Category Archives: Blogs

Welcome to a new feature of the Santa Fe Animal Shelter! Check here to find the latest at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, along with animal-related information, thoughts and opinions from Shelter staff, volunteers and friends. Interested in contributing to our Blog? Please email Ben at

Charles & Bella

Not long ago, Charles had a beautiful chocolate pit bull named Cupcake. He was deeply attached to her and late last year the worst happened. Cupcake went missing and Charles searched everywhere for her. Tragically, he found her dead in an arroyo just before the holidays. Charles thought his broken heart would never mend and he didn’t think he could bear to get another dog. But a month later, he saw some photos of a little chocolate pit bull named Bella on our Facebook page and he knew he had to visit her.

Charles and Bella web graphic

Yes I Want to Join DogSTAR!

Bella’s mother arrived at the Shelter heavily pregnant and quickly gave birth to a large litter of pups. Our medical team monitored them closely giving them supplemental feeding to ensure they would pull through. Every two weeks, Charles would check in with Bella, offering homemade chicken jerky to her mom. When Bella was old enough to be spayed, he finally got to take her home. Charles says that Bella has helped to fill the hole in his heart, bringing love and joy everywhere she goes. When you support our work, you help make this love possible.

In order to ensure that we can be there for people who are looking for a companion animal, we need your support. The dog star, named Sirius by the ancient Greeks, is the brightest star in the night sky. When you become a monthly giver you shine brightly for homeless animals who need it most.

Join at $25 a month and get a DogSTAR member bumper sticker!

Join at $50 a month and get a member T-shirt and bumper sticker!

Join at $75 a month or more and get a member card offering discounts at your favorite places. You’ll also get the T-shirt and bumper sticker!

Businesses offering discounts of 10% or more when you show your DogSTAR member card

Annie’s Soup Kitchen
Artful Tea
Back Road Pizza
Bee Hive Kids Books
Blue Moon Hot Yoga
Cafe Roha
Che Bella Salon
Cheesemongers of Santa Fe
The Good Stuff
Iconik Coffee Roasters
Indigo Baby
The Kitchen Window
Journey’s Elite Stress Free Dog Grooming
Liquid Outpost Coffeehouse
Look What The Cat Dragged In 1
Look What The Cat Dragged In 2
Made in the Shade
Mango Molli Swimwear
New Mexico Hard Cider Taproom
Reside Home
Sachi Organics
State Capital Kitchen
Santa Fe Spirits
Teca Tu-A Pawsworthy Pet Emporium
Wildwood Soapworks
Yes Organic Boutique And Spa

More coming soon!

Yes I Want to Join DogSTAR!

Gypsy: Looking for a home

Emily and Hayden are fostering Gypsy and Frankie. Here are a few pictures, alongside a bit about Gypsy’s story, from Emily: Gypsy1Gypsy grew up outside with barely any human contact, which makes her fear people. Here she is on her first day of fostering three months ago, cowering on the couch.

Gypsy2Fellow shelter dog Frankie tries to wrestle Gypsy as she tries not to have her photo taken. Since arriving about six weeks ago, Frankie has been Gypsy’s stalwart companion and has taught her the essentials of being a dog. She now performs a happy dance in the morning when the alarm goes off, knowing a walk and breakfast is soon to come.

Gypsy3Gypsy’s among the fastest and most playful dogs at the dog park. We’ve come to look at her tail positioning as a gauge for her excitement.

Gypsy4To keep her happy and exercised, she had to get used to the car. Now she loves it.

Gypsy5At the end of the day, Gypsy just needs a loving, patient home with a good backyard and someone to feed her snacks.

To learn more about Gypsy or arrange to meet her, please call our Adoptions Desk at 505-983-4309, ext. 610, or email our New Hope coordinator at

Getting to ‘yes’

I can’t remember from which boss I first heard the phrase, “just get me to yes,” but boy do I remember its impact. The idea that “no” is not an option, that the only option is finding a path forward, resonated for me, particularly as it relates to helping animals and their guardians.

Mary Martin AnimalMD

Mary Martin, SFAS executive director

At the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, we have a team that always starts with “yes,” and works backward from there. This means the questions we ask aren’t formed around whether we can save an animal, but rather about what plan is needed to achieve the goal of keeping each animal healthy and happy until an adoptive family materializes, and how to “market” the best qualities of each animal. In addition, we go to great lengths to help animals remain in their homes. That means we will repair fences, provide medical care, along with pet food and training, knowing that the costs are far higher, sometimes deadly, if we don’t.

This philosophy is especially important as it relates to animals that have fewer fans than others. Let me explain. If we were to receive a nonstop stream of poodle puppies, for example, no special thought or effort would be required. People would (and do) line up for an opportunity to adopt. But change that poodle face to a 50-pound, energetic mutt and the pressure to find the right home for the pup becomes intense. Sadly, the majority of dogs relinquished to shelters or those having problems in the home are large breed, unneutered male animals, and our shelter is no exception. More than 65 percent of our shelter population on any given day falls into this category. The cost to care for these animals is enormous if – as we do – we refuse to consider them without value and put them to death. These dogs require hard play and intense training to keep them from losing their minds in a kennel environment, and our extremely talented staff does all that and more.

