The Humane Society of Pagosa Springs is a private, nonprofit organization serving Archuleta County. Our mission is to provide a safe haven for animals in need, to promote adoptions, to reunite lost animals with their owners and to humanely reduce pet overpopulation through community education and aggressive spay/neuter programs. The Humane Society operates the Animal Shelter currently located at 465 Cloman Blvd. in West Pagosa Springs and the Thrift Store in downtown Pagosa Springs.
Originally called the Upper San Juan Humane Society, the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs (name change made in 1999) had a modest beginning in 1984 with the donation of a gold Krugerrand. The donor's daughter, Debra Rinker Brown, raffled the coin to start a construction fund for an animal shelter. Shortly after that, songwriter and musician, Dan Fogelberg, volunteered to perform a concert and donate the proceeds to the project. The concert raised about $20,000, which enabled the construction of the original animal shelter. Town, county, and local contractors cooperated to build the shelter in the period of 1984-86, thanks to the organization skills of Ms Brown.
Since the eighties, there has been significant growth in Pagosa Springs. For the period 1990-2000, Archuleta County was the ninth fastest-growing county in the United States and fifth fastest growing in Colorado. The population has doubled since 1989 and is expected to double again by 2010, which results in more families and more family pets. Despite the rapid growth of the county's pet population, the Humane Society was not able to expand the animal shelter at the present location. The land is insufficient to expand the shelter building, and the water pressure and septic systems cannot support an added load. In addition, the present location on Stevens Lake is needed for future expansion of the lake by PAWS.
After an extensive search, the Humane Society Board of Directors located suitable land for a new shelter facility - 11 acres adjacent to an industrial park. Two private donors provided the funding to purchase this property in 2000. With architectural design complete, and the Homeward Bound Capital Campaign was launched in 2007 for the new shelter construction. On April 12, 2007, ground was officially broken to begin the construction of the Phase I building for the at the Cloman Boulevard site. Expansion of Stevens Lake by PAWS necessitated vacating the original shelter location by September 3, 2007, with temporary arrangements for our dogs and cats until the new Shelter Phase I building was ready for occupancy on November 28, 2007. (New shelter construction history.)
Since opening its doors in 1994, the Humane Society Thrift Store is in its third location due to growth in donations and business. The Humane Society Board of Directors originally started the thrift store to raise funds for expansion at the existing shelter and the future construction of a new facility. The driving forces behind establishment of the store were Mary Muller, Bob Nelson, Barbara Rosner, Barbara Burgess and D'Ann Frasca.
The first store was named The Pack Rack Thrift Store and opened in November 1994 on Lewis Street. Within six months the store was flooded with donations, and more space was needed. In the spring of 1995, the store moved to a larger facility on South 6th Street, where it remained for the next five years. The store's business continued to expand with more employees hired and even antiques being sold online. In order to support the plan for building a new animal shelter, the Board of Directors realized that they needed to secure the thrift store's future with the purchase of a building instead of being housed in leased space and at a landlord's mercy. The decision was made to purchase the old Baptist church property on Pagosa Avenue in downtown Pagosa Springs and convert it to the permanent home of the thrift store.
After much work with walls being knocked down and extensive repairs made, the grand opening was held June 3, 2000. Shortly thereafter, the name of the thrift store changed from The Pack Rack Thrift Store to The Humane Society Thrift Store. The Thrift Store's new interior look was completed in January 2007 to facilitate browsing/shopping and deter crime. With each improvement the Thrift Store is helping to make the goal of a new shelter a realistic possibility.