Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pet-friendly hotel supports the OHS

Thank you to the Monterey Hotel on Prince of Wales Drive in Ottawa, a pet-friendly hotel that is generously supporting the OHS by providing a place to stay for out of town veterinary students during their rotation at the OHS. Over the next year the OHS will host over a dozen fourth-year veterinary students eager to increase their skill sets before they graduate.

Here’s a first-hand account from a vet student who spent time at the OHS:

Early in the New Year I completed a rotation at the OHS. I had anticipated performing several surgeries; however I could not have imagined the sheer volume of opportunities that would arise over the week.

The OHS cares for over 500 animals at any time, many are sick and in need of medical care. At the start of each day, the staff veterinarian and I would head to the critical care unit to assess the patients, triaging them and making sure they were stable and receiving timely, appropriate care.

We then began surgery. I had the opportunity to perform numerous feline and canine ovariohysterectomies and orchiectomies. It was an invaluable experience that greatly enhanced my confidence. As an added bonus, it was highly rewarding to see many of my surgery patients find loving homes later on in the week.

After lunch we began rounds. First we examined and treated foster animals. These are animals that for a variety of reasons require intervention (medical or behavioural) before they can be made available for adoption. OHS volunteers care for them in their homes and bring them in for veterinary check-ups and treatment.

Then we examined other OHS animals in need of care, which on any given day can range from 10 to 30 animals.

These patients provided me with an excellent opportunity to practice performing physical examinations, communicating effectively to gather a history, developing a problem list, a differential diagnosis list, and a subsequent treatment plan for many common ailments, such as gastrointestinal or respiratory disease. 

Following rounds, it was back to surgery again. Toward the end of the day, the veterinarian ensures that all surgery patients are pain-free and resting well. 

During my rotation at the OHS, I not only gained invaluable surgical experience, but also a great deal of insight into shelter medicine. I gained experience working up challenging cases with limited resources—a reality facing many veterinarians on a daily basis. I also had the opportunity to learn how to manage infectious patients properly, as well as how to triage critical patients, which are two imperative clinical skills that I had not previously had the opportunity to develop.

My experience at the OHS was much more than I could have ever anticipated. I gained experience and confidence in several areas of practical veterinary medicine, and most importantly provided many deserving animals with a second chance at life. There is nothing more satisfying than helping a lost, injured or abandoned animal find a loving home.  

Jilliian Thatcher
DVM 2012
Ontario Veterinary College

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Rabbitat: All Pro, No Con

I am always surprised by how many people don’t know that we adopt rabbits and other small animals at the OHS.  After all, the OHS is responsible for the welfare of all animals, not just dogs and cats.  Perhaps because people do strongly associate us with dogs and cats, adoption of rabbits is slow at the OHS. 

To counter this, our new facility on West Hunt Club features a “Rabbitat” in one of the most prominent spots in our new adoption centre.
The rabbitat is not only more comfortable and less stressful for the bunnies than smaller cages, but it also features them more prominently in the main lobby. 
We have also used it as an educational opportunity.  The new installation is surrounded by care and other information about rabbits, so that even visitors not considering bringing a bunny into their lives learn more about these often misunderstood (and certainly underrated) pets.
Because rabbits can reproduce—ummm, like rabbits—the OHS sterilizes many of them before adoption. As with dogs and cats, sterilization not only limits animal overpopulation but also results in a healthier and better-tempered pet.
To see the rabbits available for adoption at the OHS, please click here. 
And, please, tell your friends about the rabbits— and birds and mice and gerbils and hamsters—all the lovely creatures looking for new homes at the OHS!
Bruce Roney,
Ottawa Humane Society Executive Director

Friday, January 20, 2012

Picture perfect

Augusta Rowsome has been waiting for this day for a long time.

She and her family filled out an adoption request form with the Ottawa Humane Society eight months ago. They were waiting patiently for a standard poodle to become available, because Augusta suffers from allergies, and there are only a few breeds that do not aggravate her allergies.

They came to the OHS today to adopt Pavlova, an eight-year-old standard poodle. Though a new name is up for discussion, one thing's for sure: the poised poodle warmed up quickly to her new pack, especially Augusta, who was so excited to be welcoming the new furry family member.

