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Friday, November 8, 2013

Play Yard Meeting

The new dog play yard is up and running. For the past couple of weeks, we have been getting large groups of dogs out. It has been a lot of fun watching them interact with each other, and it has helped to get a few adopted. So far we have been taking things slowly and getting a feel for how to operate the yard safely. Its now time to step up the use of the yard while we still have nice weather.

This is where you come in. If you are already an LPCHS volunteer and want to be a part of the play yard team, then please join us at the shelter on Thursday November 14th at 5:30 pm. We will be holding a meeting to go over the ground rules for the yard, as well as recruit volunteers to assist in managing play groups. There will be a video presentation, as well as discussion of play group behavior. Pizza and snacks will be provided, and the meeting should be finished before 7pm. If you are interested please rsvp to
Thanks again to all of you who helped make the play yard possible, and I hope to see you next Thursday at 5:30 pm.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bark & WIne Wrap Up

The 6th  annual Bark & Wine fundraiser has come and gone. The only task remaining is to have all of the wonderful auction items picked up and paid for. So far,it looks like we will have raised over $30,000 for the homeless animals of the Four Corners. In case you were unable to attend, the proceeds from this year will be used for phase 2 of our dog play yard, and to make sure every cat leaves with a collar and id tag. We will also use some of the funds to continue provide scratching pads for all the cats that come into our shelter every year. Phase 1 of the dog play yard will be finished in the next couple of days, so stay tuned to our website for some pictures.
Id like to thank all our sponsors and supporters for making this years event a great success. Thanks also to the over 50 total volunteers who worked so hard the final two days leading up to the event. Many of those volunteers worked close to 20 hours the day of the event, and we couldn't have pulled it off with out them. The staff here are also worked their tails off this year, while still keeping the shelter running.

We are already thinking of how to make next years Bark & Wine another fun filled evening to support the homeless and unwanted animals of the Four Corners.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Animals don't dump people

"Animals don't dump people" I have a bumper sticker on my guitar case that says that. It is such a true statement. Unfortunately, people do dump animals all to often. They leave them in boxes on the side of the road They tie them up in front of peoples homes, and they drive them out to remote areas and just drive away. They even put them in garbage cans. It's  a disgusting act, and one that is against the law, yet it happens all the time and seldom are these morons caught in the act.

Many times animals get dumped here at the shelter. We get here in the morning, and there is a box full of kittens on the doorstep. A month or so ago, someone walked up in broad daylight, and tied a dog to the handrail outside. I have struggled with this over the years. I want to be angry with these people for not coming in and taking responsibility for the animals. I want a chance to get information about the animals, and if possible, educate them about spay/neuter and  responsible pet care. As I've witnessed this time and again, Ive thought at least they had the sense to bring them here. After all, the place to bring unwanted animals is the animal shelter, right?  Some shelters even have night drop boxes for animals. This has been suggested for our shelter, and I cant stomach the idea of it. To me, it just gives people an excuse to treat animals like garbage.

Today, this point has been driven home to me in a big way. The Farmington animal shelter has a night drop box. It is routinely filled with 20 or more cats and dogs every night. This time of year they receive an average of 30 or more animals per day. This morning the staff there arrived to find a litter of puppies left in the night drop box inside of a metal garbage can. Thankfully they were still alive. The picture attached to this post, shows these helpless puppies as they were found this morning. It is utterly heartbreaking.

What is really sad, is that this sort of thing is preventable through low cost, and affordable spay/neuter services. Nearly every county and city in the country has some kind of program to help people do the right thing and  have their pets sterilized. San Juan County has some of these programs, but they are inadequate. The program at the Aztec animal shelter has a one year waiting list. That is too long of a wait. In that amount of time a cat can produce several litters of kittens. Each week people who live in San Juan County drive the 100 miles round trip to our shelter in order to do the right thing and get their pets fixed. This is due to the high cost of the procedures at their local veterinary hospitals. In fact the cheapest option down there is more costly than the highest priced here in La Plata County.

