Grand County Pet Pals ready to unleash annual Doggie Drag | SkyHiNews.com

Grand County Pet Pals ready to unleash annual Doggie Drag

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News
Grand County, Colorado

TONYA BINA/SKY-HI DAILY NEWS

Lisa Jonas of Grand Lake already owns two dogs and four cats, so adopting another one is not a frequent subject in her home.

She has come to terms with the fact that, “You can’t adopt everybody,” she said.

Jonas is president of Grand County Pet Pals, the organization that provides needed financial and volunteer assistance to the Grand County Animal Shelter.

“But you can make their day a little bit nicer while they’re here. So it’s not sad, it’s rewarding to help these animals get adopted.”

One-year-old Bella’s day significantly improved on Monday when Jonas selected her for a long walk up CR 57.

Out from the caged, concrete environment to the road along the Fraser River, Bella sniffed the late-summer air and the scent of cows pasturing nearby.

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“I like walking these guys,” Jonas said, “It gets them out of the shelter and they can sniff around and be a dog.”

Jonas said she walks shelter dogs about twice weekly.

It’s part of what Pet Pals does for the animals, she said, besides providing the shelter with leashes, collars, kitty litter, toys, veterinary care plus spaying and neutering services – “anything the shelter could use some help with,” Jonas said.

In 2008, Pet Pals paid for the spaying or neutering of 101 cats, 78 dogs, and 2 rabbits totaling 181 animals in the shelter and the general community.

Pet Pals covers the cost of spaying and neutering. The nonprofit organization receives a percentage of the adoption fee at the shelter, but mostly it is financed through community donations.

The Annual Doggie Drag, which will take place this year on Aug. 29 at Grand Park in Fraser, is the nonprofit’s leading fundraiser, with last year’s event bringing in $12,000.

“It’s important that it’s well-attended and successful, because it carries us through quite a bit of the year.” Jonas said.

Animal shelters are far from money makers and can use the help, according to Grand County Sheriff Rod Johnson.

In 2008, more than $194,000 made up the shelter’s operating budget with staff, utilities and animal care. The shelter also had a $20,000 capital improvement budget for improvements to the dog-run area, which it accomplished this summer.

The shelter brought in $20,000 in revenue, mostly from animal citation funds and adoption fees.

“It loses money in truckloads,” Johnson said. “It’s one of those programs that is heavily taxpayer burdened.”

For this reason, Pet Pals has become the shelter’s essential supporter, supplying training equipment when needed, helping with medical expenses for animals needing care while in shelter, even organizing volunteers who give brushings, walks and baths when help is needed.

“Anything we can do to help the animal be a pleasure to be around, it helps them to be adopted,” Jonas said.

Pet Pals also helps with a shelter program that gives $50 vouchers to low-income families in the community for spaying and neutering pets. For qualifying families, Pet Pals steps in and covers the remainder with spaying and neutering on-average costing about $100 to $120 per animal.

“Our mission is to promote responsible pet ownership,” Jonas said.

– Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail tbina@skyhidailynews.com.

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