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After a wild year, there’s much to be grateful for

By Wendy Ludgewait

La Plata County Humane Society

It’s been a heck of a year since COVID-19 shut down large portions of the world.

As the board of the La Plata County Humane Society moves forward to update our strategy in the new world order, it’s easy to dwell on the frustrations of having to close our doors for several months, decrease our outreach and services to the community, lay off staff and cancel fundraising efforts, while still trying to care for the animals entrusted to us. We learned a lot over this past year, and, while it may have been infuriating to have to stop efforts to renovate the facility after three years of planning, it gave us a chance to take a step back and take stock. While closing the shelter to the public had a lot of drawbacks, it also had some advantages, which we’re looking at incorporating as we move forward.

So, as we navigate through this (hopefully) last push through a really tough time, I’d like to acknowledge the amazing team of people – directors, staff members and volunteers – who helped LPCHS survive 2020. Our directors – Chris, Candy and Travis – kept their divisions running on a threadbare shoestring during the spring and summer. Several staff members, who we had to furlough for the months the organization was closed, came in on their own to help feed, clean up after and care for the dogs, cats, guinea pigs (and I think there may have been an iguana) daily. None of these folks had to do it but they did. In all, we adopted out 1,597 animals and returned 395 to their humans in 2020.

We’ve always depended on volunteers to help keep the organization afloat. Many are ... well, vintaged, so it was important for us to protect them as much as we could. Thankfully, folks like Ken and Carolyn helped muster enough troops so that dogs could be walked and cats would be played with during the darkest days of the pandemic. We look forward to welcoming back both our experienced volunteers when they’re ready, and any new volunteers we can find.

Finally, a big thank you to the Durango and Four Corners community for your continued support. Without you, we wouldn’t be here. If you haven’t done so already, become a member or renew your current membership, think about running for a board position, and keep your donations and good thoughts coming. Stay tuned as we move forward into a more optimistic 2021 and beyond. And remember: Wag more, bark less.

Wendy Ludgewait is a La Plata County Humane Society board member.