HeidiTown Gives Back: Wolves Offered Life & Friendship (W.O.L.F.)

Wolf logo small-webWolves are wild animals, and should remain wild animals. Unfortunately, people have been interbreeding domestic dogs and wolves for years, even attempting to keep wolves as pets; a misguided idea that never turns out well, and that’s where W.O.L.F. comes in.

Founded in 1995, and located northwest of Fort Collins, Colorado, this organization works to improve the quality of life for all wolves and wolf dogs. They have a rescue program that saves captive bred wolves and wolf dogs whose caretakers are no longer able to provide for them. They provide permanent homes for these wolves and wolf dogs with consideration for the animal’s physical and emotional requirements. Lastly, they educate the public about wolves.

Odin relaxing at WOLF. From Wolf Sanctuary on Facebook.

Odin relaxing at WOLF. From Wolf Sanctuary on Facebook.

I chose Wolves Offered Life & Friendship Sanctuary, aka W.O.L.F., as this month’s recipient of the HeidiTown Gives Back Campaign because I agree wholeheartedly with their mission. W.O.L.F. has developed a series of educational presentations and they stress that wolves belong in the wild and should not be bred with dogs or kept as pets. Continue reading

HeidiTown Gives Back: Colorado Animal Rescue Express (C.A.R.E.)

Colorado Animal Rescue Express logoI started the HeidiTown Gives Back Campaign exactly one year ago. I wanted to highlight some great Colorado charities by giving them one month of free ad space on, plus a blog post about the charity. I was inspired to do this in part, because I get asked to promote so many nonprofit events during the year. I can’t help them all, so I developed this program  as a way to give back to the community I love.

golden retriever from CARE

All photos from

This month’s recipient of the HeidiTown Gives Back campaign is Colorado Animal Rescue Express, or C.A.R.E.

This organization came to my attention by a fellow member of my People with Compassion for Pets giving circle.

I researched C.A.R.E., called and spoke to the founder, and am convinced that they are a worthy recipient of HeidiTown Gives Back. Continue reading

HeidiTown Gives Back Campaign: Café 180 (Englewood, Colorado)

It’s the first Monday in December and that means it’s time to unveil the recipient of the HeidiTown Gives Back Campaign. This month’s organization came to my attention through a citizen of my little town, and I’m so glad that she shared the story with me.

Cafe 180 logo

Café 180 is the brainchild of Julie Mihevc and Cathy Matthews. Their original idea was to create transitional housing in Englewood, but fate had other plans. Instead, following the “pay it forward” concept pioneered by SAME Café in Denver, they decided to open their own café  with a “pay what you can” mentality. Continue reading

HeidiTown Gives Back Campaign: Denkai Animal Sanctuary

brother and sister puppies at Denkai

A brother & sister wait for forever homes at Denkai Animal Sanctuary. Photo from Denkai's Facebook page.

Each month I introduce my readers to a nonprofit of my choice and that organization receives free ad space on HeidiTown, plus Facebook posts and tweets about the nonprofit for the entire month.

November’s recipient of the HeidiTown Gives Back Campaign is Denkai Animal Sanctuary  with locations in Greeley and Grover, Colorado.

If you’ve been reading HeidiTown for any length of time, you know that I’m an animal-person. Years ago, I actually spent a little bit of time volunteering at Denkai – walking dogs and hanging out in the cat room. That’s how they first got on my radar, but more recently my People With Compassion for Pets giving circle donated to Denkai.

Denkai has a mission of providing a combination of service for animals, at-risk youth and raising environmental awareness. They are one of only a few no-kill shelters in Colorado, and they take in all sorts of animals including livestock.

Denkai logoSeveral years ago, I interviewed the founder of Denkai, Floss Blackburn, for a local newspaper, and her hard work, determination and dedication is truly remarkable. Everything she does is for the love of animals.

Running an organization like Denkai is no easy task. This animal sanctuary is always in need of volunteers, donations, foster families for animals and every day items like soap and hay.

Please take a moment and LIKE Denkai on Facebook:

Denkai on Facebook

And check out their website:

Denkai’s website Gives Back: The Gabriel Foundation

Alex at TGF

Alex needs a home! Click on his photo to learn more about this inquisitive Yellow-Naped Amazon.

As a reminder, once a month I introduce a Colorado nonprofit to my readers, and give that nonprofit one month of free ad space on HeidiTown. I’m very excited about this month’s recipient of HeidiTown Gives Back because I’ve known about them since I moved to Colorado in 2000.

When we lived in Littleton, there was a bird store just down the street from our apartment. We fell in love with two conures at this shop and we would stop by frequently to play with them. Conures are a small parrots that love to clown around and seem to enjoy making people laugh.

