Cute family additions up for grabs

GRETEL DAUGHERTY/The Daily Sentinel—Hunter Martin, 10, of Fruita scratches Diesel behind his ears during a pet adoption event Sunday at PetSmart in Grand Junction. The 3-year-old terrier mix was being saved for a woman who was coming from Moab to adopt the dog. Grand Rivers Humane Society, which doesn’t have a physical shelter of its own, holds adoption events on weekends to find homes for animals from Mesa County Animal Services.

Pretty much every weekend of the year, you can find someone from the Grand Rivers Humane Society helping folks adopt a sweet-souled dog or cat at the PetSmart, 2428 Patterson Road.

At closer look, the non-shelter humane organization facilitating the process is a pretty unique partnership between a mostly volunteer community group and Mesa County Animal Services — a partnership focused on minimizing or eliminating euthanasia of adoptable animals in the county.

The cute future family additions that you see at PetSmart each weekend from Grand Rivers — the dogs at least — come from Mesa County Animal Services. At the beginning of the week, the county recommends dogs that are potentially adoptable. Those go to one of two local veterinarians for their surgeries, and Grand Rivers picks the adoptable animals up for Saturday and Sunday at the pet store.

The cats Grand Rivers brings are fixed, and then kept at the group’s Save-A-Pet thrift store on Orchard Mesa, until they can be adopted as well.

The Grand Rivers board president, Dr. Joe Maruca, said his organization has had more than 4,000 animals adopted since 2005.

Maruca is a former president of Roice-Hurst Humane Society, a local shelter and adoption center since 1963. That shelter announced a big jump earlier this week in the number of pets adopted in 2012.

Roice-Hurst said that they had found homes for more than 1,000 animals in 2012, up big from their numbers in 2011.

Roice-Hurst — which last year spent its first full year at a new location at 362 28 Road — said it took in more dogs from Mesa County Animal Services last year, transferring 182 stray and unclaimed dogs into their adoption program.

They also called last kitten season “huge” — taking in 167 kittens, some less than a week old, and finding homes for all of them.

Both organizations rely on volunteers. You can find more information by Googling “Grand Rivers Humane Society” or going to


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