What would you say if someone told you that you could do a hobby you love, and benefit a charity at the same time? It’s not too good to be true. A month ago, August 30, a group of 137 ladies (and a few gentleman) did just that. They filled three rooms to full capacity to play the Chinese tile game Mah Jongg.

Sure, many of these ladies play weekly or more often with friends and neighbors, but this day was different. This day, they played the game to support a cause.

The exciting gathering was the third annual “Mah Jongg for Mutts,” a fundraiser organized by Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) volunteer Candy McLeod. If the saying “Charity benefits the giver more than the receiver” is true, then Candy must be richest of us all. Candy’s passion for helping homeless pets lead her to volunteering for the YHS Thrift Store in January of 2015, and within months she had a vision to turn one of her hobbies into a benefit for the animals at the shelter. That summer she put on the first Mah Jongg for Mutts.

The 2015 event was a smashing success. With her fiery spirit, infectious energy, and unstoppable passion for the cause of animal welfare, she single-handedly recruited 64 Mah Jongg players to come together and raise $1,200 for YHS.

After the event Candy received wonderful feedback from friends who promised to play again so she graciously hosted the second annual Mah Jongg for Mutts at Talking Rock Ranch in 2016. This time she managed to recruite almost twice as many players and the 112 ladies raised just over $3,200 to help our communities homeless animals.

On the event of the the third annual Mah Jongg for Mutts,Candy hoped this year the support from the community would increase by at least 50%. It seemed that could be the reality when the special day arrived and 137 Mah Jongg players were registered for the event.

Players arrived around noon to check in and eat a beautiful lunch prepared by Talking Rock Ranch, who generously donated their clubhouse space for the event. Participants picked up their name tags – those who played in 2015 and 2016 were proud to show off the three paws stamped on their name tag (one paw for each year) and exclaimed that next year they would have four paws on their name tag.

Volunteers sold tickets for wonderful raffle prizes, including a barbeque package, spa facial sessions, a beautiful bouquet of flowers, and theater tickets. The grand prize was 50% of the raffle proceeds. By the time the winning tickets were drawn the pot had reached $925—an exciting prize for the lucky winner who donated $500 of her winnings back to YHS.

The proceeds of all the donations, raffle ticket sales, and the $10 entry fees were tallied as the Mah Jongg players got their game on. The final total was an incredible $6,346! Far more than what was expected. Candy was overcome with emotion and friends celebrated with her, sharing joyful tears knowing they were helping even more pets in need. It goes without saying that next year’s Mah Jongg for Mutts, will be held on August 29, 2018 (register by emailing yhsgames@gmail.com), is highly anticipated.

Candy said she was motivated to put on the event because “Prescott is an active community. When it comes to supporting a cause, we want to participate, not just attend a fundraising event. The Mah Jongg for Mutts tournament gets people excited because they get to play a game while raising money for homeless pets. So this type of FUN-draising it is a win/win”.

If Mah Jongg isn’t your thing, but helping the animal shelter with a hobby you already enjoy sounds like fun (or perhaps you enjoy event planning), you can get involved! YHS is following the success of Mah Jongg for Mutts by organizing a series of game tournament fundraisers called “Games that Give.” Earlier this year the series had a “Cribbage for Critters” fundraiser and there are plans for “Poker for Ponies” and “Bridge the Gap between Dogs and Cats” in 2018. If you are a gaming guru with a passion for pets consider hosting your own “Games that Give”. Contact YHS at 928-445-2666 or email info@yavapaihumane.org.

Last week was one of our most favorite times of the year: Critter Camp! We love camp week so much because we get to bring young animal lovers into our mission. Critter Camp 2017 was only the second humane education day camp that Yavapai Humane Society has put on, but it was a fantastic week thanks to the volunteers and community partners who helped out.

This year, 12 campers joined us this year between Monday, July 10 through Friday, July 14 for a doggone good time. During their time, campers…

– Learned about animal sheltering and how they can help

– Met public servants including Animal Control, Search and Rescue, and Police K9

– Interacted with dogs, cats, horses, and even non-domestic animals, and learned about their health, safety, training, behavior, and body language

– Learned how people need pets, and how they enrich our lives

See highlights below, and to view photos from the full week, please visit our online album.


