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Success Stories


Please send us your success stories! or


Kit McIlvain

We adopted a dachshund from the Aspen Animal Shelter about six weeks ago... she had the name Opal when we adopted her, but she is now Kit. Today she had her dental surgery done...she was only left with two teeth! But it’s ok with us, as long as she is happy and healthy, it doesn’t matter how many teeth she has. We wanted to email you and thank you for taking care of the bill on the dental surgery...we really appreciate it.

Since we adopted Kit we have been showing her what it’s like to be a Colorado dog! Our other dachshund, Gus, has been showing her how to hike and play and nap in the sun. Last week we went on a vacation to southern Utah... she really loved all the hiking and exploring new places with us. She’s such an affectionate and sweet little dog, and she’s adjusted so well to her new life with us. We love her very much and are happy to have her as an addition to our family... and we can’t wait for all the adventures with her to come! We are so happy to be able to give her the life she deserves. Thank you for all your help!

Jordon and Brian McIlvain, March 2019


Ellie Fifield

On the left: Ellie at the shelter when she arrived in February. On the right: Registered Nurse Ellie taking care of her new mom.

Ellie was released to our shelter by a family in California. They had too many dogs and grandkids and decided that she needed a quiet household. The Fifield Family fell in love with her immediately, and she quickly became a part of their pack.

Helen writes that “Ellie is just amazing—I had a full knee replacement and she is my Nurse—she will not leave my side….Jim said she is a fully registered nurse!. We love her!!!"

Helen and Jim Fifield, May 2018

On the left: Ellie overseeing Helen's PT. On the right: Satisfied that all is well, devoted Ellie takes a snooze.


Lisa Krause

Lisa was recently adopted by Amy and David Krause. Lisa came to our shelter from the Navajo Indian reservations lands as a mom with three small puppies. She is a very sweet dog and was a great mother. Once her puppies were old enough they were all adopted. It was then Lisa’s turn to find her own new home, which she did with the Krauses. As you can see from this photo, she is quite happy and has certainly made herself at home.

Amy and David Krause, May 2018

On the left: One of Lisa's adorable pups when they all arrived at the shelter in late February. On the right: Lisa with Bryna Patterson, Aspen Animal Shelter staff member, at the annual fundraiser held by Kenichi for Friends of the Aspen Animal Shelter.


Luna Abraham

On the left: Look at that precious face! On the right: Luna with Heather, Chad and Maya on one of their family hikes.

Luna is quite a sweetheart and the smartest dog I have ever had. We are going to have fun with her. I guess we just aren’t whole as a family without a dog! I dropped her leash while I was cleaning up after her one day and she grabbed it and took off for home!

We just want to send you a thank-you for the gift of this new sweetheart. She is doing great! She is super smart and figuring out her new life quite well. You guys are amazing and we appreciate you so much!

Heather, Chad & Maya Abraham, September 2017

On the left: Hurry up! I'm ready for my walk. Middle: Luna and Maya at the meditation labyrinth in Snowmass, Colorado. On the right: Luna chilling at home.

Update May 2018 (photos below): Luna says "Look how big I got! Must be that Great Dane gene..."



I am writing to let you know how well things have been going with the Yorkie mix puppy we adopted from you a month ago! Thank you ;-)

We've decided to name her Whizbee. The name has a long back story, but suffice it to say that it suits her well. She continues to be super friendly and affectionate. And has been great at making friends with humans as well as other dogs. She's pure sweetness, but plays hard and can hold her own with the toughest of dogs. She's a quick learner: she learned how to use our doggy door within a day, and has not had one accident. 

So THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, again for thinking of us and giving us the chance to make Whizbee part of our family. 

All the best to you and your crew,

Julie, Jon, Oliver & Whiz

September 1, 2017


Sammy Bay, formerly known as Missy

Missy was at the Animal Shelter for a very long time, patiently waiting for the perfect home. She recently found it with Sarah Bay (shown above) and her family! Her new formal name is Sandwich She is called Sammy for short. This is what Sarah wrote to Seth about her.

     "She’s amazing.  She’s my sidekick – goes everywhere I go. Can be off leash in certain circumstances. She went for her first cross country ski up the Grand Mesa and was running like a puppy – seriously, her back legs up in the air she was running so happily.  Our other dog Jax, also a rescue, taught her just what to do and she was awesomeshe loved it! She would run up 100 feet and then turn around and come back to tons of praise.

