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Okanagan Humane Society: Helping pets and people is what they do

A column by the Okanagan Humane Society

The Okanagan Humane Society (OHS) has seen a steep increase in animal intakes since the year began but their efficient cost-effective foster model is creating a great number of adoptions for animals in need.

While many organizations are struggling with adoptions or animal intakes, OHS has a team of expert volunteers that are managing their foster program and adoptions to ensure as many animals have a chance at a new life.

The extensive foster program is not only a low-cost option by not maintaining building costs, but it also allows for OHS to care for more animals as they are not bound by building capacity. With the host of volunteer fosters they have in place; they can have up to 200 animals in the Okanagan in care leading to many lives being saved and second chances for a new family.

“We look at animal welfare from a very holistic perspective. We take the time with owners and treat every situation individually to do our best to ensure we can produce the best outcome for the animals but also for the pet owners,” states Romany Runnalls, President of the Board of Directors.

“We have been pleased with our recent adoption events and the many inquires we receive from people that follow us on social media or our website to see the current animals that are available to adopt to ensure the animals are finding a new home. In July, we had 58 adoptions, which is just phenomenal,” mentions Runnalls.

OHS has been serving the Okanagan region for more than 26 years, they have spayed or neutered more than 24,000 animals and last year they served more than 1300 animals, and 2022 is tracking for an increase of approximately 18% over last year.

Animal intakes may be animals that are lost, abandoned, or neglected and trying to survive on the streets, to pets of very low-income owners, that need vital veterinary support, food, and resources and rarely when needed, to re-home their animal.

“It is important to gather all the facts and we always take a caring and compassionate approach. Often, the best thing for the animal and the owner are to keep them together so we do our best to keep pets and people together,” mentions Runnalls.

Animals like Tequila and her elderly guardian John who lives in an assisted living facility. John is not well, and his 14-year-old Tequila had been having difficulty with her shoulder. John is on a fixed disability income but him and Tequila have been together for 14 years, they are everything to each other. With soaring costs of living, John could not afford to get his beloved companion into the vet to find out what was wrong. After being referred to OHS by his Case Worker, and completing the application form to qualify for support, OHS was able to help Tequila get the medical support she needed. John and Tequila are now able to live out their final years together, no longer in pain, and with the emotional stress of not being able to help his cat.

Other situations that OHS face are compassionate boarding or when an animal needs to be re-homed.

One example of this was Chad who was recently diagnosed with cancer. His beloved dog, still a pup was the love of his life, but he had the fight of his life ahead of him. His Oncologist warned Chad that caring for a pup was not going to be easy for him on the road ahead. He contacted several shelters that would not assist and was then referred to Runnalls at OHS. The team at OHS worked with Chad to ensure a smooth transition and found this pup a new, wonderful foster home first, then new adoptive parents. Chad can now focus on his health and the battle he has ahead of him knowing his dog is happy and thriving.

“We have a very efficient and nimble system that allows us to work with the community, our local veterinarian partners, Social Workers, and a host of expert fosters to give these animals the second chance they need,” states Runnalls.

The society does not have a shelter building and being volunteer run allows for the majority of each donation to go directly to the animals that need care.

“We are a small charity with a big impact in the Okanagan Valley, states Runnalls. We are serving the Okanagan-Shuswap.”

This local registered charity relies on support from the community and receives no government or municipal funding. With the influx of animals coming into their care, donations to support the organization are in need to continue this life saving work.

“We serve the animals because of the generosity of our community, states Runnalls.

To donate and help support, go to their website at

The Okanagan Humane Society is a registered charity who has been serving local Okanagan animals for more than twenty-six years. Offering an extensive Pet Assistance Program to ensure those with financial barriers can receive critical medical attention for their animals including spay and neuter. Also, a Rescue and Adoption Program that sees animals from the North, Central and South Okanagan, and Shuswap, get rescued then receive all necessary medical attention needed before being placed for adoption to their new, loving home.

To find out more about the life saving work of The Okanagan Humane Society, to donate or to find your next forever, furry friend, visit their website at or follow them on Facebook.

READ MORE: Okanagan Humane Society: Saving lives of local animals

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