The owners of the shop told us about The Gabriel Foundation because it was an organization they worked with on a regular basis. I can’t recall the name of the bird store, but I believe they were reputable bird owners/sellers because they never even asked us to buy a bird. They simply told us all the responsibilities that came with owning one, and I realized quickly that bird ownership wasn’t for me.

Charlie african grey

Charlie, a Congo African Grey at The Gabriel Foundation. Click on his photo to go to TGF's Facebook page.

I am enamored with African Grays parrots; their intelligence amazes me. In captivity, however, this bird can live up to sixty years, and that’s a commitment I am unwilling to make. Unfortunately, many people buy parrots without considering how long the bird will live or the specific type of care and attention it needs. That’s where The Gabriel Foundation comes in.

You can read the organization’s entire purpose/mission HERE, but in a nut shell, they are a parrot welfare organization that provides for the parrots in their care and works to educate the public on parrot issues. They have a variety of programs and provide an assortment of services in the areas of adoption, boarding, conservation, long-term foster care, relinquishment, rescue/rehabilitation and sanctuary.

The gabriel foundation logoBy highlighting The Gabriel Foundation this month, I hope to help them in their goal of educating the public about parrots. The intelligence of these birds is truly unique in the animal kingdom. They really are smarter than the average bear, or fish, or deer, or cat. However, smart animals require additional stimulus or they go a little crazy. I’m familiar with this phenomenon because I own one of the smartest dog breeds – a German Shepherd. She used to get bored and cause trouble in puppy class because she’d learn the command the first time and got tired of going over and over the same thing.

The organization’s website,, is currently undergoing a major facelift and will be unveiled at the end of October. In the meantime, The Gabriel Foundation is very active on Facebook and they are always posting cute photos and funny videos. Please go and LIKE their page now.

The Gabriel Foundation has two Colorado locations, and tours can be arranged. Gives Back: Larimer Animal-People Partnership

LAPP logo lg purpleAs a reminder, I started the HeidiTown Gives Back Campaign in February 2012, as a way to highlight some great Colorado charities by giving them a blog post and free, one month ad space on So far, five nonprofits have participated.

This month’s recipient of the Gives Back campaign is Larimer Animal-People Partnership.

This organization came to my attention several years ago because I write about events and LAPP holds the Doggie Olympics each September in Fort Collins. The 17th Annual Doggie Olympics is scheduled for Sunday, September 23, 2012.

I had the opportunity to researched LAPP last year while writing an article about working and therapy dogs for a local Northern Colorado magazine, and was truly moved by what this organization does.

The Larimer Animal-People Partnership was founded in 1990, and is affiliated with the Delta Society. Many of their members represent other animal-related or service organizations throughout the community.

What is the mission of Larimer Animal-People Partnership?

This is a group of people who believe in the power of the human-animal bond. Animals have healing abilities that are powerful and mysterious. I know this to be true because I’ve seen examples of it in my own life.

LAPP strives to encourage positive interactions between humans and animals. They work to increase public awareness of the significance of the human-animal bond by offering presentations and community service programs.

Community service programs including outreach at Crossroads Safehouse, a shelter for women and children experiencing domestic violence. Team members at LAPP also conduct library visits to read with children.  Teams work with the counseling staff in the Teen Residential Treatment Center at Mountain Crest Psychiatric Hospital and routinely visit Oakbrook II, an independent living community for the elderly. LAPP teams are often involved in other community outreach programs involving animals.

I am happy to be donating free ad space to this worthy organization for the month of September, and I hope you will check out the Doggie Olympics on September 23 at Civic Center Park in Fort Collins, Colorado. This event is an opportunity for your dog to strut her stuff in a fun and safe environment. Learn all about the 17th Annual Doggie Olympics and register HERE.

To learn more about Larimer Animal-People Partnership go to Gives Back: Change Gangs

Change Gangs LogoIt’s already the first Monday in May 2012, and I’m announcing this month’s recipient of the Gives Back Campaign. Each month, a charity of my choosing receives free ad space on the blog and a write-up on the first Monday of the month.

This month’s organization, Change Gangs, is close to my heart because I am good friends with the founder, and I am one of the founders of the first Change Gang, People with Compassion for Pets (PWCFP).

So what is a change gang? It’s a virtual giving circle, but those are just fancy words that may not mean anything to you, so I will expand. A giving circle is when ordinary people come together and pool their donations in order to raise a larger amount of funds to donate to a specific cause. Currently there are two Change Gangs, PWCFP and Poverty Busters. If neither one of those gangs fits your passion for giving,  you are welcome to form your own Change Gang – the formula is already set, so it’s relatively easy.