     Sammy loves to come into my office and watch out the door.
     She is still very fearful of most men, including Jeff. But, we just stay patient and know that she will get it sooner or later.  
     She’s great with Avery (Sarah's 4-year-old daughter) as well. She sleeps in our room on her bed all night long, never any issues. She hasn’t eaten a ton but she wants to eat only when I am sitting next to her and I don’t want to start that habit, so I figure she eats when she’s hungry.
      You’ll see her again – but only when she boards or around town. Thanks for trusting me with her – she’s my new companion and everything I was looking for."

Sarah Bay, March 1, 2017

On the left above: Sammy with her new family, yellow Lab Jax and four-year-old Avery Bay after her very first cross-country ski adventure on the Grand Mesa.


Ellie Allison

Just a quick note to let you know how much we love Ellie and how wonderful it is to have her with us. Ellie has been with us for a little over 3 months. She is a rambunctious pup, super smart and a love. She amuses, entertains and delights us daily.

Success stories must be helpful when people are considering adopting. 


Patience, persistence and lots of love are the recipe for a happy, healthy pup + peeps relationship. We had many times in the beginning when she was "just too much." Then it occurred to me that she was behaving like any passed around, displaced "child." Acting out and guarded behavior was to be expected before a bond of mutual trust and love could be established. We are well on our way after 4 months and it is 100% worth the time and effort! Thank you for the work you do to find homes for the shelter pets.


Jamie and Justin Allison, January 2017


Charlie McGregor

Meet Charlie! My wife Anne and I love to visit Aspen. It’s an amazing departure from our hectic lives in Atlanta. We absolutely love the Aspen Animal Shelter. We always look forward to taking some wonderful dogs out for the day to enjoy some fresh air and a long hike. This year we met Charlie. She had just arrived at the shelter and really needed some fresh air. We spent three days hiking around Aspen. She was an absolute joy!

When we made it back to Atlanta, Anne could not stop thinking about our time with Charlie and how much fun we had together. She was sure that she would be the perfect companion for our 12-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer Carly. I must admit, I was a bit hesitant to adopt a dog 1,500 miles away but I couldn’t get her off my mind. One week after leaving Aspen I decided we needed Charlie to be a permanent part of our family.

I gave Seth and Chad a call to see if Charlie was still available for adoption. Thankfully she was still available so I decided to begin the process of adopting the newest member of our family. Of course, I kept this a total secret from Anne! I had Charlie transported from Aspen to Atlanta where they were reunited. Anne was shocked!

We are so happy to have Charlie in our family. I can’t thank Seth and Chad enough for their support. It’s great to give Charlie the home she deserves!

Anne and Michael McGregor, November 2016

 Charlie obviously very happy and relaxed in her new home.


Roxy Bartlett

This Thanksgiving we are thankful for Roxy enriching our days. She is thrilled it is a ‘pack day’; the pack is all together, and the smells of cooking keep the tail wagging in eternal hopefulness.
Roxy, sister to Chopper, has acclimated to California living very well. She doesn’t mind being an only dog. Dog parks...take ‘em or leave ‘em, seems to be her motto.
She gets two walks a day, and keeps the front and back yards squirrel free. Her preferred sleeping spots remain: our bed, Teagan’s bottom bunk, and the living room couch. She certainly didn’t mind getting dressed up for Halloween as Super Roxy, sporting a cape with an R on it. Here is a shot of the girls reading to her, “The Secret Life of Squirrels.”
Thanks, and may this Holiday Season be filled with warm, wonderful surprises.

Sarah Bartlett, November 2016


Sweet Lupita--Another Great Older-Dog Success Story!

Left Photo: Lupita (on the right) is shown here with her buddy Dolce and her adoptive owner, Laurence. Right Photo: Dolce and Lupita.

We rescued Lupita from your shelter in mid-2012. She was a retired sled husky-chow mix who had been hit by a car and had a bad hip/back. Unfortunately she passed away during the freak snowstorm that hit Denver in May 2015, somewhere around 11-13 years old; a husky's perfect start on her journey to the Rainbow Road.

We knew that by rescuing an old gal that we wouldn't have her for long but that didn't stop us. We're glad for that because she was a wonderful addition to our family and gave us, and our puggle, Dolce, great joy. She joined us on jogs, hikes, and camping trips. She is greatly missed but helped to create some great memories.

We want to share this story because we realize a lot of people are reluctant to adopt older dogs. They are seasoned, well trained, and very appreciative of a loving parent. We wouldn't hesitate to adopt an older again.

