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Friday, October 3, 2014

A Letter From Rango

Last Friday, I worked with a very nice couple on a dog adoption. It wasn't that different from a lot of the adoptions we do. The husband had picked out a dog he was interested in, and put him on hold the day before. On Friday afternoon, he came back with his wife, and their dog they adopted from us a few years ago. No big deal, right?

Well it turns out, the dog they were interested in, had a couple of behavior issues that I was
concerned about. We had a long talk about it, and after they spent a little time alone, they decided that that dog was not the best fit for their family. While they were here, and in the mood to adopt a new member of their pack, I asked if they would be interested in looking at another dog. Enter Rango.

Rango is  a 7 month old Mastiff X. He was a returned adoption. His family had to move and could not take him along. Sadly this happens to lots of dogs and cats who come to shelters. The good news is that Rango is a very well behaved and social dog. His family had done a great job training him and giving him love. I am sure they were heartbroken to have to give him up.
After spending a few minutes with Rango, they decided to try him out with their Lab Bodi. Bodi is around 6 years old, and a great dog himself. I am happy to say, that it was love at first sight. They played together for around 15 minutes and the deal was sealed. Rango had found his new family. The point of this whole story is that this morning, I got an email from Rango. I have copied it below for your enjoyment, as well as attached pictures of him in his new life.

Dear Chris, 

Thank you for placing me in my new home. I really like it here. Bodi is a good big brother and he's fun to climb on. There are lots of toys here and I play a lot.  I've already figured out the dog door and go outside to potty in the fenced yard then come back in to play.  My recall is pretty good and I've been walking off-leash on our 35 acres when it's safe.  I get to sleep on the bed with the pack leaders and that's really cool.  I've started getting cooked chicken, vegetables and applesauce in my puppy food and that's cool too!  Thank you!


I have gotten a lot of emails, letters and cards over the years, but they are usually from the family, not the dog or cat. This really made my day. In a time when we are gearing up for Bark &Wine, and the sewer is backed up, it made me smile and appreciate how much I love the work I do, and the community I live in. Thank you Rango

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Fireworks and Fido

 Tomorrow is Independence day, and we will be celebrating our country's 238th birthday. The day when our ancestors decided they no longer wanted to live  under the tyrannical rule of England. It is a great day in our history, and although our country isn't perfect, it is still the best place on Earth to be from. Tomorrow, most of us will be eating BBQ and hanging out with our family and friends. Many of you will go camping, or rafting, and most will wind up watching a fireworks display somewhere. That is great and I am grateful that we have the ability to do all of these great things. I would like to remind all of you, that your dog probably isn't that stoked about the whole ordeal.

Most dogs, don't like loud noises, of any kind. In fact many are down right terrified by them. I have a coonhound  named Shunka, who is so scared of Thunder, that she will hide in a closet or bathroom for hours. She shakes, and cowers, and buries her head in her paws until it passes. I have never exposed her to fireworks, and can't imagine how terrible of a reaction she would have. We live a little ways out of town, and she can hear them and it scares her.

 Even dogs, that are not scared of thunder, don't handle fireworks that well. The main reason for this, is that fireworks are not an ordinary day to day occurrence. Dogs, being creatures of routine, get freaked out when suddenly the skies start erupting with loud bangs, and huge flashes of light. Each year at the shelter, the day after the 4th of July is one of our busiest. We usually get a bunch of dogs in whose owners left them home while they attended the fireworks display. Top that off with dozens of people calling in lost reports because their dog took off while they were away. Many dogs, who never escape their yard, will be so scared that they will break out of their confinement, and even injure themselves in an effort to escape.

All this can be prevented. If you are attending the fireworks, then leave your dog home, confined in a room, or a crate. One person I heard about, takes her dogs to friends house, way out in the county. This way her dogs are not exposed to the fireworks at all. At my house, we often take our dogs on a hike far from town. This gets them tired out, so that when we return they are less likely to be concerned with all the noise.

