The Black Canyon Animal Sanctuary is more than just a pet haven | TheFencePost.com

The Black Canyon Animal Sanctuary is more than just a pet haven

Carolyn White, Olathe, Colo.

Sanctuary owner Debbie Faulkner surrounded by some of the many dogs that she has rescued.

The Black Canyon Animal Sanctuary in Crawford, Colo., doesn’t just take in unwanted animals – the staff members go in search of them, responding to calls on anything that’s homeless, abandoned and starving. “Some of the dogs and cats that we bring in are so skinny that their ribs are showing,” says Debbie Faulkner, who, along with her husband, David, founded the facility (which is licensed by the Colorado State Department of Agriculture) two and a half years ago. “We’ve rescued animals that were running loose at gas stations, digging for food in garbage dumps, sleeping in pizza boxes, and even crammed together under filthy conditions in puppy mills. Some were so frightened due to abuse or lack of human contact that at first, they didn’t want to get into the car.” Occasionally, one will simply refuse to be coaxed inside, and Debbie “feels terrible when we have to drive off and leave it.”

From much experience, she can usually tell when something is going to bite by the look in their eye, although it “very rarely happens.” Not too long ago, while at a gas station in Arizona with employee Lorinda Hernandez, the two were directed by a Federal Express man towards “an injured, ferocious-looking Pit Bull.” At first, she explains, “We were both a little nervous about going up to it,” but when they did, the dog “wrapped its paws around my waist and clearly indicated that he wanted to be saved.” It was hard to believe that the handsome, well-fed Brindle male, who came over to have his head stroked when he heard us talking about him, was the same animal.

Once at the sanctuary, each new arrival is evaluated, spayed or neutered, dewormed, vaccinated, groomed, and micro-chipped before going up for adoption. (The fee is $80 for a dog and $35 for a cat, a wonderful deal when you consider those costs.) While waiting for new homes, they’re grouped together based on personality traits as opposed to breed or size. Litters of puppies are kept separately in roomy, indoor/outdoor kennels while cats and kittens have their own, enormous, toy and tree-filled apartment. To further aid in socialization, they often go to live with foster families, and once a year the dogs are paired off with kids for an extra-special, week-long training camp.

Each June, boys and girls ages 10 to 16 come to Crawford, Colo., from all over the Western Slope to not only work with the dogs but to learn grooming techniques, business management, and organization along with team-working and phone answering skills. “Basic obedience training leads to adoption,” Debbie smiles. In addition, the participants get the opportunity to meet with veterinarians, technicians, breeders, groomers and even wildlife specialists. This time around, for instance, they were treated to several demonstrations by the “Voices for Wildlife” group, including how to handle a falcon and what to do if ever confronted by a moose or bear. There was even an afternoon convoy to a Spirit Wind Horse Rescue foster home outside Crawford where they heard a presentation by Beth Keenan on basic horse safety. Most, however, like Cara, Sam, Jadeyn, Cole and Michael signed up for the camp because, as they each explained to me, they simply love to be around the animals.

Landon, a teen who’d attended the camp the year before, introduced me to Dutch, a black lab mix. “I hadn’t seen him since I left last summer,” he said, “but Dutch remembered me. He completely spazzed out, licked my face, and climbed on my lap.” Marisa told me all about Cowboy, a coyote mix who had once been completely undisciplined. “I spent a ton of time with him. At first, he dragged me all over the place and refused to listen. Now, though, he does tricks.” Chelsea said that she someday wanted to design robots that help animals, and Emily will be studying to be a vet.

Debbie, herself, has been bringing home strays since she was a child and as an adult, she’s been donating her time as an animal-rescue volunteer and foster mother for over 30 years. “I can always seem to fit one more in,” she says while taking me on a tour of the rapidly-expanding facility. “It’s a real epidemic right now. Shelters all across the country are crammed because of the economy, hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters. If these don’t get adopted” she added, gesturing to the dozen or so that were following us, “they’re going to stay here.” Sadly, the numbers keep growing, and although she occasionally receives financial grants and private donations, most of the costs come out of her very own pocket.

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“Some of the animals have been so badly traumatized that they can’t be adopted out,” says Lorinda. Now Debbie’s right hand woman, she does everything from paint to clean to whatever is needed. She also continues to take excess dogs home – the ones which are simply too shy or aggressive. How many does she have right now? She shrugged. “Oh, about 12.” Others, usually the ones with special needs like Elliott, an epileptic (who recently died in Debbie’s arms after an especially strong seizure), stay inside the family home with David.

“We can always use more volunteers,” Debbie continued, “You can learn a lot about life just by watching the pack and how the new ones just kind of fit in.” When I asked a small group of teens what they themselves had picked up from their stay at the Sanctuary, they tossed out such words as bonding, love, respect, pecking order, happiness and peacefulness. Bending down to pick up a Chihuahua, Debbie confirmed what I’d already guessed. “I love my life,” she beamed as her face was being licked.

