Friday, December 27, 2013

Pets Can Complete a Family

Families come in all shapes and sizes

Who did you celebrate the holidays with this year? You probably spent the season surrounded by friends and family – but what does that mean nowadays?

For many, family no is longer defined as a two kids, a mom and a dad. The meaning has changed to become more inclusive – and it has been expanded to include four-legged, feathered and even members with fins.

Pets can complete a family. They may even be your family. They’re included in family photos, join us on vacation, greet us at the end of the day, and even sleep at the foot of our beds. They love us unconditionally and depend on us – just like family.

If you’re thinking about adding a new furry friend, there are many wonderful pets at the Ottawa Humane Society right now who would love to be welcomed into your family.

Please visit our website at to check out all the animals available for adoption. You next jogging partner, sympathetic ear, Saturday afternoon nap buddy – family member – may be waiting here for you at this very moment!

Natalie Pona
OHS Communications Manager 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

You can save an animal’s life this Christmas

Actually – you can save many animal lives this Christmas. Let me tell you how.

The holiday season is all about family, love and celebration. We often express our love for each other with gifts – some which are perfect and cherished and others are, well, let's call them “not well thought out” and usually end up not being worn or used.

It doesn't have to be that way. You can give the perfect gift last minute Christmas gift to that special animal lover in your family or at work. You can feel good about helping an animal in need by funding:

  •          A health check-up from our veterinarian  and vaccinations against disease
  •          A life saving surgery in our clinic
  •          A rescue of an animal in distress
  •         An animal cruelty investigation by our Rescue and Investigations team

Best of all – once you have made your gift online – we will tell you friends and family all about your kind gesture with a beautiful e-card send sent right to their email address.

It’s easy, safe and secure. All you have to do is go to and click on the Heart Warming Gifts button and go shopping!

Do you want to help even more animals? Sign up as the newest member of our PAW Monthly Giving Program. Here, your monthly gift will help an animal each month. PAW giving truly is the best way for you to help the animals at the OHS and makes possible all our work on behalf of the lost, abandoned, neglected and abused animals in our community.

Still not sure – then watch this video and decide. Thanks to CTV and Leanne Cusack we are able to show you just a small sample of the thousands of animals helped each year by PAW Monthly Donors.

Sign up for $21 a month or more and we will send you a terrific OHS PAW T-shirt – remember – that’s only 70 cents a day – much less that a cup of coffee!

Watch our life changing video here and become a holiday hero for the animals in need at the OHS.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Rob McCulloch
Director: Development

Thursday, December 12, 2013

2013 in Review

I know that as the year comes to a close, you're supposed to look forward to the coming year with resolutions and such, but I have never been good at that. Resolutions always seem too big, too final and too far reaching. I do sometimes look back on the past year, and I sometimes think about what I've learned. 

More than once this year, my "I have seen it all" view of the world has been shattered by disturbing cases of animal cruelty.

This year began with shocking case of cruelty when a man threw a kitten against the wall for scratching the couch.

Summer brought the firing of young woman who worked for Wal-Mart after she reported a dog left in a sweltering car, capping off the busiest summer ever for dogs left in hot cars by their owners.

On the heels of that was, we allege, the intentional trapping, torture and killing of a mother raccoon and her offspring. 

A recent picture of Breezy 
Then, a man allegedly beat a young lab/shepherd cross named Breezy within an inch of her life, and thinking she was dead, dumped her limp body into the garbage.

These incidents were deeply disturbing, making me question both my community and, frankly, the humane soul.

But, as Joni Mitchell taught us,"Something's lost and something's gained by living every day." With these incidents, I may have lost my last shred of naiveté about how horribly animals are treated by human beings.  

With the outpouring that followed, though, I gained a new respect for my community and how it can respond in a loving, committed and compassionate way. 

Bruce Roney,

Executive Director

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Christmas Story for Our Donors

Thank you for remembering all the less fortunate this season.
One December, close to 20 years ago, I was taking a break from a long afternoon of Christmas shopping. I had already hauled a load or two of purchases back to my car and was feeling tired and chilled as it was an exceptionally cold evening. I was pleased that I was almost done — only a few small things left to buy, basically to fill up the area under the tree.

I was in the line at a fast food restaurant for a coffee and a snack to fortify me for the rest of the shopping I had to do. Behind me was a shivering young man of about 19, wearing a thin sweater and no coat. He made a comment about the cold as he patted the snow off his sweater.

Surprised, I asked him, didn't he have a coat? He replied yes, but, his girlfriend was wearing it. While he came to get some food, she was wearing the coat, waiting for him in an alley up the street. He told me it was okay when they were together. The coat was pretty big, he explained, and they could both sort of wear it.

They lived on the street. In winter. And shared a coat.

