Sunday, June 24, 2012


ORA's gentle big boy loved everybody
On June 20th, 2012, at 4:40 pm, Spencer, ORA’s spokedog, succumbed to Cushing's Disease complications. He was over 12 years old.

Spencer came to us when he was still a puppy. Bought at a pet store, product of a backyard breeder, he was given up soon after by his original owners who found out that a dog was more work than they had anticipated.

Spencer immediately adjusted to his life with us. He had no issues, just an immense joy of life. As a puppy, Spencer used to run up to anybody he encountered in his long daily off-leash walks in the York Regional Forests. The forest with the ponds where he could swim in and fetch wooden sticks was Spencer’s heaven. His puppy cuteness and gentle social manners procured him great popularity amongst the forest hikers and horseback riders. Spencer, on his part, made sure that nobody ignored him. He was constantly in search of attention and affection. He would wait to be patted and complimented by passersby, and then, filled with happiness in his eyes, he would calmly return to us, visibly showing disappointment if anybody would ignore him.

Spencer grew up to be a medium large dog, but he still maintained his way to “greet” all passersby. However, as an adult dog, his rather imposing appearance occasionally scared some people and those were the only distressing moments in Spencer’s life. Spencer liked dogs, too, and he showed curiosity for horses (were they just oversized dogs?), but he was not too fond of cats, although he tolerated them.

Undoubtedly, humans were Spencer’s passion, the ones he knew as well as any strangers. This salient characteristic made him the perfect candidate to participate in all of ORA’s events: he joyfully accompanied ORA’s volunteers to fundraising events, participated in seminars and he was admired for his impeccable behaviour. Spencer was also the designated dog for ORA’s animal educational programs in schools as he loved children and he enjoyed to be hugged by them.

In his 12 years with us, Spencer saw many dozens of dogs, coming and going, of all breeds, small and large, with all kind of different temperaments. He befriended some, while he would just ignore the newcomers at other times. He was never aggressive towards any dog; he never felt that he had to affirm his leadership. He was Spencer, the “Star” behind any possible competition. He was right. Of all the dogs that passed through ORA, although some stayed with us for a long while, volunteers and supporters usually remembered only one name: Spencer. Just a week ago, a horseback rider stopped Corinne Thaw, the co-founder of ORA, and our main caregiver for ORA’s dogs, as she was walking the usual pack of dogs in the forest, and asked whatever happened to that cute puppy named Spencer. The rider had lived out of the country for a number of years, but she still remembered him. Spencer was a memorable dog.

ORA’s gentle big boy loved everybody, but recognized only one master: Corinne Thaw, who was Spencer‘s trainer and caregiver for 12 years. Corinne identified and developed his potential and Spencer dearly loved and followed her.

Although we are mourning Spencer’s death, and memories of him are all around us, we are comforted by the certainty that Spencer was a happy dog and that he had a wonderful, happy life. We just hope that wherever he is now, he can run in a forest and go up to people for a pat or a hug.

Claudia Vecchio, Founder
ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals
"For the love and respect of all animals"

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