Humane Education

Over the years, humane education volunteers from the Santa Fe Animal Shelter have visited most Santa Fe schools and presented to more than one thousand students in pre-, elementary, middle and high schools. We offer a variety of options strictly geared to teacher schedules and, in some cases, specific teaching objectives. By teaching children compassionate behavior toward all living creatures from an early age, they can become positive role models in their homes, schools, and communities!

Want to schedule a presentation or a Shelter tour for your group? Call Humane Education Coordinator Tom Alexander at 505.988.8980. (If a dog answers, don’t hang up.) You can also email Tom at

“The students were completely taken in by [Humane Education and Pet Outreach dog] Schubert. Even the children afraid of dogs were eager to pet him. Schubert moved around giving each student time to sink his or her hands into his fur. Tom rounded out the visit with an interactive lesson on pet care perfectly calibrated to the experience-level and conceptual abilities of our young participants. The visit was a huge success, and we look forward to having them back to meet with other classes.” –Sarah Heartt, Salazar Elementary

“Your ability to present the facts to my classes with discernment for the age and tone of the class was truly remarkable. My kids’ responses, discussions and reflections on your presentation clearly indicated that you were able to touch the minds and the hearts of my students. My kids were able to address their own thinking, ideas and beliefs and question in a safe environment with truly caring people! That is true learning.” –Laurie Hansen, Capshaw Middle School

Classroom Presentations

These programs are available individually or in combination, depending on your objectives and time available. The “Shelter/Animal Care 101” presentation followed by a tour is a great combination, but if you only have time for one – no problem!

Shelter/Animal Care 101
One-hour basic presentation, including an overview of the Shelter, animal overpopulation, pet care, the adoption process, and an interactive exercise demonstrating how the needs of people are similar to those of our four-legged friends.

Community Service Classroom Projects
Many classrooms have focused their class projects on collecting and donating towels, blankets and food to the Shelter. The Shelter has also supported poster and art projects that are displayed in schools or at the Shelter. At the conclusion of a project, the Shelter presents a class certificate and a special thank you from the animals.

Shelter Tour
This is a perfect follow-up to the basic presentation. In 30-45 minutes, the students will see the lessons of the classroom presentation come to life.

Community Presentations

Whether your organization is a fellow non-profit, a fraternal organization, a church group, or something else entirely, we’re always happy to come and give a talk on the Santa Fe Animal Shelter or on any animal issue. To find out more or to schedule a talk, call 505.983.4309 ext. 1128.

For information about scheduling a non-classroom tour, click here.

Pet Outreach

About Pet Outreach

Pet Outreach Dogs: A Unique Teaching Opportunity. Every week more than 40 Pet Outreach volunteers and their dogs visit hospitals, nursing homes, and retirement communities. These dogs are selected and certified for their calm behavior and loving nature. Their presence brings joy to children in hospital rooms and people in nursing homes. The special connection between animals and people is rich in teaching moments and unique stories from our Pet Outreach volunteers.

To learn more about Pet Outreach and for a copy of the application packet, click here. For additional questions, please call 505-216-0280 or email

Wags and Words Reading Program

For children with reading difficulties, we provide trained Pet Outreach dogs in libraries and other settings for the kids to read to. The relaxed, nonjudgmental atmosphere created by the dog’s presence often enables a child to improve reading skills and gain confidence. We are certified by READ (Reading Education Assistance Dogs) run by Intermountain Therapy Animals.

Other Opportunities Available to Children at the Shelter

Shelter Stories

We also offer the ongoing opportunity for children to come read to dogs and cats at the shelter.  Shelter Stories is a win-win program by giving kids a great reason to read and the animals more interaction and attention.  Children wanting to participate in Shelter Stories are asked to bring a book to the shelter,  Monday – Friday only, 11 am to 4 PM, in our Adoption building.  For more information about this opportunity, call 505.983.4309 X1610.