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Shelter offers Christmas elf delivery, holiday adoption fees

The Santa Fe animal shelter is offering free Christmas Eve delivery of dogs and cats – with elves this year, instead of Santa Claus – along with specially reduced adoption fees.

Santa Claus delivery has become an annual tradition at the shelter, where placing pre-adopted animals in elf-delivery16loving homes is a perk of the job, said Dylan Moore, the shelter’s director of adoptions. This year, however, Moore injured his foot and has handed over his deliveries to two elves – Dr. Jennifer Steketee, the shelter’s executive director, and Anne Stein, lead shelter technician.

The two plan to get in the Christmas spirit by delivering pets to adopters as a special treat. Potential adopters are welcome to pre-adopt the animals and the shelter will hold them until the Christmas Eve delivery. The adoptions must take place by 6 p.m. Friday; there is no cost for the delivery. The deliveries will take place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday.

“There’s no greater joy than bringing a new family member into a loving home,” Steketee said, adding that she and Stein, along with a driver are looking forward to fulfilling holiday dreams.

In hopes of making sure that everyone can have a furry friend in the family, the shelter also is offering a two-day adoption event at the shelter. On Friday and Saturday, the shelter is offering all adult animals at an adoption fee of $25. In addition, the shelter is waiving the adoption fee on all senior dogs 5 years and older and senior cats 9 years and older. The adoption fee for puppies, kittens and Shelter Heroes — highly sought or purebred animals — is 50 percent off.

In the past, some animal shelters have put up roadblocks to “pets as gifts,” and reduced adoption fees, Moore noted, but that notion has been changing nationwide. A recent survey by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals found that people who received pets as gifts or at a reduced adoption fee did not increase the risk of relinquishment.

Adopters still fill out a questionnaire to ensure that they get the best match for their family, he said. High-energy animals, for example, may not be suited for people with mobility issues, and allergies are always a concern, as well as rental contracts that forbid companion animals.

For more information about adopting an animal from the shelter for Christmas Eve, contact an adoption counselor at 983-4309, ext. 610.

The shelter is closed at 1 p.m. Saturday and all day Sunday for Christmas.

“Share the Love” benefits Santa Fe Animal Shelter

The Santa Fe Animal Shelter will join The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® and Subaru of America for the annual year-end Subaru “Share the Love” event and celebration. As part of this national effort, the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Subaru of Santa Fe have teamed up to create off-site adoptions at the Santa Fe dealership, along with offering Photos with Santa Paws.

Santa Fe’s biggest holiday adoption match-a-thon takes place from 1 to 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17. Adoption fees for all adult animals will be reduced to $25 during the two-day event. Adoption fees for puppies, kittens and Shelter Heroes will be half price.

Carolyn Wright with The Photography Studio has generously donated her time again this year for Photos with Santa Paws – professional holiday photos with or without pets. She’s offering a free digital image to all adopters and a free digital image with any Shelter donation – pet food, toys or monetary contributions. Wright also offers customized gift items, prints and photo enlargements that can be created from the picture with Santa Paws. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the shelter and its work with homeless animals.

For every new Subaru purchased or leased during the “Share the Love” event, which runs through Jan. 2, Subaru donates $250 to the owner’s choice of participating charities, one of which is the ASPCA. The ASPCA will be distributing its donation to support animal welfare organizations and lifesaving programs across the country and the Santa Fe Animal Shelter is pleased to be a recipient of one of these grants.

“This is a great opportunity to bring more love into your family for the holidays,” said Dylan Moore, the shelter’s director of adoptions. “We’re thankful to be a part of the Share the Love campaign and hope we find loving homes for every animal in the shelter.”

What: Share the Love Adoption Event

Where: Subaru of Santa Fe, 7511 Cerrillos Road

When: 1 to 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17

For more information about Share the Love Adoptions and to look at adoptable pets, please visit To learn more about the “Share the Love” campaign, visit

Lighting ceremony honors animals

Hundreds of farolitos will be lit Friday at the Santa Fe animal shelter in a special ceremony that will include pet portraits, luminarias and refreshments.farolito-eblast-graphic

The farolitos in the Light the Way Home event will represent all homeless animals given a new chance with a loving family thanks to the generosity of the community, said Gabrielle Amster, the shelter’s director of sustainability. The shelter has been raising funds for weeks in its holiday campaign that offers supporters a chance to put their name, a loved one’s name or the name of an animal on the farolito bags for a $100 donation.

Shelter staff and volunteers will be lining the shelter’s drive with the bags for the 6 p.m. event, which also includes refreshments, a Christmas tree lighting and three luminarias for s’mores in the shelter’s courtyard.

The shelter also will kick off a new creative fundraising effort – pet portraits – through its own Lenslicker Photography. Jacob Felix, a well-known photographer and shelter staff member, will be taking portraits of pets for donations at the event. His unique portraits also will be available throughout the year to the public for a fee. Visit for more information about packages and costs.

Farolitas and luminarias are a unique Northern New Mexico tradition, one that the shelter will honor in its own special way. The lights have their roots in the 1800s, when small bonfires were used to guide people to the celebration of Christmas Mass.

Now, the lights will help with saving the lives of homeless animals. The goal is to raise $200,000 and light they way home for 2,000 shelter animals.

