Category Archives: General public

Colorado Animal Shelters top 100,000 Dog & Cat Adoptions in 2015

Colorado Animal Shelters top 100,000 Dog & Cat Adoptions in 2015

Milestone reached for the first time ever, but there is still much work to be done.

Denver CO June 6, 2016, (eReleases) — Colorado shelters surpassed 100,000 dog and cat adoptions for the first time ever according to statistics released by the Colorado Department of Agriculture today, hitting 100,282. Including rabbits, hamsters, birds, and others, 105,340 animals were adopted overall.

“This is a tremendous milestone,” said Davyd Smith, president of No Kill Colorado. “Not only because we topped 100,000 adoptions, but because Colorado has the most communities saving 90% or more of all animals in the country and is poised to become the first verifiable No Kill state. In terms of saving lives, Colorado is setting the pace nationally.”

Overall, 86% of Colorado dogs were saved (90% if out of state dogs are included), 83% of cats were saved, 74% of birds, 87% of rabbits, 85% of “pocket pets” (other small mammals), 96% of reptiles, and 83% of fish and “farmed” animals.

“There was great hope that Colorado would save 90% or more of all the animals,” said Nathan Winograd, the national director for the No Kill Advocacy Center which tracks shelter save rates nationwide. “Except for reptiles, that did not occur, which means animals continue to be killed needlessly, but Colorado is close and exceeds many states.”

Unfortunately, not all communities shared in the success. Moreover, some communities continue to ban dogs based on the way they look. While Colorado bans new breed-discriminatory legislation, it has grandfathered in existing laws and cities like Denver and Aurora continue to ban and kill healthy and friendly “pit bulls.”

“While we should be immensely gratified and Colorado approaching a 90% save rate for dogs is something to celebrate, clearly there are still lots of animals being needlessly killed and more work to be done,” said Smith. “Indeed, some large No Kill communities such as Austin Texas, save 96% of all pets and others are saving 98%, even 99%. We can do better and we can do this statewide.”

More than 30,000 homeless pets were imported into the state in 2015, Smith noted. This creates additional stress on the system to save Colorado pets. “We should absolutely help our neighbors when we can, but are we doing it at the expense of local pets?” adds Smith.

Colorado’s statewide statistics can be found here:

For a website that tracks shelter save rates nationwide, including Colorado’s:

No Kill Colorado
No Kill Colorado is a 501(c)3 that advocates for the implementation of the No Kill Equation in Colorado’s shelters. They have been active in rural adoption, spay/neuter, and shelter change programs since 2011.

Davyd Smith
President and Spokesperson
No Kill Colorado

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Max is an incredibly sweet 7 year old, 75 pound German Shepherd / Alaskan Husky mix who has been living at the Maxfund shelter for two months. He gets along great with children, dogs and cats and would make a wonderful addition any family.
Max has a degenerative condition in his back legs that causes him tomax1stumble a bit when he walks — but he manages to get around just fine. He keeps a good spirit, max2too!
Kim wrote, “I’m a volunteer at the MaxFund No-Kill Animal Shelter and Adoption Center in Denver. Max was relinquished to the shelter when he started having trouble walking. He is now receiving laser treatments from the clinic for the degenerative leg condition and he has definitely improved. He can walk but stumbles. An ideal situation would be a home with no stairs or a limited amount of stairs. He will likely need a wheelchair in the future but he’s not bad enough to need one yet.
He is good with kids, dogs, and cats. He is big, sweet, mellow guy. He would be a great candidate for a foster parent or even better a permanent adoption! The shelter requires in-person adoption/fostering.” (No transport.)
To adopt Max, please contact Maxfund Animal Shelter by emailing Kim at or calling 303.595.4917.

Ed, Jr.

This is Ed Jr. He came to Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue after Hurricane Katrina. He was a tiny, feral kitten who was terrified of everyone. In addition, he tested positive for FIV. Ed spent many years living in the shelter with only cats as friends. He was scared of people and maintained his distance.

