Staying Connected. October 13

Dear Friends of the Animals

It was a different Thanksgiving for many of us as we stayed safe and found joy in ways other than extended family and friend gatherings. The colours in nature were breathtaking. Sweater weather allowed for some outdoor and distanced mix and mingles. Highway traffic – at its annual peak on the Thanksgiving weekend – was light for those seeking nature trails beyond the neighbourhood.

At the HBSPCA, there is lots we are thankful for. Staff remain healthy. New ways of work – for instance, no contact adoptions and curbside drop off and pick up – continue to keep pets healthy and link homeless pets with families.

We are continually amazed and humbled by the readiness of families to adopt pets with challenging behaviours, who are middle aged, black in color (yes, black), and scared of people. And its not uncommon for pets’ personalities to be uncovered at home. Here are their stories.

Meet Emily – 12 years old and rescued from abandonment without food and water for some time. Often overlooked, black and senior pets can experience a longer than average wait for adoption. Fortunately, this sweet girl lucked out with the most wonderful family who fell in love instantly and she is now the spoiled princess she deserves to be.

Emily, now Emma, is doing 4 walks a day, building her stamina and while she isn’t a cuddly dog, Emma barks to come sit on the couch and watch the news each day.

L’il Red arrived at the HBSPCA as a street cat with a badly fractured leg. The leg could not be saved; she recovered from surgery well. She was very shy and needed someone that would be patient with her and give her the space and time to come into her own. From her pet parents:

L’il Red, now Goldie but mostly just Kitty, is making a great big effort to socialize with us, even when her instinct is to bolt. She now offers her head and ears for a good scratch and spends much more time in the open. Her go-to places are under the bed and under the sofa.  She really gets around on her three little legs. Plays quite a lot. We can see that she is going to become a very affectionate, super-abled kitty.

Kawartha was one of 5 Mamas and 17 kittens rescued by Provincial Inspectors. Kawartha was the shyest of the mothers and the last to be adopted out of the 23 rescued felines. She really blossomed once she made it to her forever home.

I just wanted to write and let you know that we LOVE her!  After about 1 hour she came out of hiding and we have had lots of visits and purring and some playing.  She is so lovely, must have some Maine Coon in her with those tuftier paws and fluffy lower quarters and long whiskers and chirping greetings

And, meet big Bronson. This large breed puppy was surrendered when his family’s housing circumstances changed and were no longer suitable for Bronson. This exuberant boy needed someone with large breed experience, understanding of drool strings on the ceiling and everything that comes with a St. Bernard.

He’s doing great! Understandably on the first day he was very nervous. Drooling like crazy, couldn’t get settled, drank water like crazy and didn’t eat much food. By Sunday though he relaxed and got comfortable. He’s slept through the night since day 1 and has shown his true loveable self. Easy on walks – no pulling – great with other dogs and no barking. We’re up at the cottage now, exploring, cuddling, good walks, restful naps…. he is a joy.

Age, physical ability, size, color, past pet parenting …. all are factors in the re-homing process. Our Adoption Associate works hard to link what a pet needs for quality of life with the readiness, expectations, and lifestyle of adopters.

Pets, like people have a range of personalities and are differently abled.  How fortunate we are that Hamilton families open their hearts and homes to animals in need. Thank you.


Staying Connected. October 2

Autumn has arrived and has ushered in fall colors, crisp apples and warm afternoons in the sun. Just the tonic we need in the Times of COVID. And yet there are other things that don’t change, and don’t we wish they would.  Abandoned and neglected animals are in our communities still.

Last week, an abandoned family – Mom and 5 puppies – came into the shelter needing a safe place to land. Our young mama is a medium size mixed breed and her brood on arrival was estimated to be about 3 weeks young.

Mama – named Autumn – is scared and a bit overwhelmed but incredibly sweet. It will be awhile before her true personality emerges; is she shy? playful? willful? Patience and lots of love are the best medicine. She is already starting to come out of her shell.  Autumn’s first heartworm test results were negative. She will have a second test within a couple of weeks.


