Save Gives Back Campaign

HeidiTown Gives Back: Wine Fest & Disabled Resource Services

WineFest_logo_new colorHeidiTown Gives Back took a hiatus for a few months, but it’s back. I started the HeidiTown Gives Campaign in 2012, because I wanted to use the HeidiTown platform to help organizations that help Coloradans.

The nonprofit I’m highlighting this month is a service that exists to help folks in their most desperate time of need. No one ever wants to believes that they will need an organization like Disabled Resource Services (DSR), but we never know. In the blink of an eye a person can become disabled, whether it’s through a traumatic accident or serious illness, and DRS is there to help.

DRS assists people of any age and any disability in Larimer County to live with as much independence as their disabilities allow. Many of the people who seek the services of DRS are living in poverty and a significant number are homeless. Read how DRS changes lives on their website,

A guide dog at Wine Fest. All photos courtesy of DRS.

A guide dog at Wine Fest. All photos courtesy of DRS.

DRS’s biggest fundraiser of the year is just around the corner, and that’s where I come in. I’m using this blog post to encourage you to attend Wine Fest, a Fort Collins’ tradition for 34 years.

What’s Wine Fest?

While it’s held in Fort Collins, Colorado, Wine Fest is not a locals-only event. Seventeen percent of last year’s attendee came from outside of Northern Colorado. In fact, ticket sales show that 12 different Colorado cities were represented at the event.

Wine Fest, Fort Collins.

And people aren’t just flocking to Wine Fest to support a good cause, they are coming for the more than 500 wines from more than 150 wineries. Not wine drinker, but want to support the cause? Being that the event is held in the Napa Valley of Craft Beer, several years ago the festival organizers added craft beer tasting to the event.

Like many nonprofit fundraisers there is an auction and raffle, but in addition to those standard fundraising activities, there’s a wine luge. Yes, your Rosé will be poured into the top of this ice sculpture and will race down a serpentine route to the bottom where it will splash into a your waiting wine glass.

wine luge ice sculpture at Wine Fest in Fort Collins, Colorado.

In addition to wine, there’s also food served at Wine Fest. Catered by more than 10 of Fort Collins’ best eateries, guests will not go hungry at Wine Fest.

Wine Fest will be held Friday, April 1, 2016 at the Fort Collins Marriott Hotel in the evening. Purchase your tickets at

HeidiTown Gives Back: Hops & Harley & NMDR

This is the third time that National Mill Dog Rescue has been a recipient of HeidiTown Gives Back  and that’s because every July there’s an NMDR fundraiser held in Berthoud, Colorado that I help out with. Therefore, I choose to give NMDR the July “Gives Back” ad space so that I can also give some love to Hops & Harley.

As a NMDR benefit, 100% of the proceeds of Hops & Harley go to NMDR. Last year’s festival raised an impressive $11,740 dollars.

Hops & Harley, a fundraiser for National Mill Dog Rescue, #NOPuppyMills

Hops & Harley is hosted by the good folks at City Star Brewery. I’ve known City Star owners John and Whitney Way since before they opened the brewery doors and I have an enormous amount of respect for both of them. The work they’ve put into making Hops & Harley a success it truly amazing. Plus, they make outstanding beer.

The 3rd Annual Hops & Harley  is July 11 and takes place Fickel Park in Berthoud. This  is the perfect location for this fun-filled, dog-filled, family-filled festival that includes City Star beer (try the Bandit Brown, it’s my favorite), music by the Franklin Taggart Trio and the Aaron McCloskey Band, food trucks, kids activities, dog events, a silent auction and a chance to meet Harley.

Hops & Harley 2014, Fickel Park, Colorado. HeidiTown Gives Back

Who is Harley? Harley is a NMDR rescue dog, a spokesdog against puppy mills and an online celebrity. He even has his own Facebook page.

National Mill Dog Rescue is a Colorado Springs based nonprofit that that has pledged to put an end to the cruelty of the commercial dog breeding industry, more commonly known as puppy milling. They rescue dogs and work to educate the public on the horrors of puppy mills.

Harley, the name sake of Hops & Harley in Berthoud, Colorado. HeidiTown Gives Back

Volunteers with NMDR have rescued and placed nearly 10,000 dogs since their founding in 2007, not to mention that they have educated hundreds of thousands of people on what puppy mills are all about. I am thrilled and honored each July to do my small part in shedding light on this amazing organization.