If we are given the opportunity to intervene before a relationship is severed, we will offer a multitude of approaches to solving in-home problems, as long as the family is willing to participate. We will, as I’ve noted, repair fencing, give training, provide free spay-and-neuter service, and offer affordable full-service veterinary care. We will talk to landlords so that we can mediate and advocate for families with animals. We start at “yes,” and work backward until there is nowhere else to go.

I am proud that the Santa Fe Animal Shelter team has embraced the concept of “yes,” and the challenge of getting to a positive outcome for animals. It is an honor to know each and every individual on this extremely talented and dedicated team. But the most important member of this team is our community.

For us to be successful, for every shelter to be successful, your support is an absolute must. Adopting animals and providing consistent financial assistance tells us what we do is important and allows us to help more and more animals. I ask you to think of your shelter first when you plan to add a companion animal to your family and support our work so we can ensure that what we do to save the lives of each and every animal is never unrealistic or without value. We are there for them, because you are there for us.

Animals Stories That Inspire: Kate and Cinnamon

Kate suffers from a chronic illness that makes it difficult to get out and about. Combine that with a tendency to want to “stay in and let her aching bones rest,” Kate was destined to be a recluse.katecinnamon

Until she met Cinnamon at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter. She had gone to the shelter to find a dog that would fit well in her apartment complex of people 55 and older. She came back with Cinnamon. “Basically, I was looking for a dog who would fit in with my nice, clean orderly apartment,” Kate recalls. “I came out with this ragamuffin.”

Like Kate, Cinnamon had been through some rough times. A transfer from an overcrowded Southern California shelter, Cinnamon came in injured and had to have her back leg amputated. The initial adopter didn’t work out. The dog was often picked up on the streets as a stray and the guardian at the time said she “just didn’t want her.”

Kate and Cinnamon are now inseparable and not just because they love each other. Cinnamon recently became Kate’s certified emotional support dog.cinnamon

“It’s hard for me because sometimes I get up in the morning and I just feel tired, and I want to stay in. But if you have a dog, you’ve got to get up. She gets me going in the morning. She’s helped me so much; she’s my angel.”

And not just for Kate. Her fellow residents look forward to frequent visits, hugs and tail wags. Cinnamon will often jump up on the couch for kiss or roll on the floor waiting for a belly rub.

“She brings a lot of joy to everyone. At first, I was Cinnamon’s mom, before I became Kate. Thanks to her, I know at least 90 percent of the people in the complex. It’s her personality. If I had a dog that just walks past people, it would have been different. But that’s not Cinnamon. She’s got to go right up to people and wag her tail. She expects everyone to pay attention to her, and they do.”

Cinnamon also does everything with a special touch and humor. Teaching her basic commands, Kate noticed Cinnamon would get how to sit or lie down, but would only do it with a shrug and a flip to the head that made her ears flop. It’s her way.

“She always goes for the laugh; she has a real personality.”

Do you have an inspiring story that you’d like to share about your companion animal? Please email Ben at

Starting the year off on the right paw

First of all, I’d like to thank each and every one of you for your continued support. We had a remarkable year in 2015 and were able to help more animals than ever in our history. But it’s not a time for us to rest on our

Mary Martin AnimalMD

Mary Martin

laurels – we are absolutely pushing ourselves to do even more in 2016.

This crew NEVER sits back and relaxes; we are always trying to “know better” and, as poet and author Maya Angelou said, “do better.” The best place to watch our progress is on our Facebook page and Instagram account. I’m not exaggerating when I say, you are missing out on heartwarming stories if you haven’t taken a minute or two daily to see what we are up to. And if you want to learn about the Shelter in a more detailed way, check out our new High Desert Podcast or, rather, our High Desert PAWDcast where we talk about issues important to animal lovers.

This year, I promised my dogs and cats that I was going to start the year making sure they were healthy. First off – a trip to the groomer to avoid the embarrassment of bringing raggedy dogs to the veterinarian for a checkup. EVERYBODY feels better after a good warm bath and a brush, and my dogs are no exception. My cats are not crazy about baths, so at least they get a good brushing before their trip.

Once everybody was looking presentable, off to the clinic we went. In the “olden days,” we would only take our pets in for annual vaccinations or emergencies, but I have learned, and I can’t exaggerate the value, to go in for an annual checkup.  Our companion animals pack a lot of living into one year and much can change for them in a short time.

It is so important to build a relationship with a veterinarian who you trust and love, and let them see your furry kiddos once a year.

Unfortunately many people have become afraid that the cost of veterinary care is out of reach. TALK to your vet; they are people too. Explain your needs and most veterinarians will work with you to prevent catastrophe from happening. That’s what I did, and my vet found a few things that I had missed entirely. These were health issues that would have become a big deal down the road – a lump or two here or there and a missed broken tooth.

We talked about heartworm prevention, how even in Santa Fe, our dogs should be on a monthly preventative ALL YEAR ROUND. It is so cheap, especially when you know how dangerous and expensive it is to treat a full-blown case of heartworm disease. We chatted about vaccines, and I was pleased to know that none were needed because of how long vaccines last these days.

In the end, all my furry kids left the clinic set for the year and, if all goes well, we won’t have to be back until next January. I feel better about that and I think Mandy, Sadie, Henry, Buddha, Bucky, Patti and Lloyd are just a little bit healthier.​

And that’s the same I hope for you – your furry friends and family. It’s an off-repeated phrase but one that’s worth saying again, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Here’s to another milestone for the animals of Northern New Mexico – no exceptions!

Mary Martin, Executive Director

Santa Fe Animal Shelter