Idaho Humane Society: Making a Difference 4

Helping Animals Live Healthy, Happy Lives


As the Treasure Valley hums through summer enjoying all the incredible events and limitless outdoor activities the area has to offer, the Idaho Humane Society is also running on all engines with the influx of homeless pets that summer brings to the shelter.

From a tiny orange kitten found abandoned and alone, to a large, goofy Labrador mix found as a stray with a broken leg, dozens of animals stream through the shelter’s doors each day. Many of these pets have special needs that require extra attention and time to prepare them for a life in a new home.

The tiny kitten will be whisked off to a home of an exceptional type of volunteer, a pet foster parent. Idaho Humane Society foster homes save the lives of animals by expanding the walls of the shelter. For kittens, the extra bit of care needed is mostly time, raising them to eight weeks of age when they’re old enough to go to a new home of their own.

Ill and injured pets that enter animal shelters across the country often have journeys that are perilous with sad outcomes. Luckily, at the Idaho Humane Society the shelter has a full-service veterinary medical center that works tirelessly to provide lifesaving medical care to homeless pets that must have their wounds treated, broken bones repaired or illnesses fought before seeking new homes.

Sometimes dogs arrive at the shelter with behavior challenges. For the last decade, the Idaho Humane Society’s Inmate Dog Alliance Project of Idaho (IDAPI) program has taken these deserving dogs with special behavioral needs and paired them with inmate trainers for two months of intensive training and socialization. The transformation seen in these once thrown-away dogs is incredible. Adopters give rave reviews of their IDAPI trained dogs and the participating prisons report their own incredible  transformation in inmates that learn lifelong lessons about compassion from their canine charges.

The Idaho Humane Society also has safety net programs to provide assistance to struggling families with pets to help keep those pets where they belong, with their loving owners. When the economy took a downturn in 2008, the Idaho Humane Society experienced a huge influx of pets surrendered by distraught owners due to economic hardship. Pets were surrendered because of their owners’ inability to feed or provide basic care.

The Pet Food Pantry was established to provide pet food for animals of struggling families to keep them in their original homes and out of the shelter. In addition to providing pet food distribution to these families, the Pantry also makes monthly deliveries to hundreds of pets belonging to homebound senior citizens across Ada County that are part of the Meals on Wheels program. Many of these pets are their seniors’ only companionship and monthly deliveries of pet food make pet ownership possible.

As summer slips into fall, the Idaho Humane Society prepares for one of the most beloved events for pet lovers in Idaho, See Spot Walk. See Spot Walk is the largest dog walk and festival in Idaho and also the biggest community fundraiser for the shelter each year. This fundraiser brings over 3,000 dogs and their people to Julia Davis Park on the first Saturday each October, (this year on October 3rd), for a 1-mile walk, games, contests, vendor booths, food and lots of fun. All funds raised directly benefit homeless animals the Idaho Humane Society cares for all year round.

“When I come home and I am greeted by my dog there is this overwhelming happiness that comes over both of us,” says Lisa Jarussi-Smith, programs coordinator at the Idaho Humane Society. “Our eyes meet, the tail wags, there is licking, barking and jumping. Her enthusiasm to see me is irrepressible and I am equally happy to see her knowing that we share unconditional love for each other. This is the special connection, the loving relationship between people and their canine pets, that is celebrated at See Spot Walk. Where people and their furry dog friends can share their bond together with the community.”

The Idaho Humane Society staff and volunteers hope you’ll sign-up to walk in See Spot Walk this year with your favorite canine companion. Even if you don’t own a dog or don’t have one able to join you for the event, this fun, canine-centric event is a must-not-miss day. This year you can help even more by asking friends and family to join you in your commitment to helping homeless pets by asking them to sponsor your walk with a donation. See you on October 3rd!