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COCONINO VOICES

Coconino Voices: High Country Humane gives thanks to the community

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As we come to the close of 2021, High Country Humane will celebrate completing our third year of operation as an all-new animal shelter organization in the former Second Chance Center for Animals building.

We started small, and everything we did was a first-time effort – from hiring an amazing team of qualified staff dedicated to providing exemplary animal care, to fundraising, adoption events, recruiting foster families, and welcoming volunteers to help us meet all the needs of the animals.

During our most recent fundraiser, we asked our staff to tell their stories to the audience of animal lovers, including why they are dedicating their lives to helping improve the lives of animals, especially those animals who were suffering from injuries that needed to be addressed by our lone veterinarian and her vet tech team.

We invited our event sponsors (Findlay Toyota, The Bluffs of Flagstaff, and The Taggert Team Flagstaff) donors, volunteers, staff, and friends to show them the results of their investments in our organization. Everyone in attendance had reason to be proud of the way Flagstaff treats animals in our community.

Stories included America, a dog surrendered by her owner due to a history of inappropriate urination. On examination and with x-rays, a very large bladder stone was discovered. It turns out this poor dog had been "growing" this stone for three years. Once it was removed, her "bad behavior" disappeared, and she moved on to her new home.

There was Marisol, who came to HCH as a stray. She did not do well under anesthesia during her spay procedure. X-rays showed an enlarged heart, and she was diagnosed with severe heart valve disease. This sweet pooch is being treated in foster care while waiting for her forever home. She won't have a long life, but HCH is making sure it's a good one!

Another point that was noted is High Country Humane's Live Release Rate of 97.4%. This means that out of every 100 animals that come into the shelter, 97.4 leave healthy and ready for adoption.

The response from the audience was deeply personal, with tears from some of us and admiration from everyone else.

I was reminded of all the hard work it took to get High Country Humane to this exhilarating point.

None of this would have been possible without the support of our dedicated Board of Directors, committed staff, the Coconino County Supervisors and their staff, the Flagstaff City Council, the City Manager and City staff, our underwriters, sponsors, donors, volunteers and the Wilson Foundation, and I am writing to say thank you to everyone who helped make these achievements possible.

This is not to say that everything is just fine now. We have a community in great need and a shelter struggling to manage the high number of animals we see every day. Our intake of animals has risen from 2800 in 2019 to over 3,500 animals so far this year.

Our current focus is on hiring a second veterinarian to offer expanded low-cost spay and neuter and additional vaccine clinics to our community.

We are privileged to live in a community that values its companion animals and supports the animal welfare organizations in our community who work tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of the animals and their people living in Coconino County and the City of Flagstaff.

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