Friday June 19, 2020

Dear Friend of the Animals

It’s the eve of the Summer Solstice and summer has indeed arrived following a most eventful Spring in the Times of COVID.  At the Hamilton/Burlington SPCA, we are carefully assessing when it will be possible to have some public on site, and how that will happen safely.

We continue to do “no contact” adoptions; all adoptable pets’ pictures, histories to the extent known, health status, and characters and behaviours are shared virtually and in phone discussions. Finding the best match remains the priority, and since the onset of the COVID, adoption outcomes continue to be successful.

And still the times are changing

Among the benefits of this time of self isolation, are the health and well-being of dogs. Our canine friends – newly adopted or long standing family members – have been enjoying the constant company of their favourite people and the extra attention that comes with being home altogether, a lot.  One of the shelter dogs in care at the shelter lay down when his walker arrived; he had had enough exercise!

As restrictions begin to loosen, some dogs may struggle to adjust to life after quarantine. If you or someone you know is facing a return to work, here are some ways to make the transition easier for you and our 4 legged best friends.

The following tips are from the fine folks at The Animal Medical Centre in New York https://bit.ly/2AHVNxx

  1. Encourage Independence. Set up a comfortable space where your dog can go for some quiet and relaxing time alone.
  2. Practice Separation.  Leave your dog home alone for short periods at first and gradually increase the time that you are away.
  3. Rethink Your Exit Strategy. Give your dog a treat or favourite toy when you leave. This helps create  a positive association with your departure.
  4. Mask Outside Noise.  If your dog is easily startled by outside sounds, soothing music or a white noise machine might help.
  5. Change of Scenery. Hire a trusted dog walker to come for a midday visit to break up the day or look into sending your pup to day care.
  6. Reward Calm Behavior. Don’t make a fuss over your pet when you return home.  You want to convey that it is “no big deal” that you are away.  Give your dog attention when he is calm.

Change is hard for all of us. And it is no different for our pet companions. A little advance planning, a lot of patience and ever present love and respect will be rewarded with a near seamless transition among best friends.

When things don’t go as planned, reach out to your veterinarian, your experienced friends, or give us a call. We can help.

On the eve of summer, and on behalf of the animals and their families you support, I wish you continued health and safety.


Marion Emo
President and CEO
Keeping Distance Staying Connected.