Ottawa Humane Society Blog
Ottawa Humane Society
Road Tripping with Rover
This is the time of year when many pet owners hit the road — or sky or rails — for their summer holidays.
Yesterday, our staff did a little trip of their own, over to Donnelly Ford to present their "Road tripping with Rover" session about travelling with a pet and what to do if you can’t bring Rover along.
This is an important initiative for the OHS. June is our busiest month with many owners surrendering their pet. It seems that when Fluffy and Rover don’t fit with summer plans, too often they end up in our shelter. We want to help owners find alternatives, whether it be bringing pets along safely or making alternate arrangements.
There is a lot to consider for either choice and I would like to share the information with you so that your cat or dog has as good a summer as you do.
Executive Director [Travelling with Rover]
What to Bring
Medications: Before you leave, consult with your vet. Ensure your pet is in good physical health before you travel. Pick up refills of any medications your pet will need while you are away. Ensure all medications are clearly labeled and kept in their original packages.
Kennel or carrier: Some accommodations ask that you kennel your pet if you are going out and leaving him in the room. This request is sometimes made in order to ensure the safety of your pet while left alone in the room (if they allow pets to be left alone), and also to ensure that their property is not at risk of being destroyed. The kennel is also a safe way for your pet to travel.
Food and water bowls.
Food and water: Keeping your pet on the same diet that he's accustomed to will help to prevent the dreaded diarrhea or vomiting.
Can opener: if your pet is fed canned food.
Stain remover/cleaning supplies... just in case! Please be courteous and clean up as much pet hair, etc. as you can. A good quality lint brush or pet hair roller is always useful!
Plastic bags or litter box/scoop so that you can clean up after your pet.
Grooming tools including a comb and/or brush, nail clippers, pet shampoo, and anything else your pet may need.
Extra towels for wiping those muddy paws and wet or dirty bodies!
Collar and leash(es): Consider bringing an extra leash just in case one of them breaks.
Comfortable bedding. Bring along whatever your pet is accustomed to, and what smells like "home."
Document file : The document file should be kept in your glovebox and should contain:
Identification. Be sure to record the license numbers, tattoo numbers, and microchip numbers of your pets and bring this list with you. It's important, too, that your contact information is up-to-date.
Recent photo. If your pet is lost while you are traveling, the photo will come in handy when describing him to others. Also jot down any unique identifying marks — be specific.
Microchip information. If your pet doesn’t have one, you can visit our monthly microchip clinic
Vaccination records and other documents. If you are travelling to and from another country, such as the United States, be sure to check what types of vaccinations your pet will need. Bring an up-to-date record with you.
Any other pertinent certification papers.
First aid kit : You can purchase an animal first aid kit or assemble a pet first-aid kit yourself.
A pet first aid kit should contain:
Liquid band aid
Stay Safe! Remember…
Your pet should always be under your control
Always use restraint tools like seatbelts or travel crates
Don’t let rover stick his head out of the window; this could cause irritation of the eyes
Never leave your pets in an unattended car.
Come prepared. Be sure to ask hotels/campgrounds, etc. to ensure that they are pet-friendly, and to ensure that you bring all of the necessary paperwork and tools required. For example, some accommodations may require the Canadian Good Citizen Certification, while American hotels may require the Good Neighbor certification. They may also require vaccination records, and they may charge an extra fee. Hotels often require that pets be kept in crates as well; it depends on the hotel or camp ground. Take care to inform yourself on what is required of you as a pet owner.
[When Rover Can’t Come]
Many pets are given up at vacation time because of a perceived inconvenience. Thousands of pets who were left with "pet sitters" are lost each year. A little forethought would have prevented these things from happening. Here are a few helpful hints about holidays and how to make them safe and enjoyable for your pet.
If You Leave Your Pet Behind
Take time to explain your pet’s routine to the sitter and include a list of written instructions of what to do if the pet is lost.
