Northern puppies hope to find new Christmas homes

Eight puppies are up for adoption at the Ontario SPCA in Sudbury, along with all other animals available at the centre.

Ontario SPCA conducting iAdopt for the Holidays campaign for all potential pets

Jennifer Hughes, the animal centre manager in Sudbury, shown here with 'Wolverine,' says the puppies are part of the OSPCA's iAdopt for the Holidays campaign (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

Eight puppies are up for adoption at the Ontario SPCA in Sudbury.

The mother of the eight-week old puppies is originally from a community near the Manitoba border, and was part of a group of close to 50 dogs that were transferred elsewhere to find new homes across Ontario.

The litter was born just days after the dog's arrival in Sudbury.

Jennifer Hughes, the animal centre manager in Sudbury, says the puppies are part of the Ontario SPCA's iAdopt for the Holidays campaign, but adds they're careful about finding the right home for the animals.

"We still have our standard Meet Your Match program that we go through, trying to make sure matching the right fit for the family," Hughes said. "We strongly discourage offering a pet for a gift to someone unbeknowst."

The Meet Your Match program involves colour-coding animals based on their personalities. Perspective families fill out a survey and questionnaire about their home environment and lifestyle. The OSPCA then tries to match pets with similar categories.

If a family decides to commit, the adoption fee the pups is $450, Hughes said, but potential owners can rest easy on their health.

"These guys, they have been vaccinated as much as they can be for their age," Hughes said. "They've been dewormed, they've been deflead, they're microchipped and they will be getting neutered in the coming weeks, so we'll be taking care of that."

Christmas adoptions should be researched first, vet says

But local veterinarian Dr. Darren Stinson says that the choice to adopt a pet shouldn't be made lightly.

"It's huge commitment for the life of the pet. One that can be 12 plus years," Stinson said. "It should not be done on a whim or in response to a Dear Santa letter."

"[The choice] should be researched, thought out and discussed with the entire family. The kids have to learn how to interact with the pet, feed the pet, clean the pet, and the parents, if they don't have experience with pets, need to learn the same."

Hughes agrees with Stinson, especially in discouraging surprise pet gifts, but added that the OSPCA also has a policy that a family can return an adoptive pet within a month of adoption.

"We also have our foster to adopt program," she said. "This allows you to take an animal home to integrate it with your other furry family members, and do an integration for a couple weeks to a month. That way you can make sure it's a good fit for everybody. You're not stressing out the animals that are at home, and the family is ready to take on the extra little being to take care of."

"If it doesn't work out, the pet always has a place back with us."

She added that the holidays are a good time to integrate a new 'family member' before people return to their regular work and school schedules.

2018 has been called the Year of the Northern Dog by the Ontario SPCA in order to bring awareness to the overpopulation of dogs in some regions of the province.

Hughes said the OSPCA has so far transferred more than 400 animals from 30 Northern communities this year.

The Ontario SPCA has a campaign encouraging pet adoption for the holidays. Jennifer Hughes, the manager of the Sudbury site, joined us in studio to talk about some northern puppies looking for their forever homes. 8:18