Second Chance: Enriched Second Chances

Second Chance: Enriched Second Chances

My name is Hercules, a homeless pet here at Second Chance and a student of the Second Chance Enrichment Program. Many people are unfamiliar with this program, unique to our area and to animal welfare in general, so I wanted to introduce it in this week’s Pet Column because the program changes, even saves lives.



Enrichment in a shelter setting helps all the animals to acclimate during their temporary stay. It also helps to prepare them for the transition to their forever homes. Enrichment encompasses many aspects of our lives here at the shelter.

It begins with every pet getting particular comforts that we respond well to, for example a clean living environment filled with soft bedding and a variety of toys based on our interests. That is augmented by interesting smells and scents and soothing music that change depending on our various moods.

But that’s just our surroundings; my favorite part of the enrichment program is when I get outside for some fun. Every day we get both walks with our staff and volunteers and playtime with our den-mates and treats if we use proper manners like sitting or waiting upon request.

Because I’m so big and strong with so much energy I need a little more exercise than other dogs here and the enrichment program doesn’t let me down. I get lots of personalized one on one playtime – my specialties are fetch and tug of war – with an occasional break for a treat and some loving.

Enrichment is an educational process for all involved, I learn how to better interact with people and furry friends, the staff learns about my personality and needs, and all this information will help me and my soon to be forever family start our new life out on the right paw.

Because all animals are unique individuals the way my life is enriched varies from other pets here, some of my less outgoing friends get exposure to new people and experiences, like going into Town for a walk in the park or for a visit to the Second Chance Thrift Shop. Others get to solve puzzles to find hidden treats, or learn agility like jumping hurdles or running tunnels, or going on a trail hike or a bike ride.

The homeless cats also receive this customized kind of interaction as well. Jewel is a new cat friend of mine who has tremendously benefited from the program. When she first arrived she was very timid and wary of people to the point where she stopped eating.



Her personalized enrichment began with just getting her out of her shell. Since she liked to hide and felt safe tucked away, her enclosure was set up with places perfect for just that, all padded with soft bedding and traces of cat nip. She also got special dishes of tuna and cuddle time throughout the day. After a few days she was feeling more comfortable and eating again.

As Jewel has adjusted to Second Chance so too has her enrichment program, now she gets to roam around the house and interact with other cats and people. Our volunteers get her to chase toys as well as just cuddle with her. Now her options for adoption are exponentially greater than when she arrived.

This kind of progress is the whole basis of the enrichment program, to better the lives of all the animals at Second Chance and better facilitate their future lives with loving forever families.

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.

Ted Hoff & Mae

Ted Hoff &  Magnificent Mae


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 online:

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.