WESTERN SLOPE Celebrating a new home for dogs
By Bill Tiedje
Twenty years ago, a motivated group of animal lovers first dreamed of a haven for homeless dogs and cats in San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose counties. Now a modern dog shelter facility will serve as a clean, efficient home for the counties' pets in need of shelter.
Smitty's Dog Den is the result of a continued fundraising effort by Second Chance Humane Society to build a purpose-specific animal shelter facility for dogs.
The humane society's previous dog facility, a renovated barn, lacked proper ventilation and outdoor dog runs and was difficult to clean, forcing volunteers to stoop over small kennels while cleaning the facility each day.
As construction of the facility progressed this spring, a $100,000 donation from Jane and Robert Cizik secured the completion of the structure.
The dog facility is named after the Cizik's beloved golden retriever, Smitty.
A "ribbon chewing ceremony" will be held on Saturday, June 7, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the Second Chance Humane Society's Animal Resource Center, 177 County Road 10, to formally unveil the new facility and celebrate the shelter's 20th anniversary.
The event will include live music, facility tours, raffles, door prizes and more.
“We want to include the entire community in this milestone event for Second Chance, because this incredibly compassionate and generous community made it possible for us to build the region’s first purpose-built animal shelter...to save thousands of lives," commented Kelly Goodin, executive director.
"From $20 to $100,000, every penny counted," Goodin said.
The new facility will allow both adoptable dogs and visitors to interact in a healthy, low stress environment.
There are no cages in Smitty's Dog Den but rather open stalls to house dogs, including outdoor runs.
Other features include a modern HVAC ventilation system, communal rooms for social dogs and a separate intake wing of the facility to maintain proper health standards when receiving new animals.
As Second Chance drew heavily from its operational costs to pay for the new facility, fundraising efforts are ongoing, including the opportunity to place names on the donor wall.
This summer, Second Chance hopes to complete an additional onsite medical clinic to treat the shelter's animals as well as to provide onsite spay and neuter clinics for the public.
For more information on the "ribbon chewing" event, other Second Chance programming such as training clinics and a list of current adoptables, visit www.adoptmountainpets.org.