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Placement partners help save lives

Loving the skin she’s in

When Janice, a 1-year-old Lab, was brought to our shelter as a stray, her nearly hairless body was covered with lesions and scabs due to a severe case of demodectic mange, a skin infection caused by mites. She also had a heart condition that required medical follow-up.

Because Janice required long-term foster care for recovery, we transferred her to placement partner PawsCo, a volunteer-run organization that provides foster homes to shelter animals that need medical assistance or are not thriving in the shelter environment. PawsCo found an appropriate foster home for Janice and ensured that she received nourishment and medical treatment. In just over a month with PawsCo, Janice was adopted by a family who is absolutely in love with her.

You may be aware that the Dumb Friends League transfers thousands of pets (primarily dogs) into our shelters each year to provide them with specialized medical or behavior care, or to improve their chances for adoption. But did you know that we also transfer pets out of our shelters?

Last year, the League transferred 651 cats, dogs and small mammals to placement partners. We work closely with more than 100 of these local rescues, many of which are foster-based organizations that can offer long-term, extensive behavior support to fearful animals in particular. Our partners also include breed-specific rescues that have particular knowledge of a breed and a ready-made pool of potential adopters devoted to that breed. All of our placement partners have been approved by Colorado’s Pet Animal Care Facilities Act (PACFA) program, a licensing and inspection program dedicated to protecting the health and well-being of animals in pet care facilities throughout our state.

Pets transferred out are not candidates for adoption at the League for any number of reasons. Some are fearful dogs or cats that are not making progress at our shelters. Some are pit bulls that require behavior support because they are reactive or high energy. And some are purebred dogs, such as German shepherds, that benefit from going to a rescue that understands the breed and requires adopters to be experienced with them.

We also work with placement partners to transfer out fearful cats, special-needs cats and cats on specialized diets, all of which may require extended time in a foster home to address their needs. And finally, we call on placement partners when we receive reptiles for which we do not have a proper habitat, large groups of small mammals such as mice or rats, and injured birds or baby rabbits and squirrels whose needs are best met by wildlife rehabilitation groups.

Becky Healy, transfer manager at the League, says, “Our placement partners program is quite unique among shelters—and it’s incredibly important because it gives these animals a chance to blossom, especially those that need more behavior attention than we can give them.”

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