Plenty of paws to admire at PawsWay


Kennedy, an 11-month-old Irish red and white setter, leaped on guests, showering them with kisses at PawsWay’s biannual puppy and kitten weekend. Lucky for him, the room was filled with animal lovers who returned his affection.

Purina PawsWay hosted the two-day event in Toronto where pet experts, breeders, groomers, trainers and vets were invited to share their knowledge with prospective pet owners.

“The goal is to educate the public about responsible pet ownership and responsible breeding,” said Trevor Smith, the events and education manager at PawsWay.

“To be a pet owner, you have certain responsibilities to do your homework and research the type of breed of dog or cat that you want to adopt or bring into your family.”

Potential pet owners had a chance to not only learn about new breeds, but also interact with different types of cats and dogs to see what fits them best.

“Every animal has different characteristics,” said Smith. “Just like humans, not all of us get along and not all of us are meant to be friends with other people. We all have different energy levels. You have to make sure the breed of dog you’re getting is conducive with you, your lifestyle and your family.”

From border collies and Irish red and white setters, to Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers and savannah cats, PawsWay had a breed for everyone.

“I’ve been breeding for a long time, nearly 40 years now,” said Alice Guthrie, a breeder at Newhope Crossfire Kennels. “As one of the old timers, I feel that it’s time to share my knowledge back with newer breeders and with the public. It’s an opportunity for them to see different breeds that they might not ordinarily see.”

Purina PawsWay is a pet centre where owners can bring their cats and dogs to mingle with one another. PawsWay offers several programs such as puppy kindergarten on the weekends, basic agility classes on weekdays and even pet loss support groups.

This event in particular is only held in the spring and fall, noted Smith.

“It’s an opportunity for breeders to bring and showcase their specific purebred puppies and kittens to create awareness for their breed. Responsible pet ownership and breeding are definitely the two biggest things we like everyone to take home with them at this event.”

The dogs present were not available for adoption but if someone had their eyes set on a specific breed, they could visit the breeder’s kennel to get a puppy of the same kind.

There were, however, four savannah cats up for adoption on Saturday. “In some cases, if you come down to PawsWay and you meet a kitten or puppy that you just fall in love with, you can absolutely start the process of possibly adopting that cat or dog,” said Smith.

Martin Ryjpert and his wife were guests at the event who took full advantage of the free question sessions with breeders.

“I grew up with dogs so we’re thinking about whether or not to get one, and if so, what type,” said Ryjpert, whose wife happens to be allergic to dogs. “It has to be hypoallergenic and child friendly since we have an eight-month-old son. I thought this was a good place to talk to people about different breeds.”

Chris Ray, a visitor from England, saw PawsWay for the first time as he was strolling down the Harbourfront.

“I’m on holiday and I thought I’d come and check it out,” he said, since he has several pets back home. “I was brought up with animals and love them. They’re fun yet soothing and therapeutic.”