I was called to the cash, ordered, and took a seat. The young man ordered and left by the time I sat down. I sat there and looked at the packages of things I had bought. Minutes earlier, I had been pleased that I had bought so much. Now I felt guilty and awful. I had probably spent six hundred dollars that afternoon, and this kid didn't have a coat.

I wish I could tell you that I rushed around the streets to find the kid, and bought him a coat. I wish I had; often, and with regret. I hope I will be a better person next time.

What does this story have to do with animals? Nothing, really. What does it have to do with Christmas? Everything. 

Merry Christmas and thank you for remembering all the less fortunate — human and animals.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Top 8 Reasons to Come to a Critter Christmas at the OHS!

You can always tell when winter is truly on its way. The temperature drops below the freezing mark, it gets dark outside almost before you’ve had time to finish your lunch, the stores start to get a little busier, and yes, the OHS staff start gearing up for a Critter Christmas.

So you’re thinking, “I have so many things to do before the holidays, why should I take my family to the OHS for another holiday event?”  Well, let me tell you, this is no ordinary holiday event. In fact, here are the Top 8 reasons you won’t want to miss this purrfect event:

1. It’s at the OHS! If you’ve visited the shelter before, you know exactly what I mean. If you’ve never visited, you won’t believe what you’re missing. So come on down and check us out!

2. Visit our adoption gallery and all of our adoptable animals! You’ll never know if your forever friend is amongst them unless you visit.

3. Ever participated in a scavenger hunt at a shelter? It’s definitely a one-of-a-kind experience that your kids won’t want to miss.

4. Our surprise edible holiday craft activity is really something special. Shhhhh... It’s a secret.

5. Who will you be today? A butterfly, tiger, or snowflake? Our amazing face painter will transform your child with just a few strokes of her brush!

6. Santa Paws will be here to pose with your furry friends for our annual Santa Pet Pics. All proceeds go to help the animals.

7. Purchase a ticket or two, or you can get five for only $20 for our Warm Hearts Raffle. Hmmm ... what would you do if you won the top prize of $5,000?

8. Only at the OHS can you stop by the Buddy & Belle Boutique where our friendly staff will help you choose a special gift for the furry friends in your family.

I really hope that you and your family will join us for our Critter Christmas at the OHS on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The animals are waiting to see you!

Friday, November 22, 2013

A very special video for you from the animals at the Ottawa Humane Society

I hope that you will take a look at our newest Ottawa Humane Society video. It speaks to some of the horrific things that happen to animals before they come to the OHS - looking for that second chance at a new life. It also speaks to all the lifesaving work that is only possible because of donors like you. Lastly, it speaks to how you can best help the animals in our care – by joining our PAW monthly Giving Program.

I hope the video touches you and moves you to sign up today and become our newest PAW Monthly Donor. I promise that we will use your gift wisely to help save animal lives each and every month.

You can sign up and join our PAW Monthly Giving Program at

Rob McCulloch
Director: Development

PS: If you are already a PAW monthly donor – THANK YOU for being there when the animals need us the most.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Lest We Forget

As we prepare to honour the men and women who fought, and to remember those who gave their lives in combat, we hope you will also take a moment to remember the vast numbers of animals that were killed in wartime—often suffering agonizing deaths from wounds, starvation, thirst, exhaustion, disease and exposure.
Ottawa and Canada are proud to have a memorial to those millions of animals that died in wartime, thanks to the efforts of 90-year-old veteran Lloyd Swick. The memorial, installed in Confederation Park last November, is a tribute to all the animals that died in service of soldiers in wartime.
In this time of high-tech warfare, it is hard to imagine the reliance on animals that was a hallmark of wars until late in the 20th century.  The use of animals in wartime is well-summarized on the U.K's Animals in War Memorial website:
Horses, Mules and Donkeys
Eight million horses and countless mules and donkeys died in the First World War. They were used to transport ammunition and supplies to the front and many died, not only from the horrors of shellfire but also in terrible weather and appalling conditions. Mules were found to have tremendous stamina in extreme climates and over the most difficult terrain, serving courageously in the freezing mud on the Western Front and later at Monte Cassino in World War II. Equally they toiled unflinchingly in the oppressive heat of Burma, Eritrea and Tunisia. There are many inspiring and often tragic stories of the great devotion and loyalty shown between horses, mules and donkeys and their masters during some of the bloodiest conflicts of the 20th century.