To view the pets that are up for adoption, please go to the website at BlackCanyonAnimalSanctuary.com.

The Black Canyon Animal Sanctuary in Crawford, Colo., doesn’t just take in unwanted animals – the staff members go in search of them, responding to calls on anything that’s homeless, abandoned and starving. “Some of the dogs and cats that we bring in are so skinny that their ribs are showing,” says Debbie Faulkner, who, along with her husband, David, founded the facility (which is licensed by the Colorado State Department of Agriculture) two and a half years ago. “We’ve rescued animals that were running loose at gas stations, digging for food in garbage dumps, sleeping in pizza boxes, and even crammed together under filthy conditions in puppy mills. Some were so frightened due to abuse or lack of human contact that at first, they didn’t want to get into the car.” Occasionally, one will simply refuse to be coaxed inside, and Debbie “feels terrible when we have to drive off and leave it.”

From much experience, she can usually tell when something is going to bite by the look in their eye, although it “very rarely happens.” Not too long ago, while at a gas station in Arizona with employee Lorinda Hernandez, the two were directed by a Federal Express man towards “an injured, ferocious-looking Pit Bull.” At first, she explains, “We were both a little nervous about going up to it,” but when they did, the dog “wrapped its paws around my waist and clearly indicated that he wanted to be saved.” It was hard to believe that the handsome, well-fed Brindle male, who came over to have his head stroked when he heard us talking about him, was the same animal.

Once at the sanctuary, each new arrival is evaluated, spayed or neutered, dewormed, vaccinated, groomed, and micro-chipped before going up for adoption. (The fee is $80 for a dog and $35 for a cat, a wonderful deal when you consider those costs.) While waiting for new homes, they’re grouped together based on personality traits as opposed to breed or size. Litters of puppies are kept separately in roomy, indoor/outdoor kennels while cats and kittens have their own, enormous, toy and tree-filled apartment. To further aid in socialization, they often go to live with foster families, and once a year the dogs are paired off with kids for an extra-special, week-long training camp.

Each June, boys and girls ages 10 to 16 come to Crawford, Colo., from all over the Western Slope to not only work with the dogs but to learn grooming techniques, business management, and organization along with team-working and phone answering skills. “Basic obedience training leads to adoption,” Debbie smiles. In addition, the participants get the opportunity to meet with veterinarians, technicians, breeders, groomers and even wildlife specialists. This time around, for instance, they were treated to several demonstrations by the “Voices for Wildlife” group, including how to handle a falcon and what to do if ever confronted by a moose or bear. There was even an afternoon convoy to a Spirit Wind Horse Rescue foster home outside Crawford where they heard a presentation by Beth Keenan on basic horse safety. Most, however, like Cara, Sam, Jadeyn, Cole and Michael signed up for the camp because, as they each explained to me, they simply love to be around the animals.

Landon, a teen who’d attended the camp the year before, introduced me to Dutch, a black lab mix. “I hadn’t seen him since I left last summer,” he said, “but Dutch remembered me. He completely spazzed out, licked my face, and climbed on my lap.” Marisa told me all about Cowboy, a coyote mix who had once been completely undisciplined. “I spent a ton of time with him. At first, he dragged me all over the place and refused to listen. Now, though, he does tricks.” Chelsea said that she someday wanted to design robots that help animals, and Emily will be studying to be a vet.

Debbie, herself, has been bringing home strays since she was a child and as an adult, she’s been donating her time as an animal-rescue volunteer and foster mother for over 30 years. “I can always seem to fit one more in,” she says while taking me on a tour of the rapidly-expanding facility. “It’s a real epidemic right now. Shelters all across the country are crammed because of the economy, hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters. If these don’t get adopted” she added, gesturing to the dozen or so that were following us, “they’re going to stay here.” Sadly, the numbers keep growing, and although she occasionally receives financial grants and private donations, most of the costs come out of her very own pocket.

“Some of the animals have been so badly traumatized that they can’t be adopted out,” says Lorinda. Now Debbie’s right hand woman, she does everything from paint to clean to whatever is needed. She also continues to take excess dogs home – the ones which are simply too shy or aggressive. How many does she have right now? She shrugged. “Oh, about 12.” Others, usually the ones with special needs like Elliott, an epileptic (who recently died in Debbie’s arms after an especially strong seizure), stay inside the family home with David.

“We can always use more volunteers,” Debbie continued, “You can learn a lot about life just by watching the pack and how the new ones just kind of fit in.” When I asked a small group of teens what they themselves had picked up from their stay at the Sanctuary, they tossed out such words as bonding, love, respect, pecking order, happiness and peacefulness. Bending down to pick up a Chihuahua, Debbie confirmed what I’d already guessed. “I love my life,” she beamed as her face was being licked.

