Foster Parent Q&A

You can make a huge difference in an animal’s life as a foster parent for Calgary Humane Society. These animals require a little bit of extra attention, love, and socialization outside the shelter. If you don’t have the time to volunteer with us but would still like to be involved, opening your home to a foster pet is a great way to assist us in our mission to help as many animals as we can.

We often receive questions about what it takes to be a foster parent, from the time commitment, to the type of home, to the level of knowledge required. Being a foster parent isn’t always easy, but it is something that can fit within most lifestyles!

Why should I become a foster parent?

We could give you a hundred reasons why fostering is great for animals, but here’s a few reasons why fostering is great for people, too:

  • Fostering is a flexible and valuable first volunteering opportunity for kids.
  • It’s a chance to test out living with a species you might have been considering adopting before taking the plunge.
  • There’s no long-term commitment to an animal: if you’re concerned that your children will lose interest, you can foster before adopting to see if they’ll stick with their vows to always walk and feed the dog, for example.
  • Fostering allows you to have a pet at home even if you travel often for work. The CHS foster animal is always welcome to return to shelter while you’re away!
  • It is a rewarding experience for you as you help a pet recover, adjust, or become more socialized, increasing their chances for a quick adoption.

What do I need to be a foster parent?

All you really need to be a successful foster parent is a lot of love. You’ll need to apply online and then meet with our foster team for an interview, but no need to be scared of that! We promise they’re really nice. Basic requirements include:

  • You must own your home, or have permission from your landlord to have animals on the property.
  • You must have reliable access to a vehicle to pick up the animal and supplies, and to transport them to veterinary appointments or in the event of an emergency.

I work odd hours or am away for extended periods of time. Can I still be a foster parent?

Yes! Some of our foster placements are for a few days, and some are for a few months. If you’re going away for work or a vacation, your foster can be returned to Calgary Humane Society for the duration of your trip or to find a new foster family. Every break from shelter life is beneficial. We are grateful for any time that you can give our animals, even if it’s short.

I am apprehensive of certain animals due to allergies or fear. Can I pick the type of animal that I foster?

You sure can! We have lots of foster parents that only foster cats, dogs, or exotics, based on their own preferences and how comfortable they are with a species. We will never ask you to take on a dog if you only want to foster cats, for example. CHS foster parents can set their own stipulations for species, breed, and size of animal preferred. You can choose when you want to take in a foster, and more importantly, you can choose who they want to foster. The foster team may reach out with a request once they get to know the foster parents, however there is never any pressure or deadline to take an animal in.

Can I have other animals in my home while fostering?

Yes! Many of our foster parents have their own pets. Depending on the animal that you foster for Calgary Humane Society, it may be necessary to have a separate room or space for your foster animal. Your pets at home will need to be up to date on their vaccinations too. The foster team recommends keeping the foster and resident animals separate to avoid risk of disease transmission or fights. Slow introductions can take place after two weeks, as symptoms of illness are generally noted within this time (though there’s no guarantee). Interactions should always be monitored.

What if my foster pet and I don’t get along?

If your foster animal is not a good fit for your household or for you, you can return a foster animal at any time. We want to ensure that the experience is a positive one for foster parents and animals so please do not hesitate to return your foster pet if it is not working out.

Can friends or family look after my foster animal while I’m away?

Yes. Any family members or friends that will be looking after your foster pet need to be onboarded as a foster parent by our Foster team ahead of time. This is a great way to share the fostering experience with loved ones.

What resources are available to me as a foster parent?

As a foster parent, you’ll get to work with lots of our departments within Calgary Humane Society, depending on the needs of your animal. We are here to support you! You can call our behaviour helpline with questions about your foster pet’s behaviour at 403-723-6019 or email behaviour@calgaryhumane.ca. You can also call our call centre at 403-205-4455 with questions about your pet’s health, fostering, adopting, and anything else. We’ll ensure you’re put through to someone who can assist you.

Our Foster team is available from 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. for phone calls and emails, and there are three 24-hour vet clinics in the city that we work with in case of emergency or if you need after-hours guidance.

Do I have to buy my own supplies?

