Second Chance: Empty the Shelter!

Second Chance: Empty the Shelter!

Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center (SCHS) and Thrift Shops have been serving San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose Counties since 1994. The shelter is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday 11 to 5:30. Community veterinary services are available by appointment.

View shelter pets and services online:

Go here for more on Dr. Shari DePauw of Second Chance. Second Chance veterinary clinic is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Call (970) 626-9713 or email

Donate here.

Go here for more options from Second Chance.

We are taking a big step to get pets adopted in the first two weeks of May. Partnering with Bissell Pet Foundation’s event “Empty the Shelters,” we’re offering Fee-Waived adoptions until May 14 for all adult pets. Puppies and kittens under 6 months old will have reduced fees.

You might ask about the rationale for waiving adoption fees – thinking if someone can’t afford adoption fees, how can they afford to care for a pet? The traditional view has been that “giving away” pets devalues them, may compromise their care, and reflects poorly on the shelter giving them away.

Research and experience have proven this just isn’t the case. Here at Second Chance, we have found that most people aren’t adopting because of a waived expense. Instead, they see wonderful pets at the shelter; fees being waived are just a reminder to visit and adopt.  The waiving of fees may bring in adopters from communities with whom we may not regularly connect, but this expansion of our audience is a great opportunity to help more animals.

Multiple studies have shown that animals adopted through fee-waived adoption events like Empty the Shelters are NOT returned at a rate higher than any other pets. Additionally, there was no difference in post-adoption veterinary care received by fee-waived and non-fee-waived pets. Most adopters brought their cats for follow-up veterinary care regardless of fee status.




Another piece of good news for some of our pets like Kiki and Hank: studies found 87% of adopters of fee-waived pets considered the length of time a cat or dog had been at the shelter as a factor in selecting their new family member. In contrast, only 13% of regular adopters considered a longer-stay pet. This suggests that fee-waived programs entice adopters who are explicitly trying to be part of the solution to homeless pets.

While adoption fees may be waived during “Empty the Shelters” our adoption policies and guidance are not. We meet with every potential adopter to get to know them and their lifestyle, to make sure we are making a strong match and setting everyone up for success. We provide tips and guidance on introducing new pets to the home, other family members, and resident pets. Every adopter fills out the same application, signs the same contract, and is asked the same questions.

Another question we get is this: “How does this affect your budget?” To be perfectly honest, adoption fees don’t begin to cover our costs of care for shelter animals. The medical care, food, behavioral work, and staff time cost much more than the standard adoption fee. This is especially true for long-stay pets. Our biggest asset is the donors who support our mission financially and by spreading the word about our great work. We also apply for grants, work with businesses, and move merchandise through our shops and gallery fr funding. If someone adopts during a no-fee event, we hope they will consider donating. Either way, nothing makes us happier than seeing an animal find its new home. We are looking forward to a lot of happy adoptions during the Bissell fee-waived event.

Bissell “Empty the Shelters” goes through May 14 at Second Chance.

AND… To continue the Second Chance Highlights section, we want to share the following:

Meet Nick Gilman, Interim Executive Director

When Interim Executive Director, Annie Guion, joined us at Second Chance, she committed to six months in the position. We are very grateful to Annie for taking the helm while we searched for our next Executive Director and wish her well on her journey home to Vermont at the end of May. We’ll miss Annie, Chuck (who was a big help at our thrift shop), and adorable Arfur.

We are thrilled to announce , however, that Nicholas Gilman has accepted the Interim Executive Director position. Nick and Annie will work together for the month of May to ensure a smooth transition.

Nicholas has worked in animal welfare for over 37 years, doing everything from direct care of animals to being Executive Director, national disaster relief to cruelty investigation, consulting and shelter design. He worked for three years for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and for seven years for the American Humane Association (AHA) where he served as Director of Animal Programs.

Nicholas was a founding board member of the National Federation of Humane Societies and created Humane Logic, a business consulting firm focusing on animal welfare. Humane Logic helps non-profit humane organizations with strategic planning, leadership, board of director development, organizational review, and other disciplines specific to animal charities.

Nick is living in Ridgway with his cat, Tree House, and has begun working with board and staff members to learn all about Second Chance’s programs and services.

“I am already so proud to be a member of this talented, hard-working team!” said Nick. “My immediate focus will be on setting specific goals for the next nine months and working with the Board of Directors and staff to put together a strategic plan.”

Welcome Nick to Second Chance and our community. His email is

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