ES(A+): Nimbus’s Story

Nimbus sat in his kennel, watching adopters walk past him. He tilted his head, wagged his tail, and gave his best puppy dog eyes. Someone had to take notice of the 8-month-old husky pup, eventually, right?

Nimbus had been adopted and returned once due to no fault of his own. Although Humane Society of Utah staff members work hard to create a comfortable environment for the pets in our care, returning to the shelter can be difficult. He was beginning to demonstrate some stress-related behaviors as the shelter weighed on his mental health.

Little did Nimbus know, his soon-to-be family had been keeping an eye out for him for quite some time. He wouldn’t have to wait much longer to go home.

“We wanted a husky in our household,” Jasmyne said. “We had been watching Nimbus for a while, and decided to adopt him for our son’s birthday.”

So, Nimbus finally went home! But just like his human family surprised Nimbus with his adoption, he also had a little something up his sleeve. Nimbus would go on to fill a very special role within his new family.

Becoming an ESA

Jasmyne has a young son with Autism, and he suffers from night terrors. Nimbus was always meant to be a companion for his young friend, but no one could have predicted that he would turn out to be an ESA, or Emotional Support Animal, as well!

“Nimbus has been a breath of fresh air for our son,” Jasmyne said. “He is always by his side. If he is having night terrors, Nimbus immediately jumps on his bed, laying with him to comfort him.  We’re in the process of making him an ESA.”

It is important to remember that ESAs are not service animals, as they have not undergone specialized training to perform tasks for their guardian’s health. However, medical professionals prescribe ESAs to provide companionship and/or mitigate anxiety and other mental health issues. ESAs play a special role in their human companion’s life; not just any pet can fill it!

Helping out his Puppy Pals

The humans in Nimbus’s household are not the only ones who benefit from Nimbus’s presence! He now has two doggie siblings who Nimbus loves to play with.

“We have a very chunky blue heeler and a corgi red heeler mix,” Jasmyne shared. “The blue heeler loves to go out and play with Nimbus in the yard and chase him. It’s so good for her health to exercise out there with him!”

Jasmyne’s other pup wasn’t as sure about Nimbus in the beginning, but they are slowly but surely becoming friends. Jasmyne describes Hank as “loving Nimbus in his own way.”

Nimbus shows his enthusiasm in a unique way— he likes to sit on the other dogs in his household to get them to play! Jasmyne says he constantly wants to play with anyone who will entertain him, but he is very gentle about this, especially when it comes to kids and the elderly.

Happily Ever After

So it would seem that Nimbus is living his best life, full of pup cups, freeze-dried chicken, and car rides! His new family notes that he is quiet for a husky, and he doesn’t talk or howl much. Instead, Nimbus expresses himself through his cuddle bug personality and attachment to his humans. Jasmyne describes him as an amazing fit for her family.

“He is such a good boy, and we wouldn’t want to change anything about him!” She concluded.

Bark At The Moon: Pet Party for a Cause

Golden retriever in the splash pad

Do you want to party with your pup, while supporting homeless animals in Utah? Look no further than Bark at the Moon, the best dog party in town! Presented by Fetch Pet Insurance, this pup-friendly festival returns to the Gateway on May 18th. Attendees can expect an evening of great food, local vendors, and entertainment for dogs and humans! But what makes this event truly special? All proceeds (including your ticket purchase!) directly support the Humane Society of Utah’s animals and lifesaving programs. Have a fun evening with your dog, and know that you are supporting animals in your community!

Old Favorites and New Activities

Bark at the Moon regulars will recognize some of their familiar favorites including: our local vendor alley full of pup-friendly treats and trinkets, delicious food truck fare, live music by Cry Wolf, and of course, our evening glow-walk! But this year, we are excited to add some fun new elements as well. Visitors and their dogs can participate in enrichment activities, interactive art stations, and a doggy sensory walk! Our behavior staff will be onsite to answer your questions about training and enrichment as you try these fun activities with your pup. But the fun doesn’t stop there – be sure to participate in our opportunity drawing for the chance to win exciting prizes! 