The dog's innate qualities of intelligence and devotion were valued and used by the forces in conflicts throughout the century. Among their many duties, these faithful animals ran messages, laid telegraph wires, detected mines, dug out bomb victims, and acted as guard or patrol dogs. Many battled on despite horrific wounds and terrifying circumstances to the limit of their endurance, showing indomitable courage and supreme loyalty to their handlers.
More than 100,000 pigeons served Britain in the First World War and 200,000 in World War II. They performed heroically and saved thousands of lives by carrying vital messages, sometimes over long distances, when other methods of communication were impossible. Flying at the rate of a mile a minute from the front line, from behind enemy lines or from ships or airplanes, these gallant birds would struggle on through all weathers, even when severely wounded and exhausted, in order to carry their vital messages home.
Other Animals
Elephants, camels, oxen, bullocks, cats, canaries, even glow worms — all these creatures, great and small, contributed their strength, their energy and their lives in times of war and conflict to the British, Commonwealth and Allied forces during the 20th century.
So, once the moment of silence ends after the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, please join with us to remember our animal friends that died alongside our soldiers.

Bruce Roney, 
Executive Director

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Meat of the Issue

Now and again, we receive comments and complaints – directly or through social media – about the fact that the OHS serves meat at our various functions. Sometimes, concerns come from inside the OHS, as many of our staff have made the personal decision to eschew meat.

It is a very interesting debate. Why eat one animal and rescue another? As an animal welfare organization, our commitment is to humane husbandry and slaughter, not necessarily to the total non-exploitation of animals inherent in most animal rights positions. But, as a humane society, we know that many standard agricultural practices would not meet the tests we would apply to the care of a dog or a cat. We will not serve meals at the cost of overt animal cruelty – live lobster, foie gras, etc. – but do we really know that the source of everything we serve was raised humanely? No.

OHS Summer Harvest Garden Party 2013

While meat is served at most, if not all, OHS events, we also make sure the vegan and vegetarian options are as good or better to demonstrate the option as viable. (I once attended a Humane Society of the United States lunch, shortly after it "went vegan." The offering was a scoopful of mashed potatoes, a scoopful of yams, and a salad. It was hardly an advertisement for veganism.)

I do know that the debate is no-win for the OHS, with some demanding to know why we aren’t strictly vegan in everything we do, and others telling us that we are distracted from our "real work" by wading into the meat debate.

I think about it a lot. At best, our position is untidy; at worst, hypocritical. I wonder if the OHS should take a philosophical stand on the consumption of meat overall. If we did, what might the implications be for our communications, education, advocacy, and other work? Is it a distraction, or does it need to be a core value? Further, would the position affect our ability to raise funds for our core work?  If so, are we now choosing chickens over dogs and cats, instead of the reverse?

At the OHS, we want to be leaders. We can and do protest, but it isn't our only tool, and we use it sparingly. We want to be credible, not hectoring. In most cases, we have lead by pulling our community rather than pushing it, choosing education and communication over confrontation most of the time.

Like with so many things we would like to do, it would be great if we had the resources to lead in this regard, not by banning, but by educating. I truly wish that those who care deeply about this issue would help, perhaps by leading a discussion group or a hosting cooking demonstration here at the OHS. I wonder if anyone would come.

I know I have asked more questions than I have answered. Maybe you could tell us what you think on our Facebook page or at

Bruce Roney,
Executive Director

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pet Expo – Join the OHS at this Very Special Event for the Animals

I am always thrilled when the community thinks of helping the animals at the OHS. Last year, Ottawa Pet Expo approached us about being the official charity partner. We agreed right away, as it was an excellent opportunity to meet with and speak with so many animal owners across our region and to raise much-needed money for the animals in our care.

The OHS is once again proud to be part of the 2013 edition of Ottawa Pet Expo on Nov. 9 and 10. Please join us at our booth and speak with staff and volunteers about OHS programs and services such as our: humane education program; pet first aid; dog obedience classes; microchip clinics; "Off-Leash" PD day and summer camps; and birthday parties.

Trained staff will also be on hand to answer any questions about our animals up for adoption. We will have special guest animals from our Brightening Lives visitation program along with information on animals currently available for adoption. If you think you have found your perfect match, remember we are now open Sundays and you can visit with and see all the animals at our shelter down the street at 245 West Hunt Club Rd.

How can you help the animals while attending Ottawa Pet Expo? There are many ways – you can:

  • Visit one of the many vendors helping the OHS by donating all or part of their proceeds to the animals in our care
  • Buy something for your special four-legged friend from our Buddy and Belle Boutique – remember, we always have more great animal items back at the store
  • Purchase a Warm Heart Raffle ticket at the OHS booth – you can win great cash prizes – but best of all, the animals in our care are the real winners
  • Bring your old pennies and coins and dump your change in one of the large Buddy and Belle coin-boxes throughout the Ottawa Pet Expo site 

Ottawa Pet Expo takes place at the Earnst and Young Centre (4899 Uplands Dr.) and tickets can be purchased here.

I hope to see you there.

Rob McCulloch
Director: Development

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Breezy is recovering in the care of the OHS
By now, most everyone in the City has heard about the horrendous attack last week on a young Labrador-shepherd cross named Breezy.  The violence and its callous aftermath shocked even seasoned staff at the OHS.