I am not asking you to forgo the festivities. Far from it. I want you all to enjoy your independence, in what ever manner you see fit. That is what freedom is about. All I am asking, is that you think of your dog before you celebrate, and make sure she is safe from harm.

Happy Birthday America

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A little help

Have you been down to the shelter or the thrift store lately? If you have, you know that we are packed, not with the usual flood of Summer kittens, but with donations at our thrift store. Don't get me wrong, we do have a lot of great pets up for adoption, but it has not been the crazy kitten season we usually have.

Instead, the thrift store is overflowing with so many generous donations from our community, and we really appreciate it. We have so much stuff, that we have decided to have a 3 day red,white, and blue sale. Today through Thursday everything in the store is 50% off. Hopefully we can sell thee whole store, and make room for all the stuff being donated. Remember, that when you shop at the thrift store, all the proceeds go to helping support the work we do at the shelter.

As for the shelter, we could use a little help ourselves. You see this time of year we are taking in more cats and dogs than any other time of the year. Heck, last week we even had a mouse up for adoption. All of these incoming animals really tax our staff, and our resources. Sadly, this is the time of year when are direct public support is at it's lowest.

This is really true for all shelters, and I get it. People are going on vacation, gas prices are higher, and family is coming to town for a visit. We are all a little overburdened with expenses, and it is hard to find the extra money to help our favorite charities.

If you do have a few extra bucks, please consider making a donation to help the homeless and unwanted animals of the four corners. If you don't want to donate directly, then consider checking out our Amazon wishlist. There you will find many of the things we need to help us operate on a daily basis. If you have an old dog crate, we could use that as well. Every little bit helps, and I appreciate your continued efforts to help us be the best animal shelter in the country.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Hey folks, we need your help. Summer is in full swing, and we are full of animals. We have so many dogs and cats coming and going, it is hard to keep track of them all, and to top it off we even have 3 rats. What we don't have enough of is pet carriers and crates. We use crates for transfers, temporary overflow, spay/neuter clinics, transporting foster animals, and when the situation arises, disaster evacuations.

 All crates are good, but we really appreciate the plastic airline style ones in all sizes, but we really need large and extra large crates at this time. If you have one you are not using anymore, or can buy one for us, the animals would really appreciate it and so will I. Thanks for your continued support of the homeless and unwanted and unwanted animals of the Four Corners.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Annual meeting

Tomorrow, May 10th, is the annual meeting of the membership of LPCHS. It will be held here at the shelter from 10:30 until noon. This is a chance for those of you who are members to participate in electing new board members, here the annual report on the shelter, and meet folks who share your passion for supporting LPCHS.
This may not be what you had in mind for a Saturday, but it is important. If you are a member, than you already care enough to support the shelter and what we do. Why not participate in helping to shape the future of our organization. You can do this by joining us and helping to elect three new members of our Board of Directors.
Many years, we have struggled to find enough folks to run for these important positions, but not this year. We have 6 great candidates running for 3 spots. Each Board member serves a three year term, and is part of the leadership of our organization. These folks will be making decisions that shape the future of LPCHS, and as a member I am sure you want to be a part of the process.
I hope to see you all on tomorrow.

Friday, April 11, 2014

What's My Name

Just finished up with another play yard session and it was great. Every dog in the kennel got to go out for some social time and to burn off some stress. The new program is running great, but we still need some more volunteers. While in the yard, Rachel and I were having a conversation about one of our dogs named Toast.

Toast is a little mixed breed pup around 8 months old. He came to us with 2 of his siblings from the Valencia County shelter in Los Lunas, New Mexico. They were all shy at first, but started to warm up in a couple of days. They were all neutered, and within one week the siblings were adopted. Toast however is still here nearly 6 weeks later. The question is why?

