Category: “Blog post”

July Foster of the Month: Amanda Halliday

FOMAmandaHallidayAmanda totally stepped up when Robin, a heartworm positive pup who also had to have eye surgery, needed a foster who could provide him with some extra TLC.

“She has provided everything he needs without hesitation,” says Kate Wessels, PawsCo Foster Director. “Simply put, she’s amazing and Robin wouldn’t have his second chance without her.”

Amanda, who has fostered and volunteered off and on for 10 years with various groups, says she loves fostering because “it is so rewarding to be a part of these dogs’ lives while they are transitioning into their forever homes.”

“I love being able to experience so many different personalities and it’s great for our dog too,” she says.

Amanda and her family would eventually like to adopt a 2nd dog, so fostering is also a great way to make sure they pick the perfect dog while helping to save a bunch of other dogs in the process!

“It is definitely hard to see each one leave, but I know I can save so many more by fostering than trying to keep them all,” she says.

Amanda, who is also on the photography team and about to start helping with Salesforce, says she couldn’t be happier to be a part of PawsCo. “I’ve volunteered with a lot of groups and this is by far the most supportive group I’ve ever been a part of,” she says.

Nellie’s Story

Nellie’s Story

By Kaela Basse, Nellie’s foster mom

“Hey babe, what would you think of another foster … possibly a very long-term foster? She’s so sweet, loves dogs, potty trained, beautiful, smells great, enjoys long walks at the park, soft hair, big brown eyes … she’s basically just like me!”

That was me, trying to sell the idea of taking in a possibly long-term foster to my husband, Scott. Truth is, though, she wasn’t a hard sell! Sure, she took a little longer than any of our other fosters to warm up, but it was worth it once she wiggled her way into our hearts.

The day we got Nellie, we had to carry her into the house (a little strange, but nothing we weren’t prepared for). I walked her around the house, got her comfortable, and she slowly found her place with our two dogs and made herself at home in her crate. We gave her some space, knowing she takes a little time to warm up, but I just couldn’t stand it… she was so cute I just wanted her to love me! So I broke out a big bag of training treats, and, with Scott next to me, got down on the floor and started hand feeding her, hoping that would make us her new best friends. She would slowly walk up, take her treat, and then back away. We began working in some pats under her neck, then she started lingering for longer petting sessions. YES! She was beginning to learn that we were nice and wanted to be her friends!

In the days following, we practiced going in and out of the house, something that she wasn’t too fond of, but was obviously necessary. She was hesitant to go outside, but once she was brave enough to venture out, she loved it so much that she didn’t want to come back in the house. With a few handfuls of treats and multiple passes through the front door, she began to learn that it’s a normal and safe routine.

One day, Scott took Nellie out front. He was out there for quite some time, so I looked out the window wondering what they were doing. I saw Scott sitting in the grass with Nellie. She had walked right up to him, no treats necessary, and the two of them were bonding. Of course, I creepily took photos through the front window—someone had to document this breakthrough moment!

Later, we were relaxing in the living room when Nellie walked up under Scott's arm that was hanging over the arm rest. Scott obliged and started to pet her head. I could feel him staring at me across the room; he wanted to be sure I noticed what was happening, but he didn’t want to scare her away. I lit up with excitement, and we quietly celebrated the little milestone. It’s the small things in life…

We tried multiple times to get Nellie into bed to snuggle with us, but she wasn't into that, so I let it go…for the night. She would tease me by putting two paws on the bed, and letting me pet her, but not coming all the way up. At that point, I would take what I could get! It didn’t take long, though: About a week after she came to live with us, Nellie was in our bed. After Nellie jumped in, our dog Zoey came in to claim her regular spot. At this point, Scott was left with a sliver of the bed, and now I had to figure out which yoga pose I could contort into without disrupting these two sleeping beauties. Nellie seemed so content being snuggled with her humans. It made my heart happy.

Nellie is still a work in progress, but aren’t we all? She’s come a long way since joining PawsCo, and we’re here to help her every step of the way until she finds her perfect forever family. She has a heart of gold. Give her the patience she deserves, and you’ll be one of the lucky humans to experience that heart of gold…and, believe me, you’ll fall in love with this beautiful soul we call Nellie.

If you are interested in Nellie, view her full bio here and contact

June Foster of the Month: Katie Dahm

KatieDahmAfter moving to Denver from Chicago (where she was also involved with dog rescues and fostering), Katie wanted to continue her work with animals. “PawsCo was recommended to me as a great organization so I knew I had to get involved,” she says.

Katie has been an awesome foster mom to Monty since early May and says “he has brought so much joy to our lives.”

“I started fostering after losing my 13-year-old rescue dog to cancer last year,” Katie says. “It is such a rewarding process to take these pups into our home who have been rescued from all sorts of situations and provide them with unconditional love and support. I am fortunate to have found PawsCo and look forward to having many more future fosters.”

Thanks for all of your hard work and love, Katie!

May Foster of the Month: Marsha Marrier

Marsha Marrier FOM May“The love and dedication that Marsha shows her fosters is above and beyond what we expect and hope for in a foster parent,” said PawsCo Foster Team Lead Adrienne Lanz.

Even though her first fostering experience ended with adopting a puppy, Marsha knew she still had plenty of room in her home and heart to continue to foster. “Many fosters will take a break from fostering after they adopt, but not Marsha! She jumped right back in and welcomed an entire family of kittens in need (and mom, too!) into her home,” said Lanz.

Marsha, who has been fostering dogs and cats for the past few years, says animals are her passion. “I found I have plenty of room and time to help give a life a second chance,” she says.

Fostering and volunteering with PawsCo even helped Marsha make an exciting career change! “I have received so much personal fulfillment and growth from my foster and general volunteer experiences, that when I left my corporate job last winter, I decided to completely change my career path,” she says.

