Staying Connected. July 31

Friday July 31

New reports continue to surface about the implications of the COVID for people, their everyday lives, and their pets. This week was no exception. An article in National Geographic told the story of Buddy, a dog who tested positive for SARS-C0V-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and died. It was learned too that on the day Buddy, a German Shepherd, died, he was also experiencing symptoms of lymphoma.

Full story available here

Not surprisingly in our digital age, the story spread quickly. At the shelter we want to understand what’s relevant about Buddy’s experience for animal shelter care, how to communicate with concerned staff and apprehensive pet parents, and, what to make of the science about human-pet and pet-pet transmission of the virus.

Our go to resource in the first instance is Dr. Scott Weese and his Worms and Germs blog   Dr. Weese is not an advocate for testing for the sake of testing. He is an advocate for “more research that looks at positives and negatives [test results] and can put the story together about things like how often there is human-pet transmission, how often infected pets get sick, what risk factors increase the odds of transmission or illness, how long infected pets shed the virus and, ideally to help put the story together about the risk of subsequent transmission to animals or people”.

Safety First

In short, we don’t yet know enough to be alarmed, we do know that we need to be cautious and curious.  When the Hamilton/Burlington SPCA committed to sheltering pet companions belonging to persons hospitalized for COVID related treatment, we developed protocols for the handling and care of pets to keep people and other animals safe. As always, we recommend that pet families talk with their veterinarian when their pets have symptoms of possible illness and distress. And we recommend that dogs, just like people, be safe in their “bubble”.

Looking ahead, Buddy’s legacy asks of the research – Are animals with underlying conditions more susceptible to the virus? What information should veterinarians collect? What tests should be carried out? How are emerging insights being shared across fields of interest? This is much like the growing narrative on the human experience with the COVID.

It is the eve of August long weekend and a full moon.  I hope you, your family and friends, and your favourite furry companions – are healthy and safe.


Marion Emo
President and CEO
Keeping Distance Staying Connected.

Blog :: Uncategorized

The Time Has Come!

The time has come to Wiggle Waggle!  Last year you helped raise close to $50,000 all for the animals and their families.  Can we count on your support again this year?

It’s no longer just a day for the dogs – this year, the Hamilton/Burlington SPCA (HBSPCA) and Ren’s Pets want you to Wiggle Waggle Walk YOUR WAY and raise funds all for the animals in your community. All animals – feathered, furry or scaled.

Over 31 years, this annual event has been the ‘Wiggle Waggle Walk-a-Thon’, the ‘Wiggle Waggle Walk & Splash’, and more recently, simply, the ‘Wiggle Waggle Walk’. And these walks have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for vulnerable animals in Hamilton and Burlington.

You can help in any one of the following ways:

  • Sign up as a participant and raise funds
  • Spread the word!  Share our social media stories!
  • Post photos using #WalkYourWay #WiggleWaggle #WWW2020 #HBSPCA

Like you, the shelter has been nimble in the Times of COVID to ensure every animal at risk gets the help they need, every day. With that in mind, we invite you this year to walk YOUR WAY in support of the animals with an online approach to this September fundraiser.  In the Times of COVID, the animals need your help more than ever.

Whether you fancy felines, adore dogs or have a soft spot for small critters, we want you to walk, sit or play – your way – and help keep animals safe and healthy, at home.

  • Walk your neighbourhood, a trail, or a cottage country path.
  • Sing with your bird.
  • Teach your cat a new trick and donate a toonie for every “like”.

Wiggle Waggle Walk Your Way – All for the Animals. Sign up, learn more or donate at /donate/join-ourevents/wiggle-waggle/


Walk YOUR Way for companions like Blackberry who came to the HBSPCA with a badly broken leg and needed our help.  Our Companion Animal Hospital was able to provide the medical attention she so badly needed, an HBSPCA foster home gave her a safe place to recover and your donations make this possible!  You can see Blackberry’s story here


Blackberry’s Story

Blackberry’s Story

Staff received a call regarding a young cat that had been injured and required care. Discussion with the caregiver uncovered disturbing details; Blackberry had been injured way back in February, her leg was badly broken, and the bone had come through the skin. As the caregiver was not in position to provide care for Blackberry, she was surrendered into our care.

Blackberry was assessed by our Veterinarian on intake.  X-rays taken in the Hospital revealed the leg was beyond repair. Blackberry was prescribed pain management, and scheduled for leg amputation.  Her heart arrested twice in the operating room and our incredible Team got her back. She’s recovering. On Monday, Blackberry will move to a foster home for recovery for one month; she is being treated as well for a blood parasite.

Blackberry’s “voice” was heard. Despite obvious pain and discomfort, all signs pointed to her resilience and chutzpah! The Team went to work, and Blackberry will have a quality life in a new home. Donors make this possible.

Blackberry is ready to find a forever home!


Staying Connected. July 17

Friday July 17, 2020

Dear Friends of the Animals

The Times of COVID have thrown us many curve balls. Yet the human/animal bond prevails. I have been moved by the stories these last few months about how pets and people are taking care of each other in the times of isolation and remarkable change. Pets and people are a healthy combination.

My own feline friend, Currie, came into my life in July 2013, not long after I joined the HBSPCA Team as CEO. Currie was a long-stay cat, shying away from people and hiding his personality. A few days after coming home, he ran like heck from the broom as I swept the floor, and now the broom is a toy. Currie has flourished like so many others in their new forever homes.

Animals’ lives are transformed because donors care and because families open their hearts and homes to recovering abandoned and neglected souls.   So it is appropriate that our soon to be distributed 2021 Calendar –The Unbreakable Bonds of Friendship – shares how pets have made a difference in the lives of their families during shelter-in-place this year. The life-changing stories are compelling: cat Stash is thriving on two legs; Phoebe was treated for eclampsia and seizures and is living the doggie dream; Gizzy lost a leg and an eye and discovered that it’s a wonderful dog’s life after all.  Watch for our 2021 calendar to be available in early August.

It takes a village of caring to make possible lifesaving miracles for second chance lives. I invite you to mark your calendar for Sunday September 13th and Wiggle Waggle Walk Your Way, all for the animals. Walk, run, cycle, or play your way – wherever you like – along side friends, family, neighbours or colleagues.  Full details coming next week!


Love coffee?  Love supporting the HBPSCA?  Be sure to check out for your new favourite beans.   $2 from each bag purchased can be donated directly back to the animals at the HBSPCA.


Join Katie Favell on Thursday August 13th for a Virtual Paint A Pet Night! From the comfort of your own home you can participate in step-by-step instructions to paint your very own masterpiece!

This is a FREE event and Katie is donating her time in support of the animals and donations to the HBSPCA are greatly appreciated. You can donate online at once you register for the event.

You provide the materials, Katie will provide the fun and instruction and we will continue to provide care to animals like Bear.  Find full event details here or visit our website /paintyourpet/


Your support remains vital to ensure animals are healthy and safe every day. And they are taking care of us too, unconditionally.


Marion Emo
President and CEO
Keeping Distance Staying Connected.


Staying Connected. July 13

Monday July 13

Dear Friend of the Animals

It’s not yet mid July and already it feels like the dawg days of summer. The parking lot is hot, the grass is yellow and the garden is already a bounty of greens for our small critters. Shelter activities are finding a new normal, continually responsive in these times of COVID. We remain safe, nimble, and ever grateful for the help community members lend for healthy, safe and second chance animal lives.

How Corporate Donors Make A Difference

The Boehringer-Ingleheim leadership Team gave a day of time, talent and treasure last summer and built a raised garden at the shelter and a bench for dog walkers’ rest and respite. The garden is feeding our small critters – rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets and more – with healthy, fresh and available greens everyday. We could not be more pleased with a ready and sustained food supply.

Thank you

Our Zoetis representative checked in with our Animal Care Manager this week just to see how things were going in these times. Zoetis supplies Revolution products for cats and dogs, and Simparica, a dog flea and tick treatment. On learning of the recent hectic and unpredictable days such as taking in 5 nursing cats and 17 kittens all at once, she and her daughter offered to deliver lunch for the kitty care staff next week. These “paws up” thanks lift the spirits of busy staff and remind staff that they are appreciated, every day.

Thank you

How You Can Help

The Times of COVID are currently limiting volunteers indoors on site at the shelter.  And yet there are still ways your business or office team can make a difference at the shelter.

  • Consider gardening, weed whacking, window washing
  • Have a birthday in the office? Consider a donation in your colleague’s name, all for the animals.
  • Organizing a distanced staff picnic? Consider auctioning safely prepared picnic baskets and donating the proceeds to the TNVR program – spay/neuter for street cats.
  • Have an idea? Let us know at  We are all ears and paws.

In the midst of the heat wave, I wish everyone health and safety.

Let us all take care of our pets in the heat, and remember that that there is no reason to leave a pet in a car.

And if you are looking for a smile, enjoy this “meet your match” video


Marion Emo
President and CEO
Keeping Distance Staying Connected.