The Winnipeg Humane Society Sat, 13 Feb 2016 16:38:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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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WHS offers 500 more spay/neuter surgeries after overwhelming response Fri, 05 Feb 2016 14:52:35 +0000 Continued]]> After overwhelming response from the community, The WHS will spay or neuter an additional 500 cats for only $5 through its Fix ‘Em February program.

The program, designed for families and individuals on low or fixed incomes, was introduced in late January and completely booked less than a week later. The astounding reaction from the community proves a need to offer more spay and neuter cat surgeries at extremely low costs.

“We’re grateful for the response and hope more people will register. Fix ‘Em February demonstrates the urgency and need for offering extremely low cost spay and neuter options,” says WHS CEO Javier Schwersensky. “We cannot put a dent in cat overpopulation without having these surgeries available to those who need it most.”

The program, designed to combat cat overpopulation, is funded through the City of Winnipeg Animal Services Agency’s FIXIT grant and generous WHS donors. The WHS pursued additional funding to fix 500 more cats in March. By the end of the two month period, The WHS’s goal is to have 1,000 fewer intact cats living in Winnipeg.

“The response to The WHS’s Fix ‘Em February has been astounding, and we’re thrilled to be able to support the initiative,” said Leland Gordon, Chief Operating Office of Winnipeg’s Animal Services Agency.

The WHS offers subsidized spay and neuter surgeries through its SNAP program for $25, but the increased funding ensures even more low income families can afford surgery.

How to register:

The WHS encourages people to book their spay/neuter surgery online. Appointments can also be booked by:

  • Phone: 204-888-7627
  • Visiting The WHS Clinic at 45 Hurst Way.

Cats should be a minimum of four months old, in good health, and must be transported to and from their appointment in a pet carrier. Proof of income or a social assistance plan number and residence are required when dropping your cat off for surgery.

Book online!

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The WHS offers five dollar fixings this February Mon, 25 Jan 2016 15:35:30 +0000 Continued]]>

The Winnipeg Humane Society (WHS) will offer five dollar cat spay and neuter surgeries to families and individuals living on low or fixed incomes and reside in Winnipeg. Fix ‘Em February is a joint initiative funded by the City of Winnipeg Animal Services Agency and WHS donors. It will spay and neuter 500 cats next month in an effort to combat cat overpopulation.

In spring cats come to heat, which leads to an increase in cat overpopulation. The WHS also receives a surge of incoming cats during this time.

“We need Fix ‘Em February because we need to prevent cats from wandering the streets of Winnipeg,” says WHS CEO Javier Schwersensky. “Cat licensing and spay and neuter surgeries create solutions to combat cat overpopulation. It’s crucial to offer spay and neuter surgeries at an extremely low cost to those who can’t afford it.”

The WHS offers subsidized spay and neuter surgeries for $25, but thanks to funding from the City of Winnipeg Animal Services Agency FIXIT grant and WHS donors can offer surgeries in February for 1/5th the cost.

“Low cost spay and neuter surgeries play a critical role in preventing unwanted litters,” says Leland Gordon, Chief Operating Officer of Winnipeg’s Animal Services Agency. “The FIXIT grant aims to help community-minded organizations like The WHS create an affordable way to spay and neuter your cat.”

How to register:
The WHS encourages people to register online by clicking here. Appointments can also be booked by:

  • Phone: 204-888-7627
  • Visiting The WHS Clinic at 45 Hurst Way.

Cats should be a minimum of four months old, in good health, and must be transported to and from their appointment in a pet carrier. Proof of income or a social assistance plan number and residence are required when dropping your cat off for surgery.

Book online!

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Winnipeg Humane Society accepting donations for Book and Movie Sale Mon, 11 Jan 2016 17:33:10 +0000 Continued]]> The Winnipeg Humane Society is looking for donations of gently used books and DVDs of all genres.  Donations may be dropped off at the front reception desk inside The WHS’s shelter (45 Hurst Way).  The deadline for accepting donations is Wednesday, February 10, 2016.