Representatives from the Humane Society of Utah will be at Bark at the Moon to discuss our various programs and services. As you enjoy your evening, you can learn about our community clinic services, pet adoptions, and stellar education programs. The Humane Society of Utah has so much to offer, not only for homeless pets, but also for pet guardians in the community. Who knows? Maybe our programs have something great to offer for you, your pet, or someone important in your life!

Brown and white dog at Bark at the Moon glow-walk

Tickets Will Go Quickly: Get Yours Today!

If this sounds like a howling good time, get your tickets now! Bark at the Moon sold out in 2023, and we are expecting another great turnout this year. Don’t miss out on the fun and festivity! Every ticket purchased directly benefits the Humane Society of Utah’s lifesaving programs, giving homeless pets in our community a second chance. By joining Bark at the Moon, you’re not just treating your dog to a fun night out; you are making a real difference!

Fostering Animals: An Act of Compassion

Bon Bon the black and white puppy on a car ride

It truly takes a village to support the most vulnerable animals in our community. Between donors, volunteers, staff members, and community partners, so many people contribute to our mission in different ways. At the Humane Society of Utah, we are grateful that our village includes an amazing network of foster volunteers who repeatedly provide lifesaving care. Fostering is a crucial step on the road to recovery and adoption for many of our animals. Although it is hard work, our foster volunteers find that the process is also rewarding and full of joy.

The Importance of Fostering Animals

When animals need extensive care a home environment is often the best option. But where does that leave animals still waiting for a permanent home? That is where our amazing foster volunteers come in! Fosters open up their hearts and homes so animals have a space to recover or recuperate. No two animals are the same, so our dynamic foster volunteers provide a wide range of care and support. This might include aftercare for surgery patients, bottle feeding for newborn puppies or kittens, or creating a calm space for an animal to decompress. We are constantly impressed by the level of care and commitment that we see from our fosters. 

Dedicated foster Liz Fonua recalls her experience with Ethel, a sweet young puppy with a severe heart murmur. Ethel needed round-the-clock attention as she recovered from surgery. Liz even counted her breaths per minute to make sure everything functioned properly. As Liz remembers, “she would just sleep on your chest and it was like she just listened to your breaths and heart beat.” Thanks to Liz’s attentive care, Ethel fully recovered and found a loving home!

Ethel the puppy recovers from surgery

Tom Anderson fostered cats in San Francisco before moving to Utah, so he knew about the hard work and joys of fostering animals. He generously stepped in as a foster for cats with Calicivirus. As Tom explains, “I think my experience fostering the Calici cats is a perfect example of why foster programs are so important. This highly contagious virus is unwelcome in shelters so getting those cats out of the population is important during their recovery.” We couldn’t agree more with Tom’s assessment. Foster volunteers allow us to care for animals in ways that would be difficult or impossible without a foster option. Fostering also opens up space within our facility so even more animals can find a home. Foster volunteers are vital to our mission and we are grateful for them every day!

A Meaningful Experience

Anyone who fosters an animal knows the process can be difficult and emotional. However, it is often a fulfilling and joyous experience as well. Janet Clark explains that her favorite part of fostering is “seeing the dogs relax and discovering their personalities – smart, silly, stubborn, goofy, whatever.” She recalls a poodle who was very quiet and shut down when she first arrived. However, she came out of her shell one morning upon discovering snow! As Janet describes, “she started bouncing around and playing in it like a maniac! It was so great to see a different side of her like that”. We hear many stories like this from our foster volunteers, who see these animals truly blossom as they recover and find comfort in their temporary homes. Nothing is more rewarding than watching an animal come out of their shell and show their true personality. 

It is always bittersweet to say goodbye to a beloved foster animal. Our foster volunteers form a real bond with these pets. As Liz describes, “each dog is a forever part of our family.” Many foster volunteers even keep albums or photo displays of the animals they have cared for. But when it is time to say goodbye, they know they are setting these animals on the path to a loving and permanent home. 

If you want to support animals in your community, fostering is a great place to start! If you have the time, space, and capacity to open your home to an animal, we encourage you to look at our foster page. You may be surprised by the lessons you can learn from these animals, the bonds you can form, and the memories you will always cherish.

