Executive Director Updates


April 21, 2017

So today is my last day as acting Executive Director. It has been a very long, but rewarding nine months and we have accomplished so much. Our mosey and me for paperadoption numbers are up, our length-of-stay average days have come way down. We have spayed/neutered every animal in the shelter, along with the dogs and cats in the old Foster-to-Adopt program.  We have a strong, caring and very talented board, management team and staff, committed & dedicated volunteers and a donor base second to none here in Taos. In the past nine months we have:

  • finalized 588 adoptions
  • transferred 391 animals to partner shelters or no-kill sanctuaries
  • returned 127 dogs and cats to their owners
  • received almost 900 animals as public strays, seized by animal control, or owner surrenders
  • repaired and fostered positive working relationships with the town, county and sheriff.

I expected to be in the interim Executive Director position for two-three months...well, it has been triple that time as the extensive search for the permanent ED took longer than we thought. But we found the perfect person to lead the team at Stray Hearts. Jennifer Gfeller is experienced, motivated, and excited to be here. She is also very nice. Taos will love her.

People keep asking me if I am happy to be leaving. I would phrase it differently. I am happy that we finally have someone with a strong animal SHELTER background in the ED position. And I will still be involved as an (unpaid) advisor to the board of directors, a volunteer, and a project leader for a number of strategic initiatives we will implement this year.

I think this is the first time we will have a planned, positive, and productive leadership transition at the shelter. Just think...no drama, no blow-ups, and no time lost by needing the new person to "clean-up" the organization. As I keep saying, we were the MASH unit to stabilize the patient. Now the surgeon is here to take Stray Hearts to a level of excellence never before seen by our community.

But Jennifer cannot do this without your help. I must admit that during my tenure I have not had a good night's sleep. The stress of our lack of adequate funding is never-ending. And we are at one of the crises points where we will not be able to operate for much longer without an infusion of cash.

So please, as my last request as acting ED, help Jennifer ensure she can do everything we hired her to do. The Stray Hearts budget is $56K per month. And the impressive results from the most recent Radiothon campaign ($75K) in reality only equals two months of operating income (including the government contract fees). We have two months before our next major fundraiser, and our cash flow is running low.

It is only through your generous gifts that Stray Hearts Animal Shelter can be there for the lost, abandoned & unwanted animals of Taos.

Please, if you possibly can, send a gift for the animals right now.

We’ll put your gift to work saving innocent lives and ensuring the shelter operates with excellence.

We remain grateful for all of your support and accept donations whichever way is most convenient for you. You may donate in any of the following ways:

  • Use either PayPal or a Credit Card, both are available at strayhearts.org;
  • Phone our office at (575) 758-2981 with a credit card;
  • Mail a check made out to Stray Hearts Animal Shelter at PO Box 622, Taos, New Mexico 87571;
  • Through your company employees' community giving program;

Thank you so much for all of your help and support,
Diane Padoven
Acting Executive Director
Stray Hearts Animal Shelter
August 2016 - April 2017