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Mystery hero dog captures Toronto hearts

It could be Elvis or it could be Dante but the search is on to find a dog that police say prevented a killing spree in the city this week.
/ Source: Reuters

It could be Elvis or it could be Dante but the search is on to find a dog that police say prevented a killing spree in the city this week.

The country’s national newspapers ran front-page stories Friday speculating on the identity of the mystery dog in coverage that ranged from cute to deadly serious.

Police say a Canadian man, whose car was packed with 6,000 rounds of ammunition, rifles and a machete, planned to kill as many people as possible in a tony east end Toronto neighborhood  Wednesday. They say the man’s intention was to make sure he was sent to prison and never let out.

But he changed his mind at the last minute, and later gave himself up to police after a friendly dog came up to play with him in a park and melted his heart.

Dog 'was like an angel'
“I think it’s wonderful, (the dog) was like an angel,” said Barbara Wilson, manager of Three Dog Bakery which is located near the park.

“We’re still trying to find the dog because our bakery would like to present the dog with a basket of goodies to say thank you and I think the dog deserves a lot more than that.”

The betting is on Elvis Presley, a black border collie who was on the front page of the National Post Friday and featured prominently in other papers.

Elvis and his owner were in the east-end park at the right time and reports that he was carrying a Frisbee in his mouth fits his description.

“There’s no other dog that runs around with a Frisbee in its mouth,” a neighborhood dog walker told the Toronto Star. "That dog plays with the Frisbee 24 hours a day.”

His owner is not so sure -- Elvis usually runs up to women and not men, she told another newspaper -- but is happy to collect accolades for her pet.

“I would like to think it’s Elvis because it would make me feel prouder but I don’t know,” Dragana Brighton said.

The power to change a mind
Other names being cast about include Mattie, who never met a person she didn’t like according to park regulars, and the more discriminating but equally soft-hearted Dante.

Dante, a part husky, part Australian shepherd, was also seen in the park late Wednesday, playing with a man.

“I’m not claiming it’s him,” his owner, Kristina Kyser, told the Globe and Mail, but she noted Dante did have the power to change a person’s mind.

“He’s so sweet-natured,” Kyser said. “That kind of sweetness does have lasting effects.”

James Paul Stanson, 43, has been charged with a variety of weapons-related offenses. He is undergoing a mental health assessment to determine if he is fit to stand trial.