6 Months Since Our Return to Pueblo – Where Are We Now?
On August 17, 2019, we officially reopened our Pueblo shelter! (Even though we had been performing limited services since June.) The community welcomed us back with open arms, and we are excited to report that, with your support, we have accomplished more than we ever thought possible. Scroll through the below blog to see improvements we’ve made, services we now offer, and numbers that reflect the work we have done to help the people and pets of Pueblo!
Adoptions and Pets Returned to Their Owners
Since our grand reopening six months ago, we have completed 1,213 adoptions and reunited 639 stray pets with their families, in addition to the 138 adoptions we completed and 414 pets we returned to their owners prior to our official reopening. Our customer service team works diligently to cross reference the stray animals in our shelter with missing pet posts on community pages, lost pet reports and more, to ensure pets can be reunited with their loving families who miss them!
It is our goal to place every healthy and safe animal who walks through our doors into a loving home, and help them stay there. That’s why all cats and dogs who are adopted from our shelter are medically rehabilitated (if needed), spayed/neutered, vaccinated, licensed (if applicable) and microchipped. That way, they remain healthy and free of preventable diseases like rabies, they don’t produce unwanted litters that wind up in a shelter, and they can quickly be returned home if they get lost!
Transparency has always been a priority at HSPPR, and since being reinstated in Pueblo, HSPPR has worked harder than ever to increase transparency and forge better relationships community support (?) because we believe we’re #BetterTogether. We have a community liaison committee that meets with community and government officials no less than 10 times per year, to provide updates on our Animal Law Enforcement initiatives, animal shelter work, and the contracts we have with the city and county. The purpose of this is to showcase the impact of HSPPR Pueblo’s contractual services and to provide and seek council on community animal welfare issues. We want to serve the Pueblo community in the best way possible, and we believe the way to do this is through working with our community allies to drive change.
In addition, HSPPR Pueblo is hosting town halls two times per year, where Pueblo residents can learn more about how we work to provide the best possible outcome for every pet in our care and the people we serve. This town hall is moderated, and attendees have the opportunity to ask questions on animal welfare topics that concern or interest them most.
HSPPR Pueblo also hired a Community Relations Specialist who works every day to tell the stories of the animals and people of Pueblo. Whether it is through media interviews, Pet of the Week segments with local news outlets, Facebook stories and/or donation drives, the Community Relations Specialist works to inform the community of all the work we are doing in Pueblo, the resources available to the pets and people of Pueblo, and how, with the support of the community, we can save more homeless animal lives than ever before.
Behavior Modification Program
Upon the reopening of the HSPPR Pueblo shelter, we also hired a Behavior Programs Manager, Miguel, who has worked to implement a behavior modification program. As a result, dogs who previously would not have been adoption candidates are getting the training they need to find safe, loving homes. Buffy is just one example of the 30+ dogs who have gone through this program since its foundation in September 2019 and gotten adopted! You can read more about her story here.
We aren’t just working to get more behaviorally challenged dogs adopted - we are working to ensure they aren’t returned to our shelter! A behavior consult is provided by Miguel for the adopters of any dog in this program. In these consults, he helps the adopters understand the behaviors their new dog has been exhibiting and provides tips for training and behavior management. He also hosted a dog training info session to educate interested people on how to make their newly adopted dogs successful in their homes. Curious about some dog training tips and tricks yourself? Check out Miguel’s and Fernando’s (our Colorado Springs Behavior Program Manager) blog here.
Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) Program
We have reinstated our TNR program, where community members can volunteer to be Cat Colony Managers and, through collaboration with our Community Cat Coordinator, they ensure the local cats in their neighborhood are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, fed, sheltered, and in good health. The purpose of this program is to reduce cat overpopulation (which leads to disease and starvation), without forcing more feral cats (who usually can’t be adoption candidates) into the shelter. Volunteer Colony Managers get traps from our shelter, humanely trap the cats, bring them in for spay/neuter surgery and vaccines, and then safely release them back to where they were previously living, where they remain under their watchful eyes.
Over the past six months, our Pueblo Community Cat Coordinator has also been targeting zip codes where we receive the most calls about feral cat overpopulation, like 81008. The coordinator humanely traps cats in these areas, ensures they get fixed and vaccinated, and releases them into an area where they can live successfully. On October 23, as a late celebration of National Feral Cat Day, we humanely trapped, neutered and vaccinated 79 Pueblo cats! Overall, we have spayed and neutered 315 feral cats through our TNR program since coming back to Pueblo. Not bad for six months’ work, if we do say so ourselves!
We’ve gotten to work getting our volunteer program up and running again in Pueblo! Our volunteers help with everything from cleaning kennels, doing laundry, providing support in the veterinary clinic, creating enrichment toys and treats for the pets, fostering animals and more. Volunteers are CRITICAL to the success of our shelter—we wouldn’t be able to provide the care and support needed for the community pets without them.
Interested in getting involved? We have an upcoming info session on March 4th! You can learn more about it here.
We understand that access to affordable veterinary care is a burden on pet owners in Pueblo. That’s why we’ve worked to get our mobile veterinary clinic, the Wellness Waggin’, up and running, so it can be accessible to the people and pets who need it most! Every Friday from 2-4 p.m., the Wellness Waggin’ is parked outside our Pueblo shelter, offering low-cost vaccines and wellness exams on a first come, first served basis. In addition, we frequently host off-site vaccination and wellness events on Saturdays, so that we can serve even more people. These are also conducted on a first come, first served basis, so keep an eye on our events page so you can stay in-the-know on upcoming Wellness Waggin’ events!
Our Waggin’ was also at the recent “Pitty Party,” in conjunction with PAWS for Life, Pet Project, and Bergen Spay and Neuter Coalition, and funded by the Colorado Pet Overpopulation Fund. At this event, we spayed 53 pit bull-type dogs over the course of two days, at no cost to the pet owners!
Finally, the veterinary clinic in our Pueblo shelter is back up and running, and accepting public spay/neuter appointments! Need your pet fixed? Schedule online here.
Pueblo, we want to thank you! We appreciate you welcoming us back into the community, how you work with us to achieve the best possible outcomes for every pet in our care, and how you collaborate with us to achieve better animal welfare for your community. We can’t do what we do without your support!