Thursday, August 27, 2015

You wouldn't let it happen to a backpack

My friends and colleagues with young children tell me they are busy sewing or ironing name tags into their children's jackets, gym shorts, backpacks and the like in preparation for the upcoming return to school. This year, as always, they hope that these things won’t go missing during the academic year (it was often the first week, as I recall). If they were to go missing, parents hope that the items can be easily retrieved from the lost and found box or that someone will return them to their child. Parents hope this; and sometimes it happens. If it doesn't, usually it's not that big a deal. Most children's jackets and gym shorts are pretty inexpensive. Few have sentimental value.

Here at the OHS, last year alone, we cared for more than 5,000 lost pets. Sixty one per cent of dogs were reunited with their families but only six and a half per cent of cats. Many of the cats were clearly indoor cats. Very few dogs or cats had any form of identification whatsoever. Had these family members been microchipped, the OHS could have sent them all home—every last beloved pet. 

Just ask Nadja, who was reunited with her beloved cat Boo here at the OHS last December. Boo (a Siamese!)  went missing in late November. Because Boo was microchipped, he was back in Nadja's arms for Christmas—just hours after he was brought here by a Good Samaritan.

Won't you make the same effort for your pet that you make for your child's backpack? A microchip implant is a permanent ticket home for your best friend. 

Bruce Roney
Executive Director

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Different Breed of Walk

I know there are a lot of walks out there. The summer is crammed full of them. There are so many important causes. I have participated in some. The best part for me was being with other people that shared the same commitment to a common cause. But I admit, other than that, they have all been a bit dull. 

The Wiggle Waggle Walkathon (try saying that three times fast) is different. Why? Dogs! More breeds than you can imagine. Super big ones, tiny ones, and everything in between. There are often a few hardy cats, sometimes a miniature pony, and a parrot at least once. It's amazing. It's beautiful. And it's fun!

Some of the animals that walk owe their lives to the walker in the Wiggle Waggle Walkathon and their sponsors because the funds raised paid for their rescue from injury or abuse, lifesaving surgery and care at the OHS. That's the serious side of the walk. All of the human walkers share a common belief in the inherent value of animals in our lives. As with all walks, that's the invigorating part. But the difference is the fun. 

Bruce Roney
Executive Director 

P.S.  Don't forget to collect pledges. That's what is going to save lives. And if you are a runner, check out the Wiggle Waggle Walkathon's fraternal twin: the Run for the Animals.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

What are you doing for National Homeless Animals Day?

Think of Ottawa's homeless animals on
National Homeless Animals Day
I have always believed in the Ottawa Humane Society as a force for good. Not just for the homeless animals in our care on a given day, but in helping to create a more compassionate community. I am grateful to work here. But I have never been as grateful personally for the OHS, its work, and everyone who makes it possible, as I am now. 

So, what are you doing for National Homeless Animals Day? Okay, I get it—probably not a lot. It's not like its Thanksgiving or anything. Even working at the OHS, I generally didn't think about it that much. This year is a bit different for me. After quite a few years of being pet-less—a conscious choice resulting from a busy schedule and a minor allergy to cats—I now have a pet again. Living with Gracie has made some subtle changes to my view of homeless animals: their face has changed from the many thousands to the one. She is the poster-cat for homeless animals now in my life and in my mind.
When I look at Gracie, I am grateful for her and for the second chance that our donors, our staff and our volunteers gave her. On bad days, I imagine what might have happened to her without the OHS, or worse, imagine someone hurting her the way so many animals we see are hurt. 

So, I am grateful to the OHS and everyone who helps Ottawa's animals and protects them from hurt. And in your honour, and in gratitude for Gracie, I am going to celebrate National Homeless Animals Day with a donation to the OHS to give homeless animals a reason to celebrate too.

Maybe you want to celebrate? How about joining me in a gift to homeless animals in honour of everyone who helps them and the animals that have changed your life like Gracie changed mine?
Bruce Roney
Executive Director

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Cecil the lion - what can you do?

Cecil the Lion
The appalling and cowardly shooting of Cecil the Lion became a world-wide rallying point for those of us who care about animals. I think this tragic story has made a lot of us feel helpless. We want to help animals like Cecil. We want to make a difference, but how? Just sharing our outrage on Facebook feels shallow and futile. But these incidents happen thousands of miles away, in other countries, in isolated geography. Even if we had the time and the money to fly to far-flung destinations, what could you and I do when we got there? Surely this isn't the solution. Sadly, it's too late for Cecil anyway.

But there are rare animals that need your help, right here in Ottawa. Their names are Marie and Shelly. They are captive Asian elephants. This week, the Zerbini Circus, will again be rolling into Ottawa under the guise of the Shrine Circus with Marie and Shelly in tow.

The two elephants have been trained to entertain you by doing tricks. How are elephants trained to do tricks? With bullhooks.

What is the connection between Shelly and Marie and Cecil? The ultimate source of their pain is the same—the attitude that animals exist solely for our use. If it's okay to make elephants dance to avoid pain for our amusement, then it's only a small leap to shoot them for the same reason.

Circus elephants
So, what do Shelly and Marie need from you? They need you to boycott the Shrine circuses and all of its ilk. They need you to refuse the telemarketers who ask you to buy tickets for "under-privileged children." They need you to speak for them;  to tell others about their plight.

Circuses are about money, not about education and certainly not about animal welfare. If there is no money to be made, they will wither away, along with the message that that they bring to young people about domination and exploitation of animals. It's a simple plan: don't pay, don't go, and let others know

Bruce Roney
Executive Director

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Interviews with Guinness: Jon Dunkerley and His Guide-dog, Lars

The Science Diet® Wiggle Waggle Walkathon and
Run for the Animals Spokesdog Guinness
Guinness sat down with Jon Dunkerley and his guide-dog Lars, Honorary Chair(s) of the OHS Run for the Animals to ask why the Run is so important to them.

Guinness: Why is the Run for the Animals so important to you?

Jon: The Run for the Animals is important to me because it brings awareness to the Humane Society and all the hard work they do every single day to reduce the number of stray dogs and cats in our city. This organization does incredible work, and as a matter of fact my brother and sister adopted their cat from the OHS a number of years ago.

 Jon Dunkerley
Lars: The Run for the Animals is important to me, Bar, because I get to meet many new people and share many doggy handshakes along the way. Plus, people get to ooh and aww over my shiny coat and playful big brown eyes, not to mention daddy lets me misbehave so I get to be a bad boy and run around with my leash in my mouth!

Guinness: Do you have/have you had any animal companions?

Jon: I have had pet dogs in the past, and have had two seeing-eye dogs; my first, a big Yellow Lab named Luther, and now a little Black Lab fire cracker named Lars.

Lars: I have one companion animal. His name is Jon. Ha ha!

Guinness: Where is your favorite place in Ottawa to run?

Jon: My favorite place in Ottawa to run would be down the canal, especially in the summer when so many people are out enjoying the nice weather.

Lars: My favorite place to run is at Conroy Pit! Daddy and I go there sometimes and I run around like a maniac being a bad boy! I chew sticks, chase other doggies sometimes, and every once in a while I will even bellyflop in puddles!

Guinness: How can someone train for a 5K or 10K?

Jon: For somebody training for their first 5 or 10K run, I would suggest just keeping it simple and trying to get out the door every day for an easy run, gradually lengthening how long they run for until they can cover their race distance without stopping. Once you can do this, then you can start adding a little bit of faster pacing to a few of your runs a week.

Lars: Chase sticks! That always seems to keep me motivated!

To sign up or learn more about the Run for the Animals, please visit 

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