Guelph Humane Society gets creative during lockdown

GUELPH – The new lockdown has made it more difficult for people to adopt pets.

Like many organizations and businesses, the Guelph Humane Society (GHS) has gone virtual to address this problem.

Natalie Thomas, GHS marketing and communications manager, said virtual adoptions and events have become common for them over the past year.

“By April of 2020, we had created a virtual adoption process,” Thomas said.

“The virtual process does take longer. People used to be able to walk in, and now we use Zoom meetings to complete the adoption process.”

Thomas said even though GHS is closed to the public, it is in full operation in the new facility at 190 Hanlon Creek Blvd. in Guelph, and staff is available by phone or email.

Thomas said new animals are added every day and “kitten season” is just around the corner.

“We should be seeing our first kittens of the season arriving any day now, and GHS expects to have roughly 400 kittens in our care through kitten season,” she said.

Families interested in kittens should be watching the “Available Animals” page over the next couple of months, she said.

GHS posts animals on its website when they are ready to be adopted and the society  often sees multiple applications for animals online.

Thomas said COVID-19 lockdowns have caused GHS’s main revenue streams to be interrupted.

“Due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, our annual gala and our summer camps have been cancelled,” Thomas said.

Since GHS does not receive any government funding, it relies solely on donations – and it has had to get  creative.

The society held a 50/50 event, which raised $40,000.  Thomas said GHS will be running a second 50/50 event between June 15 and July 15.

Thomas said in 2020, the pandemic caused a decrease in adoptions, likely due to people being home with their pets more often.

“We adopted out 25 to 30% less animals during the pandemic, but that was offset by less coming in,” Thomas said.

Despite high prices for dogs being sold on sites like Kijiji, Thomas said their prices haven’t changed since last year.

“The Guelph Humane Society has not changed their adoption fees this year or last. Our adoption fees can be found on our website,” Thomas said.

“The price varies depending on the species (dog, cat, small animal, etc.) and age. An adult dog, for example, is $375.”

She also noted that it is important to buy pets through registered breeders to ensure the status of the animal’s health, as they could have unknown illnesses.

Thomas said that as a member of Humane Canada, GHS “supports the responsible sourcing of companion animals to discourage welfare issues that can arise as a result of substandard breeding practices or through animal sales, which have little regard for the welfare of animals.”

All animals that are up for adoption can be found on the GHS Available Animals page (

Staff is still available by phone at 519-824-3091 and by email.