However, over years of observing humans, Ed gradually began to allow them to interact with him. At first, he would only allow a person a short touch, but over time, he became open to attention, pets, treats, love, and all of the good things people had to offer!

After nine years at the shelter, we wondered if Ed would be a “lifer.” While he had come so far, he was still not exactly outgoing, and the stigma of FIV also worked against him. But I believe there is a person for every cat, and in late 2015, Ed Jr. met his person! When I saw his name on the adoption board, I did a double take. Was I reading that wrong? No, it was true! Ed found his home! I cried tears of joy for this sweet, gentle creature who finally got the gift of a warm lap and a safe home for the rest of his years.

Olivia: A Love Story

More than two years ago, Olivia, a German Shepard/Rotweiller mix, now 10 years old, was found abandoned one morning in front of the MaxFund Animal Shelter. It was clear she’d suffered a difficult life. It took several days of visiting her in her room before she’d let anyone near her. She needed some medical attention, and she responded well. Over time, she grew attached to the people she came to love and trust

When Olivia lets you into her world, it is a very special place to be! She is a beautiful soul. Olivia is incredibly smart, loyal, appreciative, and cuddly with the humans that make her feel safe, secure, and loved. She loves tummy rubs, playing with her toys, rolling in the grass and the snow, stuffed animals, treats, and nice walks. She is quite the kisser too. Many of the volunteers are head over heels in love with her.

As a potential foster or adopter, one will need to slowly engage Olivia’s trust. That would mean a couple of visits to the MaxFund Animal Shelter as you and she begin to know one another. Her loyal volunteers have committed to help ease the transition by facilitating a positive relationship between you and her at the shelter as well as in your home.

Olivia would do best in a home without young children. At the MaxFund, Olivia has been able to walk along side some of her shelter mates. She can make friends with other dogs, and some sheOlivia1 simply ignores. Olivia may like to be with another quiet, non-threatening dog. Clearly, this would need to be evaluated during a meet and greet. A home with minimal steps would work best for her.

Fostering Olivia is certainly an option. Were you to foster her, the MaxFund Animal Shelter remains responsibly for Olivia’s health care and assumes all medical costs.

Olivia has now been at the MaxFund Shelter for more than two years. She has consisting been overlooked, and no one at the shelter wants to see her spend the rest of her days and nights in a kennel, never knowing what a loving home feels like.

Olivia will be a devoted, adoring companion as she enters the twilight of her life. Once you engage her trust, her riches await.

To meet Olivia, please stop by the Maxfund Dog Shelter:
1005 Galapago St., Denver, CO 80204
Phone: 303-595-4917
Closed on Tuesdays
Mon, Wed, Thur & Fri – 10:00 – 4:00
Saturday – 11:00 – 5:00
Sunday – 12:00 – 5:00

Make sure to ask if a dog walker who is familiar with Olivia, such as Cathy, Donna, or Ilene or Cindy is available for a meet and greet.

This video of Olivia was produced in 2012. Since that time, we have learned that she may do fine around other dogs as referenced earlier.



Old Souls at Old Friends

Editors Note: Turbo has been adopted! More updates to follow. 

This is the third and final installation from No Kill Colorado volunteer, Barry Glass, on his journey to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah.

I try my best not to judge, but it never seems to work out that way. I guess I’ll have to learn that lesson in my next life.

I can never seem to wrap my mind around the fact that people surrender an old pet simply because the animal has grown old or infirm. A better me might understand it, but like I said, I haven’t reached nirvana yet.

After two and a half days of volunteering, I had velcroed my heart to the dogs at Old Friends—residents of a section at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary named Dogtown Heights. I was there to learn what these dogs had to teach me, and I made a promise to them that I’d listen.

Acorn, a beautiful white Sheppard, was a feral dog that roamed the Mojave Desert and was discovered running through a brush fire. It took one of her caretakers—a wonderful woman named Cheri—about a year before she could get Acorn to eat out of her hand. I respected her distancing and did not approach.

