Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodbye 2016

Everyone has a bad year from time to time. Because of the death of a loved one, a health scare, a financial setback — eventually everyone has a year they would rather forget. In my relatively long life though, I never recall a "collective" bad year, that is, a year when we as a world, a country, a community agree that it was just a bad year. 2016 is the first. I see it everywhere. So many events in the year just felt exceptionally bad: from the loss of David Bowie and Prince, to terrorist attacks in Europe; from "Brexit" uncertainty to the Zika virus. Many, many, people just want 2016 to be over.

So, it almost is. 2016 will be gone shortly. We're all going to get a fresh start in 2017. Here is the question: What we going to do with this fresh start? How can we make 2017 better than 2016?

Bruce Roney
Executive Director

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Do you know what happens when a bell rings?

OK, I confess — I can get a little mushy at Christmas. I start humming and whistling Christmas music as soon as the first flake of snow hits the ground. (In December that is; in November it just annoys me.) I love the lights on Parliament Hill and even the ones here at the OHS. Port and Stilton in front of a fire are bliss. And in our house, a year rarely goes by without watching standards like the Grinch and Charlie Brown. Much to the chagrin of others, my favourite by far, though is It's a Wonderful Life. I often save that one for the night I wrap gifts, just to assure that I am going to have the Christmas spirit in high gear.

There is something about that movie that always resonates and moves me, especially at this time of the year. There are so many themes that I think are important: the value of friendship, the possibility of redemption, the importance of gratitude, the search for home, and of course, the interconnectedness and the value of every life.

Maybe it is those same themes from that old movie that led me to a humane society, because I find them here all the time.

Bruce Roney
Executive Director

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Our New Holiday Tradition: Meet Jingle

Jingle the Christmas Elf.
Among the best parts about Christmas — and most holidays — are our traditions and the memories that come with them. As you open the worn boxes containing the decorations, your mind tends to wander back to memories of earlier days. Just the smells of turkey and holiday baking can take you back 30 years in a moment. It's comforting to remember and to follow the well trod path of our holiday rituals. And as you grow up, most of you retain at least some traditions from your childhood, and adopt new ones in your own family.

Well, after 128 years, I think the Ottawa Humane Society is all grown up. And so we decided to add a new tradition in our family: Jingle the Christmas Elf. We adopted Jingle to show all you good girls and boys out there what's going on at the OHS over the holidays.

Jingle is a curious little guy and he gets around the OHS a lot this time of the year. I hope you will join us in our new holiday tradition and have as much fun following Jingle's little adventures on Facebook over the holidays as we do.

Bruce Roney
Executive Director

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Always Room at the Inn

Animals like Chili — who's been patiently waiting for a
home since January — always have a place at the OHS.
At the core, there are two kinds of animal shelters: open admission and limited admission. When I say "shelter" I mean to include all groups that care for animals, not just physical ones. Many excellent groups have no physical shelter, but rely on a network of foster homes, rather than a building. The OHS of course has both. And the OHS is an open admission shelter.

Every community needs an open admission shelter — that is, a shelter that never says no. One that, no matter how sick or how dangerous they are, will accept all animals at any time. There always needs to be, "room at the inn." I know what can happen when people cannot or will not care for an animal and have nowhere to turn. I saw it growing up in the country. And I want to make sure that never ever happens in our community. 

It is not an easy task. Animal sheltering is seasonal, with huge numbers needing shelter and care in the warmer months. Some days, more than 40 animals will be admitted. The size of the shelter certainly helps, but we have had to create programs to ease the intense pressure on even this large facility. A network of 300 or so foster homes helps hugely. Our 30 or so off-site adoption locations ease the pressure considerably. And we have to keep the animals moving through the system. If treatments, assessments, spay/neuters and all the other essential services get bottlenecked, the shelter becomes overcrowded and that is an invitation to stress-related disease. 

But here is what we don't do: we do not euthanize for space. No healthy adoptable animal has been euthanized at the Ottawa Humane Society in a very long time. Once they are assessed as adoptable, they stay in our care until they are adopted. Period. And many more that were not adoptable when they arrived, become adoptable in our staff and volunteers' loving care.

So, if you support the OHS and the animals in our care, thank you. Thank you for ensuring that this time of year especially, there is always room at the inn. 

Bruce Roney
Executive Director

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