Hold on to your hats, it’s Puppy Season in Tucson once again!

Story and Photos by Steve Farley CEO, Humane Society of Southern Arizona
In general, “puppy season” usually refers to the time of year when there is an increase in the number of puppies – and kittens – being born and surrendered to animal shelters and rescue organizations.

Puppy season can vary depending on the region, but it often coincides with the warmer months of the year when dogs and cats are more likely to mate and give birth. This can result in overcrowded shelters and a strain on the resources of these organizations, and we are no exception.

Sometimes, well-intentioned concerned citizens who find newborn kittens or puppies hidden away under their porches or in their backyards often fear that, without intervention, these young animals are in danger. Many people who bring these litters to HSSA are surprised to learn that the best option is usually to not disturb them at all.

While many assume these newborns have been abandoned by their mother and need rescuing – mother cats and dogs tend to stay with their litters most of the time. Often the mother cat or dog is nearby, searching for food, or has been momentarily startled away by the people approaching the area.

If you find a litter of kittens or puppies out in the elements, leave them be. Keep an eye on them from afar, and make sure they are safe and not in danger from the elements or other animals. If after 24 hours you have not seen the mother, then you should safely take them to a shelter.

When taking in an abandoned litter, the best way you can help the pets – and us as a shelter – during kitten season is to care for them as long as you can before bringing them into a shelter. If you can do that, we can provide you with instructions, bottles, and formula to help. This prevents our bottle-baby fosters from becoming overwhelmed with the number of pets who need nursing and care.

In some cases, the person who has taken in a litter is not capable of the time or space commitment required to adequately care for these animals. This is where HSSA’s Foster Care volunteers step in. They’re experienced caregivers who are trained specifically in the care of neonates (very young kittens and puppies).

Kitten and puppy season requires additional foster care volunteers and supplies. Many people who would like to help these precious, tiny pets but cannot directly care for them still support HSSA’s Foster Care programs by donating items and supplies found on the Foster Care Amazon wish list. This list is updated with the most currently needed supplies by the Foster Care office and has an immediate, positive impact on the lives of the most vulnerable animals being cared for by HSSA. You can view the wish list and learn more about HSSA’s Foster Care program by visiting hssaz.org.

Another way to help is to adopt a new best friend from us in the coming months, but make sure you know what you are getting yourself into besides an adorable bundle of joy!

It’s important to note that while puppies can be cute and cuddly, they require a long-time commitment in time, effort, and financial resources to care for properly. Be sure to do your research and understand the responsibilities that come with pet ownership. You may find that adopting a more mature older dog from HSSA might work better for you – and allow you to sleep through the night!

In fact, you can meet some of our adoptable Special Dogs of Tucson (SDOT) on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at HSSA’s Thrift Store at 1010 S. Wilmot. These are older dogs who already have wonderful companionship skills and are waiting for you to give them a forever home. While you are there you can pick up some great deals on vintage items and pet supplies at Southwest’s best thrift store!

No matter what age your dog is, training can help them be better housemates. We are now offering a really helpful and fun series of classes for you and your pup at our newly opened Freeman Education and Behavioral Center, which completes our campus at 635 W Roger Road.

Our Good Dog Academy will offer five-week classes at surprisingly affordable prices where our expert trainers will show you how to bring out the best in your dog every day. From Puppy Kindergarten to Life Skills to 1:1 Behavior Modification to Mindful Manners to Rattlesnake and Toad Awareness Training, we have a match for your best friend.

Classes are filling up fast, so please sign up soon at HSSAZ.org/GoodDog



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