. He’s so funny. He has siblings and we go to the cottage all the time and he loves the water.  He doesn’t swim, but loves playing in the water and being able to run around the property there like a little kid. I also have a fantastic GPS tracker on him as well just in case.

Tami Kelly and Family 










Adopted November 2019

Loved by Jill St. Germain

Barli aka Miles

Adopted July 2020

Loved by Leslie Bald


Adopted July 2020

Loved by Lorraine Mishele


Adopted December 2020

Loved by Jennifer and family


Forever in Foster

Loved by Darlene and all of us at Speaking of Dog Rescue


Adopted April 2018

Loved by Mel Bartel


Adopted January 2016

Love by Eric and family


Adopted May 2019

Loved by Joyce Nolan and family


Passed May 12, 2023

Loved by Renee and Brian


Adopted July 2018

Loved by Margaret and Brad

About Speaking of Dogs

Speaking of Dogs Rescue Program is a Canadian registered charity established in the Greater Toronto area (with foster homes across Ontario). Launched in 2001, we are a foster-based, all breed rescue with a focus on senior dogs. We are run solely by volunteers with a mission to help homeless dogs in need by providing shelter or sanctuary, necessary medical care, adoption and education.

Newsletter Team

Contributors: Kim Gladding, Lorraine Houston, Linda Knowles & Corey McCusker

Editor & Design: Sarah Kapp

Contact Speaking of Dogs

P.O. Box 8058

RPO Hurontario

Collingwood, ON

L9Y 0H1

705-444-SODR (7637)


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