No! Calgary Humane Society supplies everything for your foster pet, from bowls, to food, toys, and beds. We will also cover the costs of any appointments or medication that your foster animal requires while in your care. Any classes with our Behaviour team that Calgary Humane Society deems appropriate for your foster dog are covered as well!

Do I need to know everything about owning a certain type of animal in order to foster it?

No. We will help you and set you up with the right equipment and supplies for each type of animal. If you have any questions, our teams are always available to help!

guinea pig in tunnel

Do I have to take my foster animal to appointments?

Each animal in our care – and your care – will have different requirements. Some will need surgeries, recheck exams, training classes, or follow up appointments. If you are able to take your foster to their appointment, that’s great! If not, they can be dropped off at Calgary Humane Society the night before or morning of their appointment and we will arrange a driver for them.

Can I share my foster animal on social media?

Any foster animals that are available for adoption (i.e., are visible on our website) as adopt-from-foster can be shared freely on social media. Animals in foster, emergency boarding, pet safekeeping, and any others not cleared for adoption cannot be shared on social media or any other public forum (Facebook groups, Reddit, etc.). We do encourage you to take lots of cute photos throughout your time together, however, so that you can share them as soon as your foster animal is cleared for adoption!

How much will I know about my potential foster animal before I make the decision to bring them home?

When looking at our foster list, a list only available to approved foster parents, you’ll get a quick snapshot of the animal’s needs. You’ll also be able to see how long we think they’ll require fostering for, and any other relevant information. If there’s anything else you need to know before taking the animal home, we’ll let you know! Foster parents can ask as many questions as they like before committing to fostering an animal. At time of pick up, the animal’s medical file is shared with all relevant information, including appointment, surgery, and vaccine dates.

Can I adopt my foster?

If you have decided that you and your foster pet are meant for each other, you can contact the Foster Facilitator and request to adopt. Please note that just because you have requested to adopt a foster pet, it does not necessarily mean that the adoption will be approved. First, the animal must be cleared for adoption before you can formally apply to adopt them. There are a lot of factors that go into the adoption application and you will need to go through this process like any other potential adopter. We cannot place an adoption hold on owned animals taking part in our boarding programs or seized animals, but we can still place a note of interest on the animal’s file in the event that the hold is released.

Will my foster pet definitely go up for adoption?

Generally, the answer is yes. However, for health or quality of life reasons, an animal may be deemed unadoptable. We do not euthanize for space or time and do not take this decision lightly. Euthanasia decisions are only made in cases of severe health (where we are unable to end an animal’s suffering through treatment) or behaviour issues (where an animal is considered a danger to themselves or the community). We will communicate with you if there are any potential issues with your foster pet being adopted. Some animals are owned, such as those in our boarding programs, or are part of a protection investigation. These animals may not be made available for adoption as they may be returned to their owners.

If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent or have questions, please contact our Foster team at 403-205-4455 or visit our Foster page. Ready to take the next step and apply to be a foster parent? Fill out our online application!

CHS Supporters: Meet Mieke

You may have read about Mieke and her event, Bark with Bam, in our latest issue of Connecting Lives. We are so grateful to have Mieke’s generous support and to be involved with Bark with Bam each year.

Today we are sharing our full interview with Mieke about how she started volunteering and her history with Calgary Humane Society. Thank you for your support, Mieke!

Mieke and Rambo

When did you first start volunteering in the Calgary community and why?

I started raising money for charity when I was quite young but I remember my first real volunteering experience was in Junior High at a Feed The Hungry dinner. I was signed up as a part of a Human Rights educational program and it ended up engraving quite an interest in me. I can still remember the joy it gave me to just simply give my time. I know from that moment on volunteering was going to be a big part of my life. Growing up my mom was also an active volunteer involved in Junior League as well as one of my favorite Halloween events, Scarecrow festival, I am sure this also contributed to my interest in helping others and volunteering.

When did your love of animals, and specifically blue heelers develop?

Ever since I can remember I always loved dogs and oddly enough cows – which might be why I love heelers so much. I could never have my own dog growing up because my dad was severely allergic, but I did know every dog in the neighbourhood and I would even bring my neighbours dog Ginger to ‘Show and Tell’ in Elementary – she was a long haired golden retriever and Ginger was nothing less than my best friend. I still have a picture of her framed above my bed to this very day. I also have vivid memories from when I was young of the animals at my uncle and aunts’ farm. I think it was this exposure that really blossomed my love for animals to include more than just dogs and cows. As I got older I discovered more and more animals that I loved.