He is a great little dog, with lots of redeeming qualities. He plays well with all the dogs in the yard. He has been roommates with 4 or 5 other dogs, and is easily paired. Being 8 months old, he is very energetic, and would make the perfect trail dog for any Durango resident. It is hard to understand why he is still here.

I think the answer lies in his name.It's just not a great name. Can you picture yourself in the back yard calling out "TOAST, come here TOAST". The neighbors would think you had gone bonkers. If I heard someone hollering for toast, I would yell back "go make your own breakfast". Not to mention the word toast has other meanings in our society. Saying something is toast, implies that thing is done. For example, If Peyton Manning gets injured, we might say" the Broncos are toast without Peyton".

So we are giving him a new name. Rachel has been saying he is as cute as a rubber ducky. I am not sure what that means, but it actually fits him. He is small, cute, and sort of yellow, just like a rubber ducky. He also bobs around the play group like he is caught up in the tide, like a rubber ducky. So it is official, the dog formerly know as Toast, is now Rubber Ducky. RD for short.

If my theory is correct, he should get adopted in a day or two. So if you hear  your neighbor in the back yard calling for their rubber ducky, you don't need to call the authorities. It probably means that they fell in love with this cute little dog and took him home.

Fingers crossed for little RD, and more on naming animals at the shelter in my next post.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Taking Our Dogs to Utah

On April 25th and 26th, we will be in St. George Utah at a super adoptathon sponsored by Best Friends Animal Society. Last year at this event, over 150 animals were adopted in 2 days. We are hoping to empty out our kennels, and take around 20 dogs with us. This is a great chance to get them seen by people who normally wouldn't see them, and find them their forever homes.

The trip however, won't be inexpensive, it is a 7 hour drive to St George, and we will need a place to stay for a couple of nights. Best Friends has given us $200 to start a fundraising campaign to help cover the travel costs. This is where you guys come in. I am asking for your help in funding this opportunity to find some local dogs a chance at a new life. We need some fuel cards, or cash donations to help cover the cost of getting there and back again. Remember, every little bit can help, so donate $5, $10 or $20 dollars and we will soon have enough to cover expenses. Follow the link below to donate, or stop by the shelter and make a donation.

One more thing, while we are on our way to Utah, we will pay it forward to dogs in need at other shelters. We will transfer in at least as many dogs as we take if not more, from one of the shelters to our south. Remember, these other shelters are fighting a daily battle against overpopulation, and many of the animals there are in need of transfer. So please help us get to Utah, and help other animals in need at the same time.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Come Be A Part Of Our Successful Play Yard

I just got in from spending time with some of our dogs out in the play yard. It is a wonderful experience to say the least. Watching 20 dogs playing and socializing together, and burning off the stress from the kennel, is a lot of fun. The play yard is fast becoming one of the most valuable enrichment tools for the dogs in our care, and for the shelter staff. In the morning, we are able to get all the dogs out of the kennel, which greatly reduces the time needed for cleaning, and provides the dogs with a chance to burn off some built up energy from the night before. We need the help of volunteers to make this work to its fullest potential.

  Starting on Tuesday April 8th we will be emptying out the kennels every morning and afternoon. This is where the volunteers play a vital role. It takes us around 30 minutes to get the dogs out to the yard, and we need volunteers to act as runners to help get them to the yard. We are looking for at least 2 people every morning at 8 am and 2 more at 1 pm to help get the job done. After we get all the dogs out, stick around and join us in the play yard, or take one of the dogs who isn't ready for the yard for a walk. If you would like to help, and are already a volunteer, then follow the link below to sign up.

