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HSSA Adoptable Pets of the Week

Meet Bugsy, Jersey and Petunia

Monday, September 21st, 2020

This week we would love for you to meet three pets that are currently in our shelter and waiting for their new, forever families!

Bugsy is a very special dog who came to HSSA with a severe skin infection - he needed the immediate help of HSSA's Second Chance Medical Fund. He is also one of our stars of our upcoming Tail-a-thon hour long program which will raise money for Bugsy and his friends. Learn how to tune in HERE.

Jersey is a playful 7 year old cat who is looking for a forever family! She is very fun and has gorgeous green eyes. Click the photo above to see her in action!

And we have one year old Petunia! Did you know that rabbits can be litter box trained just like cats and have a lifespan comparable to dogs? To learn more about these sweet pets watch the video above and call an adoption counselor at 520-327-6088, ext. 173.

HSSA Adoptable Pets of the Week

Ravioli, Celine and Daisy

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

This week we would love for you to meet three pets that are currently in our shelter and waiting for their new, forever families!

Ravioli is a one year old boy who is eager to learn. He knows how to sit and loves treats. He has done well with dogs in the past and would love to meet you and your dog pack!

Celine is a four year old girl who is calm and loving. She would love to join a predictable and supportive home that will give her lots of snuggle time.

And lastly but certainly not the least is a fun little rabbit named Daisy! Daisy is a one year old velvety soft rabbit who is very social and would love to go to a home with other rabbits!

To learn more about these sweet pets watch the video below and call an adoption counselor at 520-327-6088, ext. 173. To see all HSSA adoptable pets please click here. 

Meet Bo:

The Handsome Lad selected for the cover of The Tucson Dog Magazine.

We are pleased to announce a special event on Sunday, September 13 from noon to 3pm at La Encantada (Tucson Rescue Now) showcasing our friend, Bo, who was selected to be the 'Cover Dog' in this month's edition of The Tucson Dog magazine.

Bo is a 6 year-old American Staffordshire Terrier/Boston Terrier mix who has endured substantial abuse in the past.  He's  special to us because, despite this history, Bo is nothing but sweet affection toward people and is especially fond of children.  This can be seen in the video linked below.  However, due to the abuse involving another dog, making Bo uneasy with other dogs, he needs to be an only pet.  This short video shows the many delightful sides to BO:


Day old rabbits at HSSA

Every summer the Humane Society of Southern Arizona is inundated with newborn puppies, kitties and even rabbits!

These sweet rabbits came to HSSA from a hoarding situation. HSSA offered to help a neighboring shelter handle the 40 plus baby rabbits that were found at the residence. We knew that would wonderful foster volunteers would be up to the task of helping these little fighters survive and thrive.

See the video below of these baby rabbits snuggling up together! They feel safe when they are warm and close together.


Remember HSSA is a safe place for pets in need! These cuties have some growing up to do and won't be made available for adoption quite yet but see all HSSA adoptable pets here or check out a video featuring our longest resident dog and cat below!

HSSA Thrift Store Donations

Your unwanted items can help save lives.

Thrifting in itself is a noble thing to do for the environment — not to mention easy on your wallet! And when you thrift at The Humane Society of Southern Arizona Thrift Store you’re going the extra mile by supporting a nonprofit that’s been helping pets and the people who love them for over 76 years.

This unusual year has had many people spending more time at home than anticipated. Decluttering, deep cleaning, tidying up and rearranging furniture have become efficient ways to pass the time. You can make a difference by donating unwanted items to our thrift store. We always accept high-quality donations to sell in-store and every dollar raised goes to homeless pets in need.

Donations are accepted during regular business hours. To make a donation, follow the signs to the designated donation area where an attendant will be happy to help. HSSA Thrift Store is not able to accept donations that are left outside overnight. For questions regarding donations call 520-327-0010.

HSSA Thrift Store accepts the following items:

  • Furniture
  • Household items
  • Electronics
  • Toys
  • Collectibles
  • Art
  • Jewelry
  • Books
  • Pet items
  • Designer clothes
  • Antiques
  • Sports items
Thrift Shoppers

To maximize your contribution we respectfully ask that all items donated are in good, functional condition. HSSA Thrift Store reserves the right to refuse items that are deemed inappropriate for resale or included on our list of unacceptable items (see below).

  • Non-working appliances
  • Console televisions and stereo cabinets
  • Giant/large television
  • Kitchen/bathroom cabinets
  • Toilets, sinks, vanities
  • Construction materials (lumber, sheet rock, cement, insulation)
  • Outdated computers, dot matrix printers (older than 5 years)
  • Outdated electronics
  • Large microwaves (small and under the counter only)
  • Empty food jars
  • Car seats
  • Flammable items
  • Medical supplies
  • Furniture in need of repair
  • Waterbeds
  • Swing sets
  • Hazardous waste such as paint and varnish
  • Used bed pillows
  • Household cleaners (unless never opened)
  • Household trash and garbage
  • Copy machines
  • Carpeting and padding
  • Opened cosmetics (excluding perfumes)
  • Pianos/organs/spas (unless transported to site)
  • Encyclopedias
  • Scrap iron
  • Tires and tire rims
  • Wall heaters
  • Water heaters
  • Wet or soiled clothing
  • Blinds
  • Recalled items
Thrift 2

Visit HSSA Thrift Store at 5311 E. Speedway Blvd. Monday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm. To see the newest items and current sales, follow HSSA Thrift Store on Instagram at @humanesocietysoazthrift and Facebook at

Meet Darling

You won’t believe her story of healing.

