FOREVER FRIEND: Eight-year-old dog Merlin ‘a sweet old man’

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Could it be magic?


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Turns out there’s no time like the present to adopt Merlin, an eight-year-old retriever-Labrador–German shepherd mix from the Toronto Humane Society.

“November is National Adopt-A-Senior-Pet month,” points out THS spokesperson Hannah Sotropa.

“It’s a really rewarding experience to know that you can give an animal their very best in their golden years, their very best retirement home if you will,” she said.. “It’s a pretty special thing because there’s so many animals out there that need homes, but obviously our seniors are sticking around longer than kittens and puppies.”

“Merlin is a sweet old man with a big heart and lots of love to give,” Sotropa added.

The doggie was only surrendered at the Toronto Humane Society two weeks ago due to his owner’s physical and financial issues.


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“He’s lovely,” said Sotropa. “He will charm you with his magical personality. He may actually have a trick or two under his paws because he’s been working closely with our training team. He’s got a loyal and funny personality. He is a senior, so again, he might just need to take more breaks to decompress a little bit after his strolls. Although he does love his walks.”

Merlin, an eight-year-old retriever-Labrador-German shepherd mix, is available for adoption from the Toronto Humane Society.
Merlin, an eight-year-old retriever-Labrador-German shepherd mix, is available for adoption from the Toronto Humane Society. Photo by Supplied /Toronto Humane Society

Sotropa said Merlin’s new home would ideally be with previous pet owners who know body language and respects boundaries, and four post-adoption training sessions are offered with him.

“We are recommending with his more under-socialized behaviors and some dog reactivity that an experienced and calm owner is able to take him on,” said Sotropa.

“He has been working to engage and socialize appropriately with a lot of dogs around him ‘cause he can get a little overwhelmed,” she said. “But again, with the right training, he’s been making strides, leaps and bounds, at the shelter.”


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And because Merlin is older and dealing with some arthritis, a home without too many stairs is preferred.

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Sotropa said it’s okay for him to be around other dogs and children with the right introductions, including meet and greets at the shelter.

“Other dogs will be okay, again if there is experience with multi-dog ownership,” she said.

“And then having direct and active supervision at all times when the child is going to be around the dog, especially with a senior who has arthritis,” Sotropa said. “We just want to make sure that Merlin is being respected and his communications are being received. As we know kids can’t always understand the body language and communications of a dog.”

If you are interested in adopting Merlin please visit to check available appointment times and start the process.

UPDATE: Dr. Hopkinz, a neutered, two-year-old male American rabbit, from last month’s column, is still available for adoption.


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