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

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