Whether you choose a pet-sitter or a kennel service, be sure to notify your veterinarian of your absence, and who is authorized to make medical decisions for your pet in the meantime. Also notify the caretaker of your pet that in the case that you cannot be reached, that they are authorized to approve up to a certain amount of money to be spent on emergency medical expenses, and that the veterinarian has been notified of the parties who are authorized to make decisions if medical intervention is required while you’re away.
The Live-In Pet and Plant Sitter
Ideally a relative or a friend who knows your pet (or gets to know him/her before you leave and will be with him/her most of the day). Before you go, leave an adequate supply of food, grooming instructions, exercise routine and veterinarian’s (including emergency clinic) telephone numbers. Also inform your microchip provider of the temporary contact numbers. If possible, leave your itinerary and phone numbers. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar and tag and has had all vaccinations. Phone your sitter a couple of times to check-in.
The Drop-In Neighbour
Many agree to stop by each day to feed, water and exercise your pet. Make sure you entrust this duty to a responsible person (some students do this for a summer job). Get references.
Professional Pet Sitters
This is a relatively new field and is an excellent alternative to kenneling, especially for cats who often don’t do well out of their home environment. Talk to friends and family and find out if they can recommend someone. Always check references and look for someone who is bonded.
Visit the kennel and check for the Following:
Are the cages clean and large enough for your pet?
Is water available at all times?
Do the kennel owners insist on all vaccinations?
How often will your pet receive exercise? What kind of exercise?
Is the boarding agreement complete and satisfactory?
Always leave a list of emergency phone numbers for the pet-sitter or kennel service, which includes your phone number, your pet’s veterinarian’s phone number, an emergency after-hours veterinary phone number, and the phone number of an emergency contact in the case that you cannot be reached.
Always leave medical, vaccination, and microchip documents with the pet-sitter or kennel service. Whether you choose to have your pet looked after by a pet-sitter, a drop-in neighbor, or a kennel, always leave information on how much money they are allowed to approve in case of emergency veterinary expenses. If you cannot be contacted, it is important that clear instructions are left for the party responsible for your pet while you are away.
Provide the contact info of your pet sitter, and who is authorized to make medical decisions in your absence.
email@example.com (Ottawa Humane Society) -- Thu, 06 Jul 2017 17:31:00 +0000
Canada Day: When More Animals Need Us Than Any Other Day
Most dogs are terrified of fireworks We're just a few days away from what is the busiest day of the year at the Ottawa Humane Society: Canada Day. Why Canada Day? There are a few reasons: First, Canada Day is a very busy day helping dogs brought into our care. This is mainly because of the many fireworks displays on July 1st: the big one on Parliament Hill, and the many smaller ones throughout the City. And the 150th celebration means this year there will be more and bigger fireworks displays than we have seen in 50 years. The thing is, most dogs are terrified of fireworks. Even the best trained, never-wanders dog can bolt in fear during fireworks displays and end up at our shelter.
Second, late-June, early-July is our peak season for animals surrendered to us by their owner. As holidays approach, and vacation plans develop, sadly, many decide that their dog or cat doesn't fit with those plans. The result? Hundreds surrendered to the OHS each June and July. When added to an already busy time with many stray animals requiring our care, we can see as many as 40 dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens admitted to our shelter every single day!
You can help make sure that animals are safe, fewer need our care, and those that do, find their way home or into a new loving home by taking the following steps and trying to ensure that your friends and neighbours do the same:
Keep pets indoors Canada Day.
Make sure pets have a visible collar and tag and a permanent microchip implant.
Plan for holidays for your pets. Help others care for their pets when away.
Ensure all pets are sterilized.
Adopt a homeless animal at the OHS.
