Appreciation is gratefully extended to Kat Knudsen, media coordinator, kennel technician and 15-year volunteer for the Intermountain Humane Society in Pine, for her written contribution to this column. Kat is a lifetime lover of animals of every color, stripe and spot, and greatly enjoys doing painted pet portraits as well.

When Intermountain Humane Society ( needed a helping hand, a paws-itively purrfect partnership was proposed!

IMHS serves as the only animal shelter in Park County and southwest Jefferson County, encompassing 2,300 square miles. We provide refuge and assistance to homeless pets in our local area. We also network with other shelters, taking in transfers when we have available space. In recent years, IMHS has been struggling to make ends meet. Inflation of necessary supplies, medical care, and an overall decrease in donations have contributed to this struggle. Upon hearing of their new veterinary clinic and teaching center opening in nearby Conifer, the IMHS board approached Dr. Jeff Young and his team at Planned Pethood International (PPI). Planned Pethood is well known for low-cost mobile neutering clinics, Native American reservation work, and training of veterinarians from around the world in more efficient surgical techniques. Dr. Jeff has served on numerous Humane Society boards and has advised mobile surgical units across America. A partnership was proposed between the two nonprofits. Dr. Jeff and his team immediately saw what a win-win this would be for all involved, especially the mountain community. Wheels were set in motion to make it a reality.

The goals of both organizations very closely align: to reduce the number of homeless pets and provide care for those in need; control overpopulation through spaying and neutering; to place animals in their very best forever homes and ensure they stay there; and to help our community by providing low-cost veterinary care and access to local resources for pet food, supplies and behavioral guidance.

PPI’s new facility in Green Valley is state-of-the-art, from the high-tech-everything-resistant flooring to the diagnostic equipment and surgical suites. There are oxygen therapy kennels, on-site blood testing, and a soon-to-be CT scanner. Groundbreaking surgeries will be performed, and the next generation of veterinary professionals will be trained in the best technology. Veterinarians from around the globe will receive free education on safe and efficient spay/neuter techniques and how best to help abused and abandoned animals. Room and board for visiting students will be provided at no cost in the revamped 6,000-square-foot space.

This elevated animal care will also include the residents at IMHS. A surgical room will be set up at the shelter to give prompt care for shelter residents for routine surgeries like alterations and dentals. This access to immediate treatment will truly be a game-changer. Advanced diagnostic tests including blood tests will also take place at the shelter to help IMHS nip infectious diseases in the bud before they can be transmitted to other residents.

Both PPI and IMHS believe in helping alleviate pet overpopulation in under-serviced areas of the Southwest and on reservations. PPI regularly conducts spay and neuter clinics there and beyond (46 countries to be exact!), and IMHS transports animals from KS, NM, and elsewhere to spay and neuter and adopt-out. We are committed to helping our local mountain community and beyond, where the need is so great. Ultimately, pet overpopulation needs to start with effective spay and neuter programs, not with the warehousing of animals. However, many animals find themselves homeless even after having a family. IMHS will always continue to provide care and shelter to animals in need and give them an opportunity for a second chance.

The partnership is also making possible major improvements to the shelter and Thrift Store. The construction of indoor/outdoor runs for the canines is in the works as well as enhanced and engaging habitats for the felines. We are striving to make a better environment for the residents of IMHS and making sure they go to their new homes healthy and happy. The Thrift Store will be updated and aim for quality items over quantity. We will have a variety of new and gently used pet supplies and only the best second-hand offerings curated for our customers. All sales will benefit the critters at IMHS and the mission of PPI.

This serendipitous alliance will provide benefits not only locally but to the welfare of companion animals and those who care for them throughout the U.S. and beyond. Welcome, Dr. Jeff Young and PPI, to the mountain community and the IMHS family. We look forward to working together to make this world a little better for our furry friends.