Dear wonderful volunteers,
As I reflect on our last fiscal year, which ended on June 30, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for your time, support, and commitment to ending pet homelessness and animal suffering. We all focus on making sound decisions and doing our best work every day, but less often do we take a moment to appreciate all we are accomplishing. Let’s reflect on fiscal year 2022 together.
We learned a great deal from the first year of operating a shelter in rural Colorado. Our San Luis Valley Animal Center (SLVAC) evolved considerably during this time. We received more than twice the predicted number of cats at the shelter, which was fascinating considering there were no sheltering options for cats in the entire valley before the SLVAC was built. Other surprises included the number of puppies brought to the shelter, the significantly lower rates of reclaiming animals and adoption in the valley, and how challenging it has been to hire a veterinary team to work there. What is not surprising is how much this shelter was needed and how grateful the community is that we created it.
The Dumb Friends League Veterinary Hospital at CSU Spur opened and had its first six months of operations this year. There was a vast amount of work that went into planning, purchasing and deploying equipment, staffing, training, communicating, and all the other things that go into opening a hospital. Once opened, our teams learned how to make the hospital run while maintaining our commitment to enhancing the dignity of our clients. They then figured out how to have the most impact through the hospital’s on-view surgical experience, which is inspiring so many young people to engage in previously unimagined STEM careers.
At the shelters, we combined Shelter Veterinary Services with the rest of the sheltering team, thus creating a cohesive and efficient approach to caring for the animals with whom we have been entrusted. We also created a population team to manage the movement of animals. This team has optimized our space during a period when we have received more dogs than at any time in the last decade.
Our community work also became more intentional, resulting in the consolidation of our public veterinary hospitals, increased engagement with community liaisons, and the move of Metro Denver CAT under the League’s work.
One of the most exciting staff additions this year was bringing on a Director of People, who is doing an incredible job in leading our diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusiveness work, as well as supporting our team members’ mental health.
At Harmony Equine Center, we received the largest intake we have ever managed and had an unbelievable response from our volunteers to care for those animals. The Colorado Humane Society responded to an unprecedented number of cruelty and neglect cases in every region of Colorado.
Through advocacy, we influenced changes to the Veterinary Practice Act that supported shelter animals, protected greyhounds by bringing breeders under the same requirements as every other breeder, and advanced the veterinary PA discussion.
Our Development Team raised $20 million to support this work, reinvented LuLuPawlooza, and held the first in-person Furry Scurry in several years.
Our Marketing and Communications team told our stories and engaged our community in our work.
All of these things, and so many more, happened even as we adjusted to changing pandemic realities and workforce challenges. I hope you are proud of what you are helping make possible. I am.
Speaking for those who cannot,