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

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