The investigation will take time.  The courts move slowly.  There will be time to hold the perpetrator to account.  Meanwhile, this sweet young dog is regaining strength and appears to be improving.  Her recovery is not yet certain, with brain injury her biggest threat. 

Until we know, please join with all of us at the Ottawa Humane Society by generating the most powerful  force in the world: Hope. 

Bruce Roney, 
Executive Director

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Join the spook-tacular fun at the OHS on Sunday, Oct. 27!
While Halloween can be frighteningly fun for families, the Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) is reminding pet owners that this holiday may be too scary and potentially dangerous for your pet. The OHS recommends taking these precautions to help keep pets safe this Halloween:

Keep candy out of your pet's reach. Chocolate can be toxic to many animals including dogs, cats and ferrets. Halloween candies containing the artificial sweetener Xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs and may lead to loss of co-ordination and seizures. Make sure not to leave candy wrappers on the ground; if ingested, they can become obstructions in your pet’s digestive system and can cause severe complications.

Keep pets safely indoors while trick-or-treating. Dogs can become easily excited and difficult to handle during the noise and commotion of the festivities. If they get loose, they may dart into traffic or become lost. It's best to keep pets indoors in a separate room of the house so they don't slip out when the door is opened. It's especially important to keep black cats indoors during the period around the holiday, as they may be the target of pranksters.

Make sure your pets are properly identified. In the event of an accidental escape, a collar, tag and microchip are your best bet your animal will make it home. Frequently-opened doors provide a great opportunity for animals, especially cats, to run out of the house unnoticed.

Don't dress your pet in a costume unless you know he enjoys it. A costume can cause stress and injury to pets if it restricts their movement, hearing or ability to breathe, bark or see. Small dangling pieces may be chewed off and cause choking or intestinal obstruction. Never leave your costumed pets unsupervised. 

Use decorations with caution. Keep your pets away from lit pumpkins and electrical cords to avoid shocks and burns.

If you observe an animal in immediate distress or danger at Halloween or any time, please contact the OHS emergency services at 613-725-1532.

For some spook-tacular Halloween fun, don't forget to stop by the OHS, located at 245 West hunt Club Rd. on Sunday, Oct. 27 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  for a howl of a good time at our Howl-o-ween open house with special fun and activities for kids! For more information, please visit our website at

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Celebrate Adopt a Shelter Dog Month by Bringing Home an OHS Dog

Bronx can't wait to entertain his
new family with his stand-up act!
Choosing to adopt a dog from the Ottawa Humane Society means different things to different people: a new family member, a best friend, running buddy, fellow couch potato.

But to the dog who's going to a new forever home, it means the chance for a happy, comfortable and fulfilling life, thanks to you.

The OHS has many wonderful dogs, from purebred puppies to senior mixed breeds, who wound up in shelter through no fault of their own – maybe it was due a new baby or the move to an apartment that doesn't allow pets. For some, it happened when their previous owner couldn't afford life-saving medical care and made the right choice to surrender them to the OHS. Ultimately, these aren't problem dogs – they were dogs with people problems. Now they're just waiting for the right adopter to pass by.

It's important to note that choosing to adopt from the OHS isn't only about giving a shelter dog a home; OHS dogs are frequently in high-demand so there's no hard-sell needed. There are, however, tangible financial benefits to choosing an OHS dog. (It's not just about the slobbery kisses!) Your OHS dog is:
Chief is the George Clooney of dogs!
  • spayed or neutered
  • microchipped
  • medically checked
  • vaccinated
  • insured for six week with Petsecure

That adds up to a savings of an estimated $726 when compared to the cost of a "free" puppy from a friend or colleague.

So, this October, if you've been thinking about adding a furry sidekick to your family, consider stopping by the 245 West Hunt Club Rd. facility to visit Dodger, Chief, Bronx, or one of the many other wonderful dogs at the OHS. You just might find that perfect canine match to help you celebrate Adopt a Shelter Dog Month! 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Black Goes with Everything

Hoju (A159296) is a Siberian husky/
border collie mix available for
adoption at the OHS!
This month, the Ottawa Humane Society is highlighting the many wonderful black animals available for adoption with a Black Goes with Everything promotion. 

The event is intended to remind people that black animals make great pets too. Myths about black animals – from black cats being bad luck to black dogs being more aggressive – may cause some potential adopters to overlook these pets.

As part of the promo, people who adopt a black animal in October qualify for two ballots into a draw to win a digital camera from the OHS, valued at $250.

Anyone who brings home a black pet will also get 15 per cent off purchases at the OHS Buddy and Belle Boutique that day, excluding food.

Panther (A154519) is a 5-year-old cat
available for adoption at the OHS!
Adopt a featured black animal in October and get free pet bed. Information on the featured pet is available at the OHS.