From all of us at the Ottawa Humane Society, have a safe and happy Canada Day!
firstname.lastname@example.org (Ottawa Humane Society) -- Thu, 29 Jun 2017 14:06:00 +0000
Stop the Bull
A friend contacted me last night to make sure I was aware that bull riding is coming to Ottawa this Friday. I wasn't aware and I was horrified. The promoters are billing it as "Man vs. Beast," but it’s really an animal cruelty showcase that has no place in our community.
Bull riders use electric prods, spurs and straps tightened around the animal’s abdomen/genitals to make the bull buck and charge — they’re bucking to stop the pain. It’s a lifetime of torment that begins when the youngest bulls are chosen with criteria that weeds out all but those with the most hysterical reaction to the suffering.
This event is inhumane and I am hoping you will boycott it and spread the word to your networks that these practices are abusive, cruel and have no place in our community.
I also hope you will tell City Council that Ottawans vehemently oppose the cruel treatment of animals and that these events are not welcome here by signing the petition now
Together, we can make our community free of these horrific events.
email@example.com (Ottawa Humane Society) -- Wed, 07 Jun 2017 19:03:00 +0000
Blurring the Line
Subsidized spay/neuter means that pets of low income families can
benefit from the health and behavioural benefits of spaying
and neutering and will not contribute to pet overpopulation. Traditionally, the OHS and most, if not all, humane societies had a pretty deep "line in the sand" between "owned" animals and those that were homeless. That is, our message to owners was that you are responsible for your pet — period.
About fifteen years ago, we started to relax some of our views, in particular on the issue of euthanasia. We used to push back, saying you should see your veterinarian, who has been caring for your pet for its lifetime, for this final act of kindness. But the number of calls regarding the urgent need for euthanasia began to increase, with desperate and cash-strapped families telling us they had been quoted in the many hundreds of dollars, a euthanasia they simply could not afford. Further, many pets in need had never seen a vet. So, now we will perform needed euthanasia, for a fee that is affordable in situations where an animal is likely to suffer otherwise.
Since then, our thinking and the thinking of the progressive parts of the humane movement has continued to change and I hope expand. In our research for the new OHS strategic plan, we came to the reality that "owned" animals need us too and that the old line in the sand was blurry.
It became clear that the biggest, and most important need was for accessible, subsidized spay/neuter. And so, we launched our mobile spay neuter program
and vehicle so that low-income families could have their pet sterilized. I have heard many times, by the way: "People who can't afford pets should not have pets." Okay, and a part of me agrees. But here is the thing: people who can't afford pets have pets. It is not okay if our judgments allow those pets to suffer. We can at least ensure that pet has the health and behavioural benefits of spaying and neutering and does not contribute to animal overpopulation. Education is a part of the program, and we hope that people will leave with not only a sterilized pet, but also with better knowledge about caring for her.
In the coming months and years, our strategic plan calls for further programs to assist pets in our community, not just in our shelter. We now know the social, mental and physical health benefits of pets in our lives. If we know this, then we also know that keeping healthy pets in families has a benefit for our whole community.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Ottawa Humane Society) -- Thu, 01 Jun 2017 20:49:00 +0000
What Will Your Legacy Be?
Leave a legacy for Ottawa's animals As I get a little older, like many people, I start to imagine the world after me. Will people remember me kindly? Will I be remembered at all? Will I leave, in the words I heard recently from Buffy Sainte-Marie, "Something of lasting value beyond myself"?
I'd like to think that I will have left a legacy: the people and animals helped through three careers, a life-saving animal shelter, a tree planted in recognition of a gift toward getting that shelter built.
Building this shelter is a part of many people's legacy. And saving lives is a part of many more. Each year, the kindness of people who remember the animals in their will allows the OHS to make major purchases such as emergency vehicles and surgical equipment that save lives and simply could not be afforded any other way. Their kindness allows us to launch projects that will save animal lives in the future without risking the lives of animals that need us today.
