Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary in King City, Ontario, might be the most beautiful horse farm I’ve visited yet. Not the most beautiful rescue facility, the most beautiful farm. The horses rescued here aren’t just lucky to be rescued, they’re very lucky to be rescued here. (Check out our other Year of Heroes rescue post).
The horses and donkeys living on the Dog Tales property are here permanently. They will not be rehomed. The stable stalls – sometimes housing rescued rabbits and pigs – are more ornate than most people’s homes.
The 50 acres of lush green rolling hills provide expansive grazing pasture and quality of life for these animals.
Dog Tales is a dog rescue and adoption organization and a horse sanctuary on a bucolic sprawling property in horse country between Toronto and Ontario’s cottage country. It’s also an oddly discrete place, open to the public only on Sundays from 11 am to 5 pm for visits and dog adoptions. (According to the website, this rule keeps things quiet and routine for the dogs). I tried several times to contact staff at Dog Tales, via email and phone, but no luck.
So, when I was in the area one day (to ride in Orillia, Ontario), I simply dropped by after calling several times. I spoke briefly to the office manager, who mentioned people being away, and a few employees outside tending to the herd surrounding the property. Then I researched.
Here’s what I learned:
Dog Tales Rescue started in 2014 thanks to husband and wife team Rob Scheinberg and Danielle Eden, escapees from the corporate world who own this property. At any time, 70 to 80 dogs live in elegantly decorated rooms accented by hot pink plush pillows, chaise lounges and couches – think boutique hotel rather than pet boarding facility. The décor is so lavish the shelter was featured on an interior décor website.
The dogs are available for adoption and come from all over the world including Isreal. Abroad and close to home are equally important to Dog Tales mandate. In fact, the organization is currently lobbying lawmakers to allow them to rehabilitate almost 20 pit bulls rescued from a fighting ring earlier this year. One reason the shelter is not a registered charity is because political lobbying is an important part of this shelter’s mission, and Canadian registered charity laws make activism difficult (ironic really).
Seventy equine call the Dog Tales property home, most rescued from auction where they likely would have been slaughtered – the biggest often attracting the most attention because the animals are sold by weight. Sometimes, they are larger for a reason, like Gia one of the first horses Dog Tales rescued. Shortly after ‘coming home,’ her foal Gigi was born, saving yet another life. Both are now inseparable; Gigi will never know another life outside of grazing in pastures beside her mother.
Nevo, however, is truly captivating and I could have quietly watched this beautiful aging Belgian with a wavy Fabio-eque blonde mane all afternoon. To think Nevo too was rescued from auction two years ago and would have been lost to this world otherwise. His previous life was not likely easy, as trusting humans was at first not his nature. Today, however, he’s calm and personable, briefly curious about me and my camera, but more interested in a salt lick and water bucket.
Other horse are far across the field, mere specs of brown and sable colours in the distance, back lit by a late afternoon sun and a barn silhouette.
On the other side of the barn, donkeys chase miniature ponies in one paddock, and a blind horse is led by his new friend in another.
Of course, sponsorship and donations are welcome and applied directly to the care of the animals. Property owners absorb décor and landscaping cost. You’ve got to see the horse water fountain.