On a hot day in May, the Humane Society of Southern Arizona was called in to assist with a hoarding situation. Forty terriers were found in various states of malnourishment, with matted hair and rotting teeth. Fifteen of the dogs were immediately transferred to HSSA, including the very sweet and docile Darling. Although she appeared to be in the worst shape, Darling was the only one that did not seem completely fearful of people.

At the beginning Darling was very lethargic and spent a lot of time sleeping. Regardless of what she had gone through, all she wanted was a comfy lap to sit in and snuggle.

Most visibly, Darling was suffering from hair loss and her skin had begun to form crusty scabs. Underneath her damaged skin, Darling was suffering from anemia of chronic disease. This occurs when the body has been forced to use excess red blood cells for so long that the bone marrow cannot replace them fast enough. Anemia of chronic disease is typically caused due to malnutrition because of an iron deficiency.

Darling was starving to death.

Darling Before
Darling Before 3

Darling’s eyes were also damaged. One eye had lost all vision and the other was severely compromised allowing limited vision. HSSA’s Shelter Veterinarian, Dr. Overton, elected not to remove the eye without vision because it had already undergone pthisis bulbi. This process causes the eye to shrivel and become a ball of scar tissue preventing Darling from enduring any pain. Darling may have limited vision but she hears really well. When people are close by, Darling’s ears perk up and her tail wags.

Darling was put on a regimen of antibiotics and a healthy diet. Over a two-month period, anemia of chronic disease resolved, her skin cleared and her hair grew back. The transformation was truly amazing to witness.

It is hard to tell if Darling’s condition was caused by neglect or lack of veterinary care. What we do know is that it was an honor to help her. HSSA’s shelter medical staff did a miraculous job transforming Darling and giving her a second chance at a better life.

It was no surprise that shortly after becoming available for adoption Darling found her
forever family.

Darling Recovering

Help HSSA provide for a pet in need by making a donation at

Learn more about dogs like Darling by by visiting or by giving an adoptions counselor a call at 520-327-6088, ext. 173.

Darling After

Darling's Forever Home

“Daisy (previously Darling) has been such a blessing for me. I lost my husband of 59 years last year on the 14th of July and my 15 year old dog six months before that. I thought I was holding up very well, but Daisy has been a Godsent. The doctors say that the best tranquilizer has four paws and fur. They are right. She was very quiet the first week, but has settled in very well. It is now her house in which she allows me to live. She was house trained when I got her, but that is about all. She is now leash trained, and knows several commands. We are working on others. She is a real cuddle bug and has wormed her way into my bed at night. That’s okay, we both sleep better. I am so happy we found one another.” -Carol S.

Daisy 2

HSSA Vaccination Clinic

Arrive early and sign in to assure we will have room for you!

HSSA’s Clinic offers affordable walk-in vaccinations twice a week. It’s a great way to make sure your pet gets the protection he or she needs, and the recommended vaccinations to help them live a long and happy life. HSSA’s Vaccination Clinic offers core vaccinations (Rabies, DAPP, Bordetella, Leptospirosis, Canine Flu, Feline Leukemia, FRCP), deworming treatment, flea and tick treatment, heartworm medication, microchipping and heartworm/FELV/FIV testing.

When preparing for your visit, bring proof of your pet’s prior vaccination history. Dogs must be on a leash or in a carrier at all times. Cats need to be brought in a secure carrier. Cats can escape easily if not properly contained. It is best to bring multiple cats in individual carriers. If you do not have multiple carriers, for your convenience we offer sturdy cardboard cat carriers for $8 each.

HSSA’s Vaccination Clinic is a great affordable option for Tucson families. In order to ensure the safety of all pets, there is a limited waiting area indoors. No more waiting in line! We can text you when we are ready for you! Outside of the clinic there are benches and shade, wait in your car, or feel free to shop in our PAWSH retail store while you wait for your text.. Clinic staff will provide individual water bowls and ice water for patients, as needed. During the summer months it is recommended that you wear a hat and sunscreen, and bring a drink for yourself.

HSSA’s Clinic has added several precautions to keep families safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. When signing in there are pre-measured markings on the sidewalk that are 6 feet apart to maintain social distancing. At this time only one pet owner per pet enter the lobby. While on HSSA property all
visitors must wear a face covering.

HSSA’s Vaccination Clinics are held twice a week on Wednesday and Saturdays, with sign-in hours from 8:15am to 11:15am. For more information on HSSA’s Clinic services visit or call 520-881-0321.

Animal Cruelty Taskforce of Southern Arizona (ACT)

Stop animal cruelty in its tracks.

All too often we at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona see victims of animal cruelty and neglect show up at our doorstep. We do everything we can to provide care to pets who have been abused, but we don’t stop there. We work hard to hold abusers accountable and to stop the abuse from happening in the first place.

