The Winnipeg Humane Society Tue, 03 May 2016 21:21:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 I take them all home Tue, 12 Apr 2016 18:46:18 +0000 Continued]]> eab-02696-EditFB

By: Jim Harvey

I’ve been volunteering at the Winnipeg Humane Society for some time, working with the dogs once a week. I often mention to people I meet that I volunteer at the Winnipeg Humane Society and a very common response is, “Oh, I could not do that. I’d want to take all the dogs home with me.”

I often think to myself that if that were to happen, us folks who volunteer would have very crowded homes! But I understand the comment. They are saying they feel for the dogs and their situations and would like to take a dog home and give it stability and love so the dog can feel happy and secure.


While every dog is different, I find the dogs that I work with generally seem to fall into one of two types. The first types are the dogs who jump with excitement when I come near. They can hardly wait for that door to open, to be able get out, and have some contact with me.

The second type of dog that I encounter are more hesitant. Sometimes you open the door and they go to the back of the kennel to get as far away from me as possible. They are unsure and require patience and time to gain their trust. Sometimes, it takes a few attempts. But after turning the corner and gaining that trust, it feels like we can be friends forever.

It is always a gratifying feeling once the connection is made and the trust is granted. It is in this moment that I never cease to be amazed. Some dogs find the shelter very stressful. I think some must be confused about the situation they find themselves in. Others that I have met over the years have been chewed up by life. Yet there they are. Ready and willing to start fresh again with anyone who will take the time to make the connection.

It has struck me in the last while, that I treat each dog at the WHS in a very similar way that I treat my dog at home. I’ll squat down to their level and let them scooch right in so they can get in nice and close. Often as I’m squatting down I’ll say to the dog, “you tell me all about what’s going on”. I pet, scratch, and talk to them just as I do my own dog. I imagine what my life would be like with each dog at my side, what adventures we’d go on, the games we’d play, and the life we’d share.

And if dogs live in the moment, hopefully it is these moments that everything else that is going on around the two of us melts away. That the dog is able to put the stress of the shelter aside, feel the security of friendship, the warmth of some love, and just for those moments, feel like they are at home.

There is the saying, “home is where the heart is.” I’d like to make a change to this saying to read “home is within the heart.” All the dogs that I work with at the WHS are welcome.  I take them all home.

Dogs are beautiful animals.eab-02659-Edit

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WHS Annual General Meeting – Wednesday, May 4 Tue, 05 Apr 2016 14:37:57 +0000

WHS 2015 Annual General Meeting

WHERE: 45 Hurst Way

WHEN: Wednesday, May 4, 2016

7 p.m 


Welcome and Introductions

Approval of Minutes From 2014 Annual Meeting

 2015 Year in Review

By-law Review

 Approval of the Audited Year-End Financial Statements and Appointment of Auditors

Report from the Nominating Committee

Departing Board Member Recognition 

Award Presentations

Question & Comments


Fiscal Year Amendment section 52 Change

Click here to view the 2014 Annual General Report.

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The WHS thanks YOU with 30 Days of Gratitude Fri, 01 Apr 2016 14:37:09 +0000 Continued]]>

WHS CEO Javier Schwersensky and his cat Spencer thank you for all of your contributions!

April is a very special time at The WHS: it is our 30 Days of Gratitude month. As a community-supported organization, there are so many humbling moments, so much passion and dedication to saving lives and advocating for the humane treatment of all animals, that taking time to say thank-you is not only appropriate, but very much an honour.

Personally, I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to lead The Winnipeg Humane Society. Only a handful of individuals have had this honour since 1894, so I take this responsibility very seriously and I simply couldn’t do my job without the encouragement and support of our board, staff, volunteers and the many rescues and individuals that spend their time and money every day saving animals or advocating for their welfare. To all our partners, “thank you.” Today we announce a new partnership with the Winnipeg Missing and Found Watch Facebook group. And we hope to announce many more partnerships in the coming months.

