Gizmo's story

Tribute to Gizmo

Letter from Dr. Jeff Kubinec, DVM

Neglected animals

Letters of Support

Local Dog Rescue

These are some of the letters of support received after the story of Gizmo became public. While I continue to receive letters periodically, I stopped adding to this page in 2004.

March 4, 2003
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is Pam. I don't know about shelter hierarchy or shelter politics or staff conflicts. I do know that the shelter contains cats and dogs and other animals that need help. I know that the dogs want food, and water, and a place to run, and most importantly, love. They don't care about human concerns and worries. They give us their unwavering devotion whether we deserve it or not.

I don't know if the TBDHS has a mission statement but I do know that is has "daily animal requirements" posted on the wall in the staff room. One of the requirements for the dogs is to have at least one dog out side (in rotation) all day (weather permitting). Over the past six months I have been to the shelter countless afternoons and have not seen one dog outside all afternoon. At the time, this distressed me very much. I didn't want to rock the boat, but I couldn't come in every day myself and take the dogs out in the afternoon. The struggle to do what was right was making me sick and I was going to quit. Then I met Troy.

I went one afternoon in October to the shelter and there were dogs outside. The regular worker wasn't there, this different guy was. I introduced myself and asked to help him rotate the dogs. He was extremely friendly and kind. His name was Troy. Over the next few months, I found out a lot of neat things. Troy would come in a few evenings a week and let the dogs out. He told me he felt that they didn't get enough exercise during the day and they loved the extra socialization. I even came out a few times to help. It was refreshing to see a person taking the extra effort to improve the lives of the dogs at the shelter. Eventually, Troy had to stop going to the shelter at night because it was too dark. Instead of giving up, he fought to have lights installed outside so the extra exercise periods could resume. The welfare of the animals was always his top concern.

I am no way implying that the other shelter employees do not care about the animals, but I would like to say that the world is filled with different kinds of people. Some people travel through life, day to day, doing the bare minimum to get by. Other people are more diligent and dedicated to their jobs in life, but even they can sometimes lose track and focus on things that are not the most important in life. Then, there are those special people like Troy, who are willing to rock the boat to make the world a better place. Anyone who becomes stagnate in their daily lives does not like boat-rockers because boat-rockers cause waves. The good thing about waves is they facilitate change, usually for the better.

Policies are in place to ensure efficiency and order, but they are not written in stone. There are always exceptions to the rule. For the sake of the animals at the shelter, look at the incident with Gizmo again. The dog knew nothing of the world of rules you and I live in. All he knew was that he was in a tremendous amount of pain and the only person that cared enough to stay with him at night was Troy. Animals do not deserve to suffer. If I were in the same situation with Gizmo and the vet could do nothing to ease his pain, I would have asked to have Gizmo's suffering ended. Please don't punish Troy for doing what was morally right. He truly cares about what is best for the animals at the Thunder Bay & District Humane Society.

Pamela (last name removed for privacy)

February 27, 2003

To Whom It May Concern:
I've known Troy for four years and I know that his decision to end Gizmo's suffering was a difficult one for him to make, and the best decision given the circumstances. Isn't it funny the name of this place is the Humane Society, but yet Troy who did the HUMANE thing is being punished? He ended the suffering for a living animal that now is happy and pain-free in a new place. Just because this was not a human doesn't mean it is anything less. Troy is very affectionate with animals and loves them dearly, and having to make that decision is one he will live with for all time. I'm sure Troy is also hurting for having to make a decision like this knowing he couldn't help Gizmo in any other way. It's a decision he wouldn't have had to make alone had his manager and vet tech been doing their jobs.

As for the manager and vet tech, well if they wanted to make this decision themselves then they should have looked in on this poor dog a little more often than not, or maybe even called to check in on him seeing how they knew Troy was there. The manager saw for herself what Gizmo was going through just to breath, and she also cleaned up the blood. From what I have read they didn't spend a quarter of the time with this animal that Troy did. If Troy could have saved him he would have, but instead he made the choice to help Gizmo in the best way possible. I think it was the best thing and I support Troy in his decision, and I think he deserves an apology as well as his job back. The best thing the animals have while residing at the Humane Society was a friend like Troy.

Stacey (last name removed for privacy)

To Whom it May Concern:

Re: The termination of Troy Way, Animal Care Worker of the Humane Society

I feel compelled to voice support for Troy Way on his care, dedication, and loyalty towards animals. The Humane Society is forever in debt to Troy for the endless hours of volunteer time he puts in at the Shelter, and for his dedication as an employee. For Troy's painstaking efforts to save Gizmo's life, he was terminated. When I think of the pain and suffering that Gizmo experienced when no one else cared or was available, the Humane Society has only to thank Troy for his efforts of determination and persistence in attempting to save Gizmo's life.

Troy lives and sleeps among the animals. He sacrifices his personal space to provide comfort to animals, and he persistently insures they go to proper and well-chosen homes.

The notion that Troy did not follow proper protocol in Gizmo's care is absolutely ridiculous. After all, Troy's responsibility as an Animal Care Worker is to provide care and support for the animals, which he did. Troy has taught me that animals have a place amongst us when properly cared for. It is never the animals that behave badly, it is the humans who fail to respect them.

I have taken every opportunity to support The Thunder Bay & District Humane Society. However, I encourage that Troy Way be reinstated as an Animal Care Worker and be given a formal letter of apology and allow Troy to continue to provide his care, support and dedication to the animals.


Linda (last name removed for privacy)

To whom it may concern...

Having known Troy Way for many years, I can attest to his dedication and commitment to the care of animals. Troy would give up his own personal time without any questions asked to come to the aid of any animal in need to do whatever he can to help.

Although very versatile on computers and with mechanics, he choose employment in a field that could never even come close to matching the salary that he could easily command. To Troy, money and time has never been his goal, only the care of his friends.

