February is synonymous with love, but romantic love isn’t the only kind of love that deserves celebration. Familial love and friendship also offer fulfilling relationships. Sometimes, those family members and friends are four-legged.
Pets can help relieve stress, give a larger sense of purpose, motivate us to exercise, and provide a sense of connection. Studies have shown that all varieties of pets benefit mental health. That has rung true since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Since then, one in five American households adopted a pet—and data shows those pets are sticking around.
There are dozens of New Mexico organizations that rescue animals and find suitable, forever homes for them. Here are nine Land of Enchantment organizations that might be able to match you with the next member of your family or future best friend.
1. Animal Humane of New Mexico
Animal Humane of New Mexico comes to the aid of some 10,000 homeless and at-risk dogs and cats each year. The organization has been dedicated to serving these four-legged friends since 1965. Since 2010, it has rehomed every animal in its care.
2. New Mexico Animal Friends
A non-profit, no-kill organization, New Mexico Animal Friends rescues dogs and cats. It provides temporary foster homes until the organization can find permanent homes for them. It also has an educational outreach arm, and reduces overpopulation in companion animals and feral cats through a spay-neuter program.
3. Watermelon Mountain Ranch Animal Center
Since its founding in 1996, Watermelon Mountain Ranch has saved the lives of more than 150,000 animals. Lee and Sophia DiClemente founded it as a small, grassroots organization, but it has grown to become the state’s largest no-kill animal shelter with a 10-acre main campus, two resale stores, and offsite adoption centers. It has several special programs, including Molly’s Mercy Missions, which whisks animals facing euthanasia away from shelters across the Southwest and Ciudad Juarez in Mexico.
4. New Mexico Dog
NM Dog specializes in rescuing the chained, abused, and abandoned dogs of New Mexico. Founded in 2010, the all-volunteer and foster-based organization has come to the aid of a thousand dogs. Often, the organization works with owners to guarantee the surrender of their chained dogs and swoops in during hoarding and animal abuse cases. After it secures the safety of the dog, it works with law enforcement to get justice for abused and neglected animals. Once a dog is a member of the NM Dog effort, it receives medical care, support, and gifts throughout its life.
5. Santa Fe Humane Society
Santa Fe Humane Society opened its doors in 1939. Since then, it has become northern New Mexico’s largest open-admission, no-kill animal shelter. Its 100-acre campus has walking trails and play yards for the shelter residents to use, as well as single and multi-use dog parks that are open to the public.
6. Lap Dog Rescue of New Mexico
Lap Dog Rescue specializes in the smallest companion dogs living in shelters, or who find themselves in unsuitable homes or on the streets. It has stepped in during hoarding situations on several occasions. Marie Steele and Tamara Marquez-Nugent founded the organization in the mid-1990s.
7. Felines and Friends New Mexico
Since its founding in 2002, Felines and Friends New Mexico has placed 4,000 cats (and some dogs) into loving homes. It finds cats who need a second chance new families, facilitates low-cost spay/neuter clinics to keep pet overpopulation in check, and sponsors ongoing classes to improve the lives of companion animals and their guardians.
8. High Desert Cat Rescue & Adoption
High Desert Cat Rescue & Adoption is a no-kill shelter. It provides medical care and fosters cats who are sick, abandoned, or otherwise neglected until volunteers can locate a loving home.
9. New Mexico House Rabbit Society
The New Mexico House Rabbit Society cares for shelter rabbits, fosters them, and locates adoptive homes for them. Its volunteers are also active educators and provide training to shelter staff, potential adopters, and current rabbit owners about proper rabbit care.
If you can’t provide a permanent home to a pet, these organizations are always searching for foster homes. And, if you already have a full house but support their missions, the non-profits welcome donations.