“Spring” into Prevention! Warm-Weather Safety for Dogs

Ahhh, birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and you’re ready to return to the great outdoors with your pup at your side. But how do you ensure that your number-one companion stays safe and healthy as you venture back into the beautiful nature that Utah has to offer? Follow these tips and tricks to prepare for warm-weather adventures with your dog!

Up-to-Date? Vaccinate!

As the frost begins to thaw, so do many nasty illnesses that call the soil home. This combined with heavier foot traffic outdoors makes having up-to-date vaccinations more crucial than ever. Cases of Leptospirosis and Lyme disease in particular increase in the warmer months, but don’t fear! Our Murray clinic has an “Adventure Dog” vaccination package for this exact purpose.

Watch for Water Wellbeing

We know how tempting it is to dust off the old life jackets and get right back into water activities as soon as temperatures warm. However, Utahns must remember that spring snowmelt causes lakes, rivers, and streams to rise. Be extra cautious of even lazy-looking waterways, as they are likely faster and higher than they appear.

Check the ‘Chip

More trips to the great outdoors mean more chances for your dog to wander off and potentially get lost. Studies show that lost pets who have microchips with accurate information are more than 50% more likely to be reunited with their two-legged family members. Don’t have a microchip? Stop by our Murray clinic to snag one!

Thorns Among the Roses

Among all the beautiful foliage that blooms in the spring, there are bound to be a few weeds. Unfortunately, a few of these fauna are doggo-dangerous. Foxtails and burrs are just a couple of the harmful plants that dictate some extra warm-weather safety protocols. Be sure to thoroughly examine your pup following outings and remove seedlings from their paws, fur, noses, and other extremities.

Keep their Heart Healthy

Unfortunately, many creepy crawlies like to enjoy the warmer weather, too! Pest-related ailments become more common as spring rolls around, including issues with fleas, ticks, and worms. Increase your pet’s defenses against parasites with heartworm medication! Our Murray clinic is proud to offer monthly tablets to help boost your pup’s warm-weather safety.

Spring into prevention! Find more information about all the spring safety services our Murray clinic offers at utahhumane.org/clinic-locations/murray-clinic.

From the Puppy Mill to the Real Deal: Batman’s Story

The Nebraska transfer van finally pulled into the Humane Society of Utah’s parking lot on January 26th, 2024 at 1:30 PM. After delays due to poor weather, mechanical issues, and even a breakdown on the road, the highly anticipated arrival of nearly 50 dogs rescued from one of The Humane Society of United States’ “Horrible Hundred” puppy mills, had come.

Various rescues from around the state gathered to pick up portions of the fleet. HSU took in nine dogs, consisting of four corgis, two german shorthaired pointers, and three labs. One of the corgis was a 6-year-old male with intensely blue eyes and a spirit that could not be broken.

An Uphill Climb Ahead

Despite spending his life thus far as a breeding male, likely primarily in a small kennel and with little to no access to humans or dogs outside of breeding scenarios, Batman showed a certain bravery and determination soon after arriving at HSU. That’s how he got his name— HSU staff decided that surviving all he had endured surely made Batman a hero. So, he and his fellow corgis became HSU’s very own Justice League.

Although they were now safe from the horrors of the mill, Batman and his fellow puppy mill dogs did not have an easy road ahead of them. They had likely never walked on a leash, had access to the outdoors, or had anyone to love and care for them outside of the bare minimum. Even with Batman being the most courageous of the group, he was still apprehensive about interacting with staff and the wide world around him. Walks were a challenge, and often he preferred to stay in his kennel entirely. 

Still, HSU team members were persistent. With spray cheese, encouragement, and a whole lot of love and care, the staff watched in awe as Batman and the other puppy mill dogs made great strides. They became more confident, curious, and open to the possibility that life had so much more to offer than they had experienced. Soon, it was time for them to hit the adoption floor.

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

HSU wanted to be clear and transparent with adopters that the puppy mill rescues had been through incredible trauma. These pups would have some unique challenges adjusting to their new homes. One interested adopter, Aryn, was prepared for just that. After seeing a post from HSU on social media, Batman caught her eye.

“I’ve always known I wanted to get a puppy mill dog or dog with a traumatic past, and I finally was in a place [where] I felt I could give one everything,” Aryn said. “The day we got him, there was a lot of emotion. Excited to have him, heartbroken for his past, and a bit intimidated. My fiance and I always wanted a dog, but as soon as we saw Batman, I had to have him.”