I have personally seen the amount of time and effort Troy has put into his recent employment at the humane society, and have never known anyone else that would go so far beyond the call of duty without wanting anything for his own personal gain.

It surprises me that an organization such as the humane society would choose to terminate the services of someone like Troy over "politics". When an employee is willing to come in at any hour to tend to the animals, or go out of his way to do the "humane" thing, it should be apparent that this person is a rare find, and those who employ him should be thankful.

It's too bad that simple "protocol" is more important than the suffering of the animals, something that Troy always did his best to minimize. If the humane society was created to tend to the well being of the animals, then maybe the "protocol" needs some serious review, since it would allow the termination of someone like Troy.

Was this rigid set of rules known to the employees?

My personal opinion.

Brad (last name removed for privacy)

To Whom It May Concern:

I know I am biased about this situation as Troy is my son, however I must respond that what Troy did must have been very hard for him.

For if you know him, you would know he loves animals. You should see the 3 of them he has at home, they are treated like royalty. Troy would rather buy food for them than himself. At Christmas, his wish list was mainly for his dogs.

Since being at the Humane Society he has been dedicated to looking after those animals. Even in the bitter cold mornings he drives out there to make sure they are O.K. as it seems no-one else goes out there till later in the morning.

Put yourself in this situation. You have a dog lying in your arms, howling in pain and bleeding. What would your reaction be? "Oh I have to wait and get someone to say its O.K. for me to take this dog that's in awful pain to a qualified vet"? You may have to wait for hours, but that's policy. What is the humane thing to do, it's called a Humane Society - well, behave like one.

Troy has been very upset over this incident and for people to turn on him has made it that much harder. I for one agree with what Troy had to do, it is not a decision you like to make but according to the vet it was the best decision. Where were the rest of the people who supposedly work there? Why did they not look in from time to time to see how this poor dog was doing, or does their responsability only apply from 9-5?

Thumbs down to the Manager and Vet Tech who obviously were more worried about policy than the poor dog. I hope they are never put in this situation themselves with a severely hurt animal. What would their decision be? Let it suffer?

To the members of the Board and the rest of the employees of the Humane Society - you have lost one good employee and you know it, and the ones who are going to be hurt the most are those poor animals.

At least Troy cared for them. Go and tell them what's happened, its a shame they can't voice their opinion.

Julie (last name removed for privacy)

RE: Troy Way's Termination from the Thunder Bay District HUMANE Society

Never in my life have I heard something so inhumane as the events that preceded the termination of Troy from his much loved employment from the TBDHS. I have known Troy his entire life and I know that there is not a human in this city that has more compassion and devotion to animals. This is a man whose entire Christmas wish list comprised of items for his babies (pets), nothing and I mean nothing was asked of for himself.

I understand protocol and all that goes with it but under the circumstances this termination needs to seriously be reconsidered. The heart wrenching facts surrounding this little dog "Gizmo's" last painful days, hours, minutes on this earth are more than I could bear to hear. In light of all the facts I have heard & read of the events before Gizmo's humane end to suffering, it appears that the very individuals who head the organization had little or no compassion for this little soul. Troy on the other hand was there through thick and thin, not only comforting but trying from others to get help for Gizmo but to no avail. No one seemed to want to be available to help, too busy I suppose with this that and the other. Troy did what he knew in his heart was the right thing for Gizmo.

Considering the fact that this little dog had the equivalent of AIDS, it would have been protocol to put him out of his miserable suffering inevitably anyway wouldn't it?? Or would the TBDHS have gone on a special fund raising drive to gain money enough to be able to administer expensive treatment so this pup could live a 'normal' life. Then there would also need to be a special living area for him to segregate him from other animals, that could be costly. But the end result is who is going to want to pay to adopt a dog who has this disease??? NO ONE!

Troy did the best thing he could do at that time for Gizmo and had anyone made themselves available that could have given permission for this dogs suffering to end, this would never have happened. I feel sorry for the animals that have bonded with Troy at the TBDHS. I have seen the way animals love him and respond to him. It is their loss in the end...and who is the organization all about anyway? Oh the protection and well being of animals, gee, I had to think about that for a moment, I am confused.

Tracey (last name removed for privacy)

February 28, 2003

Let me start out by saying that I cant think of anybody who loves and cares for the well-being of animals, as much as Troy does! I am a volunteer at the Humane Society and every time I am there, he makes sure that every dog, if "allowed" out, gets a chance to run and play. If there is problem with one of the animals being sick, he IMMEDIATELY brings it to someone's attention.

He does not treat the animals like they are just a number, more like a living being with feelings, the way it should be! He not only does his job, but others as well, will do anything to make sure the animals are comfortable. If an animal comes into the shelter who is a little shy, he is patient with them and eventually, within a short while, they come around.

He is wonderful with his dogs, treats them with the respect they deserve, never thinking of himself, only the well being of his "brats", as he affectionately calls them. He is great with my dog as well, who is a little on the shy side.

The fact that Troy spent so much time with Gizmo is pretty special, he was there for the poor baby when no one else was, I mean he even asked Gizmo what he wanted to be done...a true animal lover if you ask me! No one bothers to find out what the animal wants, they just do what is convenient for them. He was told to wait, for what now? The poor baby was suffering then, didnt have time to wait!!!! He made a very tough decision, but a decision that was in the best interest of the dog. Must have been a hard one to make, considering what happened to his baby girl, Shadow but still, he went ahead and did what he had to do, all the while talking to Gizmo, making sure he knew it was okay and that somebody cared!

So Troy got fired for caring? Makes no sense if you ask me, like I said before, he was there when no-one else was, didn't care what may happen to him, only thinking of Gizmo. I truly believe that it is possible to talk to the animals, Troy is a prime example of that!

