Free Vaccination Clinic: In 2011 ARL held its first free vaccination clinic. ARL again offered another free vaccination clinic in February 2013. ARL vaccinated over 500 dogs free. In addition a lost cost spay/neuter van was on site to offer low cost spay/neuters and a veterinarian was on site to give low cost rabies and micro chipping. Unfortunately in our community all too many times pet owners are not familiar with the importance of having their pets vaccinated. Parvo and distemper can be very deadly diseases and having your puppy vaccinated at the proper age can avoid costly vet bills or even the possibility of losing your pet. Parvo and distemper are also very contagious. So the cycle just continues. ARL is hoping to continue these free vaccination clinics each year, but as with any endeavor we need funds or a sponsor to cover the cost of the vaccinations.
School presentations: Each year ARL is invited to many schools. Our presentations usually are to inform the students of how to properly care for their pets, the importance of treating your pets with respect, and the importance of spaying and neutering and vaccinating your pets. ARL usually, if allowed, takes a four legged representative to the schools for the students to interact with. One of our visits included taking a special needs dog to a special needs class. Being a “Partners in Education” means we are getting important information out to the next generation of adults who will be adopting a pet for their family. To share the importance of what is needed to bring an animal into your family and the responsibility that goes along with it; ARL hopefully will make a difference for a happy family and happy pet.
In 2012 the Sheriff’s Department started a programs entitled “PAWS” in Detention (Pets Advancing Wellness and Success). Sheriff Richard Wiles, in collaboration with Animal Rescue League of El Paso and the Humane Society of El Paso, has created a canine training program to assist inmates in attaining vocational training and to provide homeless pets an opportunity to be adopted. The PAWS in Detention kennel was built by inmates for inmates. Equipment and supplies were purchased through inmate-generated funds and construction was assisted with inmate labor. Inmates receive instruction in Animal Care by performing daily cleaning and sanitizing of the kennels and cages, feeding the animals, and through training interaction. Since the program’s inception ARL has had an 80% adoption rate with the dogs that have graduated from this program. So the advantage of adopting a PAWS graduate now is that they have been through a training program to learn to listen to commands, walk properly on a leash and interact with many different people. Having them perform so well just shows there is so much potential for them to become a great family member.
During the horrible Katrina hurricane in 2005 many residents in Louisiana were displaced. El Paso was one of the cities to host these people who lost so much. There were several families that lost their pets. Some were fortunate enough to bring them. Since the facility for these victims was not set up to accommodate their pets, ARL stepped in and housed their pets that included cats, dogs and birds. Some went to foster families and others ARL sheltered until these families got on their feet and were able to take care of them. ARL was also instrumental in coordinating with other shelters around the country where some of the lost pets were taken to and reuniting them with their families. This was a huge collaboration on everyone’s part.
In the past, ARL with the help of donations from the community was able to purchase masks especially used for pets rescued from fires. ARL was able to furnish each fire house in El Paso with masks to use in cases of smoke inhalation to the families pets. The masks have been used on occasion to save a special family pet.