They say that , “A man’s best friend is his dog.”—(George Vest), but Corey Ford said, “Properly trained, a man can be dog’s best friend.”
And, if you happen to be a homeless, a stray, injured or abandoned dog or cat roaming around in the Surface Creek area, that “properly trained” human may very well be a member of a highly respected, caring, hardworking and amazingly dedicated group of volunteers of the Friends of Cedaredge Animal Control (FCAC).
And most of these “companion” animals ﬁnd themselves in their current predicament through no fault of their own.
The FCAC was established in 1997 and later incorporated in 2001 as a non-proﬁt organization working in partnership with the Town of Cedaredge to provide and maintain a “no kill” animal shelter for the Town of Cedaredge, through their adoption program and ﬁnancial assistance. Early founders included Harry Staub, MaryAnn Hennessey, Paul Stradley, Jr., Judy Kneebone, Ruth Mary Trumpfheller, Ken and Mary Munger.
Land for the shelter was donated by the town, and the facility was built in 1998. “With donations and lots of bake sales,” recalls Munger, “and a great group of volunteers.”
Current FCAC board members are Deb Fairchild (president), Larry J. Dumler (vice-president), Susan Dumler (treasurer), Jacki Dapkus (secretary), Barbara Allen, Ann Bristol, Winton Brophy, Cathy Crenshaw, Marj Johnson and Diana Tayir.
Dapkus explained that to be a “no-kill” facility means no “adoptable” animal is euthanized. It does not mean no animal is ever euthanized. Dapkus also noted that if space is available at the shelter, dogs and cats from nearby communities are often taken in.
“My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am.”—(Unknown).
With the support and services provided by the FCAC — pet food, cat litter, veterinary and necessary health care such as vaccinations, heartworm screening and treatment, spaying and neutering, all at no cost to the town — the Cedaredge Animal Shelter (CAS) has been able to provide both animal control and compassionate care for hundreds of homeless animals in the Cedaredge area.
In 2006, with $2,500 raised by young children taking part in one of the Cedaredge Library’s summer reading programs, “Paws, Claws, Scales, and Tails,” a much needed outside run/exercise area became a reality. The “Shelter Shoppe,” staffed by volunteers, was founded in March 2010 to help provide ﬁnancial support of the FCAC.
“A dog is one of the remaining reasons why some people can be persuaded to go for a walk.”—(O.A. Battista).
That may explain why an army of volunteers (George Aauchter, Cathy Crenshaw, Dave Tollen, Joan Fiala, Judy Overdorf, Eric Faber, Diana Tayir, Becky and Todd Abramson, Kellee Rodarte, Kristine McLamb, Jerry Murano, Jacki Dapkus, Tina Hall and Carol Kincaid) spend time walking the dogs at the shelter daily, and cuddling the cats. Many of these volunteer dog walkers have walked the dogs for three years or more, and as a result have given their charges a lot of necessary obedience training and a whole lot of tender loving care.
Nor are the FCAC volunteers “hard sell.” They will not try to push an animal on those persons not interested in adopting a pet. The dogs are good dogs, not criminals, impounded through no fault of their own.
Let’s look at two dogs which were adopted from the CAS:
Zak and John and Markee Travis
Another CAS “pound puppy” named, “Zak,” adopted by area residents John and Markee Travis, went on to become certiﬁed as a therapy dog, providing comfort to many elderly people living in nursing homes. Zak has been the star of numerous school and library programs. He taught Markee “Skijoring” and is now, according to Markee, “happily retired and enjoying just being a dog.”
Bonnie and Bob and Connie Borchardt
Nearly seven years ago, a border collie named Bonnie, came into our lives and nothing has been the same since.
When I ﬁrst saw Bonnie at the Cedaredge Animal Shelter, I was pretty sure that I did not want her. But one of the volunteers at the shelter said I could take her home for a week and see if I really wanted a dog, and whether or not she was the dog Connie and I wanted.
“Why not,” I thought. “I can always bring her back.”
As it turned out, Bonnie was gentle, polite, well trained and well mannered. It wasn’t long until she stole our hearts.
An older “pound puppy,” Bonnie’s ﬁrst order of business was to rid our neighborhood of all predators, grizzly bears in particular. She took it upon herself to protect us and our entire neighborhood from any unexpected encounter with these fearsome predators. The mere fact that our neighborhood has no grizzlies today attests to her success in that endeavor. Bonnie has also been credited with saving the life of a spotted fawn caught in a fence.
Bonnie touched our souls as well, teaching us to enjoy the simpler things in life like rolling in fresh fallen snow, taking a walk in the park, chasing a ball or stick, taking a nap and unconditional love.
Over the past several years, the FCAC has contributed nearly $90,000 toward veterinarian care, spay and neuter programs, immunizations, stafﬁng, utility costs, food, supplies and the maintenance of both the animals and the shelter, reuniting lost pets with their owners, and maintaining the CAS as a “no kill” facility.
But in 2009, the Cedaredge trustees made the decision to not fund the animal shelter after December 2010. Starting Jan. 1, 2011, all operational costs, services and management of the animal shelter will become the responsibility of the FCAC. Fairchild noted that if any one of the proposed ballot issues — Proposition 101, or Amendments 60 and 61 — pass, the town will provide no support for the shelter. If they all fail to pass, only then can the FCAC expect minimal support from the town.
Said Fairchild, “We have a ‘verbal’ agreement with the town to take responsibility for the shelter starting Jan. 1, 2011, so no matter what happens [in November], we’re going to do this.”
For more information, to volunteer, or to help support the FCAC ﬁnancially, call Jacki Dapkus at 640-4907.
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