April 8, 2021

Gratitude to Overcome Despair

It’s more than a bit depressing that we have marked two celebrations — Easter and Passover — twice now under COVID restrictions. Even though better times appear to be on the horizon, the sheer length of the pandemic has been stressful and wearying for everyone. Like many difficult times, I have relied on gratitude to keep going and not succumb to depression and despair.

Our team is deeply committed to animals and to serving our community. Moreover, they are committed to health and safety for themselves and everyone. Infection control has been a part of our work long before COVID. We have not had an outbreak at the OHS and we have maintained core services throughout. Our staff have adapted and changed on a dime. Staff even created new programs on the fly: an emergency pet foodbank and a partner support program for other animal groups that were struggling in the pandemic.

I am grateful for our staff.

At the outset of the pandemic, we needed to reduce the numbers of animals in the shelter to only those that needed hands-on medical or behavioural care daily to allow us to maintain staffing levels at safe numbers. Our foster volunteers came through hugely and we managed to get over half the animals in the shelter into foster homes. Sadly, we had to suspend our on-site volunteers, but we know most are anxiously awaiting their return to the OHS.

I am grateful for our volunteers.

I hear about charities facing service cuts, others on the edge of folding. I was worried for the OHS and the animals, but those fears weren’t realized. OHS donors are a special breed. Those that could stepped up, knowing that the animals needed them more than ever. 

I am grateful for our donors.

I am looking forward to restarting the fantastic programs that were put on hold because of the health crisis. Amazing work has gone into developing and delivering the innovative life-saving and life-changing initiatives at the OHS. Planning of that work continues so that when we can fully reopen, we will be ready to launch and relaunch. The OHS is a very special place and I am honoured to be a part of it.

I am grateful to work for the OHS.

None of this is to say that we haven’t faced tremendous challenges over the past 13 months. We have. We have changed almost everything we do to one degree or another. We have faced fear and anxiety, demanding jobs and a community in crisis. Everything has been upended. At various times over the year, it’s been scary, tedious, sad, maddening and a host of other feelings, sometimes all at the same time.

But still, I am grateful.

Bruce Roney President & CEO