Marsha is now in school to receive her canine behavioral training certification and hopes her new skills will allow her to help PawsCo even further!

PawsCo is so lucky to have such a dedicated foster and volunteer, thanks Marsha!

May Volunteer of the Month: Jacque Eischens

Jacque VOM MayJacque is one of PawsCo’s awesome remote volunteers, and she helps with the important and loving task of handwriting thank-you letters.

“I love being a part of PawsCo as a long-distance volunteer,” she says. “Volunteering with PawsCo means I can help save animals’ lives despite having few free daytime hours.”

Thanks so much for helping PawsCo, Jacque!

April Volunteer of the Month: Kathryn Whartenby

KathrynPawsCo can always count on Kathryn to offer help ­– and she even does it with a smile on her face!

“She is always one of the first to raise her hand and say ‘I can do it’,” says PawsCo Events Director Jessica Missun. “Her spirit is contagious and her passion for saving animals is infectious.”

Thanks for all you do Kathryn!

April Foster of the Month: Megan Davan

MeganMegan, PawsCo’s associate transport director, is an amazing and dedicated foster that remains calm and understanding even in the most challenging situations. She is committed to getting each and every animal the help they need to be happy and healthy in their future forever home.

“We’re in awe of all she does for the animals in her care,” says PawsCo Foster Director Kate Wessels.

For Megan, fostering means falling in love with every animal. And although she eventually has to let each one go, every foster has a special place in her heart.

“I hear people say how lucky each pup was to have me, and I feel it is the other way around,” she says. “Each animal I have fostered has impacted me in a profound and amazing way.”

Some of Megan’s happiest moments are getting updates on how well her fosters are doing and seeing them again with their forever families. “Fostering is the most rewarding thing I think I have ever done,” she says.

And Megan hasn’t just made four-legged friends through PawsCo, she says being a volunteer has helped her meet life-long human friends too.  “I love working side-by-side with amazing people who share similar interests,” she says.

For Megan, being a PawsCo volunteer is a fun and fulfilling way “to impact the lives of dogs, cats and those adopting them.”

On behalf of PawsCo and all of the animals you have helped, thank you Megan for all of your hard work and commitment! We are so lucky to have you on our team.

March Volunteer of the Month: Amy Crawford

AmyCrawfordBy: Victoria Francis

A freedom ride is a life changing event in the life of a rescue animal, and Amy Crawford is always there to greet the newest PawsCo member with love and the reassuring words: “You are free, nobody will ever hurt you again, and you are going to be loved the rest of your life.” During her time as a PawsCo volunteer Amy has been part of the Transport Team helping with everything from shelter pickups to vet appointments, “Amy is such an outstanding member of the Transport Team and always willing to help an animal in need,” said Katelyn Massey, transport director.

For Amy, rescuing animals is an opportunity to fall in love, “I can’t help but fall in love with every single dog I have spent time with, even if it’s just for a few short hours,” Amy said. When she’s not loving newly rescued pups, Amy is giving love to her children—canine and human alike—at home, “I’m so grateful for my two boys who have always had a deep compassion for animals,” Amy said. “I hope that my passion to help dogs is surpassed only by my ability to help shut down puppy mills, give as many dogs as possible their freedom rides, and to help out the amazing fosters that are the true heroes along with the rest of the PawsCo staff.”

PawsCo is proud to have such amazing volunteers like Amy who are dedicated to saving lives, “[Amy] often volunteers multiple times per month—at least once per week—which makes her a truly invaluable part of the team!” said Katelyn. “We are so lucky to have a volunteer like Amy.”

March Foster of the Month: Kristen Hensel

KristenHenselBy: Victoria Francis

For PawsCo Foster of the Month, Kristen Hensel, fostering is an opportunity to give love and get love, “Dogs are the most amazing things on the planet and they so often deserve so much more than what they get from people,” Kristen said. “I am so grateful to have found PawsCo and to be a part of something wonderful and to do whatever I can to make dogs as happy as they make me.”

The PawsCo Foster Team has been blown away by Kristen’s dedication, especially when it came to ensuring the safety and comfort of her first foster dog, Pepper, a 3-year-old Border Collie Mix. “Knowing that Pepper has a happy life now is the best part of all,” Kristen said.

For many volunteers like Kristen, fostering is the perfect way to help save lives and make a difference, “I wanted to foster because even though I’m not in a position to get another dog full time right now, I can at least hopefully make a difference for dogs while we try to find them their forever homes,” Kristin said. “I wish that I could save all the dogs, but it makes me happy to know that I might even make one dog’s life happier for one day.”

February Volunteer of the Month: Donna Tunis

DonnaTunisDonna is an amazing, always helpful member of the vet team, plus she assists with TNR and is a rock-star kitty foster! This lady truly does it all, and she does it with love.

The vet team says Donna’s calm and relaxed demeanor helps intake (which can be fairly chaotic) go more smoothly. And she’ll often give fosters a loving smooch after their vaccinations – what a sweetheart!

Donna loves all animals, but she says her “heart and soul is with cats.” In less than a year, Donna has already fostered 10 kitties through PawsCo! Plus, she volunteers at a cat shelter in Lakewood and she has four cats at home, including one with special needs.

Donna knew for a long time that she wanted to work with animals, but it wasn’t until getting let go from work after an injury that she decided to go back to school for an associate degree in veterinary technology. Now as a vet tech she loves what she does and where she works!

“I am all about rescuing and helping as many animals as possible,” Donna says. “I look forward to continue helping such an awesome organization.”