Laurence Schiffman, January 2016


The Miracle of Maverick Mossy

Imagine having your heart pulled from your chest the moment you laid eyes on the dog of your dreams.  We were captivated by the big brown eyes, exuberant energy, and unfiltered unconditional love that oozed from his every wiggle. We saw and we knew there was a big place in our hearts and our family for this bouncing bundle of energy and joy!  The puppy who stole our hearts at first sight was named  Maverick and he found us as the Aspen Animal Shelter Christmas 2011. 

Maybe I should start from the beginning...we were guarded about looking at the shelter that day with our two little girls. It's a hard thing to have to leave any dog behind and to not be able to give all the animals a home, especially at Christmas. Also, our perfect pup would be hard to find- we were looking for a dog who would be great with kids, like to join us on our mini farm in Southern California and that really , really needed to be rescued. We were told Seth had the perfect dog, a yellow lab puppy who had been turned in because he had cancer. He wasn't up for regular adoption, this dog would require a special home who could care for him physically and medically with extra attention. Without hesitation we went back to Top of The Village where we were staying for the week and talked with the head honcho of the household, my husband Jason,  who flatly denied our requests. In all fairness, coming home and saying we wanted to adopt a dog who most likely was dying and would have to drive 20 hours with us from Colorado to California wasn't an easy sell. We persisted! With pleading and tears!

My husband Jason talked to the vet, we were told about treatment options, and even told through the enormous generosity of the shelter that they would help cover the medical costs of caring for this special, and special needs puppy. Christmas Day arrived- the girls and I received the ultimate best gift ever, the newest member of our family, MAVERICK ( The wonder dog) was officially part of the Mossy family! Not even Jason could resist the magnetic pull of his innocent eyes and he too knew this special dog had to be maverick Mossy.  "Mavie" was no longer a hound without a home or a future he was the missing link in our family chain.  

Maverick has had multiple ultrasounds, and as of the last one, absolutely no cancer whatsoever was detected. He eats a special diet high in omegas and vitamins and gets lots of attention and regular exercise. He truly is our Christmas miracle and we are forever indebted to the vets and staff at the Aspen Animal Shelter who helped bring him to our family as a forever friend.  We are more grateful than we can adequately express!

 PS Our hope is to bring him back with us each Christmas, but since Top of the Village has a strict no pet policy it has been pretty tough. Maybe there is room in their hearts too- just for a week, for the Labrador who saved Christmas and is truly a reminder that miracles still happen!

The Mossy Family, March 2014


Ruby Rusnak

Ruby enjoying Missouri Heights (left). On the right: Ruby enjoying a “Puppicino” from Starbucks. "Don’t blame us! One of the baristas asked if our dogs would like 'Puppicinos' as we were at the drive-through window."

Ruby has turned out to be the quintessential “Diamond in the rough.” Initially, we had concerns over adopting a dog who had spent so much time in the shelter. After having Ruby for a year, we’re absolutely dumb-founded Ruby wasn’t adopted within days of her arrival at the Aspen Animal Shelter; she is the perfect dog! Ruby has her idiosyncrasies, but she is just a doll and gets a lot of attention in our home. We take her for walks on our property, off-leash, and she stays close by at all times. Ruby is low maintenance and wouldn’t hurt a fly. I’ve actually seen Ruby jump over a baby rabbit that was in her path and the only aggressive behavior I’ve witnessed was when we brought leftover food, from a restaurant, into the car. As shy as Ruby appears, when it comes to food, she’s an absolute wolverine. If we dare bring a take-out box into the car, imagine yourself defending that food from a Grizzly Bear;  Ruby is relentless and we thoroughly enjoy the spectacle!

Ruby’s favorite thing, aside from eating freshly grilled elk meat, sleeping on her buffalo hide dog bed, and having her belly rubbed, is scampering around atop frozen snow!

Ruby also likes to go for rides in the car, the occasional piece of bacon, “Puppicinos” from Starbucks(a small cup of whipped cream), and kobe beef grilled on a hot rock at Kenichi. Suffice-it-to-say the dog is spoiled.

John, Anne, and Giselle Rusnak--and May, one-year old adoptee from the Aspen Animal Shelter (and that is a whole other story!).
February 2014.


