If you are unable to find the answer to your question, please send us an email at info@ottawahumane.ca.


What are your adoption hours?

Our adoption hours are:
Monday to Friday – Noon – 8 p.m.
Saturday – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday – 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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Where are you located?

We are located at 245 West Hunt Club Rd. We’re across the street from the Lowe’s. Just turn at the lights between the Lexus and Audi dealerships on West Hunt Club Road.

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How much does it cost to adopt a pet?

The adoption fees are as follows:

Adoption Deposits
Animal Price
Cat or Dog $25
Small Animal less than $20 $10
Small Animal greater than $20 $20
Cats & Dogs
Animal Price
Adoption Deposit $25
Adult Dog (6 months +) $340
Puppy (under 6 months) $415
Small Dogs (under 15kg) $415
Adult Cat (6 months +) $195
Kittens (under 6 months) $275
*Excluding minor dental conditions
Small Animals
Animal Price
Gerbil, Hamster, Mouse, Degu, Rat $15
Dove, Budgie, Finch, Canary, Guinea Pig $25
Lovebird, Cockatiel, Chinchilla  $50
Rabbit, Small Parrot $100


Please note: all dogs and cats must be registered with the City of Ottawa. You will be required to purchase a pet registration tag at the time of adoption. For more information about the City of Ottawa’s pet registration, please visit their website.

For cats and dogs: These costs include a health check, initial deworming and vaccination, and permanent microchip identification. The adoption fee also includes 30 days of pet insurance coverage through Petplan.

All dogs are temperament assessed prior to being placed for adoption.

All small mammals are health checked prior to being placed for adoption. Second hand cages are available for small mammals at reasonable rates.

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Why does it cost so much to adopt?

We are often asked why we don’t give away free dogs, free cats, free rabbits, and other free companion animals. At first this may seem like a great idea: free pets means more families will be able to afford a homeless animal.

However, having a pet costs money. A free kitten from a friend of a friend is hard to resist. However, that kitten needs to be health checked by your veterinarian, dewormed, vaccinated, and spayed. A free puppy from the newspaper needs the same. How much are you really saving?

Below we have compared the market price of common needs of a new pet, versus what is included in the dog and cat adoption fees at the OHS. We think you’ll agree that adopting a pet from the OHS offers great savings!

Routine Procedures prior to Adoption Average Market Cost for the Procedures OHS Adoption Price
Dogs receive a temperament assessment prior to being placed for adoption. This translates into much needed information about the dog in order to make the best possible match between the potential adopter and the canine, for a successful and permanent placement. $57.00 Included
Health Checking: all animals receive a routine health check by our Veterinary technical staff prior to adoption. A Veterinarian will examine all animals requiring a diagnosis or prescription. $50.00 Included
All animals receive initial medication for the most common internal parasites. When an animal is suspected of having other parasites, a stool sample is taken, examined under the microscope and if positive, the veterinarian sees the animal and prescribes medication. $35.00 Included
Ear mites are common in cats; the ears are swabbed and then examined under the microscope. If the swab is positive for ear mites, the ears will be cleaned and the animal will be treated. $45.00 Included
All cats are routinely treated for fleas; dogs are treated if they have fleas. $9.00 Included
The OHS receives all animals, whether healthy, sick or incubating a disease. Therefore, we often have cases of Upper Respiratory Infection (a common yet very contagious cat cold). These animals must then be placed through our foster program for 2-3 weeks, often with medication and a prescription diet.
*46% of all cats placed for adoption have received foster care.
$47.50 Included
The first vaccination is given and if the animal is within our system for any extended period of time, they will receive a booster (2nd vaccination). $27.50 Included
One-year rabies vaccine. $98.50 Included
All animals are implanted with a microchip (a permanent form of identification) prior to being adopted. $60.00 Included
Most cats and dogs adopted from the OHS have already been sterilized. Average canine sterilization cost at a vet clinic: $350.00
Average feline sterilization cost at a vet clinic: $250.00
All adopters are automatically enrolled with Petplan Insurance for 30 days of coverage, effective at 12:01 the day following the adoption. Avg. $45.00 Included
Our health guarantee ensures that you can call or email us immediately if there is a problem. Contact kennelsupervisor@ottawahumane.ca or 613-725-3166 ext. 229; after hours call 613-725-1532 for emergencies. Does your free animal come with a health guarantee? Included
Our adoption fee is the best deal around! Total Average Market Cost for a “Free” Animal:
Dogs: $726.00
Cats: $626.00
OHS Adoption Price:
$340 dogs
$415 puppies
$195 cats
$275 kittens

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How many pets do you adopt?

