Big changes take shape at High Desert Humane Society

Courtesy photo Volunteer Sandi Power and Darin Lowery, furniture store manager

Gila Rabies Control’s decision to build a new shelter out at the county fairgrounds was a stroke of luck for High Desert Humane Society. Demand had outgrown the group’s small dog rescue facility downtown. The old shelter on Hackney had been built by HDHS about 1970 and had been leased to the county a few years later. Now High Desert would have room enough for all.

Unfortunately, Rabies Control’s announcement came during a rocky time for High Desert. The Hackney Street shelter needed major repairs, volunteers were tired, the pandemic kept people home and Cheryl Brazell, long-time ramrod of HDHS, needed to step down.

Unwilling to surrender, Brazell reached out to Cynthia Carr, who had been involved with the state rescue community for the last 10 years. 

In November 2021, Carr was elected president of the organization. Ever since, she has spent three to four days per week working on projects ranging from working with Gila County IT to install a computer and data system to contacting potential donors to setting up a work party to spruce up the shelter. Under Carr’s leadership, Anna Ortiz and the original board installed a plaque on the HDHS thrift shop/dog rescue building recognizing all that Richard and Cheryl Brazell have done.

Carr energized and impressed those who worked with her. Several HDHS volunteers have called her a blessing. Another uses the word “driven.” Cheryl Brazell describes her as “amazing” and “dedicated.”

On May 17, Carr announced that the Hackney Street shelter project was definitely going forward. In early June, volunteers Lorraine and Fran Beder spent three days painting while other volunteers cleaned and removed trash.

Globe volunteer Sandi Power said, “I can’t believe they (participants from San Carlos, Tucson and the Phoenix area) will drive all the way up here to volunteer.”

Carr also managed to convince several contractors to help with the renovation project including Jonovich Companies, MDC Electric, and DSR Heating and Cooling. Paint and epoxy were donated by Pinnacle Peak Ace Hardware. Others donating materials included Lauren Arterburn, Sky Sanctuary Rescue, Fur the Paws and Elizabeth Doggies.

Fundraising is essential to all charities, and Carr has not neglected that aspect. Four Paw and Friends raised $1,150 with their June 19 weekly raffle in honor of HDHS. For the month of July, those who round up purchases at Pinnacle Peak Ace Hardware will be donating to HDHS.

After the building on Hackney is ready for occupants, plans are that all dogs ready for adoption will be moved there. Only dogs that are not ready for adoption will remain at the downtown dog rescue. Although the Hackney location does have room for cats, the cat rescue will remain on Broad Street.

Carr hopes to announce a grand opening in July, after final inspections are completed. Everyone will be invited to the celebration.

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