The WHS is looking for:

  • Novels, non-fiction, and general books in good condition
  • DVDs and Blu-rays
  • Video games (PlayStation, Xbox, Wii)

The WHS cannot accept:

  • VHS movies
  • Dictionaries, encyclopaedias, textbooks
  • Time Life series
  • Magazines
  • Manuals or newspapers
  • Reader’s Digest
  • Board games/puzzles
  • Library books
  • Equipment  – VCR’s, DVD/CD players, TV’s, computers or gaming systems
  • CD’s, cassette tapes, books on tape, records

A fundraising sale will be held at the shelter February 13 (10 a.m. – 6 p.m.) & 14 (12-6 p.m.).

All proceeds from the sale will go towards caring for the more than 8,500 animals The WHS receives per year.

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Discover the power of art in farm animal activism Thu, 07 Jan 2016 19:18:03 +0000 Continued]]> On January 13 at 7 p.m., Twyla Francois, a farmed animal cruelty investigator who has worked with several organizations including Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Farmed Animals, will give a presentation called “Making the Invisible Visible: Advocating for Farmed Animals” in The Winnipeg Humane Society (WHS) Classroom. The presentation will focus on using art as a tool for animal activism.

Farm Animal Banner


The presentation is part of The WHS’s Farm Animal Compassion Committee Speaker Series. This

TwylaFrancoisPosterpresentation will not include graphic images of animal cruelty, but will instead focus on intrinsic love for animals. It will encourage people to have the same compassion for farmed animals that they would for animals traditionally kept as pets.

“Art can give us a sense of discovery when we figure out the message of a piece. That sense of ownership over the message can inspire us to take action,” says Francois.

Francois realized during her long career of cruelty investigating that graphic footage and images of suffering doesn’t reach everybody. She began painting as a way to cope with the mistreatment of farmed animals she saw, and now she uses her art to reach and educate people about the plight of farmed animals in a gentle, yet compelling and effective way.

“Art can reach people who turn away from graphic photos and videos. And it can be even more emotional, as much of the interpretation is up to the viewer,” says Francois.

Her work as a farmed animal cruelty investigator has been the subject of numerous documentaries, and her investigations have led to closures of facilities, animal cruelty charges and convictions, corporate animal welfare policy reforms, government-commissioned research, and the rescue of abused and neglected farmed animals.

The WHS is dedicated to promoting the welfare and dignity of all animals, including farmed animals.

For more information about Francois and her art, visit

Event Information


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Learn to stop your dog from lunging while on leash Tue, 05 Jan 2016 21:24:20 +0000 Continued]]> Beginning in Mid-February, The Winnipeg Humane Society (WHS) will offer a highly specialized class called Reactive Rover to help people train leash reactive dogs.

A leash reactive dog may be completely friendly off-leash, but when leashed they become reactive they may lunge, bark, or display other aggressive behaviour when seeing another dog. This can cause difficulty and inconvenience for the owner as they may need to walk their reactive dog extremely early in the morning, late at night, or may not be able to walk the dog on a leash at all. Having high leash reactivity may cause the normally friendly dog to be perceived as aggressive or dangerous by people they encounter.

Correction and punishment only makes leash reactivity worse, as they increase the reactive dog’s stress. This class will emphasize using new equipment, approaches, and techniques that are not based on punishment to overcome a dog’s leash reactivity.

The WHS is a leader in dog training in the province and has three Certified Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT) on staff.  Reactive Rover classes will feature two CPDT trainers during each session to ensure all participants are receiving the best possible instruction.

The Reactive Rover class will be individualized for the needs of each dog and their owner, because of this class size will be limited. Classes are scheduled every Sunday for six weeks from Feb. 14 to March 6. Class time is 10 – 11 a.m. To register, click here.

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The Three Stages of Handling Deafness in Dogs: Suspicion, Confirmation, and Adjustment Tue, 29 Dec 2015 16:02:49 +0000 Continued]]>

Buddy’s owner performs “the bowl test.”