I adored meeting Turbo, a mid–sized Whippet mix who was originally adopted in 2003, and then returned earlier this year. Turbo has mouth sores and skin conditions that have been difficult to treat and diagnose, but Best Friends sticks by him as they continue to work toward a resolution to his medical problems.

Turbo is blessed to be in a loving environment surrounded by great vet care. However, his caretakers would like to see him go to a good home, confident that nothing quite beats the physical and emotional comfort of a soft mattress and a warm body. His volunteer caretaker, Lee, thinks the cost of Turbo’s medication might be an obstacle to his adoption.

Eve is yet again another dog that had been adopted and later returned. She lost the use of her back legs from a neurological disorder, and has problems with her front legs as well. After entering Best Friends, she was fitted with a cart and preceded to live her life. Her caretakers and volunteers created a positive, loving space and saw her as a happy dog. About two weeks after I returned to Denver, I learned that the quality of Eve’s life had deteriorated, and that Best Friends had made the decision to euthanize her. I was very sad. I just saw her, how can this be? I said to myself, and later, I realized that that train of thought led to a dead end. Instead, I chose to hold onto the memory of her smile on the day I watched her enthusiastically maneuver herself and her new cart around the sandy terrain of the dog park.

I take my baseball cap off to all those caretakers who work their behinds off for the dogs of Old Friends at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. While I was there, I met Lee, Meagan, and Cheri and I was fortunate to spend time with them. The caretakers are the backbone and heart of the sanctuary. Their responsibilities are enormous; they administer meds; pick up poop; pump water from a well; feed the dogs (some on special diets); clean kennels and runs; socialize with the dogs; observe, report and assess behaviors; craft an appropriate mixture of dogs to share a kennel and a run; wash all those food bowls, stacking them just so; transport the dogs to the clinic and assign tasks to the volunteers. And trust me, you won’t find their names and yearly income listed in Forbes.

Within the Best Friends website, there is a section entitled Guardian Angels. It spotlights animals at the sanctuary that have special needs. You can access it here.

You can find the stories of Turbo and the others in the Current Animals section, and you can also find the story of Eve in the section entitled Alumni. It’s here that caretaker, Lee, has fashioned a heartfelt eulogy honoring Eve and her sweet spirit.

There are many places where animals are never given the chance to tell their story. At times, my sorrow is overwhelming. Thank you to all the rescuers, transporters, trainers, fosters, adopters, volunteers, and supporters of No Kill Colorado. It is you, their Guardian Angels that give these animals someone to miss them when they are gone.




Reject the Status Quo

Our guest blogger this week is Denise Boehler, M.A. Denise is a sponsor for our Just One Day Denver event on June 11th. Her company, Wildsight, was born from a lifelong desire to reduce senseless wildlife deaths on our nation’s highways. Denise Boehler, Ecopsychologist and President, is a cyclist who created the company as a way to empower cyclists to become messaging agents for wildlife while out on the roadways. Find out more by checking out

FawnShift Gears for Wildlife

Paradigm change—the shift in one way of thinking and behaving to a more enlightened one—can you get on board?  People improve all the time. Evolution is a forward-moving event.  So can we embrace paradigm change as it concerns animals?

I believe we can.  How many of us would have laughed out loud at the dinner table at the suggestion of a vegetarian or vegan meal?  I don’t recall ever seeing free-range beef at the local Dominick’s.  But it’s now commonplace.  We are acknowledging, more and more, that animals are sentient creatures.  How about we not stop there?  Animals need even more consideration, and in the following ways:

Ever rush past your local animal shelter, because it rips your heart out too much?  Why is that?  Simple, because we all know—our failure to choose a candidate means death.  ‘Pick me! I want a forever home!’ becomes  ‘choose me or I will die in seven days’  (or one or ten, etc.)