HSSA’s animal cruelty investigator, Mike Duffey, works with law enforcement, including local agencies, fire departments, Arizona livestock investigators, and local animal services agencies to provide a seamless response to cruelty calls. Services through this branch of HSSA include professional training seminars, public outreach, law enforcement support services, emergency medical care and fostering for abused animals, and evidence collection.

Mike Staff Pic Updated

Our program allows the public to share information on suspected cruelty and neglect, as well as concerns about irresponsible breeders, animal vendors and other related issues. Our educational program provides a variety of programs for adults and youth to attack the roots of animal cruelty. We also offer court-mandated courses about proper care and treatment of animals, a critical step in stopping the cycle of harm to pets.

In order to expand our reach and make even more of a difference, Mike and HSSA helped to convene the Animal Cruelty Taskforce of Southern Arizona (ACT) in order to:

  • Review and increase awareness of animal cruelty laws in southern Arizona
  • Enhance and coordinate enforcement of animal cruelty laws
  • Educate law enforcement, animal care professionals and other interested agencies in aspects of animal cruelty and the relationship of animal cruelty to domestic and other forms of human abuse and violence
Abbie (857549) Before
Abbie (857549) After

ACT is not an investigative organization, although many of its member organizations are. The taskforce’s primary purpose is to provide public education and training to professional organizations. ACT may assist existing police, animal control agencies and other investigative organizations with their public mandate to protect animals from neglect and abuse.

ACT is not an animal rights organization. ACT is a non-political coalition of organizations who share the mutual goals of protecting animals and human beings from violent crime through the enforcement of existing laws, prosecuting and rehabilitating offenders, and providing education and services to the animal and human victims of violent crime.

Membership in the Animal Cruelty Taskforce of Southern Arizona is limited to personnel from law enforcement and criminal justice agencies, personnel from organizations with existing programs that aid law enforcement and the prevention of animal cruelty, and personnel such as veterinarians or related professionals who are trained in detecting and diagnosing animal cruelty, treating animal victims and human offenders, and providing public education.

ACT members are available to provide educational presentations to Neighborhood Watch members, homeowners associations, school groups, church groups, and other organizations, sharing how the public can act to protect animals in our community. Regular outreach programs on the subject of animal cruelty are available through the Humane Society of Southern Arizona’s Community Outreach Department. For more information, or to schedule a presentation, call 520-327-6088, ext. 121.


We can all do our part to protect animals and report signs of animal cruelty or neglect - the biggest difference between the two is intention. Learning what to look for can be the difference between life and death for an animal in an unsafe situation. The humans living in those homes may also be at risk of mistreatment.

Know the signs:
Knowing the physical signs and symptoms of animal cruelty and neglect can help save the lives of animals in need.
• Tick and flea infestation
• Untreated wounds of the body
• Hair loss or patches of missing hair
• Extremely thin, “starved” appearance
• Continued and excessive limping
• Pets that cower in fear or act aggressively when approached by a person
• Pets that are showing signs of injury or illness without veterinary care
• Encrusted eyes
• Matted hair
• Excessive number of animals in the home
• Deceased animals
• Animals tied outside and left unattended
• Animals left in hot cars that are in distress
• Animals living in filthy conditions

Report acts of animal cruelty or neglect:

  • Emergencies: Please call 911
  • For tie-out and other neglect violations, call Pima Animal Care Center at (520) 724-5900
  • For Crimes against animals in Pima County, call the Pima County Sheriff’s Department at (520) 351-4900
  • For Crimes against animals in Marana, call Marana Animal Services at (520) 382-8020
  • For Crimes against animals in Sahuarita, call Sahuarita Animal Services at (520) 520-445-7877
  • For crimes against animals in Tucson city limits, call Tucson Police Department at (520) 791-4444
  • To leave an anonymous tip, call Pima County Attorney’s Office at (520) 882-7463 or 88 –CRIME
  • For emergencies related to wild animals, illegal hunting, trapping etc., call the Arizona Game and Fish Department at (520) 628-5376

For more information on becoming an ACT member visit
To request an educational training session visit


Bowser’s Story

Bowser came to the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA) when he was 7 months old. Upon his arrival, Bowser was visibly underweight at only 38 pounds.

HSSA’s medical team went to work caring for Bowser and getting him back to a healhty weight. After two weeks Bowser had gained a healthy 27 pounds and began to come out of his shell. Once Bowser was comfortable he became a playful pup who was full of life.

The Animal Cruelty Taskforce of Southern Arizona (ACT) is responsible for investigating these unfortunate circumstances. HSSA is proud to have them as a partner in keeping pets in Southern Arizona safe. Thanks to their dedication, innocent pets like Bowser are given a voice.

To help HSSA give a second chance to pets in need make a donation at

Bowser 849613 Before
Bowser 849613 After

What should you do with your pet if you contract COVID-19?