I realize that veterinarians are in business to make money. I would not ask them to do these procedures for free. What I'm asking is that they start being part of the solution, and help end the euthanasia of unwanted pets in their county.Get together with your community leaders and find a way to lower the cost of these procedures. Provide 10 or 20 spay neuter surgeries a month to your community at a reduced rate. Your animal shelter in Farmington has an outstanding surgery suite with the capacity to do dozens of these procedures per week. Ask yourselves why isn't it being used for these procedures. Get involved and help out your shelter and your community.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Smoke gets in your eyes

Hey everyone, look outside and what do you see. If your in La Plata County right now you see smoke filled skys. The fires burning near South Fork and Pagosa are still raging, and the winds have changed direction and blessed us with all this smoke. Several people have told me today that its burning there eyes, and giving them scratchy throats. The same is true for our dogs and cats. Please consider this when thinking of exercising your dogs, or leaving them outside for the day. Remember they have noses that are at least 400 times more sensitive than ours. Unhealthy air can effect our pets as much as us.

Its also very hot out right now, and this can be a very dangerous time for pets. They need lots of water to drink, and cool shady places to get out of the sun. Cars can be especially deadly for a pet this time of year. Temperatures inside of a car can quickly escalate to 140 degrees and kill a dog within a short time.If you are going to town, and cant take your dog in with you, than they should be left at home.

Exercise is very important for your dog, but should be done when conditions are not extreme. Large dogs are especially in danger when exercising in extreme heat.  Save there runs and walks for early morning, and late evening. It is better to be safe, than lose a beloved four legged companion.

Have a fun and safe Summer

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Surgery Complete- Little "Goat" doing well

I am happy to inform you that "Goat" had her heart surgery yesterday, and is recovering nicely. The procedure was completed around noon at Colorado State University Veterinary Hospital, and she is still there in recovery.
A big thank you to all the doctors and staff who have helped take care of her, especially Dr Sarah Scruggs, who is also fostering her. She will stay at Dr Scruggs house until June 2nd when I drive up and return her to Durango. Id also like to thank everyone who made donations to pay for this lifesaving surgery. LPCHS is truly lucky to have such great support from this community.

(This is Goat 24 Hours After Her Surgery)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

An Update on "Goat"

Last week we put out a plea to our supporters for some help for a little pup named "Goat" (now called "Riley" by her foster mom). Goat had a heart defect, and needed to have a procedure done to fix the problem. Without this procedure, she would have lived a very short life. The procedure would be done at Alameda East Veterinary Hospital in Denver, and would cost around $2,500. This would not be something that we have in our budget to pay for, so we reached out to you for help.

The response has been overwhelming, to say the least. In the past 10 days we have received $6,400 to help this little pup, and the donations are still coming in! The donations have been large and small, in fact over 94 people have made a contribution of some amount. It has truly been amazing, and I can't thank you all enough.

Originally, the procedure had been scheduled for May 28th, but a spot opened up this past week, so I drove her up to Denver on Tuesday. I'm no doctor, but I will do my best to fill in what has transpired in layman's terms. The procedure was a non invasive one where they would go in through an artery in her leg, and attempt to put to place a coil in the valve that would gradually close it, and she would be ready to go home the following day. The procedure is able to be performed on 98% of patients. The procedure was done on Wednesday morning at 11 am. Unfortunately, Goat fell into the 2% of dogs that the procedure cannot be performed on. It turns out that the defect in her heart is too large to be addressed with the coil. She was awakened from anesthesia, and fully recovered by that afternoon.

Now we are on to plan B. This coming week she will undergo a more complex procedure to manually close the valve. The surgery will be performed by the top Veterinary Cardiologist at CSU, and assisted by doctors from Alameda East. She will then spend a few days at CSU for recovery. In the mean time she is being fostered at the home of her doctor in Denver. The total cost of all these procedures has now risen to over $4,000. Thanks to all of the generous donations we have received, we will still be able to cover these costs.