Puschka Rutherford Patton IV, Esq. and Patch O'Houlihan

Patch and Nobu hiking up Elk Camp with Nancy; Patch coming down in the Gondola with Nancy; Maggie, Patch and Puschka sharing breakfast

Lance and I met Puschka one day in 2006 while we were walking dogs at the shelter. At the time, we were part-time residents and had 6 dogs, 2 horses and many goats back in Texas. Puschka came from Krabloonik and had some issues that made it impossible for him to become a sled dog. He was so terrified of people and noises that he was unable to control his bladder or his bowels if there were strangers around or he got frightened of anything. We deemed him “unadoptable”as he was, so we decided to take him home to Texas and try to show him the best life possible. He quickly adapted to his new life and became an integral part of our family. He loves large and is so loyal. His “friends list” has grown, but we can still count them on 2 hands. But, who cares! He loves his family and we love him and if you had a hidden camera in our house, you would never know he had any social issues!

We happened to be at the shelter in January of 2013 and met Patches, a14-year-old Brittany who had been turned in due to his owner's housing problemsr. My heart was broken, but I didn’t need another dog. Seth assured me that he would be quickly adopted. On February 15, I saw Patches wearing an “Adopt Me Vest” on the front page of The Aspen Daily News. I looked at Lance and said, “Let’s go get him.” We did and he fits in perfectly with our clan. He still has so much energy and is a great hiker. He loves sleeping in the bed and going in the car. He was quite thin when we took him, but has become a major chow hound. We will give him the greatest place possible and the most love possible to live out his last few years. We love him dearly.

Nancy Patton and Lance Hughes, Spring 2013

Patch, Nobu, Puschka and Whitney obviously waiting in line to use Lance's iPad.

Puschka enjoying a ride on Peanut (below).


Cali (formerly Bonnie) Kay

Travis Kay's March 2014 email to the shelter...

Just a quick update on Bonnie whom I adopted in 2012. Her name is Cali now and took to it instantly. We did not return to Aspen this year but she is doing awesome. She loves her new family and is by my side every chance I get. She hikes with me and goes for rides. We have driven around the country twice since I left Aspen and she loves it! She is happy and healthy and anyone who comes across her falls in love--Ha Ha. I'm proud to say she is my dog and thanks again to you awesome people for getting her off of the streets. She weighs a good 70 lbs now but is all muscle. Has frequent vet checks and what not. Just wanted to let you guys know she is happy/healthy and in great hands. I absolutely love this dog with everything I have and will never leave her or let anything happen to her.  Thank you so much. You guys are awesome over there. Keep doing what you guys do. You're making a huge difference in a lot of lives. Take care! Travis Kay


Travis Kay's April, 2013 email to the shelter...

"Hello! This is Travis Kay, the guy who had adopted “Bonnie” the Labrador Pit Bull mix found with Clyde (of Bonnie and Clyde, the Dachshund mix --both found running loose on Buttermilk Mountain). I thought I would email you guys and let you know how great she is doing. She did really well on our cross-country trip. Better than I thought she would anyway. But after a short time spent on West Dennis Beach in Cape Cod, Massachusetts upon our arrival to the east coast, we made our way to northern New Hampshire where we will stay. We are at my family’s ranch house where Bonnie has a huge chunk of land to explore daily and 3 other Labradors that instantly accepted her into their “pack.” I am still baffled as to why somebody would just leave this amazing animal out on the street. She has put on about 5 solid pounds since we left Aspen and has adapted so well with us. My family absolutely loves her to death and treats her like their own.


I would really like to just thank all of you guys over at the Aspen Animal Shelter for taking this dog in and putting food in her belly and a roof over her head. If not for you guys, I would not have been blessed with such an amazing dog and companion. She goes everywhere with me. Sits right in the front seat of the car every day and is very obedient. She is my best friend and one of the best things in my life right now that brings me the most joy. I have only had her a short amount of time but feel like she was meant to be MY dog as cliched as that may sound. She now has a life-long home and a life-long friend. I will own her til the day one of us goes. I was also thinking maybe we could do one of the “success stories” featured on your website. I think that would be awesome and would mean a lot.

I have changed her name to “Cali” which she took to instantly. I almost feel like her original name was something very close to that because of the way she responds to it.

Thanks for your time, guys, and tell Alex I said thank you for taking great care of her while I waited patiently through her surgeries and recovery. If Cali and I decide to return to Aspen next winter season, I will be sure to bring her in to see all of the guys at the shelter!".