Following my first year of my Health Science degree at Mount Royal, I was 17 and set off on a 2 part volunteer trip to Africa; half of which I spent with ALERT lion conservation in Antelope Park in Zimbabwe. It was such a privilege to work hands on with these incredible and powerful African lions and it was from this experience that I began to not only love but truly appreciate animals and recognize how important they are. There is something about animals that provides a calming and safe place for me. Whether it is interacting with animals or watching them in their nature, it gives me something special, a peacefulness that is hard to describe.

Specifically, my love for blue heelers however didn’t began until our first rescue dog name Sonny when I was about 14. He was a 7 year old mix who looked more like a fox than anything but we knew he was part sheba part heeler part a lot of who knows. His feisty yet smart personality made him seem more like a brother than a pet and when I was 16 and saw little blue heeler collie pups I needed to go visit them and sure enough came home with my first puppy, my instant love and best friend, my current business partner, Rambo. The smartest most mischievous and handsome doggo, aka Bam. From that point on I knew heelers were going to be in my life FOREVER. And as if the match wasn’t already made, my next dog a pure Blue Heeler came to me one day at the dog park from a lady at her wits end with her loving yet crazy powerhouse named Symon. After a week of thought and getting to know Symon he soon became my special boy Rocco. Those 3 heeler boys were my first pack and most definitely are the reason for my love of the beautiful blue heeler.

Tell us about your history with Calgary Humane Society (you as a child/teen and now as an adult).

My history with CHS goes WAY back to I think my 8th birthday party. I remember instead of gifts I asked for donations for the Calgary Humane Society. I didn’t have any pets at the time, but I knew there were animals that needed my help and as an 8 year old I thought this would be a good way to give back to them. I remember getting collars and leashes, rolls of change, bills and even some cheques for my birthday that year (and many more after it). I also remember walking into the Humane society with my jar of donations and shoving each coin and bill through that little slot in the donation bin up front. Just thinking about how happy it made 8 year old me makes me smile still to this day. After taking a loop to see all the doggos, we were walking out the door and a staff member stopped us, asking where all that money came from. I very happily told her I raised it at my birthday party – they were amazed and very grateful. At that age I don’t think I even knew what gratitude was, but I did know I was helping the animals I loved and that is all that really mattered to me. I continued to do this for my birthdays until birthday parties were no longer cool then instead I collected change jars – change from my slurpee addiction, change off the table, from the street, any loose change quickly became apart of my donation fund which I would slip into the black and white ‘doggy bank’ at CHS when I would go visit dogs in the shelter, it never was tons but hey! It was something.

Then Bark with Bam came along. Rambos birthday each year was always something I celebrated and in July 2014 for his 4th birthday we threw a backyard BBQ and I lovingly ‘forced’ my friends and family to pay at least $5 to eat with all ‘donations’ going to the Calgary Humane Society. Because they all played along and it ended up raising over $2,200 the next year I opened it up to the public and threw my first real fundraiser called Bark With Bam. Each year everything raised is split between the Calgary Humane Society and another deserving animal rescue. Since 2015, it is crazy to say, Bark with Bam has now raised and donated a total of $64,666 – half of which has been donated to CHS. And I must mention Vision Sports Center each year provides a vital sponsorship that makes Bark with Bam able to happen, they also provide us with our party location at NO charge – that is pretty incredible.

CHS also assisted me however with the cremation of my dearest Rocco who passed away very unexpectedly. We were able to bring our boy right to the facility and have a private cremation. As painful as it was losing my boy it was comforting knowing what was left of him was in loving and caring hands until his ashes were returned back to me. I couldn’t thank them enough for their patience and kindness on that painful day.

