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Glenwood woman exports compassion for animals

A happy trio of short-legged mutts greet visitors to Marilyn Rose’s split-level home in Oak Meadows. On her sunny deck, Rose cheerfully calls, “Come here,” to Ani, Sandy and Punky, and they scamper to her up a narrow flight of wood stairs.

Then Rose tells the unlikely story of these tail-waggers.

Rose rescued all three as stray dogs in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, brought them across the border to the United States, and gave them a comfy home outside Glenwood Springs.



“Dogs know when they’ve been saved,” Rose explained, as she sat down at her shaded picnic table and the dogs settled around her feet. “They are so appreciative and loving.”

Moments later, Rose laughs and jokes that her three dogs were bilingual when they first came to the United States. “But now, they only respond to English.”



A shelter and clinic

Ani, Punky and Sandy are each one in a million, because most of Mexico’s stray dogs and cats are never taken into caring homes, and often die without ever feeling the touch of a kind hand.

Rose is working to change that through her Brave Heart Animal Shelter outside San Miguel de Allende, and a mobile veterinary clinic. She is raising $52,000 to pay it off.

Rose plans to have the mobile clinic up and running by next March, when 20 veterinarians and technicians will volunteer to treat and spay or neuter dogs and cats across the Mexican countryside.

She is working with a nationwide coalition of volunteers she has rounded up through Colorado State University, the Humane Society, and personal contacts.

“This has been done in … South American countries, but not in Mexico,” Rose said.

While Rose explained her Mexican projects, a magpie on the deck railing screeched, then flapped its way down to the scrub oak beyond the deck. The dogs rushed down the steps and lit out across the lawn after the bird.

“They taunt each other,” Rose said. “But the birds have the upper hand.”

Devoted to animals

Rose wore red slacks and a red and white checked sweater. Her fingernails were painted red, and her black hair was pulled straight back. She’s outgoing, animated, friendly, and sometimes emphasizes her remarks with an index finger pointed straight up from her chair’s armrest. She speaks Spanish, but her native tongue is East Coast.

Rose and her first husband, artist Thomas Gruenebaum, owned property outside San Miguel de Allende, and lived there for 15 years before his death five years ago. The catalyst for her rescue work came last year, when her 23-year-old cat died.

“I said `That’s it. I am now devoting my life to the animals,'” she said.

Rose married Miles Silverman, then of Boulder, three years ago, and the couple moved to Glenwood Springs.

“Miles has been very supportive, and he loves animals,” Rose said. “He understands. He’s been outstanding.”

“Nothing is impossible”

For the past year, Rose has been organizing her Brave Heart Animal Shelter, and raising funds to match the $12,000 she has already put toward the mobile veterinary clinic. Part of her work revolved around setting up the shelter as a nonprofit, through its association with the Texas-based San Miguel Educational Foundation.

Funding is coming from her contacts in the veterinary community. A New York veterinary equipment supplier donated an ultrasound machine, after a Carbondale veterinarian put her in contact with him.

“I called him and he said `I’ll give you one minute. Tell me what you want.’ I told him, `I want you to give me an ultrasound machine,'” Rose said, leaning forward in her chair. “He said, `Let me think about it.’ Two weeks later, he called back and said `You’ve got your machine.'”

Rose said the supplier’s donation has been repeated time and time again.

“I believe if you are coming from your heart, nothing is impossible, and that’s what has been happening. Now, things are happening really fast, and it’s wonderful. People want to come on board,” she said.

Arts and crafts

sales fund venture

Rose is also an artist, and to help fund her shelter, she creates animal theme aprons, pot holders, night shirts, limited edition prints and other items that are offered for sale at Red Hill Animal Health Center in Carbondale.

Rose also employs a craftsman in San Miguel de Allende to produce what she calls “fantasy cats, dream dogs and exotic bird” dolls, which are available at Red Hill, the Artists Collective in Carbondale, and the Toy Shack in Glenwood Springs and Basalt.

To round out her fund-raising line, Rose also creates one-of-a-kind burial urns for pet ashes that feature painted images of poodles and golden retrievers.

“Urns are very important when people love their pets,” Rose said. “They don’t want to keep them in a regular box.”

Rose says she is sure she’ll raise the $52,000 to pay off the Brave Heart Animal Shelter’s mobile veterinary clinic, and the few thousand more needed to buy a truck to pull it. And if the dogs and cats of Mexico have found a friend in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, Rose says she has found something as well.

“Sometimes, you feel what your life’s work is supposed to be about,” she says. “That’s how I feel about the Brave Heart Animal Shelter.”

For information about the Brave Heart Animal Shelter, call Rose at 947-1601.

Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534

lburton@postindependent.com


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