Thursday, January 29, 2015

What Can You Fix Before it Becomes a Problem? Your Pet.

February is Spay/Neuter month. This month, make the most important decision you can make for your pet’s life. It’s a simple fix.
Spaying or neutering your pet may not seem like a big priority, but putting it off, or deciding against it, can lead to bigger problems than you’re bargaining on — for you, your pet, and your community. How great are the rewards? Well, let us tell you...
1.      Your pet’s health will benefit. Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is fatal in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases. Neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer, if done before six months of age.
2.      Your pet’s behaviour — and your sleep — will benefit! Unspayed felines can go into heat every three weeks during breeding season, yowling at all times of day and night as they seek out mates. Intact males tend to roam widely, escaping from houses and yards and risking injury in traffic and fights with other males. They mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. Many aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering. Neutered animals, on the other hand, tend to focus more attention on their human families.
3.      Your pocketbook will thank you. Spay/neuter is a one-time cost. It’s a lot less than vet bills to treat your unaltered cat after it gets into a fight with a neighbouring tom, or the ongoing cleaning bills to rid the house of urine-marking odours.

4.      Your community will thank you. Every year across our country, hundreds of thousands of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are abandoned. Too many suffer as strays; too many are euthanized. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering. Even just one litter, and even if you can find them homes...those are homes that could have been taken by homeless animals in need.
This month, help us spread the word. Spaying and neutering is not just a good idea, it’s a life-saving choice. 

Sharon Miko
OHS Deputy Director 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

How to Make a Cupcake Perform Miracles

To be honest, I don't love baking. I like cooking, but I find baking too rigid and formulaic. Too much can go wrong if the chemistry doesn't work. Now, if someone wants to bake for me, I am pretty happy. Especially if it's a cupcake, and now, especially if it's in February. Why February? Because Cupcake Day is in February!

These cupcakes aren't ordinary cupcakes. These cupcakes save lives. They rescue animals injured by the side of the road. They protect animals from abuse. They perform life saving surgery. They teach young people responsibility and compassion.  

How can you make a cupcake this miraculous? Just bake them and participate in Cupcake Day this February. It's a sweet way to help the animals. Oh, and if there should be one or two left over...

For more information and to register, please visit our Cupcake Day page

Bruce Roney
OHS Executive Director 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

No Matter How Long It Takes to Find Forever Homes, Animals Like Stacie Have a Place at the OHS

Stacie was brought to the shelter in February 2014, while there was still snow on the ground. Almost an entire year later, she is still with us, watching the snow fall once again.  

The staff is beginning to wonder why such a lovely cat has been searching for her forever home for so long. Every time you walk past her condo, you can see her peeking at you, waiting for your undivided attention.

Many animals who come to the OHS spend months getting the care they need to be ready for adoption, from surgeries for broken legs to spays or neuters and vaccinations. Like Stacie, some spend months in the Adoption Centre waiting for the right match.

Stacie isn’t asking for a lot; just a lap to curl up on while you enjoy watching your favourite evening shows. She has the loudest purr when she is getting her chin rubbed or her ears scratched. She would love a cat tree in her new forever home so she can see out the window and talk to all of her bird friends. Feather cat wands are her favourite toys and she would love a human companion to play with her.  If you have catnip, she will instantly be your new best friend!

Stacie would be a great fit with any seniors of families looking for a sweet and independent cat. As long as children understand she wants to be respected, she can be a great fit with any family.  She enjoys being the queen bee and could live with another cat who can accept this. She would prefer a dog-free home, as they are a little too unpredictable for her own liking.

Stacie has learned to walk on a harness while here at the shelter, but she just isn’t ready to be your new jogging partner, as she likes to take the lead and will be extra curious in the great outdoors.

All this sweet girl is waiting for is a family to walk into our doors and say that “we want Stacie!” And no matter how long it takes, until then, Stacie will spend her days at the second-best place possible, the OHS, getting the care she needs until she meets her forever family. 

Danielle O'Leary
Adoption Centre Customer Service Representative 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Start the New Year by Putting Your Right Paw Forward!

Ribbon cutting at the 2014 walk 
It’s never too early to start getting ready for the 2015 Science Diet® Wiggle Waggle Walkathon and Run for the Animals.You can stay ahead of the pack by following some of these tips and tricks to so you and your pooch can be in tip top shape on Sept. 13, 2015, at Queen Julianna Park: 
  • Were you on a team in previous years or are you thinking you’d like to be on a team for 2015? Start to gather your pack mates and stay connected to them through social media or group emails.
  • Think about your goals. Set an ambitious fundraising goal to challenge yourself and your pack mates to raise even more money for the animals!
  • Start spreading the word and building anticipation. Share photos and stories from last year’s event with your family, friends and colleagues.
  •  Consider starting a community event to kick-start or boost your fundraising efforts.
  • Does your dog walk on a leash like a pro? If not, the OHS can help you get your pooch prepared for the walk by registering for an upcoming Loose-LeashWalking Workshop.
Canine walk participants at Queen Julianna Park 
You’re on your way to starting your successful fundraising campaign to help Ottawa’s animals. Stay tuned for updates in the coming months! 

