Hope for pets, people

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Hope Center for Humane Education helps train, educate about animals

 By Alison Mahnken

For the Courier

Hope for animals and for the community was the inspiration for a center housed at Foothills Animal Shelter in Golden.


The Hope Center for Humane Education consists of a large room available for public events and private functions, and the space serves many of the shelter’s goals, from educating the public about homeless pets to fund-raising to animal training.    

“It was the efforts of three donors of the shelters that went back to when we were Table Mountain Animal Center: Lynn Reber, Beth Parish and Moni Piz Wilson,” Jodi Gault, foster care coordinator at the shelter and a Littleton resident, said of the three women whose vision resulted in the center.

“When we knew we were moving and expanding our space, they really thought what a great donation/contribution they could make to the building by having a place where it could be an all-purpose room, a room for education, for trainings, for the community to come in for whatever they needed to use the room for and to learn about the shelter,” Gault said.

The Hope Center for Humane Education is housed in the shelter at 580 McIntyre St., next to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. It celebrated its grand opening in August 2010.

“It’s going really well,” Gault said. “We have all of our volunteer trainings in there. And then added staff trainings are in there. We have speakers come to provide us with education on how we can be a better shelter and take better care of the animals. The community rents it for gatherings, for big parties, graduation parties.” 

The room has also been used for dog obedience classes.

“We also have volunteer appreciation gatherings,” Gault continued. “We had a potluck for our foster parents a few months ago, and we hold volunteer leadership meetings, our vaccine clinics twice a week.”

Drop-in clinics held Wednesdays and Fridays from 3 to 4 p.m. draw up to 30 people — not counting the four-legged ones. Critter conflicts are minimized by requiring that dogs be leashed and cats crated. At $15 per vaccine, the clinic “is a great resource for the community when budgets are tight,” Gault said.

Regarding future center activities, Gault said the hope is to bring in more corporate agencies for trainings as a way to tap into more donors for the shelter. 

“And also because they can feel good about it,” chimed in Karyn Bocko, marketing manager. “The money goes back to caring for the animals and they can also schedule tours during their meeting breaks.”

The Hope Center is, naturally, decorated with large color photographs of animals who have passed through the shelter. It is supplied with tables, chairs, a kitchenette with a refrigerator and sink, ample counters and outlets for coffee makers, space for classes, celebrations and presentations.

“The parties and the gatherings that we’ve had, they also incorporate a supply drive for us,” Gault said. “We have a wish list that’s online of items that we use all the time in the shelter. Kids and families and schools like to do projects.

“In addition to their parties, they’re giving us supplies for the shelter, so it’s a two-way win-win situation. We’ve had Girl Scout troops have their little educational meetings. They have an animal care badge that they need to gain, so they come here for that and again donate supplies or food.”

Have there been any mishaps in the Hope Center?

“They stage that area pretty carefully and there’s enough separation between animals, so, no, everybody’s been on their best behavior,” laughed Gault. 

However, there was the occasion of the little pig in the shelter last July.

“A little pink piglet who looooved attention and didn’t like being in a kennel by herself,” Gault said. “So we would put a little collar on her and we treated her like a dog, and she a big hit! She hung out out front and met all the people. She loved it. She’s a very social little girl. She loved to be held cradled on her back. She was a lot of fun.

“She ended up going to Oregon to a person who wanted it for their own small farm,” where Truffle is living out her happy life, pink rhinestone collar and all.

What’s behind a name of the Hope Center? 

“It’s my understanding that that’s the name that Beth and Lynn and Moni came up with themselves. Hope for the animals and continuing education for the community. The more the community knows about us and what we do here, the better they take care of their own animals. If they’re ever in a circumstance where they couldn’t, our shelter’s a safe place for them to come.”

The connections with Beth Perish, Lynn Raber and Moni Piz Wilson are well established. They’ve been foster parents, adopted from the shelter and “have gone above and beyond in helping us out in any way that we need,” Gault said.

“I don’t know how we could thank those three women enough to have the forethought to think about adding something like that for us,” Gault said. “It’s been a real godsend, actually, in my humble opinion.”

To learn more about the Hope Center, the shelter, news and events, the wish list, volunteer opportunities, vaccine clinics and more, visit http://www.foothillsanimalshelter
.org or call 303-278-7575.