Our most frequently asked questions

What is included in the adoption fee:

Our adoption fee is on the higher end because we send all dogs to Canada via Cargo. Cargo costs vary depending on size, height, and weight of the dogs in the kennel. On average, we pay between $600-$800 dollars per kennel but we have included this in the adoption fee. The adoption fees include the following costs:

  • General health exam;
  • Our puppies all receive their first DHPP vaccine as soon as they get into our care, usually before they leave to their forever homes they have their second and sometimes third puppy vaccine
  • Flea/Tick prevention (one dose per month while in our care);
  • Heartworm prevention (one dose per month while in our care)
  • Spayed/Neutered, almost all of our animals are fixed before they go to their forever homes
  • Deworming using Panacur, Pyrantel, Ivermectin, Praziquantel, and Baycox every 2-3 weeks while in our care
  • HelpAWS pups who are adopted through us have the chance to receive a 8 week trial of pet insurance through Pets Plus Us

Once the dog is adopted, it is the owners’ responsibility to start covering vetting costs and overall care for the animal. As stated in the adoption agreement, you will be required to take your new addition to your vet within the first week of adoption.

All adopted HelpAWS pups qualify for an 8 week trial of pet insurance through Pets Plus Us.

Please contact us to receive your free trial today!

What to expect in the first week:

You will be required to bring your HelpAWS pup to the vet within the first week of arrival! Please take your pups vetting records with you. Ehrlichiosis (tick borne disease) is extremely common in Saint Lucia and we therefore ask that you get a 4DX Snap test done to test for this. Due to the fact that we are located in a third world country, these tests aren’t easily available to us, however, few of our dogs test positive and even fewer require treatment.

When adopting any pet, it is important to get a stool sample done to ensure they are parasite free! We try our best with frequent deworming, but being in a warm climate it is a constant battle. Please bring a sample with you to your first vet appointment. We also suggest socializing your new HelpAWS pup with only dogs you know have been fully vaccinated, for the safety of your pup and the others, until your new pup is fully vaccinated or cleared by your vet. Do not be alarmed if your pet experiences some itchy skin, we find that the change in climate affects their coat for the first few days in Canada.

We work very closely with Dr. Renee Fleming from Guelph Animal Hospital; she has worked with us for over 3 years and is one of the most knowledgeable vets when it comes to Saint Lucian dogs. If you have any medical queries about your new dog, she would be more than happy to assist you should you wish to make an appointment. Guelph Animal hospital can be reached at 1 519-836-2782

First Vet Appointment

During your first vet appointment your veterinarian will perform a physical examination of your dog. Please let your vet know that your new bundle of joy was born in St. Lucia, based on your pet’s history and physical examination, your veterinarian will make recommendations for specific preventive medicine treatments such as continued vaccines, parasite control (including preventive treatments for fleas, ticks, intestinal parasites and heartworms), nutrition, skin and coat care, weight management &/or dental care.

Heartworm Testing

A heartworm test should be preformed yearly to make sure your dog hasn’t contracted heartworm from the previous year; a 4dx test is the best and most recommended test to run as it not only tests for heartworm but also tests for 3 tick borne diseases (Ehrlihcia/Anaplasma and Lyme).  If a dog is positive for Ehrlichia/Anaplasma, it does not necessarily mean that the dog requires treatment, only that they have been exposed. Further testing should be performed.

Heartworm Prevention (REQUIRED: June – Nov, one dose per month)

Our dogs are put on monthly heartworm prevention once they get into our care and once you have adopted your dog, you will be required to continue this prevention from June through to November (if you live in North America). Dogs can get heartworm from the bite of a single infected mosquito and there’s no way to tell if a mosquito is infected.

Fecal Test

We require that a fresh sample of your dog’s feces (bowel movement) is examined as part of their first vet appointment. This sample will be processed and microscopically evaluated for the presence of parasite eggs. In puppies, monthly fecal examinations are extremely important since many puppies will have intestinal parasites that aren’t picked up on every fecal test.

Flea and Tick Prevention

All HelpAWS pups are put on monthly flea and tick preventative as soon as they come into our care, and it is important that you continue this monthly prevention with your new HelpAWS pup. We recommend and find Nexgard, Revolution, or Bravecto to be the best and most affective form of control for your pups.

How can my pup get fleas? Another flea-infested animal (like a stray dog/cat, the neighbors’ dog/cat, urban wildlife, your yard.

How can my pup get ticks? Ticks can be found everywhere, they are more likely to be found in heavily wooded areas and become active in temperatures as low as 4 degrees Celsius. It’s possible for a tick to attach itself to you or your dog especially if they are not on prevention.

I got a pup, now what?
Leash and Collar

At the age of adoption, most HelpAWS pups have a neck size between 9”-12”, when picking up your pup from the airport and within the first few days of your pup coming home, they may be fearful so in addition to a normal collar, we recommend a martingale collar which helps to prevent the dog from slipping out should you pup become spooked or refuses to cooperate. For leash trainer, a martingale collar or front clip harness is a great choice because they are designed to prevent your dogs from slipping out and helps to guide them to proper leash behavior.

