family visiting dogs in kennel

When you adopt from the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs, your companion will have all preliminary vaccinations, is spayed or neutered, microchipped, and eligible for a free Wellness Exam with a local veterinarian. Dogs also have a kennel tag and collar.

Adoption Process

  1. Before adopting a pet, you will need to fill out a Pre-Adoption Questionnaire.
  2. We will call the three personal references listed and be in touch to make an appointment to meet. Should you have other pets, we will ask you to bring them to make sure everyone gets along prior to taking your pet home.
  3. A Home Visit is required for anyone adopting within Archuleta County. If you are a renter we will need to verify with your landlord before adoption can be completed and will need their contact information also.

To help prevent pet overpopulation, all animals MUST be spayed or neutered before being adopted and leaving our facility.

Pet Adoption Fees:

cat on fuzzy blanket

Includes spay/neuter, ID microchip, vaccinations, and free vet wellness exam.

  • Dog $110
  • Puppy $175 (under 6 months)
  • Cat $50
  • Kitten $70 (under 6 months)
  • Feral Cat (barn cat) $10.00 to good loving barn/ranch environment. These cats will still need to be fed, watered and provided with a warm, safe place during the winter.

We should to add info here about integrating pets into your household, holding cats indoors before letting them out, how long it will take an animal to acclimate, etc. I think most of that is part of the adoption packet so we can link to those PDFs at least.

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Adapting to a New Dog

The First Week

It may take some time for your new dog to adjust to his new home and for the family to adjust to the new pet. Accidents, whining, chewing, or scratching can occur even with a well behaved mature animal. Your new pet has already experienced uncertainty and maybe even abandonment by people he thought loved him. Give you dog extra patience and love to convince him that he can rely on you.


Even if you adopt a housetrained dog, it may need some remedial training after being confined at the shelter. Puppies take longer to housetrain because they need to acquire maturity and develop bladder capacity. Be patient. Get your dog on a routine of going outside immediately after eating or awaking from a nap. Confine your dog to a small area when you are away or while it is napping; a dog crate is ideal. Never scold the dog while in the crate or place the dog into the crate for punishment. The objective is to teach the dog to feel secure and safe in its crate. Your dog will instinctively avoid messing in his crate and will learn to control itself until you let it out of the crate. Crate training is also useful for when you need to travel with your pet. Many motels allow crated pets when they won’t allow a pet that is loose in a room.

Adjusting to Other Pets

Puppies typically adapt easily to other pets. The puppy has not yet developed territorial instincts and the established pet can teach the puppy where it stands in the pecking order. Having another dog can also help the puppy’s house training. When introducing an adult dog to existing family pets, jealousy and rivalry are natural. The new dog will want to establish its territory while the existing dog will defend their territory. You might want to have a friend bring the new pet into your home initially. Separating the new pet from the established pets for a few days might also help to give the animals a chance to get used to one another’s scents before coming nose to nose. The transition may be easier if the new dog is of the opposite sex of an established dog, and if all pets are spay and neutered. In all cases, remember to give extra attention to your established pets. They need reassurance from you before they can feel friendly to the newcomer.


Bad habits can be annoying, destructive or dangerous to your pet’s welfare. It takes a commitment of time from you to work with your new pet to teach him what is expected. Many problems disappear as the new pet becomes adjusted and secure. Puppies usually outgrow their chewing with their permanent teeth, although all dogs enjoy a rawhide to gnaw on. Even older dogs can be retrained to break bad habits. As a responsible pet owner, you need to teach your dog to walk on a leash and basic commands such as sit, stay, no and down. The Ruby Sisson Library has books on pet training. Occasionally obedience classes are offered in Pagosa Springs also.

