Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year

In this coming year, I hope the same thing for you and for me: that we make mistakes. Because if we are making mistakes, we are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing ourselves, changing ourselves. Changing the world.

Happy New Year!

Bruce Roney
Executive Director
With thanks to Neil Gaiman

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The world is getting better. It's just that no one believes it.

I was listening to CBC on my way somewhere on the weekend. They were airing the Munk Debates. The topic was this: "Be it resolved humankind’s best days lie ahead." It was fascinating; especially the comments of a very distinguished scholar named Matt Ridley.

Professor Ridley pointed out that we live longer, are healthier, richer, safer, less warlike than any time before in human history. He wasn't talking about Canada, or even the West; he was talking about the whole world. It doesn't feel like it, though, does it? But it's true. (Well, my Google search says it's true. And it wasn't challenged during the debate.) We don't tend to think the world is getting better, particularly as we get older, apparently. As we age, we all tend to look back on a better imaginary past that didn't exist, according to Prof. Ridley. 

Then he pointed out a second fact that was disturbing. When people are polled about how bad the world is, those who think it is bad and getting worse tend to also respond that this means they should hunker down and think only of themselves. But the world hasn't gotten worse, it's gotten better, but mostly only the young believe it. Yikes. 

Do you think it might work in reverse? That is, if we became more optimistic and saw the world as a better place, would we be more concerned about others? It feels true, and I see it every day at the Ottawa Humane Society. Optimism works. I see second chances in the face of hopelessness, the relief of suffering in the face of pain and the building of a compassionate and hopeful next generation. And from it, I see touching generosity and wholehearted commitment from our staff, our volunteers and our supporters. 

Merry Christmas everyone.

Bruce Roney
Executive Director

Monday, December 14, 2015

Thursday, December 10, 2015

What’s Next? Constant Improvement in Animal Sheltering

A new program introduced this year provides in-house respite
to stressed shelter cats. Next up? Cat clicker training to promote
adoptability...stay tuned!
As the year draws to a close, we look back, as always, on how we’ve done this year to help more of the animals that come into our care. Did we adopt out more dogs with special needs? Reunite more lost cats with their owners? Do more to meet the medical needs of sick and injured animals? Rescue more animals in distress?

It has been a good year. We have, I’m happy to report, been successful because we have a great team that is committed to constantly improving. From new daily care checklists to new behaviour intervention programs, best practices in animal sheltering are evolving rapidly. And while it is certainly challenging to keep up with it all, it’s too important not to. 

Our commitment to constant improvement has yielded some fantastic gains. Thanks to our new process tracking system, we have found ways to ensure 10,000 animals move through the shelter much more quickly. With these strategies, fewer animals are waiting for the next step in their care. The faster the animals move, the less likely they become stressed and become sick as a result. High volume, high quality spay/neuter surgery blocks are becoming more common as we increase training for veterinary technical staff. An improved adoption process has resulted in more transparent and more efficient adoptions. Most recently, improvements in our investigations processes, along with greater collaboration with Crown prosecutors, are anticipated to strengthen results in animal cruelty cases. 

We are excited about the results that have come out of the past year. We’re committed to building on what we have achieved and continuing to improve over the year ahead. In each area of animal care, we are already developing our plans to do even more next year. Knowing that we have the support of our community behind us, there is no end to what we can achieve for the animals.

Sharon Miko
OHS Deputy Director 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Faith, Hope and Charity

An OHS supporter asked me recently if I was worried about the Syrian refugee crisis. I was puzzled for a moment, before I realized that she was talking about fundraising. She wanted to know if I was worried that the attention on the desperate plight of the thousands fleeing the terror in their homeland might negatively affect our efforts to raise funds to care for the animals at this all-important time of the year. As you probably know, like retailers, if charities don't raise money at Christmas they are in big trouble. 

I thought for a moment, and responded that I was not, "I have faith in our community and in you."
Afterward, in a sleepless moment, I wondered if I was too quick to respond. Should I be concerned?

After all, it's my job to be concerned about things that may threaten the rescue and care of animals and their future. If I'm not concerned, am I right not to be? Did I really mean what I said?

As I pondered, I realized that I really did mean it. I meant it because I truly believe that love, generosity, and hope are not finite, they are limitless. Caring deeply about one plight does not diminish our feelings for another, in fact, often the exact opposite is true. Caring is addictive. And when you open your heart, you never know just who or what will get in. 

So, I'm not worried. I have faith in our community and in you. 

Bruce Roney
Executive Director

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