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Meet the Bow Valley SPCA's longest term occupant – Matilda

An in-depth Q&A with a fun loving, photogenic pup who is looking for her furever home.
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Matilda's sneezy face

Meet Matilda or Tilly for short. Tilly has been residing at the Bow Valley SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) for nearly half her life. Tilly weighs 27 kilos and was born in Northern Saskatchewan. You might have seen her if you follow Bears and Trails, she has modelled twice for the page.

We wanted to get inside Tilly’s head to find out what makes her tick so we emailed her a few questions and this is what we learned! 


FullSizeRenderAn assertive cuddler. By Rachael Rodgers

51: What gets you up every morning? What inspires you?

Tilly: I'm a very optimistic being. I know that each day I wake up, it gets me that much closer to my fur-ever human family!

51: What are some of your favourite spring activities? How do you keep in shape?

Tilly: Well, I love melting snow puddles. I especially love how they explode in my face when I pounce and break the thin layer of ice on top. It's refreshing! Like ice bombs! I love my walks/hikes and exploring all the new smells seeping from the ground. I found an old beehive on Saturday, a real treasure! I love digging up holes- in snow and dirt- it's great exercise for my arms! I also love water. I've already been for a quick dip at Seebe this Spring!

51: If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring one book, what would it be?

Tilly: Why Adventure with Adoptable Dogs of course! It would give me ideas on how to document my own journey while being stranded and the pictures can keep me company. 

51: Plush toys or Kongs?

Tilly: Plush! I'm the queen of squeak extraction.

FullSizeRender 2Tilly age 1.5. By Rachael Rodgers

51: You have been described as a bit reactive by most of your peers? Can you give us some insight on this? Was it your childhood? Are you working on therapy? Or is it something that will always be there, but you can control when you aren’t around your peers? Talk to us!

Tilly: I can't quite say what causes my emotions to get dysregulated today but it wasn't always this way. I came from a community in Northern Saskatchewan. I was brought to AARCS (Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society) with a buddy of mine. We were tight!

I had a great experience in my first foster family in early 2019. They loved me a lot! When I got adopted in March 2019, I was so excited for all the new adventures with my new fur dad. Unfortunately, he took me to an off-leash park a short time after he adopted me. I behaved myself on-leash but another dog that I didn't know was aggressive with me. I panicked. I couldn't run away because I was on a leash and the other dog wasn't and it attacked me!

It was a very traumatic experience. I got really out of sorts after that. I got frightened when other dogs came near me and invaded my personal space. I didn't know what to expect nor did I feel safe. My fur dad didn't know how to manage my trauma and he surrendered me back to AARCS. I was very sad. But, I remained hopeful I'd find another fur-ever human family.

I didn't fully develop my emotional skills because of the trauma I endured and I'm somewhat clumsy when it comes to meeting other dogs. I need lots of support and space to feel safe. I've been introduced to other dogs Bow Valley and with the carers’ consistency, I've been able to play in the same room and go for walks with the other dogs. I honestly can't say for sure that I'll always be reactive. I’m three now, so I'm sort of at a stage where I'm choosier of who I want to be around.

I'm a Rhodesian/ Shepherd (very proud of my mix.) I’m a working dog and I love being given tasks to complete. I'm also a very clever girl, I can find my treats when the humans think I could never possibly find them! I love being on a schedule so I know what to expect.

51: What would be an ideal living scenario for you?

Tilly: With loving supportive human/s who understand and respect my needs, and don't get on my emotional roller coaster when I get frustrated or distressed. Humans who can help guide me and keep both my body and brain exercised. A place where I can stretch my legs and lots of room for my stuffies and balls!!

51: Twice you have been featured on Trails & Bears. Would you say you are one of Rachael’s top muses? Can you talk to us about that creative partnership?

Tilly: Well… of course I am-because I'm super photogenic! Rachael is talented! She really caught the essence of who I am – a loving, playful being that loves nature and humans!

To learn more about Tilly, visit Bow Valley SPCA

51° North

About the Author: 51° North

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