Rockey moving to CMC after 15 years at the helm of CARE |

Rockey moving to CMC after 15 years at the helm of CARE

Leslie Rockey, outgoing Colorado Animal Rescue director, holds Sandy, a ball python.
Julie Albrecht / Provided photo |

Leslie Rockey, director of Colorado Animal Rescue since 2000, will join Colorado Mountain College to become the next animal resource manager for the college’s veterinary technology program.

CMC’s facility is next door to CARE at the college’s residential campus in Spring Valley. She leaves CARE July 20.

“I love CARE; it’s part of who I am,” Rockey said. “We have a wonderful crew, and I know they’ll deal with ease in the transition to a new director.

“Fifteen years is a good time to move on to something different,” she said in a CMC news release. “It’s time for a change for me personally, and it’s good for CARE to have someone with new vision and new thoughts.”

Working with animals has always been Rockey’s passion. Before moving to the Roaring Fork Valley in 1996, she was an instructor’s assistant at Guiding Eyes for the Blind, a seeing-eye training organization in New York state. Rockey then worked for the Aspen Boarding Kennel and Shelter, and at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.

Rockey moved back to the valley, earned her Associate of Applied Science in veterinary technology at CMC, successfully completed the Veterinary Technician National Exam and became a certified veterinary technician. She then became CARE’s shelter manager, then executive director, also teaching feline and animal shelter management to CMC vet tech students. The Colorado Veterinary Medical Association named her the Veterinary Technician of the Year in 2006.

Jeff Myers, doctor of veterinary medicine, heads the college’s veterinary technology program and will supervise Rockey in her new role. He said that during the seven-member selection committee’s search, it was clear Rockey had exactly the qualifications needed.

“We had a highly competitive pool of candidates who applied,” he said. “Leslie is a natural fit for the job. There’s a ton of crossover between CARE and CMC’s vet tech program, between managing a budget, working with the public, providing hands-on animal husbandry and dealing with governmental, education and regulatory agencies — plus she’s a joy to be around.”

Myers said that approximately 75 teaching animals live at the vet tech farm, including rats, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, several pythons, chickens, ducks, alpacas, llamas, sheep, goats, cats, horses, cattle and even a golden eagle. The animal resource manager oversees the daily care of all of these animals, guiding the vet tech students in learning how to properly care for them.

CARE and Colorado Mountain College are inextricably linked. The connection was initially fostered by Carbondale-based philanthropist Jim Calaway, who is an ardent CMC benefactor and founder of its advisory board of overseers. In addition to education Calaway is passionate about animal welfare, so when he learned that CARE was searching for land to build a shelter, he brought the two entities together. Today, CARE operates on leased land at the Spring Valley campus, often interacting with vet tech students and faculty.

CARE’s statewide search for a new executive director will start soon.

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