The fun isn't limited to adopters. All visitors to the OHS Adoption Centre in October will get one ballot for the camera draw. The winner will be chosen during the OHS Howl-O-Ween party on Oct. 27, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the 245 West Hunt Club Rd. location.

For more information, visit the OHS website at

Friday, September 27, 2013

Ottawa Humane Society Honours Community Members at its AGM

The Ottawa Humane Society honoured several volunteers and members of the public last night at its annual general meeting, celebrating the many dedicated and passionate individuals and organizations working together to make our community better for the animals.

Sit With Me Shelter Dog Rescue received the Muriel Davies Kindness Award for its help providing medical and training attention to the OHS's harder-to-place mixed-breed and senior dogs. The partnership with Sit With Me has allowed the OHS to give more than 45 dogs a second chance at a forever home.

The Community Foundation of Ottawa was awarded the Community Spirit Award. The OHS and the animals in its care have been fortunate to receive annual grants from donor-directed funds within the CFO since 1999. Grants have helped kick-start projects such as a foster care program expansion, a pet identification program, programs for at-risk youth, and a feline disease control program.

Esther Becker received the Eleanor Prowse Volunteer Service Award for generously giving her time through volunteer work and continued participation in a wide range of OHS programs, including Off-Leash camps, Brightening Lives Animal Visits, and the humane education program.

Pet Valu Canada received the Special Recognition Award for its role in growing the OHS's Pet Adoption Location program, or PAL. Pet Valu Canada has been instrumental in helping find forever homes for more OHS cats through its participation in the PAL program as an adoption partner.

Ron Eade received the media award for his efforts to raise awareness of OHS events, such as the FurBall Gala and Summer Harvest Garden Party, furthering the OHS goal of helping nearly 11,000 animals every year.

Kathy Lane, a dedicated foster volunteer, was awarded the Siobhan Shefflin Memorial Award, acknowledging her devoted work providing help to many of the neediest cats and kittens that come into the care of the OHS. Ms. Lane cares for them in her home until they're ready for adoption, giving them a second chance at a bright and healthy future.

Dr. Glenys Hughes was awarded the Dr. James Hutchison Animal Welfare Award for her work saving animal lives as a volunteer veterinarian at the OHS. She has been an active volunteer in the clinic since 2009 and has contributed above and beyond to the welfare of Ottawa's animals.

Emily, David and Sarah Aaron were awarded the President's Special Recognition Award for their outstanding contributions to the goals and mission of the OHS. They generously supported the campaign to build a new shelter, helping to make the dream of a new home for the animals a reality.

A Word About the Ottawa Humane Society:
The Ottawa Humane Society is a registered charity founded in 1888. The Society works in and with the community to provide leadership in the humane treatment of all animals, to address the causes of animal suffering, to encourage people to take responsibility for their animal companions, and to provide care for animals who are neglected, abused, exploited, stray, or homeless.

For media enquiries, contact:
Natalie Pona, Manager: Communications
Ottawa Humane Society
613-725-3166 ext. 261
245 West Hunt Club Rd.
Ottawa, ON K2E 1A6

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ottawa Comes Through for the Animals

I am always grateful to live in a community that cares.  And I am grateful to work for a great organization that has your trust and support to do the very best it can to care for homeless, abused and neglected animals.  When we tell you that we need help, you are there for us and for the animals.

Several months ago, our food sponsor has experienced supply chain problems with certain types of food that it normally provides the OHS to feed the animals in its care.  For a period, the sponsor was giving the OHS cash payments with which to purchase the food, but then informed us that we had reached a maximum.

This is a big problem. 11,000 animals a year eat a lot of food—over six thousand dollars worth a month, in fact.

We aren’t going to let the animals go hungry, and animals, especially stressed or ill ones, require a consistent high-quality diet to get well and maintain their well-being.  Changing diets suddenly causes gastro-intestinal problems.  We have been making so much great progress in improving our care and our services, cutting back on other services and programs to buy food would jeopardize our ambitious goals for today and into the future. So we reached out for help.

The result has been heart-warming and inspiring.  Every day you are arriving at our shelter with not only food, but blessedly, the exact food we asked for. Some of you have gone to two or three stores, just to find the right kind of food, some stores having sold out because of the shortage, and others because the limited supply had been purchased by others to help our homeless animals! You have sent us over $10,000 in cash gifts to buy food through our own channels. It’s amazing to experience and it reminds me what a great community this is.

Thank you Ottawa for caring and once again being there for the animals.

~Bruce Roney, Executive Director

Friday, September 20, 2013

United Way and the OHS – united to help make change happen for the animals

Britta arrived at the shelter after
being hit by a car last February.
The United Way and the Ottawa Humane Society have a long-standing partnership to help save animal lives in our community.