We are also very grateful to the thousands of donors and financial supporters of The WHS. Close to 70% of our budget is supported through donations. We are deeply grateful for this support and we are and will remain careful stewards of the contributions we receive. Our volunteers, over 700 of them, also deserve our deepest gratitude: without them, our shelter would not be able to operate.

And last but certainly not least, I need to say thank you to the dedicated, professional and caring staff that are part of The WHS team. Every single staff member is committed to the organization and provides compassion, love and care to over 6,500 animals each year in our shelter, and many thousand more that we support through our clinic and the admirable work of our Animal Protection and Humane Officers. They are in the front-line of animal welfare, they save lives every single day.

So while every day we see neglected animals and it breaks our hearts, we also see happy individuals and families adopting their new furry family member. And the transformation between that scared and sick dog or cat and the happy, tail-wagging (or purring) animal ready for a new life is probably the biggest source of gratitude that anyone could possibly have.

Thank you for caring. Thank you for contributing. Thank you for working with us. We are humbled by your support and we remain open to learning about what the community needs and expects from us, and how to deliver in our promise to save lives and advance animal welfare.



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WHS begins month of gratitude with social media partnership Fri, 01 Apr 2016 14:21:42 +0000 Continued]]> The Winnipeg Humane Society (WHS) continues to expand its partnerships with local animal welfare groups with the goal of returning more lost cats to their families. The WHS is working with Winnipeg Missing and Found Cat Watch (WMFCW) in an effort to return lost cats to their homes more efficiently.

In 2015, The WHS admitted 6,044 cats – the most since 2010. The cats arrive at The WHS for a variety of reasons; some are stray, others surrendered. Lost cats also spend time at The WHS while they wait to be reunited with owners. Social media groups like WMFCW on Facebook help The WHS by reuniting lost pets with their owners quicker and without the need to bring them to The WHS.

“By working together, we can achieve our goal in bringing even more cats back home.  This is why our partnership with The Winnipeg Humane Society is so important,” says Marnie Singer from Winnipeg Missing and Found Cat Watch.

The WHS recommends for people who either lose or find a cat to post them on the WMFCW Facebook page.

“Social media groups like Winnipeg Missing and Found Cat Watch are a great benefit to our community,” says WHS CEO Javier Schwersensky. “We are always connected with our phones and computers, so naturally they make a great tool to help more lost cats return home. At the same time, it also reduces the strain we sometimes feel with many incoming cats at one time. We sincerely thank Winnipeg Missing and Found Cat Watch for its work in the community.”

Today’s thank you is the first in a month full of appreciation. The campaign – 30 Days of Gratitude – is The WHS’s way to recognize and show appreciation for the groups and individuals who help The WHS raise funds, care for, and support over 8,500 animals each year.  Each day, a thank you will be posted on The WHS’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.

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Cats’ lives saved by Winnipeg Humane Society Thu, 17 Mar 2016 18:14:33 +0000 Continued]]>  

Cats that wander the streets are at an increased risk and danger of serious injury. Whether the cat is a stray from cat overpopulation or owned and allowed to roam outside, the number of cats in need of urgent care never ceases to astound The Winnipeg Humane Society (WHS).

In the last two weeks, three cats brought to The WHS had gaping wounds, skin ripped away and burned, and a variety of broken limbs.


Stix arrived with an extensive section of the skin torn off her tail and burns on the hind legs. Clinic staff needed to remove her tail.


Tree Hugger was found freezing in a tree. She had scabs on her toes and is in need of part of her tail to be removed due to frostbite.


Bowie was discovered with a foot injury and had one of his toes amputated.

The WHS receives around 6,000 cats each year, many requiring urgent medical attention. The shelter is able to provide this care due to its donor support and events like the Liberty Tax Service 1001 Donations, which takes place this Sunday, March 20.

The telethon/radiothon helps raise money for the non-profit organization and benefits cats like Stix, Tree Hugger, and Bowie. The WHS uses the donations in its clinic, to feed and care for animals during their stay at The WHS, to provide supplies for foster families that care for WHS animals, and more.

