animal welfare fundraising News/Blog Pet adoption

Pet ID tags

We’re excited to partner with Tags for Hope in offering their beautiful pet ID tags to our supporters, with 35% of all proceeds coming back to Vancouver Humane! These are quite possibly the best tags available for your companion animals (and make great keychains!), as there’s space for contact info, medical needs, and even your vet’s contact info on the back!

Media Release

VHS urges Whistler Film Festival to resist pressure to withdraw sled dog film

Vancouver Humane Society urges Whistler Film Festival to resist pressure to withdraw sled dog film

VANCOUVER, Dec. 1, 2016 – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is urging the Whistler Film Festival to resist calls from the sled dog industry to withdraw a documentary questioning the treatment of dogs within the industry. The film, Sled Dogs, is set to premiere at the festival this Saturday.

According to media reports, the festival has received letters from lawyers calling for the film to be withdrawn and has attracted opposition on social media.  VHS, which was interviewed for the film, says it’s important that people see what the documentary reveals and make up their own minds.

“This is a matter of free speech,” said VHS spokesman Peter Fricker.  “The plight of dogs used in this industry needs to be exposed.  We hope the festival will not succumb to pressure to silence those who question the treatment of sled dogs.”

VHS campaigned for a ban on sled dog tours and races in 2011, following revelations that dozens of sled dogs belonging to a Whistler tour company had been brutally killed.  Despite public outrage, new regulations introduced by the B.C. government did not end the industry practice of tethering dogs for long periods and it remains legal to kill dogs by gunshot.


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Lola & Susie receive help through VHS’s McVitie Fund

There are few options available for good pet owners who fall on hard times. Sometimes all it takes is an unexpected circumstance, like an injury at work or being laid off, which can make covering an equally unexpected vet bill for your pet overwhelming.

That’s where the Vancouver Humane Society’s McVitie Fund comes in. It’s our goal to help animals and people in need and to keep cherished pets in already loving homes, instead of being unnecessarily euthanized or surrendered to already crowded shelters.

Through donations to the McVitie Fund, VHS has been able to help provide emergency care for close to 1500 animals to date. We’ve also helped spay/neuter over 4200 animals, in an effort to address the pet overpopulation issue.

lola and susie2Lola and Susie are just two of the many animals helped through your generous donations. These two mean the world to their guardian, who tells us they are not only important members of his family, but play a crucial role in his mental health. So when Lola and Susie both developed a chronic skin issue, he worked tirelessly with the vet to resolve the problem. It seemed the source was likely environmental and due to issues with the building he and the dogs lived in. After little was done to rectify the situation on the part of the landlord, the three moved to a new home. Due to his limited income, their guardian reached out to VHS for help in getting Lola and Susie’s skin issues cleared up once and for all. Thanks to VHS’s supporters, Lola and Susie were able to get the treatment they needed and are now on the mend. Their caregiver is beyond grateful for the support of complete strangers during a tough time.

lola and susie

This is just one example of the many cases we assist with through your support. An incredible VHS supporter has issued a matching gift challenge through which donations made to the McVitie Fund before April 30th, 2016 will be matched, up to $20,000! This means we can help even more animals in need of emergency care.

Please, donate today, double your impact and encourage others to contribute to this much-needed fund. Help us help animals in need, like Lola and Susie.

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Help animals in need, like Rosie, this holiday season

rosie6When Rosie’s guardian was given Rosie as a puppy, the two had an instant connection. Not only was Rosie an adorable and sweet puppy, but her gentle nature was especially helpful for her caregiver, who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Soon after though, Rosie began to experience difficulty walking and a vet determined she had been born with a congenital defect in both hind legs that would only worsen as she aged. If the condition was not surgically corrected, she’d never walk normally again.

Her guardian, who is on disability for PTSD and whose roommate abruptly moved out leaving her to cover rent alone, desperately needed help. She was able to cover the cost of surgery for one of Rosie’s legs, but needed help finding the funds for her other leg. Rosie’s caregiver was worried that she wouldn’t get her companion the surgery she needed so she could walk, run and just be a dog!

Below is a video of Rosie before surgery.