The Hawk Family Dogs--Past and Present Rescues


Chelsey and Teddy Hawk

My name is Chelsey.  My mother was found on Red Mountain with my siblings and me. We spent a few weeks in the old Aspen Animal Shelter before my forever Mom found me—at the age of 8 weeks old--one day when she came in to walk dogs during her lunch hour. Life was great. I traveled to Cape Cod for my new family’s wedding.  Sadly (for me) I couldn’t travel home that summer of 1994 as airline regulations had changed and conditions needed to be safe for me to get back to Colorado, so I spent an extra 8 weeks on Cape Cod with my grandparents.  I had a great time on Cape Cod and even got to romp around the famous Kennedy Compound and go on a few boat rides with my Uncle John.


Little did I know that as my Cape Cod vacation continued Mom went back to the shelter to walk dogs because she missed me so much. The last puppy in a box at the Old Snowmass Conoco had been turned into the shelter. The little kids that used to hang around the shelter named it Chelsey because they thought she looked like me. She was adopted but then returned after a week. Mom offered to take the puppy home for the weekend and when it “winked” at my future dad, she became a member of the family. When I got home in September 1994, I wasn’t too excited to know that I had to share MY family with another dog--but Teddy ended up being a great sister. We moved with the family to Florida, then settled back in Colorado and spent every summer on Cape Cod!  We had a human sister arrive and then a human brother.  It was tough not being at the top of the attention ladder anymore but again my new humans, Caitlin and Jake, proved to be great siblings.

I had a great 13 years with my family. At the end, I didn’t feel well for months but my mom wasn’t ready for me to go. I held on as long as I could for her and when she was finally OK with saying good-bye I peacefully crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Teddy lived 3 days past celebrating her 15th birthday in 2009.  It’s nice being together again.

I knew Mom would want to bring another companion into the family’s life. But even I was surprised when she mentioned to Seth at the Aspen Animal Shelter that she would entertain the idea of adopting a pregnant female if ever he had one. No one was more surprised than Mom when a week later she met Emma at the Aspen Airport. They fell for each other hard and fast. I knew they would. But I never expected her soft spot for the little white puppy that also made the trip up from Texas. Needless to say our old home was soon overflowing when Emma’s 5 puppies arrived and Auntie Izzy was there to help! Teddy and I had a great life and I am really happy to see Emma & Izzy safe with our family. All five puppies found fabulous homes throughout the Roaring Fork Valley. The nine of us have the Aspen Animal Shelter,  Cheryl and Sam Wyly and our Mom to thank for that.

Chelsey, Teddy, Emma, Izzy, Marti, Mocha, Ginger, The Shadow and Moxie, May 2011

Izzy, Emma and Emma's pups (Emma was pregnant when rescued)

Woody Miceli

Do You Know This Dog? That's how it all started. The ad in the local newspaper caught our attention as we were having breakfast in Basalt. The handsome black Lab was found as a stray at the City Market and he had been at the Aspen Animal Shelter for two weeks. It was the end of April in 2006. We had lost our previous Lab in December after a long illness and we were really lonely for a dog. We called the shelter and learned that “Buddy” was still there and available for adoption. We headed for the shelter.

It was love at first sight, but the shelter staff insisted that we take him out for the day to make sure we liked him. We were there on a fly-fishing trip so we headed to one of our favorite spots near Woody Creek Bridge. As soon as we got there, a tennis ball floated up to shore – a sure sign. “You’re our dog and we’ll name you Woody.”

Woody was “Mr. Manners” the whole day. In fact, he was so well behaved that we started to believe his family would be looking for him soon. He sat at the river’s edge and waited until we invited him to get in the water. He stayed close and never barked. We returned to the shelter at the end of the day and officially adopted him. They told us that seasonal residents probably abandoned him at the end of ski season. He had no identification, so there was no chance anyone would come to claim him. He was our dog now!

Woody seemed unsure of what was happening, but happy to be with us. After a few weeks, we began to see signs of separation anxiety. Maybe he was worried that he would be abandoned again. The first time we left him alone in the house, he tore down the blinds in the living room window. The next time, we put him in the back yard, but he tried to pull off the boards of the cedar fence. After that, we took him everywhere we went or we hired a babysitter.

We took him to Doggy Daycare when we went to work. That summer, we had to attend a family wedding out of state. We boarded him at the same Daycare place. He did fine during the day, but the first night he was there, he chewed holes all around the top of his big galvanized aluminum water bucket and broke a tooth.

