As dedicated advocates of animal rights since its inception in 1967, The Blue Mountain Humane Society receives over 2,250 stray and recovered animals annually. Serving in Walla Walla County in Washington for over 50 years as the area’s sole animal shelter, they direct their energy towards helping these furry friends find suitable owners who can provide them with the love that animals deserve.
Blue Mountain currently receives animals from Walla Walla city and county as well as the cities of College Place, Dayton, Waitsburg and Milton-Freewater. They operate with a commitment to the principle of No Kill, as the organization is adamantly against the use of euthanization.
Staff members often drive far distances to find potential homes for the animals that reside in their facilities as part of their mission of reducing animal overpopulation and homelessness. Unclaimed animals are sent to other shelters and put up for adoption in the hopes that one day they can also settle into a loving home and live happy lives.
Step by Step
Blue Mountain offers several services and programs for animals to participate in to ensure the rehabilitation and well being of their in house residents.
The Offender Based Training Program is targeted at animals displaying aggressive or correctable behavior patterns. Selected animals will undergo a 8 week rehabilitative training course at the Washington State Penitentiary, where they will live alongside inmates, and learn behavioral reinforcement skills as well as how to respond to basic commands. Upon passing the Canine Good Citizen test, they will be eligible for adoption.
On whitmanwire.com, Blue Mountain Executive Director Sarah Archer poignantly described how several inmates had written letters, detailing how the improved behavior of their canine co-inmates had inspired them to change their own way of thinking.
Riding on the success of their Offender Based Training Program for dogs, Blue Mountain launched the Kitties in the Clink to provide the same rehabilitative program for cats.
After careful screening, qualified applicants can participate in the Foster Parent Program to serve as a foster family for an animal until a permanent owner is found. This minimizes time at the shelter and gives them a head start on getting acclimated to new people and surroundings.
Cat Management Cooperative is a program that was launched in 2008 with the intent of rescuing and rehabilitating free roaming cats that threaten to overcrowd shelters with their numbers. Blue Mountain provides surgery and vaccinations as well as cat spay and neuter certificates for eligible cat owners.
Blue Mountain lends a helping hand to the elderly by providing a variety of basic needs such as food and litter. As it is often difficult for senior citizens to take proper care of their pets, Blue Mountain steps in to ensure that the companionship is maintained. They also regularly grace and brighten up senior citizen centers to provide a heartwarming meet and greet sessions with several furry companions that are sure to bring a smile to many faces.
Blue Mountain also has a partnership with Pets for Patriots, a charity organization that unites homeless pets with members of US veterans.
Through learning campaigns, Blue Mountain gets the community involved to raise awareness about proper animal treatment. They provide education on a variety of important topics such as neuter and humane education and offer animal cruelty investigation services to ensure animals are taken care of properly.
They also host community events to bring people and animals together, with opportunities for pet lovers to adopt their favorite animal on the spot. Some of their previous events include Open Houses and Dog Walks, and Blue Mountain recently managed to raise over $100,000 in 90 days as part of their Pets90X program, a 3 month fundraising challenge.
Animals in Need
Back in 1987, the shelter was shut down due to a lack of funding but managed to reopen its doors later in 1988. Blue Mountain stated that only 20% of animals are ever reunited with their original owners. Through their inspiring efforts, Blue Mountain has managed to find an increased number of animals a home every year, with a record 1,607 animals finding welcoming homes in the year 2017.
Despite all their efforts, Blue Mountain still faces a wide variety of issues. One of the most prevalent problems is overcrowding, as they take in over 2,250 animals every year. Another issue arising from this predicament is excess noise, which tends to elevate stress levels of these animals.
Potential adopters don’t have many opportunities to mingle with the host of animals housed in the shelters, reducing the chances of these animals finding a new home and extending the duration of time they must spend in shelters and possible transfers.
Surgery facilities are inadequate to serve the needs of such a large influx of homeless animals, with recovering animals having to make due with limited space in other areas such as offices and even bare floors.
This was the case for Earl, an American Pitbull mix who was taken in by Blue Mountain. At the time, he had a fractured leg due to being stuck by a vehicle. His wounds were serious and he was sent to a local clinic for treatment as Blue Mountain’s facilities were inadequate for his operation.
\Earl was eventually amputated and neutered before returning to Blue Mountain for recovery. He was a bright and energetic dog, but unfortunately had to make a second stressful trip back to the clinic to treat an additional wound near his amputated leg.
Earl’s mood began to deteriorate, as he was feeling stressed from the overcrowded facilities and noise. Even play time was restricted to a sole area, which further exacerbated his frustrations.
After many trials and tribulations, Earl finally managed to find a loving family 4 months later. This served as an excellent case study for Blue Mountain to pinpoint areas for improvement.
What your Contributions Provide
This is where your commitment plays such a pivotal role in providing a strengthened infrastructure to improve efficiency and comfort for these unfortunate animals.
Your contributions will help Blue Mountain in their efforts to develop:
- Dedicated rooms to provide counseling and advising
- A new off-leash area for the dogs to roam freely and provide them with ample space for healthy play and exercise
- Renovated surgical facilities to provide proper operation and recovery services
- Soundproof walls to prevent excessive noise and reduce stress
- Storage room for animal care supplies
- Community room for training and education
These are just a few of the ways your donations will help Blue Mountain in its campaign to restore homeless animals and giving them a chance at a better life. Your efforts alongside Blue Mountain will help enrich the community and provide a future for animals. These animals are no different from people; they deserve every opportunity for a happy life.