If you are not a volunteer, and would like to become one, check out our website or give us a call at 970-259-2847.
Please join us in the play yard, and help all our wonderful dogs enjoy their stay at the shelter. It is just like summer camp for dogs.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Kele DNA Results

The contest is over, and its time to reveal Kele's DNA results. As we only had a handful of entries for this contest, we have chosen two winners to purchase their own DNA kits at Half price. The winners were Danielle Story, and Caroline Eastburn. Congratulations to both of our winners. Each of them were able to guess that Kele is part Boxer.
As Kele's owners, Marcy and I were both shocked by the results. We both had thought that our little girl was a mix of Jack Russel terrier, Husky, and maybe Heeler and Pit Bull. As you can see from the results below, we were way off. Thanks to everyone for playing, and remember we have plenty of DNA test kits for sale. If you want to find out the true identity of your dog, come to the shelter and purchase a DNA kit. It is fun to do, and a great way to help support the homeless animals of the Four Corners.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Last chance

I had promised you all one more clue in the contest to guess Kele's breed. I was supposed to get that to you on Friday, with the deadline for entries being Sunday. Well, Friday afternoon turned into a very busy time here at the shelter, so I didn't get you the clue. As I am a man of my word, I will give you a couple final clues and extend the entry deadline until this Wednesday at midnight.

Here is your final clues, and remember the winner gets a half price DNA kit of their own.

Send entries to

Even though Kele is not a very large dog, their are no small breeds in her DNA results.

At least one herding breed is present in her DNA results.
Good luck.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


In my last post, I promised you a clue for our latest DNA contest, so here you are.

These DNA tests, tend to show up with a lot of older, more established breeds of dogs. In Keebler's test, we saw that he had Ibizan hound in his lineage. I doubt there is an Ibizan hound within 500 miles of where Keebler came from, let alone is he a direct descendant of one. So when guessing this time, ake into consideration that little Kele may look like a cross of a well known breed, but she may have lots of DNA from some of the older breeds.

Here are some of Kele's stats.

She is 21 inches tall at the shoulder.
She is 36 inches long from the tip of her nose to her tail.
She weighs around 35 pounds.

More clues to follow on Friday.
Remember to email your guess to

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New contest

As promised in an earlier post, we are going to run a second guess the breed contest. This time, the winner will have the chance to purchase a DNA test kit for half price. We sell the kits for $60 and that is a very slim margin for us, so getting one for $30 will be a great bargain for the winner.

This time, you will be guessing the breed of one of my own dogs. Her name is Kele and she was found in the town of Kayenta. If you have ever driven through Kayenta, you know they have many stray dogs hanging out around the restaurants and gas stations there. These stray dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and most are of mixed breed origin. My little girl is no exception to that rule. When I first saw her, her size and demeanor, led me to believe she was just a young pup. In reality, she was nearly a year old and full grown when we found her.

I have already received the results of her test, so I am going to give you until this Sunday March 16th to enter your guesses. I will give you a hint tomorrow, and one on Friday. Good luck.

email your guess to:

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

DNA Contest Results

Well, the results are in from Keebler's DNA test, and they are not what you might expect. We had over 50 entries in the contest and in the end, only 4 guesses included even one of the breeds listed in his family tree. The overwhelming majority of you guessed that he was some combination of the following breeds:

   Australian Cattle Dog
   Blue or Red Heeler
   Pit Bull

These were all fairly logical guesses. As you may recall, we had Keebler listed as a Heeler/Husky mix. He had characteristics of both of those breeds, as well as a few others. I think you will find that the results of the test show us, that picking the breeds involved in a mixed breed dog, are a lot harder than you might think.

The results of the test are the following:

One of his great grandparents was a Miniature Long Haired Dachshund.
One of his other great grandparents was at least half Toy Fox Terrier.
His other great grandparents were both mixed breeds as was his grand parents and parents.