Goat's next surgery is scheduled for this Wednesday, May 22nd. I will give you an update as soon as we now how she is doing. Right now she needs your thoughts and prayers for a successful surgery, and a speedy recovery. Thank you all for you support for Goat, now Riley, and for all the animals cared for by LPCHS.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thoughts from the road

I have been on the road now for almost two weeks. Last week, I was in Nashville for the HSUS conference, learning lots of new ideas and techniques for our shelter.. The last 2 days I have been in Denver to  bring the little puppy named Goat up for her heart procedure ( full update on Goat will be in this blog, and on our website tomorrow ). Needless to say I am ready for some time back at home, and back at LPCHS. Before I hit the road this morning, I just wanted to share a couple of thoughts with you.

First of all, last weekend two of our longtime residents at LPCHS were adopted. Gigi the hound mix, and Millie the shep mix. These dogs were both at the shelter for months. They were both older dogs, and a bit rough around the edges. Millie had the added issue of being surrendered with her sister Marley ( who is still at the shelter if your interested ), and many people wont adopt a dog if they think it is being seperated from a family member. There is nothing super remarkable about either adoption. What is remarkable, is the amount of feedback I have received about there adoptions, from multiple people. I received several emails and  a phone call or two from supporters who wanted to say how great it was that these dogs are finally in their forever homes. While I appreciate this, I feel as though I must pass on the good thoughts. The real people who deserve credit for this is the staff of the shelter, and all the volunteers who have worked with these dogs. Each and every day the staff took care of theses girls, and every day many dog walkers would get them out for some time in the sun. These folks are the unsung heroes at our shelter, working hard to find new homes for the many dogs and cats who come to our shelter.

Next, Id like to send out a congratulations to the staff of Farmington Animal Shelter. These guys are really making a big turn around for the animals of San Juan County. Last weekend, they held a Mothers Day cat adoption event. It was a smashing success. In all they adopted out 32 cats, and 7 dogs for the weekend. We have been helping these guys with transfers, and a little training, and I know how hard they are working to make changes and improve the lives of the animals in their care. Great job FAS, All your hard work is paying off.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The place is buzzing

Its spring time, and are we ever busy. There has been a steady flow of traffic here for the past couple of weeks. Today alone, we took in 7 litters of kittens from Farmington Animal shelter, as well as 3 dogs. The kittens are all to young to be adopted, so they have been sent out to foster homes. Look for us to have lots of kittens available for adoption by the end of this month.

Some very special dogs have been adopted in the past few days as well. Patton, the big Pit mix who was suffering from a terrible case of mange, has finally gotten his forever home.  I want to especially thank the medical staff here for all the hard work they put in on Patton. When he arrived, he had almost no hair left, and was really in bad shape. Great job everyone for getting him over his mange, and getting him adopted.

Also new around here is the thrift store remodel. If you haven't seen it yet, you need to get over there and check it out. IJst as a reminder to everyone, the proceeds from thrift store sales directly benefit the animals here at the shelter. Without that revenue, we would not be able to help all the animals that we do.

I should also remind all of you that this Saturday is our annual meeting. If you are a member of LPCHS, please come out this Saturday at 10am to vote on new board members, and here the reports from the directors of each department.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Smile On A Dog

Just a quick note before the weekend. We are bursting at the seams with dogs, as is just about every shelter in the four corners. If you have been thinking of adding a new member to your pack, now would be a great time to do it. We have many great dogs here at LPCHS, and some of those dogs are Pit Bulls. Dont be afraid, and if you don't believe me check out the picture below.
Looks pretty scary to me.

If you like what you read, please consider following this blog.
Have a great weekend.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Lookin for some help

So I have already failed in my commitment to do one of these every week. That means that you get two this week, and I will get back on track next week. This one is going to be short and sweet. Stay tuned for the second one which I will hit the publish button on Thursday. It will make you laugh.

For this blog post, I need to make a request. As many of you know, we are preparing to build a dog play yard. This will be a place where large groups of our shelter dogs can go outside and be dogs.They will be able to run and play, and even take a little splash in the water on nice days. At some point we may even have it available for use by the public after hours.