Each year, thousands of United Way donors like you direct all or part of their United Way gifts to the animals at the OHS. United Way-directed gifts help the OHS rescue lost, abandoned, neglected and abused animals in our community and give them a second chance at a new life by adopting them into loving homes.

United Way gifts have helped animals like Britta. Britta, a three-month-old puppy, was hit by a car last February and suffered head trauma and a broken leg. She was rushed to the OHS for surgery. After recovering in shelter, Britta spent a couple months with OHS foster volunteers who helped the pup finish her healing before going to a new forever home.

The OHS and the animals in our care do not receive grants or funding from the United Way, unless animal supporters like you, direct your gift to us. It’s EASY! Write in "Ottawa Humane Society" in the charity section and fill in our charitable number: 123264715 RR0001.

Britta recovered thanks to
generous supporters like you
Programs such as our rescue and investigations services are also funded by gifts from generous United Way donors like you. RIS agents investigate cases of animal cruelty, helping to bring criminals to justice, and they rescue injured animals with nowhere else to turn.

If you have already directed your United Way gift to the animals at the Ottawa Humane Society, please accept a BIG thank you from all the animals at the OHS.

My last plea to you is to help even more animals by encouraging you co-workers who love animals to join you in directing their United Way gift to the animals at the OHS. You can also post it on your Facebook page for your friends and blog about it or tweet it out to your followers.

Thank you once again for helping change the lives of animals in our community.

Rob McCulloch

Director: Development

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Happy Ottawa Humane Society Week!

You may not have heard, but last week was Ottawa Humane Society week in Ottawa.  Last Tuesday, Mayor Watson visited us to attend a ceremony declaring the week in honour of the 125 years that the OHS has been serving our community and its animals. It was a moving tribute to the many thousands of people who have come together over many years to build not only a strong humane society but more importantly, a more compassionate community.

Mayor Jim Watson declared Ottawa Humane Society Week
on September 3 at a ceremony at the shelter.
The event was one of a series to mark our long history of service. And what a history it is!  Founded in 1888 as the Women's Humane Society of Ottawa, a small group came together to enforce the new animal protection laws.  It also took responsibility for the lot of children in Ottawa, until the Children's Aid Society spun off from the group several years later. 

The OHS history was first chronicled in 1988 in the book Helping Hands:  The First 100 Years, written for the 100th anniversary of the OHS.  This book described many of the people, issues, challenges and successes that formed the OHS over its long history.  It is a fascinating read. It manages to describe not only events, but also captures the huge extent to which our community and culture has changed.  Imagine the humane society lobbying council to not fully clear snow from streets, since completely cleared streets caused the horses to slip. 

The Helping Hands book is
available for purchase at the OHS.
 To mark the 125th anniversary, the book has been updated, expanded and republished as Helping Hands: The First 125 Years. The new book is in colour and brings the history of the OHS up-to-date with several new chapters and many old and new photographs that have not been published before. 

The book is available in our Buddy and Belle Boutique for $20 plus HST.  The book can be ordered by emailing us at with your address and credit card information or by calling 613-725-3166 ext. 297. An additional $4 in postage will be added to the price. 

Bruce Roney,
Executive Director

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What we do in schools and why!

Most people are familiar with the Chinese proverb “If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.” With 11,000 animals requiring our care every year – we truly see how essential humane education is, in reducing overall rates of animal abandonment, neglect and cruelty in our community.

Humane Education examines the relationship between humans and animals, recognizing that we share many of the same physical and emotional needs.  We hope that through inviting humane education into the classroom curriculum, students begin to understand what it really means to be a responsible pet owner – recognizing that adopting or purchasing a new pet is a long term commitment. Families must be able to provide for an animal’s needs throughout its entire lifetime, before inviting any new pet into the home.

Last year we gave just over 200 humane education presentations at various schools in the Ottawa area. During our visits we teach responsibility, and inspire youth to become humane individuals, who embody life-building and character skills such as, empathy, respect, compassion and kindness towards animals. Our purpose is to engage students in a cause they are innately passionate about and encourage them to be ambassadors of kindness to all living beings – big and small. As our humane education program continues to expand, we hope see a new generation of responsible pet owners – who take care of their pets and educate others on what they've learned through our humane education presentations.

Some of our more popular presentation topics include:
  • The needs of animals (cats, dogs and small animals)
  • Being safe around animals
  • How to create a pet-friendly community (following animal by-laws, etc)
  • The cause of pet overpopulation (the importance of spaying and neutering)
  • How to prevent animal neglect and cruelty

For older groups, we also discuss more advanced topics such as:
  • The cosmetic industry
  • Animal cruelty and the link to interpersonal violence
  • Circus animals – entertainment or exploitation?

