Animal shelter receives $40K |

Animal shelter receives $40K

"Thank you from the bottom of our heart!" says the sign from Rifle Animal Shelter employees (left to right) Bernadette Sena, kennel technician; Caitlin Walker, vet assistant; Brittany Van Teylingen, shelter manager; Heather Mullen, shelter director; Jennifer Hood, kennel technician; and Steele Britton, kennel technician.
Mary Heisel/Special to the Citizen Telegram |

The new year has started out as a very happy one for the Rifle Animal Shelter, which met it’s goal to raise $20,000 by the end of the year in order to receive a $20,000 matching grant.

The shelter was approached by an anonymous donor at the end of November, who challenged the shelter to raise the money which the person would match up to $20,000.

“I knew we could raise at least half of it, but I didn’t know if we could get past that,” said Heather Mullen, shelter director.

It got down to the end of the month and only half of the money had been raised, until the last week.

And by Dec. 30, the shelter was only $1,000 away from the $20,000 goal.

“We had several people call and say, we want to see you make it and gave us the other $1,000,” Mullen said. “We received a combination of both generous donations and smaller ones that added up.”

In the end, the shelter raised $20,320 and with the $20,000 match, now has $40,320 to help homeless pets in 2015.

One of the first things Mullen plans on doing with the money is to expand the shelter’s adult dog foster program.

“We’ve always transferred in animals from other shelters, but we want adult dog foster homes,” Mullen said. “We are at our max and the only way we can save more animals is by expanding our adult dog program.”

Volunteers are always needed at the shelter and fostering provides a good opportunity for the whole family.

“There is no doubt about it — fostering saves lives and makes a difference. It is very rewarding and a great way for the entire family to volunteer,” Mullen said.

The second thing she wants to do is hire a veterinary technician.

“The more animals we have, the more medical care is needed,” Mullen said. “A lot of times the animals we take in aren’t the healthiest — they’re either older or they have health issues.”

Mullen said she is so excited for 2015 and very thankful for the donations made by the community.

“It’s just amazing,” Mullen said. “We have such an amazing, amazing community. It’s been cool to see how much support we’ve gotten.”

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