Karen (last name removed for privacy)

February 28, 2003

RE: Termination of Troy Way

To Whom It May Concern:

Let me begin by stating how appalled I am that an Animal Care Worker would have his job terminated for trying to save the life of an animal. This boggles my mind. Words cannot begin to express the disappointment I feel for the poor animals who have lost Troy as their care provider.

I have known Troy for more than 20 years. He has shown me that opening my heart to an animal is a way of life that can bring so much joy and happiness to a person. I had never owned a pet before meeting Troy, and through his direction and support I have been a dog owner now for more than 10 years. Not only did he guide me through housebreaking my puppy, but he also taught me proper training and respect for my dog. He always stood by me when the frustration at times overwhelmed me. I can not thank him enough for opening my eyes to the pleasures of having a dog as a companion. My home will never again be without an animal, and my life will never be as fulfilled as it is now.

How can an organization such as the Humane Society be so poorly organised that they would allow a manager to terminate an employee such as Troy? I am very familiar with the hierarchical order of non-profit or not-for-profit organizations and the role the Board of Directors plays where management is concerned. How can they stand behind a manager who would allow this sort of behaviour where a sick animal is concerned? Not only is she part of the problem, but she is responsible for the lack of veterinary care this dog received. Troy simply went out of his way to ensure this dog was provided the necessary care he so rightly deserved. Where was the manager or veterinary technician while this dog was alone, dying a slow and almost certain painful death? At home sleeping, more than likely. Have they received any form of discipline for their actions? Policies are one thing; allowing an animal to suffer needlessly is another. Troy did what was right, and I stand behind his decision 100%. I know how extremely difficult it must have been for him.

As for your decision to terminate Troy, a bigger mistake you could not have made. If anything, the manager and veterinary technician should be terminated. They have obviously revealed they have little to no concern for the animals at the Thunder Bay & District Humane Society. I would encourage Troy to sue for wrongful termination, though he has expressed to me that he does not want to do anything that may make vulnerable the future of the Humane Society.

How many of your employees would remain so faithful to an organisation that just terminated them?

Darcy (last name removed for privacy)Research and Policy Assistant

Thunder Bay & District SPCA,

February 23, 2003

Re: Troy / Gizmo

In recent communication with Troy, I was told of his dismissal from your organization. I have in the past had an excellent working rapport with your group through Troy. We here at Labrador Retriever Rescue Ontario welcomed one of your intakes named Dakota (3 legged Rotti / Lab X ) and placed her into her new home. I was very overwhelmed and impressed with the degree of care and concern expressed and shown for this dear girl, especially that of Troy. Troy was kind enough to transport her down to the Oakville area and I was delighted to meet such a kind, compassionate fellow. Troy was a definite asset to your organization as he relayed the ethics and efforts of the Thunder Bay SPCA, he represented you in a friendly and competent manner.

I am very aware of the policies and procedures that all organizations must follow. However having met Troy in a rescue capacity I am saddened to hear that he has been dismissed as the result of actions that all of us would have done in the same predicament, as we all strive to save in the most humane actions possible. From what was told to me, the circumstances of Gizmo were rare and terrible for the animal, I would ask that perhaps you waive policy as from my understanding of the situation Troy did what was best for Gizmo, as his dedication and passion exhibits.

I hope that your board and Troy are able to come to a mutual understanding. Sincere, capable people are a rare gift and I feel it would be a tragic loss for your organization to lose such a dedicated, kind and compassionate man.

Thank you,
Joan (last name removed for privacy)
Labrador Retriever Rescue Ontario

March 8, 2003

Re: Dismissal of Troy

I have known Troy for some time now. I was saddened to hear he was dismissed from the Thunder Bay Humane Society, particularly under the circumstances.

Troy's dedication to the well being of the animals at the shelter is second to none. He puts the animals first, and has spent many hours at the shelter, after normal business hours, in an attempt to improve the quality of life for them, during their stay. Some of the dogs seem like permanent residents, as their stay can now be measured in years! As a volunteer at the shelter, I have made a few late night visits, where Troy can be found exercising the dogs, and giving them a break from their confined living space.

Troy's fault, resulting in his dismissal, was his love of animals. I can't see how he could have done any more than he did, in an attempt to improve the quality of life for a particular dog.

I recommend the provision of a Humane Society authority official's phone number be posted for after hour emergencies. Some one who can be reached to make an official decision about an animals welfare, should the need arise. Had this been available, Troy would not be in his current predicament. The solution is NOT to close the building to all personnel after hours, as the animals deserve as much care and attention as we can give them, regardless of the time of day.

If I were in Troy's shoes that night, I too would have done the same: looked for phone numbers of managers in the phone book, driven the dog to a vet, and have the animal euthanized, if treatment meant a short period of extended suffering.

I would like to see Troy back at work, at the Humane Society, where he can continue his work, in an attempt to improve the quality of life of the remaining animals at the shelter. Perhaps his decision to have an animal put down was not his to make. However, since the animals can't speak for themselves, it leaves an opening for us to act in compassion. Another consideration is to give a designated vet the authority to decide an animal's fate, in the absence of the proper Humane Society representative.

All in all, I believe Troy's actions, and judgement, in this case, to be the true essence of what the Humane Society represents. Are we not trying to improve the life of these animals, and prevent animal cruelty? If an animal has to suffer until someone can provide a 'rubber stamp', is that not cruelty towards the animal and going against what the Humane Society stands for? If this is the way it must be, perhaps I am spending my charitable spare time at the wrong organization.