Rosie needs leg surgery

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It was heartbreaking to see her best friend struggle to move around and enjoy life as she should. Still, despite Rosie’s own limitations, she was her caregiver’s constant companion. The pair that took such good care of each other now needed a helping hand.

Rosie’s guardian reached out to VHS and, thanks to a very special anonymous donor, we were able to help Rosie with the surgery she needed and get her back on ALL fours! Her caregiver updated us that after her recovery period, Rosie is now enjoying life to the fullest – walking, running and playing! She tells us that seeing Rosie enjoy her new-found independence brings her such happiness and that she couldn’t be more grateful for the help from complete strangers in giving a little dog her freedom back.

Below is a video of Rosie post-surgery!


Rosie Post surgery

Rosie is like many other animals in need who VHS helps through our McVitie fund. Only through donations from supporters like you are we able to help low-income pet guardians with an emergency bill or in having their pet spayed/neutered.

This holiday season, please consider giving back to those in need by making a donation to the McVitie Fund. Your gift will be doubled thanks to a generous anonymous donor and all gifts are eligible for a tax receipt!


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Sadie needed help after hit and run

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VHS’s McVitie Fund is there for animals needing emergency medical care



Sadie is lucky to be alive. She was out for an evening walk with her dad on a
Vancouver street early in November and when the two didn’t return home for several hours.

Sadie’s mom frantically reported them missing to police. When they were found
several hours later at a nearby hospital, her dad was unconscious and little Sadie, a five-month-old French Bulldog, was badly injured. They had been struck by a hit-and run driver.

Sadie’s mom was devastated when she found her in the ER, “I was heartbroken when I saw Sadie’s face, swollen and bloody, as a police officer handed her to me wrapped up in a blanket – I could feel her leg was limp so I rushed her to the nearest animal ER in the middle of the night” “I wasn’t sure at that point if she would live”.

Sadi post opSadie was diagnosed with a fractured femoral bone in her back leg and a severe bruising around her mouth and eyes. She needed expensive medication and her surgery needed to be scheduled within the following few days to ensure proper recovery.

Sadie’s family had just moved to Vancouver for work and needed help with the
unexpected cost of Sadie’s treatment. VHS contributed $500 and Sadie got the surgery she needed.

Her operation was a success and she is back at home with her mom and dad, recovering well. She’ll soon be back to being the “energetic and affectionate” puppy that her family loves so much. “Sadie is like our child, we never expected something like this to ever happen, she’s so young, and we had to do the surgery in such a short amount of time. We’re so grateful for VHS’s support.”

Sadie is like many animals that VHS helps thanks to the generous donors who support our McVitie Fund for sick and injured animals. When animals need emergency medical care, VHS does its best to make sure they get the help they need.

Your donation will help us cover the cost of Sadie’s surgery and ensure other animals get the chance at life that she did.  Your donation will be doubled thanks to a generous anonymous donor.

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Black Sheep Organics: Cruelty-free grooming products for your dog

black sheep bug spray, ear wash, toothpaste

Black Sheep Organics is a Vancouver company offering cruelty-free, natural, hand-crafted dog grooming products. The company uses organic, locally sourced ingredients, has adopted eco-friendly business practices and uses minimal and recyclable packaging. VHS interviewed proprietors Hilary Barchashand and Adam Coladipietro to find out more about their business.




VHS: Can you say a bit about what motivated you to open Black Sheep Organics?

H&A: We were planning our other company, an organic dog grooming spa, and wanted a fully organic line of dog grooming products to use in-house and sell in our retail area. What we wanted   ̶ an organic, bio-degradable, cruelty-free product made with as few ingredients as possible that were locally sourced, and had ethical and eco-friendly business practice   ̶ just wasn’t out there.

VHS: Was it difficult to start this kind of business?

H&A: For us it’s fun and meaningful, so we wouldn’t say difficult. Researching and developing our products from the ground up was our first biggest challenge, second to that is finding the time to spend growing our company.

VHS: How is the business going now and how do you feel about the future of Black Sheep Organics?

