Errors of omission

Hot Off the Collar | Volume 1

Most of us have a strictly defined self-image. If you’re like me, that image takes a beating from time to time but essentially, once you become an adult, it’s pretty static. If I was to summarize my own image it would be: advocate for animal welfare, musician, mediocre but passionate athlete, and writer. It’s the writer part that is a bit embarrassed in relation to the recent delivery of our summer newsletter.

After writing about the loss of our beautiful Molly and comparing that experience to watching the KHS staff assist a woman who, like me, had to face the end of her beloved pet’s life, I forgot one critical thing. I didn’t sign what I wrote. Omitting a byline might seem like a minor infraction but considering my background as a freelance writer and a former journalist, it’s unforgiveable. Freelancers get paid based on their byline and reporters maintain professional credibility with their byline. Neither of those standards applies to me as the new Executive Director of the Kingston Humane Society, but the oversight left a number of people confused and uncertain. For that I apologize. I could say that I was overwhelmed by losing Molly and writing through a cascade of tears makes editing and proofing copy more difficult. I could say that my new position has been a whirlwind of information, responsibilities and unfamiliar experiences and I was distracted. I could say that I’m getting older and probably need glasses. But, all of those things that I could say, are just excuses. I totally missed the fact that my byline wasn’t included and I’m sorry. Considering the number of phone calls I answered in the days following the delivery of the newsletter, you can be certain it won’t happen again. The wonderful thing about the people who support the KHS is that not one single person who reached out to me was negative. Responses ranged from kind humour, “I know your wife’s name is Ginette and I’m so sorry about Molly. I feel like I know so much about you…except your name.” To supportive curiosity, “I really enjoyed the article by the new executive director, I’m just not sure who he is.” To analytical, “I downloaded the newsletter and did a thorough search. I cannot find the name of the new executive director anywhere.”

The gentle nature of the contacts definitely reduced my level of embarrassment and even with the glaring omission, the content was well received. Since the newsletter was delivered in early July, we’ve had dozens of messages encouraging us to continue our commitment to palliative care. Hiro’s story – which we plan to update soon – inspired many of our readers. The profile of Janet Burgess, our “Pet Detective” has increased awareness about a critical program that puts lost pets and anxious pet owners back together again. On a personal note, the number of sympathy cards and condolence messages surrounding Molly’s death were incredibly touching and reminded me of why I stepped into this role. Nobody understands that kind of loss like our supporters and it means the world to me and to Ginette as well.

As we move forward with this blog, I hope to keep you updated on exciting new projects and give readers a “backstage” glimpse into life at the Kingston Humane Society. In my short time here I can tell you that each day brings new challenges, rewarding experiences, hilarious stories and emotional moments. The staff never fails to amaze me with their resilience and their capacity for love (of animals and humans). The volunteers continue to show up at a moment’s notice and the generosity of our donors is like nothing else I’ve experienced in the not-for-profit world.

So here’s to happy dogs, purring cats, and finding a forever home for each and every animal.

– Gord Hunter, Executive Director

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

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Contactless adoptions will begin on May 6th for limited number of animals

Kingston, ON – May 1, 2020
Beginning on Wednesday May 6th, the Kingston Humane Society (KHS) will resume adoptions of animals to suitable members of the public. The number of animals available will initially be limited and significant safety protocols will be employed to avoid any contact or direct interaction with potential adopters.

Five weeks ago, the KHS suspended all adoptions in an effort to significantly reduce the potential of COVID-19
transmission within the community or to the KHS staff. In that time, more than 100 foster volunteers have stepped up to care for animals that would normally have been housed in kennels and waiting for adoption.

“Our foster volunteers have been incredible,” said Gord Hunter, Executive Director, “but we’re starting to see
the expected spring influx of animals and we need to be sure we have capacity within the shelter once things
begin to open up again and once the foster families begin returning animals to us.”

The capacity of the current building is limited to 75 cats and 44 dogs. The KHS currently has 112 animals in
care; the majority in foster homes. In May of 2019, the Kingston Humane Society took in just under 200
animals. After this year’s mild winter, Animal Programs Manager Christie Haaima expects numbers to rise significantly, potentially putting the shelter well over capacity.

“Each year, we see a large influx of animals heading into the summer months, predominantly stray cats and
orphaned kittens,” said Haaima. “We can’t allow Covid-19 to prevent us from saving the lives of nearly 2,000 pets this year. We need to be prepared by continuing adoptions and expanding our foster program.”

Pre-adoption counselling and meet and greets will be done virtually utilizing available electronic meeting platforms. The successful adopters will then come to the shelter to pick up the animal in a no-touch environment. Adoption payments will be accepted by debit or credit only using no-touch or minimal contact protocols. All KHS staff employees will wear full PPE and adopters will be asked to wear gloves and masks when picking up their new family member.

“This is new to all of us and we expect to experience small glitches that we’ll address and correct on the fly,” said Hunter. “Our goal is to find forever homes for as many animals in our care as possible and to remain within our somewhat limited capacity, keeping the strain on staff and animals to a minimum.”

Beginning Wednesday May 6th, the public can find animals available for adoption on our website at . Online applications will be processed as received and suitable adopters will be contacted for virtual meet and greets.


The Kingston Humane Society is committed to advocating for and improving the lives of animals within our community. Founded in 1884, the KHS continues to provide shelter and care for homeless animals in Kingston and surrounding communities. We promote responsible pet ownership and compassion and respect for all animals. In addition, we work in and with our community to provide leadership in the humane treatment of all animals, to address the causes of animal suffering, to encourage people to take responsibility for their animal companions and to provide care for animals who are neglected, abused, exploited, stray or homeless.

Gord Hunter, Executive Director KHS, 613-546-1291 ext 105

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