Any time is a good time to donate to the Denver Dumb Friends League, but it's during the cold winter months that the shelters -- both animal and human -- have an even greater need for support. Now through January 5, the Denver Dumb Friend League's three locations -- Quebec Street in Denver, the Buddy Center in Castle Rock and the Harmony Equine Center in Franktown -- are asking for donations of both money and supplies to keep all of its friends warm and healthy through spring, when adoptions tend to ramp up.
"It really just depends on the time of the year, but right now as we're seeing a lot of snow and it's getting really cold, sweaters and jackets for our smaller dogs are always in short supply," says Chris Gallegos of the Denver Dumb Friends League. Blankets and towels are also especially needed, as the shelters focus on contagion control and only use each one a few times before discarding them. Wet food for cats, dry food for dogs and toys and treats for animals of all sizes are also on the list of necessities.
"Whether we have kittens at this time of year or adult cats, they like to play with toys and it just makes their time here a little bit more special. It also gives them that mental and physical exercise that they always need," says Gallegos.
On the mental-health side of things, donations are particularly important, because some animals have prolonged stays so that they can get extra care before being adopted out to new homes. Medical attention is also costly for the shelters, but is key to giving families a better chance at connecting and providing a lifelong home for the animals. This is especially true for the League's Harmony Equine Center near Franktown, were abused and neglected horses are watched over; sometimes it takes several months of rehab before they are ready to meet new caretakers.
"We're always looking specifically for equine-related donations -- gently used horse tack, horse blankets, towels, anything that you would use for your equine, we obviously would use as well," says Gallegos. "Those types of things help us because these animals tend to be with us on the longer side, because they come from situations where they may be severely emaciated, may have severe medical issues that we're working on, or may have behavior issues that we're trying to get them to overcome."
During this season's "Paws to Give" donation and supply drive, the Denver Dumb Friends League invites patrons to come into the shelters and fill out a "paw" with each donation -- a place to share a personal story or memory about a favorite pet.
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Since the nonprofit's companion animal services cost more than $25,000 daily, donations are welcome any time of the year at all three of the locations as well as online. For more information or to contribute, visit the Denver Dumb Friends League's website.