GRAZIE MOLTO to all who helped make the Spay-ghetti and No Balls Dinner such a success – and so much fun! Special thanks to our generous sponsors:
Monty’s Car Quest Auto Parts
High Mountain Liquor
Clarke Agency Real Estate
Nesbitt & Company
Gunnison Real Estate & Rentals
as well as to all those who made those deliziosa desserts for the Dessert By Donation Bar:
and, of course, to all those who sold tickets, volunteered at the event and came to eat some pasta and support GVAWL!! Abbraccio e baci dalla nostra casa animali domestici (hugs and kisses from our homeless pets)!
The spay/neuter clinic on November 5th and 6th was a great success! Thank you to everyone who made it possible, including C.A.R.E., PAWS, Spay Colorado, Spay Doc, and Telluride Animal Foundation.
Abby Jackson and Morgan Hamilton hosted a dog wash to benefit GVAWL. Dogs were offered a scrub at Hair of the Dawg for a simple donation. The girls conducted the fundraiser as their senior class civics project. Thank you to Abby and Morgan, and everyone who stopped by to support GVAWL!
Thank you to everyone who joined us at Tails on Trails! GVAWL and the Gunnison County Trails Commission hosted a 4-mile walk/run dog jog on Saturday, September 28. Following the walk was a leash-free dog party and a dress like your dog contest in the nearby baseball diamond. This event raised funds for the new county-wide animal shelter and adoption center. Tails on Trails also aims to increase awareness among dog-owning trail users about their responsibilities.
(The Gunnison Country Times is introducing a new educational column in conjunction the Gunnison Valley Animal Welfare League (GVAWL). Each month, Gunnison Valley’s Top Dog, Rookie, will interview a different person in the world of pet care.)
This month, Rookie, Gunnison Valley’s Top Dog, interviews police officers Theresa Morrill and Doug Spann with Neighborhood Services.
ROOKIE: I just got word that one of my buddies is missing. Went on a hike with his family, got spooked by a rifle shot and hasn’t been seen since. Seems like we’ve had a lot of lost pets recently, what do you think is going on?
OFFICER SPANN: Well, Rookie, I’m afraid you’re right. Whether it’s thunder, fireworks, gun shots or distracted pets and owners, we seem to have a bunch of missing cats and dogs.
OFFICER MORRILL: I think many of these pets would already be back with their owners if they had proper ID. I can’t tell you how many animals we pick up that don’t have tags, much less microchips.
ROOKIE: Geez, my Mom wouldn’t even let me out of the house without my collar and tags. She says I look naked without them and that’s not pretty!
OFFICER MORRILL: Yeah, well, she’s probably aware that only about 10 to 30 percent of lost dogs are returned to their owners and only 5% of cats. It’s really sad, and proper ID is such a cheap and simple solution!
OFFICER SPANN: I know, right?! Rookie, let all your cat and dog friends know about how important pet ID is, and help spread the word, OK? Not just about visible tags, but microchipping, too.
ROOKIE: Roger that. Pet identification – a lost pet’s ticket home. I’ll spread the word!
OFFICER MORRILL: Oh, and one more thing. Let’s remind all the pets living within the city limits that they are required to have a rabies tag which their owner’s can get at the finance office of the municipal building at 201 W. Virginia.
Our Adoption Festival on Sunday, October 6, was a big success. Three cats and two dogs found their new forever homes! We’d like to thank everyone who helped or stopped by, and wish a fond farewell to Max, Mitzi, Alex, Penny and Diablo. And we hope to see all of you at the next adoption event!
(The Gunnison Country Times is introducing a new educational column in conjunction with the Gunnison Valley Animal Welfare League. Each month, Gunnison Valley’s Top Dog, Rookie, will interview a different person in the world of pet care. We hope you enjoy this inaugural piece.)
ROOKIE: Today I am interviewing Dr. Ken Johnson of Town & Country Animal Hospital about a weird but not uncommon medical condition called cherry eye that occurs in some dogs and, more rarely, cats. So, Doc, I’ve been noticing this strange thing in a couple of GVAWL’s homeless pets recently. I’ve heard it’s not life threatening but can be pretty serious. What’s the deal?