Advice from HSSA’s Medical Director and Veterinarian, Dr. Kathryn Halstead

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA) encourages all pet owners to have an emergency plan in place for their pets. Below are recommendations for pet owners from the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and the Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV):

  • Make sure you have a pet emergency kit prepared
  • Keep at least 2 weeks of your pet’s food and medications on-hand in case of home-quarantine
  • Keep your companion animals with you if you are self-quarantined
  • Designate a family member or friend to take care of walking, feeding and playing with your pet if you become ill
  • If you have a service animal or you must care for your pet while you are ill, wear a face mask; don’t share food, kiss or hug them; and wash your hands before and after any contact with your pet or service animal
  • You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels or bedding with other people or pets in your home
  • Keep cats inside

We at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona wish good health for you and your pets.

headshot KH

Kellie the Sassy Rabbit

“Kellie is a bulldozer of dirt, a TV-watcher, a chair Hopper, and a pick-up stick-and-run-with-it kind of rabbit.”

It was last October when the pure-white rabbit, Kellie, was brought to HSSA’s Admissions Department. A member of the public had found her outside and recognized that this stray, domesticated rabbit needed help. In fact, upon her medical exam, it was discovered that Kellie was pregnant and could be expected to deliver her bunnies at any time. Just a few hours later, she was in a foster home where she could be safe and comfortable as she nested and prepared for what came next.

By this point in Kellie’s life - living as a stray, entering the shelter, and delivering her young in a foster home – she had experienced more hardship than most pet rabbits face their entire lives. After delivering her young, Kellie returned to the shelter to await her own adoption. And wait she did, despite one amazing fact about this big, beautiful rabbit: Kellie brims with personality. She leaves an impression on everyone that interacts with her. For some, encountering a strong, alpha-female rabbit can be daunting.

Strong-willed and in-charge, staff and fosters quickly came to know that interacting with Kellie was to be done on her terms, not yours. She had a reputation of being somewhat temperamental and would charge and huff at anyone who tried to pet her or pick her up. It can be a shock to hear a rabbit growl at you! This reputation was well-earned and respected by everyone who cared for her. Of course, this also hurt her likelihood of adoption.

Baby bunny 1

Concerned for her prospects of finding her forever home, HSSA Adoption Counselor Rick Givens worked with Kellie while she was in the shelter engaging her with a new treat each day. He was one of the very few she trusted enough to handle and pet her. HSSA’s Lost and Found Technician, Jennifer Stone, developed a ground-breaking pocket pet socialization program to help pets like Kellie. Through this program, Kellie further improved her interactions with people. It was also evident to those that spent any time with her that Kellie was intelligent and keenly aware, and that proper patience and respect would reveal her deeper, gentler nature.

The pocket pet socialization program was suspended with the arrival of COVID-19. Luckily, Kellie had shown tremendous improvements by this time. It was again up to selfless foster care volunteers to provide Kellie with the love and faith (and treats!) she needed and deserved. Her fosters each told the same story of how this grumpy girl bunny had touched their hearts deeply and personally. They each talk of her intelligence and soulfulness.

Each also describes with pride and wonder the little victories of having Kellie trust them enough to playfully nudge them, or take food from their hand, or – greatest of triumphs – give permission to be petted.

Kelli 1

Kellie is a very special rabbit. The very next day after her foster Aerielle brought her to the shelter for her Humanely Speaking photoshoot, Kellie was adopted by an experienced pet owner who was able to provide her with her perfect forever home. She would have never made it there if not for the efforts of so many people on each step of Kellie’s journey, giving her their love and earning her trust along the way. Kellie touched many people with her unforgettable attitude and rich and unique personality. Fosters and staff keep detailed behavioral and medical notes on file for each pet. Reading through Kellie’s from the beginning of her stay until her happy adoption, one note can be seen over and over: “She’s a little sassy.”

Kellie was given a second chance to find her forever family thanks to HSSA’s dedicated staff and volunteers. Make an appointment to meet other adoptable pocket pets today.

Kelli 2

To learn more about adopting a pocket pet, like Kellie, visit
or give an adoptions counselor a call at 520-327-6088, ext. 173.

HSSA Clinic's Wellness Program

HSSA Clinic offers income-based financial assistance to qualifying households

As a non-profit organization focused on caring for and placing homeless pets into loving homes, HSSA is able to offer a diverse range of programs and services for homeless pets, privately-owned pets, and adults and children. This includes the crucial HSSA Spay/ Neuter Clinic. For decades, the HSSA Spay/Neuter Clinic has provided the public with preventative surgeries and essential vaccinations. The clinic offers affordable services to the general public and provides income-based financial assistance to qualifying households.

It is important for the Humane Society of Southern Arizona to provide affordable medical care to pet owners who may need a little extra help – especially now, as more and more pet owners and households can benefit from income-based assistance. For many, necessary veterinary services may be out-of-reach without this program. Through the HSSA Clinic Wellness Program low-income preventative care, assorted medical treatment options, minor surgeries, diagnostic procedures, digital x-rays, and most recently dental procedures, are made accessible to households who may otherwise not be able to afford these essential medical services.

Sadly, many pets silently endure the nonstop pain of dental disease because their owners can’t afford the high cost of cleanings and extractions. Starting this summer, the HSSA Clinic is proud to offer affordable pet dental services to ease that pain.

