Pet problems? We’re here to help

Are you one of the many Tucsonans who adopted a Pandemic Pup over the last couple of years, and spent a whole lot of quality time snuggling with your new best friend while working from home?

Did you go back to work at the office and discover your buddy is struggling to adjust to home life without you around all day? Maybe you’ve had a couple of shoes or a sofa turned into pricey chewtoys?

We at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona are building a solution to give you the tools you need to restore happiness to your family: The Freeman Education and Behavioral Center is rising from the ground next to our main shelter campus at 635 W. Roger Road, and will be offering public training classes and behavioral consults by wintertime.

Thanks to our generous donors, the Freeman Center will expand our capabilities for lifesaving training classes for pets and their people and enriching summer, afterschool, and break camps for kids; along with innovative services for community cats.

We plan to bring together HSSA clients with talented local pet behaviorists to solve problems like separation anxiety and destructiveness so that we can keep families together and happy while keeping their pets out of the shelter.

Two large classrooms will provide humane education to kids of all ages, expanding our enrollment and our impact. A media room will enable our humane educators to virtually visit even more classrooms and enable our certified animal behaviorists to produce videos that help the public solve problems with their pets.

The Freeman Center will feature a 2,000-square-foot climate-controlled training room for year-round comfort that will also be available for community event rentals. There will be an outdoor amphitheater for performances, lectures, and demonstrations.

The University of Arizona’s Canine Cognition Institute will have space within the Freeman Center to learn about how dogs think – and how people think with their dogs – as students and their professors make breakthrough discoveries that can help us better understand our relationship with our nonhuman companions.

And the building will house an innovative Community Cat Center to reduce the suffering of feral cats in our community with prep for and recovery from Trap-Neuter-Return surgeries, lifesaving healthcare, training for future working cats, and a Kitten Kindergarten for socializing kittens in advance of adoption.

The Freeman Education and Behavioral Center will complete our Roger Road campus and serve as a physical covenant with those we serve: We are with you to offer support for the entire lifetime of your pets. Look for our grand opening announcement later this year! For more info on how you can help us finish building the Freeman Center, please contact Diana at dcannon@hssaz.org.

While you are awaiting those cool classes at the Freeman Center, you can stay cool by visiting Tucson’s favorite thrift store – HSSA Thrift just north of 22nd Street and Wilmot Road. Chill out in our A/C, find some sweet deals, and help animals in need at the same time.

And there’s big news: Starting July 5, this expansive eastside location will provide vaccinations and adoptions as well!

Have you needed affordable vaccinations for your pets but didn’t want to travel to our westside clinic location? We are offering weekly low-cost vaccination clinics for all pets at our eastside Thrift Store in order to keep everyone safe across our region.

We will also bring adoptable pets to Thrift daily so they can find their forever families. These dogs and cats will be transported each day from our main campus for a much-needed break from their kennels for friendly visits with thrift shoppers who may want to take home a new best friend alongside their ganga deals.

These new offerings represent the first step in rolling out a complete line of animal services at 1010 S. Wilmot, which will ultimately include full intake and adoption programs as well as a 24/7 low-cost pet emergency clinic.

Learn more about our eastside future and all things Thrift has to offer at HSSAZ.org/Thrift. Have a cool summer – for you and your four-legged family members!

Steve Farley is CEO of the Humane Society of Southern Arizona

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