December 1, 2023

Ottawa’s Underground Network for the Animals

It’s actually not underground at all, but with how few people know, it may as well be top secret and confidential.

Let me fill you in. Animal welfare organizations, like the OHS, work together. These partnerships don’t all look the same, but they all have the same goal: doing more for animals in need.

A great example is our Partner Support program — piloted during the pandemic when the future was uncertain and each day brought new challenges and hurdles. We provide grants to our partners who help animals we aren’t equipped to care for. Farm animals, wildlife, wild birds and more — the program has supported more than 10,000 animals to date. These grants don’t just help provide day-to-day care, but support new and novel programs that result in more animals receiving more care.  

Through our Partner Support program, we also regularly host sterilization clinics that have provided close to 300 essential spay/neuter surgeries for cats, dogs and rabbits in the care of our partners.

Three of the 17 kittens the OHS took in from a rescue in need.

Animal transfer is a huge part of these partnerships as well. Different animal welfare organizations have different strengths and are better equipped to provide for different animals. For instance, we recently took in 17 kittens from a rescue in need. We have the capacity to provide for these animals, a veterinary team to get them health checked, sterilized, vaccinated and ready for adoption, and a robust, connected adoption program to find them perfect forever homes — and fast.

We also transfer animals to our partners to help even more animals in need. Haven, a one-year-old grey tabby, came to us with a mass in her chest. We suspected that the mass was benign, but she would need to be monitored for a few months to know for sure. With such a long stay, we decided her best route was with a partner who specialized in foster-based rescue. By working together, Haven found a foster spot with our partner, concerns with her mass were ruled out, and she found her forever family shortly after!

I’m not exaggerating when I say it takes a village to care for animals in need and build a more humane and compassionate community. Working together with our partners and our caring community, we can be there for more animals in need.  

Ottawa’s full of people who care, and it’s something everyone needs to know.

Heather Hunter
Director: Outreach and Community Services