Kitten delivery: Humane Society brings pets to forever homes for the holidays | Ottawa Citizen

Is Christmas a good time to adopt a new pet? For nearly a decade now, volunteers from the Ottawa Humane Society have answered in the affirmative through their holiday delivery program.

“Less traveling, smaller families and time off during the holiday can make this a perfect time of year to bond with a new pet,” said OHS executive director Bruce Roney.

Three Humane Society volunteers offered an example of what Roney had in mind, by showing up Monday morning at the Barrhaven doorstep of the Gibson family with a three-month old brown tabby, rescued earlier from an abandoned barn. John Gibson and his wife Hwehkyung Kim had organized the surprise for their children Hannah and Grayson through the Humane Society’s regular adoption procedures. 

“Hannah and Grayson have wanted to take care of a cat for a long time,” Gibson said, obviously delighting in his ability to make it happen.

In all, Humane Society volunteers delivered 12 pets Christmas morning to homes in the Ottawa area, the same number for three years running.  Nearly all the adopted pets were cats or small animals.  Just one was a dog.

In part this lopsided ratio reflects the relative ease with which adopted cats can adapt to a new home, but it has to do with supply as well. The Humane Society last year took in more than 4,700 stray cats compared to 1,600 dogs and 650 other, smaller animals – nearly 7,000 in total.  Of these, about 5,100 were placed for adoption or reunited with owners.

The Humane Society is acutely conscious of the idea that Christmas pet adoptions can go badly – impulse purchases can lead to abandoned pets, for example. The Humane Society surveys its adopters 10 days and three months after the start of the adoption. And, if the record of adoptions that took place this December is anything to go by, the problem of impulse giving may be overblown somewhat. Of 366 animals placed in homes during the past 30 days, just 15 have been returned. 

It seems unlikely the Gibsons will contribute to that minority trend.


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Publishing Information: 26 Dec, 2017 By James Bagnall

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