Every day animals at the Ottawa Humane Society find new homes. Each year the Society finds homes for more than 4,000 cats, dogs and small domestic pets. We are proud of our efforts and are committed to placing 100 per cent of adoptable animals into new, loving homes.

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Where do your animals come from?

Lost or stray animals and pets surrendered by their owners make up the majority of the animals received at the OHS. If you have lost or found an animal, please visit the Lost and Found section of our website for more information and instruction.

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What's the adoption process like?

As your local humane society, we have a responsibility to place animals in suitable environments that will promote loving bonds between adopters and their pets. Through our adoption process, we will help you find the right pet for you, the one that fulfills your expectations, and suits your lifestyle. An adoption counsellor will guide you to ensure that the adoption experience will prove positive for both you and your new companion animal. The long-term well-being of the animals in our care is our main concern; therefore, not all adoption requests may be successful.

As part of the process potential adopters are asked to complete a questionnaire. This questionnaire will supply the adoption counsellor with information about you, your lifestyle, and the type of pet you are looking for.

The adoption agreement you sign when you adopt an animal will clearly explain your obligations and responsibilities when you adopt an animal from us.

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What do I need to bring with me to complete an adoption?

For all adoptions, you will need to provide a piece of photo identification for yourself with your current address. If you have recently moved, a piece of photo identification along with a utility bill, your lease or a bank statement will suffice.

Consent must be obtained from all adults in the home. It is strongly recommended that all adults meet the animal to avoid any possible returns of the animal. Consent may be obtained over the phone, via e-mail or text message.

Where roommates are involved, it must be clear who the actual adopter is (that is, who will ultimately be responsible for the animal’s care).

Dogs and cats must go home wearing a proper collar. If you do not bring a collar with you at the time of adoption, you may purchase one at the OHS.

Cats, small animals and birds must go home in an appropriate carrier. If you do not bring one with you at the time of adoption, you may purchase one at the OHS.

** Dogs need to also have a leash. All of these items can be purchased at the shelter with all proceeds going back to the animals.

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How do you decide who is adoptable?

Our goal is to place 100 per cent of the pets received at our shelter. This can be quite a challenge because we accept all companion animals brought to us regardless of their health or behaviour. Animals placed for adoption need to be in good health and must be able to adapt to the shelter environment. Pets with a history of aggression or that show signs that they are likely to be dangerous in a variety of settings are generally not suitable for our adoption program.

Animals that do not adjust to the shelter environment for whatever reason, are typically highly stressed, much more susceptible to becoming ill and more likely to demonstrate aggressive behaviour. Sadly, this often makes them unadoptable. While our team of animal health professionals ensure every medical option within our resources is explored in order to save an ill or injured animal, we also believe that it is not humane to keep an animal in a state of physical or emotional suffering when its prognosis is poor.

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How long do you keep animals?

We keep all healthy, adoptable animals as long as it takes to find them a new home. For some animals this can mean living at the shelter for six weeks or more until the right home is available. The length of stay for animals varies. No animal is ever euthanized due to lack of space or because the animal has simply been here too long.

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Do you ever get purebred dogs or cats?

We do! If you are interested in a specific breed or type of pet, view the Profiles of Dogs and Profiles of Cats currently available for adoption. You may also contact the Adoption Centre to sign up for our Pet Request Program.


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What if I'm looking for a specific type of pet?

If you’ve visited our website or Adoption Centre but haven’t found just the right pet for you, we may be able to help you through our Pet Request Program.