Licensing and Identification

The City of Toronto Pet Licenses can be purchased online. We also strongly recommend dog ID tags with your contact information attached to the dog’s collar at all times. If your pet is lost or stolen, microchipping is the best way to ensure your pups safe return. Collars can come off, but microchips don’t!


When switching to a richer Canadian dog food product, please don’t be too alarmed if your new pet experiences some diarrhea. To avoid this, continue feeding the same food we feed our pups. While in our care, the pups are fed 3-5 times a day and they eat Pedigree dry puppy chow (the selection on the island is very slim) mixed with rice and chicken, with either corned beef, or Pedigree wet dog food. Continuing to feed rice and chicken will help with this. The only food brand we recommend feeding is Royal Canine. We do not recommend feeding a grain free diet or raw as it is very difficult to balance a raw diet. For treats the puppies enjoy Bully sticks and Dental sticks

Food & Water Dishes

Pick a spot and leave them in the same place so your dog knows exactly where to go for water. Make sure the water bowl is clean and has fresh water at all times.


Crates make the adjustment period less stressful for you and your new fur-baby. The crate should be a place your new pet feels safe, feeding them with the door open and giving them treats in their crate can help make them feel more comfortable.  The crate should big enough for your dog to stand up, turn completely around, and lie down comfortably.


Safe toys help dogs ease stress and, of course, have fun! Having toys available will ease the adjustment period.

Adjustment Period

Adopting a puppy

If you’re adopting a puppy, expect an adjustment period. Our dogs are very well rounded, and although they do tend to sleep through the night, they still may require potty breaks throughout the night! If you work, you should plan on coming home everyday at lunch to let your puppy outside to potty. If you can’t come home, consider doggy daycare, a dog walker, or a friend/family member to help you out.

Establishing the Rules

Rules and Structure

It can be tempting when you bring home a new dog to smother them in kisses. Resist the temptation now so you can avoid problems later on. It’s much easier to prevent a bad habit from starting than it is to break one.

Not only that, but dogs, like children, need rules and structure. It makes them feel more secure to know exactly what is expected of them and exactly what happens if they don’t follow the rules.

It also keeps order in the household. If you have other pets who already know the rules, they can get quite stressed out by an unruly newcomer.

  • Do not leave your new dog unsupervised in the house unless they have learned the rules
  • Correct at the right time. As with all other dog behaviors, the key to creating the boundary is proper timing in correcting your dog when they cross it. If you’re trying to teach your dog to stay off of the sofa, it doesn’t do any good to come in and correct him while he’s on it. He won’t connect the correction to being on the sofa. Instead, he’ll connect it to whatever state of mind he’s in at the moment. If you correct him when he’s calm, you’ll just create a nervous or excited dog.
  • The time to “Tsch!” or give whatever signal you use is right as the dog is about to commit the improper behavior. In the case of the sofa, it’s the instant he starts to jump on it. This will connect the correction to the action and firmly establish in your dog’s mind what he’s doing wrong.
  • Once you determine where your dog is and isn’t allowed, you need to be consistent in two things: one is maintaining the boundary. The other is being consistent in exceptions. If you decide that your dog can get on the sofa this time, it clearly has to be at your invitation — this is similar to teaching the dog to wait, in that it reminds her that you decide when to invite her into the territory but she is not allowed to invade it.
  • Everyone in the household has to enforce the same boundaries. If anyone doesn’t do this, it will just confuse the dog. Or, worse, it will make the dog think that the person who isn’t enforcing the boundaries is subservient to her.
  • Dogs look to their Pack Leaders for protection and direction. Giving them boundaries is a great way to provide the latter by letting them know where they can and cannot go.
Training and Behaviour

Just like children, dogs need to be taught good behaviour. Whether you’re bringing home a puppy or an adult, you can expect that he will do some things that you don’t approve of and maybe have some bad habits. Your dog will need to be taught how you want him to behave and you will need to put the time and effort into getting them there. The easiest and most fun way to teach your dog is to take them to training classes. You both get to meet other people and dogs. You get the benefit of expert knowledge and immediate feedback. Your dog gets socialization. Win Win for everyone! A puppy should meet 100 people in 100 days to be properly socialized. That’s a new person a day! So try and take them everywhere you can. You want these interactions to be positive ones, so carry treats with you and ask interested strangers to give him/her one.  Your pup will learn to love everyone this way.

Be careful when going places with your new pup if they are not fully vaccinated, as they are susceptible to illnesses and diseases.  Try to avoid dog parks until your pup is fully vaccinated. To socialize with other dogs have friends bring their dog friendly dogs over! (only if they are friendly, and vaccinated though!)

Most HelpAWS pups will already know how to sit, and have a good understand of potty training (if not fully trained) but it is important to continue teaching them new things everyday! Training also makes dogs happy. Studies on the brain show that animals like to have their brains challenged.  The mental exercise can be just as rewarding (and exhausting) to your dog as physical exercise.  As long as you use positive methods to teach your dog, he will LOVE learning. Training also helps your dog understand that they are supposed to take direction from you.