After heavy counseling. Aryn and her fiance met Batman. They instantly knew he was the perfect fit for their family. Aryn describes Batman as “exactly what we needed.” They took him home that very day.

From Puppy Mill to Real Deal

Today, Batman is happy in his new home. Aryn said that she and the rest of Batman’s family have been careful to go at his pace. They dial things back if he seems unsure or scared. Batman is a very spoiled dog now, and he means everything to his new family.

“Our favorite thing is his bigger-than-life personality,” Aryn said. “He is so energetic and playful, he loves to chase and be chased, and he is also so cuddly. Batman demands to sleep in our bed and loves to follow me around. He is the sweetest and most funny dog.”

So, Batman and his fellow puppy mill rescues beat the odds, and they are now living the lives they deserve. We want to give great amounts of thanks to HSU’s community, who shared posts on social media, made donations, and took a chance on these sweet pups who had been through the unimaginable. It is with your support that we are able to make stories like this one possible.

Wissy’s Story: A Dog’s Health Journey

Small dog health check-up

There is nothing scarier than watching a beloved pet endure a medical emergency. All you want to do is help your pet, but it is difficult to know where you can turn in a crisis. That is where the Humane Society of Utah’s St. George Clinic came in when Wissy the small dog needed urgent health care. We never want to see an animal suffer, and we never want to see a family lose their pet because medical care is not available. We are honored to provide a service in the St. George community so animals like Wissy can get the care they need. 

Wissy the chihuahua at the clinic

A Small Dog’s Big Health Scare

Sweet senior Chihuahua Wissy was in bad shape when she arrived at HSU’s St. George Clinic in December 2023. She suffered from a protrusion in her groin that was painful and inflamed. Desperate for assistance, her guardian contacted Susan Barrett with Angel Network. Susan runs a rescue group and helps connect Southern Utah pet guardians with animal resources. When she visited Wissy, Susan saw a sweet, incredibly loved, and cherished senior dog. She also noticed that Wissy needed immediate medical attention for her injury. Wissy’s guardian was tearful as she pleaded with Susan for assistance to save her beloved dog. 

Susan brought Wissy to our clinic in St. George. Although we are not a full-service clinic, we do our best to provide care when a pet guardian needs extra assistance. Our goal is to keep animals with their families who love and care for them whenever we can. We know that most people love their pets and just want the best for them. But with inflation and medical costs increasing, more and more pet guardians struggle to afford emergency procedures like this one. When we can help relieve that financial burden and keep a pet in their loving home, nothing is more rewarding! In Wissy’s case, we performed the mass removal, blood work, dental work & spay surgery for a minimal cost, which Angel Network covered.

Wissy’s Road to Recovery

Our St. George Clinic staff wasted no time getting Wissy into surgery to save her life. With older animals like Wissy, there is always a greater risk of complications. However, our experienced veterinary staff performed a successful surgery and guided the sweet old girl through her recovery. Susan and the clinic staff were thrilled to watch Wissy bounce back splendidly! She arrived at the clinic sick and in pain. By the time she left, she was practically prancing back to her loving guardian. 

Susan is pleased to report that she has since followed up with Wissy’s family, and the small dog is in great health! Her recovery went smoothly, and she is back to her happy self. Stories like this remind us of the important service we provide for pet guardians throughout the state of Utah. Without the intervention of Angel Network and our St. George Clinic, Wissy’s story might have ended very differently. When we can save an animal’s life and send them back to a family who loves them, we know we are making a difference for both the animals and the humans in our community. 

Stories like this are possible thanks to our skilled clinic staff and our rescue partners in the community, like Angel Network. And of course, all of our lifesaving programs are possible because of community support and individual donors. We can’t thank our supporters enough for choosing to save lives every day!

Waiting for the Right Home: Sage’s Story

A brown and black dog sits in a camping chair inside of the right home for her.