Autumn is a wonderful mom to her puppies – 2 girls and 3 boys – and happily they appear healthy.  Each will be spayed or neutered when they are about 8 weeks of age and will begin their hunt for a forever family at that time. Likely these adorable furballs will be in their forever homes before Autumn is confident and comfortable around people and with her forever family.



The Annual Fall Lottery is one way you can support Autumn and her family. In the last 4 years, the Fall Lottery has raised $140,000.00 dollars for abandoned animals like Autumn.  Fundraised dollars and donor funds keep the Companion Animal Hospital well equipped, pharmaceuticals on the shelves, food in the pantry, kennels warm and dry, and caregivers trained to rehab and rehome pet companions. As staff and volunteers have said for a few years now – when you play, the animals always win

Discover more about the Fall Lottery at /donate/lottery-tickets/

And follow Autumn’s story, this Fall, on Facebook at

Be Safe. Be Kind.


Staying Connected Sept 25

These extraordinary times in this most extraordinary year have shown all of us how pets and people are a healthy combination. The companionship of our furry, feathered and scaled friends continues to provide company, solace and pawsitive love in these ambiguous times.

The human animal bond reminds us everyday about the importance of keeping people and pets together. This is a cornerstone of the HBSPCA’s service to community.  Prior to COVID, some visitors to the shelter would ask – “Why are there some empty kennels?” Low intake is a good sign – communities are valuing animals, pet parents are spaying and/or neutering their pets, and pet families are getting the support they need to keep pets healthy and safe.

About three years ago, a couple arrived at the shelter with their cat, a long-time family member, now suffering a severe case of dermatitis. They could not afford community veterinary fees, and the only option they felt they had was to request euthanasia. No animal with a treatable condition is euthanized at the HBSPCA. The ethical dilemma for the care team was that dermatitis is a treatable condition; and if the cat was surrendered, it would be treated and adopted out to a new home.

We changed course; no longer would a loved pet with a treatable condition be surrendered. Today same day care prevents unnecessary admission to shelter, and keeps cats at home, where they belong.

Here are some of the ways your support keeps pets and their people together:

Free health checks and spay neuter surgeries are provided for pets belonging to people without resources to support pet health, and for whom their pet companion is their best friend and the reason they get out of bed every day. This Community Veterinary Outreach program is a partnership among Good Shepherd Homes, Ontario Veterinary College, and the HBSPCA.


Very low cost spay neuter surgeries are provided to pets in eligible families with least access to affordable service in our community. We are very grateful to PetSmart Charities of Canada for subsidizing spay neuter surgeries for cats in our Companion Animal Hospital for 5 years now. These grants help to reduce unwanted litters, reduce cats living on the streets, and reduce high kennel populations.


Classes for pet parents and their dogs (sometimes called dog obedience) help person and dog live and play together at home and in the community in safe and positive ways. Classes nurture healthy bonding, prevent adoption returns and animal abandonment, and set the stage for a long-lasting forever home. Classes are a partnership between Positive Pups and the HBSPCA.


Families are precious.  Never again will a loved pet with an easily treatable condition be surrendered for care and adoption.  Donors make this possible every day. Thank You


Staying Connected. Sept 18

Its a cool crisp Friday. There remain warm days ahead, yet it sure does feel like autumn as school re-opens, “bubbles’ have burst, and the Times of COVID continue to shape the new normal. The health and safety of Staff and volunteers at the Hamilton/Burlington SPCA remain top of mind, every day.

Staff work in zones, and comply with wearing a mask, physical distancing and regular hand sanitising. Cleaning protocols are rigorous, and personal protective equipment is worn at all times in high animal care areas including the kennels and the Companion Animal Hospital.  The HBSPCA is open by appointment: adopters pick up their new family member and families bring their pet companions for scheduled spay neuter surgeries, health checks, nail trims and end of life support.  Four afternoons a week, people visit the shelter to purchase new and gently used pet merchandise; no more than 10 visiting public can be on site at any one time.