HSSA’s Medical Director and Veterinarian, Dr. Halstead DVM, explains further, “The Humane Society of Southern Arizona’s Wellness Program offers a donor-subsidized veterinary preventative care clinic to serve income-qualifying folks and their pets. Our goal is to help make veterinary services such as diagnostic testing and medical procedures (beyond vaccination) more accessible to the members of our community that need it the most”.

HSSA’s Clinic and Wellness Program demonstrates our commitment to provide quality services and support to all pet owners in Southern Arizona, regardless of income level. It is only through the support of caring donors like you that this program can exist. To learn more about what the Wellness Program offers, or to see if your household may qualify, visit

Shelter Life During A Pandemic

Throughout this uncertain time HSSA is here for pets and the people who love them.

Many things in the world are changing and there seems to be something new to consider and adjustments to make every day.

HSSA recognized in the early days of the pandemic that the safety and well being of not just the pets we serve, but also the people who love them would require huge and quick shifts in the way our organization operates.

Under the leadership of our new CEO, Steve Farley, measures were swiftly taken to ensure that every pet in our care would continue to receive the shelter, food, medical treatment, and nurturing that they needed while at the same time safeguarding the health of our staff, volunteers, and clients.

We made the decision to institute adoptions by appointment only. Many other programs and services had to be suspended as our PAWSH retail operations and HSSA Thrift Store was temporarily closed. Major fundraising events like Puttin’ On the Dog were postponed or canceled.

Jennifer mask

HSSA’s CFO Al Clark describes some of the proactive strategies that enabled us to be able to successfully carry on our vital work:

“As HSSA went into the COVID period, we were very concerned about our ability to fund operations because our major annual fundraiser had to be postponed. However, our special fundraising efforts and additional community and donor support substantially closed the gap and have allowed us to hold on to all employees and to fund operations that have continued throughout due to our essential service designation.”

That is not to say staff have had it easy. Frontline staff has been tasked with additional cleaning duties, implementing new safety precautions, and ensuring each and every pet is provided with the utmost care. Every single day, these staff members have demonstrated incredible resilience in the face of this crisis.

Sara Mask

Meanwhile, staff in other departments within the organization had to quickly adapt to working from home for the first time, important fundraising events like Puttin’ on the Dog had to be postponed, and our clinic services had to be put on hold. Several of our outreach initiatives had to be canceled or re-imagined as digital alternatives. In short, very little at HSSA has been left untouched by the unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19, but quick action by our staff and the generosity of our donors and volunteers enabled us to move our mission forward.

After instituting thorough deep cleanings and extra safety precautions for staff and customers alike, including the requirement of face coverings in the stores, HSSA’s recently renovated Thrift Store and PAWSH Park Place have re-opened. HSSA Spay/Neuter Clinic has resumed providing important surgeries and vaccinations to the public. HSSA has also redoubled initiatives like the pet food distribution program and partnered with other local non-profit organizations in order to help as many pets and people in Southern Arizona. Thanks to the amazing support HSSA has received from caring individuals, the unwavering commitment of frontline staff members and the dedication of volunteers, the Humane Society of Southern Arizona has weathered this storm and is here to help.

Throughout this uncertain time HSSA has been here for our pets and members of the public through adoptions, end of life services, lost and found, and more. Thank you to our totally dedicated staff for continuing our mission. If you would like to show your gratitude to HSSA’s essential workers please make a donation at

Face Covering- Dog

Support homeless pets at HSSA by purchasing a dog, cat, or rabbit themed face covering at PAWSH Park Place or online at

*Face coverings available in adult and children sizes.

"Please don't go!"

You can prevent separation anxiety in your dogs

By Steve Farley

CEO, Humane Society of Southern Arizona

This past spring, as we all hunkered down in our homes, many of us rightly felt it was a great time to bring a new, forever friend into their lives. The Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA) saw an increase in adoptions of dogs, cats, and pocket pets.

Our new pets loved our companionship, and we loved the relief from social isolation and the time to bond with our new animal friends while we worked from home.

Now that the stay-home requirements have been lifted and many are returning to the office, some people are thinking about surrendering their dogs, often due to the effects of “separation anxiety”. HSSA was prepared for this possibility and is ready to help dedicated owners and deserving pets keep their families together through education and guidance to turn this stressful situation back into a loving companionship.

Many owners may have inadvertently accustomed their pets to a routine that disappeared overnight. Pets had been comforted and delighted to see their favorite people working in their home offices or snuggled up on the couch with their laptops at all hours of the day. There was more time for playtime and head scratches. The sudden transition to spending hours each day alone has left many pets distraught.

The HSSA Behavior Team has put together a list of helpful tips for dogs that can help ease this transition and correct the unwanted behaviors.


First off make sure your pets basic needs are being met each day BEFORE you leave them for hours on end. These include mealtimes, snuggling and playtime as well as exercise, leashed walks, training and enrichment. This can be a brisk walk around the park and a 15-minute snuggle on the couch each morning before starting your off to work. Any amount of dedicated engagement to your pet before asking them to take an emotional hit will be helpful in growing their self-esteem and reducing their anxieties.

Dogs love routine and are creatures of habit. Make their daily routine predictable. If your pet knows that each morning they will spend uninterrupted time with you before taking a long, lazy snooze by themselves they will become happy with their independence.


