Best Nonprofit: Summit Lost Pet Rescue |

Best Nonprofit: Summit Lost Pet Rescue

Four Summit Lost Pet Rescue board members stand in front of equipment used to find lost pets. Pictured are Douglas Zidel, from left, Andria Pyn, Melissa Davis and Brandon Ciullo.
Taylor Sienkiewicz /

Summit Lost Pet Rescue, an organization created to find lost pets, has been voted Summit County’s best nonprofit. While founders Brandon Ciullo and Melissa Davis have been finding lost pets for years, Summit Lost Pet Rescue didn’t become an official organization until summer 2020. Since the nonprofit has been formed, Davis said it has been “insanely” busy. 

The duo recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of finding a dog named Outlaw on Vail Pass. It was one of the pair’s major rescues that got the ball rolling on forming the nonprofit. Davis said the two were conducting only about three rescues per month back then. In summer 2020, Summit Lost Pet Rescue worked on 15 missions in June, 21 in July and 10 in August.

Ciullo said word about the nonprofit has definitely spread in the community. As a nonprofit, the organization has five board members: Treasurer Douglas Zidel, legal counsel and Secretary John Carver and Marketing Director Andria Pyn along with Ciullo and Davis.

“We’re doing more and more rescues,” Davis said. “We’re literally working 24/7. Whether we’re on a physical search, hanging signs, consulting with an owner out of state or out of town, organizing our volunteers, our website, etc., we’re working nonstop.”

Summit Lost Pet Rescue has worked on several notable missions, including that of Nala, the cat that was found 68 days after she went missing following a car crash on Interstate 70, and Ziva the husky, which Davis called one of the team’s “most wild” rescues. Davis explained that Ziva was picked up in Dillon and taken to Wisconsin before the owner was contacted. Ziva’s owner then drove to Wisconsin to be reunited with Ziva, which Davis said is the farthest distance she has ever seen a pet travel before being reunited with its owner. 

Although Summit Lost Pet Rescue keeps her very busy, Davis said reuniting animals with their owners is what keeps her going. She added that she and Ciullo have the knowledge and expertise needed for finding lost pets and that it would be a disservice not to share this unique skill. Over the past year, Ciullo said the team has learned a lot about finding lost pets. 

“We used to be a couple of people going out posting signs, sharing on social media to (now) actually having strategic plans about how a dog acts, what he might do,” Ciullo said. “We have a better idea of what kind of situation we’re in when we first get involved.”

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This story previously published in the 2020 Best of Summit magazine. A full list of the winners can be found here.

Ciullo and Davis are now officially trained pet detectives with the Missing Animal Response Network and have amassed over 50 signed volunteers. Davis said Summit Lost Pet Rescue’s volunteers have been dedicated to the point where she will text a volunteer and they’re ready to jump out their door and head out on a mission. 

Going forward, Ciullo said the goal is to continue to grow Summit Lost Pet Rescue and start building other teams and sister nonprofits throughout Colorado. Davis added that she would like to aid the growth of the organization by expanding resources and growing its donation base. 

“We just want to personally thank everybody in Summit County for the unconditional support that we’ve been given,” Ciullo said.

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