We created homelessness for animals.  Some 3–4 million die annually for want of loving, safe homes.  And we can un-create it.  We can get behind causes supporting no-kill shelters, No Kill Colorado for one.  Asking you to support the idea, Can we stop killing shelter animals, only to create vacancies for more animals that may also die for want of a home?

Of course we can.  We simply have to want to.

Sparing homeless animals a needless death is just one way to change the way we treat them in our society.   “Roadkill” is now the leading cause of wildlife death in our nation.  We can change this too, by paying attention to the wildlife in our midst; Hence, Wildsight—empowering cyclists to become messaging agents for wildlife.  Envision the fox trotting along the roadside at dusk; the raccoons playing at midnight as we round the bend up the canyon road; the deer bounding across the lane to reach the creek.  Increasing our knowledge of the lives of animals creates that simple thought in the back of our minds as we move about our paved landscape.  It can save the life of the moose calf trailing its mother, or spare raccoons from sudden orphanhood in the event of an encounter.

Creating paradigms begins with us.  And it can change with us.  We only have to choose it, and it will happen.

For all the animals,

Denise Boehler, M.A.,
Ecopsychologist, President
Nederland, Colorado
Is Your Wildsight 20/20?

Fosters, Adopters, shelter staff are all links in the chain to saving animals lives

In no way would I demean the role of adopters, but they are one link in the chain to keeping shelter pets from being killed each day in the U.S.

We need people who are willing to foster until the right home can be found.

A pet comes into a shelter.  The first link in the chain is the person that brings them in.  This person, under most circumstances has made a bad decision in taking the pet in the first place.  The commitment to a creature is the lifetime of the pet, not the lifetime of someone’s convenience.  As many hard breaking stories of an older person losing a pet because they are relegated to senior care in a facility that does not allow pets, there are ten times more surrenders of pets because they were inconvenient to someone who bought a pet on a whim.

Then comes the shelter itself and the decision to label a pet adoptable or “unadoptable”.  This should not be a consideration.  Suffering of a pet, that is irredeemable, painful and terminal is the only time euthanasia as a word should be used.  If a pet is not irredeemably suffering, it does not deserve to be poisoned.  No one would choose this for themselves if they had the hope of the lowest quality of life.  Do we make this choice for the poor and sick in countries around the world?  Why?  Because it would be unethical to consider someone else making the choice for another person that there life was not worth living.  But it is made 10,000 times each day for pets in US shelters.

Following the intake link at the shelter is the outbound effort.  This is essentially a sales and marketing role that uses whatever available resources at hand to get the word out.  This link can be weak at times, and a real effort to use any available free resource should be used (Think twitter, Facebook, web site, partner rescue email list, public email, flyers at pet stores, etc.).  If money is available, paid advertising is a great bonus.

Next comes the foster link.  This is not necessary if the pet is lucky enough to come in and out in a few days.  But pets that don’t walk out the door quickly, even when labeled “adoptable” are in danger of getting on a kill list.  And this is where the importance of fosters, temporary loving homes that will hold a pet until a good home can be found.  This link in the adoption chain allows more cats and dogs a reprieve when they are homeless.  Unlike homeless shelters for people where safety is virtually guaranteed and striven for, animal shelters are quite often the most dangerous place for a pet.


Not to say there are not shelters where this is always true.  Many shelters are joining the No Kill community and saving pets at a rate for over 90%, with open intake.  But the national average is closer to 50% or one in two pets entering leave dead.  A statistic that is so overwhelming when estimates of 4 million cats and dogs are killed each year in shelters in the U.S.  And perhaps as many as 90% or not suffering from something irreversible, like simply having nowhere to go.

Fosters change this dramatically.  A pet in a shelter, often caged, with little or no attention, inadequate socializing and irregular food and water is not going to have the happy puppy or kitten personality people want in an adopted pet.  Also, how do you describe a pet that came in with no history and has been caged for weeks waiting for someone to care?