We began the search for a second dog. Woody seemed to need a constant companion and we liked being a two dog family anyway. We adopted our sweet Golden, Claire Bear, from Golden Retriever Freedom Rescue and put in a doggy door. Woody took Claire under his wing. We were able to leave them at home and it seemed like our problems were solved.

Then we went on another fishing trip to Woody’s old home territory. One afternoon, Don hooked a nice trout and Woody was instantly in the water. We were so shocked when he grabbed the fish and took off. We caught him and got the fish; it didn’t seem hurt so we released it and it swam off. That was another side of Woody that we hadn’t seen before. Ever since then, he goes crazy when he sees fish rising or sees us catch a fish.

That same trip, we made the mistake of leaving Woody and Claire in the truck for a brief time while we fished at a certain hot spot. When we returned to the truck and opened the doors, we just stood there in shock. Woody had ripped the leather interior to shreds – the seats, the headliner, everything. OOPS! We won’t make that mistake again. Now, we take turns fishing so one of us can look after Woody.

Woody is very vocal at times. He barks at us to say, “throw the ball” or “let’s go for a walk.” He is an energetic, fun-loving dog who wants to be involved in everything. He loves to swim and fetch, and he will play to the point of exhaustion. Other times, he is calm and snuggly. He loves belly rubs and sleeping in our bed. I’ve actually had people say, “That’s the most mellow Lab I’ve ever seen.” If they only knew…

We probably spoiled him too much in the beginning when he was so nervous and insecure. In any case, this is his forever home and we love him. “Do You Know This Dog?” We do now, and we wouldn’t change a thing.

Mary & Don Miceli, November 2009

Maya Bristol

Well I'm not sure where to start, so Saturday was the day that I picked up Maya (formally KiKi) and it therefore seems like a good place to start.  After leaving the Shelter, Maya and I went for a walk around the Aspen Shelter and then got in my car for the trip home.  She was very unsettled and the trip down valley was difficult, as I do not think she has spent much time in a car.

Our first stop was at the Crown Mountain Recreation Park where we met my wife and Alex, our four-year-old Siberian Husky, for another walk.  After that we went to my store, for a short period, and she was very good with all the customers.  They loved her.

We then proceeded to our home in Missouri Heights and introduced Maya to her new home and yard. Because she had been spayed on Wednesday we restricted her playing with Alex and so she explored her new house. We were not sure if she was house trained, but sure enough after a few hours she went and sat by the sliding back door.  SHE IS HOUSE TRAINED. We went for our evening walk and Maya met all the other dogs in the neighborhood and got along great with all of them.  She is very social.

By evening it was evident that she had not slept at all since I picked her up.  She was very excited like a whirling dervish. We all went to bed about 9:30 and I mean all of us in bed. She conked out until morning and with the start of Sunday there was a marked change for the best. She was much more relaxed and comfortable.  By Monday Maya had become one of the family and I know she knows that she has a new home forever.  She is a true Siberian.

Seth, you missed a great sled dog as Maya runs like the wind and eats surprising small amounts of food.  There is a young Lab that comes into our fenced yard and Maya runs him to death.  She is very, very fast, and can pull a great deal more than the 36 pounds that she weighs.

We have had a number of our dog friends come over to see Maya and one of them felt that Kai (the former Aspen Shelter dog) had sent a “thank you” for the additional 12 months of life in the form of Maya.  I think that may be true, at least I want it to be true.

Well Karen, Alex and myself want to thank you all at the Aspen Animal Shelter for this beautiful and sweet young lady.  You know that we will continue to support the shelter all we can, and Maya will have the best of everything forever.  Please let the Wylys know how very grateful we are for all their efforts and how happy they have made us.

Ted, Karen, Alex and Maya, Late April 2009


45 days ago I went to the Aspen Animal Shelter and Boarding Kennel for a visit.  As a dog trainer in Aspen I like to stay connected with the professional staff there and see if there are any animals that get my attention.  I got an eyeful when I met a dog named King.  At 100 pounds of Rottweiler power he had an unmistakable presence, majesty.  In his eyes was a vulnerability, like he was seeking something but was too proud to let on.  He was tender but aloof, affectionate but independent.  There I stood, teetering on the ledge that every dog trainer swears never to peer over, the irreversible jump off point where you consider taking home the dog at the shelter who gives you "the look".  One step over the line and its a nosedive into the lifelong relationship with a Rottweiler of unknown origin. So I brought him home.