It was June 13th of 2023 and Sage (formerly Natalia) tilted her head in curiosity as a potential adopter peered excitedly into her kennel. Sage’s initial surrender into HSU’s care, as well as a return following an adoption that didn’t work out, were both attributed to her energetic personality feeling like too much to handle for previous guardians. She was beginning to lose hope that she would ever find the right home. But, as it turned out, Sage’s luck really was about to change!

Setting Sage Up for Success

Emilee knew from the moment she met Sage that this sweet, scruffy pup belonged with her family. During her chat with our adoptions counselors, HSU staff disclosed to Emilee that Sage may not be the easiest dog in the world. They let her know that Sage had been adopted and returned, and they told Emilee about how high-energy Sage was.

HSU staff had fallen in love with Sage during her stay. They wanted to be completely transparent about Sage’s needs to give her the best chance of going to the right home… and not coming back.

“[The counselors] told us that Sage had been brought back to the shelter, and we are still blown away by this. She’s such a gentle but energetic dog, and she blended perfectly with our family,” Emilee said.

So, as you might have guessed, Emilee was not deterred by Sage’s past but rather chose to look to her future. Sage left HSU that day with her tail wagging behind her; this time, she did not have to return.

A brown and black dog lays on her human's lap and looks directly into the camera in the right home for her.

The Future Sage Deserves

Today, Sage is absolutely thriving with Emilee and the rest of her found family. Emilee said that Sage is full of personality and is always making her laugh. Sage’s favorite pastimes include hanging out with her cousins, camping, and getting plenty of snuggles!

Emilee even had a funny story to share about Sage’s favorite seat in the house… a multi-seat camping chair! Sage is actually pictured in this chair at the beginning of this blog.

“Every time we would go camping, Sage would kick my husband out of his spot on the double chair. Eventually, one of my family members gifted us a three-person chair. Now we can all fit around the campfire!” Emilee laughed.

Emilee concluded Sage’s story with strong encouragement for others to adopt: “Our lives truly wouldn’t be the same without Sage. I love that HSU is sharing her story so people know shelter doggies are just as good as any!”

A brown and black dog sits outside in the fall leaves along with a cream dog and a black dog in the right home for them.

Big Heads, Bigger Hearts: Large Dog Adoption Special!

Large Dog Adoption Special banner

If you want to add a large and loveable companion to your life, now is the perfect time! Presented by Xfinity, the ‘Big Heads, Bigger Hearts’ adoption special runs through Valentine’s Day at the Humane Society of Utah (HSU). Thanks to generous support from Xfinity, adoption fees are waived for all adult large-breed dogs!

Love For Large Dogs

Find love this Valentine’s Day, and consider adopting a large dog! On average, large-breed dogs experience a longer length of stay at HSU when compared to their smaller counterparts. A big dog can seem like a big commitment, so large-breeds often get overlooked. But we know a large dog can be a great companion for the right adopter. And who knows what you might learn if you take a look around! That 65 lb pup might be a gentle and easy-going couch potato. Or maybe that large-breed sweetheart is the perfect companion for getting out and exploring nature.

Large Dog Adoption Photo with Family

An Adoption Special: Presented by Xfinity

From Sunday, February 11th through Wednesday, February 14th, HSU waives adoption fees for all adult dogs over 60 lbs. Thanks to our generous friends at Xfinity, we can help remove financial barriers so more adopters can bring these loveable large-breeds home! We are so grateful for our partnership with Xfinity, allowing us to address the needs of our animals and our community. If you are looking for a companion with a big heart, a big personality, and a big paw print, the time has never been better! Swing by for our ‘Big Heads, Bigger Hearts’ adoption special, presented by Xfinity!

The Truth About Adopted Pets as Gifts: Myths vs. Reality

The idea of gifting a pet during the holiday season often sparks debates and concerns. Some believe that pets adopted as gifts are more likely to be returned or end up in shelters. Let’s look at the data and debunk the myths surrounding pets given as presents.

Myth vs. Reality: Examining Return Rates

The myth that gifted pets are frequently returned lacks substantial evidence. Studies and shelter data from across the country show similar or lower return rates for pets adopted as gifts than those acquired by personal choice. 

Understanding the Gifted Pet Adoption Process

Contrary to common assumptions, shelters, and rescue organizations have structured adoption processes for pets given as gifts. These procedures often involve thorough conversation to prepare pets and people for success. These organizations work hard to ensure the recipient is ready for the commitment.