When people tell us of their intention to remember the animals in their will, we honour their kindness with a place in the OHS 1888 Legacy Giving Society
. Their names appear on our legacy wall, revealed at a induction ceremony held each spring. It is a solemn thank you. And I hope it is a reminder of the legacy that everyone present is leaving, a better life for animals and a kinder, more compassionate community, something of lasting value beyond themselves.
email@example.com (Ottawa Humane Society) -- Thu, 25 May 2017 15:50:00 +0000
Disasters and Their Lessons
OHS was at the ready to take any animals displaced by
the recent flooding. Julie Oliver/Postmedia Disaster relief has been on my mind a lot lately, mainly because of the tragic sight of homes under water from recent flooding and our preparation at the OHS to help the animals made temporarily homeless as a result. Coincidentally, May 14 was National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day, and our partner, Hills Science Diet, has been reminding us to share information with you about preparing for a disaster with your pet
All this has brought to mind a dinner with my good friend Kate, who had been in charge of one of the temporary animal housing facilities set up in Louisiana following hurricane Katrina. I learned a lot from her that night about what to do and what not to do in a disaster, particularly when it comes to animals. I even learned a new acronym: S.U.V. SUVs, as I came to know, are often the biggest logistical nightmare for those leading disaster relief. SUV stands for Spontaneous Unsolicited Volunteers. While clearly responding with the best intentions, those who showed up on site to help were the biggest single problem she faced. So much so, she had to plead for weeks with anyone in authority for fencing; not to keep dogs in, but to keep would-be volunteers out.
Another big problem was donations. Yes, donations. As the SUVs started streaming in, so did truckloads of donated stuff. Most of the stuff wasn't what was needed. But even un-needed stuff needs to be gone through, organized, and stored in some form. There was no capacity to dispose of anything and stuff was coming in daily — literally by the ton.
It was a long and fascinating evening with Kate. She shared so many stories about Katrina, its aftermath and her role in helping. I am grateful that I learned a lot that night about being a part of the solution, rather than contributing to the problem. The two most important lessons were these: offer and stand ready to go, but don't go until asked, and donate cash not stuff, unless you are asked for stuff.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Ottawa Humane Society) -- Thu, 18 May 2017 14:39:00 +0000
Hazel: A Reminder and a Symbol
Hazel This is Hazel. She is a seven-year-old long-haired domestic tabby. Other than being a very beautiful cat, there is not so much special about her. Except this: she is the 200,000th animal in our computerized database.
So what does that mean? She is obviously not the 200,000th animal to come into our care. Our database only goes back to 2002. The Ottawa Humane Society has surely cared for many more hundreds of thousands of animals since our founding in 1888.
For me, Hazel is a reminder and a symbol.
She is reminder of just how many animals need the OHS every single year. The great news is the numbers are slowly dropping. But there are still close to 10,000 animals who have nowhere else to go that still rely on us every year. And caring for that many animals remains a tremendous effort on our part and on the community that supports us.
She is a symbol of how far the OHS has come in helping Ottawa's animals. Hazel was admitted to the OHS as stray at 6 p.m. on the March 28. She was returned to her owner shortly after noon on the 30th — just 36 hours later. This isn't typical. Most years only six per cent of cats are reunited with their families. But Hazel's family saw her on the OHS website and called. Her family also decided to have her microchipped before she left, so she will have permanent identification should she ever get lost again. Technology is helping us reunite animals with their families.
Had Hazel not been returned to her family, she would have received excellent care and almost assuredly, a new forever home, having received all the loving care she might need to get there. This was once simply not possible for so many animals. The first animal in our database may not have been so lucky to receive the care that Hazel did. Hazel is a symbol of what we can do for animals with a little ingenuity, a lot of work and the support of our community.
email@example.com (Ottawa Humane Society) -- Thu, 11 May 2017 15:44:00 +0000
Quebec and Pit Bulls: Another Province Looking for a Quick Fix that Doesn't Work
The OHS could not rehome Alice, the pit bull terrier
pictured above, because of Ontario legislation, but could
transport her to Quebec. This will end if Bill 128 passes. Quebec has proposed new legislation to ban certain dog breeds. The focus of course, is pit bull terriers, as it was in Ontario more than a decade ago. In some ways, the Quebec legislation — Bill 128 — is even scarier, as it leaves the breeds to be banned open for future addition. That is, this or future governments will be able to add other breeds to the list much more easily: by regulation, not by legislation. Already, the Quebec government has identified Rottweilers as another breed they will target.
