Littleton animal shelter wins 'lifesaving' grant

Humane Society of the South Platte Valley snags $35,000 award from Petco Foundation

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The animals come first.

That's what Jason Miller, a volunteer at the Humane Society of the South Platte Valley, said he loves about the shelter where he spends several hours a week walking dogs.

“Coming down here means giving love and help to those who need it,” said Miller, an English professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver. “For me, I think your day is always better when it's spent with a dog.”

Miller's canine and feline friends landed some help of a different kind in September, when the Petco Foundation awarded the shelter near Belleview Avenue and Santa Fe Drive a $35,000 grant to “support the lifesaving efforts of the organization.”

“We are proud to support the lifesaving work of the Humane Society of the South Platte Valley and hope our investment will be used to make the most significant lifesaving impact possible,” said Petco Foundation president Susanne Kogut in an email statement.

The money will go a long way, said HSSPV spokeswoman Kelsey Kennelly.

“It'll go directly to the care of our animals,” Kennelly said. “Not just feeding and daily care, but we take pride in the extensive medical care we provide animals. Veterinary care can be very costly and requires a lot of time and effort, but it's important that every animal is treated with compassion. That's what the fund will help us keep doing.”

HSSPV, founded in 2009, is a nonprofit animal shelter that takes in strays and lost pets. The shelter also transfers in hundreds of animals every year from rural areas in Colorado, New Mexico and Texas, where small local shelters find themselves overwhelmed.

Last year, Kennelly said, the shelter transferred in more than 800 animals from outside the area, completed more than 1,200 adoptions, and reunited more than 300 lost pets with their owners.

The shelter is always eager for more volunteers, Kennelly said, who can fill many roles — though taking dogs for walks and helping keep the facility clean are high on the list. The shelter accepts donations through its website, hsspv.org, and also has a wish list including items like cat and dog food, treats, cat litter and pet carriers.

And, of course, Kennelly said, the shelter is always looking for animal lovers who would like to take home a new companion.

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