CARE’s annual Dressed to the K9s fundraiser shows off adoptable animals in unique fashion show |

CARE’s annual Dressed to the K9s fundraiser shows off adoptable animals in unique fashion show

A model walks a dog from Colorado Animal Rescue (CARE) down the runway during a previous Dressed to the K9s fundraiser. This year, the fundraiser takes place at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday at The Gathering Center at The Orchard in Carbondale. Tickets are $75.
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Who: Colorado Animal Rescue (CARE)

What: 14th Annual Dressed to the K9s Fundraiser

When: 5:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: The Gathering Center at The Orchard in Carbondale

How much: $75

The runway is one of the best places to sell the latest fashions and accessories, and for Colorado Animal Rescue (CARE), the best accessory of all is a new pet.

CARE is presenting its 14th annual Dressed to the K9s fashion show fundraiser at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in The Gathering Center at The Orchard in Carbondale, and CARE Executive Director Leslie Rockey says it’s a great way to show off adoptable animals.

“We just thought it would be something fun, something different, and having a fashion show is really a great way to highlight the animals,” Rockey said.

In the past, CARE has invited local stores to contribute clothing and used local models to show it off. But this year, the show will shift its focus from clothing to accessories.

“We have four stores involved, and they’re going to highlight their accessories,” said Rockey. “And obviously the best accessory is one of our shelter animals.”

In addition to the fashion show, Dressed to the K9s will feature hors d’oeuvres from Fusion Catering, dessert from Killer Cakes and a silent auction with items for golfing and paragliding, plus gift baskets, dinner at many different restaurants, a rafting trip and more.

Another highlight of this year’s event is the screening of a film created by students from Colorado Mountain College’s Isaacson School for New Media. Rockey said the film is a great way to show attendees how CARE helps its animals.

“It’s about one of our animals that’s come through the shelter,” said Rockey. “It’s called ‘Ernie’s Journey.’”

CARE has been a part of the community for almost 15 years. It is the holding facility for Garfield County, Glenwood Springs, New Castle and Basalt. It is the shelter’s job to take any animals that are brought to it and provide top-notch care to prepare the animal for finding a forever home.

“We take animals that the animal control finds, animals that are left behind when people move away, people that are going through changes and maybe their kids have allergies, or divorce,” Rockey said. “So we get animals in a variety of different ways. We deal, typically, with dogs and cats, but we also have exotics. We have a gerbil right now, we have guinea pigs, we have a rooster. We have a little bit of everything.”

The shelter is not just a holding facility for animals, though. CARE is one of the lucky shelters in the country that is able to provide top-notch medical care to the animals it takes in. All animals receive a health and behavioral assessment and are spayed and neutered, de-wormed, microchipped and vaccinated. If an animal comes in with special needs, which happens with some frequency, the shelter takes care of those needs, too.

“This year we’ve had two dogs that we’ve had to get a cart for because they’ve had rear end issues,” said Rockey. “We’ve had a couple of dogs that had amputated legs that we’ve had to do, and then a lot of just senior cat issues, like kidney disease and dental problems.”

In addition to excellent medical attention, the animals at CARE have a variety of opportunities to get out of their pens. The shelter features a cat room where the more social cats with no special dietary needs can roam around and play. Dogs are let outside at least three times a day, but more like five or six, according to Rockey. CARE even has a pond outside called the “Soggy Doggy,” where dogs can de-stress in the water.

“There are a lot of amazing shelters in the world that are doing the same things that we are doing, but unfortunately there are a lot of shelters in the world that cannot do the same things that we do, and they have to euthanize a lot of animals,” said Rockey. “We’re very lucky that we don’t have to do that. And at the fundraiser, we just sort of highlight that and show how lucky we are that we’re able to provide such excellent care.”

Dressed to the K9s is a way to show members of the community the valuable service that CARE provides, even before they know they need it.

“It’s funny, because a lot of people say, ‘Why would we use the shelter? We don’t own animals; we don’t care about animals,’” Rockey said. “But things happen, and animals kind of come into people’s lives in different ways. They’ll find stray animals on the road, or animals will show up at their house. So just being here to take those animals and to provide the excellent care that we do for them, it’s big for the community. So this event is obviously to raise money for the shelter, to raise awareness, and just to really thank everybody in the community for supporting us.”

Tickets for Dressed to the K9s are $75 and can be purchased at or in person at the shelter, 2801 County Road 114 in Glenwood Springs.

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