Dog man. Cesar Millan of Canada. The dog whisperer.
These are all names attributed to Wayne Hill who has dedicated his life to the betterment of dogs in Canada.
Since 2011, the longtime dog trainer has been creating his little piece of dog heaven by founding Hill-Cress Dog Haven on a 4 ha (11.5-acre) property in Victoria Harbour.
Hill-Cress offers daycare in large yards, one of which has a landscaped waterfall. It offers dog boarding, obedience and agility classes, including classes for dogs whose owners have special needs (children and adults) and a store selling everything needed for dogs, even homemade food.
Then thereâ€™s the decorated, forested path thatâ€™s open to the public and leashed dogs to enjoy with its inspiring signs, fenced-in play yards and a cedar cabin mausoleum.
Hill-Cress Dog Haven offers â€śeverything and anything to do with dogs,â€ť said Hill, who employs seven people.
But what Hill is widely known for is his efforts to rescue dogs. To date he has rescued 547 dogs, including his time in Alberta prior to opening Hill-Cress.
Currently, he does a lot of work with SPCAs across Ontario and Quebec – â€śDogs that are not doing well, canâ€™t get adopted or going to be euthanized – so they phone and ask me if I will take them over. We do in most cases,â€ť he said.
At the time of the interview, Hill had seven rescue dogs in addition to 12 of his own.
While international dog adoption numbers have increased in Canada, Hill sticks with Canadian dogs.
â€śThereâ€™s enough in Canada I feel, although people have brought back dogs from the Caicos Islands. We will take in dogs. To me a dog is a dog, but we donâ€™t purposefully go to the Americas or Mexico.â€ť
Hill said, â€śA dog is manâ€™s best friends and yet over six million are euthanized a year in United States and Canada.â€ť
While he is operating his business, he also privately supports the company due to the high veterinary bills for the rescue dogs.
He even took in a dog surrendered by the owners because they couldnâ€™t afford the surgery it required. Hill spent approximately $2,000 for the surgery then put it on homemade food and natural remedies. Ultimately, the dog was returned to its original owners and itâ€™s doing well, Hill said.
Because of the rescue work, there is a collection box at Hill-Cress and people are welcome to make donations through the Hill-Cress website.
Hill concentrates his training efforts on difficult cases including aggressive dogs, using methods in language dogs understand.
â€śTheir number 1 language is sign, energy and sound, in order of their strengths. I use one or two words, intense.â€ť
Working with dogs and animals is rewarding but time consuming. Hill works seven days a week.
â€śItâ€™s a 365 day a year operation.â€ť