The other breeds found in his DNA makeup were in order of the highest % to the lowest %  as follows:

     American Foxhound
     Ibizan Hound
    Minature Short Haired Dachshund
    Black and Tan Coonhound

As I said earlier, only four of you had even one of these breeds as your guess. To be as fair as possible we have put the names of the four in a hat and randomly drew the winner from these.
And the winner is: Marjorie Thornton

Her guess was Pit Bull/Heeler/Coonhound/Husky

The test will come in handy as she adopted a mixed breed dog from us 6 weeks ago. His name is Theo and they have been very curious about what breed he is. Remember, that if you are curious about what breed your dog is, you can purchase one of the DNA kits from us for $60. What a great way to help out the shelter, and find out if that mixed breed dog of yours is really a Dachshund in disguise. Thanks for playing.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Lately, you may have seen some pictures of a dog named Stubby. He is the pet of the week this week, and was on the front page of the Durango Herald on Sunday. He is getting lots of face time, and I'm here to give him some more.
 Stubby is a Lab mix around 4 years old, who came to us from the Cortez animal shelter the day after Christmas. He had been surrendered their along with his buddy Stella. The two of them were here together until last week when Stella was adopted. Stubby is doing ok with out her, but we need to find him a permanent home. In the mean time, he continues going to schools and helping the kids learn to read. The kids are doing something in return for all of his hard work.
You see, Stubby came to us with an old leg injury, that included a non-surgical amputation. The injury is one that cant be fixed by surgery. What can help is a prosthetic leg, and that's where the kids came in. Some of his biggest fans at Miller and Mtn Middle schools, and Sunnyside elementary school raised some funds to help pay for a prosthetic leg for Stubby. They were able to raise just over half of the $840 dollars needed for Stubby's new leg. Great job guys.

We have ordered the prosthetic for Stubby, and it is in the process of being made. If you would like to help us pay for the remainder of the cost, and help to offset some of the costs the shelter has already incurred ( x-rays etc..), please follow the link below.

Thanks for helping Stubby, and for your continued support of the homeless animals of the Four Corners.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Keebler Update.

On Saturday, our buddy Keebler found his forever home. I don't have a ton of details, but I do know that his new family includes two teenagers to give him love, and another dog to play with. His new home is also on a ranch, with lots of acres to run, and livestock for him to watch over. Sounds like a shelter dog's dream to me. Good luck to you Keebler, have a wonderful time with your new family.

As for the DNA contest, the results should be here in around a week. We already have 40 entries, so I think I will officially close the contest at end of business tomorrow. If you still wish to enter then send me an email by then.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Do Hawks Prey On Cats ( inquiring minds want to know )

Has Anyone Actually Seen a Red Tailed Hawk Carry Away a Cat?

Time and time again I've had people tell me their beloved pet probably got carried away by a hawk – but has anyone actually seen it happen? I really like hawks, and admire their beauty and skill at soaring so effortlessly through the air. I also really like cats, and enjoy giving my own cats the freedom to go outside and enjoy the sunshine and stimulation. I realize that the outdoors has many dangers for cats, so I’m curious are Red Tails one of those dangers…or just a myth?

According to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Red Tails can take prey up to 5 pounds, most adult cats are over 7 pounds. So it is possible they could pick up a kitten, but I want to know if anyone in the area has actually seen it happen.

p.s. I have heard of an owl swooping in a snatching a Chihuahua just outside of Durango – the woman who was in the yard with the dog, watched the entire thing and no way she made it up.

p.s.s. Just this morning, two separate people who were looking for their missing cats, thought that a hawk killed the cats.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Contest update

So far we have over 35 entries into the guess Keebler's breed contest. I think we will keep it open to entries for at least another week, so keep those guesses coming. The test results should be in around 2 weeks from now. Later this week, I will be posting more about his personality, in the hopes that we can get him adopted.

A few months back, when we first got the shelter dog DNA kits, I purchased one to try on one of my dogs. We have 5 dogs at my house, and 4 of them are mixed breeds. I never sent in the test, because I was having a hard time deciding which one to test. This past week we made the decision to finally test one of our dogs. Her name is Kele, and we found her in Kayenta, Arizona. We have always been curious about her breed, especially considering the wide variety of unaltered mixed breeds in the area she came from. When the results of her test are in, I will hold a second contest for a half price DNA kit for the one who guesses correctly.

