Mosey for Mutts

September 13, 2013 |

Humane Society of Southern Arizona Hosts a Fundraising Walk on Sat., Sept. 28.

Volunteer Matt O’Bright cuddles an adoptable pup at one of HSSAs many community events.
photo courtesy of the Humane Society of Southern Arizona

“We have approximately 525 animals on site at any give time,” explains Samantha Esquivel, public relations lead for the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA), regarding the number of critters the center regularly shelters. “They have as much time to be adopted as they need, we try and compensate for the lack of behavior training, we take the necessary time to work with them. Every dog is different and we comfort them as much as possible.”

The sad reality is that some creatures HSSA receives aren’t able to be adopted out. “We do humanely euthanize animals that are medically or behaviorally untreatable.”

Esquivel is expounding on HSSA’s modus operandi, which is a deep dedication to taking care of and finding forever homes for the animals that come through their doors. The organization – an independent, locally run 501c3 – was established in 1944 and has been on the same property since its inception. According to its 2012 annual report, HSSA received 9,515 animals in fiscal year 2011-2012. Over 6,000 were critters given up by their owners during that time period. Close to 7,000 were adopted out.

And these are pets of all ilk, Esquivel says, in addition to dogs and cats, the center receives “pocket pets – gerbils, hamsters, bunnies – sometimes we get fowl, roosters, geese. We try to adopt them out too, they have their own area (on the property).”

The role of HSSA in the Old Pueblo goes beyond sheltering and adopting out companion animals, it also provides veterinary care, has a spay and neuter clinic, a vaccination clinic, a feral cat trap/neuter/return program, and classes for people on pet safety and pet first aid. For its shelter dog guests, HSSA has a Canine College program to get the pooches ready for their new homes.

Needless to say, it takes time and money to be this deeply involved in Tucson’s human and animal community. HSSA has “zero affiliation” with the national organization, Esquivel clarifies, and the organization is “always trying to incorporate the community with fun activities that involve animals and families.”

With the Mosey for Mutts event coming up on Saturday, Sept. 28, HSSA is bringing those elements together with a human and canine walk around Reid Park, at Country Club Road and 22nd Street, starting at 7 a.m. The idea, Esquivel says, came up in a meeting. “It is something we know people would like, plus early mornings or late evenings are the best times to walk dogs!”

“It is the first walk we are doing, we will have local vendors on hand, plus a photo booth – you can get some shots afterward for free! There is a $25 registration fee, which includes a tee-shirt, a collapsible water bottle and each dog gets a bandana.”

In addition, there will be demonstrations by DMAFB K9, Tucson Police K9, Ruff House, Snake Aversion Training and Agility Training.

Kids under ten and dogs can walk for free, but make sure your canine companions are harnessed or leashed, with the leash length no longer than six feet. Get more details and register online at or call 321-3704, ext. 188.

Category: Community, Events