The Pet Request Program works like this:

  • You complete a cat, dog or small animal questionnaire at the OHS Adoption Centre. The questionnaire helps us to understand the characteristics of the ideal pet for you by asking you about your pet-ownership experience, your family and your lifestyle.
  • We keep the questionnaire on file for one month, during which time we will try to find a match for you as animals become available for adoption. Note that our request program operates under a best effort policy — we do not always have time to go through all requests prior to making an animal available for general adoption in our Adoption Centre.
  • If we find a match for you, we will call and tell you about the animal we have found. In the best interest of the animal, we cannot hold an animal for you if we cannot reach you directly but may contact another potential adopter and/or make the animal available for general adoption.
  • Because the request program is a best effort program, please keep checking our website and visit our Adoption Centre when you can. You may find an animal that does not match the profile you provided but which may prove to be the right pet for you! Let us know if you see an animal that interests you by calling 613-725-3166 ext. 258. We will review the match with your questionnaire and talk to you about next steps.
  • If you have not heard from us toward the end of the one-month request period, you may contact us to renew your request.
  • If you have found a match from another source, please let us know so that we can stop searching for a match for you.

In the interest of both our animals and our community, we reserve the right to select the most appropriate match. 

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Do you require spaying or neutering of adopted cats and dogs?

Yes! We are committed to ending pet over-population and consider spaying and neutering one solution to this tragic problem. The OHS in-house veterinary clinic’s main goal is to spay or neuter all shelter cats and dogs prior to putting them up for adoption.

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Do you adopt out animals with special needs?

We do! Just like their human companions, our animal friends may have health or behavioural challenges that may need a little extra TLC. And, just like you and me, these unique characteristics shouldn’t stop these pets from living a happy life surrounded by the love of a forever family.

Could a pet with special needs be right for you?

You may be a perfect match to provide a bright future to a wonderful new companion. You may be surprised to learn about some of the needs that make these pets special:

  • Animals with food allergies may simply need a prescription diet that may cost a little more than a standard diet.
  • Behaviour issues may just mean that an owner will need more time for training.
  • Senior pets may simply need more regular trips to the veterinarian to help keep them healthy, and they may not have the same activity level a young animal would.
  • Some animals have chronic but manageable health conditions that require them to be on medication to stay healthy, either on an ongoing basis, or when their condition flares up. Examples include chronic ear or eye infections, or some skin conditions.
  • Occasionally, animals have resolvable medical issues that require intervention that the OHS has not been able to provide.

Contact us to discuss the special needs of the animal you’re thinking of adopting. Once you know more about the animal’s needs, we encourage you to talk to your veterinarian about what those needs mean so you can decide whether that pet is the right match for you.

While animals adopted with special needs are not eligible for the free trial pet insurance offered by Petplan for the known health condition that they have, the insurance does generally apply to other conditions. We will review this with you upon your new pet’s adoption.

Foster-Me-First Program

Occasionally, an animal may be almost ready for adoption, but is receiving treatment from a veterinarian and therefore isn’t ready for general adoption. Because these animals typically recover more quickly in a home environment, it is beneficial to get them into that environment as quickly as possible.

Under the Foster-Me-First Program, these animals may be fostered by families for the duration of treatment, then the adoption can be finalized when the animal is medically sound. These adoptions may be considered where:

The animal is otherwise ready for adoption, except for a time-limited, outstanding medical need such as:

a. The animal is on a course of antibiotics or other medication but is showing improvement
b. The animal requires a veterinary exam within a specified period of time to ensure it has completely recovered from an illness/injury

Animals with chronic health issues that cannot be resolved, or are not expected to resolve within a reasonable time frame (for example, chronic upper respiratory illness) will not be considered for the Foster-Me-First program but rather the OHS special needs adoption program.

The OHS will be responsible for veterinary costs, special food, medication, and all medical decisions while the animal is being fostered. Animals remain the property of the OHS during the foster period. Participating families are expected to bring their foster animal into the OHS clinic for any ongoing exams or treatments until it is medically cleared and the final adoption occurs.

Families who want to adopt an animal in the Foster-Me-First program must be approved to adopt the animal before the foster placement, in keeping with all adoption conditions. Final adoption occurs when the animal is medically cleared for adoption, at which point the adopter will finalize all standard adoption procedures, including payment of the full adoption fee.

