Nova Scotia artist saving dogs one road trip at a time
Posted Jan 26, 2024 11:29:22 AM.
Last Updated Jan 26, 2024 11:35:05 AM.
With the cost of living crisis causing a jump in surrendered pets, one Nova Scotia man is helping out by voluntarily transporting dogs for animal shelters so they won’t be euthanized.
David Johnson is artist living outside of Windsor who says he has been casually transporting dogs for years but after rescuing a dog named Timbit about a year ago, he decided to dedicate more time to helping animals relocate to foster homes and out of danger of being euthanized in overcapacity shelters.
“People don’t mind donating money and people don’t mind fostering sometimes but nobody wants to drive 30 hours,” he tells CityNews Halifax. “I don’t mind driving, I’m single and I like dogs so why not?”
His decision comes as some Nova Scotia rescues say the housing crisis and high costs of living are forcing more families to have to part with their pets.
Johnson says there are many animals in need, and many will not survive as shelters reach capacity.
“You take one dog out of a shelter and that life is saved,” he says. “And it leaves room in the shelter for one more to be saved so it’s a double win.”
Among the organizations that Johnson works with is Halifax-based Litters n’ Critters Rescue Society, in which he volunteers his time to drive dogs to their foster homes, often as far as Ontario.
Not only is it an admirable offer of his time, but Johnson also transports the dogs for free and fundraises the expenses by selling prints of his artwork online.
“I do a lot of pet portraits because I paint and stuff,” Johnson says, adding that he is also known for his sidewalk art.
In fact, Johnson has set up a website entitled Team Timbit in which people can sign up to help fund his trips.
“Right now, I have 118 members which allows me one trip a month to the Montreal-Toronto area and back,” he says. “So once a month I can guarantee I can do a 3,600-kilometre drive to pick up dogs.”
Johnson admits the work can be tiring and time-consuming but at the end of the day, the reward of saving a few dogs from the kill shelter is worth the effort.
“That’s pretty rewarding,” he notes. “Sometimes you get to meet the dog later (and) that’s pretty nice too. It’s nice to see these happy endings.”