1001 Donations will air on Shaw TV, QX 104.1, 94.3 The Drive, will stream online on The WHS’s website from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

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Lost and then found: Cooper’s story Thu, 10 Mar 2016 21:35:23 +0000 Continued]]> IMG_6103Close your eyes and imagine for a moment that your forever friend is missing. The animal you vowed to care and love for has disappeared. You feel helpless, you feel like you failed them, you have a sinking feeling in your stomach that you can’t ignore. It’s a traumatic feeling for you and your family, but unfortunately it does happen.

Cooper got away from his family and was lost for over 24 hours before being reunited. Cooper was posted on Winnipeg Lost Dog Alert and he along with the group searched for Cooper high and low. Eventually he was sighted on the ice of the Red River alone and two of our emergency responders were called to the scene. Cooper was once in the water, but found his way out and walked along the riverbank. WHS responders followed Coopers tracks for a few minutes and spotted him on a nearby balcony.

Cooper was terrified, and rightfully so. Our responders hung out with Cooper and offered him treats in attempt top calm him down and gain his trust. Eventually they managed to get him on a leash and bring him to The WHS, but he was still quite frightened and shaking. Our staff gave him some breakfast and then got to work finding his family.

Thankfully, the dog had proper identification so locating his family was a breeze. Our intake staff used his City of Winnipeg dog license and rabies tag to contact his family and let them know Cooper was with us. They had been searching high and low for the dog, and the phone call from The WHS came with a big  sigh of relief. Cooper was okay!

They wasted no time coming to the shelter to pick him up. Until that point, Cooper had been hiding in the back of his run and was terrified. It was clear that only the love from his family was going to bring him out of the kennel.

As soon as Cooper saw them, he jumped up for kisses and hugs. His tail was exuberantly wagging back and forth, while his family proudly called out his name “Cooper!!”

We still don’t know who was more excited: his family or the dog. It was probably a tie.

Our WHS staff sometimes encounter tough situations while on the job, and every now and then those stories are IMG_6098heartbreaking. But Cooper’s story fills us with joy and reminds us why we do this work. And we love sharing these stories with you, our supporters.

Cooper is just one of 1001 reasons why you are so important to our cause. When you support the Liberty Tax Service 1001 Donations you support lost dogs like Cooper. You support animals like Mittens and Yazmine in need of medical attention. You give dogs like Summer and cats across Winnipeg second chances, while creating new beginnings for others.

The WHS is only successful because of your support.

Tune into 1001 Donations on March 20 (Shaw TV, streaming online, QX 104.1, or 94.3 The Drive) to hear more about the success stories you were a part of and donate.

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Star Wars invades WHS’s annual 1001 Donations Thu, 10 Mar 2016 14:48:07 +0000 Continued]]>

Photo courtesy of “The Winnipeg Members of the 501st Canadian Garrison & friends.

The Winnipeg Humane Society will use the power of the Dark Side to raise funds for animals in its care. The 501st Legion, an Imperial Star Wars costuming club, will help the shelter raise funds at its annual Liberty Tax Service 1001 Donations Radio and Telethon on Sunday, March 20.

Stormtroopers, Darth Vader, bounty hunters, and more will be at the annual event aiming to raise money to support Manitoba’s largest animal shelter. The 501st Legion offers Star Wars fans a chance to interact with the intergalactic villains and take part in a blaster range contest in exchange for donations to The WHS. The Star Wars group has over 8,000 members with organizations that span across 20 countries, all aiming to support charities around the world.

“The bad guys will do some good for The WHS at the 1001 Donations Radio and Telethon,” says WHS Event Manager Jill Voth. “It’s going to be a great opportunity for Stars Wars fans to get up close and personal with characters from the Star Wars series and see how detailed the costumes are.”

The Liberty Tax Service 1001 Donations gives people 1001 reasons to support The WHS. Join Shaw TV, QX 104.1, 94.3 The Drive, or stream online on The WHS’s website from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. for a day that is all about the animals. Hear about their hardships and struggles, and how The WHS staff and volunteers helped them recover from issues like broken bones to behavioural issues.

