Telluride Humane Society

Coco is one of Telluride Humane Society’s many success stories. The affable boxer was found shot on the side of the road last year, but thanks to excellent medical care from Animal Hospital of Telluride and a network of area animal lovers, she has recovered and found her forever home. (Courtesy photo)

The Telluride Humane Society launched a year ago, and during that time, raised funds for animals in need, tackled severe medical cases and collaborated with regional animal welfare organizations to provide services to the Telluride community. 

"We're excited to announce that the Telluride Humane Society has been operating for one year, and we're exceptionally proud of the Telluride Humane Society medical fund," said Ellen Williamson, President of the board of the Telluride Humane Society. "The fund was started to help cover the emergency medical needs that arise in the community." 

Coco is one dog that benefited from the Telluride Humane Society medical fund. Coco was found last winter by San Miguel County Sheriff's deputies. She had been shot and left for dead and brought to the Animal Hospital of Telluride. When Coco arrived at the Animal Hospital of Telluride, she required months of around-the-clock care by the dedicated team at the hospital. Dr. Steve Smolen and his team nursed her back to health and managed her day-to-day care, walking her, networking her to potential families and eventually finding her forever home, after almost a year in their care. 

"Coco's case was extreme and very costly," said Williamson. "But, she was the poster dog for the medical fund; she persevered and still loves everyone she meets." 

The Telluride Humane Society medical fund covers emergencies like Coco's but also other needs within the community from requests for pet food to everyday veterinary expenses for local families. 

In early 2019, a local dog was hit by a car, and the young owner was struggling to pay for its care. The Telluride Humane Society raised funds for this dog to receive the much-needed surgery to save its life. 

A Good Samaritan in Rico found a litter of puppies and brought them to the Animal Hospital of Telluride. The Humane Society's fosters and network collaborated to help fund their care, get them into foster homes, and bring them to adoption events until they found their forever homes.

And, one fall day, a local Montrose woman found a mama cat and a litter of kittens under the deck of an abandoned home and took them in. The Telluride Humane Society stepped up to provide care for the family and worked with their foster and the Animal Hospital of Telluride to provide vet care and to find homes for them. 

The Telluride community loves its animals, which was evident at a recent fundraiser for the organization — Santa Paws at the Telluride Distillery. The Telluride Distillery, TMVOA, Ben Eng Photography and the Telluride Humane Society hosted the fundraiser, which offered photos with Santa for a suggested donation of $20. Guests mingled with other dog lovers, sipped greyhounds and salty dogs, and went home with a printed photo that evening. The funds raised went to the Telluride Humane Society medical fund. 

"It was so much fun to see the Telluride community come out to support our organization and to mingle with the dog-lovers that care passionately about their animals," Williamson said. 

The Telluride Humane Society is an all volunteer organization. In 2019 the organization was able to adopt out several animals that were cared for by their foster network until the animals found their forever homes.   

"We have a mighty team of fosters and volunteers that jump at a moment's notice to take animals in need," said Williamson. "We couldn't do what we do without our volunteers." 

Telluride Humane Society and Second Chance Humane Society collaborated in the fall to help save Buddy, the vision-impaired black lab that was set to be euthanized. Buddy was very sick and needed medical care, along with a diagnosis of his vision impairment. He was fostered locally by a family in Norwood and taken into Second Chance's network. He found his forever home at a Second Chance Humane Society event where he met his new mom, who also has a vision-impaired horse. 

The Telluride Humane Society will continue to collaborate with other animal welfare organizations in its second year. For more information, visit