December Pawsome Newsletter

family reunited with lost dog


Hello Subscriber,


Happy Holidays! 

Despite the numerous challenges of 2021, together we have continued to save lives while working to improve our operations. We have restructured, added talented staff and volunteers, expanded training, managed a change in leadership, made positive changes to the New Hope process, effectively responded to a distemper outbreak, and reopened our East Shelter at Rio Salado to accommodate the increase in our intake volume, just to name a few! The tremendous manner with which these challenges have been addressed is directly attributed to the deep commitment and hard work of staff, volunteers, fosters, partners, generous donors, rescues, and our community. Seeing MCACC evolve over the past few years is proof of the positive change that a dedicated community can achieve, and the best is yet to come. Although everyone should be proud of individual contributions as well as our collective accomplishments, we know there is more work to be done and we will continue to forge ahead together. 

Along with the obstacles we’ve faced this year, we have been fortunate to jump on available opportunities as well. We are excited to share some of our recent successes with you in our last newsletter of 2021. 

On behalf of our leadership team, we express our gratitude and respect. We look forward to becoming even better in 2022! 

Families reunited with their pets

I’ll be Home for Christmas 

Reuniting lost pets with their families is an ongoing struggle in our community, but microchips registered with current contact information help us make connections that might otherwise be impossible. These heartwarming stories from this month show just how important microchips are for happy reunions: 

In early December, MCACC Animal Control Officers (ACOs) found a matted senior poodle, scared and alone on the street. They found a microchip when they scanned him and called the registered number for what turned out to be a very surprising conversation. Mr. Edwards answered the phone and was shocked when they asked if he had lost a small poodle named Choppers. It had been ten years since Choppers went missing! He couldn’t believe that it could really be Choppers after all this time, and rushed to the shelter as soon as he could to see his old friend. It was a bittersweet reunion with many tears shed, but Choppers is finally home after so many years. Mr. Edwards is determined to make up for lost time, and  ensure Choppers will spend each day with him living life to the fullest. This reunion never would have happened if Choppers didn’t have a microchip for us to connect to his family.

Hercules was rescued from a canal by a kind stranger, who then brought him to our shelter to be scanned for a microchip. He may not have had a collar with tags, but Hercules did have a microchip with his family's contact information registered. Thanks to his microchip and some help from his new friend, he's now safe at home with his family.

Our Animal Control Officers responded to a call regarding a stray dog in Phoenix this month, and picked up Tahani, a beautiful young husky. Thanks to her microchip, our ACOs were able to call her owner, who was very surprised to hear from us. Not only had it been two months since Tahani had dug a hole under the fence and gone missing, her home is located in Las Vegas, Nevada! Thanks to her microchip, she’s now back with her family where she belongs. 

When little Sadie escaped from a veterinary office back in October, her worried family did everything they could to try to find her. They enlisted the help of HARTT (Humane Animal Rescue and Trapping Team), posted flyers, and even reached out to the media - all with no luck. Then in mid-December,  our Animal Control Officers picked Sadie up as a stray, and scanned her for a microchip. Thanks to her family registering their current contact information on Sadie's microchip, the  ACO who responded was able to call them immediately to share the good news: Sadie had been found safe, and  was on her way home! Sadie hitched a ride in the field truck, and was back in her family's arms for a tearful, but very joyous reunion. 

Reunions like this are why we're so grateful to have partners who understand the importance of microchips. The LovePup Foundation sponsors microchips for all shelter pets we adopt to new homes, and Community Canine Project (CCP) and Two Pups Wellness Fund sponsor microchips for all the lost dogs we're able to reunite with their families!  

East shelter reopened for full services 2021

East Shelter Reopened for Full Services 

On December 9, the County announced the return of full services to the East Shelter starting on Monday, December 13. Both shelter locations now have the same business hours and offer the same services, including adoptions, volunteer and foster opportunities, lost and found services, stray intakes, and licensing. 

shelter dog on bed

Shelter volunteers on the Dog Bed Crew spent countless hours over the past few months at the East Shelter to prepare it for reopening. As you can imagine, there's no shortage of work to be done at the current East Shelter while the replacement facility is still underway! Not only have these volunteers been building and repairing dog beds as usual, they've also been cleaning out storage areas and making seemingly endless repairs around the shelter as well. This group of volunteers has made an immeasurable difference in improving the comfort of our shelter pets during their stay, and we can't thank them enough for all their hard work!


During our reopening weekend at this location, One Love Pit Bull Foundation and East Side Elves teamed up to provide goodie bags to celebrate the first 50 adoptions! Each goodie bag contained a collar and leash, stuffy toys, treats, collapsible water bowls, and a certificate for free Mutt Manners training classes to help set them up for success in their new homes. 

Helping the Lost Become Found 

It’s important to remember that celebrating the New Year may look and feel very different for our pets. Unexpected loud noises such as fireworks or large crowds can be very scary, and normally calm pets may panic and run. The days surrounding New Year’s are some of the busiest for our shelter, as hundreds of pets all around the county will bolt out of doors, jump over fences, and push open gates in an attempt to get away from the noise. ID tags, license tags, and microchips will be crucial to returning pets home safely – and the more ID you have on your pet, the better!  