Hops & Harley

Saturday, July 11, 2015 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Fickel Park, Berthoud, Colorado (get directions)

Hops & Harley on Facebook

Harley on Facebook

National Mill Dog Rescue on Facebook

HeidiTown Gives Back: Second Chance Humane Society

Second Chance Humane Society logoThis month’s recipient of HeidiTown Gives Back is Second Chance Humane Society in Ridgway, Colorado, just next door to Ouray. In fact, Second Chance not only serves Ouray and Ridgway, but the tri-county area of Ouray County, San Miguel County and Montrose County.

I started the HeidiTown Gives Back Campaign in January 2012. Each month, a Colorado nonprofit of my choosing gets a free ad space here on and a post about their organization. I chose Second Chance because I wanted to highlight an nonprofit near the location of the first annual HeidiTown Fest.

Spice the dog, available at Second Chance Humane Society.

Spice the dog, available at Second Chance Humane Society.

Second Chance is also the featured nonprofit at HeidiTown Fest. Throughout the festival weekend I will solicit donations for Second Chance at each of our social gatherings.

Second Chance has been in Ridgway for 21 years and in 2011, they purchased Angel Ridge Ranch. The 52 acres property allows them to run a cage free animal shelter. Haven’t heard of a cage free animal shelter? Neither had I, but the concept is gaining popularity within the animal rescue community.

Houdini the cat, available at Second Chance Humane Society.

Houdini the cat, available at Second Chance Humane Society.

Kelly Goodin, the executive direct of Second Chance says that studies have shown that dogs that don’t have to be cooped up in a cage while at a shelter are much less prone to sickness and much more emotionally stable.

The big upside for a cage free shelter is that a healthy, happy animal is much easier to adopt out and Second Chance rescues rarely spend more than a couple weeks at the facility.

This makes complete sense to me. I’m much happier and healthier when I can run free.

Falafel the Mastiff, available at Second Chance Humane Society.

Falafel the Mastiff, available at Second Chance Humane Society.

Second Chance rescue cats are also kept in a mostly cage free environment, although Goodin says some cats prefer a cage over being social.

Second Chance operates two thrift stores; one in Ridgway and one in Telluride. One hundred percent of the proceeds of these stores go directly to the shelter. If you’re in the area, go shop for a good cause!

Outreach is a big part of what Second Chance is all about. Their vision is, “loving homes for all pets” and their mission is “saving animals’ lives and promoting responsible pet parenting and the human-animal bond.”

Coraline the cat, available at Second Chance Humane Society.

Coraline the cat, available at Second Chance Humane Society.

They accomplish this through educational programs and even provide behavioral classes at the ranch, so that people can tackle issues before these issue result in the dog being surrendered to a shelter.

They also have an onsite clinic offering low cost spay and neutering service.

Please visit Second Chance Humane Society at and like them on Facebook here.

HeidiTown Gives Back: Hearts & Horses, changing lives

This month’s recipient of HeidiTown Gives Back is near and dear to my heart. Many years ago, when I was a fairly new freelance writer, I had the opportunity to write about this Loveland-based nonprofit and I have been a fan ever since.

Hearts & Horses Logo

I believe in the healing power of animals, and so does Hearts & Horses. This therapeutic riding center, established in 1997, has grown over the years and today around 180 riders ride here each week.

Animals do not judge, they do not ask questions and they love unconditionally; Hearts & Horses harnesses this incredible nature of animals to make a difference in the lives of humans.

Hippotherapy at Hearts & Horses therapeutic riding center.

All photos courtesy of Hearts & Horses.

Hearts & Horses has programs for people with disabilities, veterans and at-risk youth. Their programs for adults and children with disabilities are well-established and success stories abound. Watch a beautiful video about this program here.

Changing Leads is their most recently added program and is directed towards at-risk youth through organizations such as Reflections for Youth, the Matthew’s House, etc. Watch a moving video about how Changing Leads is changing lives.

Changing Leads at-risk youth program at Hearts & Horses therapeutic riding center.

The Hearts & Horses for Heroes Program is for wounded service personnel and veterans. See a video of this program here.

Hearts & Horses Heroes Program.

There’s also an Alzheimer’s program and I warn you, the video may result in a few shed tears.

See a list of all programs and services at Hearts & Horses here.

A benefit for Hearts & Horses is being held on Saturday, May 2, 2015  in conjunction with the Kentucky Derby. KM2 Farms is hosting Derby Fest at Tony’s Bar & Rooftop in Fort Collins, Colorado from 2 to 6 p.m. Keeps tabs on the event by following Hearts & Horses on Facebook.