A very special THANK YOU to 2018 Critter Camp Supporters

Yavapai Humane Society is so grateful for our Education Committee and has many wonderful volunteers, as well as special guests to thank for giving your children a great experience at camp this year!

Camp Planning Committee

Janice Ashby, Aubrey Castleberry, Candy McLeod, Dianne Olson, Bailey Frances, and Jessica Brown

Camp Teachers and Assistants

Janice Ashby, Margi Jacobsen, Candy McLeod, Judy Reza, Elizabeth Todd, Shelley Ventana, and Allie Raugust, YHS Volunteer Coordinator

Special Guests

Officer James Risinger and Officer Evelyn Whittaker of Prescott Valley Animal Control
Shawn Marcum of Marcum Mountain Dog School 
Tony Turrek and his Search & Rescue dog, Hogan
Phil Weliky and his guide dog Simba
Nurse Practitioner Kaylee
Matt Buchholtz, YHS New Hope and Foster Program Coordinator
Cathy Palm-Gessner of Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary
Lucy Berg, YHS Equine Director
Ariel Redd, YHS Animal Behavior Specialist
Eric Media of Sons of Liberty K9
Officer Sean Brey and K9 Blue of Prescott Police Department
Officer Scott Potts of Yavapai County Animal Control


Yavapai Humane Society is especially grateful to Kiwanis Club of Prescott for financial sponsorship supporting this year’s Critter Camp! YHS would also like to thank ASA Party Rentals for the donation of a bounce house on Family Day.

Critter Camp 2018

Do you already know that you would like your child to be involved in next year’s Critter Camp? Get on our waiting list for 2018 here (information will be sent next spring to complete enrollment).

How could simply taking your dog for a walk raise $40,000 for pets in need? When more than 300 dedicated animal lovers come together to support homeless pets. It’s called peer-to-peer fundraising and it’s exactly what the Prescott-area community did for Yavapai Humane Society (YHS) last weekend at the 6th annual Walk for the Animals sponsored by Talking Rock Ranch.

Saturday, May 20, hundreds of pet parents and friends of the animals joined together for Yavapai County’s largest dog walk at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The Walk celebrated the special bond people share with their pets, and raised much needed funds and awareness for animals in need.

“Every dollar raised through this event stays right here in our community helping to fund more than two dozen programs and services that help support pet owners in need as well as more than 3,000 of the most vulnerable dogs, cats, and equines who come to YHS each year, “ says Jocelyn Bouchard, executive director at YHS.

Hundreds of dogs brought their people out to this premier pet lover’s event to enjoy a beautiful 5K or 1-mile course and enjoy fun activities which included a lure course by Brittany AZ Rescue, pet-friendly vendor booths, dog adoptions sponsored by The Kendall Posse at Bloomtree Realty, animal wellness tent offering low cost vaccinations and microchips sponsored by Prescott Area Pet Emergency Hospital, music, food, face painting, a bounce house for the kids and more.

By all the laughs and cheers, it was clear that the crowd-favorite was the Strut Your Mutt contest sponsored by Prescott Animal Hospital. Dogs competed in three fun categories: best trick, best costume, and owner look-alike. The hundreds of smiling faces at the Walk for the Animals—both human and canine—were a true testament to the joy a pet brings and the love of animals this community shares.

With the help of sponsors, vendors, volunteers, and participants, the Walk for the Animals proved to be a giant success once again by reaching the $40,000 goal! Businesses who are interested in sponsorship of the 2018 Walk for the Animals are encouraged to contact the YHS Marketing and Development Director at 928-445-2666 x 104. To view photos and a recap of the event, visit https://www.facebook.com/pg/YavapaiHumaneSociety


Thank you to rapidwristbands.com for these wonderful event wristbands!


Last week we celebrated our hard working volunteers for National Volunteer Week with cookies, a fun mixer, and lots of “thank you”s but nothing can fully explain how grateful we are for our team. National Volunteer Week recognizes and thanks community members who lend their time, talent, and support to causes they care about. For Yavapai Humane Society, our volunteers give not only their resources but also their hearts to animals in need.

Nearly 170 volunteers serve Yavapai Humane Society, helping all the species its organization cares for—including cats, dogs, and horses—as well as supporting other programs such as its low-cost public spay/neuter clinic and its Thrift Store.

