What a week! I'm loving Albuquerque!
I came to help a friend ship a cat to his owners in the U.K. (the cat is still here and will remain here) and I have found myself taping a TV program to air in July, and live on the local CBS Affiliate station's news program where they warned me I might not get anyone calling with questions but the switchboard lit up like a Christmas Tree! I have a standing invitation to return to both programs.
I'm incredibly impressed by the Shelters here. They were among the worst but now, with Mayor Martin Chavez's brilliant appointment of Jeanine Patterson, a nurse by training, as Director for the city's new Animal Welfare Department where you will also find the wonderfully dedicated Rick De Reyes along with a team of devoted volunteers and the Associate Director, John Romero of the New Mexico Board of Veterinary Medicine, well, things have turned around to an amazing degree in a short period of time. I don't impress easily but this team has blown me away. Euthanasia is way down, adoption is way up. And it just keeps getting better. Patterson brilliantly invited Shelter Medicine Specialist, Dr. Sandra Newbury from University of California-Davis to visit and implemented her suggestions as well.
KennelKompadres was started by volunteers to ensure that money donated to the shelters would go to the shelters, not interfere with the allocated city funds and would not end up in a slush fund that might earmark it for road repair instead. These volunteers do everything from help foster homes with formula for puppies and kittens, kitten and puppy beds, toys, and more. And, importantly, they go to schools and provide a humane education program that includes coloring books with good pet care advice and the canine and feline version of baseball cards for the kids, each with useful advice about spaying, neutering, feeding and loving your pets.
Today, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting the man responsible for these wonderful changes, Mayor Martin Chavez and his adopted dog, Dukes, who goes everywhere the Mayor goes. The human-animal bond has never had a better spokesteam.
I was greeted by Mark at the front desk whose warm and welcoming smile set the tone for my visit. Rick De Reyes (we'd met several days ago) soon arrived and then two of the Mayor's young male assistants provided not just a greeting but a tour of the offices, including native local artwork on loan from a local Museum. There was also a huge Chihuahua statue from the Mexican city of Chihuahua.
I was soon greeted by a bouncing, grinning Dukes with his esteemed owner who is as down-to-earth as he is a brilliant leader.
What a visit! What a golden opportunity to say "Thank You" to the man responsible for spearheading such wonderful advances, having the foresight and courage to hire the right people for the right jobs, and make life better not only for the animals who cannot speak for themselves but for their new owners who are experiencing the joy of the human-animal bond.
A photo was taken for the City of Albuquerque's website. I don't know when it will be posted but it's easy to tell us apart. Dukes is the furry happy one, Martin Chavez is the handsome, intelligent-looking one and I'm the overweight but happy woman.
Causes Darlene Arden Supports
The Marcia Polimer Abrams Fund for Canine Behavior Studies at the AKC Canine Health Foundation