Success Stories


Old Dog Finds a New Home

Jager is a very old, sweet girl who is stone deaf and losing her eyesight. She lost her original owner when he died two years ago, then went to live with a friend of his. Sadly, he had to give her up recently when his life circumstances changed. As GVAWL was treating her for an eye infection and bad teeth, a couple from Crested Butte that knew her situation stepped up to offer her a loving home despite her advanced age and health issues. Kudos to John and Victoria of the Tobacconist in CB for giving this lovely dog a comfortable, forever home.

Sydney and Webster

Sydney and Webster

These two kitties were adopted on Christmas 2012 by a family member of one of our volunteers. Now they live happily with Larry McDonald in New Castle, CO. Sydney, the tabby, was trapped as a feral kitten, so it took a while for him to warm up to humans. His best buddy, Webster, however, helped him make the transition to happy house cat, and convinced him that on the bed is better than under the bed.

Rosie and sibling

Rosie the Hound

Rosie recently found a great forever home in Denver! Here she is taking a well-deserved nap with her new sibling. We’re happy for you, Rosie!

Rex and Friends

Sexy Rex Gets a Home

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.


General Lee, the Hard Case

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.


Buddy Finds a Family

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.”


Petey and His New Brothers

Petey, a boxer/pit bull mix, was 12 weeks old when he came into GVAWL care. He was adopted after just over a month to a great family, and Petey (now Scooby) has two big brothers, one human, and one canine, that he loves to play with, nap with, and walk with.


Bernie goes to Wyoming

Bernie was recently adopted by a family in Wyoming. When they got home, we received a report from them on the journey: “Bernie is doing wonderfully. He and Gideon are best buds and curled up together in the car after about the first hour. They stayed that way the rest of the trip. When we got home, Bernie ran up the front steps and through the front door like he’d always lived here. We’re trying to be calm and give him some space to adjust, but he just follows us everywhere! At this rate, he’ll lose those extra pounds just by following us around the house. The ride went a lot smoother than I anticipated.”


Ruckus, AKA Mr. Snuggles

Ruckus was one of the five abused and abandoned dogs GVAWL rescued in the summer of 2010. We recently received an update from Ruckus’s new family: “My son, Eric, a college student at Western State, adopted Ruckus. He worked with him and trained him, and they are both now home in CT with my husband and me and our golden retriever, Brady. Eric renamed Ruckus to Gambit, but we call him “Mr. Snuggles” because he loves to snuggle on the couch with me. He gets along really well with Brady, and they run and play in our large wooded property. We play ball & frisbee every day; he’s really good at it, and I have improved, too! He’s still aggressive with other dogs, but we pretty much keep him away from any strange dogs and have careful introductions with friends’ dogs. His coat is now really shiny, he’s filled out, and you can’t feel his bones anymore. He is really a wonderful dog, and we are happy to have him in our home.” We love happy endings to sad stories!


Latte and Her New Friend

Latte, a pit bull mix puppy who was found wandering the streets of Gunnison on a cold winter night, was adopted to a couple in Crested Butte in early April. She is shown here snuggled up with her new best bud, Azure.

Sage's Family

Sage Settles In

We’re happy to report that Sage, the American Eskimo who was in GVAWL care for a little over two months before finding her new family in March 2012, is settling in happily. This photo is of Sage and her owner’s grandniece; they love each other very much.


Ms. Minou Finds Her Forever Home

If the cat Minou could talk, she would say, “I am so thankful that this wonderful woman on Ohio Creek adopted me.” Now Minou purrs and basks in the sun on the window ledge in Pam Christian’s barn. “I needed a companion for Junior, my 10-year old orange cat, so I looked on the GVAWL website for a cat,” Pam explains. After email exchanges and looking at several cats with Intake Coordinator, Cheryl Dandel, Pam decided on a dark grey female cat named Minou. “I knew she was an older cat and very shy,” Pam said. Historically, older cats are harder to adopt out than kittens and younger cats. Minou, for example, had been in GVAWL care for 18 months waiting for a home. Minou came to the Animal Welfare League with less than optimal odds for adoption success: she was an older cat, at eight years of age, and she was not very social. GVAWL volunteers spent time with Minou to help her become more socialized, which helped some, but she still had a hard time with new people. On the positive side, Minou had been spayed by her previous owners. In spite of her age and shyness, upon meeting Minou, Pam knew she was a good match for her situation and for Junior.

Pam admits that it was only recently in her life that she owned cats. She finds them fascinating, and now declares herself a cat lover. Pam worries about her cats in the large open landscape that surrounds her home, and prefers the cats to be safe in her barn at night. Hence, she feeds them a special treat of wet cat food in the evening, training them to come into the barn at night. Pam rings a cow bell towards dusk, and Junior and Minou come running, hopping through the cat door for their tasty dinner, where Pam locks the barn door behind them. “It really works,” she laughs. Pam finds herself visiting her barn more often, and enjoys watching Minou becoming more comfortable with Pam and her family. “Minou is becoming less shy and more comfortable every day.” “There is a special compassion from people who choose to adopt an older cat,” observes Cheryl, “and mature cats can be an excellent choice for adoption.” Minou and Pam would agree.