What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

THIS is actually a question I still ask myself every day. If you would have asked me 10 even 5 years ago my answer would have been to be a dentist, open my own practice, and have a non-profit providing free dental care to families and children throughout poverty stricken countries. But after completing my Health Science degree yet ‘failing’ to reach my dreams of getting accepted into dental school and getting waitlisted 2 years in a row I took a step back to re-evaluate my values, my goals, and myself and realized I had NO idea who I was or what I really wanted to do. As a 23 year old who had their heart set on dentistry almost their whole life not knowing what to do or what I even wanted to do seemed terrifying. So of coarse I turned to dogs and opened my own dog walking business called PupVentures YYC that has keep me quite busy for just over 1.5 years now. As for the future this question still scares me but I know what ever is set out for me won’t be one single path. Whether I continue dog walking and expand my business, become a dentist, become a vet, or continue some other way in the science field, or do something completely unexpected… what I do know is that animals will ALWAYS be involved in my future.

What would you tell others who wanted to try doing a fundraiser?

The first thing I would tell someone is to not get discouraged when you hear the word no. Trust me, not everyone will be interested in putting your flyer up and not everyone will take the invites from you, some people might not even look at you, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other people who will! Not everyone can donate, not everyone can donate each year, and that is okay. No is not a bad thing to hear so please don’t get discouraged by it. Second, utilize yourself, you will discover many hidden talents (and somethings you’re not so good at haha!). Third, utilize those around you. I knew I had some amazing people in my life, but my closest friends and family really bring their A game around Bark with Bam and I could not do it without them. Those closest to you are your most valuable resources when fundraising, they provide not only their valuable time but donations, extra hands, ideas, and important connections which is a huge cost saver.

Lastly, I would say GO FOR IT, I am not an event planner, I am not a professional, I just love dogs and wanted to make a difference.. Anyone can fundraise, and every dollar raised counts! I started Bark with Bam because I thought it would be a clever, fun, and unique way to raise a few extra dollars for CHS like back in the day of my own birthday parties. I never thought it would be what it is or raise that type of money. Five years later my grand total raised is over $66,000. I first anticipated on raising a few hundred, maybe a thousand dollars but donations from the animal community and from animal lovers just like me, from my family and friends and from their families kept coming in. I always try to tell people I didn’t raise the money, Rambo and the animals did, they are the ones who deserve the credit, the animals in the dire situations need the credit. Yes, planning and preparation is a lot of work but when you think of how many animals need help on a daily basis it makes every hour and dollar spent worth it. Not every fundraiser has to bring in thousands either… like I said EVERY dollar counts, and I think every rescue foundation including CHS would agree.

Why CHS?

I have always appreciated the vital roles CHS provides within the animal community. By supporting them it provides resources for those doing so much for the animals, things I feel I cannot do. I am asked this question a lot, and the truth is, without the Calgary Humane Society there is no doubt the other rescues in the city couldn’t keep up – they truly are the staple in the rescue community. They not only handle surrenders and adoptions, they also perform animal welfare and cruelty investigations, they have a lost and found, emergency boarding, training classes, memorial/ cremation services, and even MORE. Yes sure, they may get a lot of support but when you are as active and involved as CHS I believe they need and deserve as much support as they can get. CHS has always been one of my charities of choice, ever since I was young and I know that I will continue to support them into the future. In a way my support is not for CHS directly but in light of the thousands of animal and human lives they have change in such an amazing way.

DIY Canine First Aid Kit

 

September is National Disaster Preparedness Month. Situations that may require a canine first aid kit could include emergencies such as a fire or flood, or your dog getting hurt or lost.  In this blog post we’re providing a list of items to include in your dog’s first aid kit so you’ll always be prepared for the worst.

Being prepared for an emergency with your animal is very important and a vital part of responsible pet ownership! While we hope to never have to use a first aid kit with our pet, having these items on hand is invaluable in case of an emergency and can help you save valuable time if your pet is in distress.

Many items in this DIY Canine First Aid Kit are available from pet supply stores, including our Pet Gear Store at Calgary Humane Society, the dollar store, or even some large grocery stores.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Storage and information:

  1. A large, durable container, preferably waterproof and small enough to take on the go.
  2. A list of Fido’s identifying information, such as a tattoo number, and emergency contact numbers for your vet and a local 24-hour animal care facility. Click here to download our helpful Canine Emergency Information Sheet to print and use in your first aid kit.
  3. Information on any of your dog’s medication, past surgeries, and vaccinations.
  4. A picture of your dog in case he gets lost. Make note of any identifying marks or scars that might not be visible in the picture.