Dogs can go deaf for a variety of different reasons. Like humans, dogs can suffer from congenital deafness, being born deaf, or they can go deaf at some point in their lives. Dogs that are prone to frequent ear infections are at higher risk of deafness. An injury to the ear could leave a dog more likely to become deaf, or they could go deaf from old age.

White dogs are more likely to be born deaf than dogs of other colours. But no matter the cause of deafness, deaf dogs are completely capable of leading full and happy lives.

Let’s follow our friend Buddy and his owner as they navigate through the three stages of handling deafness.

Have you noticed any of these three signs?

  1. Is Buddy startled when you approach him? Usually dogs hear their owners coming. If you’re walking up to Buddy in the morning, and he doesn’t seem to realize you’ve approached and gets startled, a possible explanation could be deafness. It could be that you just caught him in the middle of a nap. But if it always seems like you’re sneaking up on Buddy, then something might be up.
  2. Has Buddy stopped coming when you call him? If you’re used to Buddy having turn-on-a-dime recall, but you’ve noticed he’s getting more and more oblivious to you, and it doesn’t seem like he’s listening when you call him that could be a sign of deafness. Some owners think their dogs are just being willful for one reason or another, maybe old age. And while that is possible, large personality changes can be signs of a bigger issue.
  3. Has Buddy stopped barking when people come to the door? If Buddy has always been known to bark or get excited when someone comes to the door, but now he’s just letting any old person into the house, that’s another possible sign his hearing might be impaired.

It seems like something is definitely up. How can we tell for sure if Buddy has gone deaf?

At The Winnipeg Humane Society, a common test we perform is called “the bowl test.” It’s a test you can do easily at home.

Make sure Buddy is facing the other way, and can’t see you. Grab a metal bowl, and drop it on the floor from standing height. It’s going to make a loud noise. If Buddy doesn’t react at all, that’s a pretty big sign he actually couldn’t hear it.

You can perform the same test with other sounds. For example, with Buddy still facing away from you, grab his favourite squeaky toy and squeak it. Did he react?

There is a technical test you can’t perform at home, called a BEAR test (Brain Evoked Auditory Response Test.) There are virtually no risks associates with a BEAR test. Electrodes are attached to a dog’s head to monitor brain activity while a series of sounds are played for the dog. This test can tell which ear is hearing how much, and can give a definitive diagnosis based in science.

It’s official; Buddy is deaf. What do you do now?

Dogs learn just as much, if not more, from our body language as they do from our words. When you’re telling Buddy to “sit” or “stay,” he’s watching your body language while he’s listening to what you’re saying.

Focus on body language when you’re adjusting to interacting with Buddy now that he’s deaf. Think about what kinds of body language you use when you’re giving Buddy commands, and exaggerate those movements from now on.

There’s a myth that deaf dogs are more likely to be aggressive because they could get startled more easily. However, this is not true. Deaf dogs are no more likely to be aggressive than dogs that can hear.

Remember, Buddy can have the same quality of life without his hearing as he did before he went deaf!

Keep loving Buddy and being his best friend, he’ll know how you feel, even if he can’t hear you say it.

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Season’s Greetings from Snowflake Tue, 22 Dec 2015 15:39:00 +0000 Continued]]> Snowflake

It’s amazing how much can change in a matter of months. If dogs could talk then Snowflake, the standard poodle that was severely burned in a car collision, could tell you as much. In just a few months, Snowflake has progressed from a downed dog in critical care to her usual happy-go-lucky self.

Snowflake and her owner Wade stopped by The Winnipeg Humane Society in December for a visit with the clinic staff that cared for her during part of her recovery. Veterinarians Dr. Anseeuw and Dr. Youngs were greeted by an enthusiastic Snowflake. She was eager to say hi to The WHS Clinic staff that played a big role in her recovery, and our staff members were thrilled to see how Snowflake has recovered since that fateful day in mid-August.


