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Peterborough Humane Society – Guest Blog

Choose Local! Guest Blog written by Emily Craigen of  Peterborough Humane Society

Yes, you can still be a good pet owner if you adopt during a holiday…during a pandemic.

There is an outdated perception that persists every holiday season that humane societies & animal rescue groups around the world discourage bringing a new pet home for the holidays. Cue 2020 and add in a pandemic that has animal welfare advocates voicing concerns about pet adoptions in general during unsettled times…what is a prospective pet owner striving to make a responsible choice to think?

Here at the Peterborough Humane Society, the “new normal” of COVID-19 and all the challenges brought with it has certainly changed our adoption process but has in no way shape or form weakened it.


Bailey the dog and his new Mom!

Bailey and his new Mom!

Facilitating the Human-Animal Bond

We’ve been fortunate to help facilitate almost 500 adoptions throughout 2020, meaning hundreds of amazing, committed individuals took home a new pet to become a valued family member. The families we send our animals home with are put through a detailed application process and followed up with frequently after the animal leaves our care. Our process is thorough, with the interest of the animal at the forefront of every application, every meet and greet and every forever family that walks out our doors.

Here at PHS, our adoption numbers are down from our previous average annual numbers. This is due to a couple factors: we did pause adoptions for 1 month at the height of the pandemic earlier this year and our updated, limited contact adoption process is lengthier due to appointment-based viewing and meet and greets.

Another factor impacting the amount of adoptions we facilitated this past year is the availability of spay/neuter appointments. In response to COVID-19, local vets have also adjusted their processes so every element in the “chain” takes longer, meaning a longer stay for the animals under our care. Yet another reason we’re so thrilled to have raised over $7 million of our $10 million goal to build our new Animal Care Centre, which will support our community through our very own on-site, accessible High-Volume Spay and Neuter Clinic.

Architectural Rendering of new Animal Care Centre

Architectural Rendering of new Animal Care Centre

Now more than ever, pets are essential members of the family. We know this in our hearts and countless studies have shown healthy physical and emotional habits are linked strongly to the presence of an animal in the home. Bringing a new pet home during a holiday (or during a pandemic) is not something that needs to be shunned. Provided the adopter is included in the process and the pet is not a “surprise” to its main caretaker, we wholeheartedly encourage families who interested in bringing a new furry family member home to consider adoptions at any time of year.

Communications & Development Coordinator, Emily Craigen, with Doug the hugging cat

Communications & Development Coordinator, Emily Craigen, with Doug the hugging cat

5 Tips for Bringing Home a New Pet During the Holidays

If you are considering adopting a pet this Christmas, here are some tips to keep in mind from our PHS family:

  1. You must be ready to commit both the time & money required for the lifespan of an animal (could be up 20 years).
  2. If adopting a pet for a child, remember the parent is ultimately responsible for the pet (so be prepared to take care of the animal!).
  3. Consider adopting an older cat or a middle-aged dog. They are typically the hardest animals to place as majority of prospective pet owners think they want a kitten or puppy. Older pets come with more personality and less training needed for areas like potty-training etc.
  4. The holidays mean lots of extra food hanging around! Keep boxes of chocolates securely in a cupboard, safe from an animals curiosity! Dogs can also get very sick with pancreatitis after consuming a fatty meal, so avoid feeding leftover Christmas ham or sausages.
  5. Having a new pet around means being extra mindful of your surroundings. Seemingly innocent looking Christmas decorations and ornaments make wonderful objects to get stuck in the stomach after swallowing, so keep them out of reach of pets to avoid unnecessary and expensive surgery.


Ready to make the commitment to a new family member this holiday season? Visit and make this Christmas one to remember.

If you aren’t ready to bring a pet home yet, but still want to support animals in need, you can donate now to the animals in our care here.

Volunteer dog walker, Ted, with Molly

Volunteer dog walker, Ted, with Molly