Thursday, April 24, 2014

World Veterinary Day

I'll bet you didn't know that April 26 is World Veterinary Day. To be honest, I didn't until recently, but I still think it's pretty important.

A good veterinarian becomes a trusted
partner in the health and welfare of our pet.
Veterinary medicine is critical for your pet of course, and regular veterinary care is an essential part of being a responsible owner. But, the importance of veterinary medicine stretches far beyond the health of our much-loved pets. Veterinarians have a huge role in preventing disease in humans. Zoonotic disease ­– animal illnesses that can be transmitted to humans – are a tremendous threat around the world, but we Canadians rarely give them a thought, and rarely need to – only because of veterinarians. Veterinarians play a crucial role in maintaining food safety, by attending sale barns, investigating and managing outbreaks of illness in livestock, and just assisting farmers in maintaining the health of their herds.

In clinical practice, every pet owner knows that a good veterinarian becomes a trusted partner in the health and welfare of our pet. They also often become part therapist, social worker and sadly, sometimes, grief counsellor.

I am proud of the Ottawa Humane Society and many of the things we have accomplished together. One of the things I am most proud of is the relationship we have with our veterinary community. This is not typical. Many humane societies are at best, in an uneasy peace, and at worst in outright war with their local veterinarians.

In contrast, Ottawa's veterinarians were among the most generous donors to the building of our new shelter. Local vets give generously of their time to volunteer to help the animals in our care. They discount their services, walk in our annual walkathon, host our donation boxes in their clinics and – along with technicians, animal care attendants, and everyone who works with them – are great partners in animal welfare and close friends of the OHS. 

So, this April 26, I hope you will join us in thanking Ottawa's veterinarians and the staff that work with them for everything they do.

Bruce Roney
Executive Director

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Let's Close the Species Gap!

It's no secret that animal welfare is a very different thing for dogs and cats. Long gone are the days when dogs were allowed to roam. Dogs tend to receive significantly more veterinary care, are more likely to be vaccinated, and – females, at least – are more likely to be sterilized than their feline counterparts. 

More than 60 per cent of dogs brought to the Ottawa Humane Society as strays are claimed by their owners. And we suspect that a significant number of those "lost" dogs were really just unwanted by their owners for one reason or another. In our best year ever, despite huge efforts to get lost cats home, only seven per cent were claimed by their families!

One of the most striking differences between dogs and cats in our community, and by extension, at the OHS, are the numbers that enter our care with identification. While just 14 per cent of dogs admitted have either visible identification – a collar and tag – or permanent ID in the form of a microchip, only a sad one per cent of cats are so protected.  Obviously this seriously inhibits our ability to return a cat to its home.
While 14 per cent of dogs admitted to the OHS
 have either visible ID or a microchip, just one
per cent of cats do.

What can you do?  If you have brought a cat into your life, please outfit her with a collar and tag. Have her implanted with permanent identification. This way, you can help us and your neighbours return her home safely.  I know what you're thinking: My cat hates her collar. She never goes outside. Well, I hated wearing ties, but I got used to it. Your cat will get used to the collar. And a surprising number of owners that come to us looking for a lost cat tell us that “she never goes outside,” that, “she slipped out this one time.”

If you lose your cat, don't give up looking for him. We have reunited pets with their owners months after they became lost. Here are some tips from your friends at the OHS:
  • Visit the Ottawa Humane Society as soon as possible.
  • View photos of most stray cats admitted to the OHS shelter at
  • Make fliers that include the lost date, description including any unique markings, a picture, and your phone number. A reward motivates people!
  • Make familiar sounds to attract your pet. Walk around your neighbourhood in the morning and evening calling your cat’s name.
  • Put fliers up around your neighbourhood shops, veterinary clinics and anywhere else, including your old neighbourhood if you’ve recently moved.
  • Place the kitty litter outside – while it may sound strange, this helps nervous or shy cats who may have bolted return to a site that “smells” familiar.
  • Check with neighbours, mail courier, newspaper and other delivery people, local veterinary clinics, etc.

More tips and information can be found on our website at:
And please, let's close the welfare gap between dogs and cats. Always identify your cat!

Bruce Roney
Executive Director

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Thank You OHS Volunteers!

The Ottawa Humane Society is pleased to join the celebration of National Volunteer Week this April 6 to 12 and salute the close to 600 volunteers who give so generously of their time, skills and energy to support the animals in our care. The OHS would simply not be where it is today without the commitment of our volunteers.
The OHS would simply not be where it is today
without the commitment of our volunteers.

Our volunteers touch every part of our work, supporting our daily operations, programs and services. Over the past year, dedicated OHS volunteers logged an incredible 49,343 hours to help save animals’ lives. Committed volunteers fostered hundreds of sick animals in their homes; others supported the OHS by entering data to ensure that our supporters were acknowledged and thanked for their generosity. Our volunteer dog walkers braved the rain, sleet and snow to provide daily outings for canines in our care, while other volunteers drove hundreds of kilometers to deliver cats to our 24 partner Pet Adoption Locations across the City. Our generous volunteer veterinarians donated almost 400 hours to sterilize animals prior to adoption and provide critical life-saving surgeries to give many animals a second chance. Board and committee volunteers helped ensure that our future is bright and healthy, while, thanks to the efforts of so many other volunteers, we can ensure that our daily administration is as efficient as possible. Our Humane Education volunteers delivered 185 school presentations, reaching nearly 4,500 students and building the next generation of compassionate, informed pet owners. From teaching kids—and adults—about the humane treatment of animals, to taking animals on visits to brighten residents’ days in long-term care facilities, OHS volunteers reach out and help us ensure a strong community devoted to animal care and welfare.

Our volunteers are truly the lifeblood of the Ottawa Humane Society and we do not take a single hour of their time for granted. We are thankful for each and every hour and what it means to the 11,000 animals that need our help each year.

This week, we look forward to hosting some special events for our volunteers as part of National Volunteer Week, but our sincere appreciation for their contribution stretches across each and every day of the year.

Bruce Roney
Executive Director

If you are interested in joining our volunteer team, please check out available volunteer opportunities on our website at

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Hop on down to the OHS for our free family Easter egg-stravaganza!

Is there a hop in your step now that spring is finally in the air? Grab the kids and hop in the car for some egg-citing free Easter fun at the Ottawa Humane Society. You and your family can eggs-plore all of our furry friends and join in the fun. We’ll be offering free Easter-themed activities such as egg races, face painting, sugar cookie decorating and tons of Easter crafts. The OHS auxiliary will be holding a bake sale where you’ll find some scrumptious treats.  And you never know if our good friend the Easter bunny will make an appearance!

Our Off-Leash Camp counsellors will be on site to answer any questions you may have about our children’s programs including summer camp, birthday parties and tours.

Come celebrate spring at the OHS Hoppy Easter event.  There are no egg-scuses to miss it!

Lori Marcantonio

Director:  Outreach

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