“We want to thank our volunteers for their incredible service,” said Jocelyn Bouchard, Executive Director of Yavapai Humane Society. “There is no one more committed and caring than the volunteer, and we are so fortunate to have their support. We wouldn’t be able to offer the services and programs we do without them. They are precious to us.”

Last year, Yavapai Humane Society volunteers provided shelter, comfort and hope while rehoming nearly 3,000 county pets that faced homelessness. Additionally, they supported the affordable spay/neuter program for 3,366 publicly-owned animals in 2016. Volunteers accomplished all this great work by giving 9,534 hours to the organization last year.

According to Independent Sector, a coalition of charities, foundations, corporations, and individuals that publishes research important to the nonprofit sector, the estimated value of volunteer time for 2016 is $24.14 per hour. Based on this measurement, volunteers donated almost a quarter of a million dollars-worth of time to Yavapai Humane Society. It’s not just the financial value our volunteers have to the organization, it is so much more! The friendship, the compassion, the commitment, and the capacity to carry out our mission are all the reasons that we so deeply value our volunteers.

The animal shelter hopes to grow its volunteer program this year, with new and expanded volunteer roles. “There isn’t a skill set or talent that couldn’t be put to great use here at our organization,” says Volunteer Coordinator Allie Raugust. “Volunteering is also an awesome way to learn or practice a new skill and gain experience; there are endless opportunities at the humane society to do that.”

Visit www.yavapaihumane.org/volunteer to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.

Yesterday people all across Arizona donated to nonprofits during AZ Gives Day. Thanks to the kindness of friends like you, Yavapai Humane Society raised $1,642 for pets in need in just 24 hours! “ME-WOW,” that’s great!

To all those who supported the shelter and many great causes in our state, thank you for making the difference!

Please save the date for next year’s for AZ Gives Day, April 3, 2018. Our goal will be to raise $2,500 and we’ll need the help to get there from friends and neighbors like you, Friend of the animals.

With gratitude,

Your friends at Yavapai Humane Society

P.S. For more great stories on the pets you’ve helped with your donation “like” Yavapai Humane Society on Facebook!

When choosing Yavapai Humane Society this Arizona Gives Day you are investing in life-saving programs that serve our community’s neediest pets…pets like Pumpkin (the pretty kitty pictured above).

After Pumpkin was hit by a car her family rushed her to the vet. They were given the bad news that Pumpkin’s jaw was broken and her surgery would cost more than $3000 – money the family didn’t have. In desperation, her owners turned to us hoping we could help their sweet kitty.

Happily we were able to provide the veterinary care Pumpkin so desperately needed at a cost her family could afford. Most importantly, she did not have to be separated from her family. Today Pumpkin’s surgery is behind her and she is well on her way to being fully recovered, all thanks to the generosity of donors like you, Friend of the animals.

When you donate to YHS on Arizona Gives Day you become a hero to pets in need like Pumpkin. Please help them today!

When Isabella first arrived at our shelter she was in great pain. Her little body was shutting down as she struggled for her life. We knew we had to do everything we could to help her. With lots of medical care, the generosity of our donors, and compassion of our team, Isabella’s story has a heartwarming ending. Watch her video to see “Bella-Boo” happy at home by clicking below.

You’re driving down the road, and see an AZ license plate that have funny looking characters on it… wait, they’re not just any characters. They’re actually a blue dog and a yellow cat. Cute, right? Move to the left lane, speed up, and forget about it, right? WRONG! Wait just a minute before you forget about those funny looking characters.

The license plate your seeing is actually an important tool for our state that reduces pet overpopulation–preventing more animals from being homeless! How, you ask?

Grant funding.

A portion of every Pet Friendly license plate purchased is deposited in the “Spay and Neuter Fund.” These monies provide funding for no-cost or low-cost surgical sterilization of dogs and cats throughout our state.

Pump the breaks! Does it ACTUALLY help pets in our local community, though?

Green light. YES, yes it does!

Yavapai Humane Society has received five grants from the Companion Animal AZ License Plate Committee, totaling $40,000. Just last year, we received $10,000 in funding from those cute license plates–enough to help spay/neuter more than 150 pets of owners who needed financial assistance. Without that help, these pet owners wouldn’t have been able to afford their pets’ spay/neuter surgeries. Meaning more homeless animals in our community.