Jason (last name removed for privacy

LU Engineering Student

March 10, 2003

Dear Troy,

I just spent the last five minutes reading your letter, and I am so moved by what happened with you. The first thing I want to tell you, please don't hurt yourself over the decision you made "with" Dr. Kubinec. You did what you felt was the most humane thing to do at the time, and the Vet made this decision with you. I feel for you, and wish you strength and comfort in your struggle through this incident. I talk to my dog all the time, as I did with my first dog.... and I made a decision to put my first dog down when he was in a fairly hopeless situation. The treatment would have been very painful for my dog, therefore I decided to let him go to heaven. Believe in yourself Troy, and there are people who believe in you, and of course agree you did the humane thing. Maybe you were supposed to call your manager about this, but you know these situations can not be so black and white. The integrity of the individuals involved such as yourself and Dr. Kubinec, as well as the circumstances involved should be looked at with a flexible angle. I hope that you pursue continuing to work with animals... because it sounds like you truly love them.


Someone who cares.......


I read your story and I commend you for your caring efforts to help Gizmo. It is not our place to intervene in the operations of humane societies as we do not have any authority. However, from what you described, it is abundantly clear that all of your actions were in the best interest of the dog. From what you wrote, in my opinion, the dog should have been euthanized much earlier to spare it the suffering it appeared to endure.

I am sorry that you lost your job and that you were not able to save Gizmo. I urge you not to feel guilty about what happened to the dog, but instead to realize that you did everything in your power to comfort him and relieve his suffering.

I wish you well.

(name removed for privacy)

Canadian Federation of Humane Societies
Suite 102, 30 Concourse Gate
Nepean, Ontario K2E 7V7
(613) 224-8072
Toll free in Canada: 1-888-678-CFHS
Fax: 613-723-0252

Dear Troy,

I am sorry to hear about your experience at the Thunder Bay Humane Society. It is often difficult to act compassionately in a bureaucratic environment. From you explanation of the events, it seems to me that you acted out of compassion. Humane Society's are often curious organizations, promoting the humane care of all animals on the one hand, and fully condoning the slaughter of certain animals (chickens, pigs, cows, etc.) on the other. Without ethical consistency, it is isn't much wonder why decisions are made without sound explanations.

Keep up the fight

(name removed for privacy)

Toronto Animal Rights Society

(Recieved in mail)

March 23, 2003

Dear Troy:
I don't know you but I have heard about the problem you are having with the Humane Society.

To be fired simply because you made a decision to have a suffering animal put down (and did not follow "protocol") is wrong. May I make a suggestion? I'm sure the newspaper would be only too glad to cover such a human (and animal) interest story. Keep your spirits up and God Bless you for loving animals so much.

(name removed for privacy)

March 28, 2003

Dear Troy, and the "Powers that Be"...

My heart reaches out to you for I too have had to make some very difficult decisions over loved and adored pets.  It is not a comfortable place to find oneself.  You obviously have a passionate heart for our speechless friends... and it makes me proud to see another stand for what is right and proper on their behalf.

Some people DO NOT have the natural instincts as to know when the line is being crossed!... on either side of the fence... Humanely or Justified.  If such compassion is penalized then maybe their compassion has run out and time for a change is in order... Ignored by routine due to the numbers that must come through those doors, is not an excuse to brush under the carpet the feelings and illnesses which cause undue suffering and pain.  Our pets first... especially in your profession. Rules are meant as guidelines... sound judgement calls should always over-rule... rules that can/should be broken.... when circumstances dictate!  The circumstances here obviously lend to that factor... even the Vet Doctor concluded this.

Who is trying to play God here?  Don't let pride ruin the opportunity to right the wrong!  Employee's such as this are rare and hard to come by... he should and still could be given a "Hero's medal" in the animal kingdom.  Do you not watch the T.V.?  Maybe that is where this story should go if this is not rectified... I am willing, are you?

Your letter has inspired me to speak out... I too would have done all things available.... If it were me suffering I wish one as yourself would be my luck.  I have been an active pet owner for all of my life... 42 years, and I would be honoured to have one such as yourself make a decision toward my loved ones if I were not available.  I know that you would not make it lightly or without all things considered.... EVERY EFFORT TO IT'S FULLEST.

I expect that our "Powers that Be" set their pride aside and reconsider all the facts... they should be grateful for the extensive outreach "HEART" that you put into your work... with the utmost of compassion and diligence towards our speechless friends.  Suffering is Not An Option.  Isn't that the meaning of the HUMANE SOCIETY?

Good will and full life to the BEST of their ability... utilizing all at their disposal at whatever time of day or night.  Shame on you for punishing a pure heart.  The stain is not on His Hands... but yours!  Willing to go the extra mile?  You choose the mile... easy or not.  This should not have occurred and I'd bet that many like me are just as willing to see this through.  Batten down the hatches... this could be a bumpy ride, as well as very exposed!  Are you certain that you made the Best decision here and are willing to go National with that?  It seems apparently by the facts this is Not Justified!  Some toes do need to be stepped on!  And good for Troy if that wasn't first and foremost over the pain and suffering of one or any animals at your facility.  Maybe this should be your alarm "Wake Up Call".

Stand Strong Troy, good things come to those who wait patiently.

Loving Hand to All God's creatures....


April 1, 2003

Dear Troy,
I finally had a chance to read your email. What a tragic experience for you. In fact, the letter brought me to tears when I read it. I know how you feel about animals, as I feel the same. I am sorry that Gizmo had to suffer, but I am sure that he knew you cared about him. I think it is totally unacceptable how you were treated by the Thunder Bay Humane Society. The organization should have been proud of the fact that someone who cares about animals like you do, was employed by them. It was unfortunate that you had to be put in that situation, and I hope that you will consider your rights regarding your termination. You should be provided with a policies and procedures manual which states what they feel you did wrong. I think what you did took alot of courage, as I also knows how it feels to have to bring in a terminally ill animal to be put to sleep. I hope your heart has had some time to heal, as I know it breaks whenever we see an animal suffer. I wish you the best always, and please don't give up in this struggle, you are a positive role model for everyone who has a pet.


