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Socially Conscious Sheltering…What’s it mean?

People have many opinions on animal shelters. If you’ve visited one, or a few, of them, I’m sure you’ve seen operations run a variety of ways. The fact is, the day to day life of a shelter varies depending on the mission and goal of that organization. Here at Journey Home, we pride ourselves on being a socially conscious shelter. There are a lot of things that go into this, and those things can be seen in every aspect of our organization from operations to donor/community relations.  


So, what does socially conscious sheltering look like at Journey Home? 


Each day we strive to build and foster the relationships in our community. We’ve been extremely fortunate to be able to spend years getting to know the businesses and people around us, and even in locations outside of Rifle and Colorado. In order for socially conscious sheltering to be successful, veterinarians, law enforcement, and community members have to be involved. Our veterinarian and vet staff work hard to ensure that every shelter animal is adopted with vaccinations, a microchip, and having been altered. We also operate a low-cost community clinic in order to help the pets and their owners with spay/neuter services and vaccinations. We collaborate with other vet hospitals when animals need more care than what’s possible at the shelter. These relationships truly save animals’ lives, and allow them a chance to survive and even thrive after horrible injuries and/or diseases.  


Our Community Outreach Coordinator is frequently at schools, teaching preschoolers to high school students about animal safety and welfare. She attends Farmer’s Markets throughout the summer and truly enjoys making herself available for the community. Our Pet Food Pantry provides food for dogs and cats when people need that little extra help. The programs and events that we hold throughout the year include a summer camp, a 5K, a comedy show – just to name a few. Our goal is to educate while also providing fun opportunities for people. 


Our volunteer program has grown exponentially in the past year and now includes a junior volunteer program and monthly senior days. We host Shelter Sit Down and cover a different topic each month, with lunch included. It’s vital to us that we are a resource, a safe place for animals but also an educational outlet for community members. 


We make ourselves available to law enforcement when they have animals that need a safe place to go. We work with other shelters, cities, and states to transfer animals as needed, in order to give the animals the best possible chance at a forever home. We collaborate with businesses so that animals can be exposed to office settings, people, and other animals. There are endless partnerships that come into play that allow us to provide training and exposure and to truly look at animals holistically. These partnerships are important to us for many reasons, but the main one being the safety and well-being of the animals here. Socially conscious sheltering places the animal at the forefront of every decision.

Socially conscious sheltering means: 

  1. Placing every healthy and safe animal.

  2. Ensuring that every unwanted or homeless pet has a safe place to go for shelter and care.

  3. Assessing the animals’ medical needs and making sure those needs are thoughtfully addressed. 

  4. Aligning shelter policy with the needs of the community. 

  5. Alleviating the suffering and making appropriate euthanasia decisions. 

  6. Enhancing the human/animal bond for safe placements and adoption support. 

  7. Considering the health, wellness, and safety of animals for each community when transferring animals. 

  8. Fostering a culture of transparency, ethical decision making, mutual respect, continual learning, and collaboration.

Every decision we make at JHACC is made with the above principles in mind. When an animal comes to JHACC, everything from their intake to their adoption is done using the methods of socially conscious sheltering. Our vet examines and weighs each animal the moment they come through the doors. Our Kennel Staff interacts with our animals every step of the way to improve their human bond. They focus on enrichment and compassion and it’s incredible to see the growth in these animals because of our Kennel Staff. Our Foster Care Coordinator works tirelessly to find placements so that the animals have the best possible chance to flourish in a permanent home. Our Leadership is committed to improving our reach in the community and beyond.  


The people at Journey Home are here because we truly care about the animals and the people in our community. We hope we are the organization you think about when it comes to fostering, adoption, events, and education. 


You can learn more about socially conscious sheltering by visiting:  

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