All You Need is a Pawsitive State of Mind

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: April 11, 2015


Kaitlin, Mackenzie and Madison, along with Ali and Erica Egyed run the Pawsitive Animal Rescue.
Photo: Submitted

The word went out in the dog world: Erica Egyed is watching out for us. Erica Egyed is a musician and a mother of two, but for many she is a go-to person for animals in distress. Egyed spent a good part of her 20s making a living in a band, of which three years she spent in Cabos San Lucas where stray animals can be found anywhere you look. One day, she found a stray dog sitting in front of her door. She went back and brought something to eat. Next morning there were more dogs sitting outside her condo, patiently waiting for their breakfast.
And so the word spread in dog whispers. In a few days, dozens of dogs could be seen trailing her in single file. Her condo was attached to a restaurant and soon enough she was getting an earful from the manager for bringing a cavalcade of feeding dogs.
Animals, and especially those in distress, seem to cross Egyed’s path often. In Whitehorse, she once helped a bird find a new home after nursing it back to health. She has taken in numerous homeless cats, kittens and puppies that were not only abandoned but also abused and kicked around on the streets.
“I would often have locals knocking on my door with an injured animal that someone had come across, and I would find a home for them,” she recalls.
 It’s been 25 years since the incident in Cabos San Lucas, but Egyed is still finding homes for dogs, now with much more dedication and organisational effort. In last July, she realised a lifelong dream of forming a non-profit called Pawsitive Animal Rescue. Helping her are her daughters, Kaitlin and Ali and nieces, Madison Egyed and Mackenzie Egyed. She said she rescued dogs from high-kill shelters in Los Angeles because the euthanasia rate for healthy, highly adoptable dogs is quite high. Thousands more people surrender and abandon their dogs than those adopting them.
Hundreds of dogs enter countless country shelters in California and as new animals come in, the old ones are put to sleep first. Many get euthanized because they are so fearful it’s impossible for the public to get close to them to view for adoption.
In last July, through Facebook and other websites, Egyed established contact with another dog-rescue worker Susan Olsen. Olsen put her in touch with shelters across California. A few weeks later, Erica was at the airport picking up four dogs, Preston, Marcus, Bubble, and Phoebe.
 Egyed has rescued 25 dogs from California and several of them have found homes in Squamish. When a dog comes in, Erica and her daughters take over the roles they have assigned to each other. Kaitlin takes pictures and writes small blurbs for the website. Her sister, Ali, takes them out for a walk and feeds them. When the dogs first come in, they are afraid and straggly, but they slowly realise they are surrounded by a love they never knew.
 “It’s amazing to see their transformation,” says Kaitlin.
 When Egyed rescues a dog from the shelter, she has information if it has any fear issues, food aggression, health concerns, etc. “So if there’s a family that is interested in a dog before it arrives, I normally know if it is a good placement based on the shelter assessment,” she says.
 Egyed says there is no rush for her to re-home a dog. The team posts pictures and videos on their Facebook page and take the dogs out for walks where they can meet people. She rescues only two or three dogs at a time so she can keep them at her home first and get to know their personalities.
Egyed believes every living form should be treated with equal respect and compassion, and we all have equal right to be on the earth. Those who have opened their homes to the dogs would certainly agree. She has experienced an outpouring of love and endless donations. They have had fundraisers organised for her. “I have found the most loving adopters and have had total strangers open their doors to foster when I was in need,” she said. “Every dog that leaves my home leaves with a big piece of my heart. I love each and every one of them as they all have their own personality just like people do.”
Nicole Keeler adopted three dogs from Egyed, and they are helping her children teach love and empathy. “They are so in love with the dogs and having them is therapeutic for the kids,” she says.
Keeler first adopted a Chihuahua named Chloe after one of her dogs, Diego, passed away. Left alone was Jasmine who needed company because she was getting depressed. While searching through Facebook, Keeler found Pawsitive Animal and took in Chloe. Chloe, however, wanted to play all the time so the Keelers adopted Lucy, followed by Lily. “I have never seen dogs that are so loving,” says Keeler.
 Egyed plans to keep rescuing dogs for now. Her long-term goal is to find a property where she can rescue more animals, horses, dogs, and cats. “Basically anyone that needs a home and a hug,” she says


  1. brad hercina says:

    I love reading, hearing and being anything that brings healing into the animal kingdom. I don’t think it’s coincidence that in English God spelled backwards is Dog, and the one attribute they both share is unconditional love.