Our Mission: To help as many animals as we can

Holiday Hazards + Your Pet

Holiday Hazards

Have a Hazard Free Holiday!

Happy Holidays all of you awesome CHS supporters! We hope you are enjoying the lead up to the festive season (and the unseasonably nice weather we’ve been having!).

We love the holiday season at the shelter! During the festive season we see a flood of generosity and kindness that would warm even the coldest of hearts (I’m lookin’ at you, Gary VanMeowski) and we also LOVE seeing our awesome adoptable friends find a new home for the holidays. Every so often we’ll even get a Christmas card from a former adoptee – a definite bright point for the season!

While the holidays is a great time to celebrate the love our pets bring to our lives, this time of year can also be hazardous to our furry friends. Today on the blog we bring you some tips to ensure a healthy and happy holiday season!

Holiday Hazards

The Food Continue reading…

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Twas the week before Stuff a Pooch Pad…

Stuff a Pooch Pad 2014-w

Twas two weeks before Christmas and all through CHS
The kitties were tidy… The puppies? A MESS!
The bunnies were nibbling on lettuce and hay
While the birds in the flight deck flapped and twittered away

The hammies were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of yogurt treats danced in their heads      
The adoptions staff closed up the place for the night
Making sure each sweet pet was tucked in safe and right

When up from the office arose such a clatter
Gary the cat was as mad as a hatter
“Stuff a POOCH PAD?!” he cried as he stomped past the vents
He was sure those darn dogs would steal all of the presents

 Past all the cubicles he flew like a flash
He hacked the computers and looked through the cache
Gary searched through the Facebook and read all the emails
He dug through the photos and tried to find details

“The cats deserve gifties” Gary thought from his palace
Then he got an idea just dripping with malice.
“I’ll steal all the presents from those mean greedy hounds”
“I’ll hide them all somewhere, those gifts I’ll impound!”

 Gary cackled and purred as he plotted his plot
He imagined the dogs waking up all distraught
“The kitties!” he thought “Will be merry indeed!”
“But to make this all happen I must act with speed”

He snuck through the hallways and gathered some bags
But when he got to the door, his plan hit some snags
“LOCKED!” Gary grumbled as he rattled the handle
He wished that the door could be struck by a vandal

But Gary was always a determined cat
No locked door would stop him, and that would be that
He looked round the office with determined intent
And that is when Gary remembered the vents

He unscrewed the screws and pulled back the cover
And crept through the duct work to remain undiscovered
He snuck past admissions and through the vet clinic
“Bah Humbug to holidays!” thought Gary the cynic

Gary trekked through the ducts leaving fur in his wake
He kept up the speed – no time for a break
He ran through each tunnel and kept up his shedding
He jogged with no clue as to where he was treading

At last Gary reached his goal destination
Then crashed through the screen that provided filtration
He ran through adoptions, his face filled with glee
“I’ll get gifts for all felines… especially ME!”

Gary peered in the pooch pads to find all the gifts
He looked and he scrambled… he jumped, scratched and sniffed!
He snuck round the corners and stared down the halls
He inspected each doorway and even the walls.

When finally he found it, the room filled with loot!
“AH HA!” cried the cat “It was worth the commute!
Gary leapt for the handle and swung open the door
And was astonished to find he could not see the floor!

There were boxes of goodies, too much to behold
There were bags full of food, and treats wrapped in gold
There were stuffies and catnip and big fluffy beds
Gary could not imagine such a bountiful spread

There was plenty enough for pets all to share
Gary flopped on a soft poofy bed like a chair
He thought of the pooches, tucked in safe and warm
And that was enough to make Gary reform

“There are gifties for all here” Gary thought as he sat
“There are gifties for bunnies, birds, doggies and cats”
“But who gave these gifties? Who brought us so much?”
“They deserve lots of thank mews and smooches and such”

Gary sat and he wondered, he thought and he pondered
Then he got up and wondered and thought while he wandered
He walked past the bunnies who quietly slept
He walked past the tanks where the turtles were kept

He crept through adoptions and eyed all the cats
He checked out the fittings for each feline flat
Each kitty had bedding and lots of fun toys
And each flat was themed for a girl or a boy

Gary slunk to the presents with feelings of shame
Now his plot to steal gifties just seemed rather lame
There were plenty of presents, each shiny and new
A flood of new gifties from a generous crew

As he headed back home he thought of the stuff
As he coated the ducts in a pound of his fluff
Safely back in his office, Gary could not believe
That he ever could possibly be so naïve

Gary drafted a letter to send to reporters
To say thank you to all of our awesome supporters
You make CHS a place special to be
And thanks to you there’ll be gifts under the tree

So as we head into Christmas, a great festive season
We have to point out that you guys are the reason
We can house every critter, the old and the new
And for that we must give you a big huge THANK YOU!!!!!