Supplies (replenish these within a few days if they are used!):

  1. Latex gloves. These can often be found in the pharmacy section of a drug store or grocery store.
  2. Cotton balls.
  3. Gauze pads or bandages and vet wrap. There are special kinds designed for use on animals that won’t stick to fur.
  4. Quick Stop or other solution to stop nail bleeding. In a pinch, flour or cornstarch can help.
  5. Disinfectant solution.
  6. Antihistamine. See your veterinarian for the appropriate dosage for your pet in case of hives, itchiness, or swelling and use only under their direction.

Reusable items:

  1. A spare leash and collar.
  2. Tweezers. You’ll want two pairs, ones with a slanted tip, and another for removing ticks or other pests that take up residence in your dog’s fur.
  3. Rectal thermometer. A dog’s average temperature should be below 39.5°.
  4. A muzzle that will fit your dog. Test it out before you need it! Even if your dog never requires a muzzle, it may behave differently when injured.
  5. Old blankets or towels.

Download and complete our Canine Emergency Information Sheet to include in your first aid kit. It will ensure that you have all of the important information to hand when you need it most.

Back to School for Fido

Back to school is an exciting time for children, but have you ever considered sending Fido back to school as well?

 

Fall is not just an adjustment for humans; it marks an adjustment for dogs as well. Fall weather often replaces lazy days in the backyard with more indoor activities. Shorter walks as the temperatures drop often replace long hikes or sessions at the dog park. September also marks the start of many organized activities and sports, which can mean more time alone at home for our four-legged family members.

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Why Should I Adopt a Bonded Pair?

Occasionally we receive a bonded pair at the shelter. This happens when two animals have an inseparable bond and it is best that they are adopted into the same home. Bonded pairs provide each other with comfort, companionship, and confidence, especially in an unknown situation like a new environment. Separating a bonded pair may cause unnecessary anxiety in an already stressful situation.

Adopting a bonded pair often doesn’t mean twice the work. Sure, it might mean two food and water bowls or twice the litter changes, but a bonded pair usually means less overall effort for the owner. The bonded animals entertain themselves and keep each other company when you’re away from home, leading to less boredom or separation anxiety which can sometimes result in things like chewed furniture, ripped pillows, or other messes that would definitely be a lot of work to clean up!

 

Other reasons to adopt a bonded pair include:

  • When pets are happy, owners are happy. Bonded pets often don’t have the same issues that single pets might have, which could include separation anxiety.
  • If you know you eventually want two animals, adopting a bonded pair means you won’t have to go through the introduction process, or risk that your chosen pets won’t get along. Your bonded pair already love each other!
  • Studies have shown that animals with close relationships to other animals can live longer, healthier lives.
  • Adopting two animals means two pets get to leave the shelter! Bonded pairs can be more difficult to place in a home as not everyone is open to adopting more than one animal. If you’re interested in a bonded pair, we’ll work with you to make sure it is a good match for your family and lifestyle.

 

Adopting a bonded pair is a rewarding experience for their new owners and extremely beneficial to the bonded animals. By allowing them to stay with their companions, you’re ensuring they have the best chance at being happy and healthy in their new environment. It is not without its challenges, however, as bonded pairs may resource guard or be aggressive towards other animals that are not their companion. Our Behaviour Helpline can assist with any behavioural issues that may arise in these situations.

We currently have a bonded pair of dogs – Maya and Sammy – looking for a new home! If you’d like to learn more about them, please click ‘Adopt’ at the top of this page or phone our Adoptions department at 403-205-4455.

My Impact

As Calgary’s only open-admission shelter we never turn an animal away, and every animal who comes through the doors is unique. Some require medical attention and some do not, some require vaccinations and some do not; but the one thing every animal does need is a nutritious bowl of food, which Royal Canin is proud to provide.

Party With a Purpose is our newest annual fundraising campaign that hopes to bring light to the issue of feeding shelter animals. Feeding animals in shelter requires the hard dedicated work of hundreds of individuals, whether it is the factory workers preparing the food or the Animal Care staff that are scooping it into bowls. By participating in and donating to Party With A Purpose you are directly helping the animals at Calgary Humane Society receive the nutrition they need and deserve.


Did you know?

