Colorado Animal Rescue’s annual charity ball |

Colorado Animal Rescue’s annual charity ball

It is said that the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

The team at Colorado Animal Rescue sees the truth in that statement every day.

CARE held their annual charity ball on Saturday night at the Spring Valley campus of Colorado Mountain College.

More than 275 people attended and helped the shelter raise more than $50,000 that they will use to provide safety for homeless animals, educate the public and promote responsible pet ownership.

In its five years the shelter has rescued more than 3,100 homeless cats and dogs that were left to die on the streets of Garfield County. While that is a significant number alone, the figure skyrockets when one considers these statistics from the Humane Society: In six years one female dog and her offspring can give birth to 67,000 puppies, and in seven years, one cat and her young can produce 420,000 kittens.

“The county is lucky to have us,” Calaway said. “We take all their animals.” Up until five years ago Garfield County took all their stray animals to a pound in Rifle.

The shelter is different because they name and vaccinate every animal, spay the cats, neuter the dogs, run the necessary blood work, provide behavioral counseling and then place the animal in a loving home.

While donations play a huge role in the success of their programs, volunteers are the life blood of the organization.

“As the population grows so does the pet population,” said event director Connie Baker.

Stray animals can pose a health threat to the community, and the cost needed to shelter animals can translate to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in taxpayer dollars.

“It’s such a simple fix,” Baker said. “Spay or neuter your pet.”

Garfield County pays approximately $100,000 per year to CARE and the city of Glenwood Springs about $10,000, which leaves CARE to raise more than $200,000 every year just to stay open ” or as one dog lover put it, “to keep a woof over our head.”

“It comes down to a lack of care,” Nikki Vogt said.

The Humane Society echoed the same concern and says that pet overpopulation is an effect of our “throwaway” society where some owners keep their pets while they are cute and cuddly but abandon them when their care seems inconvenient.

But animals are like people, and when they have been abused or abandoned, they exhibit the trauma in their behavior.

“A lot of them have issues because their hearts have been broken,” Calaway said.

Which is why the shelter always needs volunteers. In addition to their foster-pet program, they always need people to walk and socialize with the animals, guide some of them through special social and behavioral programs and also act as adoption counselors.

CARE also provides follow-up assistance for those who wish to adopt. A dog costs $100 and a cat costs $75.

Calaway said the shelter is now involved in out-of-state adoptions and believes CARE is famous outside the valley because of the length to which they will go to save an animal’s life.

“This is in our heart,” Calaway said. “This is what we do.”

And for that, they admit, they get constant rounds of “a paws.”

From left, Marcia Hart, of Carbondale, volunteers at CARE; Nancy Foss, of Napa Valley, is here visiting; and Lauren Maggiore, of Glenwood, volunteers at CARE and is a sophomore at CU.

Larry and Sally Smalley, of Rifle. Larry is chief pilot for Skyrangers, and Sally manages the nursing program at CMC.

Some organizers of the event, from left Leslie Rockey, of New Castle, is director of CARE; Heather Martin, of Rifle, is a kennel technician; and Sandy Teich, of Glenwood, volunteers at CARE.

From left, Linda Jeschofnig, of Glenwood, owns At Home Science; Harlie Ward Loesby, of Carbondale, is an entrepreneur; and Sandy Kaplan, of Redstone, designs spas.

Some organizers of the event, from left, Michelle Marlow, of Carbondale, is a managing partner at Med-Agenda; Malinda Isenhart, of New Castle, is vice president of Alpine Bank and is a board member at CARE; and Connie Baker, of Carbondale, is a managing partner at Med-Agenda and is a board member at CARE.

From left, Janet Lohman, of Basalt, works for Colorado 500; Shane Eagan, of Glenwood, is downtown Glenwood’s Soup Nazi; Sharen Kurtz, of El Jebel, works at Colorado 500; and Gideon Kurtz, of El Jebel, works in property management.

From left, Allie Rochel, of Glenwood, is a certified veterinary technician at CARE; Judy Thompson, of Aspen Glen, volunteers at CARE; and Connie Schuster, of Aspen Glen and Florida, is a golfer.

Glenwood ladies, from left, Nikki Vogt is volunteer coordinator at CARE; Renelle Lott markets CARE; and Tracey Yajko is a dog trainer at the shelter.

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