To increase your pets' sense of security while youre away from home we recommend crate training. Crate training is a beautiful thing but often gets a bad rap. Once your pet is comfortably enjoying the crate they will happily relax there while waiting for their favorite people to return. For details on how to crate train please visit our website at

Step up the training and canine enrichment to see a decrease in anxiety and destructive behavior. Dogs love to learn and they love to please you. Teaching your dog new tricks and skills are a great way to expend that mental energy they have stored up while strengthening their bond with you. Invest in some durable dog puzzle toys that encourage independent play time as well. If you have questions on which toys our Behavior Team likes best, email us at

Gradually prepare for the upcoming transition. Spend time away from your pet each day — even just a short errand. Putting your one-on-one time and exit routine in place now will help them gain independence in the upcoming weeks. Start with short intervals of only a few minutes and increase until you are confident they can handle the time you’ll need to spend apart in the future.


HSSA’s goal is to support pets and people who love them for a lifetime. Our Behavior Team of Danielle Hagedorn and Stephen Szostek goes above and beyond to spend individual time with each dog who comes to our shelter and the results are astonishing. The more training and individual attention we offer, the better chance they find a forever family.

This is just part of our larger goal to end pet homelessness. If you would like to support the Humane Society of Southern Arizona in our efforts to find loving homes for our pets and keep them there, please visit us online at

Nova is reunited with her family!

Nova was in the car with her family when the pulled over to the side of the road to safely adjust cargo. In that moment Nova jumped out of the car and ran down I10 and out of sight. That was 6 weeks ago. Just yesterday Nova was found by a Marana Animal Control officer and brought to the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.

Giving Tuesday Now email 2 nova reunion

She was scared and untrusting but she sure was hungry! She ate up the bowls of food and finished her water bowls as she waited for her family to retrieve her. Nova's family had given up hope of finding their sweet pup and were elated to receive the happy call from HSSA's lost and found department. Click below to see the full video of their reunion!

Nova reunited 2 without play

Remember HSSA can only offer these services to pets and the people who love them with your help. We have a match going on RIGHT NOW that will turn $6,000 into $12,000 for our pets in need. Please give now so we can continue this important work during this pandemic and beyond.

Holiday Pet Safety

The holidays are right around the corner!

While most of us anxiously await this time of the year, our furry friends may not be as excited. Many of the traditional decorations we enjoy are dangerous to our pets. Enjoy this holiday season with your favorite people and pets without an unexpected visit to the emergency veterinary clinic.


If this is the first Christmas you will spend with your cat, you need to know this! Cats love to climb Christmas trees—and can easily knock them over. This can put your cat at risk of becoming tangled in the tinsel or lights. Have a spray bottle with water ready to catch your cat before they try to climb it—or restrict your cat’s access to the tree, if possible. Many cats and dogs like to play with the ornaments on the bottom of the tree; we recommend replacing them with plastic or shatter proof tree ornaments to prevent potential injury from traditional glass ornaments.


Holiday food is irresistible. This is the time of year most people fail on their diets—but don’t let your pet do the same! That leftover piece of turkey, mashed potato, or apple sauce can be harmful for your pet. Any human food given to your pet has the risk of causing stomach aches, vomiting and diarrhea. For more information on what holiday food is harmful to pets visit:


We understand that it can get a bit crazy and stressful when having guests over and that can be very stressful for some pets too! When you are greeting your guests, remember to close doors or try to keep your pets in a comfortable room away from all the festivities. If your pets are comfortable around people, remind your guests to not share food with them.

With all the precautions and the good holiday spirit, this season promises to be a remarkable one with your favorite people and pets, but not all pets are this lucky. Learn more about how you can give the gift of a forever home to a homeless pet at

5 friends to add to your SWEAT team #ASKHSSA

So you’re headed to SWEAT for Pets this year. That’s great!

Of course, it’s a ton of fun, but the fun isn’t just happening on the day of SWEAT for Pets. The fun really begins with fundraising for SWEAT! We’ve discussed the general steps to fundraising for our popular dog walking event. Check it out here. Armed with this knowledge we’ve been asked about which friends to enlist in your fundraising efforts for SWEAT for Pets. It’s a good question. And while we’re certain that ALL of your terrific friends will want to join you in helping raise money for homeless pets, we’ve put together the short list of 5 friends to add to your SWEAT team.

The Health Nut

An obvious choice to join you on the day is your friend who wakes up at 5 a.m. every morning for yoga, before jogging five miles to the gym. They wash down their rice cake lunch with a kale juice smoothie. They do that thing where they take their pulse while drinking water and staring at their digital stopwatch randomly during conversation. They love exercise and live a very active lifestyle. In fact, they’re probably powerwalking over to your place right now to ask YOU to join THEM at SWEAT! They’re great inspiration and will keep you and your dog motivated during the walk.

The Health Nut
The Animal Lover
The Animal Lover

Wait, isn’t that you?!? Sure, it’s not hard to find friends who love animals, but we’re talking about your friend who isn’t just fond of their goldfish, but is truly passionate about animal welfare and animal rights. Their vanity plate reads ‘ANMLVR’ and their ringtone is just a recording of their cat purring. Perhaps they’re already a volunteer or a foster to animals in need. They’re another obvious candidate as a walking companion for you and your dog at SWEAT.