Yesterday, one of our Staff was mocked by a member of the public as a “puppet” because she was wearing a mask. She did not judge. She did not allow the person on site. She carried on diligently with her work that day – making appointments for surgery, taking donations on the phone, comforting families as they called to see how the HBSPCA could help their pet at the end of life, referring callers to other community services, planning a garage sale. She stayed beyond her shift to give dogs in care an extra outdoor run at the end of the day.

For six months our staff have kept their focus on service to community. Health and safety protocols keep them safe, keep their families safe, and keep all of us safe. Without healthy staff, there is no service to community. There is no refuge for homeless and abandoned animals. There is no safe place for animals at risk brought into care by Provincial Inspectors. No Spay neuter for street cats. No pet health support for families. No emergency support for pet companions.

I thank our Friends of the HBSPCA Members, our supporters and our donors for the notes of thanks you have sent to Staff, and your generous gifts that keep pets and people together, everyday.

We are wearing masks. I thank you too for wearing one.

Be safe. Be kind.



It’s Crunch Time!

Dear Friend of the Animals

For 31 years, usually in September, animal lovers have walked their dogs in parks, around wave pools and alongside waterfronts raising money for the rescue and rehoming of animals at risk. And together, we have been celebrating the human animal bond.

This year, our feathered and furry best friends – and some not so feathered and furry – have helped us through the Times of COVID. As the pandemic continues to change the way we work, live and play, our pets have truly been pawsitive friends and family members, brightening our days, every day.

This year, the Walk Your Way is also a time to reflect on what happened to those rescued and rehomed companions you supported in the past.  Meet Side Car Ben!

“Ben was adopted from the HBSPCA in 2010 and this December he’ll be 11 years old. I was told he’s a Blue Heeler/Border Collie mix and wasn’t given any info about his background, only that he was surrendered in Smithville at just under a year old. It was clear he had not been treated very well by his previous owners and was very sensitive to touch and would bite if scared. Everything about home life seemed new to him at first – from seeing a television, to riding in a car and especially walking on a leash in the city – there was a huge learning curve to get through. Right from the beginning I took him with me everywhere and exposed him to as much as I could, and slowly he learned to trust me and be calm in new situations. It took a lot (a lot!) of work, and a ton of treats – but looking at him now it’s amazing how far he’s come.

I had been dreaming about getting him a sidecar motorcycle for years because I knew he would love it and he’s got the right temperament for it – so when my new Ural arrived this spring it was no real surprise that he took to it with only a few short training sessions. Now it’s one of his favourite things to do, and the best way to get to good hiking spots! If I’m ever having a bad day or feeling stressed, all I have to do is take him for a ride and it’s pure joy to look over and see him beside me. It’s awesome to see how much he makes everyone else smile when we’re on the road too. He’s the best boy, and I’m honoured to be his driver.” –Danielle

Side Car Ben and Danielle. The human animal bond at work.

Our Wiggle Waggle Walk YOUR Way is just days away and we need your help now more than ever.  It is not too late to make a difference in a shelter pet’s life.  They count on your support for a healthy, safe, second chance.

Want to support Danielle and Side Car Ben? You can donate to their fundraising page here

It’s go time!  The bottom of the ninth!  Crunch time!

You can help in any one of the following ways:

  • Sign up as a participant and raise funds. Be sure to challenge your friends!
  • Spread the word!  Share our social media stories!
  • Post photos using #WalkYourWay #WiggleWaggle #WWW2020 #HBSPCA

9 year old Carter is selling homemade jam to raise money for this year’s Wiggle Waggle Walk YOUR Way!

Carter’s Fam Jam

“During the whole month of August, I made and sold home-made jam.  Jars were $3.00 each and there were 3 different flavours!  I wanted to start my own little business and donate a portion of the profits to help animals in need.  With amazing family, friends, and our community we were able to donate and start our Wiggle Waggle Walk fundraisier with $150.00!  Thank you ALL so much for the support” — Carter

You can support Carter here

Spoil your dog with some Linky Berry donuts from Doggin Donuts!  $1 from each order of Linky Berry donuts will be donated to the Wiggle Waggle Walk!  Find them on Facebook and Instagram.

Share with us how you are raising funds.  Send your photos and plans to

Register, donate or learn more here