Local families share success stories adopting from Craig Animal Shelter

In October, the Craig Animal Hospital was nearing full capacity with adoptable dogs and cats. Less than a month later, shelter staff reports the animal shelter has been unusually quiet with only three dogs awaiting adoption. 

The change was largely thanks to the Humane Society of Moffat County, a volunteer nonprofit that supports the Craig Animal Shelter in a number of the ways, including providing discounted adoption fees to help animals find good homes.

The Bear Creek Animal Hospital also provides space and veterinary services for the animal shelter while ensuring that all of the pets are spayed or neutered and vaccinated before they can be adopted. 

Once animals have been processed for adoption, all it takes is a family willing to bring them home. Over the years, the Humane Society and animal shelter have helped countless animals. Here are a few of their success stories. 

Two little rain clouds 

When Polly Cattoor, who works at the Craig Animal Hospital, brought home two kittens, it was only intended to be a temporary foster home. 

The kittens were born at the shelter among a litter of six. Their mother was a feral cat and later found to have feline panleukopenia. Because of the illness, four of the six kittens didn’t survive, and Cattoor brought the remaining two home to nurse them back to health. 

In the first few months, Cattoor started to notice one of the kittens was a little shaky on its feet. Both cats were diagnosed with Cerebellar Hypoplasia, also known as CH or wobbly cat syndrome, which is passed down from parent cats that have feline panleukopenia to their kittens.

Basically, CH affects a cat’s motor functions. Many cats with the diagnosis are able to live fairly normal lives, but they usually cannot go outside on their own and need some assistance with walking and feeding. Cattoor said the best way to protect pets against the disease is to get them the recommended parvo and distemper vaccines.  

Cattoor said the two kittens “were like little rain clouds” when they first came home with her, and they earned their names as Rain and Nimbus. The situation turned out to be a foster fail, and now more than a year later, the cats have made it their permanent home while claiming their place as the queens of the house.

Ranger and his handler, Craig fifth grader Piper Schnackenberg, compete in the Colorado State Fair this year.
Courtesy photo

Ranger and Piper 

After her older dogs died, Jennie Schnackenberg went a couple of years without having any pups. However, she has a good friend who volunteers at the shelter, and that’s how she heard about Ranger. 

A 2-year-old Central Asian Shepherd, Ranger was a guard dog for livestock in Routt County prior to coming to the shelter in Craig. He lost one of his eyes, but Schnackenberg said it hasn’t held Ranger back. 

“He wasn’t a good livestock guard dog,” Schnackenberg said. “I was told that he liked people too much and he was too friendly, so my daughter fell in love with him.” 

The family had been ready to adopt for a while, and it was really a matter of finding the right fit. Schnackenberg said she wanted a dog that could spend the day outside with the kids and the goats, as well as being inside with the family. That’s what made Ranger perfect. 

Additionally, Jennie’s daughter, 10-year-old Piper Schnackenberg, was waiting for the right dog to join the family so she could do a 4-H dog project. 

At first, the 4-H leader thought Ranger might be a hard dog to train because guard dog breeds are bred to be independent thinkers. In their first year of working together, though, Piper and Ranger performed well in the Moffat County Fair and qualified for state. Piper plans to do a dog project again this year. 

Odin, pictured left at age four when he was adopted from the Craig Animal Shelter by Shelly Medrano and her husband, Dave in January 2022.
Courtesy photo

Odin’s first impression

Shelly and Dave Medrano were looking for a Shi Tsu when the shelter called to inform them one was up for adoption. Shelly went to pick him up and had no idea that the dog was about to take her on the run of her life. 

The drive home from the shelter was uneventful. But when Shelly got home and opened the car door to get Odin, he leapt out of her arms and took off. She immediately went running after him, leaving her car door open. 

At the time, Odin didn’t know his name and he led Shelly on a chase that she described as a “nightmare game of Frogger,” all over the east side of Craig. Shelly recalled screaming as she chased Odin as he zig-zagged from Colorado Street to the OP Bar and Grill, up Legion Street and back to the fairgrounds. 

In the end, it took Shelly, Dave and two kind strangers who stopped to help all working together to bring Odin home. 

Looking back, Shelly said she thinks it was just a fear response because Odin looked like he was running for his life. However, now that he’s settled in, he knows his name well and runs with the rest of his pack. 

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