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Dog rescue success!

Three setters find their forever home


By Mark A. Cadiz

Always fond of animals, it was only natural for Bronwyn Dickson to come to the aid of a dog in need.


Known around her Toronto neighbourhood as the lady with three dogs, two English setters and one Irish setter, it’s hard not to notice Dickson and her dogs strolling around in the nearby park.


At first meet, you wouldn’t guess these three shaggy beauties were rescued and loved back to confident, healthy, caring dogs, but thanks to Dickson and her partner they were given a second chance.


Most people might not consider going this route when looking for a dog. How do you get involved in rescuing dogs?

It’s really a desire to help an animal in need. Often but not always, some dogs are coming from a background of abuse and neglect, or they were abandoned and moved around through several different homes and have faced different challenges.


It is something I’ve always strongly believed in, and there are so many dogs especially older ones that need homes. So rather than purchasing a puppy from a breeder, we decided to go the rescue route.


Do you have any advice for people who decide to adopt or rescue a dog?

The main thing with any dog is you need to know your breed.You need to know what your lifestyle is and find the most appropriate match.


I think people run into difficulty when they walk into a shelter and pick the cutest dog without actually knowing the type of breed they are bringing home which might not be the best fit. So know your breed, energy levels, personalities, traits to make sure it’s a good fit.


Sometimes with rescue dogs, it takes a while to decompress in their new home and you might not see their full personality till after 6 months. It might also be slower to bond if there has been a history of abuse. You will need a lot of patience and time and if you are going to adopt a rescue you need to make sure you have enough time for the transition and give the dog time to adjust.


And how about families with children would you recommend this route?

Yes, you can absolutely get a rescue dog if you have children. You just have to make sure you get a dog who doesn’t have fear issues or have a lot of aggression. Children move around really quickly and if it’s a nervous dog then it might not be the best match. But there are a lot of rescue dogs who love children and who are really patient and Kate is a perfect example of that!


Could you describe each of your dogs briefly, their character and personality?

Kate inside is just a sweet and snuggly dog. A very patient, gentle dog. Also persistent, just recently she wanted to go for a walk and I was on my laptop and she literally closed my laptop. She put her nose on top and closed it!


Penny is a really wonderful sweet wounded soul. She’s taken a long time to come out of her shell. But she’s better now and her favourite things are treats, she’s even trained us to give her treats all the time.


Hamish is a boy who desperately wants to be loved but is scared of love at the same time. He’s sort of conflicted and afraid at times that we are still learning about him.


So you have three dogs, how is it like to take care of two rescued dogs, Penny and Kate, and your foster dog Hamish?

It’s very busy, so pretty much between the three of them, we expect to be woken up every other night. Penny is 14 now and she’s showing signs of dementia so she has issues at night, Hamish who is still being house trained sometimes has to go out at night and Kate on a random night decides she just wants to wake us up.


There is a lot of sleep deprivation, lots of walking and brushing. A lot of time with them and spending time in the backyard. It’s busy, but it’s full of enjoyment and a lot of fun, three times the fun!


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