Mackie's Story


Mackie came to my attention through a friend of mine who runs the Etobicoke Humane Society. Because he was too aggressive, they unfortunately could not take him. This meant that Mackie was left with two options: One, he would be confined for the rest of his life to the backyard he had already spent 4 years in, with no contact with humans or dogs. Or option two-- euthanization, which really isn't an option. Timing was perfect for me; having just moved and beginning to run our rehabilitation centre, I was looking to make some additions to my existing pack, and not just with any dogs, but the ones who have been labeled "unfixable" or basically given up on. I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason, and I can't think of a more deserving dog to get a second chance at living a fulfilled life. In Mackie's case, he will not only become a permanent member, but will pay it forward to many other dogs down the road, just as all my pack members do.

Picking him up required me to enter the backyard, a task nobody, but Rose (his owner) expected-- bylaw officers, animal control and even police refused to enter. Mackie and I began to bond immediately. A short walk around his neighbourhood was a fitting way to say goodbye to his old way of life. I was accompanied by Baby during this process, since getting her feedback is crucial. After about an hour ride, Mackie arrived and there began his new lease on life. 

He was introduced to The Pack where my job was to make sure he was submissive and that the pack accept him. We're happy to show you some photos of Mackie's "homecoming", and his interactions with his new pack.

We are honoured and thrilled that he's come into our lives and we look forward to sharing his story with u all. 

Finally, I'd like to share with you, a special letter from Mackie's owner, Rose. Hearing it from her voice should help you understand a bit more about the reality and struggles many owners are faced with. We hope to change that here at our new home.

Here is Mackie's Story:  

First and foremost, I must let you all know the love I have for my dog is beyond what I could ever imagine, and to think I would ever consider surrendering my dog Mackie to anyone was totally out of the question. This brings me to Sonny.

My dog Mackie,  Cane Corso (Italian Mastiff) currently 160 lbs. came into my life unexpected one Saturday in May 2009. I, who have never been around animals, was faced this enormous but gorgeous dog.

At first, things were great- he was quite obedient and simple enough to train. We went for long walks, sat in the parks and just enjoyed eachothers company. Until one day, out for our walk, Mackie decided to chase another dog, I, 5 foot nothing stumbled and rolled down the street trying to control my dog. Embarrassed to the max, Mackie’s walks ended for fear of reoccurrence. Mackie was an indoor/outdoor dog until he decided he was the boss and wasn’t going to allow me into my own kitchen; he was therefore permanently placed outside. Then of course, the excessive barking began, I fought off nasty neighbours, police officers, animal control and so on. One Sunday night in May 2013, while outside for our nightly routine, and still oblivious to the signs/signals of a dog's behaviour, Mackie decided to have an incident with me. Although I remained calm, I was shocked and scared at the same time and made a decision that Mackie could no longer stay with me. Torn to pieces and speaking with various “trainers” and veterinarians, he was then labeled as an aggressive and uncontrollable dog. The label that was given, I knew deep in my heart was not correct; however, confused and upset I then called the humane society, in tears, to come and take a look at my dog as I was considering surrendering him. I spoke to such a caring and understanding man, (Alex) who got me into contact with his good friend, Sonny. Sonny came to my home and spent most of his morning with Mackie. Within minutes my so-called aggressive dog, was butter in Sonny’s hands. He immediately took Mackie out for a walk, and developed a relationship that I couldn’t believe. I was so excited that Sonny saw in Mackie what I always knew in my heart.

So the day finally came, September 14, 2013…when Mackie’s new life was going to begin. I was so sad to see him go, but understood that I could not possibly give Mackie the life he so deserves. Sonny came to my home, reconnected with Mackie and took him for a walk within minutes. Mackie obeyed his commands, and didn’t dare try to get away with anything. Sonny’s dog, Baby helped for a true smooth transition. Sonny truly is a gifted man- he came here with his own car, and I was shocked to see NO barriers to keep Mackie away from him while he was being transferred to his new location. Sonny knew he’d have no issues with Mackie, and he didn’t!

I am proud to say that Sonny will now take Mackie and spend the time training and rehabilitating and giving Mackie the attention and fulfilled doggy life he so deserves.

I’ve already received confirmation from Sonny, Mackie is doing great and adapting well.

My message to everyone dog owner or potential dog owner:.

I strongly believe there should be a mandatory requirement for people considering a dog as a pet that it first begins with the proper behavioral training that Sonny provides Believe me, prior to any of my instances leading me to Sonny, I too had “professionals” or so-called “professional” training sessions inside and outside my home, but unfortunately, they got me and Mackie nowhere. The patience and knowledge that Sonny shared with me no other could explain. I know so much more about a dog’s behaviour in just 2 short visits with Sonny, than with years from others.

Unfortunately for me, my family and our busy lifestyles, the life I provided for Mackie just wasn’t enough to keep him happy. I would not even consider anyone to take Mackie – but Sonny and his connection with Mackie is truly a blessing. Although I was torn with my decision, I know it was the right one because Sonny is the BEST!



We'll keep you posted on Mackie here on the blog. In the meantime, be sure to follow us on instagram @dogtalk to see daily snapshots of Mackie's journey.