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Are there laws in Ottawa about having pets?

Yes! You should be aware of the City of Ottawa’s Animal Care and Control Bylaws and your responsibilities as a pet owner. Visit the city’s website for more information.

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What if I have challenges when I bring my new pet home?

Check out our pet tips page for solutions to common problems. We also have trained personnel on staff to answer questions you may have about your new pet. They can be reached at adoptions@ottawahumane.ca or 613-725-3166 ext. 258.

As well, the OHS has numerous informational brochures and fact sheets available to provide you with resource material. Call 613-725-3166 ext. 221 or stop by the OHS for a copy.

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Services and Other

What's the difference between you and the OSPCA?

The Ontario SPCA (OSPCA) is the provincial body responsible for the administration of the Ontario SPCA Act. This act gives humane societies the authority to investigate animal cruelty. The Ottawa Humane Society is affiliated with the OSPCA. Both organizations are registered charities.

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Are you a "no-kill" animal shelter?

The term “no-kill” is a misleading term. Most no-kill shelters select the types of animals they take in, bypassing those that are ill or of poor temperament or health. In order for the OHS to be considered no-kill we would have to limit the types and numbers of animals we accept. The OHS is an open admission animal shelter that offers shelter and care to animals regardless of age, health, temperament, or space available.

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Does the OHS euthanize animals?

Yes. Sadly, euthanasia is part of the work we do. As an open admission shelter, the OHS does not turn any animal away, regardless of its health or behaviour. The OHS only euthanizes animals that are injured or ill — with no reasonable chance of recovery or whose needs are greater than our resources – or animals that are aggressive/overly dominant or have an unstable temperament, based on their history or as observed in the shelter or behaviour issues that we do not have the resources to resolve.

We do not euthanize animals because they have been here too long or solely based on space constraints. No healthy, adoptable animal is ever euthanized. Unfortunately, some animals become highly stressed in a shelter environment, which makes them more susceptible to illness and, despite aggressive veterinary treatment, unlikely to recover from such illness. The OHS will not keep an animal in a state of suffering when its prognosis is poor or when it lacks the resources to restore the animal’s health.

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What kind of food do you feed the dogs and cats at the shelter, and do you need any?

As a shelter partner, we are exclusively feeding Hill’s® Science Diet® to all the animals in our care. We do purchase special food for animals with allergies or other health issues. To donate an item and help the animals in our care, please check our Wish List.

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Can you recommend a veterinarian for me to see?

Please check the Yellow Pages or search online for veterinary clinics in your community.  Alternatively, you can visit the College of Veterinarians of Ontario website for a list of vets in your area:  http://cvo.org/Find-a-Veterinarian.aspx.

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How do I report animal neglect or cruelty?

If an animal’s life is in immediate distress as a result of cruelty or neglect, please contact the police at 911. For non-urgent calls about animal neglect or cruelty, please call the OSPCA at 310-SPCA.

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I found an animal. What should I do?

If you have found an animal, you cannot simply keep it. There may be a distraught family looking for their lost pet. You can notify us that you have found an animal by completing our online Found Animal Report or by sending us an email. As well, advertise online, in the free ‘found’ section of the newspaper, put up posters in your neighbourhood, and bring the animal to our shelter or a veterinary clinic to scan for a microchip implant. If you are unable to search for or have no luck locating the owner, please bring the animal to the Municipal Animal Shelter at the Ottawa Humane Society.

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I've lost my pet. What do I do?

If you have lost an animal, please fill in our Lost Animal Report or send us an email. Please remember that the OHS receives thousands of lost animals every year. Submitting a complete lost report will help us to quickly identify some animals. If you are able to e-mail a digital picture, this will help us further, but many animals look alike.

Visit our Lost and Found page for more information on finding your lost pet.

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Who do I call when I see a loose dog in my neighbourhood?

The City of Ottawa’s By-law Services manage stray dogs in the city. They can be reached by phone at 3-1-1.

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What do I do when I find a dead animal?

