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Seven year old Mika was one of the animals up for adoption at the Ottawa Humane Society. [Photo © Jordan Haworth]

The Gift of Life: Pets and the holiday season

Every year the number of cats in care at the Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) often declines as temperatures drop.

Recently there were about 50 cats at the shelter. This is about one 10th the number the shelter had in their care over the summer.

Faline is a little older than one. She was in her own glass room that is inaccessible to the public without permission from the shelter’s staff. [Photo © Ananya Vaghela]

“Times have changed and for many families, the time to adopt is at the holidays as they may be home more to help the animal settle into their new environment,” said Lori Marcantonio, a spokesperson for the OHS.

This does not mean it is in the best interest for the long-term care of the animal, which the OHS prioritizes. They can and will reject an application for adoption if they don’t think the home is suitable.

Faline was camera shy and the OHS described her personality type as “Poet.” Cats like Faline are often adopted quickly. The demand for young cats is often high. There are usually more cats available than other pets. 
[Photo © Ananya Vaghela]

Similarly, even though the sentiment of giving an adorable furry friend to a loved one may seem like a good idea, some animal rights organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and The Dodo go as far to say it is cruel to do so. 

Denis St-Jean, a long-time dog owner, browses through the dogs up for adoption at the OHS. He adopted his last dog, a 10-year-old Cockapoo named Elliot, from the shelter and is hoping to find the next furry member of his ever-growing family here too. [Photo © Ananya Vaghela]
Nine year old Captain has some behavioural issues. Many animals in care have special needs, including dietary restrictions, allergies and daily medications. Dogs like Captain are a large undertaking for any family and adoptees need to reconcile with this before taking the plunge. [Photo © Jordan Haworth]
 Max seems to be the perfect match for St-Jean. Despite the timeliness of his adoption, St-Jean is strongly opposed to giving animals as gifts. [Photo © Jordan Haworth]

“It’s an adoption. You cannot just say ‘okay, here’s this dog, have fun’,” said St-Jean.

All animals and their owners must be registered with the City of Ottawa. [Photo © Ananya Vaghela]
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