Wally's Week in Cottage Country

ORILLIA PACKET & TIMES

Saturday, July 14, 2007

BOULTON GOES TO THE DOGS

Writer touring province to encourage canine adoptions

http://www.orilliapacket.com/webapp/sitepages/content.asp?contentid=611507&catname=Local+News&classif=News+Live

By Nathan Taylor

Front Page, Local News - Saturday, July 14, 2007 Updated @ 11:34:26 PM.

It's been nearly two months since Taz-Wally took up temporary residence at the Orillia branch of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and porcupine quills are still being found and removed from the dog's body.

The pitbull-terrier mix was transferred here May 25 from the OSPCA's Bruce-Grey branch, which found Taz-Wally with a swollen head after an unlucky encounter with a porcupine.

Someone had snipped the quills, but didn't have them fully removed.Now, as the Orillia branch tries to find a home for a breed that has become increasingly difficult to adopt out, award-winning author Marsha Boulton is trying to help.

Boulton, recipient of the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour in 1996, was at the local branch this week on one of the many stops she'll be making across Ontario to promote "Wally's Week."

Between July 18 and 25, anyone who adopts a dog from the Orillia, Barrie, Muskoka or Parry Sound OSPCAs or the Huntsville Animal Shelter will receive a free goody bag (valued at about $75) which includes products or coupons from PetValu, Old Mother Hubbard and a signed copy of Boulton's latest book,

"Wally's World: Life with Wally the Wonder Dog," a story of her experiences with her own Bull Terrier of the same name, which accompanied Boulton to the Sunshine City.

The idea to take on this cause came to Boulton after she attended a dog show in the Niagara Region and noticed how spoiled and pampered the dogs were.

"'We should do something for the other side of the coin - dogs that have been abused, abandoned,'" she thought.

Petting the friendly, yet still-timid Taz-Wally (the name was hyphenated to include "Wally" in honour of Wally's Week), Boulton said, "I would love to find this guy a good home, because he's obviously ready for it."

Taz-Wally has had three visits to the veterinarian since being brought to Orillia, and during each visit, the vet has found and removed porcupine quills, which can travel through a body."He was so good natured. We had no problems getting them out," said animal control officer Clancy Martin.

Despite the favourable characteristics, any pitbull or pitbull cross is a tough sell these days, he noted. Recent legislation restricts ownership of the breed.

"It's 100 per cent the (pit bull) legislation," Martin said. "If not, they'd be going out the door"

Boulton hopes her involvement will bolster support for organizations like the OSPCA and encourage pet ownership and adoption. After all, she said, pets are often important enough to be regarded as "benchmarks."

"You can be 80 and remember the name of your first dog, but you might not be able to remember the name of your first-grade teacher," she said.

Boulton's first stops for this promotion were in the Niagara Region and Owen Sound. The Niagara Falls OSPCA adopted out more dogs during Wally's Week there than they did in the same month in 2006. In Welland, a record was set when eight of 14 dogs were adopted out. And in Owen Sound, a dog scheduled to be euthanized found a family after it was renamed Wally and had its picture printed in a newspaper.

There is a fee when adopting animals from the OSPCA, but the pets have already been treated for fleas, worms and spayed or neutered, if the animal is old enough.

For more information, call the OSPCA, Orillia branch, at 325-1304.

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