Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Story of Po

The story of Po is going to be a long one - and right now it's just at it's beginning. Po lived in Cape Breton until yesterday. He'd lived most of his life chained to an empty oil barrel which was next to his dog house.
He was hardly fed or given water - and as you can tell by these photos - he was never groomed in his life. When his owners fenced in his yard - they put him on the OTHER SIDE of the fence so they wouldn't have to look at him. Can you imagine that? What kind of people were they.
A couple weeks ago a lady by the name of Corinne found out the way that Po had been living his life - she'd been hearing him barking for a long time, but she'd never gone to find him - and when she saw how he'd been living - she couldn't stand it, so she called Animal Control. Animal Control ordered the family to get the dog groomed by a certain date - and instead of doing that - they drove the dog to a road outside of town and dumped him. So Animal Control picked him up and took him to the Cape Breton SPCA where he had a one in ten chance of coming out alive. Luckily - he had gotten some media attention because of this lady - she'd posted the photos she'd taken, and some video of him - which is below - to a local forum down there - at

and the new PO

She'd also started a Facebook group at - so he was getting quite a bit of notice down there, which is a good thing.

So He was groomed at the SPCA , and some attention paid to him and arrangements were made to get him out of the SPCA and into a foster home.

And so he was released yesterday by the Cape Breton SPCA and was driven up to Halifax - and that's where I came in.

I met Rob who drove Po all the way from Cape Breton up to the airport where I met him and Po and I was supposed to be taking Po to his fabulous foster home which was like 30 acres and shangri-la. It would be so wonderful if rescue always worked out that way, wouldn't it? Rob was a great guy though - he said Po was good in the car but had a lot of energy.
Po certainly did look happy - and so skinny! Poor Po! He looks like a mix between an irish hound, a wheaten and a great dane to me - that's my call on him anyway!
This is about the only photo I got where Po was standing still for more than 2 seconds at a time - so I think Po is a fan of the boys. At least he liked this Rob fellow anyway!

And then on to the "foster" home - within 5 minutes they said it wasn't going to work - you would expect that a dog who's been living for the past 8 years outside, still has his balls, has been in a car the whole day meeting new people, completely out of his element, is starving to death, has just met 2 dogs and is in an environment he's never been in - and also INSIDE A HOUSE, might be a bit stressed - so as soon as we got inside - PO started marking - he peed twice inside the first 5 minutes we were there - and that's about how long we were there. The husband said "this isn't going to work". I was disgusted. I said "I had no idea that you were not committeed to this dog or to fostering. I was of the understanding that you knew where this dog came from and that you would be understanding of his special needs". And all he'd say was "this isn't gooing to work - he's got to go". So I said "fine" - and me and Po left.

To me - people like that don't deserve to be part of the wonderful experience of fostering - because that's what it is - it's a privilege to be part of the awakening of an animals soul as they start to feel safe again - and if they aren't willing to modify their living space even a little bit so that they can accomodate Po's short term training needs - then they don't deserve him. So we left. I told them - anything at floor level is fair game - so if you don't want those photo albums on the floor ruined - you should pick them up. And the woman said "oh no". Like as if - that's where they go - "we can't move them!" As if! Can you imagine! So anyway - I'm sure it was a good thing Po didn't stay there anyway.

But at 9pm on a Friday night? Where do we go? I couldn't take him home with me - my own dogs would've eaten him alive - he was doing nothing but trying to hump me constantly because at this point in the day he was just so horribly overstimulated. That's the problem with formerly chained dogs. They live their whole lives with nothing happening - and then when things start happening around them - they can't handle it - I had the same problem with Daisy - and most people who bring home chained dogs also have the same problems.
There's a really good article about it on the "Dogs Deserve Better" website at - it was one of the articles I took with me to the foster home last night. Too bad they won't get to use the tips.
So I had a brainwave - I called my friend Janet who has an in-home doggy day care in her basement - I'd stay there the night with Po while Netta from Animal Rescue Coalitions - who's taken over the care of Po - found other accomodations for Po. So that's what we did. It was either that or sleep in my car. So everything worked out. Another reason why in-home doggy day cares can come in handy.
So today I took Po out to the place where he's going to be staying until Tuesday - a place called "Boxwood Kennels" - it kind of sucks because it's a place with indoor outdoor kennels - so he's back in a cage until Tuesday.
On Tuesday he's going to get neutered and go to his next foster home for 2 weeks - but then AFTER THAT - he's still going to either need a new foster or an adoptive home.
So Po's journey is just beginning - he still needs a lot of help - and a lot of understanding - but he is going to be a great dog - just in the 12 hours I had him he calmed down SO much. I could tell that he has a LOT of love to give - he's just waiting for the person who's willing to let him give it to him.
He realizes that he's spent his life with one disappointment after another -

That's why I'm posting these photos - these photos I took at Boxwood Kennels - they are pictures of him that I took in his outdoor kennel - when he went in there he completely deflated.
I can tell you that it was so hard to leave him when I saw him in there - he had spent the last 24 hours outside a cage and it was like he was starting to get some hope that things were going to start to get better - he was getting to jump up and around inside a house and on furniture and people were petting him and telling him he was a good dog - and then all of the sudden -
Here he was - out in the rain - and back in a cage. Man, that was hard to do. I really hope that this is just for a couple of days and is only a short blip in Po's hard won new life. He definitely deserves all the sunshine and lolli-pops we can get for him.

