If you’re familiar with my blog you know that I’ve spent my fair share of time at Foothills. Their building is just down the street from a vocational school I went to a few years ago and I would frequently stop by during my lunch break to give the animals some love and attention. Those journeys are how I really got to know the shelter.
Though my fist run in with them was when I was about four or five when they were Table Top Mountain Animal Center. This is where we got my childhood dog, Maggie. Obviously since I was so young I hardly remember the experience although according to my mom they were great.
When we first laid eyes on Maggie we knew immediately she was our.s However before we could take her home Foothills (or I guess rather Tabletop at the time) required that everyone living in under our roof had to meet her so they could be sure Maggie was a good fit for us.
I don’t know if that is still a requirement although you do need consent from everyone in your household before adopting. I know this because I once, unoriginally, attempted to bring home a dog while my parents were out of town. I named him and everything, Odysseus (Odis for short.)
Those dreams however where quickly shot down by Foothills when my parents couldn’t sign the consent form even though I was 18. While I was crushed, I could also recognize how wise it was of them on their end to ensure the pet goes to a home where everyone wants it. Not just the teenager with a dog problem. Live long with out me Odis!
When your adoption application goes through and you get to bring home your new family member the fees you pay will include spay/neuter, first vaccinations, microchip and a health check.
As for the staff I have very mixed feelings. Some of the people are very friendly and inviting, and some can just be grumpy and borderline rude. You never know what you’re going to get.
I used to think they were callus because they weren’t fond of me showing up so often when I wasn’t adopting and wasn’t actually a volunteer. But even now, years later when I make the rare appearance there will still sometimes be those few employees that simply seem to hate their lives.
That being said, I’ve never noticed the employees acting harshly towards any of the animals, which is always a very important factor in animal shelter staff. In fact the volunteers are great with the animals (and the humans for that matter.)
The facility it’s self is quite nice. It’s fairly large, updated, organized, and fairly clean. Every now and then the kennels will have… how do I put this in a non-crude manner… evidence of the dogs going potty. To be fair, they would have to follow each dog round the clock in order to clean it up immediately and there’s never very much which shows they clean it up fairly regularly.
As for the animals they are an open-admissions facility so they never turn away and animal. They have dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, turtles, birds, fish, they've housed a little bit of everything at some point. The animals all seem happy considering they fact that they are living in a shelter for a moment.
The dogs are held in fairly good-sized kennels with enough space to sleep and walk around a tad. The volunteers take them on walks (I’m not sure how often) and they have a space outside for them to play every now and then.
The cats are kept in small kennels or a few in a bigger space, some of which the people can go in freely. As for the other critters the have a little room with cages, kennels tanks and what not.
They are not a traditional no-kill shelter, but before you have a kanipshin (like I did when I first found out) let me shed some light on a few things. First off their adoption rate is over 95% (last time I checked with them), which is remarkable considering they NEVER turn away an animal.
Second you can look at their statistics from the past 6 years on their website and during 2012 and 2013 (2014 isn’t posted at this time) no healthy animals were euthanized which means there was purpose behind any that were. I know this still sounds grim but it’s better than the alternative. They also give any pet owner that walks through the doors the option of what they call “end of life” or euthanasia for pets who have come to the end of their journey. That is what makes up a large chunk of those euthanasia statistics I was telling you about.
From my understanding the way it works is when a dog is surrendered to them they assess if it is healthy or and then go from there. I don’t want you thinking however that that they euthanize at the first sign of any health issue or aggression because I personally have seen both dogs with health conditions and aggressions. So I believe they only take those kind of drastic actions in severe cases.
This is the step that a lot of “no kill” shelters do a little differently. If they notice the animals have any conditions of concern they turn them away. I’m not saying this is a good thing or a bad thing I am merely saying that “kill” vs. “no kill shelters” handle the same difficult situation differently. It's extremely rare you find one that can afford to do it all. It’s like the quote “choosing the lesser of two evils.” Not everything is black and white, almost everything in life has a grey area.
In a perfect world all dogs would have loving homes, a healthy life, and all shelters could afford to accommodate every single creature that walks through the doors; but unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world. Like a lot of things, it comes down to money. Housing animals whether in their facility or in foster homes is expensive, and when you are an organization that runs off of donations you can only afford what you can afford. It's sad but is for now, the reality of life.
Does that mean that all kill shelters are ok? ABSOLUTELY NOT. There will always be those few shelters or organizations (kill or no kill) that don’t handle things in a proper humane manner. However I don’t feel that Foothills is one of those, they handle things humanely to the best of their abilities.
We can't snub the shelters that can't afford to do things completely ideally, so it's up to us to find the ones that are truly pure of heart and help them grow to the ability to eventually do things in the most ideal manner. I believe that Foothill is one of those that is pure of heart.
I don’t know exactly what the process is but this is the conclusion I have come to from looking over all the information they provide and from asking a few questions.
Something that I find is reassuring is that once a animal is taken on there is no limit as to how long the animal can stay in their care. They will work with other rescues and shelters if an animal is having a difficult time finding their forever home.
Back when I spent an excessive amount of time there my attention fell upon a sweet, older Chow Chow, Clyde. Like most old dogs he had a hard time finding a family. I had noticed him there for at least three months and got concerned he wouldn’t find a home. I asked EVERY single person I knew if they would adopt him (I’d already maxed out on my parents strict two dog limit) and nobody had room for another dog. I realize this is sort of an unnecessary story for my exceptionally lengthy review but I really appreciated that as time went by Foothills never gave up on Clyde.
Other than adoption Foothills offers other services. These include, Lost and Found (if your furry friend ran away this is somewhere they could turn up), spay/neuter, vaccines, microchips, End of Life (euthanasia.) They are also the evacuation site for Jefferson County during disasters. They hold chances for owners to be the best they can be with classes and events. Lastly you can also license your pet here.
Even though there are a few areas they could improve, Foothills is really a great shelter that goes above and beyond for the animals.