Puppy lives happily at M’Chigeeng home denied adoption by PetSave

M’CHIGEENG—Ramona Ense and her children were happy to bring home a new puppy last month, something that had been a long time coming since beginning their puppy search last year and subsequently being denied a dog adoption by Pet Save Sudbury last November.

“His name is Machida,” said Ms. Ense of the family’s nine-week-old black lab-German shepherd mix puppy. “A Sudbury individual, originally from M’Chigeeng, heard our story and said his dog was having puppies and he would be happy to give us one.”

“The kids just love him,” added Ms. Ense. “He’s doing really well.”

Ms. Ense, a teacher at Lakeview School in M’Chigeeng, and her children, five-year-old Ayden and four-year-old Marie, started looking for a new puppy last year after losing their family dog of 16 years (earlier last year due to conditions related to its old age). After joining and following Pet Save Sudbury on Facebook for several months, Ms. Ense saw a photo of puppies that were available for adoption, similar in breed to their dog that had passed away.

During the adoption process with Pet Save Sudbury, Ms. Ense was interviewed by Pet Save Sudbury founder and director Jill Pessot.

“As soon as I said M’Chigeeng First Nation, she stopped the interview and said ‘nope’,” Ms. Ense told The Expositor in a previous interview. “She told me that she doesn’t allow dogs to be adopted to people in M’Chigeeng because Pet Save had rescued dogs from that community. She kept saying ‘don’t take it personally, don’t take it personally,’ but I don’t know how I couldn’t take it personally.”

Ramona Ense and her five-year-old son Ayden and four-year-old daughter Marie enjoy a cuddle at their family home in M’Chigeeng with their new nine-week-old black lab-German shepherd mix puppy Machida.
Ramona Ense and her five-year-old son Ayden and four-year-old daughter Marie enjoy a cuddle at their family home in M’Chigeeng with their new nine-week-old black lab-German shepherd mix puppy Machida.

During an interview with The Expositor, Ms. Pessot said there were other factors that led to her delaying Ms. Ense and her family the dog adoption, but that her location was a contributing factor as she felt M’Chigeeng was “one of several high risk communities for dogs.”

The incident led to further media attention and a great deal of social media activity.

“Students at my school who have donated past birthday money to Pet Save told me that they were upset by what happened and didn’t want to donate to that organization anymore,” said Ms. Ense of the fallout after The Expositor’s story. “A lot of people who saw me stopped to talk about what had happened and weren’t happy and I got a lot of messages of support on Facebook from people from as far away as Toronto and Sault Ste. Marie.”

“I’m happy I spoke out about what happened and brought attention to it because I think it is still unfair,” continued Ms. Ense. “I think if Pet Save is going to have policies, even if they are ones I don’t agree with such as not adopting dogs to certain communities, they should state it on their website. People have suggested that I take my story to the Human Rights Tribunal, but I don’t think I am going to. I just want people to know what happened and know how it hurt my family.”

As The Expositor concluded the interview at the Ense’s home in M’Chigeeng this past weekend, it was clear that there was a happy ending to the story as Marie and Ayden played with Machida, big smiles on all three faces.