The play yard will have a concrete walking path ( so staff and volunteers can get around ), agility equipment including a tunnel, and even a water feature. It will provide an area where potential adopters, can see the dogs as they are going to be at home, not how they are in a kennel with 50 other dogs barking.  We are also planning on having a web cam that broadcasts the play yard all over so you can all watch the dogs while you are supposed to be working. Sounds great right?

Here is where you come in. Many of you have already helped to fund this project by attending last years Bark & Wine fundraiser. In fact, nearly 25,000 was raised for the project. That is fantastic, but I want to make this play yard something the whole community can be proud of, and that is going to cost money. What Im asking of you, is for a little assistance. Sure, you can donate money to help fund the project, but what I really need is favors.If any of you know of contractors who can do the dirt work, the plumbing, the concrete, or landscaping, who really love animals, then let them know about this project. Maybe they would be willing to give us a deal on the labor, or even donate their services. Thanks for the time, and if you know anyone who might be able to help, have them call me here at the shelter.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Pit saves the day and her family

Pit Bulls, one of the most misunderstood breed of dogs in the world. In a loving home with proper training and socialization, they are awesome. In the wrong hands they can be awful to deal with and even dangerous. They have been banned from certain cities,  crucified by the media, and tortured and trained to fight by others. We have all heard the horror stories, and seen the images, and as dog lovers it sickens us. In the shelter even the best of them tend to linger here because of these images and stereotypes.

What we don't hear enough of is the good things about them. How they are one of the smartest and most loyal breeds, and how they were once considered America's dog. In the 1800's they were called "nanny dogs" because they were left to look after children while the parents worked the farm.Although I don't own one, I have seen hundreds come through these doors over the years. Most of them were great dogs, and many of them were some of my favorites.There was April Mae, Bently, Guido, Pongo, and many many more. Good dogs all of them.

Today, I stumbled onto a news story about a Pit Bull named Baby. While the story is one that has been told many times, and involving many other breeds, this one is about a Pit Bull and deserves to be passed on. If you follow the link below you will see what a four legged hero looks like. If you like the story, please pass on this post to everyone you know.

Hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Breaking the Silence

I made two resolutions for 2013. The first was to curb my evil ways and start eating healthier and lose weight. So far so good, I have lost around 15 pounds. My second resolution was to break the silence of this blog and commit to writing at least one time per week. Well it is now February 7th and it has taken until today for me to get some writing in. I cant say that every post will be groundbreaking or even interesting, but I am committed to do one a week from here on out this year.

 To start off with, I want to let you know  some great news about our 2012 stats. In 2012 the shelter received a total of 2895 animals as compared to 2820 in 2011. We were able to return 597 of those animals to their owners, a 10% increase over 2011. Adoptions were increased by 5% to a total 1815, and the number transferred to other facilities was 238. These numbers add up to the most important stat of all; the Live Release Rate or LRR.

The LLR is the number by which all open admission shelters ( we here at LPCHS are an open admission shelter ) are graded. This number is the percentage of animals that were adopted, transferred or returned to owner based on the total of incoming animals. Our goal every year is 100% live release rate. This number is of course nearly impossible to achieve. That would require that every animal that came through the doors was healthy and adoptable. Sadly this inst the case at all. In fact some of the animals we receive are to dangerous to people and other animals, and or to ill for are medical staff to cure.

The good news is, that our LRR was fantastic in 2012. For dogs the LRR was an outstanding 96%, while the LRR for cats was a record of 89%. This due to the hard work of staff and volunteers here at the shelter, and the generous support of this community. Compared to other shelters in the region we are head and shoulders above the rest. One nearby shelter has an LRR of around 35%, while still another is barely above 50%. These numbers may be a bit depressing, but take heart. Last year we were able to transfer in 367 animals from some of these surrounding shelters, and this year we hope to transfer in over 500.

Thanks for your continued support and I promise I will write more this year. I'm holding myself to it.