MCACC Pawsome Newsletter April Highlights

Beh Head

Hello Subscriber,

MCACC is an open-admission animal care center, which means we take in homeless pets regardless of their age, health, or temperament. While many pets at our shelter are considered “highly adoptable”, we also receive pets that have more complex medical conditions, injuries, or have behavioral concerns that can potentially impact their placement options. MCACC is proud of the work that we do to find positive outlets for these pets, whether that be in a specific-needs furever home, with one of our trusted partners, or whether we improve the options for a pet through medical and behavior resources. 

One department within MCACC that has seen huge growth and development over the past few years is our Behavior Department. Having this dedicated team to properly assess and provide professional evaluation on each pet that enters our shelter is vitally important to getting our dogs and cats into the right home or connected to the right partner group. 

Often some of the pets receiving an assessment are very frightened or under-socialized and need a break from the stressors associated with being in an animal care facility. That’s when our behavior team steps in and can place a needy pet into a staff member’s office for the day - or sometimes, even longer, depending on the circumstances.

 Meet Some of the Office Dogs of MCACC…


Though the work of the behavior team might sound fun, we take their work very seriously. Working closely with pets that can be potentially dangerous requires experienced knowledge of animal behavior, all while trying to maintain safety for themselves and everyone else around them. We are extremely grateful for these dedicated team members who help guide our daily work here at MCACC.

Robyn Jaynes, DVM

Click on name to view more about each office dog: Starski, Friedman, Minka, Lola, Lilybelle and Rainbow.

Header photo: Behavior team completing their daily assessments in the play yard. 

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Every Pet is an Individual here at MCACC

The behavior team at MCACC is responsible for assessing cats and dogs coming into the shelter and keeping them mentally and physically healthy during their shelter stay. The behavior team’s first contact with most of our cats and dogs is typically an initial assessment completed within 24-48 hours after intake. The goal is to help each animal have as positive an experience as possible while completing different components of an assessment process that helps determine an animal’s adoptability. Successful assessments are critical in helping the team find the best options for each pet.


Once the initial assessment is completed, behavior staff continue to monitor each animal’s behavior during their shelter stay. Some cats and dogs are very fearful and under-socialized, so they may need some behavior modification to help them be more successful in finding a new home. Others may just need to learn to walk on leash or become more comfortable being removed from a kennel. Some of the behavior staff members’ happiest moments are getting updates from adopters and seeing former shelter dogs and cats living a life of happiness and love.

While only select cats and dogs receive direct behavior modification from behavior staff, ALL of our shelter animals receive daily enrichment either provided by, or facilitated by, the behavior team. Cats and dogs all need a break from the monotony and stress of shelter life and that mental and physical respite is provided by in-kennel and out-of-kennel enrichment. Enrichment falls into several categories: mental, physical, taste, sound, smell, and visual. By presenting different activities in the above categories, staff and volunteers provide opportunities for mental and physical stimulation. Basic out-of-kennel enrichment includes walks, yard time, and play group sessions with other dogs. To expand opportunities for physical activity, other out-of-kennel enrichment options include the doggy treadmill, day fosters, and scent work/training. In-kennel enrichment can come in many varieties and forms including olfactory scents, music, toys, bubbles, etc.

Some days the job is very demanding and overwhelming, but the support from fellow staff members, volunteers, New Hope Partners, and the community keep the behavior team motivated and working hard for the animals of Maricopa County.

Contributed by Kim Schulze
MCACC Animal Behavior Administrator

To learn more about our our Behavior Program, visit our website. 

Photos: Header, behavior team assessing dogs, transporting a dog in a taxi and coaxing a shy dog out of a kennel. Circles: daily cat and dog enrichment. 

Partner Highlight

Alone No More Dog Rescue (ANM) launched in the Fall of 2020 with their first intake (a senior boy) from MCACC. Because of our partnership, ANM has been able to rescue 67 dogs (with 35 of those coming from MCACC) and they have achieved over 40 forever adoptions! 

“As a newly established New Hope Partner, we often work with the dogs at high-risk of euthanasia, and they continue to surprise us with how readily they transition into home life. We work with all breeds, all backgrounds and behaviors, and find the most joy in working with our county e-listers. We've been operating for seven months now and are very proud to partner with MCACC to continue supporting the community and animals in need. We invite you to follow our journey!" @alonenomoredogrescue



What’s a Kurunda?

