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3-6-PC-DogIn the early, pre-dawn hours of a (usually) Saturday morning, Paws and Claws Humane Society employees and volunteers are carefully readying the most precious of cargo.

Dogs (and the occasional cat) are placed into their kennels, and then properly loaded and secured in the specially equipped Paws and Claws Humane Society Rescue Van. The air is filled with excitement, both from the animals and the individuals who work tirelessly to save them. Transport driver Caleb Rolan waves a cheery goodbye as he heads north, towards a new life for these animals. A rescue transport means that more lives will be saved, and this is our goal.

Paws and Claws Humane Society is nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to saving the lives of animals here in Artesia and the surrounding area. In addition to rescue efforts, Paws and Claws is also under contract with the City of Artesia to maintain the care and wellbeing of the animals at the Artesia Animal Shelter, in accordance with city ordinances, and with the assistance of City of Artesia employees and officials.

3-6-PC-CatFor Paws and Claws shelter manager Mattie Henson, saving those animals is of the utmost importance. She works closely with Harry Bailey, the City of Artesia shelter manager, to ensure all incoming animals are properly processed, documented, and cared for, in hopes that they may be quickly reclaimed or adopted.

All animals are, upon arrival to the shelter, bathed, photographed, scanned for microchips, and kenneled (where food, water and bedding is provided). Animals that appear to be ill or injured are placed in isolation and veterinary care administered as advised.

Incoming animals have 72 hours to be reclaimed by their owners. Oftentimes, pictures and descriptions of incoming animals are posted to lost dog sites, social media, and other outlets. Luckily, 41 percent of animals are reclaimed. Once the 72 hours has passed, the animal is considered available for adoption.

They receive necessary vaccinations, and some are even spayed and/or neutered in hopes of finding their forever home. In 2015, 19 percent, or 184, of the shelter animals were successfully adopted out to local homes.

Once the animal becomes eligible for adoption, that animal also becomes eligible for rescue. Local adoptions take precedence over rescue efforts, and the public is always encouraged to visit the Artesia Animal Shelter when searching for their new best friends.

Rescue work is where Paws and Claws Humane Society really shines. All rescue efforts are funded by donations, grants and sales at Second Chances thrift store (located at 1901 S. First St. here in Artesia). Twenty-eight percent of all animals who arrive at the Artesia Animal Shelter are able to find homes outside of our community, through our rescue efforts. A specially equipped cargo van was generously donated to our organization and is an invaluable asset in allowing the transport of dogs and cats to rescues.

Henson states that Paws and Claws Humane Society has utilized rescue groups in New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, Utah and even New York in our passion to save animals! Such efforts are impossible without the hard work of dedicated staff, volunteers, Paws and Claws Humane Society board members, and donors. Last year, Paws and Claws spent roughly $9,800 on rescue efforts alone! Henson points out Paws and Claws shelter staff Sheri Bailey, Rosie Sartin and Heath Grayson are to be highly commended for their hard work and dedication to help save these animals.

The entire staff works tirelessly, day in and day out, to ensure that no pet is left behind. You can help! Paws and Claws Humane Society is always in need of people willing to help with rescue transports, fostering and donations! Please contact the Artesia Animal Shelter or Paws and Claws President Beverly Sweatt for more information!

“Like” us on Facebook for daily updates. Paws and Claws may be contacted at Paws and Claws Humane Society, P.O. Box 807, Artesia, NM 88211-0807. All donations are tax deductible.