Friday, March 30, 2012

A gift of hope

Your best friend calls, having just returned from the vet where sadly, her dog was euthanized. What do you do?
Many of us simply don’t know what to say.
You can’t imagine your best friend without her furry companion by her side, but you’re not sure how to help. And sometimes you can’t help. But you can show compassion and support. The death of a pet can be every bit as devastating as the loss of a human loved one. Since 2004, in memoriam tribute gifts to the OHS have more than tripled.
When a pet passes away a tribute gift can give comfort and hope to someone grieving the loss of their companion animal. If this memorial is given to the Ottawa Humane Society in honour of the pet, it will also help save the lives of other animals.

Pets are members of the family. When they pass away, acknowledging their owners’ grief shows that you understand their feelings. Making a gift in their pet’s honour will go a long way in helping them grieve.
When you make a tribute gift to the OHS, you are helping to fund essential programs and services for Ottawa’s animals. We will send a condolence card to the bereaved family, in the form of a personalized e-card or a tribute card and letter in the mail.
Have your friends or family members made a donation to the OHS in your pet’s honour?
Have you made an in memoriam gift for a pet that has passed away?

We would like to hear your story and how an in memoriam donation helped you.
Learn more about tribute gifts here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Signs of Spring: Chapter Two

I was very happy that my posting about leaving wildlife alone got people talking.  It is an important but sometimes under-publicized issue.
I am glad that readers pointed out that some animals are in clear distress, that is, visibly injured or obviously orphaned and there is a need to intervene. I will tell you now that I purposely left that point, since so many more juveniles that we see are in no distress, than those that are. Of course, as soon as they are picked up by a human, they ARE in distress and have to be transferred to rehab or euthanized. 
This is a mistake that often cannot be fixed. When juveniles are removed from their mother, generally the mother will move on in a short time, and so will not be there to care for them, even if returned to the site.  Unless we knew that the mother is there, and will accept her offspring, we risk leaving them to suffer slow starvation. 
Some people wrote about the one remaining rehab centre in the region.  And yes, that is an option, but it has limited space and by late spring is frequently full.  Since the main wildlife centre in the region closed, space is very limited.
Thank you for talking about this issue.  And thank you for leaving wildlife in the wild.

Bruce Roney
Ottawa Humane Society Executive Director

Read our educational resources about wildlife issues.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Signs of spring at the OHS

Spring has sprung early, and we are all pretty happy to get out and enjoy the warm outdoors in March instead of April. 

Since a lot of animal issues are seasonal and weather-dependant, we are all bracing for the inevitability of boxes of kittens brought to us, more rescues from neglect, more injured animals—all hallmarks of spring at the OHS.

Another hallmark of spring is increased human conflict with wildlife. And most distressing, juvenile wildlife brought to us by the public. Every year dozens, if not hundreds, of young squirrels, rabbits, raccoons and other small wildlife are brought in by well-meaning, but ultimately destructive humans. 

Most of the young are euthanized; many of them needlessly. Had they been left where they were, in most cases, their mother would have shown up in a short while. With only a handful of scarce spots left for wildlife rehabilitation in the area, and no resources to care for them, the only option is humane euthanasia.

Please, enjoy this beautiful spring. Get outside. Soak up the sun. But please leave wildlife alone.  

Bruce Roney
Ottawa Humane Society Executive Director

Read our educational resources about wildlife issues.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Much more than an Adoption Centre!

It’s been in the works for years, but the new OHS is here, we’ve settled in, and we want you to visit us!
If you’ve ever been to the old 101 Champagne Ave. shelter, you’re in for a treat. Forget about the cramped, dark and depressing shelter you once knew. The new Ottawa Humane Society at 245 West Hunt Club Road is bright, welcoming and a significantly better environment for the animals in our care.

Check out the Adoption Centre; see the adoptable dogs; spend some time visiting and getting to know the cats in the community cat rooms. Chat with our Adoption Centre counselors and let them help you find your purrfect match!  While you’re here, find out about the community programs we offer in our new Education Centre! The new Education Centre allows us to serve our community in two ways – by hosting onsite kids’ camps, PD days, pre-adoption classes and dog obedience training sessions, and by offering you a venue for rent to host your meeting or event (catering kitchen attached).
Before you go, stop by the Buddy & Belle Boutique, where all proceeds go to the animals in our care. Whether you’re a first-time pet owner or a long-time pet parent, the Buddy & Belle Boutique has everything you and your pet need, including: pet food, carriers, crates, pet beds, ID tags, collars, leashes, harnesses, toys, treats and more! (Pets are welcome to shop too!)
The OHS is so much more than just an adoption centre!
The OHS is a community organization offering services to the residents of Ottawa and beyond. Members of the community we serve donated to the Breaking Ground Building Campaign to build this new shelter, and now – more than ever – we are able to give back to the community that has given us so much.
Come have a look at the new-and-improved Ottawa Humane Society. You won’t be disappointed.
For more information, hours of operation, and how to find us, please visit:

Friday, March 9, 2012

The tale of “Lucky Luke”

Luke, a two-year-old St. Bernard, came to the OHS from a puppy mill seizure in late 2011. He had spent the first part of his life in a kennel with limited human contact.