So, you could say that AZ Pet Friendly license plates are the “driving force” for fighting pet overpopulation. We wish we could claim that saying, but the Companion Animal AZ License Plate Committee are the clever ones, and that is actually their tagline.

Well, you’re convinced these license plates help, right? Now what?


It’s pretty clear, isn’t it? Get a cute license plate = fight pet overpopulation, and lend a helping hand to fellow pet owners in our community that are in need. Get your plate at www.servicearizona.com.

AZ Pet Plates

We are grateful at Yavapai Humane Society for the businesses who provide services, support, and financial contributions for the benefit of the homeless animals in our care. One of our valued mission partners is the UPS Stores of the Quad Cities.

UPS Stores Quad Cities came up with a really creative idea that engages their customers in helping the YHS mission. They once charged one dollar to tape boxes being prepped to send for their customers, but now ask for a dollar donation to YHS for the taping service-most are thrilled to give. With two stores in Prescott, one in Prescott Valley and one in Chino Valley, the YHS donation boxes the UPS Stores have available for customers are adding up too, for a total of $10,722 in the last two years!

Greg Kingsbury, Business Manager for the UPS Stores and dad to five dogs, said “We are glad to help, anything we can do.” He also noted that he is an animal lover. “I’d like to encourage other businesses to get on board and really back the Humane Society.” Suggested Greg. The UPS Store is a shining example of business leadership in our community.

Elisabeth Haugan, Development and Marketing Director for Yavapai Humane Society said, “Greg and his team really understand supporting the community in a special way. Not only are they doing something they personally believe in, they’re also showing their customers that corporate social responsibility is important to their business. On top of it, they’re INVOLVING their customers in giving, which increases brand loyalty. A community initiative like Greg’s doesn’t take anything away from business—it only adds! On this end, in the nonprofit world, our organization is receiving an amazing partner who is helping our mission. Talk about a win/win! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, UPS Stores Quad Cities.”

Yavapai Humane Society is closed to the public today due to winter weather conditions. We give our incredible staff a big “THANK YOU” for coming in for a short while today to clean kennels, feed, give medical treatment, and give love to our furry friends!


Please keep your pets safe in the cold.

See this great information, shared from the American Veterinary Medical Association:

cat staff

Happy CATurday from our Cat Team, with a few favorites from the Cattery. Our wonderful staff came in today for a quick snuggle, to clean, and to feed our furry friends. But due to the weather, our shelter and our Thrift Store are closed today.

Winter wellness: Has your pet had his/her preventive care exam (wellness exam) yet? Cold weather may worsen some medical conditions such as arthritis. Your pet should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year, and it’s as good a time as any to get him/her checked out to make sure (s)he is ready and as healthy as possible for cold weather.

Know the limits: Just like people, pets’ cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health. Be aware of your pet’s tolerance for cold weather, and adjust accordingly. You will probably need to shorten your dog’s walks in very cold weather to protect you both from weather-associated health risks. Arthritic and elderly pets may have more difficulty walking on snow and ice and may be more prone to slipping and falling. Long-haired or thick-coated dogs tend to be more cold-tolerant, but are still at risk in cold weather. Short-haired pets feel the cold faster because they have less protection, and short-legged pets may become cold faster because their bellies and bodies are more likely to come into contact with snow-covered ground. Pets with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances (such as Cushing’s disease) may have a harder time regulating their body temperature, and may be more susceptible to problems from temperature extremes. The same goes for very young and very old pets. If you need help determining your pet’s temperature limits, consult your veterinarian.

Provide choices: Just like you, pets prefer comfortable sleeping places and may change their location based on their need for more or less warmth. Give them some safe options to allow them to vary their sleeping place to adjust to their needs.

Stay inside: Cats and dogs should be kept inside during cold weather. It’s a common belief that dogs and cats are resistant than people to cold weather because of their fur, but it’s untrue. Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside. Longer-haired and thick-coated dog breeds, such as huskies and other dogs bred for colder climates, are more tolerant of cold weather; but no pet should be left outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather.

Make some noise: A warm vehicle engine can be an appealing heat source for outdoor and feral cats, but it’s deadly. Check underneath your car, bang on the hood, and honk the horn before starting the engine to encourage feline hitchhikers to abandon their roost under the hood.