Then my Dad Vince stopped by.  After taking my vitals he asked it I was clinically insane.  He's not much for dogs.  Within 15 minutes I saw the film form over his eyes. Incredibly, he was headed for the ledge.  He waited about 10 minutes before informing me that this dog was a special dog, one that he wanted for himself and my Mom, the lady who didn't even want an African Violet.  I  have wanted my folks to have a dog for years because they live up behind Highlands where it's just bordering on that Little Red Riding Hood deep woods feeling.  My duty as a daughter first, and a dog trainer second sealed the deal in blood. I would train him for them, not us...gulp. I just had to get my Mom to agree to having Sam as a permanent houseguest.   One dinner together and a gentle nose nudge was all it took.  So, October 21 is Sam's new birthday, the day he moved in with my parents.  He is so loved.  I am so grateful.  My husband?  Well he will have to wait a little longer to meet another once-in-a-lifetime dog like Sam. It may take longer than 45 days.

Susan Flynn, Dog owner and Trainer, Late November 2008


Cotton Malone

All I can say that Cotton (known previously at the shelter as Mr. Snowball) is the best thing that has ever happened to me. The moment I first saw Cotton I had to have him. It was love at first sight. Cotton has an amazing life now. He goes everywhere. We hike, go to the beach and travel together. Learning what he went through I just want to give him the best in life. Cotton has made me so happy. Cotton is now in training to be a service dog. Cotton helps me with my work. I work part-time at a women's shelter and he helps calm the women and children down when they are going through hard times. All I can say is thank you to the Aspen Animal Shelter--without that shelter I would not have my best friend Cotton Malone.

Thank you so much, Ivanowa Oran, Late Summer 2008

Jango Gonzales-Gile

Jango has found her way into our hearts and into Bridger's bed!! She is such a sweet pea! She loves curling up on laps, walks with Riley (our big Golden), romps in the yard with Daisy and Pickle (neighborhood pets), and all the boys at soccer and hockey practice!

Lisa Gonzales-Gile, Fall 2008

Nell Stratigos-Chagaris

Michela, now named Nell, is fitting into our home seamlessly and is a wonderful pup. She is really mellow, has slept through the night cocooned in her crate, each night and is enjoying visits to our local downtown, the nearby school where she has found other dogs to romp with, and is catching on in the 'house training' department. She follows us around and safely assumes we're her pack (she's right!) and pretty much comes when asked, stops what she shouldn't be doing, and is really quickly becoming a little citizen of our household. I can't tell you enough how much my husband and son are enjoying her.

We are big fans of animal shelters having adopted our last pup in 1998 from our local humane society. So it was amazing to me that my girlfriend and I stumbled upon the Aspen shelter during our recent annual galpal getaway. She and I leave hubbies and kids behind each fall to visit someplace new. This year on a whim (and only three weeks before the trip) we planned Aspen. It was last minute. On the trip we were in the Little Nell watching how dog friendly the hotel and town are. We saw the ad for the shelter in The Aspen Times and thought how wonderful to see the paper and shelter so aligned in its community efforts. Well on a whim we hightailed it to the shelter to visit pups as fast as we could.

I stumbled upon our pup and fell in love. Unsure if I should adopt I left for the evening. On the way to the hotel I told my friend I'd name her Nell. There was also a weird coincidence in that she is from Hillsboro Texas and I live in Hillsborough California. The next morning we were scheduled to depart for the airport and I saw the New York Times referring to Paul Newman's daughter "Nell' in an article about her. I thought it was too crazy that this name would be presented to me right then and there. I took it as a sign. We checked out, went to the shelter and adopted our pup. The bellman from the hotel waited in the shelter parking lot and enjoyed the tangent in our journey before dropping us off at the airport. My dog adopted, I flew home knowing I'd make arrangements to bring her home, somehow, soon!

You can imagine my hubby's surprise when I told him what I'd done. My sons were ecstatic and appreciated getting text messages surreptitiously during the school day. I flew home and made arrangements to pick her up two days later. Amazing that United Airlines could get us to San Francisco, Denver then on to Aspen and back in one day and do so using points from our frequent flier miles. I took it as another sign we were meant to get our girl. So two days later with two free tickets, my husband and I left SF at 6 a.m. and were back home by 5:15 that night. All the flights went smoothly and on-time. Four in one day! No hitches whatsoever. I figure the travel gods were looking out for us.

