‘Dog Tales Rescue’ follows couple determined to help vulnerable animals

Rob Scheinberg and Danielle Eden-Scheinberg’s farm has gone to the dogs.

This isn’t a typical farm, however. Their 40 hectares spread just outside King City, Ont., has become a temporary home to more than 150 — and counting — abused and abandoned animals.

It becomes the setting for the new docu-series Dog Tales Rescue, airing Thursdays on Bell Media specialty channel Gusto.

The series was renewed for a second season before the first episode even aired.

The Dog Tales Rescue and Horse Sanctuary has been operating for about five years in these rolling hills, about an hour north of Toronto. Husband and wife co-founders Rob Scheinberg and Danielle Eden-Scheinberg provide a well-manicured playground for their furry tenants. A tour finds state-of-the-art stables with fine wood paddocks. In a cooled indoor facility, dogs bark at a visiting reporter from behind glass-walled doggie pens. Each Fido enjoys funky furnishings, such as custom-made padded dressers converted into stylish doggie beds.

Dogs are bathed and groomed in specially designed shower stalls, walked twice daily and fed nutritious meals. Fifty full-time staff members, including veterinary assistants, also enjoy vegan meals prepared twice daily by an on-site chef.

The Scheinbergs get about 50 calls a day from people looking to dump aging, abused and otherwise unwanted animals. “We focus on the harder cases,” says Danielle. “You can’t compare us to a typical shelter. I have six three-legged dogs right now and one two-legged dog.” Other dogs and horses are blind.

Many of the horses are rescued from slaughter and auction houses around nearby St. Jacobs, Ont. The goal is to find forever homes for as many of these animals as possible. People can search for the dog of their dreams — such as Beauceball, an adventurous, 10-year-old Spanish Mastiff — on the Dog Tales website. Three follow-up appointments and $375 later, there can be a canine love connection.

But there are hurdles to overcome in running the sanctuary.

Scheinberg was once crossing the border with a van full of Florida rescue dogs, all with proper papers for entry into Canada. One dog was 14 years old. A customs agent asked why he was bringing such an old dog into the country. “Let it die in Miami,” the man suggested.

“How old are you?” shot back Scheinberg. The agent did not respond, but looked to be in his mid-50s.

“I’m sure you have senior parents,” continued Scheinberg.

Scheinberg’s point: “We really want to help the dogs that have no chance anywhere else.”

That’s also the point of the series. The couple was asked to take part in reality shows before, “but we always said no. We never wanted to be in the limelight. For us, it’s all about the animals.”

When Bell Media and executive producer Jennifer Couke-Cosgrove approached the couple nearly two years ago, they agreed that rescue work would be the focus.

Danielle had three dogs at home when Rob met her in a bar in their native Israel. Rob was a customer; Danielle a bartender. Married now for eight years, they currently have eight dogs at home.

They chose Canada as the ideal sanctuary location for its wide open spaces. Having family connections here also helped.

Although the sanctuary is well-equipped, the Scheinbergs absolutely welcome donations — especially since donations can lead to adoptions.

Danielle says a bed was donated after one woman’s beloved pooch passed away. When the lady came to an open house at the shelter a few Sundays later, she saw a new dog in that same bed — and took them both home.

That’s the kind of happy ending the couple hopes to present each week on Dog Tales Rescues.

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