“A homeless animal’s life is often filled with darkness, without a loving home to brighten his or her life,” said Dr. Jennifer Steketee, the shelter’s executive director. “With your help, we can light their way home this holiday season and beyond.”

The event offers a chance for the community to get to know Steketee, who was named the shelter’s executive director in November. Steketee, the shelter’s former medical director, said she’s excited to lead the shelter.

“The shelter has spent 75 years changing the way our community sees animals, and I am honored to be part of its future,” she said. “There is no limit to what a group of passionate, driven animal lovers can accomplish.”

For more information about the Light The Way Home campaign, or to make a donation, visit the shelter’s website at or visit the shelter’s Facebook page,

Shelter stories help earn grants

Two adoption stories from the Santa Fe animal shelter are among 54 finalists in the Petco Holiday Wishes campaign that could earn the shelter grant money.lester-and-jamie

Through December, Petco Foundation plans to award the shelters with stories chosen as finalists a grant between $5,000 and $100,000. A People’s Choice award also will be chosen based on votes. The top vote getters have a chance to win a $25,000 grant, two $10,000 grants and a $5,000 award.

Jude Heimel, a volunteer with the shelter who suffers from hearing loss, submitted a winning story about Lacey, her service dog who alerts her to the sounds around them and offers the best antidote for loneliness. Jamie Meridith, a shelter staff member, submitted a winning story about the joy in being together with her rescue dog, Lester. She writes that wide-open spaces offer best friends a pathway to healing.

Both stories, along with the other finalists, are available for reading and voting at Voting for the People’s Choice award runs through Dec. 31.

People can also follow the announcement of grant awards as they happen on the foundation’s Facebook page,

Passion for animals drives shelter’s new leader

Animals have always been a part of Jennifer Steketee’s life. Growing up on a small farm in Oregon, Steketee found it only natural to be around dogs, cats, horses, rabbits and other creatures.

“I was around animals all the time,” she said. “Just about everything you can imagine, and it’s what I jennphotoconsidered family.”

So when she pondered a career path, she followed her passion. After getting a doctor of veterinary medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University, Steketee found herself working at Española Valley Humane Society and eventually at a private veterinary practice in Santa Fe.

But it was her work with homeless animals, and, specifically, animal sheltering, where she found her true calling. She started full time as a clinic veterinarian at the Santa Fe animal shelter in 2012, and eventually accepted the role as director of medical services. She helped institute lifesaving changes in the way the shelter handles the care of homeless animals.

In November, Steketee was selected as executive director of the shelter after a nationwide search for a successor to Mary Martin, who left in October to take the helm of Maricopa County Animal Care and Control in Phoenix. Martin, who was appointed executive director in 2009, expanded the shelter’s programs and services to the community, adding a public veterinary hospital, an animal rehabilitation center and two resale stores that help support shelter programs.

Board President Roddey Burdine, in announcing the board’s selection of a new executive director, said, “We at the shelter are sad to lose Mary Martin after so many years of inspiring guidance, however, we enthusiastically back Jennifer Steketee as the perfect person to be our new ED and to move the shelter ahead and solve our animal problems.”

Martin was a person who forced people to look outside the box, Steketee said, and fundamentally changed how the shelter was run, which was to give every animal a chance to succeed. During Martin’s time, the shelter was able to increase the number of animals it helped save, and has been at an about 95 percent success rate for many years.

“Mary was a visionary who took this shelter to places we hadn’t even imagined,” she said. “Now it’s time to make those visions sustainable for the long future ahead. The shelter has spent 75 years changing the way our community sees animals, and I am honored to be part of its future. There is no limit to what a group of passionate, driven animal lovers can accomplish.”

The shelter takes in more than 5,500 animals yearly and has a staff of about 100. In addition to the shelter facilities at 100 Caja del Rio Road, and the resale stores in the north- and south-side of town, the shelter also operates a spay/neuter and wellness clinic and a pet outreach program at its south-side location, 2570 Camino Entrada. Steketee said it’s the employees and volunteers, lead by the steadfast dedication of the board that has allowed the shelter to blossom as a national beacon for animal welfare.

“I’m amazed every day at what everyone brings to the table,” she said, “and how much hard work goes into our organization. There are so many things that people do here – so much that people don’t realize – that everyone should be applauded for their work.”

In addition to Steketee’s lead role at the shelter, the shelter also announced that Laura Parker, a longtime New Mexico resident, is now director of finances. Parker, who succeeds Robert Hernandez, who died in July, is a CPA and has been doing income taxes in public accounting since 1994. She has served as treasurer on the shelter’s volunteer board since 2007.

The shelter also has a new medical director, Sara Lewis. Lewis started her career in fine arts, but, after being inspired to “give back,” started volunteering at the shelter.

She eventually moved on to the clinic, where she began a love affair with veterinary medicine and in particular, she said, shelter medicine. She recently finished veterinary school at Washington State University and decided to return to the place that gave her a start.

Steketee said she is working to ensure that lifesaving programs at the shelter continue and that more options are available for people to keep their animals in their homes, either through reduced veterinary costs, behavior help or assistance in fence repair. She would like to encourage more people to visit the shelter.

“I would love to get more people involved in the shelter,” she said, “people from different walks of life. I would like everyone to know about the amazing work that we do here and become part of it.”