We let students know that they too can make a positive difference in their communities and the world around them, by showing them the impact our short-term decisions make on the lives of Ottawa’s animals. By giving students the opportunity to learn about animal welfare, we are building a more compassionate community and a brighter future for Ottawa’s animals.

For more information or to book a presentation this fall, please contact Ottawa Humane Society, coordinator: humane education by phone (613) 725-3166 ext. 235 or email

Friday, August 30, 2013

IAMS Wiggle Waggle Walkathon – More than Just a Walk for Dogs!

A dog grabs a drink from a toilet water bowl!
The 25th anniversary IAMS Wiggle Waggle Walkathon is so much more than just a dog walk. The original organizers would be amazed at how it has grown since the first event in 1988. This year, our goal is to raise $185,000 for the Ottawa Humane Society’s animals.

There are now even more reasons to walk and many more fun activities for the whole family to enjoy:

  • Walkers now come to our IAMS Wiggle Waggle Walkathon without a dog and simply walk because they love animals and the great work that the OHS does in our community. It’s common to see couples, families and co-workers all walking without a dog in tow.
  • We have added a 5K and 10K run this year. We’ve also added a unique-to-Ottawa 3K Companion Animal run so that runners can Run for the Animals with their favourite four-legged friend.

In addition to the walk and run, here are some of other great activities happening this year:

  • Raise or donate $125 and receive an entry ballot into our WestJet draw for 2 tickets to anywhere they fly!
  • Great food from Ottawa’s Food Trucks!
  • “Ask the Vet” presented by Alta Vista Animal Hospital
  • Pet Pavilion Marketplace where you can buy that special item for your best friend
  • A KIDZ zone and entertainment on our main stage
  • Yoga warm up and stretching from Yogatown
  • Check out equipment from Ottawa Fire Services and speak to Ottawa firefighters 
  • Create your very own "mutt-sterpiece" at Picasso Puppies
  • Get your family or team photo taken with Milo the spoksdog
  • Visit with City of Ottawa Bylaw Services
  • Speak with an actual OHS animal rescue and investigation services agent
  • Bring your favourite teddy bear or stuffed animal to be bandaged and fixed-up by OHS Vet Dr. Shelly Hutchings
  • View some OHS adoptable animals in person and speak to an adoption representative

Friday, August 23, 2013

Why are animals homeless?

Like  many issues in animal welfare, the answer of why there are homeless animals is not a simple one. There are many reasons for homeless animals. The root of the problem, as with most issues in animal welfare, is irresponsible human behaviour.

Humans who allow reproduction is one of the biggest problems in cats. Too often, people show up the OHS with a litter of kittens. "The mother isn't mine. She has just been living under my porch for the last eight months. I feel sorry for her, so I feed her, " is the common refrain. Guess what? That is your cat. She is in your custody. She is your responsibility.   

The second biggest problem is cats that are allowed to roam. It is irresponsible not to have your animal under your control at all times. Cats are subject to all manner of risk: cars, disease, fighting,  and too often, intentional harm by neighbours. As many as forty a day end up here at the OHS. Too few owners come looking for their roaming cat and the result is an owner claim rate that hovers around five per cent.

In dogs, the more common problems are poor bre
eding practices leading to either congenital health or temperament problems, failure to address (or creating) behavioural problems, and failure to plan for emergency veterinary care. All of these result in homeless dogs to be cared for at the OHS—several thousand every year.

In the end, our community doesn't have an animal problem. Our animals have a human problem. 

Bruce Roney,
Executive Director

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Do we have a deal for you...

Visit our Cat of the Day each day during our August adoption
promotion and be sure to share him with a friend!
This August, in celebration of the OHS’s 125th anniversary, we’re going all out for cats. Our goal is to place a higher number of cats than ever into new, loving homes this month. Our adoption fee for adult cats, at our West Hunt Club shelter and in our 24 “PALs” (Pet Adoption Locations), has been reduced to $125 — that’s just one dollar for every year the OHS has been helping Ottawa’s animals.

We truly believe our cats are the best deal in town. All cats have been sterilized and microchipped. They come with initial vaccinations, six weeks of free pet insurance and a two-week health guarantee.  We are even offering draws and special discounts at our Buddy & Belle Retail Boutique: anyone who adopts an adult cat from the OHS or one of our pet store partner locations will be entered to win a fabulous cat climbing tree, donated by PetSmart, and all cat adopters will receive 25 per cent off purchases in our boutique (excluding food) when they adopt their new friend.  

While you can put a price tag on all of the above (and believe me, it’s an incredible deal!), the endless purrs and companionship that a new feline friend can provide are simply priceless. There’s also no price you can put on the help you’re providing ... not just by giving a loving home to a homeless animal in need, but in doing so, by opening up a space for one of the more than 30 cats arriving at the OHS every day this summer.