April 4, 2003

Hi, my name is (edited). I'm only 13 years old but i'm totally in love with animals. I heard what happend through my mom, (edited) and i wanted to know if there was anything at all i or anyone else could do to help. I think you knew my dog, (edited), from when you worked at the Humane Society. Well please write back, i really want to know if there's anything i could do to help. Bye!


April 3, 2003

I have read the information on your being let go unjustly. I feel they made a big mistake. Where on earth are they going to find someone like yourself who is like "Dr. Doolittle", caring so much for the animals and spending so much time with them? I sympathize with you!

Yours Truly,
Auli & Jim

April 5, 2003

RE: Termination of Employment of Troy Way, Animal Worker of the Humane Society

Thunder Bay & District Humane Society
1535 Rosslyn Road
Thunder Bay, Ontario
Canada P7E 6W2

Attention: Dr. Jack Remus, President

Dear Dr. Remus,
I am appalled at the way your organization has handled the matter concerning the termination of Troy Way. Mr. Way has devoted time and energy beyond his job description in caring for the animals that arrive at your facility in providing HUMANE treatment in dealing with Gizmo's case. I do not understand how requiring this poor dog to suffer another few hours until your unlicensed vet technician or another member of administration can turn up at the shelter to authorize the ending of his suffering pertains to the 'humane' aspect of your organization. The pain that Gizmo suffered in his condition cannot and should not be prolonged simply at the leisure of your administration to decide when his suffering should end. Mr. Way acted in the interests of Gizmo by transporting Gizmo to the vet when his condition worsened.

As a student of anthropology, I am well aware of the issue of ethics. I believe that Mr. Way made the only ethical decision under the professional opinion of a vet concerning Gizmo. Is that not what a humane society should stand for? Are not the interests of the animals who come under care in your facility the first priority beyond dealing with the red tape of bureaucracy? How can your organization justify the termination of Mr. Way's employment at your 'humane' facility when his actions have clearly shown the concern and care that the animals who arrive at your facility so sorely deserve and need? I might not know Mr. Way personally, but I believe that his actions speak clearly for themselves. I would hope that ANY employee of a humane society would have done the same thing when seeing an animal in as much distress as Gizmo was in.

I believe you have failed in your decision to fire an employee who displays the love for animals that is so essential in an organization like yours. I believe you should justify your brusque treatment of an employee who went above and beyond his duty to provide these animals with the care they deserve. Explain how a humane act on the part of Mr. Way resulted in the termination of his employment from a 'humane' society that should be encouraging the ethical treatment of animals.

Yours truly,
Diana (edited)

4th Year Anthropology Major (Specialized Honours Program)
York University, Toronto, Ontario

April 11, 2003

Dear Mr. Way

I have recently received a copy of your letter for support regarding the fate of "Gizmo" and subsequently the fate of "Felix". I would like to extend my condolences for the appalling situation you were forced in as well as the unfair treatment of yourself and the animals at the "Un-Humane Society".

I own 2 dogs and cannot ever imagine the thought of seeing either of them in distress, much less suffering unneccessarily. You have my full support in your actions & caring attitude.

I sincerely hope you contact your local Member of Parliament, the Chronicle-Journal - any one person who can expose the humane society and their actions and disgusting treatment of animals. If I can assist in any way possible, please contact me at the enclosed address.

M. A.

April 10, 2003

That makes me absolutely sick, the humane society should be ashamed of themselves. Has the Chronicle Journal picked up on this story? If not, they should do a human interest story to maybe help your ploy. Anyway, you rule for your devotion to Gizmo and what you did. Never give up.


April 18, 2003

Hi Troy,
I've started this letter about 7 or 8 times now, and there's actually only one phrase that keeps coming to mind, and it's "Give 'em H*ll. I can't believe that total lack of caring and compassion, and at the very least, you'd think that professionalism would move them to act in situations like those...

Oddly, my spouse, who used to live in Thunder Bay (we are in Calgary), once made several very scathing comments full of epithets about the humane society there, I can't recall the reason why, but I was suprised at the vehemence of the comments - now I see why. So my guess is that this has been ongoing for a very long time. Let's see - 5-6 years at least. That was the last time that my spouse would have been in Thunder Bay.

I sincerely hope it all comes out in the wash, and your name gets cleared, and the animals get the care they need.

J. B(edited)

April 18, 2003

Dear Troy,
My name is Kathleen and I have the greatest sympathy for your loss, but like you said Gizmo is with Shadow now and I honestly believe it was for the best. I know the feeling of losing a pet because when I was younger my family use to breed, and there was once a case of Parvo which ended in tragedy. However I believe that losing your job was absolutely uncalled for.

I'm sure there is something that can be done to correct this injustice. I suggest going to the papers and local television station to inform the public of the heart breaking decision you had to make and the consequences you have suffered.

Keep your head up, you're the good guy!

Sincerly, a friend

May 14, 2003

Hi Troy
I read about your situation after receiving an email. I could not stop crying. Although I usually withhold judgment until I hear the "other side of the story", I can't imagine what they would say to justify their treatment of you and their lack of compassion for Gizmo (and the others).

I also volunteer at my local Humane Society. Unfortunately politics seem to find their way into all charitable organizations. I just keep concentrating on the animals that need my help and all the good that our volunteers do.

I can tell that you care very much for animals. I'm sure you'll be an asset to another "animal" organization. Don't let this incident deter you from your calling.


May 20, 2003

OMG I went to your web page and I can't believe you got canned for that. That's BS!!!

I hope you know you made the right decision putting Gizmo down and don't regret it. How can you stand seeing all those animals that sick? I go to the humane society and I stand there like a baby crying. I give you so much credit for being able to do that! My animals are my LIFE, my whole life revolves around them. Not many people understand that. It's seems like your the same way. I have 2 jack russells and 7 chins and would never give them up for anything in the world.


