May 26, 2022

OHS in the Dark

Tree downed in outdoor dog run
A tree fell in the OHS outdoor dog run, smashing the fence and making the space unusable.

Saturday’s storm knocked out power to the OHS — toppling trees on our property, causing some damage and making our outdoor dog run unusable. We are still in the dark and have had to cancel most of our programs for the week. Adoptions continue, but at a slower pace.

Fortunately, disaster preparedness is often front of mind for us. We are always asking how will we be there for the animals if _____ happens, and our extended loss of power during the tornados taught us a lot.

When the power goes out for an extended length of time, we have a backup generator to keep us from being completely in the dark and to keep our most essential operations up and running.

We are still able to admit animals who immediately need our help. These are the stray animals who are sick or injured, the animals whose owners cannot afford life-saving treatment and dogs running at large.

In our critical care unit, you could almost be convinced that the power never went out. The lights are on to help our team care for the animals safely and the beep and drip of life-saving IVs carry on as always.

Staff work on the mobile spay/neuter vehicle to stay caught up on spay/neuter surgeries.

Until today, looking in our surgery room told a different story. We’ve since made some changes and contacted an emergency electrician to restore power to the surgery room, but before that, the room stood dark, quiet and empty. The technology we use to perform surgeries required more power than our generator was able to provide, but our team is resourceful. Rather than falling behind on spay/neuter surgeries for Ottawa’s animals, our team made arrangements to perform the surgeries on our mobile spay/neuter vehicle that runs on its own power supply. This helped keep us on track and will make it a lot easier to get caught up when power is fully restored.

Our animal care team has also tirelessly continued their work, strapping on headlamps and using other alternative light sources to make sure Ottawa’s homeless animals receive the daily care they need.

To help the community during this time, we’ve also invested in ensuring our pet food bank runs as planned this week — we know a lot of people may be struggling with their grocery bill as food spoils in powered down refrigerators.

There is no question, Saturday’s storm was a disaster. Lives were lost, homes were damaged, and many are still far from completely recovering. Despite all of this, I find solace at the Ottawa Humane Society. Our community, our staff, and our volunteers have all gone above and beyond to ensure the animals are cared for during this tragedy.

And for that, I am grateful.

Bruce Roney
President & CEO

P.S. Please help animals recover while our city recovers.