The Importance of Preparation and Education

Successful pet adoptions, whether gifts or personal choices, hinge on education. Preparing the recipient for the responsibilities and long-term commitments of pet ownership is vital.

Responsible Gifting: Encouraging Thoughtful Choices

The focus should be on responsible gifting. Encourage recipients to visit the shelter or participate in the selection process, ensuring the pet’s compatibility with their lifestyle and preferences. Like HSU, many shelters offer post-adoption support and resources, including behavioral training, pet care tips, and counseling. This helps pets and their people stay together.

Despite the prevailing myths, evidence suggests that pets adopted as gifts do not inherently face higher return rates. The key to a successful adoption, whether a gift or a personal choice, lies in the recipient’s careful preparation, education, and involvement in the adoption process. When done thoughtfully and responsibly, gifting a pet during the holiday season can create enduring bonds and bring immeasurable joy to both the recipient and the pet.

Finding The Right Fit: Bernie’s Story

Sometimes, adding a new dog to the family is a matter of finding the right fit. Jess and Justin already had one dog, and Jess desperately wanted to welcome a second into their home. Justin was a little more hesitant. “I was resistant to the idea because I worried that because of my disability, I would have a hard time taking care of a second dog,” Justin recounts. However, when Jess shared a photo and bio of Bernard from the Humane Society of Utah, Justin was taken with his cute, squishy face. He knew he had to at least meet Bernard. Perhaps this dog could be the perfect fit for their family! As Justin and Jess remember, “We were the first ones there that morning, so we could make sure we didn’t miss our chance to take care of him.”

Bernie a brindle bulldog mix gets an eye exam at HSU.

A Dog’s Road to Recovery:

Bernard arrived at the Humane Society of Utah (HSU), facing numerous health challenges. He suffered from a severe eye infection, limited mobility, difficulty breathing, and a painful skin condition. But beneath it all, Bernard had a heart of gold and a happy, goofy personality. Staff members quickly noticed that Bernard loved being around people more than anything else. Even during times of discomfort, Bernard was happy to have someone visit his kennel. 

This is the first thing that Justin and Jess noticed about Bernard when they visited him in the spring of 2023. It was clear that Bernard had been through his share of challenges. His eye infection was so severe that emergency surgery had been performed to remove the affected eye. When Justin and Jess first saw Bernard, he was in a cone and still exhausted from his recent procedure. But they also saw Bernard’s personality shine through. “When they brought him into the room with us, he just lit up and wanted all the love and attention we could give him,” Jess remembers. Justin and Jess agreed that day to foster Bernard and help him on his road to recovery. When they brought Bernard home, they knew he was there to stay. As Jess describes, “It became clear very quickly that there was no way we could give him up! He fit right into our home and hearts like a missing piece we didn’t know was gone.”

Bernie the brindle bulldog mix sleeps on a couch in his adoptive home.

The Perfect Dog for This Family:

Bernard spent a few weeks in foster care with Justin and Jess. He needed daily medical treatment as he recovered from surgery and got his skin infection under control. During this time, Bernard fit right in with the whole family. He instantly connected with their kids and their other dog. Bernard’s medical history and slow-moving style might have been a turn-off to other pet guardians. But he was the right dog for Justin and Jess, who wanted a mellow companion to add to their family. When Bernard finally recovered and was healthy enough for adoption, it was no surprise to HSU staff that Justin and Jess decided to adopt him permanently. These days, Bernard (who has been renamed Bernie) can usually be found snuggled up on the couch with his people or napping with his new dog sibling. Now that Justin has a constant companion in Bernie, he is so glad he took a chance and decided to visit the Humane Society of Utah. He explains, “What I didn’t realize until he came home to us is that my wife was right, I needed him just as much as he needed us.” So, if you are still deciding whether to add a new pet to your household, remember to keep an open mind. The perfect fit might be out there for you! And there are plenty of animals like Bernie, who just need the right person to take a chance. We couldn’t put it any better than Jess, who says, “You’ll know when you meet the one for you.”

Bernie the brindle bulldog mix cuddles with his adoptive family in his new home.