Tips for the First 30 Days of Cat Adoption

By Sara Lippincott, Manager, Shelter Outreach, Petfinder

Be prepared should be your mantra when bringing a new pet into your home. Cats are particularly sensitive to new surroundings and some may hide under a bed or in a closet for days or even weeks. Help him or her adapt more easily by following these guidelines:

Before You Bring Your Cat Home

  • Cats are territorial, and coming into a new home leaves them feeling really uneasy. There’s all that unexplored space, and who knows what may lurk there. Do him a favor and provide a small area to call his own for the first few days or weeks. A bathroom or laundry room works well. Furnish the room with cat amenities, such as food, water and a litter box. You’ll want to spend time with your cat, so make sure there’s a comfortable place for you to sit as well.
  • Fill a litter box with one or two inches of litter and place it in his room where he can use it undisturbed. After all, everyone deserves a modicum of privacy when pottying, and giving him that will help forestall litter box aversion. Set up a feeding station with food and water bowls. Locate it away from the litter box.
  • Cats love to get away from it all in small places, and you can provide one for your new cat as his own little safe haven. If he came home in a cat carrier, that might be a good choice. You can also make one by cutting a doorway for her in the end of a box. If you prefer, you can buy a covered cat bed at a pet supply store. In either case, make sure the space is big enough for the cat to stand up and turn around in. Cat “feng shui” probably requires that he or she be able to see the door to the room from his hidey hole, so he won’t be startled.
  • A cat’s claws need to be worn down, and they do this by scratching on things. Since you prefer that it not be your chairs and sofa, provide your cat with a socially acceptable scratching place. Some types are made of corrugated cardboard and lie on the floor; others are posts which have to be tall enough so that the cat can extend himself upward to scratch. You can encourage your cat (once he has arrived) to use the post by sprinkling it with catnip or dangling a toy at the top. He’ll get the idea. You’ll probably want a scratching post in each room where there is soft furniture, perhaps blocking access to it. You can also install sticky tape (available at pet supply stores) to corners of upholstered furniture to dissuade scratching. Look at your house with a curious cat’s eye view for its climbing and exploring potential. When your cat is acclimated to your home, you may be surprised to find him on top of the upper kitchen cabinets, so make sure there’s nothing on display there or on other high shelves that can be damaged or knocked off.
  • Look for holes or registers that leave ductwork accessible and cover them up. A kitten can easily slither into one of these. You won’t want firemen in the house, jackhammering the concrete floor to extract your cat.
  • If possible, buy a cat tree for your new family member. Cats like to survey their territory, so a high perch is often a favored resting place.
  • If there are other human family members, go over the ground rules about your new pet. Remind them not to startle him and to keep the door to his room shut.
  • Bone up on how to introduce your cat to other pets. Keep her door closed and don’t let your other pet race in unexpectedly.

First Day

Now, you are ready for your cat’s homecoming. Preferably, bring her home in a cat carrier. It will feel safer to her. She has seen a lot of excitement, so take her directly to her new room. (Make sure the toilet lid is down, if she’s to acclimate in your bathroom.) Ideally, you would restrict her exposure to the whole family, but naturally, everyone is going to want to see her. Remind them of the ground rules you’ve set up.

  • Sit on the floor and let her come to you. Don’t force her. Just let her get acquainted on her own time. If she doesn’t approach, leave her alone and try again later. Some cats are particularly frightened, and she may retreat to her hidey hole and not come out when you’re around at all. She may only come out at night when the house is quiet. Give her time.
  • Your newly adopted cat may not eat much or at all at first. It’s best to give your cat the same food she had at the shelter or in her foster home, at least at first. Keeping some things familiar will make her feel more secure. Be sure to change her water frequently and make sure that she is drinking. If your cat hasn’t eaten for a few days, call your vet to ask for advice.

Following Weeks

It may take your cat a week or two to adjust.
Be patient.

  • Within a week of being adopted, take your newly adopted cat for her first wellness visit with a veterinarian. If you have a record of immunizations from the shelter, take it with you.
  • As your cat adjusts, she’ll show signs that she wants to explore outside her safe haven. Make sure other pets or family members won’t startle her while she gradually expands her territory. She may be ready to play, so you can furnish some toys. Many cats like feather wands from the pet supply store, but homemade toys are often favored. A wad of a tissue paper to bat around or a paper bag to hide in can be fun.
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