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Left behind

LESLIE BREFELDsummit daily news
Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk
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BLUE RIVER – A beloved pet counts on its owner for many things – food, shelter, exercise, as well as a return on the companionship they provide. But something owners may not consider is the unexpected. Denver ICU nurse Josie McIlvennan’s three shepherd and malamute mixes were like family. She had taken care of the now- senior dogs since they were little. Always together, 12-year-old male T-Bone, 11-year-old female Too Shy and their offspring, 7-year-old Echo, were devastated when McIlvennan was tragically killed in a car accident in Golden early this year at the age of 44. The pets she had loved ended up in a Denver shelter and were scheduled for euthanization within only a few days.”It was definitely not what she would have wanted for them,” Karen Martiny, president of Animal Rescue of the Rockies said.

Thanks to the help of a determined friend who urgently called nearly 60 rescue organizations, the dogs were placed in a boarding kennel, with a week’s stay paid for by the Evergreen Animal Protection League. Although the animals were depressed and despondent from the trauma of losing their owner and from being separated from each other, they were alive. Animal Rescue of the Rockies – a local organization which works to establish a homelike sanctuary for pets while awaiting adoption – were also among the organizations called upon. Animal Rescue board members Christine and Arnie Surdyk have been fostering the three dogs at their Blue River home since their release from the boarding kennel. The dogs had kennel cough, tapeworms and showed signs of the stressful times at first, but according to Martiny, have recovered from the illnesses and are beginning to adjust to the new situation and regain their confidence. Animal Rescue is hoping to find a permanent home which will take in all three dogs.Planning for a pet’s care in case of an emergency or unexpected illness or death includes several options that will ensure a loved animal’s care. The first, according to Martiny, is for an owner to let friends or family know what their wishes are.

“If you have someone that can take the animal, that’s ideal,” she said. And when choosing a guardian, the owner should consider their financial situation and possibly set aside money for care.There are also organizations which can offer lifetime, home-like care, which an owner can make arrangements through, like the Best Friends Animal Society out of Utah, the Stevenson Companion Animal Life Care Center in Texas, the Kentucky Home at Last Animal Sanctuary or the Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary based in Michigan. Martiny recommended visiting and researching any sanctuary to ensure it will be able to provide a comfortable life for the individual pet and to make sure it’s legit.Martiny said another resource is the website http://www.petguardian.com. Pet Guardian Pet Trust Plans designates two caregivers and requires filling out an extensive application which includes veterinary and health information, a cost analysis to determine funding costs and emergency temporary housing contacts among other items which essentially records the history and profile of a pet.

To find out about fostering pets or more about the Breckenridge nonprofit Animal Rescue of the Rockies, visit http://www.animalrescueoftherockies.org.Leslie Brefeld can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13622, or lbrefeld@summitdaily.com.


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