The staff and volunteers at the OHS have worked with Luke to ensure his time here is enriching and that he has  a strong foundation for when he finds his forever home.

It’s a whole new world for Luke. He is learning social etiquette, how to meet and interact with other dogs, how to sit nicely, and how to become more engaged in his immediate surroundings for longer periods of time.

Here is what one of our volunteers has to say about Luke:

“When I first met Luke, he totally ignored everyone.  He spent his time throwing himself at the cage door or collapsed in resigned defeat.  He had spent so long in a cage without human interaction that he simply didn’t know that humans were worth noticing. He didn’t know to look to humans for anything and certainly not for any sort of positive interaction.”
“For now Luke is still more environmentally oriented than people oriented. His environment is distracting and it can be difficult to get his attention.”
“It is hard to believe how far he has come unless you saw the dog that first arrived and the dog that we see now.  At first glance, he may still seem disinterested, but when I take him through the lobby and he actually stops to sniff the hands of people along the way, even just for a moment or two, I see incredible progress.”

What Luke needs:

1. A lot of exercise!
2. Training and obedience classes to form a bond with his new owners.
3. A home with teens and adults only.
4. Strong and assertive owners who are knowledgeable and experienced with the St. Bernard breed.
5. Owners who are willing to invest time and energy into training
6. To be the only dog in his new home. No cats, either. No exceptions.
7. Lots of mental stimulation when left alone. A crate or an isolated area of the home will ensure he doesn’t find inventive ways to entertain myself.

Luke’s timeline at the OHS:

December 2011:

·  Given his name “Lucky Luke” by OHS RIS Agent Hammond, who assisted in the puppy mill seizure.
·  Luke was non-responsive to humans and would “shut down” easily.
·  He wasn’t interested in toys or treats.
·  He was afraid to take walks.
·  OHS staff and volunteers began clicker training.

January 2012:

·  He began responding to treats so clicker training became much easier.
·  He started following other dogs on walks, which encouraged him to walk beyond the end of the building.
·  He began to sit for his food bowl. 
·  He was neutered and moved to the Adoption Centre.

February 2012: 

·  Luke could perform commands (even with distractions).
·  He began keeping his room clean, but was still not completely housetrained.
·  He started jumping up to see through windows.
·  He began to play and roll onto his back for a belly rub.
·  Luke began responding to commands outside, even with other dogs around.

March 2012:

·  Volunteers have started formal dog introductions to get Luke more interested in making friends.
·  Luke will now take treats and do tricks for anyone—outside or inside; even people he has never met. 
·  He knows his size and will still bulldoze his way to escape, but then will turn to look at you to make sure you are coming, too.
·  He will roll over on command, and will gallop to come see you and say hi.
·  He knows his name.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Squeaks, squeals and peeps! A shout out to our wee ones!

Rabbits and gerbils and hamsters. Oh my. 

We get a lot of all of them. 390 in fact, in the fiscal year that is just ending. 

Just last week, 32 hamsters—some pregnant—were surrendered by a woman who didn’t separate genders and forgot that hamsters have a 16-day gestation period.

The number of small mammals we care for is one of the reasons we built a “Rabbitat” front and centre in our new West Hunt Club shelter.  It’s why the small animal room is up front too, with a window to the outdoors. We want them to be comfortable, of course, but moreover, we want people to know they are here.  

I am surprised how few people think of adopting small mammals from the OHS. Even long-time supporters seem surprised to hear we offer more than dogs and cats in our Adoption Centre.  And much to my chagrin, many seem to learn just a few days or weeks after they have acquired a small pet elsewhere, leaving the ones at the OHS homeless longer.

Mr. Big (A140894) is one
of several dwarf hamsters
currently available for adoption.
What can you do to help? Let your friends and family know that the OHS has plenty of furry creatures of all sizes available for adoption, and not to go to commercial sources; support the OHS, of course; remember that a rabbit is for life, not for Easter; and, if you own rabbits, gerbils, mice, hamsters or any other of our little friends, keep the genders apart!

Bruce Roney,
Ottawa Humane Society Executive Director

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