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San Luis Valley Animal Welfare Society

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animals

Mission: To shelter and provide vet services for homeless domestic animals

Programs: The organization sheltered and provided veterinary services for hundreds of homeless domestic animals and pets and found safe homes for the animals and educated the new owners.

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 1

This was the most offensive interaction I've ever had. I left crying in the car.

After a year of planning, my husband and I were ready to start looking for a puppy. We started with Petsmart on Academy and Briargate, and SLVAW was there for their adoption fair. We noticed a sweet puppy that had the temperment we were looking for, and we took it on a walk. We fell in love with it, and we tested it (intelligence, any touchy spots, reactions around other dogs). It seemed to love us, too. We decided to adopt it.

The Director of SLVAW then began our interview. She asked us a few preliminary questions, and we told her we had other animals--a dog and some cats. The dog is ok with other dogs, but we wanted a gentle introduction so that he wouldn't be jealous. We have a spare bedroom, and we would keep the puppy in there at night and when we weren't at home for the first week or so, until everyone seemed to get a sense of each other. She really didn't like this, and told us that we needed to crate him in our bedroom, and that a wire crate would be best (btw, a puppy broke a tooth on the wire crate as we began talking, and she completely ignored us telling her that). We said we would get a crate (even though I HATE crating).

My husband also told her that he's had dogs all his life, and he's great at training them. This dog would be trained to go on hikes with us, and we lived next to a dog park, so we'd get a lot of good activity (she never asked whether we lived in a house or apartment, had a yard, etc).

She then told us that we would need to purchase an $89 puppy training package from Petsmart. We had not seen any signs for this, so we were shocked (that would make the puppy cost nearly $350 to adopt; we'd still have to microchip him on our own). We aren't impressed with Petsmart's puppy training (it's not bad, just not the best--if we're paying for classes, we'd like something more than the basics). We would have been fine with having to do a training, but we would have liked to choose. When we asked why they had this requirement, she got evasive, and eventually told us that they are required by contract with Petsmart to make adopters purchase the puppy training. My husband was annoyed at this, and started saying that he wasn't happy that Petsmart would put up such a barrier to people adopting dogs. The lady said that we had two strikes against us for refusing to crate (which we did not), and refusing to purchase the training (though she said she would have waived that had it not been for the crating). She then told us that our willingness to put a puppy in a room by himself showed that we didn't know about dogs, and we could not adopt the puppy.

I was upset, and decided to talk to the Petsmart manager (they did, after all, lose out on the sale of all of the stuff we would have bought for our new pack member). I spoke to a very nice manager who said she would email her store manager, gave us his number to call, and mentioned that there had been other complaints.

I was still upset over the situation, and really liked that dog, so decided that we should give it one more shot. I approached the Director again and told her that we had just spoken with the manager, and that we would be calling the store manager, but we wanted to give her an opportunity to talk to us first when tempers were cooler. I also said the manager had mentioned there had been other complaints. She talked to us for a moment, and we told her we would crate the dog, and we would do the puppy classes. She then said that she had made her decision and us "badgering her" would not change her mind, and walked away. I then unfortunately made a bit of a scene, starting to choke up and call out to her that I was so sad that she was doing this to the dogs and not letting us adopt simply because she didn't like us.

She then went inside to talk to the manager. Another volunteer who had worked with us and liked us went in as well. We waited for several minutes; the volunteer came out and said a puppy trainer would come out and speak with us, and not to worry--we'd get the dog. We waited, the Director came out again and said she had been prepared to let us adopt, but the manager told us that she hadn't said to us that there had been other complaints, so since we lied, we didn't get the dog.

And that is why I cried in the car. We had fallen in love with the perfect puppy for us, and were denied after all of these emotional encounters. We were called bad dog owners and liars. A puppy didn't go home today, and SLVAW didn't have the funds/space to rescue one more pup from euthanasia. All because the organization's director is reactive, rude, and arbitrary. Be careful adopting from this place, and be even more wary to donate to them. They desperately need a change in leadership.


Rating: 5

This is a great rescue for both dogs and cats. They come to Colorado Springs, CO, every saturday, to Petsmart near Chapel Hills Mall, and I go to help out with walking the dogs and giving them treats. I also periodically donate to their cause. Please help out whenever and however you can, by either donating or volunteering.