What a day! This is our third Take Paws to Volunteer location, and I have to tell you – I LOVE THIS! Stopping each month give back to the communities we visit as we travel around the country is one of our best ideas ever. Spending a day volunteering at a local animal shelter or rescue, and sharing the photos and stories of the dogs and cats I meet here on the blog and on our Facebook page, has been such an uplifting experience for me. And then there’s my dream … that the fantastic GoPetFriendly.com community will help these wonderful pets find their forever homes. And maybe – just maybe – we’ll see pictures of them traveling the country with their new families!
This time my day was spent at the beautiful Foothills Animal Shelter in Golden, Colorado. Founded in 1976, Foothills has changed names a couple times, but their dedication to helping animals has remained true. Four years ago they moved into a gorgeous new facility, and from this new location they’re helping 9,000 animals each year!
With these guiding principles: Community, Adopt, Reunite, and Educate, the wonderful people at Foothill provide the best possible care to every animal that comes their way. From dogs and cats, to chickens, rabbits, geese, snakes, pigs, peacocks, and even sheep – when an animal arrives here, the staff and volunteers will do their best to get it back on it’s feet and off to a forever home.
My day started off with a tour of the cat quarters. With a huge window and plenty of places to climb, these felines were keeping themselves occupied until the purrr-fect family finds them.
The multi-level kitty condos are cool, too! With one area for seeing out and a lower level for privacy, it’s a great temporary living space, but I think Charlie thought I was the pupparazzi!
After visiting the cats, I was off to my first assignment: join the dog walking team! They’ve developed a great system to keep track of how many times each dog has been walked each day, so I teamed up with Darlene, one of the shelter’s outstanding volunteers, and we got our assignments and made for the kennels.
Oh, the faces on these guys!
Look, you could even have your very own Shar-pei and Shepherd combo – just like Ty and Buster! Fred and Jack are both available for adoption right now, but you’ll have to get to the shelter fast – these boys won’t be sticking around long!
Sometimes dogs come in who need a little more space, or maybe they’re a pair who would be more comfortable together – they can stay in these comfy “apartments” until they’re adopted.
During my visit, Foothills was in a national competition with 50 other shelters, striving to push their limits and save more lives than ever before. All told, more than 2,600 dogs and cats were saved during June, July, and August. That’s an incredible increase of more than 1,000 lives over the same period last year! Here’s what one section of their “Wall of Lives” looked like when I was there:
I’ve already mentioned the spectacular volunteers at Foothills a few times, but let me put things in perspective a bit: the 430 active volunteers serve all kinds of functions at the shelter, from socializing and spending time with the animals, to manning the welcome desk, to licking the envelopes. No matter what your capabilities or preferences, there is a way for you to help. Last year, the thousands of hours of service donated by these amazing people equated into 12 full-time staff positions! There is no doubt that the generosity of these souls is making a big difference in the lives of the animals.
If you’re in the area and want to find out more about Foothills, keep your nose to the ground – they’ll be announcing a brand new dog walk event, Woofin’ It, in downtown Golden this fall!
My sincere thanks to Jennifer Strickland and Stephanie Wilde at Foothills Animal Shelter for making time to meet with me and coordinate my day. I also want to send my appreciation to Cloud Star and Alcott for their generous participation in the Take Paws to Volunteer Program. The all-natural treats and adventure gear they donate to the shelters we visit each month helps make these animals’ wait a little more pleasant.
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