May 26, 2003

Hey!!! Howz it goin? I have read about your story and saw your letters in the Post. Very interesting situation you have going on......but really sad... I have even passed this on to my aunt who worked at Highview Animal Clinic, to see what she would say about this deplorable situation...

My thoughts are with you, and your four legged friends.....

Just don't know if your actions are hurting or helping the very animals you are wanting to help. I hope it is not hurting them. But unfortunately where government institutions are involved, many have to suffer before change is mandated.

Good Luck


June 2, 2003

I just read your website from a link posted on an Animal Rights in Canada website. I think the situation you had to endure is despicable on the part of the humane society. Has the manager been held accountable for this? I feel sorry for you having to put Gizmo to sleep, but know that it was for the best and you did the right thing. Gizmo is resting peacefully now. Anyone who disagrees with your choice to end his suffering is a complete idiot.

I understand you are also associated with animal rescues across Canada? I'm pretty sure you are the one who drove a Lab from a rescue to my friend in Edmonton about 4 years ago. I can only imagine the commitment you have to animals to drive across the country to deliver a dog. You are a good person.

All the best to you

Greg McKee (you can print my last name)

May 20, 2003

Dear Troy,
I read your post then went to Gizmo's tribute... tears were flowing the minute I saw him and read your beautiful words. I wish I could put my thoughts in writing about that "humane" society, but the only words I can think of would not be posted here on petloss. All I can say is I'm sorry you were fired for showing Gizmo the love he needed, he wasn't alone when you sent him on his journey. Thank you for the love you have for all animals, you are an incredible young man, thank you for being with Gizmo and for being a special friend to a special baby. If only everyone in the world were as compassionate and loving as those who are here on petloss it would be a perfect world.

God Bless you Troy, you are a VERY special man. Gizmo will be waiting for you at the Bridge.


March 30, 2003

I'm so sorry you were fired for saving a poor baby from suffering. That's just terrible. I'm sure Gizmo is thanking you right now. He won't forget you. You sound like a thoughtful and passionate person for the way you cared for Gizmo.

My thoughts are with you. God Bless.

June 2, 2003

I am so sorry to hear of your dismissal. It seems like those at that Humane Society have forgotten what "HUMANE" means.

I hope you obtain another position where you can help animals. It's horrible being let go the way they did. But what a wonderful gift you gave to Gizmo - he left this earth on his journey to the Rainbow Bridge knowing love, knowing affection and knowing someone cared enough to make the decision that was right for him. Gizmo knows this. And so do we on this board. Gizmo may have never had a home, but he did have someone who cared. Don't ever believe that it was wrong to care and wrong to help Gizmo.

Bless you,

June 4, 2003

What a wonderful person you are sleeping at the shelter and caring for Gizmo in that way, at least he found out what love is in his last day's. When I ran a dog rescue, I used to go to the shelter's rescuing dog's that were due to be put to sleep. All to often it was apparent that these shelter's DO leave animals to suffer, and do not get them vet treatment when they need it, hence it was usually the sick or injured one's that I used to take home, and I was left to pay enormous vet bills.

I am so sorry you got fired, animal shelters need more people like you, not less. You could always start rescuing dog's yourself if it is an important issue to you. The reason I started rescue was I thought I could do a better job at caring and re-homing the little dogs and puppies than some of the uncaring shelter's that were about.

Wishing you luck in whatever you decide to do.
Best wishes,
Julie (last name removed for privacy)

Dear Troy,

There is a much Higher Power than the manager and vet tech at that alleged "humane" society, and they will answer to Him! Your actions were what any of us would have done under the circumstances and are to be commended. I wish there were millions more like you in this rotten world - it would be so much more joyful. God notes every sparrow who falls - and every human who displays the God-given gift of compassion; in the end, you will be rewarded for doing that.

I've just come from your website, and I particularly enjoyed the photos of your four furkids. How fortunate they are to have come into your care! Please don't stop doing your life's work, which is to help animals most in need. *You* are needed - those in charge of that "humane" society are not.

May God bless you mightily for your compassion, and may He hold you gently in your grief and lead you to peace.

March 28, 2003

I believe you will have a very special place in Heaven for caring for something unfortunately deemed unimportant by those that are supposed to be there to help them. It saddened me deeply reading your post, about the inhumane treatment the shelter displayed, but at the same time warmed my heart to know that you sacrificed your job to make sure this very special dog was able to go to Rainbow Bridge with dignity. You gave him the most unselfish and loving gift by allowing him peace from his pain and suffering which for those of us who love animals deeply, is the most excruciating pain we suffer even though we know it's the right thing to do.

Thank you for your compassionate soul. Please don't stop caring for those who so desperately need our help, you truly are a godsend. I am so sorry for the loss of your job, but what you did, goes above and beyond the call of duty. I'm sure something much better is waiting for you.

God bless you always.
Hugs, Jules (last name removed for privacy)

June 10, 2003

Troy, I'm so sorry for the loss of Gizmo, and that there are so many cruel and inhumane people in this world that they wont consider an animals suffering. I tend to believe a lot of "humane societies" are that way. I'm glad you gave Gizmo the love you did, even if it was for just a short time, and Gizmo will be waiting for you at rainbow bridge. You are a special man.

Gayle (last name removed for privacy)

March 31, 2003

Dear Troy,

What a wonderful human being!

Perhaps God has a different plan for you, and this is the first step in achieving it. Bless you for your love and concern for one of his most perfect creatures. Just think of the happy meeting you and Gizmo will have some day, 'cause if you could show this much love and compassion here - how much greater it will be then.