To view the pets that are up for adoption, please go to the website at BlackCanyonAnimalSanctuary.com.

The Black Canyon Animal Sanctuary in Crawford, Colo., doesn’t just take in unwanted animals – the staff members go in search of them, responding to calls on anything that’s homeless, abandoned and starving. “Some of the dogs and cats that we bring in are so skinny that their ribs are showing,” says Debbie Faulkner, who, along with her husband, David, founded the facility (which is licensed by the Colorado State Department of Agriculture) two and a half years ago. “We’ve rescued animals that were running loose at gas stations, digging for food in garbage dumps, sleeping in pizza boxes, and even crammed together under filthy conditions in puppy mills. Some were so frightened due to abuse or lack of human contact that at first, they didn’t want to get into the car.” Occasionally, one will simply refuse to be coaxed inside, and Debbie “feels terrible when we have to drive off and leave it.”

From much experience, she can usually tell when something is going to bite by the look in their eye, although it “very rarely happens.” Not too long ago, while at a gas station in Arizona with employee Lorinda Hernandez, the two were directed by a Federal Express man towards “an injured, ferocious-looking Pit Bull.” At first, she explains, “We were both a little nervous about going up to it,” but when they did, the dog “wrapped its paws around my waist and clearly indicated that he wanted to be saved.” It was hard to believe that the handsome, well-fed Brindle male, who came over to have his head stroked when he heard us talking about him, was the same animal.

Once at the sanctuary, each new arrival is evaluated, spayed or neutered, dewormed, vaccinated, groomed, and micro-chipped before going up for adoption. (The fee is $80 for a dog and $35 for a cat, a wonderful deal when you consider those costs.) While waiting for new homes, they’re grouped together based on personality traits as opposed to breed or size. Litters of puppies are kept separately in roomy, indoor/outdoor kennels while cats and kittens have their own, enormous, toy and tree-filled apartment. To further aid in socialization, they often go to live with foster families, and once a year the dogs are paired off with kids for an extra-special, week-long training camp.

Each June, boys and girls ages 10 to 16 come to Crawford, Colo., from all over the Western Slope to not only work with the dogs but to learn grooming techniques, business management, and organization along with team-working and phone answering skills. “Basic obedience training leads to adoption,” Debbie smiles. In addition, the participants get the opportunity to meet with veterinarians, technicians, breeders, groomers and even wildlife specialists. This time around, for instance, they were treated to several demonstrations by the “Voices for Wildlife” group, including how to handle a falcon and what to do if ever confronted by a moose or bear. There was even an afternoon convoy to a Spirit Wind Horse Rescue foster home outside Crawford where they heard a presentation by Beth Keenan on basic horse safety. Most, however, like Cara, Sam, Jadeyn, Cole and Michael signed up for the camp because, as they each explained to me, they simply love to be around the animals.

Landon, a teen who’d attended the camp the year before, introduced me to Dutch, a black lab mix. “I hadn’t seen him since I left last summer,” he said, “but Dutch remembered me. He completely spazzed out, licked my face, and climbed on my lap.” Marisa told me all about Cowboy, a coyote mix who had once been completely undisciplined. “I spent a ton of time with him. At first, he dragged me all over the place and refused to listen. Now, though, he does tricks.” Chelsea said that she someday wanted to design robots that help animals, and Emily will be studying to be a vet.

Debbie, herself, has been bringing home strays since she was a child and as an adult, she’s been donating her time as an animal-rescue volunteer and foster mother for over 30 years. “I can always seem to fit one more in,” she says while taking me on a tour of the rapidly-expanding facility. “It’s a real epidemic right now. Shelters all across the country are crammed because of the economy, hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters. If these don’t get adopted” she added, gesturing to the dozen or so that were following us, “they’re going to stay here.” Sadly, the numbers keep growing, and although she occasionally receives financial grants and private donations, most of the costs come out of her very own pocket.

“Some of the animals have been so badly traumatized that they can’t be adopted out,” says Lorinda. Now Debbie’s right hand woman, she does everything from paint to clean to whatever is needed. She also continues to take excess dogs home – the ones which are simply too shy or aggressive. How many does she have right now? She shrugged. “Oh, about 12.” Others, usually the ones with special needs like Elliott, an epileptic (who recently died in Debbie’s arms after an especially strong seizure), stay inside the family home with David.

“We can always use more volunteers,” Debbie continued, “You can learn a lot about life just by watching the pack and how the new ones just kind of fit in.” When I asked a small group of teens what they themselves had picked up from their stay at the Sanctuary, they tossed out such words as bonding, love, respect, pecking order, happiness and peacefulness. Bending down to pick up a Chihuahua, Debbie confirmed what I’d already guessed. “I love my life,” she beamed as her face was being licked.

To view the pets that are up for adoption, please go to the website at BlackCanyonAnimalSanctuary.com.