Looking to rescue? Eagle Valley Humane Society helps 800 animals annually | VailDaily.com

Looking to rescue? Eagle Valley Humane Society helps 800 animals annually

Lindsay Bribiescas

More information:

To adopt:

Pay the adoption fee — $50 for cats, $75 for kittens; $75 for dogs, and $100 for puppies.

For dogs and puppies, the adoption fee includes free behavior and training classes.

To foster:

To foster or adopt cats or kittens, call Marie with the Eagle Valley Humane Society at 970-331-1983.

To foster or adopt dogs or puppies, call Char with the Eagle Valley Humane Society at 970-280-5738.

Or contact via email at humane@vail.net.

Humane society By the Numbers

75: Volunteers

200: Animals taken in each year

20: Average number of cats at the shelter

43: Number of years the shelter has been around

The Eagle Valley Humane Society takes in about 200 animals every year, and helps about 800 animals annually through its different programs. Many of these animals are dropped off, although a few rescues or strays fall into the mix.

The facility in Eagle currently houses about eight adult cats, but normally the facility is home to about 20. The adult felines usually stay in the facility for about 36 days until a permanent home is found for them.

Other animals have much shorter stays: Dogs average about 11 days, puppies about 24 days and kittens about 32 days. Both kittens and puppies are typically held longer, if only due to legal requirements for adoption, which requires they be of a certain age or weight before being sent home with someone.

These animals are spread out across the Vail Valley, from Vail to Gypsum, in both the Humane Society facility and in foster homes across the valley, patiently waiting for someone to take them home. These foster homes care for all animals taken into the shelter except for healthy adult cats. They take litters of kittens and puppies, as well as cats in need of extra care.


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For Mary Hughson Brown, fostering is a way of life. Since she already has one older dog, Brown prefers working specifically with puppies under the age of 12 weeks old, since they’re easier to corral. It does mean that she deals with a number of bottle-feeding litters. Bottle-feeding puppies have to be fed every four hours for the first five weeks of their life — meaning Brown is caring for the puppies essentially all day, every day that she has them.

But for Brown, the time put in is worth it. Although she gives up the puppies that she cares for, she plays a significant role in the homes that they go to.

“You can love somebody else’s baby, or a puppy, and then pass it on,” Brown said. “I raise them with lots of love and kisses, and I’m happy that they go on to wonderful families. I’m very particular about who gets the puppies, and I’ve been very, very fortunate with the homes that have been found for these puppies.”

Finding potential adopters — often through Facebook — she meets with and interviews families to help determine good matches between families and pets. In return, Brown said, she asks for photos and offers her help for the duration of the dog’s life. Recently, one of the dogs that Brown adopted out went missing, leading her to help the family look for the dog.


Bill and Ann Loper, on the other hand, specialize in kittens, specifically feral kittens. Feral cats and kittens are cats that have never been socialized and are unfamiliar with human interaction, often making them difficult to adopt out.

The Lopers, who are both heavily involved with the Humane Society, have been fostering for about 20 years, working with about 125 kittens in the past 11 years. Of those, only about 2 percent have gone to barn homes because they couldn’t be socialized.

Ann Loper began working with feral kittens when she realized that with a careful process they could be turned into social animals.

“I got interested in the challenge,” she said.

Currently in the Lopers’ care are six cats and one formerly feral kitten, Joey. Bill Loper says that Joey started off in the bathroom getting used to people. Eventually, after passing through several stages of socialization that built up exposure to humans, he is now adoptable.

Although it is easier and faster to work with kittens — 8 weeks and younger — the Lopers will similarly work with an older kitten.

“Of course when a feral kitten is in need, an older one is just as in need as a younger one, so we do our best,” Ann Loper said.


Evelyn Pinney works with rescue groups to help coordinate foster homes for the dogs taken in by the rescue. Although there are only two rescue facilities in the area — the Eagle Valley Humane Society and the county shelter — Pinney said that there are plenty of people in the valley who are willing to foster rescue dogs from organizations not physically present in the area.

“Knowing that you’ve provided a soft landing for them, and a safe place to stay in the meantime, is why most people do it,” Pinney said.

Pinney also works with organizations to move animals across the country to more suitable foster homes. Some of these organizations include Pilots and Paws, Dog Is My CoPilot and Operation Roger, which asks truck drivers to move rescue animals to their new homes.

Stacey Boltz is one foster parent that works with organizations outside the area. She works with several different rescue groups, including Circle 2 Rescue, and has fostered at least seven dogs in the last seven years. To Boltz, fostering is an integral part of animal rescue all across the country. Circle 2 Rescue places dogs from high intake and high kill shelters in Texas and New Mexico with foster homes.

“They can’t take these dogs out of shelters in the various states unless they have homes to put them in,” Boltz said. “So it might seem like a small thing, but the whole rescue effort does not work without the fosters.”

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