is an official Safe&Happy
partner of DocuPet

The Humane Society of Kitchener Waterloo and Stratford Perth (HSKWSP) is one of Ontario's largest animal welfare charities. They are leaders in animal welfare in their communities and are committed to promoting the human-animal bond while focusing on the responsible treatment of animals through education, collaboration, compliance, advocacy and care. Their critical services are extended to municipalities in Waterloo Region (excluding Cambridge) and Perth County, as well as the Township of Zorra, through their Animal Centres located in Kitchener and Stratford.

The HSKWSP works towards several important goals, including keeping people and pets together, promoting the human-animal bond, and ensuring responsible and humane treatment of animals. They understand the importance of the bond between humans and animals and strive to facilitate it by offering their communities over 40 services and programs.

But why stop at licensing as a means to support our local animals? We are proud to call the HSKWSP an official Safe&Happy Partner. There are quite a few ways to support their important work, and we hope you'll join us in our mission to provide them with all the help and resources they need.

“Having a licensing program helps ensure responsible pet ownership, enables proper identification and tracking of dogs, promotes public safety, and helps to facilitate the reunification of lost pets with their owners.” -Janice Maxwell, Manager, Animal Services

HSKWSP needs our help

Raising funds is one of the biggest challenges faced by the HSKWSP. They are a self-funded and self-governed registered charity, which means they receive no government funding outside of contracts for animal control services.

It is only through the kindness and generosity of their donors that the HSKWSP can continue to help people and pets in their communities while also organizing animal welfare-focused community education and outreach programs.

HSKWSP needs our help

How to help:

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License your pet

Licensing serves as a great check and balance system to ensure that the pet owners within the municipality are all doing their part to keep the community and their own pets safe. In order to license a pet, their vaccinations have to be up to date, which ensures the whole community is a little safer and stops the spread of diseases like rabies before they start.

Lost pets with licences also spend little to no time at the shelter, opening up resources for the pets that truly need them. License your pet here.

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The HSKWSP is always in need of volunteers. Roles range from reception to fostering opportunities and assisting with the Pet Pantry. Apply to volunteer here.

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Make a donation

Donations are crucial in supporting pets by providing necessary care and life-saving medical treatment. They also help maintain programs to help people and pets stay together, enabling the HSKWSP to offer more than 40 services to their communities. Give today to help provide care, nutritious food, and safe shelter for the animals in the community. Donate to HSKWSP here.

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Shop DocuPet

20% of every designer tag purchase is given to HSKWSP. Shop to support here.

What is the Safe&Happy Fund?

In an effort to provide animal organizations with as much funding as possible, we created our Safe&Happy Fund. We will always donate 20% of every designer tag sale to our Safe&Happy partners in order to provide additional funding for vulnerable animals and the staff that serves them. Pet owners are also given the option to donate to the HSKWSP during checkout.

HSKWSP by the numbers

We hope that by providing residents with as much information as possible, pet licences' positive impact on the community is not just understood but also valued.

HSKWSP city tag
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Lost Pets

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More than just a shelter

Pet Pantry

HSKWSP wants to ensure that people and pets can remain together, even in the face of a crisis. The shelter’s Pet Pantry program exists to support pet owners needing pet food and basic supplies due to a personal crisis or financial limitations. The program provides pet owners with important items, including:

  • Cat food (dry and wet)
  • Dog food (dry and wet)
  • Small animal food
  • Cat litter
  • Small animal bedding
  • Treats

In 2022, the Pet Pantry supplied 2,204 pets with food and supplies and helped 820 families.

Please note that the program is not intended to be a permanent, ongoing solution for feeding pets for the long term.

Emergency Boarding

HSKWSP proudly offers an Emergency Boarding program in partnership with various social agencies and emergency services in Waterloo Region and Perth County. This program provides pet owners short-term housing for their pet(s) when experiencing a personal emergency or crisis.


Through this program, individuals or families working with social service agencies can access emergency boarding services for their pets for a temporary period.

The individual must live in Waterloo Region (except Cambridge), Perth County or Township of Zorra. Referrals must be made by the social services agency/social worker. Partnership referral agencies include:

  • Social agencies
  • Family and Children Services
  • Police, fire and EMS services
  • Shelters
  • Women's shelters
  • Emergency response services
  • Disaster response teams
  • Hospitals

Veterinary Outreach Program

The shelter operates and funds veterinary outreach clinics across Waterloo Region and Perth County. These clinics aim to support people who are experiencing homelessness or who are vulnerably housed to access free veterinary care for their pets.