Check the paws: Check your dog’s paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury or damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. During a walk, a sudden lameness may be due to an injury or may be due to ice accumulation between his/her toes. You may be able to reduce the chance of iceball accumulation by clipping the hair between your dog’s toes.

Play dress-up: If your dog has a short coat or seems bothered by the cold weather, consider a sweater or dog coat. Have several on hand, so you can use a dry sweater or coat each time your dog goes outside. Wet sweaters or coats can actually make your dog colder. Some pet owners also use booties to protect their dog’s feet; if you choose to use them, make sure they fit properly.

Wipe down: During walks, your dog’s feet, legs and belly may pick up deicers, antifreeze, or other chemicals that could be toxic. When you get back inside, wipe down (or wash) your pet’s feet, legs and belly to remove these chemicals and reduce the risk that your dog will be poisoned after (s)he licks them off of his/her feet or fur. Consider using pet-safe deicers on your property to protect your pets and the others in your neighborhood.

Collar and chip: Many pets become lost in winter because snow and ice can hide recognizable scents that might normally help your pet find his/her way back home. Make sure your pet has a well-fitting collar with up-to-date identification and contact information. A microchip is a more permanent means of identification, but it’s critical that you keep the registration up to date.

Stay home: Hot cars are a known threat to pets, but cold cars also pose significant risk to your pet’s health. You’re already familiar with how a car can rapidly cool down in cold weather; it becomes like a refrigerator, and can rapidly chill your pet. Pets that are young, old, ill, or thin are particularly susceptible to cold environments and should never be left in cold cars. Limit car travel to only that which is necessary, and don’t leave your pet unattended in the vehicle.

Prevent poisoning: Clean up any antifreeze spills quickly, as even small amounts of antifreeze can be deadly. Make sure your pets don’t have access to medication bottles, household chemicals, potentially toxic foods such as onions, xylitol (a sugar substitute) and chocolate.

catlookingatsnowProtect family: Odds are your pet will be spending more time inside during the winter, so it’s a good time to make sure your house is properly pet-proofed. Use space heaters with caution around pets, because they can burn or they can be knocked over, potentially starting a fire. Check your furnace before the cold weather sets in to make sure it’s working efficiently, and install carbon monoxide detectors to keep your entire family safe from harm. If you have a pet bird, make sure its cage is away from drafts.

Avoid ice: When walking your dog, stay away from frozen ponds, lakes and other water. You don’t know if the ice will support your dog’s weight, and if your dog breaks through the ice it could be deadly. And if this happens and you instinctively try to save your dog, both of your lives could be in jeopardy.

Provide shelter: We don’t recommend keeping any pet outside for long periods of time, but if you are unable to keep your dog inside during cold weather, provide him/her with a warm, solid shelter against wind. Make sure that they have unlimited access to fresh, non-frozen water (by changing the water frequently or using a pet-safe, heated water bowl). The floor of the shelter should be off of the ground (to minimize heat loss into the ground) and the bedding should be thick, dry and changed regularly to provide a warm, dry environment. The door to the shelter should be positioned away from prevailing winds. Space heaters and heat lamps should be avoided because of the risk of burns or fire. Heated pet mats should also be used with caution because they are still capable of causing burns.

Recognize problems: If your pet is whining, shivering, seems anxious, slows down or stops moving, seems weak, or starts looking for warm places to burrow, get them back inside quickly because they are showing signs of hypothermia. Frostbite is harder to detect, and may not be fully recognized until a few days after the damage is done. If you suspect your pet has hypothermia or frostbite, consult your veterinarian immediately.

Be prepared: Cold weather also brings the risks of severe winter weather, blizzards and power outages. Prepare a disaster/emergency kit, and include your pet in your plans. Have enough food, water and medicine (including any prescription medications as well as heartworm and flea/tick preventives) on hand to get through at least 5 days.

Feed well: Keep your pet at a healthy weight throughout the winter. Some pet owners feel that a little extra weight gives their pet some extra protection from cold, but the health risks associated with that extra weight don’t make it worth doing. Watch your pet’s body condition and keep them in the healthy range. Outdoor pets will require more calories in the winter to generate enough body heat and energy to keep them warm – talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s nutritional needs during cold weather.