Snowflake has a shiny and soft new coat of fur growing on her chest and neck where she had once been burned. While there are still small patches of bare skin on Snowflake’s back, they’ve been covered up nicely by curly fur.

One of Snowflake’s most prominent features after the accident was her nose. The skin had been burned off and left bright red which eventually faded to pink. But now, one would need to look quite closely for any damage. Besides a tiny pink spot, Snowflake’s nose is back to its original black colour.

Snowflake’s back legs are the only way to tell she was involved in the car accident. There’s still some exposed skin in the area, but it hasn’t stopped Snowflake from living a happy and fulfilling life!

After everything Snowflake went through, she’s still as fun and free-spirited as ever. Her good-natured attitude was a big asset when being treated at The WHS Clinic. Snowflake would wait patiently while the staff did everything they could to treat her and make sure she was comfortable. While she couldn’t say it, we have a good feeling Snowflake knew The WHS was looking out for her and appreciated the care and support provided during her recovery process.


Wade says Snowflake is her same old self since returning home. The sociable dog’s biggest issue is that she can’t be in two places at once to greet everyone! She still enjoys going for car rides, loves spending time with Wade in his shop, and playing around in the yard with her sister Sasha.

Because of you, Snowflake is a joyous dog that will be celebrating the holiday season with those she loves most. You helped The WHS raise $20,000 to support Snowflake during her recovery.

To help other animals like Snowflake through their trials, please donate to The WHS today.

To donate, call 204-982-2041 or click the button below.

Donate Now

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The do’s and don’ts of giving a pet this holiday season Sat, 19 Dec 2015 16:00:01 +0000 Continued]]> 370103 Buck

During the holiday season, we want to give our loved ones the best presents we can. We want to surprise them, and bring them delight with the gift we’ve picked out just for them.

So when you see an adorable puppy, kitten, or bunny before Christmas, it might cross your mind that this animal could make a great present for someone in your life. What could be more thoughtful than giving someone a new best friend who will love them unconditionally?

It’s a nice thought, but in reality, giving an animal as a gift is sometimes not the best idea. However, giving an animal as a gift can work if there’s enough thought and consideration put into it. It’s okay to give a pet as a gift during the holidays, but it should never be as a surprise.

Here are some things to consider:

An animal is a 10-20 year commitment

Nobody should be surprised with an animal they will have to take care of for the next decade or more. It should be a planned decision somebody makes for themselves or after lots of discussion with the gift-giver.

Owning a pet is an investment

The first year alone of owning a dog can cost a lot of money, and that’s not including any unexpected vet bills that might come along. You might know somebody who would love to have the companionship of a pet in their life, but do you really know if they are in the right financial position to take one on?

The holiday season is busy and stressful

Bringing a pet home is always stressful as the animal adjusts to life with you, and you adjust to life with the animal. It’s important to keep your home as calm as possible during the transition. The holidays are a very busy time and a source of stress for many families. This creates the exact opposite environment of what you should be trying to create while your new friend settles in.

Plan in advance

A pet should be a well thought out decision. Instead of surprising your family with a pet on Christmas day, plan ahead.

Start thinking about adopting in the fall, and meet some different animals to see who will be the best fit for the family. If you adopt in the fall or early winter, you get to experience the holiday season with a new pet, but by the time the holidays arrive, the pet has settled in a bit. You could even agree that the pet was an early Christmas gift. Adopting an animal from a shelter like The WHS is also a special gift to an animal in need.

Give a “Gift Certificate”

If there’s someone you want to get a pet for, you could give that person some basic pet supplies for Christmas, and include a “gift certificate” saying you’d love to pick out a pet with them and pay the adoption fees in January when the holidays have wound down.

Doing this gives the recipient of the gift a chance to think about the decision, and meet some animals. If they decide they don’t want to go through with getting a pet for one reason or another, the pet supplies can be returned to the store, or donated to a shelter.

Making responsible choices about pets around Christmas can save unwanted animals from being given to shelters in the days and weeks following the holidays. A pet is for life, not just for Christmas!

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