So to all our supporters, the big and the small
THANK YOU for this wonderful holiday haul
But more than that THANK YOU for all that you do
Without you we could not do this, that is true.


From all of us at Calgary Humane Society (including Gary) to all of you, our awesome supporters, THANK YOU for another amazing year of our “Stuff a Pooch Pad” campaign. We are not even at the finish line yet and we are already amazed at how generous everyone has been! Thank you for making the holiday season brighter for all of the pets that are still waiting at CHS for their “purr-fect” family.

We are still accepting donations for our Stuff a Pooch Pad campaign! If you would like to drop off donations or check out the amazing pile of goodies that has been delivered so far, come and visit us at the shelter! We can’t wait to see you!

P.S. If you were wondering why we had to clean the ducts this week… wellll…. We hope this answers it for you!

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Caring for your senior pet: Mobility edition

Mobility edition

Hello CHS Supporters!

We hope you have enjoyed senior pet month on the blog. This week, we are wrapping up our celebration of old souls with the final edition of caring for your senior pet… the mobility edition!

Older pets can often suffer from mobility issues as they get older. Just like older humans, many older pets will develop some arthritis or degenerative joint issues as they age. These changes may be so mild you do not even notice in day-to-day life or so severe that they greatly impact quality of life. If hip dysplasia is a problem for your pet it is especially important to monitor the condition as your pet ages – many pets with hip dysplasia will develop osteoarthritis in later years.

So, what should you do if your senior pet is having mobility problems?

First… To The Vet! Continue reading…

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Caring for a senior pet: Hearing Impaired Edition

Hearing Impaired

Good morning everyone!

Last week we brought you some tips on caring for a pet experiencing vision loss. Today, we’re continuing our little senior pet month series by moving to another important sense for pets: sound.

There are a wide number of reasons why a pet might become deaf and while some have to do with age, many do not. Pets can be deaf from birth due to a physical abnormality or genetic issue (in some breeds certain white coat genes are linked to deafness) while younger pets can develop hearing loss in response to ear infections, certain viruses (like canine distemper), waxy build up or trauma.

For senior pets, some of the most common types of hearing loss seen are the result of changes to the nervous system or physical structures of the ear, exposure to medication or chronic ear infections. Like humans, as animals age they experience age-related changes in their bodies. Age-related hearing loss is also referred to as presbycusis and will normally affect both ears. These age-related hearing changes are normally the result of changes to the auditory nerve (the nerve that carries signals from the ear to the brain), the loss of the tiny hair cells that move in the ear as your hear (stereocilia) or a change in the function of either the inner ear bones or the eardrum.

In addition to these age-related changes, senior pets may also experience hearing loss due to medications. Certain types of chemotherapy, antibiotics and diuretic drugs have been known to cause hearing loss. It is important to note, however, that is your veterinarian is prescribing a medication that may cause hearing loss it would normally be in response to a far more serious condition and you should not stop giving your pet the medication without first speaking with your vet. Another common reason for hearing loss in senior pets can be an obstruction (blockage) in the ear canal. This could be the result of scar tissue from chronic ear infections or it may be caused by a build-up of wax and fur in the ear canal. All cases of suspected hearing loss should be seen by your vet as early as possible so your vet can examine your pet and determine what, if any, treatment is needed.

So what do you do if your cherished friend loses their hearing with age? Here are a few tips…

Make sure others know your pet cannot hear. Alert and remind all visitors to the house, especially children, that your pet cannot hear and ask them to avoid approaching your pet from behind or bothering your pet while they are sleeping.

Stomp. Yes, seriously. Stomp. We mentioned above to ask guests not to approach your deaf pet while it is sleeping, but this is not always realistic. You may need to approach your hearing-impaired pet while it is sleeping or when it is not looking at you. Stomping your feet to create vibrations in the floor is sometimes enough to get your pet’s attention and alert them that someone is approaching. Keep in mind that this will not work on concrete floors (you’ll just wind up with sore feet!).

Consider a vibrating collar. Several companies have now come out with collars that will vibrate in response to a signal from a remote. If you decide to purchase one of these collars, remember that you are not using this a corrective tool but as a gentle way of alerting your pet and select the most comfortable setting for your pet. If you are unsure if a vibrating collar would be appropriate for your pet, speak with your veterinarian or a professional trainer in your area who has experience working with hearing-impaired pets. Also keep in mind, if you invest in a vibrating collar you will need to teach your pet what that vibration means!