We feed over 99,000 cups of cat and dog food annually? That’s roughly 44,170 pounds of food, or the same weight as nearly 5.3 adult hippos!

hippos

 

In 2017, we had 4,683 animals admitted to our shelter which resulted in over 99,000 cups of food served. Because we never turn an animal away, every animal that comes through our doors is unique and their requirements vary from animal to animal. For example, it takes more cups of food to feed a 110 pound Bull Mastiff than a 12 pound Shih Tzu. Royal Canin recognizes there are fundamental differences between breeds, sizes and life stages that go well beyond physical appearance. Understanding these differences drives the development of innovative nutritional solutions for each individual pet’s needs.

 

The chart below shows a calculated average of the length of stay and the average amount of food we feed.

 

Species

Average Length of Stay

Average #Cups/Day

Average #Cups/stay

Dog

20 Days

3.5 Cups

70 Cups

Cat

14 Days

3/4 Cup

10.5 Cups

 


How does my donation to Party With A Purpose help feed the animals at Calgary Humane Society?

Great question! Every donation, whether big or small, can go a long way to feeding a shelter animal. As you can now imagine, Calgary Humane Society uses thousands of bags of food every year. To help give you an idea of how much your donation can help, we have put together this chart below:

 

Donation

Cups Donated

Cups/Day

$25.00

23 cups of cat food

Feeds two cats for their average length of stay.

$50.00

63 cups of dog food

Feeds one dog for their average length of stay.

$75.00

86 cups of food

Feeds one dog and two cats for their average length of stay.

$100.00

126 cups of food

Feeds two dogs for their average length of stay.

 

 


We hope that you will participate in Party with a Purpose by signing up to host your own event. To sign up, please click here

If you are unable to participate, you can make a donation to the Party With a Purpose campaign by clicking here

Thank you!

6 Tips for Hosting a Party With a Purpose

Ok, so you have signed up to host a Party With a Purpose. Thank you! To help, are a few tips to make your event a tremendous success:

Photo by Terje Sollie from Pexels

1. Make the evening itself light:

Remember, a party is a celebration! While sometimes the work that Calgary Humane Society does for animal welfare can often be somber, we have many happy success stories too! Keep the mood light and fun to encourage support and advocacy from your guests.

 

2. Involve your guests

Share your story about why Calgary Humane Society holds such importance in your life and community. Did you rescue a pet from us? Do you donate to us? Do you attend our events? Do you follow us on social media? By telling your own story, you are creating an authentic narrative that tells your guests what we do and why you are supporting us and why they should support us too.

 

 

3. Encourage guests to donate what they can

Whatever the amount is, guests should feel encouraged to donate an amount they are comfortable with. If your guests can only budget $20, that’s great!

 

4. The giving window

Even though the Party With a Purpose campaign is only three days, your guests can make a donation to your party up until September 4th, 2018.You can even send out a reminder to say “I’m still accepting donations and we’d still love your help.”

 

 

5. Start in your home

The easiest way to put on a Party With a Purpose is to start small and in your own home. Throwing a dinner party in your own home is easy and would require very little in terms of resources. Feel free to be creative and think outside of the box. Host a lemonade stand, bake sale or garage sale as your Party With a Purpose. The options are endless!

 

6. Don’t forget to share

Post your event and donation page on your  Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account. People often will donate even though they can’t be there. Be sure to tag @CalgaryHumane or use #CHSParty to join the movement across Calgary. We can’t wait to see all the fun you’re having!

 

Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels

The Big List of Fun Party Ideas for Party for a Purpose

Party with a Purpose is fast approaching! Start planning your party now with our big list of fun party ideas. There’s ideas here for adults, kids, pets, school groups, corporate teams, and everyone in between!