Sharon Miko, 
Director: Operations

Thursday, August 8, 2013

My Favourite Event Of The Year

The Summer Harvest Garden Party is my favourite event—not just at the OHS, but my favourite event period. It's not just the food, which is always amazing, but atmosphere is warm and inviting, people are friendly and relaxed, and there always is some good wine to be tasted. This year I'm looking forward to trying  wines from Crush and Coyote's Run Estate Winery. 

Chef Kurt Waldele
The chefs always go all-out to make it memorable and delicious because the event is in honour of Chef Kurt Waldele. Not only did Kurt train half the chefs in the city, but for many years he did so much for Ottawa's animals through organizing and hosting the garden party, with his wife Dr.Suzanne Beauchemin and some very committed friends and volunteers. The garden party has grown with the OHS to be the very special occasion that it is now. It is such an honour to continue to share in this legacy to this great man.

There was so much about Kurt I didn't know until he passed away. I knew him as a tremendously kind supporter of the OHS. It was only at his funeral that I learned how much he had brought to Ottawa's culinary community. The chef "guard of honour" at his funeral was among the most amazing and moving tributes I have ever seen.

You can also expect sweet treats!
This year's party promises to be the biggest and best garden party ever. Twenty-one chefs have signed up to date, among them, Chefs Tim Wasylko from the Prime Minister’s residence, Louis Charest  from the Governor General's residence, and Cory Haskins. All three were mentored in Kurt's kitchens and have gone on to great things. Cory will be preparing shrimp in a pernot sauce—a classic taught to him by Kurt. Cory wanted his dish to honour Kurt by reflecting what he'd learned from him.

This year's National Arts Centre location means our poor dogs won't be licking the glass of their kennels with the hope of tasting what they can smell! Of course, there will be visits from our furry friends, to remind everyone why they support the OHS and this great event.

You won't want to miss this year's Summer Harvest Garden Party. See you on August 25th! 

Bruce Roney, 
Executive Director

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Top Five Questions About Our First Annual OHS Run for the Animals

We are thrilled to offer our supporters a new and exciting event to help the animals in our care: the first annual Run for the Animals. It’s being held at the same time and location as our annual Iams Wiggle Waggle Walkathon – Sunday, Sept. 8 at Queen Julianna Park near Dows Lake.

As a runner, I thought I would respond to some of the most common questions that we have been asked about the event. Hopefully, these answers will help make this special day for Ottawa’s animals a great one for you too!

1. What will I get for my entry fee?
This is a question I often ask myself as I choose which Ottawa runs to register for.
You get a commemorative run T-shirt, since it is our first annual event. The T-shirt is sure to be a collector’s item! You also get to run on a scenic, closed course along Queen Elizabeth Drive. The run is timed by Ottawa’s premier timing company – Sportstats. And, you get a finisher medal unlike anything else you have ever received from other runs.

2. Are there other activities taking place at Queen Julianna Park?
Yes! We have other events for your family, friends or co-workers:
  • Young animal lovers can participate in the 1.5K Kidz Run
  • Walk with your dog in our 1K or 3K IAMS Wiggle Waggle Walkathon
  • Run with your pooch in a first-ever in Ottawa 3K Companion Animal Run 
3. How do I get my friends, family or co-workers involved?
It’s easy. Set up a team. Be the team captain! Your team can personalize your T-shirts or even dress up in eye-catching costumes. Run together to support each other! Your team will be eligible for terrific prizes and pictures that you can show off at work or home!

4. Ok, I have completed my run – what’s next?
Come back to Queen Julianna Park after your run or walk. There will be a lot going on:
  • Check out our Family Fun Zone – great activities for our youngest supporters
  • Test Rover’s speed and reflexes in our Dog Agility Park
  • Meet some adoptable animals from the OHS
  • Shop in our Pet Pavilion for that special animal-themed gift – all proceeds go to the animals at the OHS
  • Rehydrate and replenish with food and drink from our food trucks
  • Bid on some terrific items from our silent auction – all money from the auction will help Ottawa’s animals
  • Contests – we’ve got ‘em. Do you look like your dog? Is your pooch really big or small, or does he have that special talent or trick? If so, join the fun and games on the CTV Stage.
5. How am I helping the animals at the OHS by running?
Great question! Part of your entry fee goes to help the animals in our care, but if you really want to help save animal lives, you should consider setting up a personal fundraising page. When you do that, 100 per cent of all pledges are directed towards our rescue and investigation services, our in-house clinic, and our adoption programs.

You can personalize your fundraising page by adding a picture of yourself or a four-legged friend. You can even post a heartfelt message or story that will make it IMPOSSIBLE for your friends, family and co-workers to not support you.
Click here to register now and to set up your page.

Rob McCulloch

Director: Development

Share on Social Media