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Wading pool built at animal shelter

Donna Gray
Vail, CO Colorado
Kara K. Pearson/Post IndependentChris Streich cleans out the cat kennels at Colorado Animal Rescue Sunday south of Glenwood Springs.
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Lost and abandoned dogs and cats who come into the Colorado Animal Rescue shelter this summer will think they’ve hit the Ritz of the animal kingdom.

A $440,000 upgrade, which will include a water feature and wading pool for doggies as well as a memorial garden with a fabulous view of Mount Sopris, will take the shelter to the top of the heap of state-of-the-art shelters in the country, employees say.

The remodel is happening thanks to a generous and passionate supporter of the shelter. Jim Calaway, a retired oilman from Texas and major philanthropist who helped found the shelter, wanted the best for his beloved animals at the shelter and put up all of the money for the remodel.

“We’ve very lucky to have Jim,” said shelter director Leslie Rockey. “He’s a wonderful man who loves animals and the shelter from the bottom of his heart.”

The remodel will convert about half the dog kennels to smaller, quieter living spaces and give the building a second story for visiting rooms and a training area.

“When it’s finished, it’s going to maybe be the nicest shelter in the country,” Calaway said.

That may be no exaggeration. Rather than a wire mesh enclosure, the individual rooms for adoptable dogs will have a half wall of cinderblock in front with the rest enclosed in glass, and a ceiling with individual ventilation. The idea, said Rockey, is to cut down on the noise and make the dogs feel at home.

In addition, when visitors come in to view the dogs they won’t be barking all at once.

“We want to try to make it as homelike as possible,” she said. Each room will also have a television set “for doggie videos” and a chair for visitors.

“The dogs will be much calmer,” she said.

The smaller space will also help housebreak the dogs because “they don’t want to go to the bathroom in their living space,” she said.

Nor have the kitties been left out. In addition to their large living room in the shelter complete with climbing tree, the cats will have an outside run they’ll access through a kitty door in the window of the living room.

On a knoll near the shelter in a grove of pinon and juniper trees the memorial garden will be a place to take a dog for a walk and “a beautiful place to think about how important animals are in our lives,” Calaway said.

On the second floor of the building, which has long been used for storage, the staff will gain several visiting rooms as well as an open space with a rubberized floor for training classes. The staff will also offer the upstairs space for birthday parties, where kids can come in and play with the dogs and cats and get some information about caring for a pet, Rockey said.

There will also be “free public education on diet, exercise and dental care,” Calaway said.

A grand opening of the newly remodeled shelter is set for Aug. 11.

For more information about the shelter and adoptable pets, call (970)947-9173 or visit http://www.coloradoanimalrescue.org.


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