The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region offers a wide variety of resources to our community, serving many needs of pet owners. We have an extensive Humane Education program, including shelter tours, community outreach, and animal behavior resources. Our Education program also offers a great variety of resources to teachers and to groups interested in doing special service projects.
Our staff and volunteers are out and about in the community, taking animals for adoption to area events and fairs. We provide grassroots education and pet ownership counseling to guests at these events, as well as raising awareness about the needs of our community's homeless animals.
The Humane Society also offers outreach programs to assist pet owners in need, such as the Safe Pets program for victims of domestic violence.
Our website, eNewsletters and the biannual "Animal Crackers" newsletter will keep you up to date on current events at the Humane Society, and offer seasonal pet care and safety tips. The Humane Society is always expanding the resources we offer, so keep an eye on our website to learn about the latest and greatest!
Love for Life: Responsible Pet Ownership
Here in the Pikes Peak Region, more than 60 percent of adults own pets; there's something about unconditional love that's just hard to resist. But it's not all fun and cuddles when you own a pet - there are important responsibilities that you take on, as well. When you decide to become a pet owner, it's essential to make sure you have the time, money, and other resources to meet all of your pet's needs.
When you're making the decision to get a pet, remember that you're making a commitment to this animal for the rest of its life. Some pets' lifespans can reach 20 years or more, so think carefully about taking on this responsibility! Are you planning to move in a few years, and if so, are you willing to find housing that will accommodate your pet? What will happen if another family member moves into your home with allergies? Finding a new home would be very stressful for both you and your pet, so just like adopting, relinquishing ownership of an animal is not a decision to be made lightly.
Meeting Physical Needs
It may not come as a surprise that your pet needs to eat. Yes, it seems like a pretty basic concept, but there are some further details. Pets thrive on routine, and appreciate being fed at the same time every day. They need good-quality food to meet their nutritive needs, and some have allergies that may require special diets. Then there's the other end of the deal, literally: cleaning up your pet's waste in a timely manner so they have a comfortable living environment (and so do you and your neighbors!).
Some pets also need regular grooming to be physically comfortable. Matted coats can make it difficult for a pet to move easily and can cause them pain. A weekly brushing, even for pets with fairly low-maintenance coats, can be a great way to bond with your pet, reduce shedding, and help your pet stay comfortable. If your pet has a higher maintenance coat, monthly or quarterly visits to your neighborhood groomer may be necessary. Keeping nails trimmed and ears clean are also important grooming needs for pets.
An annual vet visit is always a good thing. Even if there's nothing wrong with your pet, annual "well baby" exams can assist in early detection of serious illnesses or conditions. There are also usually a few sudden needs for vet treatment in every pet's life; if your pet is acting oddly aggressive, lethargic, or ill, it's a smart idea to get them to a vet.
If you have a dog, you may find that you'll both benefit from a training class. It's another great way to bond with your pet, as well as teaching them good manners for interacting with you, other people, and other dogs. There are a ton of great trainers in the Pikes Peak Region, and once you've graduated from basic obedience, you might find that your dog has a special flair for Agility, Rally-O, or other doggie "sports". Training gives your dog much-needed physical and mental stimulation, as well as helping you better understand how to communicate well with him. You'll both be glad you went!
Dogs also benefit hugely from daily walks. Walking is another great way to give your dog both physical and mental stimulation, as well as socialization with other people and animals. Dogs generally have a good deal of energy that can't necessarily be worked out just by hanging out in the backyard. Without regular exercise, that energy may be channeled into destructive behavior around the home or yard, anxiety, aggression or other negative behaviors; on the other hand, an exercised dog is usually a well-behaved dog!
Meeting Mental & Emotional Needs
Yes, animals do have both mental and emotional needs. The reason they are called 'companion animals' is because they need and thrive on companionship - YOUR companionship. Dogs, cats, birds, bunnies and all sorts of other pets can get bored, just like people. Toys aren't just silly, unnecessary accessories; they provide important mental stimulation. There's a benefit to you, too: by giving your pet appropriate things to play with/chew on/shred, you give them an alternative to playing with, chewing on, or shredding your personal possessions, such as shoes, baseball hats, remote controls, the couch, etc.
Petting and snuggling with your companion animal is another one of those simple pet owner activities that is more important than it may seem. We all need love and affection in our lives - in fact, that may be one of the main reasons you got a pet in the first place! Affection is important to your pet's emotional well-being, too, so make sure to spend some time with your pet every day when you can give him your undivided attention.
Having a pet can bring joy, fun, and love into both of your lives, but only if you're willing to invest the time, energy and money into meeting its needs. Otherwise, you may both end up being miserable. So if you're not able to meet a pet's needs right now, the kindest thing you can do may be to wait to adopt until you're ready to make that big commitment. In the meantime, if you still want your pet fix, you can always volunteer at the Humane Society!