HOW CAN PEOPLE ACCESS THE PROGRAM? Clients and their pets are referred through case workers operating out of their partnership agencies in the community. Clients can access services through in-community clinics or via appointments at their brick-and-mortar shelters.

Partner agencies can also request clinics at their locations. In order to qualify for the program, clients must be referred by a case worker and currently be experiencing homelessness or living in supportive housing.

Your pet's licence fees at work

Millions of pets enter shelters each year. The critical care, compassion and love that shelter workers and volunteers show these animals is unlimited, but the same can’t be said for their funding and resources.

When you license your pet, it becomes easier for them to be quickly returned to you if lost, reducing shelter overcrowding and ensuring that less fortunate animals receive the care and resources they desperately need, like Tiny Tim and Phineas.

Tiny Tim the Cat

Tiny Tim

Five-month-old Tiny Tim arrived as a stray at the Kitchener Waterloo Animal Centre in November 2022. He suffered a broken leg and had a previous injury that was infected. He was immediately taken into surgery and had his front left leg amputated.

His surgery went well! He has fully recovered and was adopted by his loving family, who renamed him Pi. He’s adjusted perfectly to being a tripod and has no idea he’s missing a leg. He sprints around and plays all the time. He is the most outgoing, friendly, and relaxed cat the shelter has ever met. He loves nudging faces, sleeping in his hammock, being held, and going on hikes!

Sweet Phineas

Sweet Phineas came into the shelter’s care as a stray in July 2023, and it was clear that they wouldn't be able to help him find his forever home in Ontario due to the Breed Specific Legislation.

Shelters face huge barriers when trying to find dogs like Phineas, a loving home out of province. With rescue partners struggling just as much as HSKWSP does with animal volumes, they turned to shelters in other provinces only to learn that the previous $500 per flight cost is now $1300+ due to new restrictions and charges on specific breeds.

Thanks to the wonderful team at SPCA Laurentides-Labelle in Ste-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec, Phineas found his forever family through their shelter. To help with the cost, two of HSKWSP’s staff volunteered to drive him to Quebec. Phineas got adopted within a day of being at the SPCA!

Sweet Phineas the dog

More about HSKWSP

We sat down with Janice Maxwell, Manager of Animal Services at HSKWSP, to learn more about the important work being done for local animals in need.

In your words, why is it important for residents to license their pets, and what impact does that have on your organization and community as a whole?

Licensing is an important part of being a responsible pet owner.

It helps reunite an owner with their lost pet.

In order to license your pet, their vaccinations have to be up to date. By ensuring that vaccinations are up to date, the whole community is a little safer. Stopping the spread of diseases like rabies before they start is crucial. Dog licensing serves as a great check and balance system to ensure that the pet owners within the municipality are all doing their part to keep the community and their own pets safe.

What is something that makes your shelter unique?

Our Veterinary Outreach program

What short-term or long-term goals do you have for the organization?

  • Promote the human-animal bond: we will partner with our communities to encourage and support keeping people and their pets together.
  • Tell stories to raise awareness: we will raise awareness of the importance of a strong human-animal bond and how we proactively support this.
  • Engage and innovate: we will lead the creation of diverse, inclusive, accessible and innovative programs and services for animals in our communities.
  • Enhance organizational sustainability: we will secure resources to support our activities now and into the future.

What do you wish everyone knew about your organization?

We offer several services to our communities, including:

  • Pet Pantry
  • Low-cost veterinary services
  • Spay/Neuter clinics
  • Emergency boarding
  • Spay Neuter Assistance (SNAP) Program

We offer a lot of kid’s programs as well, including summer camps, PD day camps, birthday parties, vets in training, yoga, and so much more!

There’s a lot of negative perception in our communities about the Humane Society being a kill shelter. We are NOT a kill shelter!

What is the best piece of advice you have for pet owners?

Microchip your pet!

Is there anything else you would like people to know about the organization?

We aren’t just an animal shelter. We help people and pets, offering 40+ services from adoption, lost and found, animal services, low-cost vet services, community outreach, education programs, summer camps and vets in training for youth, events, fundraisers, and so much more.