February Foster of the Month: Odie Anaya

Feb16-FOM-OdieAnayaFebruary’s Foster of the Month is dedicated to PawsCo’s feline friends, fostering some of the rescue’s more challenging cat cases.

Odie Anaya started fostering cats and kittens for PawsCo in March 2015, according to Kate Wessels, PawsCo volunteer coordinator.

“We’re pretty proud to have her as a dedicated foster for some of our tougher kitty cases,” Wessels said.

Anaya is currently fostering Fetch, one of PawsCo’s long-timers. “Fetch is pretty shy and has come a long way due to Odie’s patient cuddle sessions,” Wessels said.

Calling Anaya a “go-to foster,” PawsCo TNR Director Malissa MurphSpero said that Anaya is so dedicated to felines that she has two cat tattoos. “She is a cat lady through and through,” she said.

Small package FULL of Love

By: Sarah Davis, PawsCo Adoption Team Volunteer

I was asked to share my experience as a Chihuahua owner and the phrases you see above were the first things to flow from my fingers. As an avid hiker, runner and lover of collies, if you would have asked me 9+ years ago if I would become the owner of a dog you can fit in a purse I would have laughed at you.  But alas I sit here telling the story…

cocoWhen I met my little bundle of joy she weighed a small 1.5 pounds and came wiggling up onto my lap.  I didn’t initially plan on taking home a small pooch that day but she immediately stole my heart with her big brown eyes and bat like ears.  She did a little ‘mir cat’ like stance at me to capture my attention and she never left my side.

After coming home with a dog that fit in the palm of my hand you can imagine the strife looming over me … I now had to justify this little nugget of love to everyone who was going to compare me to Paris Hilton.  So I looked at this small sweet little creature and told her we could face the world together and that we were going to break the stereotype, and we have.

Weighing in now at an overly-healthy 6 pounds for her little frame (thanks to her grand parents) this little pup has been nothing but stellar.  She’s the sweetest, most loyal, walk loving, lap-loving pup.

While people have always been skeptical of these small creatures, I knew from the start she was stellar. She will love you, stand by you, lay in your lap and accompany you virtually anywhere you want to go.  Chihuahuas can be the best furry friends as you can see from the wonderful experience of our adaptors and the ones I have had. They are some of the best life long companions one could ever ask for.  I challenge you to take another look at these sweet little creatures and understand that they could completely change your life forever!

Senior Dog, Beau, Meets His Soulmates

Beau with his treasured orange ball.

Beau with his treasured orange ball.


Despite his stunning good looks, Beau found himself alone at the age of 14. He lived in a shelter for a year before PawsCo found him. Meanwhile, my girlfriend Micaela and I had just moved to Denver. Everyone had a dog. We wanted one too. But we were waiting until we found the perfect puppy, the one we couldn’t resist. I’ll be honest: Micaela was ready, but I was hesitant to commit. We never intended on adopting a senior dog. Every now and then, Micaela would show me pictures of adorable puppies who were available, but I never took the bait. Then one fateful Sunday evening, Micaela saw Beau’s picture, and his smile, on the PawsCo website. She told me that I had to see this one–he looked special. The only “issue” was his age. Beau did look special. He looked like such a good dog. As soon as I finished reading his profile, I filled out the application to adopt him. We had to meet this guy.

So the next day, as it worked out, we went to see him at his foster mom’s. Everyone had referred to Beau as “Sweet Beau,” and after one minute with him, it was obvious why. He was also incredibly handsome with his shiny coat and that regal gray beard. We decided to go home and sleep on it. If we felt the same way tomorrow, then we were going to adopt a beautiful 81-pound, black baby boy. But we knew our hearts wouldn’t change. It had been love at first sight. His age didn’t feel like an issue at all. Whether he was going to live for another three months or thirty years, we were going to love and cherish him because he deserved the very best and we deserved an awesome dog. Before we slept on it, we went to PetSmart and bought a doggy bed, a leash and collar, and bowls for food and water.

Ready for a ride with his parents.

Ready for a ride with his parents.

Now, Beau is part of the family. Getting to know him has been one of the best experiences of my life. And we have a lot in common! Like his daddy, Beau is a simple man. He only needs a few things: food and water, exercise, plenty of love and affection, and sleep. When we got Beau, he was overweight, and he didn’t have a great amount of energy. I don’t think that year in the shelter had been the most active for him. Still, he loved going for walks–though he would be exhausted and dragging his feet half way around the block.

How times have changed. The first thing we did was put our little bear on a diet. Beau’s mama is a scientist, and one of the perks of her job at the lab is that she brings home top-quality meat. So, yeah, I cook for our pup twice a day. He eats delicious ground bison. What can you do? He is king of dogs. We also got him prescribed some medication for his joint soreness, but things really changed when we discovered his interest in exploration and his passion for the park.

Beau romps through the snow.

Beau romps through the snow.

If Micaela or I say, “Beau, you wanna…” His ears perk up. If we finish that question, “GO TO THE PARK?” Then Beau will begin to speak in tongues, a language of unadulterated excitement. He doesn’t bark or growl; the best way I can describe it is a wild hog trying to speak the Queen’s English. Beauseph (one of his full names now) and I go to the park every day. It’s part of our routine and his favorite thing to do.

He’s been to about 20 different parks. He is the unofficial mayor of City of Cuernavaca Park as it is closest to home, but Rocky Mountain Lake Park is probably his favorite. For the first few months, we would just explore (from day one, Beau never needed a leash, but I know the rules!). Occasionally, I would throw a stick or something, but he showed no interest. He preferred to wander through the long grass and meander behind me.

