The Bridge Street space recently vacated by Grandma Jo's Attic will open as Buried Treasures, a consignment store benefiting the nonprofit RezDawg Rescue, Inc.
Paula Olsen, who grew up in Crawford, closed Paula's Boutique consignment store on Grand Avenue in Paonia last week and will shift her focus to the nonprofit. "It was kind of a tough spot," said Olsen.
Angela Cerci, RezDawg founder and director, has considered opening a consignment store for several years. Everything aligned to make the store a reality. With remaining items from Paula's, combined with items in storage, there should be a good selection by opening day.
Cerci founded RezDawg while teaching school on the Ramah Navajo Indian Reservation in Pine Hill, N.M. When stray dogs would wander onto her doorstep, she would try to find them a home. These aren't pure breeds, said Cerci. "DNA tests come back pretty wacky." But they're also very smart dogs and learn quickly.
While a lot of work was being done to curb the problem, a shelter in nearby Gallup was taking in about 500 dogs a month, about 75 percent of which were being euthanized. "I saw an over-population problem that really doesn't need to exist," she said.
RezDawg doesn't have a shelter and relies heavily on a network of foster homes while animals await a final home. With no shelter, "Every animal needs a foster home, or we can't take them in," leaving the animals, essentially, on death row. With more animals than foster homes in New Mexico, dogs are often transported to foster homes as far away as Boulder.
The organization transported about 4,000 dogs in 2015 and estimates the number will grow in 2016. It currently relies on an Econoline van, running on its last leg, for transport. Cerci is in the midst of an online fundraising campaign, at rezdawgtransportvan.causevox.com, to purchase a 2015 Dodge Promaster van designed for animal transportation. The Tigertree Foundation has offered to match up to $30,000, and the San Juan Animal League recently donated $1,000, bumping donations at more than $13,000 toward a goal of $30,000.
"I'm just floored we got this opportunity," said Cerci. The van will make transporting animals safer, more sanitary, and more comfortable for driver and animals.
"Puppy season is upon us and we need puppy homes more than anything," said Cerci. Adoption fees cover spay and neuter or a spay/neuter voucher, shots, de-worming, micro-chipping and rescue and transport costs.
Buried Treasures will accept donations of just about any items, and will consign larger items, such as furniture. Donation receipts are available for tax purposes. They also plan to carry locally made products, and to provide space for local artists to show their work.
Olsen and Cerci also plan to hold adoption events at the store location. A grand opening, including entertainment by local musicians, is planned for April 15.
Until their phone service is connected, information and consignment information is available by calling 505-399-1654, or visit RezDawg Rescue, Inc., on Facebook.