You can visit Hearts & Horses online at

HeidiTown Gives Back: ColoRADogs, a better world for dogs

ColoRADogs logoBefore I introduce you to this month’s recipient of HeidiTown Gives Back, I want tell you a story.

When I was a little girl we lived in a rural area of southern Oregon. Our house and our neighbor’s house were the only homes on a quiet, dead end street. My little brother and I spent our days exploring the nearby sand dunes (probably a sand pit) and playing in our huge yard. We were never alone on these daily adventures – we had two guards – our dog, a fearless cockapoo named Fluffy, and Daisy, a big brindle pit bull that belonged to our neighbors.

Daisy was a sweetheart and she would have laid her life down to protect us, and we adored her. Daisy was my first introduction to pit bulls, a breed that today suffers from discrimination in places like Denver and Aurora, Colorado.

ColoRADogs, the recipient of this month’s HeidiTown Gives Back Campaign. I chose this organization because of their fight to repeal breed-specific legislation in Colorado and their desire to educate the public.

Pit bull puppy from Coloradogs on Facebook

Every dog was once a puppy. They learn how to behave from their human owners. Photo courtesy of ColoRADogs on Facebook.

Pit bulls and other power breeds, even German Shepherds, the breed I own, are often the targets of breed-specific legislation.

ColoRADogs trademarked the phrase, “Responsible ownership is not breed specific.”

Contrary to popular belief, pit bulls spend a lot of time smiling. Photo courtesy of ColoRADogs on Facebook.

Contrary to popular belief, pit bulls spend a lot of time smiling. Photo courtesy of ColoRADogs on Facebook.

They believe that everyone has the potential to be a great dog owner. Some just need a helping hand, whether that’s with basics like food, or with behavior intervention or simply by an encouraging message in a society filled with negative ones. ColoRADogs  stand for breed equality – that is, every dog (and their owner) should be treated as an individual. I couldn’t agree more with this sentiment.

They also believe that education is important to their cause; their website reads,  “When people know better, they do better.”

soldier hugs his dog from Coloradogs on Facebook

Nothing is better than a dog hug. Photo courtesy of ColoRADogs on Facebook

ColoRADogs isn’t only an advocacy group, they are also a rescue organization, and while they rescue all breeds, they have a soft spot for pit bulls.

The ColoRADogs website is a wonderful resource and you can learn much, much more about what this organization does by visiting.

Like them on Facebook here!

Follow them on Twitter & Instagram too.

 I hope that you will consider donating to their cause today. After all, it’s #ColoradoGivesDay!

HeidiTown Gives Back  is a campaign I started in January 2012. Each month a Colorado nonprofit of my choosing receives a free ad space and a write-up here on the blog, along with occasional mentions in social media throughout the month. This is my way of using my platform to try to do a bit of good in this crazy world. To be considered email me at

HeidiTown Gives Back: Ruff Start Rescue & Training

Ruff Start Rescue & Training at Berthoud Day in Berthoud, Colorado.

Ruff Start Rescue & Training at Berthoud Day in Berthoud, Colorado.

As a reminder, each month I give away a free ad space (and this blog post) to a deserving Colorado charity. Occasionally I skip a month. In part, because sometimes a charity doesn’t respond to my inquiry about becoming a recipient of HeidiTown Gives Back. Check your email, folks!

Ruff Start Rescue & Training did get back to me and so they are this September’s recipient of the HeidiTown Gives Back Campaign.

This little nonprofit is “changing the world one dog at a time.” That’s all any of us can hope to do, right?

I learned about Ruff Start when a fellow Berthoud Surveyor writer wrote a story about them for our paper.

I am so thankful that there are people like Ashlea K. King and David Holzapfel in this world. They are the founders of Ruff Start Rescue & Training. A South Dakota native, Ashlea started volunteering at animal rescues when she was just 11 years old. When she grew up, she began rescuing dogs from Indian Reservations in South Dakota. There’s a funny story on the organization’s website about how friends and family stopped answering phone calls from Ashlea and David because they knew they’d be ask to take in another dog.

rescue puppy from Ruff Start Rescue & Training in Berthoud Colorado. (2)

He may have had a ruff start, but the future is looking bright for this rescue pup!