Until one day, at Rocky Mountain Lake Park, Beau showed incredible initiative. He was messing with something in the snow — a tennis ball! He brought it over to me and tossed it at my feet. Like a moron (who talks to his dog), I asked him, “You like to play fetch?” Oh, yes. And soccer. What a discovery. Months later now, we play every day. But Beau can be picky. He is a little mature for most other toys, but he loves tennis balls. For a while, he preferred orange tennis balls, but now he’s good with whatever. There are maybe five tennis balls in my car, two lying around in the apartment and two reserves in his secret cabinet.

Beau also loves to swim! At Chatfield State Park I discovered I could lure him in with orange tennis balls. But recently, walking around Berkeley Lake, he decided to show off for Micaela. He just jumped in the water and did a couple little laps. I was so proud. This little blog would turn into an epic poem or worse if I decided to elaborate on all the things that Beau does that make me proud, so I’ll just list a few things about him that we love:

When we got him, he knew how to sit, sort of. Now, he sits, shakes hands with the left and right, does the dancing bear where he gives both paws, lies down, and more to come!

Beau and his girlfriend.

Beau and his girlfriend.

Beau has a girlfriend. A younger woman. An athletic type. My aunt’s golden/lab mix, Emma. When Beau goes over there, Emma goes absolutely nuts. She brings him her bones and drops them at his feet. That’s my guy. What a stud.

Beau likes to put his paw on Micaela’s or my leg or shoulder when we hang out. I think it’s his way of making sure we don’t leave. It’s just so loving.

Beau often gets “awwwws” and “he’s so cutes” from strangers, remarks often reserved for little puppies. The kind look in his eye, his big bear head and his barrel-chested body are a deadly combination.

Beau is very good with little puppies. There are many puppies at our apartment complex and when they see him they all do the same thing. They attack him and go after the extra skin he has around his neck. He just looks up at me and almost rolls his eyes. He is a gentle beast.

And about that extra skin. Big Beau has lost 14 pounds since we got him! He’s almost as fast as I am now. He used to labor to get in my Jeep, but now he jumps in and out with ease. He’s so fit!

Oh, and one little thing about adopting an older dog. Beau has never once had an “accident” inside.

I’d like to think that Beau is the happiest dog in Denver. I know we spoil him–he has some Paul Mitchell fur products, he gets a monthly Barkbox (it was unfair, he always thought Micaela’s Birchbox had something in it for him), he gets plenty of pig ears — but so what? These are his golden years. And he is perfect. Beau appreciates the life he has now. I know by the way he constantly wags his tail and how he looks up at me before his morning walk. I know he knows he was rescued. And he’s so grateful. He’s got a second lease on life, and every day I have with him, he reminds me how lucky I am that my girlfriend convinced me to adopt a dog.

To find your soulmate take a look at our adoptable pets.

Spay and Neuter Clinic Inspires Shock and Hope

Spay and neuter clinic in Colorado











My name is Geralyn Hansen, and even though I live in Illinois, I enjoy volunteering for PawsCo Spay and Neuter clinic in Antonito, Colorado. I was asked by my stepdaughter, Kristin Des Marais, PawsCo’s CEO, to help out. Of course, she didn’t have to ask twice.

I travel to Colorado quite a bit so this opportunity was great for me. I had never been to Antonito, only warned that this was an area where a clinic was desperately needed. A team of volunteers and veterinarians worked closely together to make this possible. The area outside the clinic was overwhelming.

I volunteered to ride along for a day and see for myself the devastation of animals simply running freely, and the way of life for the people of Antonito. I grew up in suburbia–a close-knit community where your neighbors walk their dogs, take them for a swim at the park, or dress them in their favorite costume for the July 4th parade.

A dog chained up in Antonito.

A dog chained up in Antonito.

But what I saw was a lack of care and concern for the animals. Several dogs chained up, dogs dodging traffic, colonies of cats living under abandoned vehicles. We came across an abandoned home that was destroyed by a fire. Two dogs and a cat were taking shelter there. One in particular was a black lab we eventually named “Smokey.” He wondered over to me with a severe limp in his front leg. I immediately gave him food and water. His big brown eyes were still filled with love in spite of his condition and hunger.

We placed him in a crate and brought him back to the clinic where he received care. We traveled back to Denver with him and placed him in foster care where he still remains.  It was hard not to judge when you see first-hand how these people and animals live. I am hoping they can someday understand that we are there to help, and shed some light on a chronic problem that is so devastating.

This was a life changing and unforgettable experience for me.

One-of-a-kind Hound Seeks a Forever Home

A brown and white hound lies on her foster parent.

Cheyenne, an expert cuddler.

















By Kyle Smith

This loveable girl is what they call a Treeing Walker Coonhound, but we just call her sweetness. Miss Cheyenne is a beautiful, 4-year-old, 65 pound ball of fun. She is a tall statuesque looking lady, with a long snout and gigantic ears–all tools that help her discover the world. Cheyenne came to us after her family in rural Wyoming could no longer care for her. After what must have been a frightening and confusing few months in the shelter, she has finally settled into her foster home with us, Kyle and Kyle Smith (yep, you read that right).

A white and brown hound lies on the couch.Kyle and I have been fostering for several years and have had many dogs come through our home. Each and every dog leaves a lasting impression on us and Cheyenne is no different. Her sweet, loveable, and goofy personality has made us fall in love with her. Her long legs and huge ears lend themselves to some pretty goofy looking runs and play sessions in the yard, yet she manages to tuck those legs in so tight when she wants to curl up in a ball and take a nap.

Generally, Cheyenne is a quiet girl, but like all hounds, she has a beautiful voice and will let you know when she wants something. When it’s time for breakfast/dinner, she can hardly control her excitement and will let out a couple of howls as to say, “Let’s eat!” (It’s really quite funny). But she is also very smart and knows that when foster mom says it’s time to be quiet, we sit and wait patiently for our food. Speaking of smart, Cheyenne knows how to sit, lie down, rollover and stay. She loves her food and is always eager to please, which makes her super easy to train.

