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Kremmling women ‘rescue’ cattle dogs

Will Bublitz
Sky-Hi Daily News
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A couple of women in Kremmling are doing their small part to make this a kinder, gentler world by taking in abandoned and abused Australian cattle dogs.

Deb Brinkley and Robbi Dale are members of New Hope Cattle Dog Rescue, a Colorado nonprofit organization that provides the dogs with foster homes until they can be adopted. Australian cattle dogs are also commonly known as red and blue heelers.

“It’s not the fault of these dogs about what has happened to them,” Brinkley said.

“They’re good dogs and deserve a good life. We provide them with foster homes until New Hope can find someone to adopt them.”

Dale agreed, explaining the dogs they help are worth saving.

“I’m an animal lover and these dogs just need a chance,” she said. “I got involved in providing a foster home because I wanted to make a difference in their lives.”

At present, six cattle dogs have foster homes in Kremmling. Brinkley has three of them, and Dale has one. The two others are staying with Kremmling residents Abi Longwedel and Barb Rose.

All the cattle dogs have been spayed and neutered, and been fully “vetted.” The New Hope Cattle Dog Rescue organization pays for all that. Science Diet Pet Foods provides the food for the dogs while they remain in the foster homes.

Brinkley explained her involvement in the rescue effort began after her own blue heeler died in 2006. Still loving that breed but not yet ready to adopt a new dog, she began searching the Internet and found the New Hope Web site: nhcdrescuecolorado.com.

Intrigued by what she saw on the Web site, Brinkley decided to fill out an application to provide a foster home for one of the dogs. Last May, she took over the care of “Maia.”

“Maia was a rescued dog that had been surgically ‘debarked’ and was a special needs dog,” Brinkley said.

During Maia’s stay in Kremmling, Dale became involved in the dog’s care and also decided to join the effort to save the Australian Cattle Dogs.

“I got interested through helping Deb,” Dale said. “I decided that I wanted to foster them, too.”

After about four months, a Grand Junction resident saw “Maia” on the New Hope Web site and wanted to adopt her. Brinkley and Dale drove the dog to her new home.

“We took her to her new owners in Grand Junction.” Brinkley said. “I have to admit it broke my heart to give her up. I cried and so did Robbi. It’s sad to let go, but Maia got a good home.”

Not long after, Brinkley got a call from New Hope asking her to foster another cattle dog named “Polar.”

“Polar is 12 years old and spent 11-1/2 years of her life tied to a doghouse in New Mexico until her owner died. Then she ended up at the Best Friends organization in Utah and they called New Hope to find her a foster home.”

Soon, “Polar” was joined by “Nellie” and “Shelby,” two cattle dogs who have their own histories of neglect and abuse at the hands of former owners. Now, they are under the care of Brinkley until they too can find someone to adopt them.

Dale also made the commitment and opened her home to foster “Sadie,” a blue heeler who was found abandoned and tied to an oil rig in eastern Colorado.

The stories of many of the abandoned, neglected and injured cattle dogs being rescued by New Hope are just as sad. Some of the most recent cases include:

– “Huey” is a deaf heeler from Craig who had been abandoned and had suffered two broken legs after being hit by a car. After New Hope had his legs fixed, he was adopted by a family from Collbran.

– “Wally” fell out of the back of a pickup truck and broke two ankles that his former owner allowed to heal incorrectly. New Hope is paying to surgically fix his ankles and is now seeking an adoptive home for him.

– “Pappie” was a cattle dog from Montana who had been abandoned. Through New Hope, an Iraq war veteran adopted him and took him home to his 3,000-acre ranch in southern Colorado.

– On Dec. 23, a female heeler and her seven puppies were abandoned on 1-70 near Idaho Springs. New Hope has already found homes for the mother and six of the puppies.

– Several heelers who were part of a “puppy mill” breeding operation in Kansas and had spent their entire lives in cages were taken by New Hope foster homes which are “socializing” the dogs in preparation for adoption.

New Hope has also been involved in saving and finding foster and adoptive home for the dogs from Hurricane Katrina. In the two years of its operation, the nonprofit organization has helped more than 250 cattle dogs.

“The thing is that none of these dogs are perfect,” Brinkley said. “They all have issues because of the way they were treated in the past. It’s not their fault what’s happened to them. They just need someone willing to take care of them.”

Brinkley and Dale are urging Grand County residents to get involved in helping these dogs.

“You just have to want to make a difference in the lives of these dogs,” Dale said. “We’re always looking for new foster and adoptive homes. And if you own a cattle dog and don’t want to deal with it any longer, contact us.”

Brinkley agreed. “It’s so true what someone with New Hope wrote: ‘Saving one dog will not change the world, but for one dog, the world will change forever.” These are good dogs that need our help.”

Those interested in learning more can call Brinkley at 724-9677 or Dale at the Kremmling Mercantile. Those interested in fostering a cattle dog can contact New Hope’s foster coordinator Mary Kay at 720-833-0470. For adoptions, call PJ at 303-627-2676.


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