I'm always a believer when things go synchronistically, smoothly and quickly it is a sign someone is following their heart---following their truth. Adopting Nell has been one of those moments. Our entire family loves her and she is happy and now at home. Thanks for being a part of our journey. Tell the shelter team "hi'. They were all great and we will be supporters of your facility forever. You do great work!

Anthea Stratigos and Greg Chagaris, Fall 2008

Tess Mercer

My name is Jack and I adopted Tess about 2 months ago. I just wanted to write a quick email to say thank you and to let you know that things are going great. She is such a sweet and amazing dog, and I feel lucky to have her. She's doing really well, has put on a little weight so her ribs don't show anymore, and got along great with my mom's three dogs when she brought them up for a visit a few weeks ago.

Your program that allows people to take dogs out for a few hours is a really cool idea, and without it I never would have met Tess. The Aspen Animal Shelter is an amazing place, keep up the great work.

Thanks again, Jack Mercer, Fall 2008

Daisy Panico

Hi--my name is Daisy and I'm a Southern girl, born and bred in New Orleans until the age of 5 months when Hurricane Katrina hit. I soon found myself in an equestrian facility in Gonzales with many other rescued animals. It was there that I met some ladies who came all the way from Colorado to help out, not knowing at the time that one of them would fall for me and become my lifelong companion.

Jan, David and Stella Panico, January 2006

Tiki & Jack Sarick

Tiki ("Snapper" from Krabloonik, because he snapped at the mushers), went from neurotic sled dog to wonderful companion and pet. We adopted him on our son's 8th birthday, which happened to be Tiki's 5th birthday exactly! He had lots of crazy/annoying behaviors, like peeing in his food dish after every meal, but now he is a GREAT addition to our home and family.

Shereen Sarick

Lily Landers

Left: Sam, Susan and Lily. Middle:Lily with Jack, Sam and their cousin Landon, Right: Sam and Brian with Lily

Lily has made herself right at home with Susan and Brian Landers and their kids Sam and Jack in Atlanta, Georgia. Lily is quite the traveller--she originally came to the Aspen Animal Shelter in January as part of a rescue group from Merced, California--dogs who were about to be euthanized due to overcrowding.

Susan wrote "It was a great 2008 Easter. Started with an Egg hunt and then our Easter "Lily" was delivered this afternoon. I finally got my girl! She is just a doll! We love her so much! " Lily is a darling one-year old Lab/Boxer mix with a somewhat shy personality but she loves people, especially kids, and is great with other dogs. Brian's mother Linda lives in Aspen part-time and fell in love with Lily when she was visiting the shelter.

Linda says "They are having the best time with Lily! She runs and plays with the kids. She sleeps with Brian and Susan. She is fitting right in and making herself right at home. She loves her new home!"


The Landers Family


Pascal Teschner

A six-month old ragamuffin kitten, Pascal was found wandering about the Ritz-Carlton Club Thanksgiving of 2006. Upon arrival in shelter quarantine, it was discovered he had been attacked by a coyote, sustaining a long gaping wound on his side. He was rushed to Dr. Scott Dolginow for surgery--and after a few days, replete with stitches and drain tube, returned to convalesce in the Cat Room. Fortunately he recovered and volunteer/board member Mimi Teschner adopted him. Pascal is now an official member of the Aspen Music Festival and School staff, going to work on a regular basis to visit his many canine friends --shown here relaxing with longtime buddy Moses in the Development office. A spirited fellow of many talents, he has also become an accomplished gymnast and performs advanced flips at home--training to find success at the 2008 Beijing Cat Olympics!

Mimi Teschner

Homey Says Hello! have all of you been? My new parents Charo and Bob really know how to treat me like a king. They tell me every day that they love me a lot. They must because they seem to put up with my snoring. I still don't believe that I snore but that's what they tell me. Maybe because my bed is so comfortable. I get a lot of toys to play with too...but I keep losing them under the furniture. I always wait by the window in the sun for them to come home. What they don't know is that before they come home I like to spend the warm days laying in the bath tub drinking the water with my paws. Sometimes at night when they aren't watching I drink some water out of their glasses. Then go back to sleep on their pillows and play with their hair. Sometimes I hear that their family likes the way my name is said in Spanish..."Home'ro" So I hope that everyone is doing well and a kiss for all.

(email sent via his new parents Bob and Charo, October 2007)


Oscar, a purebred Boxer male, came to us from a dramatic puppy mill rescue in the summer of 2006. He has landed in a great home where he is very happy acting as chief Baby Sitter. "Thanks to Oscar, our new baby sleeps though the night..."