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Christmas came early for the Rangely Animal Shelter.
Last week, the Rangely Chamber of Commerce presented Kay Nickson of the animal shelter with a $1,000 check.
The check was a welcome donation.
“This is a wonderful Christmas gift,” Nickson said. “Isn’t this the most wonderful thing for our shelter and our animals? I’m still in awe.
“What a generous gift from the Rangely Chamber, and it’s accepted gratefully by myself and the entire shelter staff,” Nickson said. “By the animals, too.”
The check was presented by Phyllis Henley, director of the chamber, and Rebecca Hahn, 2008 chamber president.
“We just saw there was a need,” Henley said.
Police Chief Vince Wilczek, whose department oversees the shelter, was also on hand for the check presentation.
“We work closely with the police department and the officers,” Nickson said. “That’s really important. Without his support and the town’s, the shelter could not operate on the positive side that it does.”
Nickson said the money will be put to good use.
“It will go toward the animals and their needs,” Nickson said.
Typically, the shelter houses dogs and cats, but other guests at the shelter have included ferrets, iguanas and pigeons.
There is no charge to adopt.
“We have gone four years and two months now since we have not euthanized,” Nickson said. “Animals have either been adopted or gone home.”
There is a 30-day trial period to see if a pet is a good fit.
“We have very few who don’t work out,” Nickson said. “We’re just a small shelter, but I think the biggest thing about this shelter is our adoption program. We have dedicated, dedicated girls, who work to get the animals adopted. Those working so diligently on adoptions are the backbone of the shelter.”
Most animals are adopted on weekends, when people have more time to look.
“We try to make sure there are two of us on call, but there is always one,” Nickson said.
The shelter also offers a foster program.
“That’s where animal can go live with somebody and get away from the shelter,” Nickson said. “It’s a good way to find out how the animal will interact in a home setting. The animal will usually stay about two weeks (in a foster home), if it’s not adopted before then.”
The town of Rangely currently is without an animal control person, so someone from the shelter is always on call. The animal shelter has a small staff, so it relies heavily on volunteer help.
“Somebody is on all 24/7 to show and adopt,” Nickson said. “That’s our policy.”
Each week, a veterinarian from Countryside Clinic in Vernal, Utah, visits the Rangely Animal Shelter.
“Every Wednesday, one of three vets from Vernal comes here to do small surgeries, give shots, etc.,” Nickson said.
A detailed file is kept on every animal that comes through the shelter.
“We get some repeaters,” Nickson said. “But every animal that comes in here we can track.”
Nickson said she hopes a new shelter will be built within the next two years. The current shelter is located well off the beaten path at 407 1/2 Bronco Rd. But it tries to improve its visibility in other ways, like participating in the Septemberfest and Holidayfest parades and sponsoring a pet costume contest during Septemberfest.
For information or questions about adoption, residents can call Nickson at 620-1314, Fern Arrn at 675-2320, Jeanette Justus at 675-8320, Heidi Emerson at 675-2601, or the non-emergency number for the Rangely Police Department at 675-8468.
Nickson said the chamber’s gift shows how the town supports the animal shelter and says a lot about the community.
“You can judge your town by the way they treat their old folks and their animals,” Nickson said.