On Saturday, June 25, dozens of community members, politicians and local organizations gathered for the Community Expo and Celebration at the Albuquerque Rail Yards in conjunction with the State of the City address. While their owners were listening to Mayor Tim Keller detail his plans for the city, a select group of canine companions took time to enjoy the newly renovated Rail Yards and the slightly overcast weather.

Desiree Cawley, marketing manager for the city’s Animal Welfare Department, welcomed the crowd of furry friends from community members joining in on the celebration as well as animals up for adoption brought by the department.

“We’re here at this event to promote the Animal Welfare Department (and) adopting our pets. We’ve brought some wonderful pets that are available for adoption,” Cawley said.



The Department was not only out seeking potential new pet-owners, but also volunteers for the shelters and foster care; fostering is especially important for our feline friends around this time of year, which Cawley referred to as “kitten season.”

“We have over 900 animals in the shelter, so we would love for volunteers to come out … (and) walk our dogs so they can get some exercise while they wait for someone to adopt them and they can have their forever home,” Cawley said.

The prospect of fostering is one that Cawley emphasized could be particularly eye-catching for college students who maybe can’t commit completely to adopting a pet.

“If they’ve got a place, they can bring some kittens to their house, let (the kittens) socialize … What’s the best thing? Getting some kitten love, you know, those snuggles and stuff like that,” Cawley said.

In terms of outreach, Cawley said the Department was focusing on a “boots on the ground” operation, bringing the shelter to the people rather than people to the shelter.

“(Going to the public) is the key and really showing the services we provide … seeing all these programs and what the public can take advantage of is great,” Cawley said.

When it comes down to actually adopting a pet, whether it be an animal from a shelter or from some other source like a breeder, Cawley encouraged people to do their research beforehand, for their sake as well as the animal’s sake.

“I think anytime you’re deciding on any pet, do your research. Make sure it’s a perfect fit for you. If you’re an active person, look for a dog that’s more active. If you’re more of a person that likes to lay back, watch TV, then look for a pet that would fit your personality,” Cawley said.

Updates, shelter locations and upcoming events for the Animal Welfare Department can be found on their website.

John Scott is the editor-in-chief at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at editorinchief@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @JScott050901