Editor’s note: It’s no secret. The Telluride region is dog heaven. Unless you are one of our furry friends who gets caught in the maw of neglect and abuse. Then heaven is on hold until Second Chance Humane Society comes to the rescue.

Second Chance is the region’s nonprofit dedicated to saving animals’ lives and promoting responsible pet parenting and human-animal bond. In her weekly blog, executive director Kelly Goodin profiles two of the many animals from the no-kill shelter, Angel Ridge Shelter, a dog and a cat, hoping to find them loving homes.

The column is sponsored by Ted Hoff of  Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, who from time to time exercises his skills as a dog whisperer and partners with Kelly and her staff to help train a particularly challenging animal. And there is no better place to park your pup than Cottonwood should you be heading our hills for a few turns in the pow pow. ( A girl can dream….)

Holly reunited with the Richters

Holly reunited with the Richters

The Mysteries of Feline GPS Technology (and the power of love)

The Second Chance Humane Society’s TIO blog has been heavy on promoting the life-saving aspects of providing a pet with a micro-chip and we have used some rich stories of pets finding their way back home after long ordeals as a result of the technology. Upon hearing the latest story about a cat who traveled some 200 miles to find her way home, we wondered whether another post about microchips would hold our readers’ interest, but here goes…

That particular pet-gets-lost-but-microchip-brings-it-home-for-a-happy-ending story not only reminds us how critical micro-chips are, but also veers into the unsolved mystery of how an indoor house cat named Holly got from an RV rally in Daytona Beach to her home in West Palm Beach two months later without a GPS device or opposable thumbs. We felt that spectacular feat warranted further exploration into the limitless power of the human-animal bond, as well as the mysteries underlying untapped skills/powers of the feline.

The ambiguity is highlighted by the fact even scientists are baffled by how a cat was able to navigate long distances to reach its goal.

“I really believe these stories, but they’re just hard to explain,” said Marc Bekoff, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Colorado. “Maybe being street-smart, maybe reading animal cues, maybe being able to read cars, maybe being a good hunter. I have no data for this.”

There is, in fact, little scientific dogma on cat navigation. Migratory animals like birds, turtles and insects have been studied more closely. It is known they use magnetic fields, olfactory cues, or orientation by the sun. But cats are not migratory and it is rather difficult to actually put the various theories out there to any sort of humane test.

What are the theories? The ones that hold cats can sense smells across long distances or follow highways really have no way to be tested. And the newest research by the National Geographic and University of Georgia’s Kitty Cams Project, using video footage from 55 pet cats wearing video cameras on their collars, suggests cat behavior is exceedingly complex, but definitely not built for safe long distance travel. So was Holly just a very lucky kitty with an enhanced survival instinct?

Turns out Holly’s story is not all that rare: we hear about cats traveling even up to 1,000 miles and turning up at their original homes a year or more after separation. But we do have to agree Holly’s tale does provide cause to pause. With clear physical evidence (shyness, physical condition, state of her paws) Holly walked the entire way home, the best we can do is speculate as to how this indoor cat returned within a mile of her home.

Yes, with only a mile left to get home, Holly’s route fortunately crossed the backyard of a compassionate family who noticed a cat “barely standing” and struggling even to meow. Over six days, the family cared for the cat until they could get her into the house. Despite becoming very attached to Holly, they took her to a veterinarian for a micro-chip scan. And you know the ending: a joyful, tearful reunion of Holly and the family she worked so hard to find again. (Who had never given up hope and were still searching for their lost family member.)

And now a word from our sponsors, Paris & Chanel…




Bon Jour! My name is Paris. I am thought to be a one year old Pomeranian.  I was found as a stray in Ouray County, out exploring the world with my friend Sanchez. Someone was nice enough to stop. Sanchez and I decided it was way too cold to be out exploring, so we hopped a ride to Second Chance, where we get to stay nice and warm.

I am energetic in the play yard, but like to be held. The people at Second Chance think I may have been someone’s lap dog… Oh, and I like to have my neck scratched. Will you be my lap/scratcher?




My name is Chanel. Here at Second Chance I get to hang out with my litter mate Calvin. That is how my Second Chance friends know I am a playful kitten: I play with Calvin and our assortment of toys all day long. I’m a young, inquisitive kitten who wants to find a home that will allow me to grow up and live out my days. I’ve got a sweet rather irresistible personality and feel strongly that you will think I am something special…and precious…and snuggly…etc.


Note: Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs.  View our shelter pets and services online:

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