These dog rescue trips to Indian Reservations eventually led to the opening of Ruff Start Rescue & Training based in Berthoud, Colorado. This is a micro-rescue. Each Ruff Start Rescue dog is fostered until they are adopted. They are also trained. This is a big part of Ashela’s philosophy.

Their website reads:

“We firmly believe that people who value and have a strong bond with their pet are much less likely to surrender their pet to the shelter. By improving companion animal welfare through spay/neuter, force-free training, and concentrating on the human animal bond, Ruff Start seeks to provide a better world for dogs both in Northern Colorado and on the Reservations of South Dakota.”

I agree with this philosophy and that’s why I’m featuring Ruff Start Rescue & Training this month on

Ruff Start Rescue & Training LOGO

Please visit Ruff Start Rescue & Training today to see how you can help this awesome Colorado nonprofit.

Ruff Start Rescue & Training on Facebook

HeidiTown Gives Back: People with Compassion for Pets

People with Compassion for Pets logoThis July, the recipient of the HeidiTown Gives Back Campaign (free ad space and blog post) is People with Compassion for Pets, my giving circle.

Giving circles are groups of individuals who pool their funds in order to give a larger amount to a charity. As part of Change Gangs, our group is rather unique. Here’s how it works.

Each month we each donate $25. It’s automatically deducted from my bank account, so I don’t even have to remember to write a check. The money is pooled in an account and then, each quarter we award the money to a particular pet nonprofit, but not just any nonprofit. Each member may, if he or she chooses, nominate a pet charity to be considered for the award. Continue reading

HeidiTown Gives Back: NMDR and Hops & Harley

For the first time ever, the recipient of this month’s HeidiTown Gives Back Campaign has been previously featured. I don’t make a habit of featuring charities twice, but National Mill Dog Rescue has touched my heart and I have become involved in helping with a NMDR fundraiser that is slated for later this month.

Hops & Harley 2014 logo

For those of you who may be new to this little town, HeidiTown Gives Back is a program I started way back in January of 2012. Every month, I pick a Colorado-based nonprofit to receive a free, one month ad, and a blog post, here on

You can read my original post about NMDR, a Colorado Springs based nonprofit that rescues, rehabilitates, and re-homes retired commercial breeding dogs from puppy mills, HERE. Continue reading

HeidiTown Gives Back: Realities for Children (Realities Ride & Rally)

Realitie Ride Poker Run for Realities for Children

Photo from Realities for Children on Facebook

Into every life, a little rain must fall, but children shouldn’t have to bear the brunt of the storm and that’s where Realities for Children comes in.

The Fort Collins based, Realities for Children is the May recipient of the HeidiTown Gives Back Campaign. The mission of RFC is  to provide for the unmet needs of children who have been abused, neglected or are at-risk by uniting local businesses, youth agencies and the community in collaborative and mutually beneficial service.

The nonprofit was established in 1995, by Craig Secher, who was a child protection case-manager with Larimer County Child Protective Services. As he watched children slipped through the cracks of the system, he decided he was going to create a safety net. That safety net was Realities for Children.

Today, the nonprofit supports the services of 25 local youth agencies and represents over 150 business members invested in making a difference.

Realities for Children’s biggest fundraiser of the year happens at the end of this month.

bikers on the Realities for Children poker run

Photo from Realities for Children’s Facebook Page. Submitted by David Campbell for Biker Net.

Realities Ride & Rally

May 24-25 – Memorial Day Weekend 2014

This event is the World’s Largest Motorcycle Poker Run. Nearly 3000 riders participated in the event in 2013 raising more than $100,000, and that entire amount was placed in the Realities for Children Emergency Fund (benefiting the most vulnerable children). Continue reading

HeidiTown Gives Back: Pets Forever

Pets Forever CSU

Connie is loving on her best bud, Mischief, who receives subcutaneous fluids from his Pets Forever friends twice a week to manage his kidney disease.

In my work as a freelance writer I occasionally get the opportunity to learn about various nonprofits around Colorado, and in fact, that’s how I discover many of the charities that end up as the recipient of HeidiTown Gives Back. This is what happened with Pets Forever.

While working on an article about the positive emotional and physical impacts pets can have on our lives, I met Dr. Lori Kogan, a licensed psychologist and associate professor in the Clinical Sciences Department at Colorado State University within the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science.

She is also the director of Pets Forever, a CSU sponsored nonprofit designed to help low-income elderly and disabled Larimer County residents maintain ownership of their pets for as long as possible, and to improve the health and well-being of these pets and owners by providing needed help and resources. Continue reading

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