So, why should you care?
You should care because breed bans don't work . I was unable to obtain statistics for Ottawa, but the City of Toronto reports that the number of dog bites are up since the much ballyhooed legislation was introduced in 2005. Yep, you read that right: up, not down. In fact, a Global News report in February 2016, found that Toronto’s reported dog bites have been rising since 2012, and in 2013 and 2014 reached their highest levels this century, even as pit bulls and similar dogs neared local extinction.
You should care because other breeds will be next. The breed most commonly biting before the legislation? German shepherds, followed by pit bull and Jack Russell terriers. And the number one biter a decade later? Also German shepherds, now followed by Labrador retrievers and Jack Russell terriers.
It's better to be a pit bull terrier in Ottawa, but only for now. The City of Ottawa has taken the approach that the legislation should be used to address individual situations and have, as yet, not enforced the global ban. The Ottawa Humane Society has refused to participate in mass euthanasia of a breed. We address dogs as individuals, not simply as breeds. Since pit bulls cannot be legally adopted in Ontario, we rely on out-of-province transfers, many to Quebec. If this legislation passes, the OHS and other humane societies in Ontario will have fewer options for rehoming safe pit bulls.
So what does work?
Many jurisdictions have researched good solutions to the real problem of dog bites and have concluded that legislation to prevent dog bites and to manage aggressive dogs should focus on the individual dog and the owner not the breed.
In 2012 the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) commissioned a report into the causes behind aggressive dogs. The report found that there was little evidence to support banning particular dog breeds as a way of addressing canine aggression in the community. Instead, education of the public and legislative tools that equip animal management authorities to identify potentially dangerous individual dogs offer the best results in reducing incidents with aggressive dogs.
The report found that any dog of any size, breed or mix of breeds has the potential to be aggressive and to be declared dangerous so dogs should not be declared dangerous on the basis of breed or appearance. Each individual dog should be assessed based on its behaviour. It added that the role of the dog owner is a critical factor.
Genetic predispositions are an important factor in animal behaviour, however the impact of the environment and learning are also critical. The tendency of a dog to bite is dependent on at least five interacting factors:
heredity (genes, breed)
socialization and training
health (physical and psychological) and
What can you do?
You can write the Minister of Public Safety, Martin Coiteux, especially if you are a Quebec resident. Tell him that breed bans don't work, and that animals will lose their lives needlessly under his legislation. Tell him that you are concerned about human safety, but that there is a better way.
The minister can be contacted at:
Ministère de la Sécurité publique
Tour des Laurentides, 5e étage
2525, boulevard Laurier
Québec (Quebec) G1V 2L2
firstname.lastname@example.org (Ottawa Humane Society) -- Tue, 02 May 2017 14:38:00 +0000
Thank you volunteers. Thank you Helen.
Hellen Keller Helen Keller (1880–1968) was an American author, political activist
and humanitarian. She was the first deaf-blind
person to earn a bachelor of arts degree. Her story was shared through her autobiography and the stage play and movie based on it. She is an idol to many deaf people in the world and considered among the greatest people of the 20th century to many others, including me.
This Volunteer Appreciation Week, I want to share her words in tribute to the close to 800 volunteers who give their time to the animals and to our community at the Ottawa Humane Society:
"I am only one, but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do." Thank you OHS volunteers. And thank you Helen.
email@example.com (Ottawa Humane Society) -- Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:24:00 +0000