January 5, 2024

Five New Year’s Resolutions that Will Change Your Pet’s Life

A new year is here, and I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to an excellent year for Ottawa and our community’s animals. I understand I might be somewhat alone in my optimism. Between the worries of pet owners who are concerned that finances may drive them and their pets apart, Ontario struggling to provide effective protections against animal cruelty and neglect, and surges of pets in need arriving at the OHS, it’s easy to be apprehensive about what’s to come in 2024.

The challenges facing our community and our pets are clear, but what’s also clear is that Ottawa is a community that cares deeply about animals, and is prepared to step up in a big way.

When the OHS was bursting with bunnies in the summer (we still have a lot, please adopt a rabbit if you can!) adopters opened their hearts and homes and close to 30 rabbits were adopted in just a few weeks — significantly easing a crisis. When we reached out to the community to learn more about how the OHS can best help pets and loving families, more than 3,000 people responded and provided valuable insight into what needs to be done. OHS camps, training classes, family events at our adoption centre, and more have people who care about animals coming in droves to show their support and invest in building an even more humane and compassionate community.

There’s a lot to be grateful about from 2023 and a lot to be hopeful for in 2024 — here are some resolutions for you and your pet that will make 2024 a year of progress, care and love.

Give your pet the enrichment they need.

We sometimes sweep playtime and stimulating our pets’ minds under the rug. And that enrichment plays a big role in keeping them healthy. Regular play with a cat wand, taking your dog out for fetch, and socializing with your rabbit are just as important as a full bowl of food.

Start saving for a pet emergency now.

An unexpected visit to the veterinarian sometimes forces families to give up their beloved pet. Pet insurance is a great option, but you could also open an account to put aside some money for a pet emergency on a monthly basis. A small regular contribution over time will go a long way and could make all the difference when disaster strikes. The OHS sees far too many animals surrendered by owners who were overwhelmed by the cost of pet care.

Give your pet a collar, tag and microchip.

These three items help a lost pet return home as soon as possible. It can be tempting to remove your pet’s collar when they’re at home, but if they slip out the door, getting them home becomes much harder. You can even get your pet microchipped at the OHS!

Learn about your pet’s behaviour and what they think about your behaviour.

One of the reasons a family may feel they are no longer able to take care of their pet is because of a challenging behaviour. We know that the way an animal acts can make it difficult to find a home. Our intervention services team plays a huge role in supporting pets’ behaviours and helping to prepare them for their forever home. Signing up for training or a webinar at the OHS is an excellent way to get started on better understanding your pet and building a great bond.

Stay updated on animal welfare issues.

Interest in animal welfare is heating up at all levels of government, and this is thanks to the persistence of people who care. The OHS publishes a regular newsletter exploring successes, setbacks, and developments in protecting animals everywhere. Signing up to receive the newsletter is an easy way to stay informed and stand up for the animals who need you most.

I’m certain 2024 is going to be a great year for Ottawa and the animals. With the support of caring people like you, there is no limit to what we can do to build an even more humane and compassionate community. Thank you for everything you do, as we work towards this.

Sharon Miko

President & CEO