Keep spreading the word about Keebler, and good luck in the contest.

Friday, February 7, 2014

More Keebler Clues

So far in 3 days we have around fifteen entries for the guess Keebler's breed contest. Some interesting

breeds have already been suggested. Someone did come in and look at Keebler yesterday, but decided to adopt a different dog instead. Fingers crossed he gets adopted this weekend.

Here are two extra clues to help you decide on your choice, that is if you haven't made one already.

Keebler is 20 inches tall at the shoulder.
Keebler is 42 inches from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail.

Everyone send him some positive vibes, and lets get this guy adopted.

Remember to submit your answers to

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Keebler Clues

On yesterdays post, I started a contest to guess the various breeds of a mixed breed dog named Keebler. So far we have 7 entries into the contest. Today I thought I would give you a few clues that might help you win the contest.. Over the next week or so, I will be telling more of his story. Although this is a contest, and someone will win a free DNA kit to use on their own dog, its really about finding Keebler his forever home.

Here are today's clues.

Keebler weighs 52 pounds.
Keebler is approximately 1 year old.

Those are your clues for today, keep those entries coming, and remember they must be emailed  to me. Entries on Facebook  will not be counted. Send entries to

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What kind of dog is that: a conversation and a contest

What kind of dog is that? A question that comes up around here quite a bit. In fact, I would bet that it's asked multiple times a day. The answer to the question can change as fast as the weather here in Colorado.If you were to put the average stray dog in front of 5 different people who work, or volunteer here; I would guess you might get 5 different answers.

Here at the shelter, we receive around 1,700 or more dogs each year. Very few of the dogs are purebred, and none that I've ever seen come with an owners manual that tells us what breed they are. How we determine what mix a dog is, can many times determine how fast a dog is adopted. The truth is, in all but the most obvious cases, the breed is determined by an educated guess. This is especially true with puppies. Most times we don't know what breed  the parents were, and even when we know the mothers breed, that still is only half the equation.

I can't tell you the number of times we have guessed right or wrong. What I can tell you, is that sometimes a year or two after we have adopted a dog, the family will stop in and let us know we were wrong. This happened just this morning. A very nice lady stopped by to thank us for adopting a puppy to her around a year ago. We had guessed that the pup was a Jack Russel Terrier/Chihuahua mix. We had told her we thought the dog would be small as an adult, but that we can't guarantee it. A year later, and we sure were wrong. It seems that the pup just got off to a slow start at growth, and is now much larger than anticipated. The proud owner went on to say how great the dog was, and how much she loved her.

I'm happy to say that there is now a tool that can be used to help better determine what the breed of a dog is. That tool is a DNA testing kit. We are selling these here at the shelter, and if you are curious about what kind of mixed breed your dog is, you can stop by and purchase one. It's easy to use, and you just mail it in and get results in about 3 weeks. We have used it here on a couple of dogs, and its very interesting to get back the results.

Now, on to the contest. We have a dog here named Keebler. He has been with us for around 3 months, and
really needs a new home. He gets along with other dogs, and is great with people as well. He is an interesting looking fella, and we are calling him a heeler/husky mix. The truth is he doesn't look to much like either of those breeds, so here is where you come in.

We want you to guess the breed of Keebler. We are sending in a DNA test on him tomorrow, and for the next 3 weeks you can take a guess and win something for your efforts. First prize will be a DNA test of your own, to use on your dog. Second place will receive a free LPCHS t-shirt of your choice. Third place will get a LPCHS hat or beanie of your choice. A little hint for you is that most times these test results come back with 4 or 5 different breeds. This is due to the fact that most mixed breeds were born from mixed breed parents as well. My suggestion would be to list up to 5 breeds that you think might be in the mix.

Send your guess to and we will announce the winners as soon as we get the test results back. Good luck.