A foster can give a dog a real home, learn behavior, do some training, socialize with other pets, people, and children and learn the personality of their charge.  And all while keeping one pet out of the danger of being an “unadoptable” candidate in a shelter, which can meet death.

Fosters are such an integral part of this chain.  I encourage anyone with the means to rescue just one dog to try it.  Yes, it can be hard to give up your charge.  But remember, give one foster to a good home, you can take another, and just keep adding one life saved every time one foster goes to a forever home.  It’s how you keep doing and know you are changing the world with each foster that walks into your home.

Lastly is the adopter.  No less important a link in this chain of saving lives.  But without the foster, the adopter may never be able to find the dog that is the right fit for them, their home, and their family.

Consider fostering and Rescue One Dog today.

Shelters are Out of Balance with Nature

Took a walk in D.C. the day after the NoKill Conference 2012.  Although the quotes from our past presidents were seldom directed at the right of animals, I couldn’t help but see some parallels as I walked around the national mall and read the poignant quotes carved in the granite.  This is from FDR.

If you can’t see the inscription it says  “Men and nature must work hand in hand.  the throwing out of balance of the resources of nature throws out the balance also the lives of men.”




Our shelter system is out of balance of nature and it affects us in disparate ways.  You can argue that it is simply a moral imperative to save shelter pets, which is what I believe.  You can look at the fact that you can generate revenue by adopting out as opposed to killing.  You can do it because it is simply unnatural.  It doesn’t matter why you want to change the system.  It is just that there is no salient argument to not change the system and with change we bring a balance back to nature.  The wholesale killing for shelter pets in unnatural, and neither is the killing protocols of most of our shelters.

If you missed the No Kill Conference, you can go to The Adjacent Possible post by Nathan Winograd and read the keynote

On a  slightly lighter note, here is a quote from FDR about his dog.  It was rumored he left his dog behind on a trip to the Aleutian Islands and sent a U.S. Destroyer to go  back and get him.  His political opponents seized on the events.  FDR answered for his dog:


“These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course, I don’t resent attacks, and my family doesn’t resent attacks, but Fala does resent them. You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers in Congress and out had concocted a story that I had left him behind on the Aleutian Islands and had sent a destroyer back to find him – at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or twenty million dollars- his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since. I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself – such as that old, worm-eaten chestnut that I have represented myself as indispensable. But I think I have a right to resent, to object to libelous statements about my dog.”

Some believe this speech gave FDR a nudge to win in 1944.  The american public loves their pets.  And just a little understanding of what is happening out there today will change us into a No Kill Nation.

Dear Mister President

Dear Mr. President, missed you while I was at the No Kill Conference in Washington this weekend. Did you know we are killing three to four million pets that enter our shelters in the U.S. each year?

But people, your constituents, are making a change.  A decade ago you wouldn’t have known about people running an open admission shelter and saving every possible saveable animal.  We used excuses to kill millions of animals that had the right to life.  But change has come.

Today we have 50 No Kill communities documented in the U.S.   They represent roughly 200 towns.   Places like Thompkins County NY, Charlottesville VA., Austin TX, dn Washoe County NV and plenty more.  More are being worked on as you read this.

It’s not just possible.  It has been done.

But there are still nay-sayers.  They are holding on to old practices, and antiquated philosophies that are outdated and disproved to be the best solution for the pets entering our shelters.  In fact, they have wandered from the original intent of Henry Bergh that created the ASPCA.  We could just say it is a moral obligation and be justified.  But there are economic factors that even the most ardent detractors would agree with.  The success of the No Kill Equation just has to be exposed.  And you can find some of the pioneers readily eager to assist their communiteis.

You can learn how people are making a change at the No Kill Advocacy Center resource Library.  Here’s the link:

All candidates for public office might want to check it out as well.  This is not a party issue.  We all have pets we love in the north and south, rural and urban, red states and blue states.  You don’t want us to go away.  You and your constituents agree there is no reason to kill a healthy pet.

Dear Mr. President, Support No Kill