Welcome to Dogtown USA

In DOG FANCY'S search for the best cities in which to be a dog, we discovered innovative shelter programs, generous amenities, thoughtful policies, and many wonderful dog-lovers.

By | Posted: Tue Sep 25 00:00:00 PDT 2001

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The SPCA strives to make each of the dogs that comes through its shelter as adoptable as possible. The plan seems to be working. Last year, more than 3,000 dogs were taken to the shelter. Of those, 2,450 were either adopted or returned to their owners. Of the 942 euthanized, none was deemed adoptable, although 197 were classified as treatable. Most (704) couldn't be treated and 40 were tiny puppies that died despite efforts by those who work in the SPCA's neo-natal clinic. A year earlier, 300 more dogs were taken to the shelter. Of those, 2,779 were either adopted or returned to their owners, and 1,018 were euthanized.

The SPCA's goal is to prevent dogs from ever seeing one of its plush condos. To that end, it offers doggie daycare, lists of pet-friendly apartment complexes, specialists to help dog owners solve behavior problems, and low-cost spay and neuter surgery to all city residents regardless of where they get their dog.

For senior citizens who want to enrich their lives by becoming a dog owner but cannot afford caring for a pet, the SPCA offers the dogs free spaying and neutering, free or low-cost medical care, free dog food, and free grooming. The organization also assures seniors their dogs' lives won'tend when they pass on. If people specify in their wills that they want their dogs placed in a good home, the SPCA makes it happen.

While its $13 million budget, built on donations, has become the envy of shelters nationwide, the SPCA boasts 1,200 volunteers as its greatest asset. "They walk the dogs, foster animals, and work in the hospital and the neonatal clinic," Nemzoff says. "We have volunteers working seven days a week around the clock." All the support-money and volunteer time-shows how much San Franciscans love their dogs.

Bozeman, Mont.
Let's say you're an old dog living with a poor family in Bozeman, Mont., and one day you decide to do your business on the carpet rather than outside. Your family quickly tires of your new habit but can't figure out how to correct your behavior without paying for professional help.

Frustrated, they give up, which means they give you up. Enter the Humane Society of Gallatin County. It doesn't want you either. But that's the good news. Shelter officials will help your family alter your habit and, if necessary, pay to send you to a dog psychologist to see if a professional can get inside your mind and persuade you to change your ways.

Karen Thornburg, a volunteer turned temporary executive director of the humane society, says the facility began paying for such services when officials learned 75 percent of pet owners who abandon their pets don't really want to give up their animals-they only want help.

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Josh   Bozeman, MT

10/7/2009 12:43:29 PM

Bozeman, MT ... agreed! Nicely done! We also have a really great dog store called Dee-O-Gee (www.dee-o-gee.com) ... you should mention them in your next article. Cheers!

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