Cheyenne is also a curious gal; she loves to use her nose to sniff things out in the yard and loves to explore and smell the world around her when we go for walks. If you know anything about hound dogs, you know they use their noses to help them discover the world and their noses are super strong. That being said, she probably wouldn’t be the best off-leash dog because once she got the scent of something good, it’d be hard to reel her in. ☺

While Miss Cheyenne doesn’t have any aggression towards other dogs, she’s still learning how to play. Coming from a rural area in Wyoming, her exposure to other dogs was minimal so when she sees those of her kind out and about, she can hardly stand it. She just gets so excited and some dogs might not like her because she overwhelms them. She may not immediately be a good fit with a doggie roommate, but with time she will learn that there are many dogs in the world for her to meet and play with.

A hound stares into the camera.You may have read about her allergies, but don’t let that intimidate you. Cheyenne, like many dogs (including our own), has allergies. Poor girl came to us very uncomfortable and sad because she was so itchy and swollen all the time. But, with a few basic meds and a particular kind of food, she is feeling SO much better and now all she has to worry about is being a dog.

Our hope for Cheyenne is that she will find a home that understands her breed, and won’t be mad at her for letting out a howl or two because that’s just her way of saying hello. We hope a family will give her the love she deserves, let her cuddle close and love her for her goofiness because all she really wants is to be part of your pack!

If you are looking for a pal who will love you unconditionally and bring a smile to your face every day, Cheyenne is for you. Her bond with whoever gives this girl her forever home will be everlasting.

Learn more about Cheyenne in her own words.

PawsCo feral cat efforts help reduce overpopulation

By Alysse Forde, PawsCo Cat Team

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Armed with flashlights, tuna fish, traps, and a whole lot of passion, PawsCo volunteers set out to make a change in the feral cat population. Over a three-day effort in March, PawsCo trapped and neutered a total of thirteen cats in a Denver neighborhood riddled with feral cats. According to mathematicians, one cat and their offspring could produce between 100-400 cats by the end of seven years, meaning we prevented between 1,300 and 5,200 additional stray cats!

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs have become the number one most humane and effective population control effort. TNR works by trapping feral cats within a community, neutering them, and then releasing them back into the community. On Friday, March 20 I was fortunate enough to channel my (often embarrassing) love for cats by participating in PawsCo’s largest TNR project to date.

The night started with preparation at a PawsCo volunteer’s garage. We prepared tiny cups of bait (tuna fish), lined the traps with newspapers, and prepared the garage for their keeping. Filled with excitement, we set out to the pre-scouted neighborhood and began our project. We started by setting up the traps in feline high-traffic areas with tuna fish as bait. Our locations involved alleyways, back porches, backyards, and near by parked cars (full disclosure: we had already discussed the project with neighbors earlier in the week so we were not assumed to be trespassers). After all the traps were set, we waited as the sun set and as the cats’ hunger lured them into the traps. While waiting, many laughs were shared among volunteers as hilarious conversations that only die-hard cat lovers can understand occurred. Not to embarrass ourselves further, but the quality of cat litter was discussed for at least five minutes. Once all our major cat stories were shared, we finally returned to the traps once again to find seven cats trapped! We left the remaining traps out overnight at a trusted neighbor’s backyard and returned the currently trapped cats to their home for the night, the garage.

The next morning, the total trapped cats tally rose to a total of 13. These cats were then transported to the Meow Mobile, a mobile neutering service offered by the Denver Dumb Friends League. There, they were spayed or neutered and had their ears clipped. Clipped ears is a universal sign that a cat is spayed or neutered and does not need to be trapped again. Afterwards, the cats were returned to the garage to heal and rest. The next day, the cats were released back at the location they were trapped. It is important to release a cat in the same area they were trapped, as cats are very territorial and will attempt to go back to their original home. If they are misplaced, they can be injured or die in their attempt to return.

The March TNR project is just the start of PawsCo’s mission to help Denver feral cat communities. These efforts, once multiplied, can truly make an impact in our neighborhoods. While PawsCo is well known for its goal-breaking adoption rate (750+ animals in the past 21 months!), TNR projects can prevent the necessity of these adoptions in the first place by reducing the stray and feral population. And isn’t that the dream?

For more information on the PawsCo cat team, or to inquire about TNR projects please contact

Puppy Training: The Real Experience

A brown and white puppy sitting on a deck

McLean, a bundle of cute puppy evil

By Katie Meyer

One month ago, I adopted an eight week old puppy who I named McLean after my hometown in Virginia (No, every dude we run into, not after the Die Hard character). I will never forget the day I drove up into the mountains to meet the litter and pick out my new best friend.

I am absolutely terrified of driving in the mountains, so after swerving for 12 miles on switch-backing dirt roads, I arrived white-knuckled and winded, but elated, at the puppies’ foster home. When I walked in and saw mama and her eight puppies I cried.

I literally had never been so excited. But how was I to choose? I wanted them all! McLean was the first puppy to come up to me and was also the first to pass out after horsing around for the hour and a half I spent with the litter. Go big and then take a nap? That’s my guy!

A brown and white puppy kisses his owner.

McLean kisses his mom.

I brought McLean home and immediately Skyped my family back in Virginia so they could meet my handsome new fella. He was so very calm and sweet, giving me kisses and snuggling up in my lap to sleep. That first day was bliss.

And then we went to bed.

