Finding Purpose Through Rescue: My Adventure with Toast

When the time came to bring a dog into my life, I knew the only option for me was to go the rescue route. The search didn’t take long. A group of puppies was up for adoption, born to a mother who was rescued from northern Ontario, homeless and pregnant at the time. The process got underway, and before long, I was heading to London, Ontario for a meet and greet, but I knew with certainty that I would not be returning home empty-handed.

His name is Toast, and he is now almost 7 years of age. It has not been an easy journey as he displayed extreme reactivity from an early age, which led me down a stressful path of various trainers, behaviorists, and veterinarians seeking answers. I loved him unconditionally and committed myself to him, promising never to give up and to wholeheartedly accept what we could not change. I also knew that reactivity was as hard on him as it was on me, and that we would support each other and weather any storm we encountered.

In the process, I immersed myself in learning anything and everything I could about canine reactivity and fear. I became well-versed in managing his environment, while becoming acutely aware of potential triggers wherever we went. I learned from his signals and body language what to expect and prepare for.

I also soon realized how intrigued I was with the rescue dog process and how incredible the foster couple was that stepped up to give Toast a home until his adoption, loving and caring for him as their own. I am eternally grateful to the animal rescue for saving his mother and bringing her to safety, where she could deliver her pups in a warm, comfortable, and secure environment.

It is out of this experience that I became a dedicated volunteer with No Dogs Left Behind, where we rescue and rehabilitate dogs from the East Asian meat trade who have been victimized and subjected to unimaginable cruelty. To see such dogs learn to trust again, come out of their shell, and be given a second chance at life, where they are loved and respected for the sentient beings they are, leaves me speechless. I can confidently say that I have now discovered my true passion in life: helping and advocating for rescue/shelter dogs and fervently supporting animal rights.

Article by Krista Hiltz – Toast’s Mom