Different regulations apply to dead animals, depending on where the animal was found, and what kind of animal it is. If the animal’s owner is not known, and the animal is on public property (such as the street or in a park), contact the City of Ottawa at 3-1-1. If the animal is on private property, please phone us at 613-725-3166 ext. 221 for instructions.

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When there is the need to euthanize an animal, what happens to its remains?

The Ottawa Humane Society respects the bond people have for animals, and knows that it continues even when the pet is no longer alive. Under no circumstances do we release any animal remains to rendering plants or for medical research. The remains are respectfully buried.

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Do you sell animals for scientific experimentation?

Under no circumstances does the Ottawa Humane Society ever give an animal for research. 


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Does the OHS accept donations of used stuffed toys for your animals?

Thank you for your kind offer but unfortunately stuffed toys are not good for our animals. Dogs may rip apart and ingest the stuffing and material, leading to potential medical complications. Dogs should only play with stuffed toys under human supervision. As well, the ripped stuffing can clog our drains! If you would like to donate something to help the animals in our care, please check the Wish List.

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Carriage Horse FAQ

Carriage Horse FAQ

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Do you receive money from my taxes?

The Ottawa Humane Society is a not-for-profit organization funded through charitable donations. Although legally mandated to enforce the animal cruelty provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada, the OHS does not receive any government funding or any funding from any animal welfare group to rescue animals in distress and only receives partial funding for investigations. The OHS relies on donors like you to help perform this essential work in our community.

The OHS does operate the Municipal Animal Shelter (MAS) under a purchase of service contract with the City of Ottawa. The OHS cares for injured, lost and homeless animals that are brought to the MAS by municipal bylaw officers, the general public, or our emergency services on a break-even basis.



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What is the difference between you and other animal welfare organizations that solicit funds from me?

While some animal welfare organizations work to help all kinds of animals, what sets the OHS apart from national and international animal welfare organizations is that we operate the largest shelter in Ottawa that receives and houses animals locally. The OHS works directly with members of the community to find homes for homeless pets, help increase the value of companion animals, stop abuse and neglect, and solve training and behaviour difficulties. 

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If I make a gift to a national organization, do you receive a portion of my donation?

No. The OHS is a non-profit independent organization funded by donations for animal welfare work in Ottawa. Funding for the OHS’s services and programs is received in the form of cash donations, bequests, trusts, and fees.

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Do you accept all volunteers?

Unfortunately, not everyone can volunteer with us. We are looking for people with very specific skills. For instance, to help with data entry, volunteers must have experience with computers and have an extremely high accuracy rate. As a not-for-profit organization, we do not have the resources to offer extensive training and we rely heavily on the skills and experience of volunteers to support Ottawa’s animals. If there is not a specific role where your talents can be used, then likely you will not be a good volunteer match for the OHS, but we encourage you to assist the organization in other ways such as attending special events and donating to help the animals at the OHS.

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Do volunteers do more than one thing?

Absolutely. We have volunteers working in our offices, walking dogs, assisting with special events, supporting our outreach programs, and more. We encourage volunteers to help out in programs that they are passionate about and best suit their skill set and availability. The volunteer department will work closely with volunteers to ensure that the volunteer opportunity is a match. Visit our volunteer page to read more about our current volunteer opportunities!

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How do I become a volunteer?

We ask volunteer candidates to review the volunteer section on our website and follow the application instructions. All volunteer candidates are asked to complete the application form available on the website and return it to the OHS. Volunteers matching the requirements for OHS volunteer programming will be contacted for an interview. Following the interview, volunteers will be asked to complete a criminal record check, and are scheduled for an orientation.

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What's an orientation and how do I get one?

All volunteers must attend a volunteer orientation prior to commencing volunteer duties. Some programs also have program specific orientations  that must also be attended prior to volunteering.

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Why must I obtain a criminal record check before beginning my volunteer duties?

Volunteers play a strong role within the OHS. They are working in a variety of capacities and many include working with vulnerable populations such as children, seniors and animals. In addition, we work hard to ensure the safety of the OHS community, which includes the animals, volunteers, staff, and the Ottawa community. Criminal record checks are a measure in place to uphold this high level of safety. If volunteers are working with our children’s camp program, they are required to apply for a police records check, ensuring they are safe to work with the vulnerable sector.