Training required! If your pet begins to lose their hearing gradually, teaching your pet hand signals for known verbal commands can help to ease the transition. For pets that have lost their hearing suddenly, or for new skills (like responding to a vibrating collar) you may need to do some extra training with your pet. At Calgary Humane Society, our behavior team offers a behavior help line and private consultations and would be happy to suggest strategies and help you determine what additional training your pet may require.

For multiple pet homes, ensure there are escape routes. Hearing-impaired pets can feel vulnerable in multi-pet households because it is easy for other pets to ‘sneak up’ on the pet that cannot hear, either by accident or on purpose. When setting up furniture or pet items, try to avoid any areas that may cause ‘dead ends’ or blind corners (areas where there is only one entrance or exit route or areas where a pet cannot see who is coming or going). Watching your pets interact can be a helpful way to determine what areas of the house result in these unexpected sneak attacks.

There you have it! A few tips and tricks to manage pet hearing loss. Did we miss one of your favorite techniques? Do you have a story of a hearing-impaired pet to share? Connect with our community by posting a comment below or sharing your comments on our Facebook! We would love to know what you think! Is there a topic you would like to see covered during senior pet month? Let us know by sharing a comment or emailing community@calgaryhumane.ca.

Until next time, CHS supporters! Happy Senior Pet Month!

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We Heart Grey Muzzles!

grey muzzles

Good morning CHS Supporters! We hope you having a great week so far! As winter begins and you and your dog enjoy cooler walks, don’t forget to stay safe and bundle up! Also, a reminder to all of you that the use of ice melt products is back in full swing and these products can cause burns to unprotected paws, so keep an eye out to prevent Fido or Fluffy from walking on it!

Today on the blog, we’re tackling the cutest of senior pet subjects….

Grey muzzles!

Ohhhh yeahhhhh. We’re going there today. Continue reading…

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Caring for a senior pet: Blind Animal Edition

Caring for a senior pet Blind Animal Edition

Happy Friday CHS Supporters!

We hope you are enjoying senior pet month so far. All month long we’ll be bringing you the latest and greatest tips, tricks and information about elderly animals.

Today we start a new series that will give you the ins and outs of caring for your senior pet. If you caught Global noon hour last Friday, you likely saw our community outreach manager talking about owning blind dogs. We thought it would be a great topic to continue here on the blog!

Just like aging humans, elderly dogs will often experience a natural decline in their vision as they grow older. In addition to this natural decline in eyesight a senior animal may also experience an illness or eye disorder that leads to blindness. Depending on the cause of the vision loss, a blind animal may sometimes be able to see light, shadows and/or some movement or they may have absolutely no vision at all.

Again, depending on cause, vision loss may occur suddenly or gradually over many years. Continue reading…

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10 awesome reasons to adopt a senior pet!

Senior Pets

Holy cow, CHS Supporters! It’s NOVEMBER! That means it’s senior pet month! Where did the year go?!

We hope you are enjoying senior pet month so far… today we have a short, but important, blog to share with you, especially if you have ever considered adding a senior pet to your home…

10 awesome reasons to adopt a senior pet!

10. They enjoy the little things in life – looking for a friend to stop and smell the roses with you? A senior pet is a great choice! These distinguished elders are often ready to take life at a slower pace and appreciate the joy of spending a few quiet moments with those that they love.

9. Size is never a surprise – Each and every year at Calgary Humane Society animals are surrendered because they become too large. If you are looking for a pet of a specific size, or if you live in a condo with size restrictions on pets, adopting an older pet guarantees that they will never out-grow the size limitations.

8. No “terrible toddlerhoods” or “teenagehoods” – Senior animals have already outgrown their “terrible toddlerhood” that many puppies and kittens experience. This stage is important because it teaches a young animal about testing limits and what behavior is expected of them, but it can be a very frustrating time for the owner. For many older animals, this rebellious stage is a thing of the past and has been given up in favour of more relaxing activities – like naps and enjoying the sun!

7. Many senior animals still have lots of pep in their step – While senior animals may have a lower level of activity overall, they often still have lots of energy for family activities. Walks, picnics, time at the park and games in the backyard are all great ways to enjoy time with a senior family pet.

6. Senior pets have a lot of love to give – One of the things we hear often in the shelter is that shelter pets ‘appreciate’ their homes in a unique way because they know what it’s like to not have a home. This goes double for senior pets. Senior pets have life experience and are not shy about sharing all the love they have stored up over their lifetime!