Diane (ButchsMom)

April 14, 2003

Dear Troy,

I am writing this through tears. What a beautiful, selfless, loving thing you did for that baby. Shame on the "Humane" Society.

Your tribute was also beautiful.
God bless you.
Jill (last name removed for privacy)

June 12, 2003


Don't dare give up. You'd be wrong. One business has no right to deter you. I believe you have a gift for compassion and believe you should continue on. Forgive me - a shelter axed you? Please continue to give back - via the Humane Society, Adopt a pet, Rescue networks, Petsmart, local vet. clinics, etc. One person made a decision regarding your position. Don't let one person determine your future. Your heart was there. Continue what you loved. I believe you merely need some motivation to find that detour. I hope it's here. And I thank you. Cause if I didn't have 3 kids college bound - I'd be in my glory at my local Humane Society volunteering my time. Please reconsider, and don't let one person decide your fate. You did a good deed. Persevere. That's what we're here for - to motivate.

Need more?
Speak up!!!!

Di (last name removed for privacy)

April 8, 2003

Dear Gizmo's Best Friend,

God bless you. I am sitting here crying and I'm at work. Gizmo's tribute is beautiful. You are a wonderful and caring human being. I wish all the workers at shelters would be just like you.

Isn't there anything anyone can do to get your job back!? I'll write them if that will help - we all will!!! I can't believe they fired you for caring. You were absolutely right when you said "what a world we live in."

All I can say is thank you. Thank you for helping that poor little soul. He was one lucky dog to have you for a best friend!

Again, Thank You!
Ralph's Mommy

June 17, 2003

Hello Troy,
I read your site because I was curious about your domain. Your employers are crazy. That animal should have been put down long before that. They are just animals not someones grandmother. In the USA they kill lots of healthy animals at animal shelters. That's basically what they do there. Young and healthy animals like puppies and kittens. They consider it their job to get rid of animals. Most poor humans in the USA like homeless people and the like that don't get as good care as that dog did. Kind of sad for the humans in the USA that they are cared for less than unwanted animals in Canada. Probably applies to lots of people's grandmothers in the USA too.

I'm a cat person myself but much as I love my cats I know they are just animals and if there is little chance of recovery and they are suffering I will have an animal put down.

I hope things are going well for you and you can continue to work with animals if you so desire. You would be a good person to work for a vet as an assistant or something I would think. You seem to genuinely care about animals.

By the way, can you sue an employer for wrongful termination in Canada? You can in the USA and I think you would have a case in the USA in your situation.

Nancy (last name removed for privacy)

June 17, 2003

I sat and read your statement with much interest.

I felt your pain, frustrations, anger.......
You did the best thing anyone could do for a friend! You set him free.

He's happy and with you all the time. You know he's there but reject your instinct believing your just imagining things.

Take care my friend the best for you is yet to come.

Kind Regards,

July 8, 2003

Hey, Troy.
It's Tanya. I read your letter about Gizmo. In a word, "tears."

I cannot believe the irresponsibility of that humane society. I'm behind you. When an animal calls you to help him/her, when it is so obvious they no longer want to live and that they are ready to leave this world, why let them suffer so horridly? I believe you were there for a reason, if for nothing else but to help this creature when no one else would.

So many people get caught up in their own lives, a career just becomes another mundane daily task to perform - their hearts are no longer involved. I am interested in applying as a volunteer at one of the shelters here, but I know it would break my heart to see any animals mistreated. I feel there is a lot of that going around, because people don't see animals as equals... I do for some reason. My cats and pup are my babies, and I love them deeply. I can't explain it, but there is a connection greater than words can describe.

Back in April (the 23rd to be exact), I was taking my boyfriend to work around 8 am. The car in front of us hit a cat without stopping - or even slowing down. I thought I was going to explode. Granted the street is a busy one, but damnit, it enraged me. A part of me wanted to take a different route home after dropping him off, but I felt the baby girl calling me. So, I went back to check on her - she was still alive, but very badly injured. I waved for traffic to stop, picked her up and took her in to our regular veterinarian. The vet said that she was in a state of shock and nearly every bone was broken, even her jaw - she was bleeding from both ends, so he said it'd be best to put her to sleep. He said the tranquilizer would probably be enough to help her die. My heart broke, I was already in tears from the moment I saw she was still alive and laying broken in the street...but I had to sign the paper to allow them to put her under. As she fell into deep sleep and relaxed from the tranquilizer, I pet her and told her it was okay, she was returning to the Earth, and I asked her to please forgive me for having her put to sleep. But as she fell into sleep and out of shock, I could feel the most grateful "thank you" emanating from her being. Before she died, I named her "Cinnamon Drop" (she was all cinnamon-gray with one solid drop-shaped spot of pure cinnamon-brown on her forehead). I still feel guilty to this day, but I knew there was no other way to help her or I would have. I remember that day as if it had happened today, and it still makes me cry. Dave says "You can't save the world, Tanya," but it doesn't stop me from trying to make it a better place.

Some people have a heart, and love animals more than other people. Society has become so detached from nature, most people forget from where they come. Nature has become another thing taken for granted, there is no appreciation anymore. A tree isn't a living thing anymore, but lumber. Earth isn't a sustainable medium from which life grows, but simply "lifeless" dirt. Domesticated animals are no longer living and compassionate beings, but another toy for people to call their own. I could go on, but I will spare you.

Whatever your spiritual standards are, Troy, may many good happenings occur for you. Your letter has shown a different side of yourself than what I "knew" when we used to chat often. It's been a while (after sweet Shadow passed away, you stopped chatting), but I'm happy to be able to see this from you.

Take care, Troy. You definitely did the right thing. I'm sure Gizmo is still sending his thanks and love.

Yours, ~T.

July 26/03

Hi Troy,
I found your site thru MSN... I am very sorry for all that you have gone through. I am appalled that the Humane society acted in this regard. I hope your case is successful, and the human society learns a good lesson. (As well as its employees).

