FRESH START: Big changes in store for no-kill animal shelter east of Windsor
March 7, 2010
Call it Extreme Makeover, animal-shelter style.
A major makeover is what Floss Blackburn’s been doing to the former K-9 Bed and Biscuit no-kill animal shelter, a business Blackburn purchased and took over in mid-February.
Blackburn, 31, of Grover, will keep the no-kill mantra. But most everything else is changing, including the name – it’s now Denkai Animal Sanctuary Adoption Center.
Renovation at the six-acre property about six miles east of Windsor on Colo. 392. has been quite an undertaking for Blackburn, who originally planned to reopen the shelter March 1. She changed that date to April 1 because of what needed to be done.
“We’re still allowing people to come adopt dogs because we need homes for these dogs,” Blackburn said. “We’ve got to get the numbers down. Our adoption fees are $200 and it includes their spay or neuter surgery, vaccinations, microchipping and vet work that needs to be done. Cats are $75 and that includes the same.”
Blackburn said K-9 had a lot of pit bulls, something she’s going to limit with her business.
“Pit bulls are wonderful dogs. The pit bulls that are here are very good dogs,” Blackburn said. “The issue with them is they’re older; they aren’t puppies. They don’t necessarily get along with cats or other dogs. There are a couple that do, but the bulk of them do not. We’re working really hard to try to place them in good home or other no-kill sanctuaries or rescue organizations that are good. The goal is to have an allotted number of slots to help the pit bulls still, but we can’t have 50.”
Blackburn said she’s trying to change the face of the former K-9 shelter.
“We’re going to do everything we can for the pit bulls, but once we get down on those numbers we’re going to stay down,” she said. “We’ll hold 10 slots for pit bulls. Once one of those pit bulls gets adopted out of that slot, then we can fill it with another pit.”
Blackburn, who plans to employ five people to start with, said the animal sanctuary encompasses everything from livestock, farm animals, dogs, cats and everything domestic.
“We have over 170 farm animals at the (Grover) sanctuary. We’re going to bring about two to three horses at a time that are adoptable probably starting in June,” Blackburn said. “We’re adopting horses anywhere from $200 to $1,000 and a $1,000 is a very well-trained, nice, middle-aged horse.”
Not only is Blackburn caring for the 80 dogs that came with the business – 16 of which she placed after the first couple of weeks – but she’s renovating the main building, kennels and a small house on the property.
Among the projects are raising the height of all walls between the kennels to a state-required 4 feet, painting the kennels, cleaning the outside pens, fixing the chain link doors in each dog run after 30 years of rust, laying linoleum in the house, washing laundry and dishes, cleaning and organizing the pet food room and walking the dogs.
“This place stunk so bad when we first took it over that people would just run out the door,” Blackburn said. “We have located the sources of the smell, which was the floor drains and some of the air system. We are cleaning all of that up, and that will be on a regularly maintained schedule now. You need a team of people in here. We’re going to put a lot more color in the back area. We’re going to paint some murals on the back walls. We have Aims Community College coming in to paint the floor in the office.”
Blackburn said the little house to the west of the main building will be a cat quarantine area and a break room kitchen area for employees and volunteers, as well as a place to do laundry.
“There is a living room area that is going to act as an area for volunteer orientations, microchipping and vaccination clinics,” Blackburn said.
Horst Co. out of Greeley is re-doing the kennels at material cost.
“Everything has fallen into place, and now we need to start bring in some funding to keep it going,” Blackburn said.
Blackburn said $40,000 needed to be raised, and $20,000 has been raised from in-kind donations from Horst Co. and from people who have donated washers, dryers and linoleum.
“Now we need the operating capital. We need the cash and donations at this point,” she said.
Volunteer organizations such as the Weld County Youth Corps have helped Blackburn during the massive renovation.
Two people who have volunteered hours and hours of their own time are John and Peggy Bush of Greeley.
“I love dogs and cats. We found this would be a good thing to do,” said John Bush, who is doing a lot of the maintenance in the buildings. “She needed a lot of help. We have a lot of time on our hands.”
John said the place will be so much more improved than what it was.
“One-hundred percent better than what it was,” he said. “She’s doing a lot of good things.”
This isn’t Blackburn’s first experience in the animal business. She’s been running the 640-acre Denkai Animal Sanctuary for horses and other farm animals near Grover since 2004, and purchased it in 2008. Blackburn plans to bring in some horses from the Grover sanctuary to the adoption center near Windsor so people can be more aware of her Grover business.
She’s excited about the new adoption center near Windsor. Blackburn said the name Denkai is a combination of the names of her two children – Denali and Kaia.
“Our customer service will be better. We’ve got wonderful energy and a great team of people in here that really care about the animals ,” Blackburn said. “K-9 Bed and Biscuit had a nonprofit board of directors formed, and they are incredible as far as fundraising and marketing goes. They are joining with Denkai. We have our own board of directors. We’re a nationwide organization, not just in Colorado. We’ve got a really big ball of people rolling.”
Blackburn can’t wait for the adoption center to open.
“We’re so excited for the community. To be able to help Weld County and to act as a go-to organization for people that are in need … we’re going to eventually expand into training programs for behavioral issues that people are having in dogs,” Blackburn said. “If we can offer that service to people rather than having them surrender their dogs, hopefully we can get some retention in the homes.”
For more information in helping the Denkai Animal Sanctuary Adoption Center six miles east of Windsor on Colo. 392, contact owner Floss Blackburn at (970) 217-1457 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.denkaisanctuary.org. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. seven days a week.
WHAT IS NEEDED
• Stainless steel water bowls
• Donations of dog food, cat food, bedding, industrial mops, industrial floor squeegees, shelving
• Wood pellets for the pellet stove that helps heat the dog kennel facility
• Office supplies such as paper
• Functional computer with up-to-date software on it
• Chew treats
• Small animal medical supplies
• Volunteers to walk the dogs, care for the cats and clean kennels