H&A: The demand for our type of product is there, with people being far more aware and concerned about the health of their pets, our environment, and animal testing for cosmetics. We want to grow this company large enough so that everybody has access to cruelty-free products with a small eco-footprint, that are healthy for their dog.

VHS: Who are your customers? Is there a predominant demographic?

H&A: Our customers are mostly women, varying in age from their mid-twenties and up. A lot of our customers are health conscious and often eat organically and feed their pets raw, organic meals. Vegans and vegetarians like our products because our products are not made with any animal ingredients, and are cruelty-free.

VHS: How do you reach your customers?

H&A: We have a fabulous sales representative, Melanie MacCarthy, who works with local pet stores and grooming salons. We also have a webstore and we are building our online presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

VHS: Do you think the market is growing for cruelty-free products?

H&A: Yes. I think at one time this was a fringe market, but the internet and social media has made people aware of the dirty business behind the cosmetics industry.

VHS: What do you think needs to happen to encourage consumers to make more ethical choices?

H&A: Education. We need to keep talking about it. When more people are aware of the cruelty that takes place to create cosmetics, they will vote with their dollars.

VHS: What keeps you positive and optimistic?

H&A: Knowing that we are making the world a better place.

VHS: What’s your most popular product?

H&A: Most of the year it’s our Lavender & Geranium Shampoo for Dogs, but in the summer, it’s our Bug Spray for Dogs.

VHS: What do you find most rewarding or satisfying about running Black Sheep Organics?

H&A: We do good. We help mother nature.



Contact Black Sheep Organics:
Tel: 778 228 0151

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Furry foes find friendship

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Jack Russells don’t usually have rats for buddies. The terriers have been used to hunt rats since the 19th century and are known to be ferociously efficient at their job.  But, as these photos from an animal-loving VHS fan show, sometimes friendship can overcome generations of breeding and a tough reputation.

Pictured above is Chibi giving a ride to his new friend Fizbo, an adorable pet rat. Below Chibi and Fizbo get up close and personal.

Jack Russell & rat

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The dilemmas of modern vet care

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In a recent article in the Globe and Mail, columnist Margaret Wente described the emotional ordeal she faced when her cat became ill, requiring prolonged and extensive medical care and, ultimately, euthanization.

Wente also recounted the high cost of veterinary care, which millions of pet guardians face when their companions become ill.  For her, money was not a critical issue, but for most Canadians – especially those on low or fixed incomes – it is.

As Wente points out, in the past veterinary care was limited in scope and complex cases usually resulted in euthanization.  But now, with scientific advances, there are many more life-saving treatment options – but they come with a high cost.  Coinciding with this development has been a rise in the status of companion animals.  They are now considered part of the family.

These are positive changes for companion animals but they also present difficult emotional and financial dilemmas for many people. What do you do when the vet tells you that your cat’s life can be saved but the bill may run into the thousands of dollars? Here at VHS, we are all too familiar with such dilemmas. Almost daily, we receive calls for help from people facing unexpected and often high bills for veterinary care.  Our ability to help is limited, as our McVitie Fund for sick and injured animals becomes quickly depleted from high demand. (We’re thankful for the support received for this fund from those that can afford it and who are willing to help animals they will never know.)

There are no easy answers when it comes to weighing the health and well-being of animals against the potentially astronomical costs of vet care.  Some have argued that perhaps only those who can afford high vet bills should take on the responsibility of pet guardianship.  Yet we know of many low-income people who make remarkable efforts and sacrifices to ensure the health and well-being of their animals.  Some of these people are elderly or disabled and their cat or dog means everything to them. Should wealth be the determinant of who gets to enjoy the profound benefits of animal companionship?  Most people would find such a restriction unfair and unworkable.

Nevertheless, VHS urges anyone considering adopting (please don’t buy!) an animal to remember that it is a considerable financial responsibility.  One option is to buy pet insurance, although it is not cheap.  Another option is to put aside a few dollars each month into an account kept specifically for vet bills – that way funds will be available for emergency vet care or an especially high bill.

VHS and other animal groups that help with emergency vet care will always do what we can but, ultimately, anyone giving a home to an animal must take personal responsibility for that animal.  Remember, their lives are in your hands.