The All-Star

In school, this friend was on the track team, the debate team, the student council, and graduated top of the class. They don’t want to just go with you to SWEAT, but they want to fundraise with you, too! Maybe you refer to them as an “over-achiever”, but in reality you admire their abilities and enthusiasm. This friend makes a great addition to your team and having them by your side ensures you’ll be well on your way to achieving success with your fundraising efforts. While walking, they’ll be the cheerleader rooting everyone else on to victory. SWEAT for Pets is non-competitive, but the All-Star will still want to cross the finish line first.

Artboard 1
The Banker
The Big Money Backer

This is your friend whose ship has come in. They might own their own business, or might have won big on ‘Jeopardy’, but they have the means to support your fundraising in a big way. They’re too busy to come on the walk, but they believe in the cause of helping save homeless pets – because you believe in it and they believe in you. They want to help and they’ll want to see pictures and hear about how much fun you had at SWEAT. They might even be interested in becoming a sponsor for SWEAT for Pets!

The Social Networker

This is your friend who is ready with a funny cat video, Instagrams their lunch, thumbs ups every Facebook post, and seemingly knows everyone. They are the perfect choice for you to ask to join you in fundraising for SWEAT for Pets, but even more importantly, they won’t just stop at supporting your team, they will want to reach out and recruit as many of their friends to help, too. They’ll round-up a gaggle of like-minded and fun-loving friends who will donate and participate on the day. They are also absolute pros at getting word out for you and your team on social media!

The Social Networker

Now that you know which friends to join your SWEAT for Pets team, you’re equipped to make this year the biggest and best SWEAT for Pets ever! Along with all the fun and cool sponsors and activities at SWEAT, the new event venue at the Kino Sports Complex, and having the event a little later in the year, recruiting your friends will make your SWEAT fundraising adventure a huge success. The 5th Annual SWEAT for Pets is November 16th, 2019 at North Kino Sports Complex, 2805 E Ajo Way.

How To Fund-Raise for Sweat for Pets? #ASKHSSA

Familiarize yourself with the simple steps to fundraising for HSSA.

Our popular dog walking event, SWEAT for Pets, brings together dogs and animal lovers for a fun, non-competitive bit of exercise! There's the actual path for everyone to walk, run and roll through, hydration stations for your dogs, prizes, and many people and their dogs participate in the doggie costume contest. It's fun for the whole family including your furry canine family.

Sweat for Pets is your dog’s favorite walk of the year.

This marks the event's fifth year and brings with it a new event venue at Kino Sports Complex. SWEAT for Pets is schedule for November this year (2019), however, now's the time to start fundraising for 'SWEAT'! With that in mind, we wanted to take a moment and familiarize everyone with the simple steps on fundraising for SWEAT for Pets.

So, exactly how does one go about raising funds for the Humane Society of Southern Arizona at SWEAT? That’s part of the fun! If you’ve never participated in a fundraiser before, it’s simple! Start with your own dedication to helping save the lives of homeless pets. Your registration begins your step towards SWEAT for Pets but it doesn’t end there! Your passion spills over into the lives of the people in your life. Your family and your friends all can share in that passion! Ask them to support your cause and contribute $20 or $25 to your fund.

Offer a car wash or maybe a few household chores to convince your friends and family to support you.

As you enlist others to support you at SWEAT for Pets, you start to gain momentum and next thing you know you’ve got yourself several sponsors. Don’t stop there, though! Keep the excitement (and sponsorships) growing and share your enthusiasm for what we do with your coworkers and even your boss. Helping the lives of shelter pets is something everyone can support! Got a favorite coffee shop, barber, church group, or diner? Get them involved, too!

Just because they never get your name right on the cup doesn’t mean your local coffee shop won’t help.

Lastly, you don’t have to do it alone! Make it a team effort and make SWEAT for Pets even better by getting your whole office, softball team, or pottery class involved in fundraising! It’s an incredible feeling when you see so many people in your personal life stand beside you in a cause that you (and they) believe in.

Tons of businesses and organizations come to SWEAT each year!

So, ready to do some fundraising? Great! Build YOUR team to help save the lives of shelter pets at SWEAT! And, to make things even easier to get you started, take this handy Sweat for Pets fundraising road map as a resource for your fundraising adventure!

Can my dog choke on food? #ASKHSSA

HSSA's Pet Safety and First Aid Classes can help you prevent medical emergencies like these.

What to watch out for and how to prevent it from happening.

Dogs love to eat, who doesn’t? The glee that most dogs exhibit as they gallop headlong towards a bowl of chow makes this fact evident. Some dogs seem to go into an almost trance-like state as they eat their dinner. It can be enough to make one wonder “can my dog choke while eating?”

The danger is real.

For most dogs, choking on food is unlikely, though our Animal Services Veterinarian, Dr. Overton, was quick to point out a few important exceptions. There are medical issues that can make swallowing food difficult for some dogs, but generally, in these cases, the pet owner is aware of the condition and can take measures to reduce the likelihood that choking will occur.