Please let me know if there is any way I can help your cause, or your case. I am not afraid to be heard, just point me in the right direction.

Best of luck to you and your continued career.

Judy (last name removed for privacy)

July 31/03

Congratulations to you on showing us what the word Humane really means.


August 7, 2003

You wouldn't be the first person who was martyred for doing what was right to alleviate the suffering in another life.

I applaud you, and when I think of Gizmo, and I will (as a symbol of the needless suffering & cruelty & ignorance that people can inflict on helpless creatures) I will see him always through the blur of tears, as his was the last story I read on your site. And I will see you as a symbol of what people should be to those helpless animals.

He, along with Toby, Felix, Spikie, and the others there and everywhere who suffer neglect by people who would not even deny themselves the illusion of their own infallibility, should not have had to be remembered as examples. They should have been missed by arms that held them in life, eyes that watched them play in joy, hearts that loved them when they were here, rather than by strangers.

There are too many people out there that contribute to the sad situations of those lonely little souls, from breeders to owners who lose interest, to people who are entrusted with their welfare. It will never be OK for all of them, but because of you it was better for some of them, and because you are not there anymore, it will definitely be a lot worse for a lot of them.

That is the worst part. That the next Gizmo will not even have arms to die in. But he'll know that you are there, in everyone you touch on this site. I believe you will see him again one day, just as I believe he can see you now, and knows that you are still looking after him.

My son is 26. I have always been proud of him, this is the first time I've had reason to be proud his name is Troy.

Look after yourself. You are needed.


Sept. 28/03

Dear Troy,
I just read Gizmo's website and your problems at the Thunder Bay Humane society. I bawled my eyes out for those poor animals. A few summers ago, I had tried helping out a bit with the few rabbits there, since that is my area of specialty. I noticed the lack lustre responses I got, and little interest when I suggested new or beneficial info about rabbit care. After only a few visits, I gave up because it just seemed that they weren't interested in my help or helping the rabbits.

Judging from other rabbit groups I've come in contact with, the animal care world seems to be fraught with pride and politics, and the animals are the ones who suffer the most because of it.

I pray the best for you and that you can make a difference. The right things often don't come without a fight. Unfortunately, I don't have any practical advice or help to offer, but I will keep you in my prayers.

God Bless,
(name removed)

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing in response to the actions of the Thunder Bay and District Humane Society in February 2003. During that time, the manager of the said facility, Judy Atkinson, saw fit to defame and dismiss one of its employees. His name was Troy Way.

I would like to take this opportunity to tell you what I know about Troy Way. He is the most considerate person I know when it comes to animals. He has a respect for dogs like most dogs have for their owners. His level of commitment has been demonstrated to me over the years, and most recently over the last year with the animals at the humane society. He spent many nights, evenings and holidays with the animals left alone at the shelter. This was done out of genuine concern for their well-being, security and happiness. During these long hours, most of which occurred over the winter months, he would see to it that every dog in the shelter received as much attention and care as he could afford to give. This meant grooming, socializing, exercising and feeding the animals. He saw to it that every animal had more than just a thin towel to sleep on. The cement floor of their cages would become quite cold for the animals in the winter months. That combined with the lack of outdoor activity they received during operating hours at the facility accounted for a lot of illness and undue hardship. This issue, among several others, including the Gizmo incident, was only addressed because of the compassion that Mr. Way carries with him for the animals.

I can't imagine being faced with the decision that Troy was faced with the morning of Gizmo's passing. He must have felt so torn. Euthanasia is NOT an act Mr. Way encourages. All of his actions up to and including that point were done with extreme forethought, worry and understanding. He was faced with little options in the wake of a crisis and made a decision that was more humane than that of the shelter itself.

Perhaps the biggest injustice here is that the animals remaining at the Thunder Bay and District Humane Society will no longer have the pleasure of getting to know Troy. They won't reap the rewards of having a care worker who is there solely for the animals, and not for a paycheck. He needs not a minimum wage job. Before he was working there, he was volunteering there. He demonstrated his commitment to these people, and for whatever fault of their own, they chose to dismiss him. Even more profoundly sad, is the fact that these animals are left under the direct care of a team supervised by a manager that couldn't hold a candle to Mr. Way. A manager that makes decisions based on fiction, not fact. Based on convenience and ignorance, not forethought and accuracy. Quite frankly, this manager wouldn't know a good thing if it bit her in the ass.

If fingers are to be pointed here, perhaps they go in the direction of management at this facility, and Ms. Atkinson's cohorts.

Judy (last name removed)
Donator, Volunteer and Member of the Humane Society

Feb. 4 2004

It sounds like you were doing the job the manager wished she could be doing. You have to face it - some people can do a job and make a huge difference, others try and try but continue to fail their way through life. Don't give up hope, good things always come to those who wait. We all know you did the honorable thing and the humane society failed you. They will get what they deserve in the long run.

God bless,
Jill Radcliffe

Hey, Troy,
I know I would have remembered your e-mail from a year ago had I received it or opened it, I am so sorry I never found it, as I wish I had the chance to respond back when I'm sure you could have used some support. As you can tell from the HBO documentary, I'm sure I would have backed you, understood what you did, and considered it an act of supreme humaneness.

I thank you for writing again, I hope you are still involved in the animal sheltering or dog world somehow.

We're working on setting up some internships, short term ones, I hope you can be one of the first to be here. I look forward to meeting you one day, no matter when or where, or under what circumstances.

Thanks for taking care of Gizmo, and sticking up for what's right in a world where what is truly humane often gets overshadowed by policy, politics or human selfishness.

All my best,

Sue Sternberg
Rondout Valley Adoptions
4628 Route 209
Accord, NY 12404