Pfaff rescues shelter that births into Desert Tails in Scottsdale

Nearly nine months ago, Adama Pfaff gave birth to a new endeavor: assuming responsibility for the Desert Tails dog shelter.

In June of 2018, Ms. Pfaff, the director of Desert Tails, opened the shelter at 6423 E. Thomas Road in Scottsdale. She is pleased with the progress that was accomplished in little time, but says more is needed to ensure everything is fully operational.

“This shelter is a family place where our hearts are all in,” she said. “Since opening, we’ve come so far with so little. We would love to be able to continue to grow in our community and let people know where we are and what their donations have done.”

She described how she took over from a struggling rescue organization and wanted to continue the previous owners’ efforts.

“This happened because another rescue I was working with at the time got very overwhelmed with the needs of a shelter environment and sustainability and needed to part ways,” she said.

With more than 60 animals in the shelter when Ms. Pfaff took over, there were minimal resources to care for the animals, but she and close family and friends acted fast to rescue the rescued animals.

“I mean we didn’t even have a name, business license, 501(c)(3), or anything; not to mention only $150 in our pockets,” said Ms. Pfaff.

“I actually quit my job to take this on. I went from local salary with medical and paid time off as a general manager to now being a 24-seven, pretty much volunteer. Every penny that comes in goes straight to the shelter as the needs are very high.”

In addition to receiving help from family and volunteers, an emergency fundraiser was done to create the business in about a week, along with getting web and social media pages.

Within a week, she started to host a fundraiser and adoption events that she continues to spearhead.

“We adopted down all the dogs in our shelter and cats and started to build some amazing programs,” she said.

Some programs, she said, include veterans and junior volunteers. She even got assistance from to help with her efforts to provide for the shelter rescues.

Plus, she got help from what she called “an amazing source for our pets and medical needs.”

“We have come so far with very, very little,” she said, adding the rescue is currently in-taking small-to medium-sized dogs.

At 5 a.m., Ms. Pfaff reports to the shelter every day to get things situated with all the animals. She even makes sure the animals are cleaned before taking her daughter to school.

Aside from the many volunteers who provide continuous care, there is also a groomer on premises who operates in the shelter.

“The groomer gets there shortly after I take off. Then, I return after dropping my daughter off and we are there until about 5 p.m.,” Ms. Pfaff said.

The evening volunteers check on animals to ensure all is well. She returns bright and early the next morning and everything starts back over with caring for the animals who are never left alone during their time at the safe haven.

“We definitely pride ourselves on that. It takes a lot of work to maintain a clean shelter environment for happy healthy dogs,” said Ms. Pfaff.

“We currently have 15 dogs and are doing intakes as we speak. We have all 100 percent large breed dogs currently, which makes things very active and hard. We accept all ages and all breeds at our facility.”

As Ms. Pfaff nurtures the shelter she rescued, there is even provisions for a “nursing mom” she and volunteers are caring for; a maternity room and puppy room.

“We get our dogs from everywhere, mainly owner surrenders, but we pull from surrounding shelters that are overcrowded in the outer skirts of Arizona areas,” Ms. Pfaff said.

Local sponsors and donors are sought along with transportation so pets can get to and from adoption events as well as medical appointments, Ms. Pfaff noted.

Independent Newsmedia News Services Specialist Delarita Ford can be reached by e-mail at

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