This week is National Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week. 

To honor that, we will give you a glimpse of Ark-Valley Humane Society’s story.

In the early 1990s Buena Vista only had “The Shed,” which consisted of unheated dog kennels that were overseen by local law enforcement. These kennels would get very hot under the summer sun and water bowls would freeze in the cold winter months. There were no resources for cats.

Luckily, in 1991 a group of compassionate and concerned citizens sought something better for our pets. They founded Ark-Valley Humane Society (AVHS) as a nonprofit organization to care for stray and unwanted pets in northern Chaffee County. By 1995 AVHS opened its doors. The shelter was soon serving hundreds of dogs and cats each year through volunteer and staff efforts.

Ark-Valley Humane Society currently has two locations, an unstaffed impound-facility for stray dogs and cats in Salida and a shelter in Buena Vista that is open to the public seven days a week.

Over the past five years AVHS had a 96 percent live release rate, meaning 96 percent of the animals that came through our doors had a happy outcome. Last year our live release rate was 99 percent!

We are very proud of those numbers and what they represent. We couldn’t continue to do this work without the support of our wonderful community, and for that we are endlessly grateful.

What is in AVHS’ future? We continue to strive to serve all Chaffee County companion animals. To better do, this we are planning on building a new addition to the existing shelter. The addition will create more space and improve the overall flow for shelter operations, offer a quieter room with open space and fresh air for cats, provide a more professional and welcoming presentation to the public and increase Ark-Valley’s capacity to address surgical needs in-house.

We are currently selling T-shirts that were designed by local artist Patti Vincent, to help raise money for the project, with 100 percent of proceeds going to AVHS. You can find the link at our website; they will be on sale until Nov. 19.

There are also personalized bricks for purchase that will be permanently displayed outside the new addition, and naming opportunities are available. You can find all of these on our website while learning more about the new addition: ark-valley.org.

Thank you, Chaffee County, for your support.

Emy Luebbering is volunteer and programs coordinator at Ark-Valley Humane Society.

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