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I want to try volunteering once or twice to see if I like it. Is that OK?

We ask our volunteers to make a commitment of at least one year. Due to limited resources, we do not have the ability to provide training to volunteers who are unable to commit for at least one year. While we rely heavily on the skills and experiences that volunteers bring to the organization, we also train new volunteers. As a result, the training and experience gained in an OHS volunteer role is invaluable to the organization. It is very difficult to sustain well-trained and experienced volunteers if they are leaving frequently.

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Can I complete my high school cooperative education placement at the OHS?

Unfortunately, we do not have a program established to accommodate high school cooperative education placements. Our volunteer programs require a significant amount of experience and training and we do not have the resources to offer training to students who will be leaving after a short period of volunteer work.

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My child is under 18 and wants to volunteer. Can I volunteer alongside them?

We cannot accommodate supervised parent-child volunteer placements for health and safety reasons. We do have a youth volunteer program available for youth ages 14-18, working with our camp programs. More information about these opportunities can be found here. For those under the age of 14, the OHS does have many other exciting and educational programs and services to offer, more information can be found here.

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Can I complete my high school community service hours at the OHS?

High school community service hours can be completed through our youth volunteer program. Outside of this program, we do not offer any other opportunities for students to complete their community service hours. Our general volunteer programs require a significant amount of experience and training and we do not have the resources to offer training to students who will be leaving after a short period of volunteer work.

Looking for other ways to help? We always need volunteers to hold events to help raise funds for the animals in our care.

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Is it okay to volunteer so I can adopt an animal?

An important part of volunteering at the OHS is a personal commitment to the animals. One of the forms this can take is fostering and adopting the animals in our care. While it is important to support volunteers in this, it is important to recognize that volunteering at the OHS can be emotionally overwhelming and can lead to an unrealistic urge to save every animal through an over commitment or ill-considered fostering and/or adoption commitment. It is equally important that we are accountable for our decisions and the disposition of animals. To encourage responsible adoptions, Volunteers must complete a probationary period of 6 months before adopting an animal.


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Can foster volunteers adopt their foster animals?

The foster volunteer program has two primary goals — to provide temporary care for OHS animals and to assist those animals in becoming ready for adoption. Foster volunteers are not permitted to adopt their foster animals for the following reasons:

For the fostered animal: The OHS has committed to placing all adoptable animals in a home that is the best possible home for their unique needs. The selection criteria for volunteering at the OHS are not the same as for adopting. As a result, the foster volunteer may not be the best match for the dog or cat, and in fact, frequently isn’t.

For the foster family: Being a foster volunteer can be a very emotional experience. On the whole, foster volunteers are compassionate people who can easily become attached and feel that they are the only ones who can take proper care of the animal. Not all animals improve or even survive in the foster home. Bringing the animal back after the foster period is over can evoke feelings of loss and guilt in the volunteer. Guilt and loss are not a good basis for an adoption decision. To help ease this, the OHS takes the option of adoption off the table.

For the integrity of the OHS: People visit the OHS with the expectation that they have a fair chance to adopt a suitable pet. Some will make a specific adoption request and wait for an extended period of time for the best possible match to become available. In many, if not most, cases, there is a family waiting to adopt each foster animal, a family that is a better match than the foster home, as they have been screened and matched with that particular pet.

For resource reasons: The OHS invests heavily in our volunteers, through somewhat lengthy training and on-going support. Losing a foster volunteer has an impact on the program and the number of animals we can rehabilitate. Those that foster once or twice and adopt use up resources that could be better spent on providing care for more animals. By remaining in the foster program, foster volunteers can help many more animals become healthy and adoptable.

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Annual Meeting

Is the Ottawa Humane Society’s annual general meeting open to the public?

As is standard practice for many annual meetings, the OHS annual general meeting is open only to members of the organization.

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Why does the OHS provide proxy forms for its annual general meeting?

A proxy vote allows another person to vote on a member’s behalf, with his/her permission, and the OHS provides proxy forms to all members so that those who are unable to attend the meeting in person may exercise his/her vote.

See more information on OHS membership.

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