Thursday, May 26, 2016

More than Good Manners

Obedience classes and training have many benefits.
It's been quite a few years since I have had a dog in my home life. At the OHS, I am lucky to meet a lot of dogs, but a dog of my own just hasn't been compatible with my busy work and personal life. As demanding as she can be, my cat Gracie — the Siamese who must be obeyed — doesn't need as much time as the average dog. So, I have deferred adopting a dog to my retirement. 

My last dog was a cocker spaniel. While sweet, and by no means truly badly behaved, Jennie could be a handful. I didn't take her to obedience classes and I regret this now. Many OHS staff have outstandingly wonderful dogs. I realized over the years that the dogs didn't come that way. They are great dogs because our staff made an investment of time and effort in training and obedience. 

Obedience classes can strengthen the bond between dogs
and their owners.
I have learned my lesson and when I finally bring a dog into my life again, I will spend the time to "create" a wonderful dog with classes. Most people want a dog with good manners and social skills when interacting with people, they want a dog that doesn't jump up, scare children, or pull on the leash, and can respond to at least simple commands. Classes and training between classes can to do this. Moreover, studies suggest that classes and training enhance the communication and bond between people and their dogs. The time spent has many rewards.

Classes can save a dog's life. By learning to recall, you can prevent her from being  hit by a car or attacked by wildlife or unknown dogs. They can lessen or eliminate those behaviours that can make living with a dog a minor hell: destructiveness, excessive barking, and house soiling for example. 

I have learned my lesson; I have been converted. My next dog will be wonderful. She may not be born that way, but that's okay. I am going to help her become wonderful.

Bruce Roney
Executive Director

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Killing with Kindness

The story of two Canadian tourists visiting Yellowstone National Park and "saving" a young bison calf by putting it in the back of their SUV and taking it to a ranger station has gone viral. I hope it becomes a lesson for everyone. 

Most of us would feel sick if they killed a healthy young animal by mistake. Here is the thing, people do it all the time. Every spring, all over North America, people pick up juvenile wildlife that don't need their help. They bring them to a humane society or other authority whose only option is to euthanize the poor creature. 

That is what happened to the bison. On May 16, Yellowstone National Park officials announced a baby bison had to be euthanized after a pair of Canadian tourists put the animal in their car. The two feared it was cold, despite warmer-than-average temperatures.

"The bison calf was later euthanized because it was abandoned and causing a dangerous situation by continually approaching people and cars along the roadway," park officials said in a press release.
Officials tried numerous times to re-integrate the young bison back into the herd, but it was rejected."

The story of the baby bison spread fast on social media, prompting people to demand to know why the young bison hadn't been sent to a rehabilitation centre.

Officials responded on the park's Facebook page: "In order to ship the calf out of the park, it would have had to go through months of quarantine to be monitored for brucellosis. No approved quarantine facilities exist at this time, and we don't have the capacity to care for a calf that's too young to forage on its own." 

In the scale of the natural world, I know this is a very small event. And I know the tourists were concerned and meant no harm. But they did harm and this little tragedy could have been avoided, along with the dozens of little tragedies that well-meaning people in Ottawa will present the Ottawa Humane Society with this spring. 

You can help. Spread the word. Unless you know for sure that juvenile wildlife  needs help, such as if you can confirm the death of the mother, take our advice: if you care, leave them there.

Bruce Roney
Executive Director

Thursday, May 12, 2016

One of a Few

Did you know that there are over 170,000 charities and non-profits in Canada? And did you know that 85,000 of these are registered as such with the Canada Revenue Agency? Those are stunning numbers. I had no idea there were so many. With so many charities, it can be difficult to distinguish between them, to know which are well governed and well managed to achieve their goals.

In response to this and other challenges in the charitable sector, Imagine Canada created a standards program which accredits charities found to show compliance and excellence in five areas: board governance; financial accountability and transparency; fundraising; staff management; and, volunteer involvement. 

Only 170 — or one in a thousand — charities in Canada are accredited by Imagine Canada. And just recently, the Ottawa Humane Society became one of them. We are only one of two humane societies in Canada to do so to date.

What does it mean? I think it means we are doing a good job at the basic foundations of any organization. I hope it means that we are building the trust of our community and our supporters.  And we need both of these to do the best for the animals.

Bruce Roney
Executive Director

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Your Best Friend's Best Friend

Gracie has a great veterinarian. I am sorry, but I can't tell you which one she sees. That would get me into a lot of trouble. But, of course Gracie's vet is not only an outstanding professional, but also a great supporter of the Ottawa Humane Society and the humane and veterinary communities in Ottawa. I feel lucky to live in a community where this describes so many veterinarians that you can't likely guess who takes care of our demanding little Siamese.

Too many pets, especially cats, don't have a veterinarian.
If you don't have a regular veterinarian or haven't taken your best friend to one since she was spayed, then I am hoping you will find one soon. Too many pets, especially cats, don't have one, and there are so many reasons they should:

Early disease detection: problems detected in early stages are more likely to be treated and resolved with less cost, less difficulty and better success; detecting problems before they become critical can help avoid unexpected costs.

Preventive medicine: vaccination and parasite prevention such as fleas, ticks, heartworm, intestinal parasites, etc. can prevent life-threatening — and very expensive to treat — diseases.
Pets should visit their veterinarian regularly.

Nutritional counselling: keeps animals in optimal body condition to help prevent obesity related medical conditions such as joint problems and feline diabetes.

Detection and prevention of dental disease: veterinarians can suggest various ways of preventing dental disease in your pet as well as perform a thorough oral exam to help detect existing dental disease.

Behavioural counselling: veterinarians can offer advice on various behavioural concerns and can help rule out underlying medical causes for these behaviours; sometimes veterinarians will prescribe medications to help with behaviour problems.

Your pet's veterinarian is literally a life-saver. Find a good one and take your little friend regularly. She is worth it.

Bruce Roney
Executive Director

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