The event, in its ninth annual year, is produced by Red River College’s Creative Communications students, and will feature guests from the Galactic Empire, along with more down-to-earth guests like Winnipeg Blue Bombers players, the K-9 Unit, and more.

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WHS to amputate leg: Removing severely injured leg gives dog new quality of life Wed, 02 Mar 2016 14:58:59 +0000 Continued]]>
Yazmine, a one-year-old Husky Shepherd, broke her front right leg and received no medical attention. The fracture incorrectly healed and now she’s been left with a significant limp and visibly deformed leg. Yazmine is now at The Winnipeg Humane Society and will receive treatment.

WHS Director of Animal Health Dr. Erika Anseeuw will amputate the leg giving Yazmine the best opportunity to live a fulfilling life, uninhibited by her leg. Yazmine received her behavioural assessment and will have her amputation, along with a spay surgery, on Thursday, March 3.Yazmine Close-upweb2

“There’s a possibility Yazmine’s leg could have been mended had she received care shortly after the injury. Unfortunately that was not the case, but Yazmine will be better off as a three-legged dog than one with a leg that caused such an obstruction,” says Dr. Anseeuw.

Dogs with three legs do not experience any detriment in their quality of life and adjust quickly to having three legs. Yazmine will find her balance while in foster care and recover from the surgery. Afterwards she’ll be available for adoption and capable of living an active and full life, just like any other four-legged canine.

Yazmine arrived at The WHS through the Save a Dog Network.

Her care and treatment is only made possible with the support of generous donors. Yazmine, along with thousands of other abused, neglected, and abandoned animals at The WHS this year will benefit from the annual Liberty Tax Service 1001 Donations telethon/radiothon on March 20 at The WHS.

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Books + Cupcakes = LOVE Fri, 12 Feb 2016 21:53:59 +0000 Continued]]>

Javier’s cat Spencer trying to get at the cupcakes.

As you may know, this weekend The WHS is holding our annual book sale AND we are celebrating National Cupcake Day. So on February 13 and 14th you can load up on great books and enjoy some delicious cupcakes and at the same time help us save thousands of animals and offer low-cost spay and neuter surgeries to thousands of pet owners who otherwise could not afford it.

One of my favourite hobbies is cooking. I love making great meals (and desserts) and enjoying them with friends and families. In honour of our cupcake day and book sale, I made a dozen of my French Madeleine cupcakes. Just in case you don’t make it on time to grab one (trust me, they are delicious if I say so myself!), here is the recipe and a few pictures I took while making them last night:

Javier’s French Madeleine Cupcake


Dry mix. In a bowl, mix thoroughly the following ingredients:

  • 5 cups all purpose flour or 1 cup all purpose flour and 0.5 cup almond meal
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of cardamom
  • 5 teaspoon of fine salt

Wet mix. In a large cup, whisk the following ingredients:Javier cupcakes

  • Using a zester (or a grater if you don’t have a zester) zest the skin of a blood orange or tangerine orange.
  • Mix the orange zest with 1 cup of sugar, or5 cup of light brown sugar and 0.5 cup of icing (powdered) sugar. Use your (clean) fingers until the sugar turns orange and it is thoroughly wet.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Mix and whisk ½ cup of plain Greek yogurt, or if you prefer a vegan cupcake, use ½ cup of almond yogurt
  • Add 3 eggs, or if you are vegan use 3 tablespoons of ground flax and 9 tablespoons of warm water, mix it and let it stand for 15 minutes.
  • Whisk vigorously for 3 minutes.

Now, put it all together:

  • Pour the wet mix into the dry mix and blend using a spatula until everything integrates into a batter.
  • Add ¼ cup of olive oil and ¼ cup of canola, corn or coconut oil. The batter will turn shiny, that’s what you want to see!
  • Pour the mix into cupcake/muffin moulds. Cook at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the top of the cupcake starts to brown.

The final product!

Optional ingredients:

  • You can add orange segments to the top of the cupcake right after pouring the batter.
  • After the cupcakes are done, you can add some melted honey to the top. I melt 3 tablespoons of honey and then just paint the top of the muffins.