Tips for helping lost and found pets

Homes for the Holidays

adopted shelter dog with friend
Once again, we are truly amazed by the commitment and dedication of Cathy Bissell and The BISSELL Pet Foundation to help our pets find their forever families and open kennel space for other homeless pets in need. Even after sponsoring our senior pets for the entire month of November, they invited us to take part in their December #EmptyTheShelters adoption event. Thanks to their unending generosity, we celebrated 33 cat adoptions and 497 dog adoptions, for a total of 530 sponsored pet adoptions! Even better, we've already started receiving adoption updates for Charizma, who found her forever home during this event. 
adopted dog

If you follow us on social media, you may remember Charlotte, the frightened pup who wouldn’t eat or come out from under her bed until getting her very own blanket fort. She made a lot of progress and thrived with her new living situation, but still needed to find a forever home - until her new best friend Angelica saw her videos on our social media! In one of our favorite #AdoptionHappyTails updates of the year, we learned that this sweet girl (now named Koko) is finally living the life she deserves. She continues to be an inspiration for us all to see the potential in shelter dogs, and a reminder that sometimes a little TLC can go a very long way.                                  

We were also happy to share an update about a few of our shelter staff who brought their work home with them in the best possible way this year by adopting. No matter how many pets you get to see at work, there’s no replacement for having one (or more!) to greet you at home at the end of every day! 

Adopted shelter pets

Community Outreach 

Our Pet Help program continues to help families in need with essential spay and neuter surgeries.  Thanks to help from our partners, 22 pets were spayed/neutered through our Pet Help program this month, and we were able to provide microchips for 21 of these pets that didn’t already have one. Thank you so much to Fix Adopt Save and the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust for sponsoring this clinic event, Dr. Trina Neufeld's Mobile Animal Surgical Hospital (MASH) for providing surgical service, and One Love Pit Bull Foundation for donating personalized pet tags and collars for all these pets - we couldn't do it without your help!  

Bissell Pet Foundation spay and neuter grant

We’re very happy to announce that our shelter has been awarded a $10,000 spay and neuter grant from BISSELL Pet Foundation to help even more pets in our community! Out of BISSELL Pet Foundation's partner network of over 5,000 shelters and rescues, we're so excited that we were chosen to receive their support. This grant will help us continue to proactively address the root cause of pet overpopulation in our community by preventing unwanted births, freeing up shelter space for pets in need, and saving pets from potential abandonment. 

Our field team was able to continue providing support to St. Vincent de Paul at their Companion Animal Program (CAP) mobile pet wellness clinic this month. Through grant funding, we were able to issue 31 license tags to families during this event, as well as register the microchips of all these pets in the Maricopa County database to help reunite them with the families who love them if they ever get lost. 

Photo of happy shelter dog

Shelter Staff Making a Difference 

“Over the last year, two dedicated MCACC employees have stood out and changed our experience at county for the better. As new fosters, Kyle Simmons (as the foster coordinator at the time), was dedicated to placing her foster dogs in the right home. She became familiar with our home situation (and our personal dogs + their temperaments) and worked tirelessly on behalf of the shelter and the animals it was responsible for. She remained available for questions and support whenever it was needed – though truthfully, she did so much front-loading and gave guidance up front, that by the time the dog was in our home, we felt prepared and have fostered without issue since the start. Now, as the volunteer coordinator (which is one of my favorite announcements MCACC has made this year!), she continues to lead for her people and keeps the dogs at heart. No question goes unanswered and she seeks out personalized volunteer opportunities for me and many others. She is so engaged in this role. She has the best ideas to make her programs better. I wish her nothing but the best and hope MCACC recognizes the asset they have in her. 

“The second employee I want to thank and recognize is Molly Judd. Before Molly was even an MCACC employee, she was mentoring me and my wife. As the former Vice President of One Love, Molly ushered me into their foundation with a warm welcome and kindness. Her vast knowledge and wisdom is shared with such grace. When I trained for level 1 dog walking at MCACC, Molly was my volunteer trainer. She was very technically strong and made sure I understood the resources available to me as a newer volunteer. She taught me so much in a few short hours that has made every experience as a dog walker so much easier and safer. As the east shelter manager, I continue to root and rally for Molly. I have seen her “in the trenches” with her staff – cleaning kennels, walking dogs, doing meet and greets, and engaging with her volunteers. I’m so proud to be a (mostly) east shelter volunteer. She is inspiring her people to be their best, and what more can we truly ask in a leader? 

“Employees like Molly and Kyle will keep me and my wife coming back, spending our free hours helping anyway we can, advocating for the best lives we can offer these dogs during their time in the shelter.” 

We couldn’t agree more, Alex – thanks for sharing your positive experiences and for you and your wife’s continued commitment to supporting our shelter pets through fostering and volunteering. 

volunteer walking shelter dog

Skip the Gym Membership, Volunteer! 

