In 2009, four young Russian filmmakers visited America for a residency, making a stop in Telluride for the (dearly departed) Film Festival. Telluride Inside… and Out, then a baby webzine, sat down and talked with the group, yes about films, – but also, strangely, about dogs. They were amazed to see how dogs were treated in this neck of the woods, describing our town as “dog heaven,” a fact of life that is hard to miss and underlined by the existence of a dynamic, tireless nonprofit, the Second Chance Humane Society. Its mission: to save animals’ lives and promote responsible pet parenting and human-animal bond.

Monday, September 10 and Tuesday, September 11, Second Chance premieres a new fundraiser, which it intends to run annually and grow throughout the rest of its service region over coming years. The idea for the event originated with the goal of bringing a fundraising event back to Telluride, where a happening as much fun as the Fur Ball has not occurred since 2009. But the idea was not to create yet another full-fledged evening of food and drink and auction, with its related expenses and tax on human resources, but instead to leverage alliances with existing institutions such as local restaurants.

ARFFF was born. The acronym stands for “A Real Feast for Furry Friends.”

ARFFF takes place Monday, September 10 and Tuesday, September 11. Participants are asked to do one very simple thing: go out and eat with family and friends at any one of a number of dining establishments. Participating restaurants have pledged 10 – 20% of their gross sales (on food and drink) on those evenings to Second Chance. So party hardy.

Also on those two days, locals and guests have an opportunity to meet with a Second Chance volunteer to learn more about the organization, meet an adoptable pet. Volunteers and potential furry friends will be circulating the restaurants and streets and hosting a mobile adoption opportunity in Elks Park (on Monday).

The goal of ARFFF is to raise funds to support operations at the Animal Resource Center where the region’s homeless pets, housed at the facility because they were abandoned, abused, neglected, can receive quality care until a loving forever home is found. A secondary goal is to raise awareness about Second Chance and all the community services and programs it offers, such as subsidized medical care and educational outreach, that make a difference in the lives of pets and people throughout the region.

Among Second Chance’s core services/programs:

•    Shelter/Foster Intake & Adoption – provides abandoned, abused, and neglected dogs and cats a second chance.
•    Spay/Neuter – provides financial assistance for spay/neuter surgeries to low-income pet owners.
•    Behavioral & Medical Rehabilitation – for shelter pets with special needs so they can be adopted.
•    Community Outreach – mobile adoption, education programs and prevention services.
•    Feral Cat – trap, test, spay/neuter, vaccinate, and return feral cats to their original habitat.
•    Animal Control Assistance – support services for regional animal control/law enforcement.
•    Pet Placement – assists families in finding homes for pets they must surrender.
•    Behavior Counseling – assistance to pet owners in correcting behavioral issues so that pet can remain in the home.
•    Pet Safe Housing – pets from violent homes are fostered until the owner leaving the abusive situation has safely relocated.

Second Chance is now housed at the Angel Ridge Ranch. But capital is still needed to maximize the potential of the facility. Why? The new home could be even better. It could:

• Be more suitable and health-promoting for dogs in terms of proper air flow/ventilation and temperature control;
• Remove the need for the caged housing system to be replaced by “real-life” rooms;
• Allow for more efficient use of resources such as energy, staff, and volunteers;
• Increase outdoor accessibility for dogs; and
• Increase public/adopters access to the dogs in a more user-friendly environment.

Second Chance is a recent recipient of Special Initiatives Grant from the Telluride Foundation to assist the organization in filling the animal welfare services gap in the region.

The list of restaurants participating in ARFFF is as follows:

September 10:

La Marmotte
Caravan (Montrose)

September 11:

Brown Dog Pizza
New Sheridan Chop House
Smuggler Joe’s

Both days:

Appaloosa Cafe

To learn more about Second Chance and why you might want to support the nonprofit, click the “play” button and listen to my interview with Second Chance executive director Kelly Goodin.

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