5. They encourage you to think outside the box! Anyone who has owned a senior pet with a mobility challenge has likely had to think outside the box. Adapting games, activities and equipment (like litter boxes and beds) to suit a senior pet can be an interesting exercise in empathy and understanding. Challenge yourself to ‘take a walk in their paws’ and put your creative thinking hat on. This will not only challenge your brain, it will enrich your relationship with your cherished senior.

4. Grey is the new black – Seriously, grey is totally on trend this season, and who doesn’t love a little salt and pepper muzzle now and again?

3. They are older and wiser – Senior pets have often already learned that table legs and expensive shoes are not for chewing. Without the drive to “go go go” like a puppy or kitten you may just notice your senior pet is more thoughtful and purposeful in their activities and more discerning about the mischief they get into.

2. Personality? They’ve got it! One of the most common questions that adoptions gets at Calgary Humane Society has to do with the personality of the animal someone is considering. When it comes to puppies and kittens, that can be a very hard thing to guess. Senior pets? They’ve got personality and they are not afraid to show it! These experienced members of the species are not afraid to be themselves, so if you are looking for a specific personality fit for your household, a senior pet could be a great choice.

1. Senior pets deserve a great retirement. Did you know that senior pets are given a full work-up, including blood and urine tests prior to going up for adoption? At CHS, we do everything we can to ensure that the senior pets we adopt out have a head start on a healthy and happy retirement. We get a lot of amazing adopters that want to give a senior pet a home but are worried about the shorter amount of time they make get with their new pet. Remember though, time is about quality, not quantity, and a pet’s golden years can be an amazing time. These pets have often lived lives with incredible stories of both heartbreak and happiness… now they are looking to spend their twilight years basking in the glow of a loving family. Personally? I can’t think of a greater gift to give.

Do you have another great reason to adopt a senior pet? Do you have a great senior pet adoption story to share? Is there a topic you’d love to see covered this senior pet month? Connect with us on Facebook or post your comments below! Your senior pet story could be shared in a future blog entry!!!

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The good, the bad and the dangerous: Comfort toy edition!

comfort toys

Happy Friday CHS Supporters!

We hope you are getting geared up to enjoy the weekend! Do you have plans for Halloween yet? If not, be sure to check out our Hoppy Meowlloween adoption event! Cats over 7 months and rabbits of all ages will be available for a special reduced adoption fee of $31. Plus, if you wear your super cool Halloween costume while you are adopting, you get a free gift bag for your new pet.

Speaking of Halloween, that is coming up pretty quickly! If there is a topic you would like to see covered on the blog (safety for pet costumes, will CHS adopt out animals on Halloween etc.) then please let us know what topics you are interested in by posting below this entry or leaving a comment on Facebook.

Now that the housekeeping items are covered, it’s time to get down to business! The second installment of Dog Toys: The good, the bad and the dangerous is here and it is time for the Comfort Toy edition! If you missed last week’s “Fetch” edition you can find it here. Continue reading…

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Cocktails for Critters is almost here!

Good morning CHS Supporters!

Remember a few months ago when we announced Chloe would be the proud Spokescat for our Cocktails for Critters event? Well, in honour of adopt a dog month, Chloe has recruited a canine representative to tell you a little bit more…


Hi there!

I’m Storm, and my friend Chloe asked me to tell my story…

It’s an interesting story, a dog and a cat becoming friends… but what can I say, I’m a progressive thinker. Plus, we both have a lot in common. For one, we’ve both heard all the excuses…

I shouldn’t get involved…

I don’t know who to call…

It’s just business… Continue reading…

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Dog Toys: The Good, the Bad and the Dangerous? Fetch edition!

go fetchGood morning CHS supporters!


We hope you have all been enjoying the lovely fall weather. Now is the perfect time to enjoy the sun with Fido before the Weather Event That Shall Not Be Named arrives and puts a damper on outdoor fun.


Today on the blog, we’re talking dog toys, the good, the bad and the dangerous. Because whether you use them inside or outside we know you probably have lots of them!


Dogs need to be both mentally and physically active to be healthy. While the amount of physical activity your dog needs may vary by breed, size, age and health, all dogs still require something to fill their time and provide amusement. A variety of dog toys can be the perfect thing to keep brains and paws busy.


Throughout dog month, we are going to bring you a couple of installments on the good, the bad and the dangerous of dog toys! Today? It’s the Fetch Edition! Continue reading…

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