It is not often that you meet a group of people whose kindness and love for animals shines through the clouds of despair seen on a daily basis in animal rescue. It is not often that the dark and gloomy side of animal rescue is made colorful and happy by people trying to make a difference.
Meet our #43 rescue pick on this Adventure Of A Lifetime, Color Country Animal Welfare in Torrey, Utah.
When we thought about what rescue or shelter we wanted to highlight in Utah, another rescue, Best Friends Animal Society came to our minds. A well known sanctuary for animals, Best Friends has been in operation for over 30 years and is an example of what can be done on a large scale for animals. With effective programs and locations throughout the country, Best Friends is simply amazing. There are no other words! But could we find a rescue or shelter that worked with Best Friends in Utah to save lives in their area who were less known? Because although we wanted to highlight a smaller group, we also saw the importance of Utah rescues working with this organization. Why?
According to the Best Friends website, “Best Friends Animal Society has been a lifesaving presence in the state of Utah since Best Friends Animal Sanctuary opened in 1984. Since the early 1990s, our work has branched out beyond the Sanctuary to the rest of the state to include major pet adoption and fundraising events, and the promotion of spay/neuter and animal advocacy. In 2000, Best Friends built on that foundation by launching No More Homeless Pets in Utah. Through No More Homeless Pets in Utah, Best Friends created and led a coalition of shelters, rescue groups, businesses and government leaders focused on putting programs in place to stop the killing in Utah shelters. Best Friends–Utah brings together animal rescue groups, city shelters and dedicated individuals working to make Utah a no-kill state by 2019. And in 2014, Best Friends created NKUT (No-Kill Utah), a comprehensive initiative designed to decrease the number of cats and dogs entering shelters through spay/neuter services and increase the number of pets being adopted.”
As wonderful and needed as Best Friends is in the state of Utah and beyond, the purpose of our trip has been to focus on smaller rescues and shelters across our country that are making a difference in order to contribute to the big picture! And the rescue that we chose in Utah is fortunate to receive vouchers and also grants from Best Friends. Isn’t this a wonderful cooperative spirit between organizations for the betterment of animals in need? CCAW is able to provide services for the animals and people in their area. And this is invaluable.
When we arrived at Capitol Reef National Park in Utah, we immediately knew who we wanted to highlight as our #43 rescue on the Adventure Of A Lifetime!
CCAW was started out of one woman’s determination to help. According to the Color Country Animal Welfare’s Facebook page, “Color-Country Animal Welfare (CCAW) was born from founder Dottie Weaver’s lifelong passion and love for animals. Dottie lived in Wayne County from the 1970s to her passing in 2015. After retiring from a career as a registered nurse, Dottie raised horses and volunteered with rescue dogs. Dottie’s home in Torrey became a refuge for homeless and abandoned dogs and cats. As others learned of Dottie’s work, they pitched in to help. In 2009 they began Color Country Animal Welfare, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt, all-volunteer organization. CCAW has a volunteer Board of Directors, all of whom live in Wayne County and share Dottie’s passion for the place and its inhabitants. CCAW is the only organization in Wayne County and the surrounding areas that provides services, educational resources and financial support to promote the humane treatment of animals.”
When we spoke with the volunteers and board members Jen Howe, Leita Kingsland, Johnson Benson, Dana Landale and Guy Tal on a rainy afternoon in Utah, we could feel their respect and love for their founder who passed away in 2015.
Although Dottie was originally from the New England area, she found her place in Utah.
In an area that sees few people that move in, it is hard sometimes to fit in. But Dottie found her passion and love for animals. And she would be so proud of what the organization that she started and inspired is trying to accomplish now.
A rescue that is in an extremely remote area like Color Country Animal Welfare has its unique challenges. Torrey, Utah is a town located on State Route 24 in Wayne County, Utah, United States which is 8 miles from Capitol Reef National Park. As of the 2015 census, the town had a population of 182. CCAW provides the only Trap Neuter Release service for the entire population of Wayne County, which covers 2,500 square miles. Yes, you read that correctly. 2500 SQUARE MILES.
This rescue is needed for not only the residents here, but for tourists as well. Because this is a remote area, and the majority of land here is owned by the Bureau of Land Management, people think that if they “drop off” an unwanted dog or cat, they will survive. That could not be further from the truth. As well, this area’s elderly and low income residents need help with their animals in the way of spay and neutering and vet services as the nearest vet is over 50 miles away. CCAW is the only resource agency in this area that provides temporary shelter for stray animals and supports an adoption service and network for abandoned, abused or unwanted pets. As well, by working closely with the National Park Service and the BLM (Bureau of Land Management), they know that when there is an animal in need or lost, they will be contacted.
So with CCAW’s unique challenges and obstacles, what can they do without a physical shelter which they do not have at the moment? Right now, volunteers spend countless hours in the day picking up animals and transporting them to vet appointments. Also, volunteers organize events, pick up stray animals and post found animals on their Facebook page. They help tourists when their animals go missing in the National Park and elsewhere.
And they travel to many other communities in the area to help as well.
Vaccinations clinics are important to this community who may not be able to afford it otherwise.
For their fosters, they provide temporary holding pens until an adopter can be found.
And they network their adoptables tirelessly.
How successful are they in this regard? At the time of our visit, they virtually had no adoptables left for us to network! How awesome is that? A successful shelter or rescue does not have to have hundreds of adoptable animals to be an example. This actually shows to us their extreme dedication and work ethic.
With all that they have been able to accomplish, they decided that they wanted to go even further with their efforts. In 2016, they purchased a 12 acre plot in Torrey, Utah. We were so excited to be able to meet with them here and tour. We could not help but get excited at what we KNEW they were going to build here!
What do they plan to do with this picturesque land?
Beyond helping the animals in Wayne County and their immediate area of Torrey, they are planning to build a unique shelter here! What else? Because vet care is so far away, they plan to offer basic vet services as well, along with boarding for the National Park visitors.
We wondered, how was the community responding to their efforts to build this ambitious facility? In early 2017, with generous donations, they were able to pay this land off in full. But they still need our help to build their shelter! And will you be moved to donate to this rescue that no one may know of outside of their area? And why should you be moved to do so?
When we decided to do this trip and visit 48 states and 48 rescues across the USA, we did not know how this trip would affect us. Would we be discouraged at the need for animal rescue? Or would those doing what they could where they lived actually inspire us?
The latter has been correct. Every single person here at CCAW has a story. Every single person here may have another job, responsibilities or family to take care of. But they have decided that no matter how large the need is here, and no matter how large of an area they have to cover, they will do all that they can. And they are.
By working together with each other, vets and the community, they have been able to help the animals here in a big way. It would have been easy for them to let this rescue go after their founder passed away. It would have been easy to think that the need here was too great with too few people. But they let nothing stop them, and they are continuing to aspire to great and colorful plans here.
If we know the importance of animal adoption and the importance of people who make this possible, we will thank them in what ways we can. If that is a Facebook share of an adoptable they have, or if that is a large donation monetarily, it all adds up. And if you are in the Utah area, please consider fostering or volunteering as well.
We want to thank the wonderful people at Color Country Animal Welfare for reminding us that animal rescuers can move mountains, or at least build a shelter there!
Color Country Animal Welfare is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
Your tax deductible donations will be gratefully received.