Second Chance: American Shelter Dog, New Breed



What puts a skip in the step of Second Chance staff?  What makes the world seem a kinder more caring place at 177 County Rd 10 (home to Second Chance’s Animal Resource Center)?  What puts a sparkle in the eye of a Second Chance volunteer?  You guessed it – adoptions! Adopting abandoned, neglected homeless pets into open-armed loving families is what we all prepare for, work for, wait for, and celebrate with unbridled joy and enthusiasm here at Second Chance. So why can’t they occur more often? They need to. Maybe they can – we have unleashed (ahem) a plan…

We first heard about this idea through a humane society in Costa Rica. So what do a small southwestern region of Colorado and Costa Rica have in common? Not a lot, but we do share this: the majority of pets that wind up at shelters are mixed breeds. Not surprisingly, mixed breeds are considered “less valuable” than pure breed dogs, I mean, if you are not pure that pretty much leaves you impure and who wants impure when you can have pure, right?

Therefore the key is to change how “mixed breeds” are perceived and valued, which should increase our demand. So, rather than being viewed as impure, how about unique?!?!  And we mutts are indeed unique, just look at us: you couldn’t recreate one mutt to look like another if you tried!

Once having determined mixed breeds are indeed unique the next logical step is to highlight this fact with an original name to define the new “breed.” By systematically breaking down the qualities specific to a particular “pure” breed, the same ones used to define a pure bred, such as size, markings, ear, face, body length and shape, type of tail, etc. and matching those with some of the unique details in each dog, a new breed is born. And this a new breed is only available at your local shelter…

Now gone (and good riddance!) are the days when shelter staff struggle to guess within limited framework, “well he looks like a Lab/Terrier cross” or, “well…she looks like a Lab/Pit cross”…  That game only made “mixed breeds” a reduced part of a “whole” breed people thought they were seeking out. But now we have all become something unique and whole and desirable unto ourselves. Take my friend Waggin’ for example. He used to be described as “Terrier mix” due to his wire-haired, brown coated, shaggy, floppy eared, scraggly tailed with long legs appearance. But now, well now Waggin’ is a highly desirable and adoptable Long Legged Pond Terrier!

Or there is my friend Kenai. He used to be referred to as a brindle colored pit mix (yawn), but that was before his true breed was unveiled: a Catahoula Tiger Dog!  And Lilly, who is about as unique looking as they come, is actually of the Spotted BoxingSpringer breed. Among others we also have a Smooth Coated Australian ShepStafford and me, Sonny, a Sharp-Nosed Shephound up for adoption here at Second Chance!  So don’t miss out – adopt your one-of-a-kind breed today!

P.S. – This rebranding strategy worked so well in Costa Rica that within 45 days adoptions increased by 1,400% …just imagine…



Editor’s note: It’s no secret. The Telluride region is dog heaven. Well, pet 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 at least one, generally two of the many animals now living at the no-kill shelter, Angel Ridge Shelter, a dog and a cat, hoping to find them loving permanent homes. The column is sponsored by Ted Hoff of Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, who from time to time exercises his skills as a dog whisperer, partnering with Kelly and her staff to help train a particularly challenging animal.

By the by, there is no better place to park your pup than Cottonwood whenever you head out of town (for locals) or are heading to town and staying somewhere that does not allow pets. Consider joining Ted’s Very Important Dog (VID) Club for added benies. (Details on Ted’s website.)

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway, but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. 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 the shelter pets and services

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