Humane Society: Rising to the Challenge of Our Times

Christophe Valton

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on all of us, and we at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA) are no exception. HSSA recognized in the early days of the pandemic that the safety and well-being of not just the pets we serve, but also the people who love them would require huge and quick shifts in the way our organization operates.

Under the leadership of our new CEO, Steve Farley, measures were swiftly taken to ensure that every pet in our care would continue to receive the shelter, food, medical treatment, and nurturing that they needed, while at the same time safeguarding the health of our staff, volunteers, and clients.

That is not to say staff have had it easy. Frontline staff has been tasked with additional cleaning duties, implementing new safety precautions, and ensuring each and every pet is provided with the utmost care. Every single day, these staff members have demonstrated incredible resilience in the face of this crisis.

Meanwhile, staff in other departments within the organization had to quickly adapt to working from home for the first time, important fundraising events like Puttin’ on the Dog had to be postponed, and several of our outreach initiatives had to be cancelled or re-imagined as digital alternatives. HSSA has also redoubled initiatives like the pet food distribution program and partnered with other local non-profit organizations in order to help as many pets and people in Southern Arizona.

By looking at our adoption numbers, you can see the quick response our team had in response to COVID-19. Through offering appointment-based adoption appointments, we were able to maintain the safety of our staff and adopters as well as increase adoptions. The quality time spent with our adoption counselors helped many long-term pets find their forever homes in the midst of a pandemic.

In short, very little at HSSA has been left untouched by the unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19, but quick action by our staff and the generosity of our donors and volunteers enabled us to move our mission forward.

Throughout this uncertain time, HSSA has been here for our pets and members of the public through adoptions, end of life services, lost and found, and more. Thank you to our totally dedicated staff for continuing our mission.