For more information on the 2015 Science Diet® Wiggle Waggle Walkathon and Run for the Animals contact
Walkers on the course 
And remember, your commitment has a significant impact on the lives of the animals we save.

Lori Marcantonio
Director: Outreach & Development

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

You Helped Us to Do More and Get Better in 2014

Breezy and her new family
It seems like every year is a big year at the Ottawa Humane Society. I am so grateful to work for an organization where every year the way things are just isn't good enough, one that commits to more and better every year and 2014 was no exception.

Just a few examples of what you and the OHS achieved together:
  • You helped us develop and implement an Orphan Kitten Program for this vulnerable population
  • Together, we expanded our Pet Adoption Location (PAL) Program into veterinary clinics
  •  You helped us achieve the stiffest sentence for animal cruelty seen in Canada, with the sentencing of Breezy's attacker
  • Your support allowed us to launch our humane education school program in French and began to translate our key educational materials
  • Together, we increased the number of school children reached by our programs by an astounding 46%
  • Your support allowed us to launch new dog obedience programs
  • You helped us to brake the 700-strong mark in our volunteer team
Orphaned kitten at the OHS 
These achievements and  the many others would not have been possible without your kindness.  I'm looking forward to collecting the full list for our annual report. Even more, I am looking forward to what we will achieve together in 2015!
Dog obedience at the OHS 
Thank you for helping us make your humane society and your community a better place for both animals and humans.

Bruce Roney
Executive Director

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas from the Ottawa Humane Society

Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it the most.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours.

Bruce Roney
Executive Director 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Traditions and Animals

It used to be a familiar sight at Christmas in this country: the nativity scene, presided over by sheep, goats, often a donkey  and maybe a cow. I have seen some with dogs and cats as well. It is the mainstay of the traditional children's church Christmas pageant. The shyer children are often selected to play the animals. You may remember playing a sheep or a donkey in one as a child.

Nativity scene 
There are a lot of less familiar Christmas traditions around the world that involve animals. You may be surprised how many.

There is a Ukrainian tradition of decorating the Christmas tree with spider webs made from various materials—including crystal, paper, metal, and plastic—that is based on a cultural legend. It is said that a poor widow and her children couldn't decorate their Christmas tree, so it was bare. This made the children very sad so they started crying. Hearing the children's sobs, spiders that were in the house spun intricate webs on the tree to try to console the kids. When the family awoke the next morning, the sun’s rays turned the web - and the tree - silver and gold.

Also in Ukraine, Sviata Vecheria (the Christmas Eve Supper) features a humble and reverent 12-dish meal in honour of the twelve apostles spreading food for the soul throughout the world. The dishes contain no meat or dairy products to show respect for the animals that shared their place of shelter and were present for the birth of Christ.

In Latvia, during the yuletide season, Latvian "mummers," or people who dress up as entertainers during certain events, would dress up as animals such as bears or horses and parade from house to house in villages singing and dancing to ward off evil.

In Poland, families gather together on Christmas Eve (called Wigilia) and decorate their homes. They share sacred wafers similar to those used in communion to celebrate the season and also remember family members who are no longer with them.  Legend has it that if animals eat oplatek (a wafer) on Christmas Eve, they will be able to speak in human voices at midnight, but only those who are pure of spirit will be able to hear them.

One of the most famous Christmas songs in Norway is "Musevisa," or "The Mouse Song." The lyrics for this song were written in 1946 by Alf Pr√łysen. The song is about a mouse family getting ready for Christmas. The mother and father mice are warning their kids to be careful because of mouse traps.
In Finland, southern Germany and parts of Hungary,  wild birds are offered a special meal during the holidays. And in Sweden, on Christmas Eve, the cattle are given the best forage the house can afford, and afterwards a mess of all the celebratory food of which their masters have partaken; the horses are given the choicest hay and, later on, ale. 

In Sweden, on Christmas Eve, the cattle are given the best forage the house can afford
A common tradition is the "belief" that animals talk on Christmas Eve. According to an old tradition some farmers in Denmark feed their animals especially well, because since on the Christmas Eve animals can talk, and it would not be nice to hear bad words on this special night. Similar tradition includes placing gifts of food in forests and parks for the animals. In Romania there is a tradition of listening to hear if the farm animals talk on New Year's Day.

These traditions are delightful.  They come from a time where people recognized that their fates were tied to those of the animals.  Gratitude for animals and help in their welfare would have been understood in a very different way than today.  Now, our mostly urban lifestyles are disconnected both from nature and our sources of food. We may see the welfare of animals as a moral imperative, but seldom as connected to our own survival in the way our ancestors did.   

Have you created a modern version of animal holiday traditions? Do you buy your pet a Christmas present?  Was your pet included in your family's holiday portrait? Are your pet's names included on your Christmas cards?

Tell us on Facebook how you include animals in your holiday traditions.

Bruce Roney
Executive Director