Appreciate your community animal shelters year-round

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RBC | An often overlooked and under-appreciated asset in our local communities is our animal shelters. Defined as a refuge to protect and house; Rio Blanco County is fortunate to have two fantastic animal shelters in each community. Bringing together hopeful critters and loving homes is one of the things that your local shelter does best, but it’s by no means the only thing. From taking in homeless animals and giving them food, water and shelter to rescuing injured or abused animals to reuniting lost pets with their families. Often operating on a shoestring budget and volunteer hours, your local animal shelter spends 365 days a year saving animals.

Meeker Animal Control Officer Laurel Haney reports that Meeker Animal Shelter takes in approximately 130 pets each year. Haney says that the majority of pets are owned and claimed but about 30 each year are considered strays or relinquished pets that she and her team find loving homes for. One such adoption case, an adult male Australian Shepherd named Sam was placed at a goat farm outside Tucson, Arizona. Farney reports slightly higher numbers in Rangely at approximately 150 intakes per year. Just a handful of those are dogs in need of homes. Rangely adopted nine dogs but they secured adoptions of 10 cats to Grand River Humane Society in Grand Junction, 14 to the Cat Café in Denver, nine kittens they transferred to Community Cats in Vernal, Utah, and 14 kittens were adopted in Summit County. Both animal shelters work tirelessly and carefully to find suitable accommodations for each homeless pet.

For one week out of the year community members, animal lovers and grateful pet guardians come together to celebrate their local shelter. National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week was Nov. 7–13 but there are several ways to show shelters you care this week and throughout the year.

Adopt a Best Friend. Animals make great companions, but having a pet is a big responsibility and it involves a lifelong commitment. Find out if you have what it takes to provide a safe and loving home and learn more about adopting from your local animal shelter. When you’re ready to adopt go to to find pets in your area.

Keep on Giving. Many animal shelters struggle financially so every penny helps. Donating to your local shelter is as simple as writing a check and dropping it in the mail or picking up an item on the shelter’s wish list during your next shopping trip. Also consider the gift of your time. Volunteers are in high demand, whether it be walking or playing with sheltered pets or offering to transport a pet to an adoptive home, volunteers are needed and appreciated.

Be Committed. Providing quality food, water and shelter is important, but it’s not the only thing involved in being a responsible and caring pet guardian. It’s also essential that your pet has current identification tags and is properly confined or supervised while outdoors. Keep your pet healthy and up to date on all vaccinations by visiting the veterinarian regularly and give your pet lots of love and attention.

– Do Your Part. Spaying or neutering your pet is one of the most important things you can to reduce the number of homeless pets in your community. Shelters nationally are already overcrowded with unwanted pets. Learn more about why spaying/neutering is important and how you can find affordable options.

Two Simple Words. The words “thank you” are powerful. But since animals can’t speak, it’s up to community members to let shelter workers know just how much their commitment to animals is appreciated. Send a letter, card or e-mail to your local shelter and let them know you care.

Interested in helping your local animal shelter? Contact the Meeker Animal Shelter at 970-878-4968 or Rangely Animal Shelter at 970-675-2803.

By ROXIE FROMANG | Special at the Herald Times