Conversation with HSSA’s New CEO

Story and Photos by HSSA Staff
In May, the Humane Society of Southern Arizona welcomed Dr. Kristin Barney as its new CEO. We sat down with Dr. Barney to learn more about what led her to a career in animal welfare, and what her vision is for HSSA moving forward.

Q. Tell us about your background. Why did you choose this field?

I knew very early in my life that I wanted to do work that supported the human-animal bond. My mother is disabled, and I grew up with a service dog in our home. I learned early on about the power of the animal-human bond. I spent seven years as a professional dog trainer and eventually found my way to animal welfare, where I fell in love with the work. I spent nearly two years as the chief of operations at Pima Animal Care Center (PACC), and three years leading and working with shelters across the country in my roles with Best Friends Animal Society.

Q.  What are some of the things you’ve learned along the way that will benefit HSSA?

The most important lesson that I’ve learned is that one organization alone will not be the solution to our community’s challenges. We have a dedicated group of employees and volunteers at HSSA, and we need to work closely with PACC and other rescue partners, our stakeholders, and our neighbors to have the greatest impact on the lives of the pets and people we serve.

Q. What are some of the challenges and opportunities you see for HSSA as it moves into the future?

As our community’s needs change, our response needs to evolve as well, which will be both a challenge and an opportunity. HSSA has been caring for pets and the people who love them for 80 years and we have evolved the way we do business to meet the community’s needs. It is exciting to have the opportunity to pivot again, identifying and filling gaps in services and working more closely with community stakeholders. It is also a challenge to lead that evolution within the context of our resource limitations, but I’m confident in our ability to innovate and collaborate to continue providing the best possible service.

Summer brings sunshine, vacations, and plenty of fun for us, but it can also be a dangerous time for our furry (or feathery) friends. With scorching temperatures, keeping pets cool and safe becomes a top priority. Here are some essential tips to ensure your pet enjoys the summer as much as you do!

Hydration is Key

It’s critical that pets stay hydrated, just like humans. Keep their water bowl full and consider adding ice cubes on extremely hot days. You can also encourage drinking by using a pet water fountain or adding a bit of flavoring to the water (make sure it’s pet-safe!). Staying informed about the signs of heatstroke and acting quickly in case of emergencies is crucial.

Shady Sanctuary

Provide ample shade for your pet whenever they’re outdoors. A shady spot under a tree or a canopy works well. Avoid doghouses, as they can trap heat.

Exercise Smart

Adjust your pet’s exercise routine for the summer heat. Choose walking time during the cooler mornings or evening hours and keep them short and sweet. Pay attention to your pet’s energy levels – if they seem sluggish or disinterested, stop the exercise immediately.

Don’t forget about hot asphalt and sensitive paws. Avoid walking them on pavement during the hottest part of the day. If walking on hot surfaces is unavoidable, consider using paw balm or booties to protect their delicate soles.
Never Leave Pets in Cars

This one seems obvious, but it’s worth reiterating. Arizona law takes this seriously, so it’s important to never leave your pet alone in a car, especially in warm weather. Cars can heat up super-fast, turning into an oven even on a mild day. This can make your pet sick or even worse.

Cooling Down Strategies

There are several ways to help your pet beat the heat. Provide a kiddie pool for splashing or a damp towel to lie on. You can also offer frozen treats made with pet-safe ingredients like broth or yogurt.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure your pet has a happy and healthy summer.

HSSA Invites YOU to Celebrate 80 Years!

Join us for a pawsome community celebration on Saturday, July 13th from 5 – 7:30 p.m. at HSSA, 635 W. Roger Road to celebrate 80 years of supporting pets and the families who love them.


  • $80 off all pet adoptions
  • Music provided by 92.9 The Bull
  • Vendors and food trucks
  • Free cupcakes, while supplies last
  • Family-friendly activities

Help us grant our Birthday Wish List! Go to hssaz.org/help/donate to learn more.


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