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Tue, Oct. 22

Yavapai Humane Society STAR animals need your help

Courtesy photo<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Heather’s story is a remarkable tribute to the many life-saving programs at the Yavapai Humane Society.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

Courtesy photo<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Heather’s story is a remarkable tribute to the many life-saving programs at the Yavapai Humane Society.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

Imagine waking up every morning thinking about 5,000 animals in need. That is the number of animals the Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) rescues each year.

We never think of these animals as mere statistics; they are in fact 5,000 heartwarming or heartrending stories, depending on their outcome.

One heartwarming story that exemplifies the shift toward a "no-kill" policy at YHS involves a 1-year-old female Husky/Chow mix named Heather.

Heather's story with YHS began on Feb. 2 when she was found wandering lost on the streets of Prescott. Heather came to YHS completely "shut down," or unresponsive to staff due to fear. Heather was frozen in fear - trembling, terrified - she was afraid to even look up.

The YHS Animal Behaviorist immediately placed Heather in our Red Carpet program. The Red Carpet program is designed to rehabilitate dogs exhibiting fear or fear-based aggression when they first enter the shelter. Exhibiting fear is a death sentence in most shelters because these dogs are viewed as unadoptable.

Not so at YHS. The Red Carpet program provides an intervention for these animals to help ensure their understandable fear doesn't result in their losing any chance of ever being adopted.

Often the shelter environment contributes to an animal's anxiety. This was clearly the case with Heather, so her next stop was our Foster Care program. The Foster Care program trains volunteers to care for sick, injured, neonate and behaviorally challenged animals at home as part of a rehabilitation regimen. Fostering compromised animals in loving homes removes them from the immune-suppressing stress inherent in a shelter and helps hasten their rehabilitation.

A trained YHS Foster Care Giver took Heather home with instructions on how to help Heather overcome her crippling fear. The result of these coordinated programs is that Heather overcame her fear - and today she is able to trust people again, exhibiting a very sweet and friendly demeanor.

Heather's rehabilitation was so successful that she was recently placed in the YHS Adoption Program. In preparation for adoption, Heather was scheduled for a medical evaluation, where the YHS Medical Team discovered she suffered from multiple mammary masses. Because these growths might be cancerous, it was determined to be in Heather's best interest to have them removed; thereby removing yet another inhibitor to her being adopted.

Historically, there was no remedy for this medical condition, and Heather likely would have been euthanized at this point. However, in today's YHS there is a new program called STAR (Special Treatment And Recovery). The STAR program allows the public to respond to the medical needs of sick and injured animals with donations. Many YHS animals have already been helped thanks to the generosity of our supporters donating to this program. It is our hope that the community will come to the rescue of our newest STAR animal, Heather, whose surgery cost is estimated at around $500. Once she recovers from surgery, Heather will finally be available for adoption.

Heather's story is instructive because it demonstrates the effectiveness of programs designed to relegate euthanasia to the last possible option, which is the essence of the no-kill ethic. Without the Red Carpet program, Heather would have been euthanized. Without the Foster Care program, Heather would have been euthanized. Without the STAR program, Heather would have been euthanized. Had these programs not been in place Heather would have become just another sad statistic in a euthanasia report.

If you would like to help support YHS' life saving programs please consider volunteering or donating to the Yavapai Humane Society. Together we can make our community a truly humane society.

If you are interested specifically in helping animals like Heather, please consider making a donation to the YHS STAR program. You can do this by calling 445-2666, ext. 20, or by going to www.yavapaihumane.org and selecting the "help" button to go to donations.

Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at eboks@yavapaihumane.org or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.

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