A kurunda bed is an elevated bed that evenly distributes a pet’s weight so that there is less pressure on hips, elbows or shoulders from the hard ground. Here at MCACC, we are lucky to have a dedicated group of volunteers that help repair all our damaged kurunda beds.

The Dog Bed Crew was created in 2018, when a volunteer first came to help at our East shelter. She noticed that not all the kennels had dog beds, so she went home to figure out how she could get every dog kennel a bed and the Dog Crew was born!


Now the team of seven have repaired over 1,500 beds and has also helped out in other ways, such as cleaning, organizing and building shelving. A huge thank you to Tom S, Mary S, Ron N, Jill N, Chris K (not present in photo), Elizabeth and Carrie! 

In addition, thank you to our amazing friends at One Love Pit Bull Foundation who purchased all the parts and items to repair the next round of beds.

Photos: Beauty #A4568675 enjoying her comfy kurunda bed.

Helping Hands

Boy Scout Project
We were excited to welcome Boy Scout Troop #78 from Ahwatukee to help us with a few projects. Connor and the team completed his Eagle Scout project at MCACC which involved making sturdy beds for our dogs with all supplies donated from ACE Hardware, installing visual barriers in our play yards, and removing old signage from all of our exterior doors and windows. We are so grateful for their help!

New Volunteer Orientation
We are very appreciative of the seven new volunteers who joined our volunteer community this month. With having more pets in our shelter, there’s always more to do and our volunteer’s support and willingness to jump right in and get to work is so greatly appreciated!

Super Fundraiser
This month we had a visit from a 9-year old super fundraiser named Jackson. He was on a mission to raise money for homeless people and animals and was very specific in where he wanted his collections to go. He brought us $500 in checks along with several bags of dog treats. Our shelter supervisor Deb was able to give Jackson a tour to show him all the great work we do at our shelter.

More Dogs = More Treats
We are grateful to all our supporters who continue to provide enrichment for our shelter pets. As you read above, this is vital to providing a break for our cats and dogs. East Side Elves provided over $5,000 in treats in April to help with this support - hot diggy dog!   

For more information on how to help, visit our website.

Photos: Boy Scouts, new volunteer in our cat gallery, Deb and Jackson, yum, enrichment! 

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Pet Help Community Outreach

Spay and Neuter Clinics
At our April spay and neuter clinics, we altered 57 pets: 15 cats and 42 dogs, 55 pets received microchips. This month we also piloted a new program where we will provide personalized dog tags and collars for each pet attending the clinic. We received 288 collars and 200 tags donated by One Love Pit Bull Foundation and the tag machine was donated by Arizona Animal Rescue Mission (AARM). We are currently looking for MCACC volunteers to assist with this project for future clinics. 

Reaching out to the Community
We had ten volunteers from our partner at Community Canine Project (CCP) join Pet Help on April 17th  to pass out 1,000 flyers at 740 houses/complexes detailing Pet Help’s free services.

“We found many people and families who were eager to share the services being offered with their neighbors! It was a pleasure to have some conversations, share about resources being offered, and see firsthand some awesome folks who love their pets and want to do everything they can to keep them safe and happy! We look forward to more opportunities to partner with Pet Help,” said CCP volunteers.


Don't Kitnap Kittens

It's kitten season! We currently have over 45 kittens in foster care. If you find stray kittens, please leave them be. When we find a litter of kittens, our good-hearted instincts tell us to help these fragile felines. Thankfully, human intervention is typically not required.

In fact, the best thing you can do is leave the kittens alone. Mom will likely return shortly, and it’s critical that the kittens remain in her care as she offers the best chance for survival. If you are extremely certain that the kittens are orphaned (mom has not been back for at least 8 hours), you can then step in and help by caring for the kittens until they’re old enough to find homes as this time of year Valley shelters are overcrowded and limited on space and resources.

If you are interested in our Foster Program, please visit our website.

Upcoming Events and Holiday Hours

Click each event to view details.


May 5-9
Bissell Empty the Shelter Adoption Event

SN clinic

May 15
Pet Help and Fix.Adopt.Save Spay and Neuter clinic


May 22 
Petco Mobile Adoption Event