At eight weeks old, McLean was obviously not house-trained. After doing a lot of research, I decided that crate-training was the way to go. Everything that I read indicated that it is an effective tool in house-training that also provides a safe, den-like space that dogs enjoy and are drawn to. That whole first day, we worked on making the crate a positive thing. Every time he approached it, went inside it, looked at it…he got a treat. Best thing ever! Until I closed the crate door and turned the lights off. McLean did not see it as a den…to him, the crate was more like hell.

My sweet little eight-week old puppy began to produce blood-curdling noises, the likes of which I have never heard. He WAILED for six hours that night. Not just tears…he literally was flailing himself about, barking and howling, and punching the air. I knew from my research on puppy training that I was to ignore said behavior so that he would learn that blood-curdling noises would not get me to open the door. It has been exactly one month since I’ve had more than four hours of consecutive sleep.

The wailing stopped after three nights, but that doesn’t mean he sleeps the 8 hours that my body desires. For however many months the puppy is in age…that’s how long he can “hold it.” So, at two months, my buddy could go a solid two hours before needing to eliminate again. At 12 weeks old now McLean lets me know, every morning between 3:00 a.m. and 4:30 a.m., that it’s high time to go outside. Leash that cutie up…it’s time to go out into the dark!

A reflection of a brown and white puppy hanging out the car window.The good news is the crate absolutely works as a house-training tool. McLean has not once had an accident while inside the crate. But step outside the crate and all bets are off. If he’s not in the crate, my eyes have to be on him at all times or he will pee and poop in my apartment. And yes, he will eat said poop if I’m not quick enough. It’s nice that he wants to clean up after himself, but his help is unnecessary.

The best way to keep control of the situation, I have found, is with baby gates. My apartment looks a bit like a nursery–covered in stuffed animals, squeaky toys, and baby gates, but these things are necessary. When he is not in the crate, it is PLAY TIME ALL THE TIME, MOM.

He is only 3 months old, so play time isn’t always the most fun time for me. He’s incredibly mouthy and loves to chew anything and everything that he can get his mouth around–humans included. Distraction is key, which is why I started working on some basic commands in the home. While he struggles in making great decisions on his own, he is very smart and eager to please. He has mastered “sit”, “down”, “come”, “watch me”, “touch”, and “crate” in a few short weeks. Whenever he gets worked up or mouthy during play time or is doing anything that is undesirable, I simply ask for a behavior and redirect his thought process. Good boy!

No way did I learn how to obtain those behaviors on my own. We are enrolled in puppy obedience classes and he just finished his second class this week! Not only have the classes taught me how to handle my own puppy, but McLean has also been given a safe place to learn how to socialize. The trainer we’re working with (Noble Beast Dog Training) offers free puppy socialization to any pup up to five months. While I have been trying to expose McLean to as many new people and situations as possible, the puppy parties give him a chance to learn how to properly play with other canines. He is on his way to becoming an awesome dog.

A brown and white puppy with his head in the dishwasher.

About to get in trouble.

It takes a lot of time and patience to be McLean’s mom. He bites me, scratches me, eats my shoes, poops in my kitchen, keeps the hours of a nocturnal, and has no qualms about spending all my money on puppy training, vet visits, toys, food, leashes, harnesses, and yes, four baby gates.

He has also completely stolen my heart. I love introducing him to everyone we come in contact with. With his dashing good looks, we rarely walk a half a block without someone stopping to say hello to him. He’s so very friendly and sweet and I am so very proud to introduce him and show off his mad skills. Sit. Treat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

I’m exhausted, but I’ve never been happier.

Take a look at our adoptable pets to find your new friend.

Overcoming the Fostering Fears

A tan dog sitting on a rug.

Wade, the first foster.













By Amy Sell

Almost two years ago my life changed.  It all started in May, 2013. I started receiving emails from an old high school friend about dogs in need. Their situations seemed urgent and sometimes sad. It intrigued me. I thought about fostering, but also wondered how I could give up a dog or not get attached. I thought I would cry while adopting them out. But still, I wondered if I didn’t help these dogs, who would? At the time I was in a relationship and asked my boyfriend what he thought about fostering—he was against it, stating that it seemed like a “selfish” thing to do and that I probably wouldn’t be able to let the dog go when adopted. I was stunned, but didn’t want to argue about it.

Fast forward two months…my boyfriend and I broke up and after receiving emails on a weekly basis about dogs in need, I felt I couldn’t stand by much longer and wonder. I had to know. I had to know if I could love a dog enough to let him or her go when I knew the time was right—to save a life and see what fostering was like. So with much trepidation, I sent Tiana an email asking to foster Wade, a 2-year-old tan lab mix. Instantaneously I felt relief—like I was doing the right thing, but I was still nervous about what I was getting myself into.

Two days later Wade was scheduled to arrive at my apartment. Man was I nervous! I was shaking like rattle snake’s tail! My soul mate dog, Peyton, could tell, but I knew he would love the company. He’s such an outgoing, nurturing, and playful guy!

A woman named Kristin arrived with Wade and two other dogs. She was so friendly and very excited, but she could tell I was nervous. A few minutes later Tiana showed up to take one of the other dogs as her foster. Peyton met Wade and instantly accepted and loved him; I brought him into my home.

As days passed I noticed two things—Wade was a big sweetie and that caring for an extra dog is not a whole lot more work than caring for one. Wade kept Peyton active and they would chase and wrestle around the house. It was sweet harmony.  Even years later, I can spot that bond of the perfect pack.

I had Wade as a foster for about a month and a half. I’ve never admitted it, but there were times I forgot he was a foster; however, it always came back to mind that I can’t get attached. When Tiana contacted me because someone wanted to adopt him I knew I had to see it through and experience what it would be like to give up someone I cared so much for.