Why not have a…

  1. Movie night
  2. Games night
  3. Wine tasting
  4. BBQ
  5. Birthday party
  6. Lemonade stand
  7. Dinner party
  8. Murder mystery party
  9. Garage sale
  10. Block party
  11. Tailgate party
  12. Craft night
  13. Karaoke party
  14. Corporate lunch
  15. Paint night
  16. Brunch
  17. Wing night
  18. Sports day
  19. Sleepover
  20. Bake sale
  21. Luau
  22. Casino night
  23. Spa party
  24. Potluck
  25. Tea party
  26. Ice cream social
  27. Garden party
  28. Ceramic painting party
  29. Pool party
  30. Hot tub party
  31. Costume party
  32. Bridal shower
  33. Family reunion
  34. Wedding
  35. Cookie decorating party
  36. Live music performance
  37. Hiking
  38. Picnic
  39. Yoga/fitness class
  40. Kids playdate
  41. Neighbourhood car show
  42. Baked goods exchange
  43. Baby shower
  44. Tailgate party
  45. Pet fashion show
  46. Cocktail hour
  47. Beer tasting
  48. Toga party
  49. TV show or sports game viewing party
  50. Pizza party

Have another great idea for a party? We’d love to hear about it on your personal fundraising page for Party with a Purpose.

If you haven’t signed up yet, what are you waiting for? People all over Alberta are partying for a purpose – to help raise money for our feeding program. Every animal that comes to us has different needs, but every single one requires food. Did you know that Calgary Humane Society fed over 99,000 cups of food to our residents last year? That’s an amount equivalent to the weight of nearly 5.3 hippopotamuses!

Join us for our first annual Party for a Purpose on August 17-19 and invite your friends for a party to remember! Don’t forget to take pictures at your event and submit them to us so that we can share them on our website or social media pages.

The Scoop on Poop

Everybody poops, including our pets. While dealing with this poop may be the least glamorous aspect of pet ownership, poop can be an important indicator of your pet’s overall health.

The first thing to remember is that every pet is different and your pet likely won’t have perfect poop every time. Many things can impact a pet’s poop, so variations in their number twos may not be a reason to panic. If you notice consistently unhealthy poops, or if their routine suddenly changes (e.g., they begin defecating outside of their litterbox despite having excellent house habits), please contact your veterinarian. This may be an indication of a health issue.

Shape – Healthy poop is usually log shaped. If it appears as small pellets it may mean that your pet is not getting enough water, or it could also be due to arthritis or pain making it impossible for them to hold the correct ‘pooping position’ for the time it takes to complete their bathroom duties. Poop that has absolutely no shape and resembles a puddle is diarrhea. If diarrhea lasts for more than a couple of days and nothing else has changed (food, environment, medications, etc.), contact your vet.

Colour – Normal poop should be brown. However, if your pet eats treats or food that has bright food dyes in the ingredients, it could result in an unusual bowel movement. Red in or on the stool could indicate blood, which would warrant a call to the vet right away. If your pet’s stool is black and looks tarry, that can be a sign of bleeding higher in the intestines and you should also contact your vet immediately. Stools that are odd colours (not caused by food dye) or extremely light in colour can be a sign of other serious illness, especially if the stool shows a consistent change from the normal colour.

Consistency –  A doughy poo that can be picked up without leaving remnants behind is ideal. If your pet’s poop is very hard, it is possible your pet may be constipated or have a lot of fur in their stool. Large amounts of fur in the stool can be a more common problem for cats, who may ingest their fur while grooming. Problems with poop consistency (poop that is pudding-like, watery, or gelatinous) are often one of the key signs that a pet is not feeling well. This could be due to a number of things, including eating something they shouldn’t have, an illness, parasites, or food allergies.

Content – Does your pet’s stool contain things that aren’t poop? Foods that are harder for your pet to digest may reappear in their excrement. Large amounts of mucus or slime in a pet’s stool can indicate a digestive issue or digestive upset. If you routinely find foreign objects in your pet’s poop, it could be a sign that your pet has pica. Pica is a condition where a pet will habitually eat non-food items. Pica can often be managed by ensuring that a pet does not have access to the non-food items they like to eat. Pica can sometimes be an indicator of other medical issues, so if your pet is eating non-edible items frequently it is recommended that you get in touch with your veterinarian.

Stool can be a great indicator of potential health issues for pets, so our Animal Health and Animal Care teams at Calgary Humane Society spend a lot of time looking at piles of poop. We use a Fecal Scoring Chart to help determine if an animal is healthy or may need additional monitoring. You can print off this chart for your own use at home. An ideal score is 2 or 3 on the chart.

We hope this article will help you spot anything out of the ordinary when it comes to your pet’s bowel movements. If you are ever in doubt about your animal’s health, we recommend contacting your veterinarian as soon as possible.