Saturday, September 26, 2009

Santa Fe: A Dog Town

Santa Fe is a "Dog Town." You may have heard this but what exactly does this mean besides the water bowls you see dotting the streets in front of businesses. Santa Feans put their money, talents and time into a well formed and functioning animal support network.

I was on the board of the New Hampshire Animal Shelter for a few years before moving here and we had serious problems there. The animal shelter in Laconia was constantly over-run with cats, there was never enough money and the roof leaked terribly.

The star of our show is the Santa Fe Animal Shelter. You can visit their website at: In 2005, the shelter moved to a 100-acre campus southwest of town. Two first-class buildings were built there, one for in-take and one for adoptions. What is notable about the Santa Fe Animal Shelter is that this facility was built mostly from in-kind donations. At last count there were almost 50 full time employees and hundreds of volunteers.

Of the thousands of success stories the animal shelter can boast about, perhaps the most amazing are the dogs that landed on their doorstep after hurricane "Katrina" blew through New Orleans. The majority of the dogs had heart-worm. All the dogs were restored to good health and any dogs that could be reunited with their owners were.

Espanola also has an animal shelter. Our 85-lb. Rottwieler, Australian Sheperd mix is from Espanola. Espanola isn't a fancy shelter but they do a tremendous job coordinating adoptions. Both shelters have an out-reach program where animals are shipped to other parts of the country when needed.

Then there are many other shelters in Santa Fe. Probably the most interesting is the Heart & Soul Sanctuary in Glorieta. This shelter is not open to the public but you can call and make an appointment to go there (a donation is required). For the most part, Heart & Soul is strictly a shelter--with out-going adoptions at the low end of their priorty list. If you are interested in learning about animal welfare and viewing the beautiful grounds of this property I recommend a visit. The chapel and memorial wall is especially moving.

Our other dog is a chihuahua, dachsund mix named "Otis." Like all small dogs, Otis has terrible teeth already at the tender age of two and the house-training is on-going, but man is he cute. Otis came from "Small Dog Rescue" off of Yucca in Santa Fe. This shelter is organized and manages to place many animals every year.

My final note on this subject is my office at Santa Fe Properties. Not only are there biscuits at the ready in the reception area but as Realtors we frequently come across pets who have been abandoned. The word goes out and we have a terrific network of caring people who help to find homes or do whatever is necessary to save a lost soul.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Religion and Spirtuality in Santa Fe

Yesterday morning, I was in line at Dunkin Donuts and I was behind an elderly Catholic Priest. The girl working the counter praised him for having a coupon. I've lived around the U.S., including both coasts, and frankly one is exposed to a lot of different religious factions here in Santa Fe. So here I am, my second blog, and I've decided to do a short summary of this diversity. If I've left anyone out, please do not hestitate to let me know.

So yes, with we do have a large Catholic community here. Some moderate, and some who bear crosses and make the annual trek to the church in Chimayo. The Cathedral is a beautiful, large and integral part of Plaza with access for devoted locals and travelers.

But there's some thing about Santa Fe, perhaps it's the lack of atmosphere, or the proximity to the heavens which attracts people from many other faiths.

There is the Buddist Temple on Airport road with it's golden dome. And the large population of arabs who are shopkeepers. Jews have a lot of choice here in Santa Fe--from Chabad to reform to some variations in between. The mormon's not only have a presence, they have a political leader (the Udall's are Mormon) and the Sikh's in Santa Fe own and run a couple of large successful businesses including the Chocolate Maven. And I can't leave out the Muslims who may be few in number but who do contribute to our community.

Add to this mix, the Methodist's (large church on Old Pecos), the Lutheran's (who have been known to generously share their church buildings with other religions that didn't have a place to worship) and the Episcopalians.

Maybe next week I'll tackle politics. Or maybe not.