WHAT makes a pet a long term resident?
Dogs and cats who have been at the shelter from a month to a year or more (and rabbits who have been here for four or more months) are considered long term residents. 

WHY are they at the shelter for so long?
Some of the lovely pets that come to us arrive in poor health due to accidents/trauma and years of neglect. Because we believe that every creature has a right to a better and healthier life, we provide extensive veterinary care and time for healing for these pets. Other pets arrive having never had the opportunity for loving care from people and arrive with behavioral issues due to trauma, neglect and ill care and special care needs to be provided to help them on their journey to a successful adoption.

HOW do these pets get what they need to get adopted?
As mentioned above, sick and injured pets get the care that they need to be healthy. This sometimes takes not only extensive veterinary care but also extended periods of time to heal and recover. We make sure that these pets have the care and time that they need to live their best lives and be ready to find their forever home.

Traumatized and neglected pets that arrive at our shelter receive outstanding (and nationally recognized) rehabilitative care. These special pets need time with our trained Behavioral Staff who spends countless hours helping each pet to:
– feel more comfortable in the shelter surroundings
– experience enrichment* exercises such as food puzzles, leash walks and other activities where that individual pet finds enjoyment
– get used to the idea that human beings can be a source of care and love
– learn how to properly socialize with other animals and humans
– know basic behaviors necessary to peacefully live indoors (many of these traumatized pets have never lived in a home!) 

ARE these pets adoptable?
YES! Many of our long term pets get adopted into loving homes. When pets arrive at our shelter, we provide them with everything possible to get them into loving homes. A big part of what we do is providing enrichment for the pets. Enrichment includes daily interactivity with other pets and people (from simply being present in the same room as a scared pet to hand-feeding to loving pats and belly rubs!), mind/brain challenge games, play time, and leash/harness walking. Traumatized dogs have often not had positive interactions with people so it understandably takes time to gain their trust. And the shelter environment is not the easiest place to be at ease for a pet – it’s loud, unfamiliar people and other animals walk by, there’s little routine or predictability, they are completely under the control of someone else, they have to be in a kennel/cage instead of where they want to be – outside! This causes even the most “well behaved” pets to behave abnormally. When you put a traumatized pet in this environment, they are bound to be frustrated and act out further because they would rather NOT be in a shelter. Who can blame them? When many of our pets get adopted, they are completely different in a home environment. Unwanted behaviors exhibited from their kennels sometimes disappear – especially when adopters are patient, spend quality time with them and give them lots of love.  

WHAT can you do to help these long term pets?
Your monetary donations to the shelter help us cover the costs of providing these deserving pets with the opportunities and time that they need to be healthy and get adopted. Your participation in one of our Dogtoberfest contests will have your monies go towards the long term residents and their care.

And one great way to really help make a difference in these pets’ lives is to VOLUNTEER at the shelter.  Every opportunity for a pet to interact with a human and to get out of their cage and handled by loving hands helps their wellbeing and mental state and because of that, you help increase their chances of adoption.

WHO are the long term residents?
Click here to see some pets who are or were recently our longer term residents. Here at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society, we believe that Love Has No Time Limit. Every homeless pet that comes through our doors is worthy of getting the care that they need to live their best lives. We hope you agree and help support the important work being accomplished at your community humane society.