Thursday, February 27, 2014

Why I Choose to Give: Stories from Our Supporters

A favourite part of my day is speaking with our donors, hearing their stories about why they choose to help animals in need at the OHS.

Like each of the nearly 11,000 animals that the OHS helps every year, every one of our cherished donors has a unique reason for their support. Let me share a few of their stories with you.
Janice Gilmartin got involved with
the OHS when she adopted a kitten
  • Janice Gilmartin grew up as an only child in downtown Ottawa and animals were her “first-friends.” Her parents made giving back to the OHS a condition of adopting her first kitten when she was only four years old. Janice has been giving to the animals ever since and has named the OHS in her will. “I trust the OHS to save animals and I want that to continue as my legacy to the animals,” she said.
  • Monthly giving makes much of what the OHS does possible. Leah Lepage has been a PAW Monthly Donor for many many years and enjoys the conveniences and efficiency of her monthly gift. “I want to help all animals and sending in a cheque can sometimes be a bother – I can help more animals by spreading my donation throughout the year and I know it costs the OHS less on stamps and paper,” she said. 
  • Lydia Gagnon never stops giving – rather – she never stops walking. Lydia has been a participant in the OHS Wiggle Waggle Walkathon for eight years. She never takes a break from organizing fun and creative ways for her friends and co-workers to help Ottawa’s animals. Lydia starts fundraising for next year’s walkathon immediately after the annual September event. Lydia lost a cat to cancer in 2003 and “wanted to help other animals in Pumpkin’s memory.” Lydia and her friends are always at the top of our individual and team fundraiser lists and Lydia truly enjoys the whole walkathon day: “I'm like a kid in a candy store with all the wonderful and different breeds of dogs at the walkathon,” she said.
  • Dwight Keister is one of our most unassuming donors and admittedly had trouble articulating why he gives. But, it quickly became clear why Dwight donates to the animals – “because my cats make me do it!” Dwight believes in sharing everything with his cats. Dwight recently lost one of his cats, Alfred, but still shares his home with Euclid, whom he chose to honour with a dedication of the Cat Adoption Complex in our new shelter. Both of Dwight’s cats were strays and Dwight feels that animals like his and others “like knowing that the OHS is there – just in case....”
What is your story? Why do you give to the animals at the OHS? I would like to hear from you – email me at

Rob McCulloch
Director: Development

Monday, February 17, 2014

Happy Family Day!

Happy Family Day - increasingly, this greeting is assumed to include pets. For some time now, there has been a cultural shift throughout the Western world to view companion animals as a part of the family rather than being relegated to the secondary role of “family pet.”

For pets and a humane society that promotes their well-being, this is a boon. Generally, it means that animals are well cared for and kept safe. We expect that our family members would receive regular and emergency medical care, a high-quality diet, and all the other necessities of life. We expect that family members would be supervised for their safety, and that families would take steps to ensure that if a member does become lost, that they would find their way home safely.

Sadly, some people do not care for their human family members so kindly or so well, much less their animal family members, whether intentionally or not. Myrna Milani, a veterinarian and blogger, writes about the problematic side to pets as family members in her blog posting, "Pets as Family Members: An Elevation or Demotion?" Dr. Milani points out that all of the failings of parents are replicated with companion animals: overfeeding, failure to learn good "parenting" skills, failure to set appropriate boundaries, etc. It is an interesting read. I would add that when animals are expected to act like humans – the "Disney" dog – and fail in this expectation, they too often end up in the care of the OHS, looking for a new home.

I think on the whole, animals are generally better off as family members, despite the too-common problems. And to those of you who treat them as beloved companions and not toys to be disposed of when no longer fun, those who invest in "raising" their pets responsibly, with skill, who recognize the necessary investment of time and money, thank you. And Happy Family Day!

Bruce Roney
Executive Director

What do you think about pets as family members?  Tell us on Facebook at Facebook .com/OttawaHumane

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Gift of Love Can Help an Animal in Need

Happy Valentine's Day from the animals!
We all love animals – our own animals, animals in our community and animals around the globe.

Valentine’s Day is one of those special days on the calendar where many of us make an extra effort to show loved ones just how much they mean to us.

How can you express this love and help an animal in need? We have a Heart Warming Gifts Catalogue that replaces or adds to that special box of chocolates or Hallmark card.

I have used the OHS Online Gift Catalogue in the past to make a gift to a loved one who has everything or lives out of town.

Your valentine gets an e-card with a cute animal picture on the front and best of all – you get to use your own words to tell your loved one just how much they mean to you! A little tip: Google Valentine’s messages and you will end up looking like an 18th century French romantic poet.

Your gift to the OHS can help a needy animal with:
  • 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
It’s easy, safe and secure. All you have to do is visit our Heart Warming Gifts page and go shopping!

I hope your Valentine’s Day is filled with warmth and love.

Rob McCulloch
Director: Development

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Join Us for Some Free Valentine’s Day Family Fun!

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
If you’re looking for a Valentine,
Let us find the purr-fect one for you!

This year on Family Day weekend, love is in the air at the OHS. Come visit the shelter on Feb. 15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for My Furry Valentine, our free open house. We welcome all who love animals big and small to come share some unconditional love with the animals at the OHS. Join in the fun with activities such as face painting, cupcake decorating, homemade valentine making, bracelet/necklace creation, balloon animals, and more!
Having trouble finding a valentine in your class this year? No problem! Browse the adoptable animals section of our website and find your purr-fect valentine. When you come to the event, bring a valentine from home or create a valentine here for your favourite furry friend. For a small donation, valentines will be posted outside the cat and dog pods to let your favourite four-legged friend know they’re in your heart.

There’s no need to worry,
When your valentine’s furry,
So jump in your car and get here in a hurry.
You’ll find cute cats and dogs – that are adoptable too!
At the OHS you can find the purr-fect valentine for you.

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