Second Chance: Meeting 2021 Challenges

Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been serving San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties for 27 years. Call 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about our Emergency Response, Community Medical, Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, or other services. View shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.

A new year represents new beginnings, new possibilities, and new ways to look at things. These are important considerations knowing we have our work cut out for us in 2021 as the pandemic continues to have an impact. This first Pet Column of 2021 is not intended to set a negative tone, but focus on necessary preparedness as Second Chance Humane Society continues a concentrate on meeting the most urgent needs involving animal welfare and community support.

These needs are being defined by what the animal welfare industry is seeing at a national level regarding housing insecurity which, although not new, has been exacerbated by the pandemic. The economic hardships faced by so many people could severely impact families through evictions and evolve as the next obstacle in the national crisis. An estimated 30–40 million renters are at risk of being evicted this month because of hardships experienced from the pandemic. 72% of renters have pets. That means the number of animals displaced with their people this year could be significant.

Additionally, pre-COVID estimations asserted nearly 10 million low and extremely low-income renter households were severely housing-cost burdened, meaning 50% or more of their income is spent there. Due to the economic consequences of the pandemic, another 1.5 million rental households are expected to become severely housing-cost burdened.

In coming months, many families may face the heart-wrenching decision of choosing between a place to live and the pets they love. Second Chance’s mission is “Connecting Pets, People & Community While Saving Lives.” We will be working, in collaboration with partner animal welfare agencies to minimize the trauma and devastation caused by a potential eviction crisis in our region. The goal is keeping pets and people together.

Second Chance will be engaging in conversations with partners on how to best support our community members through these trying times. Additionally, two programs that were temporarily suspended are back this month. Our Community Wellness Program, that provides free wellness checks for pets and low-cost veterinary services, is open for appointment registration now. This program supports low-income families who want to keep their pets healthy.

Second Chance’s behavioral training courses are also resuming. They can help pet owners to develop and maintain their pets as good candidates for rental homes. Further, Second Chance will continue building its Foster Home Program to assist those who are temporarily unable to care for their pets due to illness or homelessness caused by the pandemic.

In closing, our homeless dog of the week, Peach, would like to remind you that another source of sustenance for today’s challenges is the social, emotional and mental support that a companion animal can provide. Adopting a homeless pet can reduce the challenges caused by the prolonged isolation and disconnection we’ve been experiencing these past many months.

Thus, we introduce Peach…

Peach is a 1-year-young cattle dog mix looking for a forever home. Peach arrived as a very shy and scared little girl, but has responded well to staff and volunteer attempts to build her confidence. She has learned how to walk on leash and trust humans. She gains confidence from other dogs and would do best in a home with another dog as a mentor and comforting presence.

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