Second Chance: New Mission + Community Medical Program

Learn more about Second Chance Humane Society’s new programs and services at adoptmountainpets.org or call 970.626.2273.

Dr Shannon  Janda & Charlie. The doctor hopes to make a positive impact on the lives of pets and their families in her new position as part-time medical director at Second Chance.

January 2020 marks the 26th anniversary of the Second Chance Humane Society. In keeping with what has kept this organization vital and accessible to its tri-county service region, Second Chance is unrolling a whole new concept in community service programming geared toward keeping pets and people together for life. To get started, the non-profit offered a low-income low-cost wellness clinic at its Ridgway shelter’s medical facility.

Second Chance executive director Kelly Goodin discussed the change:

“To keep step with the shifting needs of our service area, we have again revised our mission and extended our programming in an exciting new direction, one that further incorporates the growing importance of pets in our lives. This new programming is about supporting and sustaining the positive impact of pets upon people and within our communities.”

Animal rescue work has always been the priority for Second Chance. For the past decade, the organization has been expanding its sheltering capacity and improving its shelter practices and protocols with the goal of rescuing as many pets as possible.

Goodin continued:

“We have always positioned our work within a preventative framework, offering programs such as low-cost spay/neuter, dog training, and humane education within schools and communities. That combined approach has been effective. We are seeing a reduction of stray pets in our service region, allowing us to extend our rescue efforts further into the four corners region and beyond.”

But after receiving a few tragic animal abuse cases earlier this year the organization still didn’t feel it was doing enough. So last spring everyone sat down and reworked the strategy, shifting the focus of Second Chance towards more intentional community engagement. Goodin acknowledged: “Although we were seeing a reduction in stray pets in our region we were not seeing a comparative reduction in pet relinquishment.”

Maintaining a preventative lens, Second Chance strategized how it could best support people in keeping their pets for their lifetime:“Connections between pets and people were certainly happening, but they were not always lasting, typically due to medical and/or behavioral issues. We saw that we could change this.”

Goodin continued:

“Families facing economic hardship are in even greater need of keeping their animals as part of their families but are facing huge challenges in doing so. Losing jobs, limited housing, escalating vet bills, etc. have led to insurmountable barriers for many families in maintaining lifelong commitments to their pets.”

So Second Chance is initiating a community medical program to remove such barriers. The nonprofit also decided to expand its behavioral training classes to reach more families in need of this resource as well.

Another change impacted the decision for new programming. This fall, Dr. Michelle Dally, who had effectively and generously served as Second Chance’s medical director over the past 5 years, retired from full-time veterinary work to have more time for family.

Second Chance hired Dr. Shannon Janda in November as its new part-time medical director. In addition to practicing veterinary medicine internationally, nationally and, for the past five years, locally, Dr. Janda also held a rich background in community medical programming. She is enthusiastic about growing Second Chance’s new community medical program, stating that she “is grateful for the opportunity to provide services that make a true impact on animal health and make life better for pets and their families in our communities.”

Second Chance intends to strategically start this new programming in small steps. Goodin stated:

“We viewed that clinic on the 12th as a soft kick-off and opportunity to continue evaluating our community’s greatest needs. We will expand our list of services in future clinics, but will not be providing emergency care at this time, instead focusing on low-cost wellness clinics to keep pets healthy.”

In early 2020 Second Chance plans to expand its community medical program to the most underserved areas of its service region in western Montrose County, which includes Naturita and Nucla. These towns are facing renewed economic challenges with the recent closing of the power plant and coal mine that supported it.

Second Chance is also broadening its education and dog-training services to that region as well. Goodin stated: “Improving the relationship between a pet and person improves the quality of life for both and increases the chance of that pet staying in the home, thus maintaining a healthy social fabric.”

Second Chance feels confidence it is on the right path because these new idea have received very positive community feedback.

Second Chance projected annual costs for this new program will reach roughly $90,000 once it is fully in place. Grant funding has recently been awarded specifically for the initiative from the Animal Assistance Foundation ($10,000); Montrose Community Foundation ($2,500); Ouray County Community Fund ($1,000); West End Pay It Forward Trust ($500); and Ouray County Woman’s Club ($500).

“This is truly a service program that can result in very positive community changes so we have high hopes of gaining additional funding through the private sector during this holiday giving season. We are initiating a community funding campaign and kicking it off this week through a Colorado Gives campaign.”

So what is Second Chance’s new mission? Goodin replied:

“Our organization holds a strong belief that pets and people live better together, in fact the name of this new program is called ‘Living Better Together,’ and we feel that our new mission statement, ‘Connecting Pets, People & Community While Saving Lives’ better reflects that belief.”

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