Most rescues and shelters say they give an animal in need a second chance in life. However, Tangerine Bolen of Santa Fe asks whether a second chance is also for people.

Bolen lost her rescue Pomeranian, Griffin, to cancer recently, and she said it was a painful and tremendous loss for her family.

“After the loss of Griffin, who quite literally helped save my life after I lost my health suddenly in 2012, it was important to me to find someone who would be just right, for our next chapter,” said Bolen. “I knew I was going to take a leap, choosing to love someone new while also still grieving.”

Bolen, who suffered from the symptoms of a significant stroke almost 10 years ago and lost the ability to walk and speak, continues to have improvements but is still suffering from damage to the brain and central nervous systems. She is able to speak now.

“That’s just the tip of the iceberg for what I’ve been through,” said Bolen. “I’ve come back from barely being able to walk or speak, and I became extremely light and sound sensitive, among other things, but that is when I found Griffin.”

The Pomeranian was a rescue dog and helped Bolen through her darkest days. “I cannot overstate what it meant to have this tiny being watching over me while I navigated symptoms that I believe most people wouldn’t survive.”

When Griffin died, Bolen and her husband, Bob, were devastated. But Bolen knew she needed another companion animal to help her manage each day, so she went to the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society.

“It was getting late, toward dusk, and it was the first of our colder weather here in Santa Fe,

and that is when Milo, a 1-year-old tricolored Chihuahua dachshund mix, came out and I could see right away that he was quite overwhelmed and scared,” Bolen said.

Bolen continued to say that because she had been around animals all her life, she had a feeling what Milo might be going through. So she sat down on the ground in one of the outside play areas and waited.

“Milo eventually ran over and jumped into my lap. I wrapped him in my jacket, and we sat there together,” she said.

Milo was welcomed into their family, and that is when Bolen said that the new dog was her second chance.

“When you get sick and then don’t get better, you’re kind of removed from society. So yes, dogs give us second chances. Griffin helped save my life, and Milo is a daily source of joy, silliness, mischievousness, curiosity and snuggles for me. I feel like we won the shelter dog lottery with him, and I am so grateful he has become my companion.”

Bolen says she is so thankful to the Santa Fe animal shelter and for meeting Milo, who continues to help her every day.

“We all have to navigate our grief as best we can, and I think that means really tuning in and listening to it, honoring it, not pushing it away. For me, that was sort of lurking at our local animal shelter over the weeks after we lost Griffin. But no one felt right, not even close. Until we met Milo, who gave us a second chance.” said Bolen.


Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society: Maggie is a gorgeous 2-year-old mixed breed dog who weighs around

60 pounds. Maggie has been around children and other dogs. Maggie loves to go on walks and explore her surroundings. She is super sweet.

Rascal is a sweet and curious house rabbit who is just over a year old. He takes a little bit to warm up to people but is happy to receive plenty of pets and cuddles. Rascal is litterbox trained and full of personality.

These and other animals are available for adoption from the Santa Fe animal shelter, 100 Caja del Rio Road.

The mobile adoptions team will be at PetSmart from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with adoptable dogs and cats.

The shelter’s adoption hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Call 505-983-4309, ext. 1610, or visit

Española Humane: Miss Hiss, a 6-month-old kitten, is a Russian blue who was brought to the shelter in September unable to walk. Veterinarians found a BB in her neck was causing the problem. It was lodged between her trachea and spine, and surgery to remove the BB would have been next to impossible. After three months in foster care with a veterinarian, the nerve damage has improved dramatically, and Miss Hiss is fully mobile. Miss Hiss had a rough start in life, so she can sometimes hide but she can be picked up and held in a person’s lap.

She gets along with other cats, uses the litter box, is spayed, microchipped and vaccinated.

Ronnie is a 2-year-old, 41-pound pint-sized cattle dog. Ronnie would love an active owner. He is neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and goes home with six months of heartworm prevention.

Call 505-753-8662 or visit

Felines & Friends: Angelica was a 1-year-old pregnant mother who gave birth to six kittens. This petite tabby-calico mix is shy but becomes extremely loving and playful — especially with toys she can carry in her mouth.

Angelica is at the Petco adoption center.

Two-year-old Purrcy is a lap cat. The dapper brown and white tabby has shown himself to be a very sweet cat with an easygoing disposition. Purrcy gets along with other cats, but would be just as happy as an only pet. Apply at

Dew Paws Rescue: Morticia is a 6-month-old, beautiful silver tabby and is the last of her litter. She is sweet natured and playful and can be part of a multiple pet family. Morticia is medically vetted. Call 505-412-9096 or go to

The Horse Shelter: Mick is a sweet, chestnut gelding looking for a new home. He has completed a 60 day groundwork challenge and is easy to catch, lead, back, sending everywhere, standing tied, picking up his feet and trailer loading. Mick is available as a nonriding companion horse. Mick and many other horses are available for adoption at The Horse Shelter. For more information, visit or call 505-577-2193.

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