DR. JOHNSON: It’s called cherry eye because the gland in the animal’s third eyelid slips out of place and bulges in the corner of the eye and looks kind of like a cherry. That gland is important in providing moisture and nutrients to the eye.
ROOKIE: It just looks terrible, like something out of a horror movie! It must be painful, right?
DR. JOHNSON: It really depends on how bad it is and how long it’s been protruding. Cherry eye can be very uncomfortable and, if left untreated, can cause real problems. It’s never a good idea to ignore it. Sometimes it will go away by itself or be treatable with medicated eye drops. In bad cases, surgery may be required.
ROOKIE: What causes cherry eye and, more importantly, am I going to get it?
DR. JOHNSON: It’s more common in some dog and cat breeds than others, Rookie, but it does occur in the general pet population. It seems to be a congenital problem, so animals with cherry eye should never be bred. The important thing is to make sure the pet is seen by a veterinarian. There’s just no good reason to risk a dog or cat’s eye health, right?
ROOKIE: You got that right, Doc. Thanks for the info!
GVAWL has recently had two animals come to them with cherry eye in both eyes. The condition was serious enough that surgery had to be performed on them. The League needs help paying for their medical care. Send your donation to GVAWL, P.O. Box 1834, Gunnison, CO 81230, or call 641.1173, or Debra at 209.7030.
The votes were counted, and first place went to Gunnison’s Top Dog Rookie, a black golden doodle owned by Jamee and Heath Smith and their two boys, Brennan and Jackson. Rookie had a rough start as a sickly runt hidden in a pickup in a parking lot in Grand Junction where his healthy puppy siblings were being sold. Though the Smiths really didn’t need another animal, particularly with Brennan’s severe allergies, they couldn’t leave the puny puppy to his fate. Congratulations Rookie!
Second place was awarded to Odis Humperdinck, a well-loved 9 year old boxer who was born and raised in Gunnison. His owners, Daren and Ashley Biggers, have had him since he was “no bigger than a gerbil” and Odis has a wonderful adventurous life. Odis accompanies Daren on a survey crew, and has spent time in the jungles beaches of Costa Rica. Sadly, Odis has been diagnosed with cancer, and was nominated for Top Dog by Dr. Kathleen Seward and vet tech, Kayla, who think he’s the sweetest client they have.
Voted third place is Sierra, a cute, energetic small mixed breed. This eight month old puppy needs a home, as she is up for adoption with GVAWL.
The Top Dog Contest successfully raised nearly $2,000 for GVAWL. Thank you to the Gunnison Country Times for their cornerstone role in this community-wide event. Sponsors were Tomichi Pet Care, Gunnison Valley Veterinary Clinic, Town and Country Animal Hospital, Critter Sitters and Gunnison Vet Clinic, Waggin’ Tails and K-9 Training, and Hair of the Dawg. Thanks also to sponsors and the Gunnison Gallery for soliciting and collecting votes!
The results are in! You voted and they won! The 7th Annual Cat Art Show 2013 winners were announced April 26 at the Gunnison Gallery.
Best of Show: Teresa Hoots with “Break Times,” a black and white painting
Category Smitten by Kittens
Thank you to all who participated with cat entries, and for those of you who voted. And a huge thank you goes to Gunnison Gallery owner Anne Michel for hosting and sponsoring this artful fundraiser for GVAWL.
When Rex came to GVAWL as a 15 year old with painful arthritis, there was real concern about his chances of getting a home in a timely fashion. As it turned out, Rex was homeless for less than two hours. A GVAWL volunteer helping at the time Rex showed up said it was love at first sight. Kristina Hatfield knew she was taking Rex home to live out whatever time he has left in the comfort of her home. Rex is responding well to his arthritis treatment and acting much younger. Thus the new nickname, Sexy Rex.