Tiana and I both went to Georgetown to meet a couple who owned a mountain home—a perfect place for a sweet dog like Wade to run and play. I had knots in my stomach the whole way wondering if I could go through with the adoption. The minute I met the couple the questions changed. It wasn’t, “Can I go through with this?” or “What will it be like to give up a dog?” Instead, the question was, “How can I not let Wade go on and have the best life and family?” To let go is sometimes a tough decision, but reaps the most beautiful reward.

It has been a crazy two years, but I wouldn’t change a minute of it! I have learned so much about rescuing, animals, and relationships. Fostering and working with PawsCo has become so much of who I am and something I feel so passionate about. Recently I told Tiana that she and Kristin have changed my life and made it so much more beautiful and complete. I didn’t realize early on the profound effect that Tiana and Kristin would have on my life. I am so blessed by the gifts of PawsCo, fostering, and volunteering with amazing people; each has had a beautiful impact on my life and the way I see the world.

Visit our foster page to become part of this amazing experience.

Adoptable Dog’s Wish List

A white bull terrier with a green bandanna around his neck

Hamilton at the Broken Shovels farm

By Katelyn Massey

My name is Katelyn and my boyfriend and I have been fostering Hamilton for the past three months. It’s been quite an adventure with this special boy. Based on our time together, we’ve come up with three specific wishes for this adoptable dog. If Hamilton had his own “genie in a bottle,” this is what we would request.

I wish everyone could see how amazing he is.

Yes, he is unique-looking. Yes, he is a sweetheart. But he is so much more than that. Hamilton is truly a special soul and whoever adopts him is signing up for a lifetime of cuddles and smiles. He is pretty easy to please – he just needs a soft bed, a yummy bone, some ear scratches, and lots of snuggle time!

Hamilton is a low-energy dog who enjoys a walk every now and then and would prefer a laid-back mom or dad to hang out with and love. He doesn’t have much interest in other pups and would be just fine as an only pet (though he gets along with his foster sister very well!). When you look into Hammie’s eyes, you just see such appreciation – for being rescued, for having humans who care about him, for a warm bed, and full tummy. Hammie appreciates life.

Two terrier dogs snuggle face-to-face

Hamilton snuggles with Loka, his foster sister.

I wish that I could erase his past.

It’s evident that Hammie didn’t live the best life before PawsCo. He came to us very overweight, with skin issues, loss of hair on his elbows/knees, and nails curling under his paws. His fur was a brownish-yellow color. It was clear that he had been neglected, and probably for a long while. I don’t think he had ever lived in a house before.

The physical scars from Hamilton’s past will fade over time, but the emotional and psychological scars will linger for a while. Now that he has people paying attention to him and showing him kindness, he craves it. He is already very attached to us as foster parents.

He lacks confidence, which is apparent when he meets new people or dogs. He is unsure of himself because he likely hasn’t had a lot of great experiences with other humans or canines in his past life. He looks to us for direction and that is when I can tell what an amazing dog he really is–and what great potential he has for his future. We’ve been going to training to work on his confidence, but it will take time for him to live up to his true potential.

I wish he could find the best forever home.

While we absolutely love Hamilton, it’s not the right time for us to commit to a second dog. We have more fostering to do, and adopting another dog wouldn’t allow us to help other animals in need. Hammie is a special boy and he needs a “forever” commitment. But if you’re willing to commit to him, you’re going to be greatly rewarded with tons of love, unwavering devotion, and many laughs along the way.

I know that a “perfect” home doesn’t exist, but we plan on finding one that’s pretty darn close. Unfortunately, the longer this takes, the more attached he becomes to us. Though we love him, we want him to find his forever home so he can have an easier transition and can start developing a relationship with his new mom or dad. In the mean time, we’ll appreciate the time we get to spend with him because he truly is a great companion.

Can you make our wishes come true? Check out Hamilton’s bio to learn more about this adoptable dog.

Adoptable dog looks at the camera with flowers in the background.

Hamilton poses for the camera.

On The Way Home: A Transport Volunteer’s Story

A woman touches a dog in a kennel inside a van

PawsCo transport volunteer, Nelle, welcomes pups to their new life with PawsCo

By Judy Craddock, PawsCo transport volunteer

At least 10 others waited on the expanse of asphalt in the early autumn sun when I pulled my car into a parking spot and lifted the hatch. Two metal crates were wedged into my cargo area like puzzle pieces, waiting for the special delivery on its way from a rural animal shelter. When I volunteered to transport foster pets for PawsCo last weekend, I envisioned a short trip with a dog happily riding in the back seat, head out the window with that “freedom” smile on, ears flapping in the wind, eyes filled with anticipation of better days ahead.

However, several steps come before that dream can be realized.

Those of us who came to take these dogs to their foster homes waited patiently on the van. We chatted and paced in the parking lot until we saw the “Critter Cruiser” turn in. We gathered at the back of the vehicle as a gracious volunteer driver handed out the paperwork for each pet. He traveled hours with about a dozen dogs, and was as calm and engaging as someone who had driven without the canine symphony behind him. When the doors finally swung open, the greeting party began.

A small crowd gathers near a van used for transporting animals

Rescue representatives await opening the transport vehicle.

The ooohs and aaaahs...

The oh-my-goshes and the guessing of breed mixes…

The laughing at the given names, and whether or not they actually fit…

The melting of hearts over a crate of puppies…

The first real leash walk for many, stepping gingerly across warm pavement on the way to soft grass…


Four dogs sit in crates in the back of a van.

Rescued dogs await their next step

My co-volunteer Nelle took three of the dogs in her car, and I loaded a sweet Basset-mix and a terrier who looked a little shaken from the move. When the dogs exited the van, one-by-one, they were a little stiff from the ride, thirsty, excited, scared, and curious. As we departed, I noticed that some of the dogs seemed to say farewell to their road buddies, wishing each other good luck on the way to forever homes.