Whether your New Year's resolution is to get more exercise, volunteer more of your time, or take up a new hobby, there's a place for you here at MCACC. If you're interested in getting involved, we can always use an extra pair of hands around the shelter!  

Together, our dedicated shelter volunteers put in over 16,000+ hours in the month December alone (not including the countless additional hours they spent matching shelter pets with new families online, rallying together to collect donations on their own time, and more)! If you're interested in volunteering with this group of dedicated, compassionate, and hard-working individuals, we would love to have you join the team. We welcomed 21 new volunteers into our volunteer program this month, and they're already making a difference in the lives of our shelter pets! 

volunteers, partners, and friends helping the shelter

Partners Making a Difference 

We are so grateful to Community Canine Project and One Love Pit Bull Foundation for making Christmas week extra special for our shelter pets with "Treats and Toys" days! These two amazing organizations brought high-value enrichment items to both of our shelter locations so they could hand out gifts to each and every dog in our care. Between One Love Pit Bull Foundation at East and Community Canine Project at Durango, they handed out hundreds of gifts to make sure that even if our shelter pups didn't find homes in time for the holidays, they'd still experience a little of the love (and delicious snacks!) they deserved. 

Two group walks were hosted by Four Paws and Friends in December, and thanks to their organized approach and dedicated volunteer base, they were able to take out a total of 131 dogs between these two events! Not only did our shelter pups get a chance to stretch their legs, but they also had report cards made to record information about their personalities and preferences to help them find new families. Volunteers also used these two event days as an opportunity to get photos of adoptable dogs, and fill Kongs for their enrichment. 

In addition to providing their Mutt Manners training classes to some of our shelter dogs, One Love Pit Bull Foundation also took twelve lucky pups on a fun field trip for a “Mutt Manners Hike” this month! Volunteers were also rallied together by their organization to walk dogs at our East Shelter, getting 20-30 dogs out for walks every Tuesday. 

Our enrichment program has been able to keep tails wagging in our shelters all year long, and it’s all thanks to the support of our partners and YOU! Community Canine Project, East Side Elves, Four Paws and Friends, and One Love Pit Bull Foundation have all continued to donate box after box of our shelter pups’ favorite items (in addition to helping provide collars, blankets, and more!). We wouldn’t be able to have this program in place without everyone pitching in to make our shelter pets’ days a little brighter. Thank you! 

Diane and Bob Hoover Annual Innovation Awards

Diane and Bob Hoover Annual Innovation Awards 

We are honored to announce that our shelter received second place in this year's Diane and Bob Hoover Annual Innovation Awards. This award by Pethealth Inc honors the contributions and dedication of Diane and Bob Hoover to the animal welfare community.  

The judging panel was impressed with our “use of self-serve kiosks to allow potential adopters to see available pets for adoption and get the necessary information, all in a contact-free environment.”  

(Congratulations to Arizona Humane Society for receiving first place this year for becoming the first non-profit in AZ with a licensed and insured car dealership!) 

Get Involved in the New Year! 

Choosing to share your time and resources with others isn’t a seasonal need – we could use your help all throughout the year! Here are some impactful ways you can support our shelter pets all year long: 

adopt, foster, volunteer, donate, advocate
Adopt a pet in need: Adopting at MCACC or through one of our rescue partners provides a loving home for homeless pets! 

Offer a temporary home: If you can't commit to adoption, why not try fostering? Foster for us and open a kennel space for the next homeless pet in need, or foster for one of our partners to help them care for more animals! 

Give a little time: If you have a few spare hours each week, consider volunteering at our shelter! We rely on volunteers to help with laundry and cleaning, giving exercise and attention to our shelter pets, and more! 

Donate some comfort: Our shelter pets can always use donations of certain items, and we keep a list of what we (and our rescue partners!) need the most on our website. 

Spread the word: Even if you aren't able to adopt, foster, volunteer, or donate right now, there's still an important way you can help - by advocating for our shelter pets! Encourage your friends and family to consider adoption for their next pet, let lawmakers know what changes you'd like to see to protect animals from harm, share posts from your favorite shelters and rescues, etc. 

There are almost endless ways to get involved and help the pets in our local community. Thank you so much for all you do to help make a difference at MCACC! 

November Shelter Stats 

Through all the hard work of our shelter staff each and every day, 1,029 pets were adopted into new homes, 178 pets left the shelter with our partners, and 297 lost pets were returned to their families in November! 

MCACC shelter stats November 2021

Upcoming Events and Holiday Hours

Open New Year's Eve (Friday, December 31st) for adoptions from 11:00am - 3:00pm.

Closed New Year’s Day, Saturday, January 1st.

Open Martin Luther King Jr Day (Monday, January 17th) for adoptions from 11:00am - 3:00pm.

Petco adoption event

January 8
Mobile Adoption at Petco

PACC911 adoptathon

January 15
PACC911 Adoptathon