We highly recommend that you establish a go-to trainer before or shortly after your new dogs arrives into your care. This way you can begin the discussion around training needs and nip any issues that arise in the butt before they become an issue.

Our recommended trainers:

Please let us know if you need some help choosing a trainer or puppy school!

Puppy proofing

Even if your dog is older, curiosity can get the better of him. Make sure your home is a safe place for him by putting yourself in his paws. Electrical cords, poisonous houseplants, and any item small enough to swallow are just a few of the things that should be out of reach. Veterinarians perform more surgeries to remove strange objects that a dog has swallowed than for anything else.

Even after puppy proofing, it’s a good idea to not leave him unsupervised in the house until he has learned what is off limits. That way he won’t have the chance to develop any bad habits while you’re not looking! If your dog destroys something that is valuable to you, it is your fault for making it available to him. Dogs have no concept of how much something costs, and they don’t chew things to spite you. They do it because it is fun. Dogs also chew to relieve stress, so a dog who normally doesn’t chew things may do so when under stress. Make available appropriate chew toys and keep items you don’t want chewed out of reach!


A tired dog is a happy dog. If you have a schedule that prevents you from giving your new dog all the exercise it needs and would appreciate, make sure to get yourself and your dog set up with a professional service that will be there to help! It’s also a good idea to have professional company that offers boarding so you aren’t stuck when a last minute trip or a family member or friend backs out from sitting your dog.

We highly recommend setting your dog up for success with either;

Unleashed in the City offers a safe, fun and adventurous Pack Environment for your Downtown Hound. They know that every dog is different, just like their owners, which is why they like to get to know their clients through their orientation process. That way they can offer you and your dog the right service for you. They offer a wide variety of services, including; dog walks, doggie daycare, boarding, training and puppy academy! Check it out and get your pup signed up! They will thank you with kisses.

Vet Care

Don’t wait until your dog has a medical concern to build a relationship with a vet clinic. Once you have received an approval email from us, contact a clinic to get the dogs file established. We require booking an appointment at your clinic within the first few days of adoption so you, your vet and dog can all begin to build a trusted relationship. This will make vet visits smoother and should an emergency arise, you will feel more at ease going to see your trusted vet. Here is a list of Vet clinics we strongly recommend after adoption.

We work closely with the following clinics and recommend them for your dogs continued care.

Guelph Animal Hospital

Dr. Renee Fleming
110 Gordon St, Guelph

(519) 836-2782

Beaches Animal Hospital

Dr. Dilworth
2304 Queen St E, Toronto

(416) 690-4040


Meeting other pets

Bringing home a new pet can be really exciting but for some, it can be an adjustment period! Here are some tips to help make that first introduction with your other four legged family members

  • It might be late by the time you get home from picking your new pup up at the airport, but we recommend having your dogs meet somewhere outside of the home. Bringing both of them for a walk is a good way to make them feel like a pack and not be territorial.
  • When the new dog does come home, re-introduce all pets with the new dog in a crate for safety. Wait until all pets are calm and relaxed, even if that takes several hours, before introducing each pet. Watch for signs that either pet is stressed, and separate if necessary. Do not try to push them to be friends too fast. Slower is better!
  • Don’t change the routine for the resident pet.
  • Crate the new dog periodically to give your resident pet a break, especially if he seems stressed or annoyed with the new dog. Your new dog may spend a lot of time crated in the first week or two, but a slow introduction is better in the long run for everyone.
  • Spend time individually with the new dog and the resident pet.
  • Supervise playing with many toys to prevent spats. Wait a few weeks before giving them something of high value such as a stuffed bone or bullysticks when they are together.
  • Enforce the rules right away with the new dog. Dogs thrive on rules and consistency. It can make them anxious if another pet breaks the rules.
  • Even if the resident pet is not a dog, many of the same tips apply. Supervise all interactions. Observe all pets for signs of stress and separate them to give them a break. Cats should always have a quick escape route!

Meeting children

The kids are probably more excited than you are and probably can’t wait to play with their new family member! Prepare your children ahead of time so that they understand the boundaries.

  • Let your children meet the new dog before he comes in the home.
  • When the new dog does come home, keep him on leash and have your children sit down to say hello. Sitting will help them the children and dog be calmer,  and will create a more relaxed environment
  • Always supervise children with dogs, no matter how small the dog. This is for the safety of your dog and your child.
  • Teach your children not to pinch, pull, or squeeze the dog.
  • If your dog is nervous, ask the children to give him a break until he gets comfortable with them.
  • Don’t let children feed your new dog until he is settled in.
  • Don’t let your children take the dog’s toys, and don’t let your dog take the children’s toys.
  • Don’t let children walk the dog without adult supervision.
  • Set up a “safe” place for your new pet that is off limits to children. A crate is great for this. Instruct the children not to try and play with him when he is in his safe place, that way, if the pet decides they have had enough, they know they can go somewhere.