We arrived with the dogs at PawsCo headquarters–a warehouse space with bags of donated food, toys, and crates. A vet team member performed a quick medical check of each animal and a photographer captured each pet’s best side. Dogs got new collars, food and water, and some much needed wiggle room in the safety of the office. As each dog’s foster mom or dad arrived, there was another round of that same chorus.

Ooohs and aaaaahs.


Melting hearts.

Woman wearing a purple shirt holds a black and brown dog.

Amy, a PawsCo Volunteer, Holds Bingo.

It’s impossible not to fall in love with each of these animals as they make their way toward forever homes. From being released from overcrowded shelter life, to the long car ride, to those double doors swinging open and the first steps out into the welcome party, each pet has a look of hope in its eyes. The best response we can give is to answer that with the promise of a safe and loving foster home on the way to that ride with ears flapping and the knowing smile of better days ahead.

If you are interested in becoming a transport volunteer with PawsCo, you can start by filling out a Volunteer Application.


A Foster Turned Adopter

A white and tan foster dog sitting on top of a couch.

Jozee, the dog who found a forever home with Stephanie.

By Stephanie Svoboda

I first found out about PawsCo through a co-worker. I really felt that this was something I wanted to pursue, so I signed up to volunteer and foster. I had no idea at the time that I was about to get involved in an organization that was passionate about its mission, passionate about its animals, and passionate about its people. You see, I had just moved to Denver from Minneapolis, so I did not know a lot of people and this was a true blessing for me. PawsCo immediately made me feel like I had an endless supply of friends—furry and otherwise.

I became a part of the communications team to help with graphic design, creating stickers, postcards and a trade show banner for events. While working on these materials, I was instantly falling in love with every photo of every dog and cat. I decided to look into fostering. Having two kitties of my own (Murphy, the big orange one in the picture below, and Sydney), I was concerned about the dogs I would be bringing into my home, and what my little loves would think of it all.

Small, black foster dog on a table


After meeting my first foster, Raisin (Now Finnegan), I knew this was for me. I saw my fosters transform from scared and shy to excited, happy, and loved. Nothing can explain how good it feels to be a part of that transformation. It is true joy! Finnegan was such a fun and perfect first foster. One of the true blessings in fostering is getting to meet the families who adopt the animals we care for. I met the most amazing couple who Finn went home with. Being a part of the meet-and-greet makes handing over the foster I loved so dearly much easier.

My second Foster was Pippy, and she was a whole other experience. I fell in love with her. She was sweet, loving, loyal and just an all-around awesome pup. When I first picked her up she was shaking like I’ve never seen. She was scared, and had no idea what an amazing life she was about to live. I had to let her warm up to me, but as soon as she trusted me our bond started. I had Pippy for almost four weeks before her perfect family came to swoop her away. After a brief meeting at an adoption event this awesome family saw the potential. They were patient with her and gave her so much love. Another perfect fit. I saw it right before my eyes.

Small, tan and white foster dog lies in a dog bed.


Not only was I learning about different breeds, what dogs need, and training methods, but I was learning that every pup has so much potential and there really is a perfect home out there for them.

Next came Harvey. I had Harvey the longest… and he was the most challenging. But he was also the biggest transformation. The day I got Harvey he destroyed my bathroom. I won’t go into details here, but after being spoiled with such perfect little pups I forgot the reality of having a 40-pound dog take over your apartment. Just 6 months old, Harvey required the most training and attention. I first saw this as a pain, but then I realized that this was a learning experience for both of us.

Considering where he came from and what his life had been like up to that point, in reality he was doing great. I sought out training info from the adoption team and it provided me with so many helpful tips and tricks for potty training, chewing, crate training, barking, leash/walks, and socializing. After a few unsuccessful meet-and-greets I was sure I would be raising this dog for the rest of his life (I can be a little dramatic). Then, it happened. Along came Harvey’s perfect family. He truly could have the space, attention, and pup siblings he had always dreamed of. I am so happy for him.

A black and white foster dog with short legs waits by a gate


He left me a bit exhausted in the dog department and I decided to take a little break (for a week) from fostering. I decided to see what would happen if I brought a little kitten into the mix. It was a match made in heaven. I brought 10-week-old Theo (now Howard) home, and he instantly became best buds with Murphy (my cat). Of course, being an adorable baby kitten he was instantly adopted by his perfect forever home.

Tuesday has become my favorite day because it is the day I get to see the “Animals In Need List.” I would scroll through the short bios before seeing all the cute pictures. On one of those Tuesday’s I found the most adorable picture I had ever seen and I had to foster. Although I was on a foster break because I was going on vacation in just two short weeks, I decide to see if Kiera (now Jozee) was still available. She was and she would be coming to me that weekend. From the moment I met the little jumper, I knew we had a special connection. I knew she would be a hard one to give up. After hanging out with her for the day and cuddling up with her all night, I knew I just couldn’t imagine not having her. I put an application in for adoption.

Large orange cat cuddling with a small, striped foster cat.

Murphy embraces Howard, Stephanie’s foster cat.

After a lot of thinking, and the experiences I had with my other fosters, I knew this one was different. I loved all of my fosters, but Jozee was mine. She was mine from the moment I met her. I knew exactly how much work a 6-month-old pup would be, and I couldn’t imagine not helping her become the perfect pup in my life. Fostering helped me put things in perspective. It reminded me that a cute puppy face is so much more than just a cute puppy face. Every animal needs so much attention, love, training, and socializing. I couldn’t be happier to have Jozee join my family. She is the perfect pup and I love her dearly. Thanks, PawsCo for this unexpected, yet extraordinary gift.

Read another inspiring PawsCo foster story.