Pump the brakes.

Another group of dogs who are more susceptible to choking are those dogs that don’t just woof down their dinner with abandon, but literally inhale it. Dogs that eat too quickly do have the potential to choke on their food.  Luckily, there’s a simple and inexpensive solution to correct this behavior. Specialized dog food bowls known as ‘slow feed’ or ‘puzzle feed’ dog bowls help dogs that eat too fast slow down and take smaller bites.

Hot dogs not for dogs.

There is also the potential with dogs to choke on food when that food is not appropriate for your pooch. Table scraps and human foods, bones (cooked or raw), gristle, and fat are all dangerous as they are potential choking hazards for dogs. Not to mention the many human foods that are poisonous to dogs or that can cause an allergic reaction as these can also lead to choking.  Always feed your dog approved and age-appropriate dog food!

Chew on this.

Dog treats are a point of contention among many dog owners and there are many commercially available dog treats on the market. In general, most of these are not ideal – especially treats designed to be chewed and gnawed on by dogs. These can break apart or can be small enough for a dog to attempt to swallow but by their very nature, chews are tough and can be difficult to dislodge if stuck in a dog’s throat. Aside from the choking risk, many chews are actually too hard for dogs and can damage their teeth! As with the food you select for your pup, ensure that the treats you provide for you dog are a safe, healthy option.

Prevention is key.

We always recommend speaking with a veterinarian when deciding on your pet’s diet and health. We also recommend being well-equipped to handle a pet’s medical emergencies, if and when the need arises. The Humane Society of Southern Arizona offers Pet Safety and First Aid classes to help ensure pet owners are ready in the case of a pet emergency and to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Learn more about HSSA Pet Safety and First Aid Classes, available classes, and to sign-up, click here.


If I adopt a senior dog, will it have bad habits? #ASKHSSA

Old dog; new tricks.

Adopting an older dog or cat can be incredibly rewarding. Puppies and kittens are always a popular choice and are usually adopted very quickly. Older animals, on the other hand, have a harder time finding a family for several reasons. One reservation many people voice is that they want a dog that can be trained and the assumption is an older dog cannot be trained.

The old adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” has had a damning effect on the way many households view older pets; especially dogs. It’s a question we hear frequently when potential adopters are considering an older dog: “If I adopt a senior dog, will it have bad habits?”

While it must be said that it depends on the dog, it is also necessary to point out that many dogs in our care have troubled pasts. Strays have to learn quickly how to survive on the streets and in the desert, while other dogs have suffered neglect or abuse. Behavioral consequences can occur in these cases and it takes a lot of time and love for these dogs to overcome those challenges.

With all that being said, you absolutely CAN teach an old dog new tricks (or, break their bad habits)! Our Behavior Programs Supervisor, Bailey Heater says teaching a senior dog is no different than teaching any other dog.

It depends on the dog and it depends on the person. Bailey pointed out that many of the reasons someone might dismiss a dog for being “too old”, are the same reasons another person might prefer to adopt a senior pet. Lower energy levels might be preferable to someone who just wants a dog that enjoys cuddling, whereas an adopter who wants a little ball of energy is better suited to the puppy life.

Older dogs tend to be much better at adjusting to a new home, too. They also tend to demonstrate their gratitude to their new forever family for getting them out of the shelter environment. It is not uncommon to see an older dog, who while in a kennel appears bored and uninterested transform into an enthusiastic, smiling, tail-wagging friend for life.

It’s also about managing your own expectations. An older dog may be set in its ways, so expecting them to behave exactly as you want them to without any guidance is an unrealistic expectation.

You can meet some of our favorite senior pets at our upcoming Family Fun Adoption Night on Friday, August 2nd, 2019.


Why are two kittens better than one? #ASKHSSA

Adopting a kitten is a big decision

The time and care to raise a kitten is a lot of work! So, why would adopting two kittens be better than adopting just one? That’s a reasonable question and one we’re happy to answer.


For starters, and this might seem obvious but shouldn’t be understated, adopting two kittens means they’ll never be lonely. Kittens rely on each other in many ways. Providing one another comfort, safety, and warmth; having a buddy helps young kittens grow into well-adjusted, happy, and healthy cats.


It’s easier than just one kitten. Believe it or not, having a second kitten can make caring for them easier! Ask anyone who has owned just one kitten how many times they’ve had trouble finding a hidden kitten in their house. Having two means it’s actually easier to keep track of the little furballs.

Plus, raising two kittens helps reinforce the positive behaviors in both when they play together, eat together, sleep together, etc.


Kittens that grow up together for the above reasons also have fewer behavioral problems. Learning how to be a cat is tricky but having a pal to help learn those behaviors makes it much easier. Cats that are confidant and trusting simply make better pets.

Cats who are left to their own to figure out what is and isn’t good behavior have a harder time building confidence and trust.

Wait, there's more!

A few other great reasons include cuter photos, twice the cuddles and double the love – all of which are important but the most important reason of all is that when you adopt two kittens you will be saving two lives instead of one!

Now that you see why two kittens are better than one, it’s time to visit the many available cats and kittens in our care and take advantage of our many adoption specials!