Talking with Makyla Deleo, Public Relations Specialist with The Toronto Humane Society about the Inspire team style shoot at Bright Lights featuring four legged superstars from the Toronto Humane Society. The Styled shoot was beautifully captured by John and Samantha Photo and Video.

What do you like best about your job and how have your perceptions shifted over the duration of your time with the Humane society?

I love so many things about my job that it is hard to narrow it down to the one best or favorite.  Obviously I love animals, I grew up surrounded by them (thanks Mom!) and I knew from a young age that I wanted to work in an animal related field.  Outside of being able to cuddle some of the cutest critters in the world on a daily basis I am incredibly grateful to have a job that provides me with a sense of purpose, something that allows me to see the impact I am making on lives on a daily basis.  I wake up each day knowing that my job is important and that it changes animal lives in our community for the better.  Plus, the staff here is unparalleled.  We have such a great bunch of passionate people all working side by side towards a singular goal, which is pretty amazing.

When I first started here we were under a very different management team and Board of Directors.  The difference between the Toronto Humane Society where I was hired eleven or so years ago and the organization that exists today is night and day.  I am so proud of how far we have come in a decade, and so excited to see where we are ten years from now!

(I phone snap of Makyla Deleo)

What are some of your most effective ways of communicating the needs of the dogs so that people can respond?

Our preferred method of sharing our shelter pets with potential adopters is via social media.  We have had great success utilizing the power of social sharing in order to find our animals new homes.  It also allows our supporters to take part in the rehoming process and feel a bit of satisfaction knowing that it could have been their share that found the perfect family for a pet in need.

What do you think are some of the primary benefits of seeing the dogs from the Toronto Humane society out in the city interacting in new environments?

Some people still have the nagging feeling that shelter dogs are somehow different than the pet your neighbor has, or the puppy you purchase from a breeder.  Seeing these dogs out in the city, away from the shelter environment and hanging out with everyday folks removes some of the vestigial shelter stigma that potential adopters may still hold.


What would be your biggest piece of advice for someone thinking of fostering or adopting a dog from the humane society?

Make sure you are basing your decision on the dog’s personality and care requirements, not just their appearance.  Of course aesthetics are going to be a part of the decision making process when considering an animal, but the most important thing in terms of creating a lasting match is a good fit based on lifestyle, personality, and home environment.  If you are looking for a pet based purely on their looks you could be setting yourself up for disappointment.

How did you plan for including some of the available dogs for adoption in the Inspire event rental styled shoot?

The dogs chosen for the Inspire photoshoot were selected mainly on their personalities.  We needed pups that wouldn’t be thrown off by a short trip in the van, and then in turn wouldn’t be anxious when meeting a large group of new people.  We wanted happy and confident dogs that would be excited to hang out with the ladies of Inspire.

The only dog that didn’t quite meet that description was Woody. He came with us to the shoot because we know he has some barriers to adoption, (he’s not the youngest pup on the block and he has some fear and anxiety when meeting new people) and we want to make sure he gets seen by as many potential forever families as possible.

Each dog was fitted in a different aspect of the styled shoot highlighting them with the setting and the theme. What are some of benefits of individuating each dog?

Well each dog is unique aren’t they? They all have their own personalities, likes, dislikes, and backstory. It is important to let people see who their donations or social shares are supporting.  Not just the generic shelter animal, but Woody, the gruff senior with a heart of gold who was surrendered when his previous family had a baby.

Fun stuff about Woodie “Don’t let his long naps and slow mornings fool you, while he’s an older dog, Woody is very much a puppy at heart. He loves getting outside for those long walks and endless games of ball, run-run-run, and back roll. He’s looking for someone to help him fill his final years with non-stop fun and maybe some cozy cuddles on the side!”

For more info on this beautiful boy, visit us at 11 River Street or drop us a line at

What are some of the biggest challenges facing the Toronto Humane Society and how can interested parties reach out and help?

One of the biggest challenges we face, and many others in animal welfare face as well, is service provision.  There is a huge need for low-cost veterinary care and services in our community, and we have to work alongside our private practice veterinarians to ensure that animals are not being left behind or forced to suffer because their caregivers are unable to afford life-altering treatment.  It is somewhat of a balancing act, trying to do as much as possible without encroaching on the livelihood of veterinarians who need and deserve to make a living via their chosen profession.Our focus is on maintaining the human-animal bond, and if there is a way to prevent an animal being surrendered into our care when they already have a loving home, we do everything in our power to make that happen.

In terms of how people can help, I would suggest that they ensure they have funds set aside for medical emergencies involving their pet.  Or get started with some sort of insurance.  You never think it could happen to you, but vet bills can be shocking if your animal has a serious illness or major accident and nothing is worse than saying goodbye to a lifelong companion because you couldn’t afford their care.

The Toronto Humane city does offer Pet Health Insurance

Toronto Humane Society

Inspire Event Rental and Design

John and Samantha Photo and Video

Bright Lights Event Venue