Fostering Gus, the Northern Dog survivor

When I first saw Gus, he was lying in the back of a Dodge Caravan, lifeless. Then, I saw him stir — and wag his tail.

Gus had been hit by a car in a northern community with no access to veterinary care. Luckily, IFAW’s Northern Dogs Project had just finished one of our annual veterinary clinics there, where we provide sterilization, vaccinations, and routine checkups for the community’s dogs and cats.

Those are pretty serious injuries, and they almost killed him. With the amazing help of IFAW supporters, and the fantastic team at Komoka vet clinic, Gus is on his way to a full recovery.

Now that I have the pleasure of fostering Gus as he regains his strength and full use of his legs, I understand why he was wagging his tail — he’s the friendliest dog I’ve ever encountered.

He’ll play with the smallest Yorkie to the biggest Great Dane, and always respects their boundaries (when that Great Dane gets a little too rambunctious, I have to step in to remind Gus that he’s still recovering).

And it’s not only dogs that Gus loves socializing with — he’s a real people person. He says hello to absolutely everyone at the park. And while he’s super excited to meet people, he remains respectful with everyone.

I'm feeling very lucky to have the pleasure of looking after Gus. It’s proving to be a lesson: even in the metropolis of Toronto, a friendly dog can bring a smile to the most hardened city dweller. I’m trying to act a little more like Gus, remembering that if a broken pelvis can’t get Gus down, why should insignificant troubles ruin my day.


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Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Veterinarian
Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
Animal Rescue Program Officer
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy