Hi there! My name is Desmond. I’m a handsome boy looking for a new home to call my own! My new owners should be experienced and give me the active and structured lifestyle that I need. All the noise and commotion that often comes with younger kids are a bit overwhelming for me, so teenagers are more my demographic. Off-leash parks are off-limits to me, so a fenced backyard would be swell I’ve got so much love and energy to give, that only one of me is needed. Thanks for letting me be the only dog in the home. To help me work on my doggy skills, you and I get to go to our very own consult with the CHS Behavior Team! Fun! I am so excited to start our life together, so please come soon!

Learn more about Desmond and his pal’s by visiting the Calgary Humane Society’s Adoption Webpage



Well hello there! My name is Teddy and I am quick-as-a-whip, happy go lucky guy looking for the right family for me. I am still learning a lot of things and I am ready to have some consistency in my life. I have been told that those small hoomans are fun to be around, but I am still learning some life skills and those small hoomans might think I am a bit much right now, so it would be great that I go to a home with adults. My doggie skills are need a bit of work, so you and I get to go to “Reactive Rover” to help me with my doggie skills and become a wonderful part of my new family. Do you know what is so in right now? Leashed walks. Those off-leash parks are a little free spirited for me to go to and I am sure that we can go for some great leashed walks together! I know it will be fun to be a part of and to really get to know one another. Small critters, like cats or rabbits, are too enticing for me to chase right now, so going to a home where I can be the only animal would be great for me. But don’t you worry, I have more than enough love to give. I am so excited to meet my new family, so I think you should hurry on down and we can chat about all the cool things we will be doing together!

Learn more about Teddy and his pal’s by visiting the Calgary Humane Society’s Adoption Webpage



Hello! I’m Strawberry!

I may be sweet like my name suggests, but I like to spice up life a bit, too! I guess you could say I’m a bit of a diva. I like things my way, and that means I need to be the only cat so I can get all your pets and snuggles. No sharing for this girl! You won’t mind, because there is plenty of me to keep you entertained. I love cheek scratches best, and you will enjoy them, too because there’s nothing better than making your kitty happy! A warm, fluffy bed also would be nice. And a home with adults who will understand my needs and bow to my every whim. I’ll reward you by getting on your lap and interrupting your busy time for plenty of attention. Isn’t that my job? Let’s get together and see if we’re a match.

I can’t wait to be yours!

Learn more about Strawberry and her pal’s by visiting the Calgary Humane Society’s Adoption Webpage



Hi there! My name is Friskie!

I might seem a bit cautious now because to tell you the truth, I’m not really crazy about being around all these other cats.  I’m an independent kind of guy, so it’s best if I am the King of the Castle.  Don’t worry – I am really a friendly, affectionate fellow with a charming personality.  We will have so many good times, just us. I love gentle pets and chin rubs – and I am a really good listener, so go ahead and tell me all your troubles, secrets and problems.  I promise to look into your face and make you feel better.  We can find our favourite places to relax and be happy.

Come in for a visit and add a little Friskie-ness to your life!

Learn more about Friskie and his pal’s by visiting the Calgary Humane Society’s Adoption Webpage


My Point of View: SW Discusses The True Cost Of Fostering (And It Isn’t Cheap)

My POV is a supporter submission series on the Calgary Humane blog. Each of our supporters have unique experiences at the shelter and the ‘My POV’ series is an attempt to allow people to tell their stories and give people a fresh take on animal welfare.

SW is a 50-something accounting professional who volunteers her time at the shelter as an experienced dog walker. Her clients include the big brutes, the ones who lack manners, the ones who are overly energetic or the ones who are super shy. SW also opens her home to animals in need and is a foster parent to many. Following the loss of her two beloved canines in the summer of 2013, she made her way to CHS with the intention of adopting a dog. Instead of walking out with a new doggy friend, SW left with an application to become a dog walker. Although she claims to be a dog person, we have recently talked her into fostering cats.

After having a few fosters under my belt now I have a whole new appreciation of the CHS Foster Parents – kudos to you people.

I was wondering – what does it really cost to foster?  You provide the love and care while the CHS provides all the supplies and vet care needed so what costs would you incur?

There are a few costs CHS is not able to cover however……….

  • A foster dog was very interested in watching the TV – of course I turned on the Animal Planet channel.  Oh look – a documentary on wolves – that dog was standing up on his back legs in front of the TV swiping at the wolves before I realized my error. 
  • I laughed at a foster cat’s “miss” when it attempted to jump up on something and failed (I only laughed when I realized it was not injured – only embarrassed).  I awoke at 3:00am to see this cat balanced precariously on top of a small flat screen TV that sits on my chest of drawers.  How is it possible that it even got up there and, more importantly, how is it getting down without knocking over said TV?  I held my breath for a long time – the fact that when I opened my eyes and saw two glowing eyes staring back from a place there should not have been any assisted with my paralysis.
  • Cat zoomies do not bode well for leather furniture.
  • I was trying to rediscover the lost art of crocheting so that I could make my niece a baby afghan.  A foster ninja will lay in wait until you have five rows completed on said afghan before attacking and ripping the project right out of your hands to engage it in a wrestling match.
  • My family laughed at me for using small solar lights as row markers in my garden.  One foster dog agreed and destroyed them all to prevent any further embarrassment.
  • I was monitoring two foster cats, at different times, for house soiling – they both were faithful  litter box users. They seemed to enjoy sitting next to my large plant and scooping the soil out onto the floor – tried to empty the whole plant pot.  So technically they were actually house soilers.
  • Wine glasses do not mix with an overweight feline that does not realize it’s back end does not move as gracefully as it thinks.

The TV’s are both fine (albeit the sun does show a permanent paw mark on one – makes me smile), the plant lived, minor leather damage repaired, I needed the crochet practice, solar lights were from the Dollar Store and I wanted new wine glasses anyways.

You know fostering is for the best interest of the animal – you are helping them.  I have read a couple of comments from new parents who thanked the CHS for looking after their pet until they found each other.  That gave me a warm fuzzy inside as I realized that I was a part of the CHS team that helped an animal until it was united with it’s forever family.

So, in reality, the only cost of fostering is losing a little piece of your heart every time you have to return one of your “kids”.  We have to realize that with each new foster a little bit (hair, fur, feather, scale) is added to our soul.


 Interested in becoming a Calgary Humane foster parent? Learn more today!

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Charlie’s Story: How CHS Changed One Dog’s Life

Charlie, arrived at the Calgary Humane Society (CHS) in March 2011 with a severely injured leg which had been left untreated for over two years. Because of this extreme neglect, Charlie had to have his leg amputated. Situations like this are all too common but because of fantastic support from our donors and partners, CHS was there and Charlie’s story had a happy ending.

The short film, ‘Charlie’s Story’ debut at Calgary Humane’s 2013 Cocktails for Critters gala, where he was selected as the official spokesdog for the event.


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Then & Now: Animal Health at Calgary Humane Society

Then and now story image

I joined the shelter shortly after they had hired their first full time veterinarian in the early 1990s.

Back then, the Calgary Humane Society sheltered around 13,000 animals per year.

Now, it takes in less than half that many animals, around 6,000 per year.

Back then, we were able to find homes for almost all of the dogs that were in adoption, but we were only able to find homes for about 30% of the cats.

Now, with less incoming animals and multiple other factors, there are no time limits for dogs, cats, rabbits and exotics; they are able to stay in the shelter until they find their new homes.

Back then, the Calgary Humane Society had just implemented their spay neuter policy, all animals 6 months and older would be spayed or neutered before leaving the shelter.

Now, with pediatric surgeries (puppies and kittens), all animals are spayed or neutered before leaving the shelter.

Back then, there was one full time vet and two full-time animal health technicians.

Now, there are three full-time vets, four full-time animal health technicians, and three animal health assistants.

Back then, dogs and cats were vaccinated, de-wormed and health checked.  Minor problems, such as simple wounds or abscesses were repaired and treated, but animals with more serious medical problems rarely made it to adoptions.

Now, with less incoming animals, more staff, and enough homes for all of our sheltered animals, incoming animals with more serious issues such as fractures, conditions needing corrective eye surgeries, wounds requiring grafting, medical conditions requiring workups and longer convalescence are able to be treated and then have their time in adoption.

Back then, a lot of older animals needed dentals, but dentals were very basic: extractions and ultrasonic cleaning as needed.

Now, a lot of older animals still need dentals, but dentals are much more sophisticated using dental x-rays, a high-speed dental drill, a variety of dental tools to give these dogs and cats and clean start for their new home.

Back then, there was no separate behaviour testing, just comments made during their health exam.

Now, there is a behaviour assessment done on every dog, with profiling and comments to help adoption staff match dogs to the perfect adopter. There are also shelter behaviour classes and a behaviour help line for follow-up support.

Back then, the shelter was always willing to assist people in crisis with pet care.

Now, there are established programs for emergency boarding and pet safekeeping to continue to assist people in the community that are in crisis.

Back then, a very new foster care program had just started; a volunteer managed the program, and contact was made by phone calls to a hand full of foster parents.

Now, a full time staff member manages the program, with email contact to hundreds of foster parents and families, making the program much quicker in response time and volume. It has provided out of shelter space to help animals grow, rest, recover, and keep safe until space becomes available in the shelter for them to return.

Much has changed in the past 23 years.  A vision for a better life for homeless and less fortunate animals has made steady progress from then to now.  Calgary is a great city that has always generously supported the Calgary Humane Society in its work, both then, and now.

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Why Your Pet Dog Barks and How to Stop It

why fido barks

We’ve all been here before: your dog won’t. Stop. Barking.

He’s barking at your neighbor out the window, he’s barking for dinner, he’s barking at the cat. You think he actually may have just barked at his own fart. You’re about to lose your mind if Fido doesn’t stop barking. Right meow.

But don’t worry, we’re here to help you figure out why Fido is barking and some solutions to help curb it.

First up is figuring out how long Fido barks and what the cause it. Some clever detective work may be needed to get this info, especially if the barking occurs when you’re not home.

5 Tips to Reduce Barking:

  1. Understand why Fido barks and address those issues
  2. Distract Fido from barking and reinforce him when he is quiet
  3. Accommodate Fido in your home instead of leaving him outside
  4. Entertain you dog physically and mentally
  5. Consult a professional dog trainer or vet

Why is Fido barking?

1. Social Isolation resulting in Frustration:
It’s simple – Fido is bored, lonely and is barking to pass the time. This may happen because he’s left along for long periods of time, his environment is relatively barren (no companions or toys), is a puppy or is a particularly active dog (like the herding or sporting breeds) who needs to be kept occupied to be happy.

Recommendations: expand your dog’s world and increase his ‘people time’ in the following way

  • Walk Fido at least twice daily. They shouldn’t just be considered potty breaks
  • Teach Fido fetch
  • Teach Fido some tricks and practice them throughout the day
  • Take a training class with your dog. See classes offered at CHS here.
  • When you’re not home, consider leaving Fido with interactive feeding toys like Kongs to keep him occupied.
  • Crate train Fido so he understands it a safe place when you’re gone
  • Keep your dog inside when you’re unable to supervise him
  • Angry neighbors? Let them know you’re actively working to fix the issue
  • If possible, take your dog to work with you
  • Look into doggy daycare if you have a well-socialized dog or a dog walker if Fido doesn’t enjoy doggy playtime.

2. Territorial and Protective
Fido may be guarding his territory (either his house, yard or even you) if the barking occurs when there are ‘intruders’ around. This can include anyone from the mail man, to kids walking to school to dogs in adjacent yards.


  • Teach Fido the ‘quiet’ command. When he begins to bark at a passerby, allow two or three barks, say ‘quiet’ and interrupt his barking with a shaker can or throwing a toy near him. This surprise should stop the barking momentarily. While he’s quiet, say ‘good quiet’ and toss him a tasty (re: high value. The smellier the better) treat. The loud noise isn’t to punish him. It is to distract him long enough into being quiet, so you can reward him.
  • Desensitize him to the triggers that set Fido off. Teach him that the people he views as intruders are actually awesome and mean good things! Ask someone your dog isn’t super familiar with to help you with this. Reward Fido when he is able to be calm around this new person – start with some distance and close it as you see fit. The point isn’t to overwhelm Fido, but to reward him for calm behaviour.
  • Anytime Fido barks and you are able to get him to respond to his name or a command, toss him a treat.

3. Fears and Phobias

Fido may simply be afraid. Barking may not seem like something Fido would do when he’s scared, but it definitely is. If Fido is afraid, the barking will occur when he’s exposed to loud noise like thunder, fireworks or construction noise. Your dog’s posture will tell you a lot – ears back, tail held low.


  • Figure out exactly what Fido fears and desensitize him to it. This may take some professional help and you may consider enlisting a dog trainers help.
  • During fireworks, parties or storms, mute the outside noise by putting Fido in a basement or windowless bathroom with a TV, radio or fan.

4. Separation Issues

Fido may have separation issues if the barking occurs only when you’re gone – starting right when you leave or shortly after you leave. How do you know if Fido has separation issues? It’s possible if he shows a strong attachment to you. Follows you room to room, greets your frantically or reacts anxiously when you prepare to leave. A sudden life change may also cause separation issues like a recent move, change to the family schedule, death or loss of a family member (human or animal) or a period at a shelter or boarding kennel.


  1. Give them something to do! Kong’s are an excellent option!
  2. Ensure Fido has had adequate exercise prior to leaving him.
  3. Crate train Fido to teach him to be left alone – in other words, sleep and be comfy!
  4. Speak to your vet or the CHS about purchasing an Adaptil diffusor.

How do we know when Fido’s separation issues need a professional help? Is Fido destructive at points of entrances and exits, like a door or a window? Dopes Fido seem to get anxious when you begin your routine to leave? Do the Kong’s and treats you give Fido before you leave remain untouched? Are there accidents when you get home?  If you are nodding your head ‘Yes!” to several of these questions? It is time to consult a professional dog trainer and your veterinarian.

 5. Attention Seeking
Attention seeking barking occurs only when you’re present  and is to get your attention. Whether you’re focused on a conversation, something on the TV or making dinner, Fido is not pleased your attention is elsewhere. Talk about a Needy Nancy!

Ensure that when training or playing is finished, you clearly indicate its over. Show both hands or simply turn away. Fido has learned that barking will get your attention, so if you do not provide any the behavior will eventually extinguish. Often the barking will increase prior to extinguishing since it has worked in the past to get your attention. Your patience is about to get tested. As are your ear drums

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9 Tips To Bring Your Lost Pet Home

lost petHelp! I’ve lost my pet!

If you have ever lost a pet, you are familiar with the rising sense of panic that sets in as you discover that your furry family member has wandered away from home. In the animal admissions department at Calgary Humane Society, our job is to reunite stray pets with the families that miss them.

Today on the blog, we are featuring advice on what to do if you’ve lost your pet. You may have noticed some advice in our previous posts, (here andhere) but here it is, all together, in one comprehensive guide!

1. DON’T PANIC! This first step is, by far, the hardest. As scary as it is to find your pet missing, the most important thing you can do is remain calm. Panicking leads your body to prepare for “fight or flight” and part of this response is for your brain to reduce rational thinking activities (because you don’t need to think about algebra while running away from a hungry bear). Replace your panic with a new mantra:

Stop. Think. Plan. 

Stop and take a few deep breaths. Examine the situation and think about what may have happened (when was the last time you saw your pet, how long ago was that, where is your pet inclined to go etc.). Once you have some ideas, start making a plan. If your pet has been gone for a very short time, it may make sense to go looking and calling for them. If they’ve been missing for a while, then calling friends to help look and calling in lost reports might be a better plan.

2. Start making lost reports. Unfortunately there is no central registry for reporting lost pets, so this step can take some time. Lost reports are only as valuable as the information they contain, so take the time to retrieve your pet’s identification records and other information that could be important. When you call, provide as much information as you can about where and when your pet was lost and provide as much descriptive information as you can. Was your pet wearing a collar? Do they have distinctive markings? Is one leg shaved because of a recent blood test? These little details greatly increase the chance that someone will correctly recognize your pet. Sending  or posting good quality digital photos of your pet will also help aid in recognition.

Where should you make lost reports? Anywhere you can think of… but here is a good start!

  • Calgary Humane Society Animal Admissions – 403-205-4455
  • City of Calgary Animal Services – 311
  • Post a lost listing on Kijiji/Craigs List/Local Buy/Sell websites
  • Create a posting for your Facebook/Twitter/social media that others can share on their own social media and prompt friends and family to share it as wide as possible.
  • Search social media for local lost pet groups for your city (Southern Alberta Pet Connection and YYC Pet Recovery are two example of pages in Calgary)
  • Contact smaller rescues in the city, especially rescues that focus on “street dogs” or “street cats” and rescues that are specific to the type of pet you lost

3. Put out things to entice your pet home. Put food, a favorite bed and other familiar objects out to help tempt your pet back home. If your pet is skittish or scared, renting or borrowing a live trap and putting the items into the trap may help. Have somebody keep an eye on these items to watch for your pet to return.

4. Arrange a search party. Call friends, relatives and neighbours to help search for your pet. When assigning jobs, remember that your pet is most likely to go to people they are familiar with. Choose the people that your pet is most familiar and friendly with to go out and search. Ask the people who do not know your pet as well to help make lost report calls or give them a picture to take to local shelters or ask them to compare the picture to photos of lost animals on the City of Calgary website.

5. Create lost posters and hang them up. This is another great job for those that want to help but either are not familiar with your pet or are unable to join the search party. Create lost posters with a picture of your pet. Include a number that you can always be reached at (like a cell phone) on the sign. Hang up the posters in the areas that you think your pet might be, concentrating on areas where lots of people will see the signs. Ask businesses in the area if you can display a lost poster in their store. Make notes about what businesses and locations you have signs in, because you will need to take them down once your pet is home!

6. Keep updating your signs and lost reports. Call in to update the lost report frequently and check on your signs to make sure they are still hanging up and readable. Continue to update any online or social media posts regarding your lost pet so people know if you are still looking. Also, make sure that if any of your information changes you also update your pet’s microchip and update your veterinarian in case your pet’s tattoo is traced.

7. Never give up hope. At Calgary Humane Society we have seen some amazing reunions. We have reunited pets with their family years, and even decades after they went missing.

8. When your pet is home, thank everyone! Everybody loves a happy ending. Once your pet is home and safe, make sure to update anywhere that you made a lost report (so they can remove the report from their records), update your social media posts and ask friends and family to pass along your thanks to anyone they know that helped by sharing your post. Go in to the local businesses where you have your lost signs and let the owners know that your pet was found (and take the posters down). Thank those that helped with searching or with making calls.

9. Stop this from happening again. Examine the situation behind how your pet went missing and evaluate what could prevent a similar problem in future. If a gate was left open, consider installing a spring close system that will automatically close the gate after it is opened. If your pet got under the fence, fill in the area to make it more difficult to escape. In some cases, it may just mean an increased awareness that your pet likes to sneak through doors etc.

There you have it! 9 steps to take if your have lost your pet. Did we miss anything? Do you have a good place to post lost reports? Want to connect with us? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page!

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Who Ya Gonna Call? The Differences Between Calgary Humane Society, Alberta SPCA and Animal Services

Calgary Humane Society is proud to be entrusted with protecting the animals in our city. It is no secret that our Protection and Investigations department is a busy team! In 2013 alone our officers responded to 1,290 phone calls and seized 314 animals from situations of cruelty, abuse, neglect and abandonment. In addition to calls regarding animals within the city, Calgary Humane Society also receives many calls that are outside of our geographical jurisdiction and legislated mandate. Today on the blog, we bring you the inside scoop on the differences between Calgary Humane Society, City of Calgary Animal Services and the Alberta SPCA.

Who ya gonna call

Calgary Humane Society’s Protection and Investigations Department is appointed by the Province of Alberta to enforce the Animal Protection Act of Alberta. Our mandate at CHS is to protect animals from people. This means that Calgary Humane Society responds to calls where animals are alleged to be suffering cruelty, abuse, neglect or abandonment but does not handle ‘nuisance animal’ issues like strays, barking or dog bites. Calgary Humane Society’s jurisdiction covers animals within the Calgary city limits, though we do occasionally offer support, in a non-enforcement capacity, outside of the city limits when requested by another agency. Calgary Humane Society Protection and Investigations officers may also respond to areas near Calgary after natural disasters, for example, our officers attended High River to help rescue animals trapped in homes after the flood.

So who handles concerns about animal cruelty, abuse and neglect outside of the city limits? We are glad you asked! Alberta SPCA is responsible for all areas of the province except for Calgary and Edmonton. This means that concerns for Okotoks, High River, Airdire, Strathmore, Cochrane and rural areas surrounding Calgary must be directed to Alberta SPCA. Similar to the Calgary Humane Society, Alberta SPCA is appointed by the province to enforce the Animal Protection Act of Alberta and employs peace officers for this purpose. Alberta SPCA also has a focus on protecting animals from people.

So if both Calgary Humane Society and Alberta SPCA protect animals from people, who protects the people from the animals? Calls about dangerous animals and nuisance animals are handled by City of Calgary Animal and Bylaw Services (CCABS). City of Calgary Animal and Bylaw Services responsibilities include enforcing city bylaws, such as the responsible pet ownership bylaw and providing services related to pet licensing for the City of Calgary. City of Calgary Animal and Bylaw Services operates the City of Calgary animal services facility where pets may be impounded if they are found running at large or if a dog or cat has bitten or seriously injured a person.

Calgary Humane Society, Alberta SPCA and City of Calgary Animal and Bylaw Services each have distinct differences, but it is not uncommon to find these organizations working together to prevent animal cruelty, abuse and neglect. At Calgary Humane Society we are proud of the collaborative relationships we have formed with other agencies. Together, we can create a future without animal cruelty.

Would you like to learn more about Calgary Humane Society’s Protection and Investigations Department? Visit the department webpage by clicking here.

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