The COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped the influx of animals in need of homes to Flagstaff.
For High Country Humane, this only increased those numbers.
Liz Olson, executive director of High Country Humane, said the center has housed around 3,000 to 3,500 animals per year in its first three years of operation. High Country also has a contract with the City of Flagstaff and the County of Coconino for animal management, making it the county’s local animal welfare organization.
To survive, especially with a growing number of animals, Olson said High Country relied on its volunteers, foster families and sponsors. During the pandemic, they were able to keep their doors open to both the public and animals, allowing them to continue their mission of helping animals.
âOur main mission has been honored,â said Olson. âWe kept the staff employed, we remained open to the public, we remained open to the animal we were to welcome. I think resilience comes from everyone coming together for the common mission of helping animals, helping people, and helping the community. We couldn’t have done it without the support of our foster families, without adopters, without businesses continuing to support us. Everyone really came together. We really relied on the community and they came together to support us and keep us open. “
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Their mission to help animals in need of support is one of the easiest to convince, according to Olson.
âI think the mission speaks for itself,â Olson said. “It’s the easiest job I’ve ever had because it’s so easy to love an animal, isn’t it?” It is about something much bigger than ourselves. When we keep our mission at the heart of everything we do, it’s so easy to keep sailing this ship. It’s exciting, it’s new, and we’ve done a great job of being transparent but organized. It’s nice to line up because some of the basic pieces are in place.
Throughout the pandemic, volunteers and host families have been at the heart of their work. Even now, the number of animals consumed continues to rise, and Olson said they would need all the help they can get.
âHigh Country is so proud to be aligned with the City of Flagstaff and the County of Coconino as a local animal welfare organization,â said Olson. âWe are so grateful and grateful for everyone’s support, but we continue to need help in areas such as hosting puppies and kittens, volunteering like walking the dogs, doing the dishes or help us on the spot. Regardless of your ability to get involved with High Country, our website is a great resource for finding out how you can get involved.
And their hard work has been recognized. High Country Humane won the award for Best Nonprofit Organization and Best Public Agency in the Best of Flag 2021.
High Country Humane hopes to further increase the resources they offer by opening a public clinic. This clinic would be a place where the public could receive vaccines and discounted care options, as well as a place to go for other pet care needs. But, for that to happen, they have to add another vet and another team. Flagstaff can help this mission by donating to their cause. Donate, learn more about foster care, and see the animals available now at highcountryhumane.org.