How the McLean Community Saved Patches

At the beginning of November, McLean Animal Hospital received an e-mail from a client.

The e-mail read:

“A friend of mine has an animal rescue and she helps find homes for animals in need. A family brought their female Chocolate Lab that is blind and needs two shots of insulin a day, to be put down at a vet clinic in Scarborough. The vet does not believe this dog should be put down as she is not in pain and can function normally with her medication. Health expenses are covered. The needs a foster home by Thursday.

Please please email everyone you know so we can find a place for this sweet dog to go even if it is just for a short while until she gets adopted out.”

Patches had not been brought to McLean, but there was no doubt she needed a foster home and fast. Unsure of the best approach to rehome the presumably wonderful yet older and special needs girl, Allison the clinic manager decided that maybe we could post it on our Facebook page and see what happens. Copying the e-mail verbatim, the story was posted into a status and we thought we would have to wait to see what happens. Only to find out that waiting was the last thing we would be doing!

This story went viral.

Within hours of the posts; comments, shares, likes, e-mails & phone calls were pouring in, each and every one rallying for the safety of dear Patches. Although many people were unable to actually foster the girl, the community was coming forward with words of support and looking to find out if any progress in her case had been made. Genuine acts of caring.

It just so happened that the very same week was National Shelter & Rescue Appreciation Week – how ironic! What better way to honour the shelter & rescue organizations in our community than to be pro-active; working hard together to find a foster place for this beautiful lady. Over a series of days, we spoke to many different people who may or may not have had options for Patches, only to hear from a neighbouring clinic’s client named Terry, who had recently lost her own older special needs girl. She still had another rescue in the home, Rosie but was confident that she had the ability to care for Patches.

After setting up a meeting for Terry & rescue organizer Siggie, it was official: Patches would be going home with this family! Even though temporary, it was a feeling of relief for not just us here at McLean, but for the entire community.
We have been able to update our Facebook page along the way with messages from Terry, but here we are almost a month later with some good news we would like to share:

“Patches is doing really well. She’s a great girl. Every day she gets more energy – today even she started playing with a ball.

I think she has lost about 10lbs since moving in. She is able to scoot up and down the stairs now. Occasionally slips going down so needs some caution. Going up I usually give her a gentle nudge in the behind but she can hop up.

She loves to be outside and will walk if encouraged but loves to dawdle along and smell the world. She really enjoys spells lying in the garden soaking up the sun.

She and Rosie are not best mates but do tolerate each other! Patches tolerates limited sniffing by other dogs but often barks if somebody keeps at her.

Her diabetes seems well controlled – I do a urine test in the am and then keep up with 2 daily injections of her insulin.
She is a good eater now. She was slow to eat for a few days – no more though – she’s a lab after all!

She’s a great girl.” – Terry

Thank you to the McLean Community for coming together and making this happen. Without you and all of your efforts, Patches may not have found loving Terry. We are still seeking a forever home for Patches, so if you are interested in moving forward with a permanent adoption for this sweet, sweet girl please e-mail:

If you are interested in other rescues, please do not hesitate to contact the person who began this social media frenzy in the first place: Siggie at as she works with many rescues.

Special mention goes out to the NOLA Lab Rescue for being in such close touch with us about this story, and especially goes out to our AMAZING & COMPASSIONATE COMMUNITY. We are still awe-struck! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, and of course from dear girl Patches.