The OHS loves when we can match the perfect dog to the perfect new family. Don't forget that if you do not see a dog you think may be a match for you on our website, you can still fill out an adoption request form and we can let you know if a specific  aged, sized or breed of dog becomes available. Sometimes it's worth the wait!

Augusta promised to send us some updates on how her curly companion is adjusting to her new home, so stayed tuned to this blog and our Facebook page for more on this story!

Click here for more information about adopting a pet from the OHS.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Baby it's cold outside!

I really hate this weather. I avoid going outside if the temperature drops much below freezing. That is why I am all the more impressed to look out my window and see our faithful dog walkers circling the building, a joyous dog hopping along in front of them this week.

In the last several days, the temperature has regularly dipped below minus twenty, we have suffered an excess of snow, freezing rain, exceptionally high winds—you name it. But the dog walking volunteers arrive like clockwork to ensure our dogs get fresh air, exercise, basic training and relief from the kennels.

It is one thing to walk 5 or 6 dogs on a warm sunny Saturday afternoon, but the dogs need to get out at 8 am on blistering cold Tuesday mornings, too.

Everyone at the OHS is indebted to the hearty souls that bundle up and endure the worst winter weather for the sake of the dogs.

Bruce Roney,
Ottawa Humane Society Executive Director

Our dog walking volunteers are so dedicated that we aren’t currently in need of more hearty souls to brave the cold! But we are always looking for volunteers to help our organization in other capacities. Click here for more information.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Well worth the wait

Some cats are adopted into their new home before their profile even hits the web. Others take a little longer.

Such was the case for O.C., an orange cat with a big personality that has spent a lot of time at the Ottawa Humane Society.

This cat has been labeled "lost," "found," "stray," "adopted," "abandoned," and was most recently brought to us in July, 2011. He must have liked the looks of the new shelter more than when he visited our previous shelter on Champagne Ave., because he stayed in our Adoption Centre for five months, waiting for the perfect human companion to scoop him up and take him home.

Everyone knew his name and no one could walk by without him saying hello. He'd reach out to try and hug you or grab your attention in some other way. He doesn't like other cats, so he spent all of his time trying to attract the humans.

The day before New Year's Eve, this six-year-old cat's new owner came to take him home, this time for good. Here is what she has to say about her new pet:

I adopted O.C. and all the staff were very pleased he found a new home. They requested an update, so I'm happy to share how he's doing.

I changed his name to Orych (pronounced Orick) to honour the "O" of his previous name and the Welsh connection to his new owner.

He settled in with no problems and had a great first vet visit. He doesn't like the car much, but hopefully he won't need to be in one often. He had fun sniffing and exploring for a while when we brought him home and then he quickly settled in on my lap. He's an avid cuddler and has found his "spots" in the house during certain times during the day to either capture sunlight or comfort. He's eating well definitely gets chatty at dinner hour!

Thanks again to all the great folks who assisted with the adoption and I'll be sure to take as good care of him as you did.

The Adoption Centre isn't quite the same without him. This chatty cat who likes to cuddle became a fixture around here, but the staff at the OHS are so glad to know that he has found a great home where he will get all the love and attention he so deserves. Take care, O.C.! We will miss your playful swatting and your constant storytelling, but we know you are in a great place and we hope we don't see you again!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The call to become a foster parent

It’s been a long time since I have had a puppy at home. Twenty-two years in fact. This Christmas I had two.

I thought it would be fun to foster over the holidays and we took in two four-week-old orphaned puppies from a litter of nine. The litter was not healthy and obviously weaned before time. Two had already become very ill and had to be euthanized.

We took home Rufus and his sister—the runt of the litter—Clementine. Clemmie was quite sickly, Rufus more hale and hearty. It was a surprise then when it was Rufus that suddenly “crashed” and sadly had to be euthanized. With much care and great advice from OHS staff, I am happy to report that Clementine is much stronger, gaining weight and growing.

I really had forgotten how challenging caring for a puppy is. She wakes up and begins wailing at 5:00am every morning. She’s not quite housetrained and of course the loss of her brother Rufus was heartbreaking for us.

Despite it all, do I recommend fostering? Yes. Clementine is very sweet and I am so happy to be helping an animal directly, and ultimately helping her to find her forever home.

Maybe next time a nice, quiet cat…

Bruce Roney
Ottawa Humane Society Executive Director

To find out more about becoming a foster volunteer at the OHS, please click here.

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