Can you help GVAWL by fostering a puppy or adult dog? Do you know someone who can? We have too many dogs and not enough foster homes! The puppies will most likely be adopted quickly, but in the meantime we’d like to get them out of the kennel and into a family situation to help with socialization. Call Debra at 970.209.7030 for more information. Thanks for your support!
We’re happy to report that Buddy has found a home! His new family has four children for him to play with. Buddy’s new mom says, “Buddy is doing great. He is definitely part of our family. We really do love him! What a great dog and we feel so lucky.”
General Lee was a hard case. While his background was a bit cloudy, it was painfully obvious that this beautiful, stately, white German Shepard had been mistreated – particularly by a man or men. He didn’t take to any strangers, but went out of his way to show his fear of men. Fortunately, he ended up at Critter Sitters in Gunnison, where the mostly female staff, headed by Jamee Venard Smith, began gently working to build his trust.
The Gunnison Valley Animal Welfare League was contacted and volunteers began spending time with the dog as well. It was decided that General Lee would require an inordinate amount of time, patience, an abundance of love and socialization, and some serious training, of course. Critter Sitters committed to providing him a home for as long as necessary, even if that meant for the rest of his life. After some months, GVAWL put him up for adoption with the condition that all of his caregivers would have to agree on the adoption. It had to be perfect.
A number of interested parties came and went, but none were willing to put in the time required to gain General Lee’s trust.
Enter Henry Woods and Cinda Rabon of Lake City. Henry had a background with abused German Shepherds, and Cinda’s business involves animal care, so they took on the project with experience, commitment, and compassion. After numerous trips to Gunnison to spend time with General Lee, it was decided they should do a “trial run” to see how the dog would do in a new home with Cinda’s numerous other doggie friends, including her tiny little itsy bitsy terrier! Well, as the photos clearly show, Lee is now a full-fledged member of the household and a great friend of the Lake City canine community. Henry and Cinda have provided a safe, loving, forever home for a dog that had a very rough start in life. Thanks to them, General Lee, the “hard case” is softening up quickly.
Paws-Abilities Thrift Store is a privately owned and operated business located at 234 North Main Street in Gunnison, directly across from the Boom-A-Rang. A portion of thrift store sale proceeds are generously donated by the store owner to the GVAWL. Donations are calculated in two tiers: when items are brought into the thrift store by people like you who want to support GVAWL, a direct 40% of sale price goes to GVAWL; items in the thrift store that are provided by the shop owner will generate a 25% donation to GVAWL (above store operating expenses).
Paws-Abilities is accepting clean (no stains), quality clothing, furniture, and housewares in good condition. Your donations will help support the Animal Welfare League. Be sure to shop there and donate there! Store hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 AM to 5 PM.
|Margaret and her daughter Mary helping out at the recent spay/neuter clinic|
Everyone with the Gunnison Animal Welfare League was saddened to lose a devoted friend and active supporter. Margaret McLeod passed away at her home in Gunnison on February 28, 2012, at age 75.
Margaret had great passion for animals and people in need and she devoted herself tirelessly to these causes. She was an active supporter of GVAWL for 8 years, and served on the Board of Directors. Many members of the Gunnison community remember Margaret helping with GVAWL activities such as the Farmers Market booth, the Sugar Plum Festival, the Fur Ball, and the placement of GVAWL donation boxes in local businesses, to name only a few. Margaret helped with nearly all of GVAWL’s activities and fundraisers, assisting in any way that she could.
As her health began to fail her, Margaret said that she wanted to continue to work for GVAWL, as it gave her purpose. Her husband of over 50 years, Don McLeod, succumbed to an illness in June 2011. Through his failing health and after his death, Margaret continued to attend board meetings and do her GVAWL work in the community. Margaret continued her work for GVAWL until only days before she passed.
She was an inspiration to all of us, and a good friend to many.
A memorial service will be held for Margaret on Saturday, April 14, at 2:00 p.m. at Baab Hall at the Good Samaritan Episcopal Church, 307 West Virginia Avenue. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Hospice of the Gunnison Valley or to the Gunnison Valley Animal Welfare League.
“Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way.” -John Muir
Amanda Graham attaches a leash to Shadow’s collar, and takes him to meet her newest client. The rest of the staff at the Center for Mental Health, where Amanda is the Executive Director and a licensed professional counselor, smiles at the pair. At the beginning of the workday, staff members and the friendly, sociable Aussie mix had gone through their usual greeting ritual. Now, on the leash, Shadow knows he is on the job.
Shadow came to GVAWL in 2008, and was close to being “unadoptable” because of some behavior problems. However, when he first saw Amanda on Valentine’s Day 2009 in the lobby of Critter Sitters, he leaped into her lap and wiggled all over. Amanda had found the dog she’d been looking for since losing her beloved basset mix, Lucy, several months earlier.
Amanda had looked for a dog that she could train to assist in psychotherapy, but she was not going to force any dog into that mold. Her goal was to bring forth Shadow’s true self. Shadow was not exactly fearful, but was extremely cautious, and flinched at sudden movements. He retreated from most people, yet was alert and curious. Amanda worked with him in 15-minute stretches, day in and day out, as they went through the A.K.C. Canine Good Citizen program. Then, working with a dog behaviorist in Grand Junction, and with the cooperation of her co-workers and clients, she did more intense work socializing Shadow. In this year and a half, Shadow learned to overcome his fears and build trust with people other than Amanda, and his self-confidence grew.
The human-animal bond is in itself therapeutic. Shadow and Amanda have taken that bond to the professional level. Shadow is a “therapy dog,” registered with Therapy Dog International. To become registered, an animal must pass ten “tests,” such as interacting with people in wheelchairs, on crutches, or experiencing seizures. Shadow calmly passed his tests.
According to Amanda, Shadow’s learning process is precisely what makes him so effective in helping her clients learn how to overcome fears and to build trust. Shadow is friendly and bonds with everyone; his unique effect lies in his calm, purposeful approach to establishing relationships. He truly does understand that building relationships is about building trust.
Amanda’s perceptive abilities and learning experiences have also shaped this duo’s manner of therapy. The bond humans and animals can share is essential to Amanda. She spent six years as Associate Director of the Orange County (North Carolina) Animal Protective Society, where part of her job was as animal-cruelty investigator. (She prosecuted the state’s first case of felony dog fighting.) Her encounters there with troubled people led her to pursue graduate work in counseling, which led to her current career.
Psychotherapy and animals are the perfect fusion for Amanda. Through the Center for Mental Health, she and Wendy Buckhanan facilitate Horses for Change, an equine-assisted psychotherapy program in Gunnison. Amanda is certified by EAGALA, the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association. Amanda and Wendy work with clients who typically see results in five to seven sessions – a “brief therapy.” Part of the reason for this success is because of the particular nature of horses: as a prey species, they are especially perceptive of humans’ thoughts and emotions, and are honest in their responses to those perceptions.
With all animal-assisted therapy, success comes about because of the immediate, tangible nature of working with live beings, and through the power of the human-animal bond. As Amanda and Shadow go to meet a client, they are immediate, tangible proof of that bond. With all their being, they use the bond to make many, many lives better.
The Gunnison Valley Animal Welfare League is in immediate need of a volunteer willing to take on the role of Cat Foster/Adoption Coordinator. Experience not necessary, but a love of animals is a must. One year commitment requested. Please call 970.641.1173 and leave a message if interested.
Our cat kennels are full! We have nearly 20 cats that need permanent homes. Caring for this many cats is pushing our limits on our space and budget, and the cats desperately need homes. If you are interested in adopting, view our cats here.
We also want to expand our Cat Foster program, and we need your help. Can you provide a temporary home for a cat while we search for her forever family? Some cats do not thrive in the kennel environment, and your home may make the cat more adoptable to potential families. Fostering a cat in your home will also free up space to house an additional cat in the kennel.
Interested in helping? Contact the GVAWL office at 970.641.1173, email us at email@example.com, or call our adoption coordinator at 970.275.9235.