Here are the video's that the Corinne lady took of Po before he was rescued:


  1. Anonymous7:16 PM

    thanks so much for all your help:)
    Andrea and Jeff assured me since it is the slow season for them, they will pay extra attention to him. Atleast now, he is warm fed and has human contact.

  2. Anonymous7:34 PM

    Po is a very lucky boy! I have witnessed on several occasions the same life that Po lived in many a yard in Cape Breton. Po is one of the lucky ones and it is all the other "Po" dogs that I worry about. There is nothing in this area to help those unwanted, abandoned, "outdoor" chained dogs and contrary to what many may say, the rescue that was here DID save many many of these PO type dogs. Wonderful story Joan and Kudos to Corrine. My hope is that those who hollared the loudest about what they think was done or not done for animals, will now step up themselves, put their money, hands, time, love and dedication where their mouths are and save the Po's of Cape Breton. It is very easy to criticize, tell people what to do and point the finger but until you get ALL THE FACTS, BOTH sides of a story AND remember that things are not always as they seem, those who so freely spread "their gospel" around, should stiffle themselves. Bless you Po as you are one of the lucky ones to get out of CB alive and you will be in a new home soon I am sure.

  3. OMG Joan, those last few pictures broke my heart. "Deflated" is right! As you said, hopefully that's just a blip in his life and good things will come for the future.

    And I need to add too, to what you said about foster/adoptive families taking in formerly outside dogs. I had this experience recently with Arby - he spent two weeks with me early in April and he had marking incidents inside. I TOLD the prospective adopter that this was going to take time after he was neutered for him to relearn new behaviours. It meant that he was going to have to be closely monitored (tethered/umbilical cord even), crated when unsupervised, etc. I didn't hold anything back. She gave up on him within a week after neutering and returned him to the shelter, where he's still waiting for his home. Breaks my heart, it does. :'(

  4. Anonymous11:38 PM

    I just read this story of Po. I cried. Thank you for posting. But it broke my heart more than you will ever know.

  5. Anonymous2:56 PM

    Joan, thank you so much for being the one to bring tragedies such as Bo's to light. As horrific as it is to read and watch, what could only be worse is for no one to know or act. Hopefully, with people like you making others aware and encouraging positive action, more Bo's will be saved and more people will be educated.

    I pray that Bo will find the love and security he deserves in a new home.

  6. Anonymous4:55 PM

    I am so happy that everyone involved could save Po! It just breaks my heart to think of him being chained for most of his life!

  7. Anonymous11:42 AM

    Glad that Po is settling in and getting exercise and HUMANE human contact - yes he is a tad humpy but he is LOVABLE and just needs some time and direction - he will make a fabulous pet for the right home and the right people that realize that a dog that has been chained and starved of food and affection needs the time to grow and learn how to LIVE - kudos Joan, Jeff, Andrea, Netta and all


  8. Anonymous6:38 PM

    i'm corinne...and looking at po's new life outside of cape breton,even though he's caged,my eyes are filled's 1000 times better than po's previous life,if you could call it a life.when i first made the call to the cape breton spca about po...i was sure he'd be removed when they saw him.they gave the owner's a week to get him groom,during that week he was in my neighbor's yard around midnight,chain dragging.i removed his chain and collar so he wouldn't get caught anywhere.when i went the next day to toss the collar and chain in the yard...po wasn't there.i called the spca,said i think the asshole cut him loose so he'd take off."well you can't prove that" they tell me.(ya whatever buddy!)
    a couple days later the guy's granddaughter is telling people how they took po in the van,dropped him off on a dirt road near a farm "where they take animals"(as she was told)...then they waved goodbye to him on the side of the road as they drove away!
    i call the spca once again and told them about it,same old story,"well you can't prove that".i was pissed now!...i said " i told you last week,i have pictures and video,if you're not going to do anything,i am!you won't hear from me again...but i'm sure you'll be hearing from the public!goodbye!"

    i thank everyone so much that has helped po in anyway since his escape from cape breton island!special thanks to lee anne...po's angel!

  9. Anonymous7:55 PM

    Po will certainly find a very loving home. Once he is neutered he will calm down considerably. He just needs to be given the chance to wear off some of that energy. I recently adopted a yellow lab who was raised in an apartment. It took about 3 days and a neutering before he calmed down. Good luck Po!

  10. Anonymous9:44 PM

    Corrine you are a life saver, I sware if I wasn't picking up my Choc. lab puppy on June 15 I would take Po. But I don't know how he would be with a 8 week old pup. The pics of him grommed are amazing he doesn't even look like the same dog. In a couple he looks like he is smiling.
    I want to bad for him to find a nice loving home, something every dog and animal needs and deserves. It breaks my heart to think of all the dogs out there that never got the 2nd chance like Po did. Please keep us posted on Po's Journey.
    Good Luck Po :)

  11. Anonymous2:23 PM

    My heart broke when I read story of poor Po and the video crushed me - what a lovely boy he is!!!!! I just had to keep repeating - "he's ok now.....he's ok now....." God bless the people who rescued him from that horrid situation! The people who had him tied up like that should be NOW tied up just like Po was and for the same amount of time!!!!!