And if you don’t want the hassle of making them and would like a dozen of my cupcakes, just email me your order and I will gladly bake them for you in exchange for a donation to The Winnipeg Humane Society!!

Remember, WHS supporters, I will use only the best ingredients and the money raised is for our animals so please make a generous offer.

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Summer’s story: How behaviour training gave her new opportunity Mon, 08 Feb 2016 21:51:25 +0000 Continued]]> Summer

Nothing makes me happier than a success story; especially one that involves an animal from The Winnipeg Humane Society. Such is the case for Summer. She and Catherine, one of The WHS’s talented behaviour trainers, stopped by for a visit last week to demonstrate what Summer has been up to since arriving under our care.

Summer had a big goofy grin on her face, and it was for good reason. After all, she had come a long way – literally and figuratively.

The one-year-and-four-month-old Labrador Retriever was seeking a forever home from Regina’s humane society, but there was an issue with her behaviour. She was seemingly aggressive towards the other dogs she came across. Since she was in a place with many dogs, she didn’t show well to the public who visited her. People saw an aggressive and loud dog, rather than the sweet and playful girl she really is.

The WHS was asked to take on Summer because our shelter is equipped with a behaviour department that knows how to work with dogs like her and manage how they react to other dogs. Summer arrived in a kennel with a sign on her door: ‘Do not open around other dogs.’

We quickly learned why. The first time Catherine tried walking Summer around the adoption floor was a challenge. Summer was over-stimulated from everything going on around her: Dogs to the left, dogs to the right, dogs barking at her, her barking at other dogs, etc. Summer was lunging up at the glass that separated her from other dogs in their pods and barking fiercely at them.

So how does The WHS work with a dog like this? How does the behaviour staff help Summer showcase all of the positive attributes she has within herself? After all, she’s a cute dog with a lot of affection and would make a great addition to a forever home. Training Summer with positive reinforcement was the key.

Summer learned the ‘look at that’ technique. The goal was to reward Summer with a treat every time she would look at another dog – even if she reacted. Each time she looked at another dog, she started to anticipate the treat more, and reacted less. While she still reacts a little bit, she’s improving each day with this technique. Summer was making eye contact with other barking dogs, but she calmly sat there and proudly accepted her treat.

Summer was so excited to be adopted on Feb. 8. She could hardly keep still.

Summer was so excited to be adopted on Feb. 8. She could hardly keep still.

“How long has Summer been learning this?” I asked Catherine, incredibly impressed at how far the dog had come along. She didn’t look like a reactive dog to me.

“Only about five days,” Catherine said. She explained that some people think Summer was an aggressive dog based on how she reacted to others. But she only reacts that way while on leash or when there’s barriers between her and the other dog. Summer was just frustrated and needed to learn how to avoid reacting at other dogs in these situations (speaking of which, have you heard about The WHS’s Reactive Rover classes?)

Summer’s frustration has decreased and she’s had the opportunity to make some new friends at The WHS. Her best friend? Quasi, a four-month-old Shepherd/Husky, who is quite big for his size. They have a similar play style and have a ton of fun together.

Now, Summer is in a forever home with another canine friend and living the fulfilled life she deserves.


SummerQuasiResizeBecause of the Behaviour Department, Summer received a second chance. She looked like an aggressive dog to many people, but The WHS saw the potential in her.

The WHS is proud of its behaviour staff and volunteers. They play a critical role in assisting dogs like Summer with reactivity issues. Because of the behaviour team, Summer is learning how to change an impulse that would have otherwise deterred people from adopting her.

Have you ever experienced behaviour issues with your dog similar to Summer’s? The WHS can help you with a wide variety of classes that will assist you with teaching your dog obedience, better leash walking, and curb their reactive natures. The WHS Yelp Line also contains a wealth of knowledge when it comes to issues you might experience with your pet.

Don’t own a dog but considering welcoming one into your home? Think it through, and come down to 45 Hurst Way to meet our adoptable animals.

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