Detroit Dog Rescue

Mellow is the sole survivor of a shooting rampage that left two other dogs dead. Mellow has recovered MIRACULOUSLY from his gunshot wounds and has been adopted into a wonderfully loving forever home! ~Detroit Dog Rescue

Here’s how my Change Gang, PWCFP, works. Currently, we have 11 members from across the United States – and one currently serving overseas in the US Army.  Every month we each give $25 to our gang, and each quarter we give away the money we’ve been raising. How do we decide what organization gets the money? Members can nominate  a deserving animal-related charity, and then at our monthly meeting we vote on which charity will get that quarter’s funds.  A few charities that have received monies from our gang include Longhopes Donkey Shelter (Colorado), Detroit Dog Rescue (Michigan) and Companion Animal Advocates (New Jersey).

I like belonging to this gang because it allows me to help deserving organizations in a bigger way than I could as just one individual. Since our gang formed in March 2011, we’ve given almost $2000 to animal charities, an amount I never could have given on my own.

To learn more about Change Gangs, go to

This YouTube video gives a straightforward explanation of what a giving circle is: Gives Back: Rocky Mountain Raptor Program

Rocky Mountain Raptor Program LogoI’ve always been fascinated by raptors. I grew up in an area heavily populated with bald eagles, and despite seeing them hundreds of times over the years, my sense of awe never went away.

Currently, there’s a red-tail hawk that I see regularly out on my daily walks with the dog. He no longer flies away when we walk beneath his giant cottonwood, but rather watches us closely should we try anything tricky.

I was first introduced to the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program  more than a decade ago at the  Colorado  Renaissance  Festival in Larkspur. Since learning about them at the festival, I have visited the facility twice and have written several freelance articles about the program.

Golden Eagle FB

Click on this photo of a Golden Eagle to head over to the RMRP's Facebook page!

I’m happy to announce that the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program  (RMRP) is the April 2012 recipient of free ad space on HeidiTown through my Gives Back Campaign.

The RMRP is located in Fort Collins, but they service approximately 100,000 square miles, an area about the size of the state of Colorado. They take in raptors from north of Longmont, well into Wyoming and all along the northeastern plains.

RMRP averages about one admission and several injured raptor calls each day, and more than 70% of treatable raptors are released for A Second Chance At Freedom. Several days each week they provide education programs somewhere in the region.

The program started in 1979, as a student club rehabilitating injured raptors. It has grown to seven staff members and 200 volunteers who put in thousands of hours each year. On average they take in 275 birds every year, although some year the number is much, much higher.

I would encourage you to visit the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program online at and browse this comprehensive site. Learn about the educational programs they offer and when and where you can meet their birds. I believe in what they do at RMRP, and hope that you will check them out. Give Back: Longhopes Donkey Shelter

Longhopes logoThe Gives Back campaign kicked off last month. Throughout the year, one Colorado-based nonprofit of my choosing will receive free HeidiTown ad space for one month. On the first Monday of each month, I highlight the chosen nonprofit.

This month’s recipient of the Gives Back campaign is Longhopes Donkey Shelter.

Few animals have a more persistent stereotype than donkeys. They are portrayed as stubborn and generally obnoxious, but this isn’t exactly true. Donkeys are also often considered to be just a different sort of horse, and this couldn’t be further from the truth. The donkeys I have met have personalities closer to dogs than horses.

Christine & baby donkey

Christine & a baby donkey. Who knew donkeys liked hugs?

I met the owner of Longhopes Donkey Shelter, Kathy Dean, several years ago at Burro Days  in Fairplay, Colorado.  Just last month, I finally had the chance to visit the shelter, located in Bennett, Colorado.

My giving circle, People With Compassion with Pets, had voted to “adopt” one of the donkeys at Longhopes, just $300/year. Donkeys are fairly inexpensive animals, and the $300 provides care and food for one donkey for year.

My friend, Christine, and I got to tour the facility and meet all the donkeys. Some were small, some were big, some were shy, but most were very outgoing, nudging us for attention.

There are lots of people in Colorado, who are great candidates for donkey ownership. You need at least two or more acres of land and a small, sturdy shelter. Donkeys are very social and often bonded, so Longhopes only adopts them out in pairs. The adoption fee for a pair is $550, and this includes spay/neuter and vaccinations.

Donkey nose

Photo by H.M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved. Photos by H. M. Kerr-Schlaefer, all rights reserved.

Learn more about Longhopes Donkey Shelter and see all their adoptable donkeys at A tour of the Bennett facility must be prearranged. Longhopes also has an active Facebook page where new photos are frequently posted. While cash donations are welcome anytime, the shelter is always in need of hay and farm supplies.

I recently wrote a full article about Longhopes Donkey Shelter in a local newspaper. If you’d like, you can read it here.


New Flash: gives back

As a freelance writer, I’ve had the opportunity to write about a lot of great nonprofits, like the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program, Denkai Animal Sanctuary, Longhopes Donkey Shelter and Guide Dogs for the Blind, just to name a few. I love these articles because it’s good to know I’m helping them spread the word.

This past year, I joined People with Compassion for Pets, a giving circle. In less than a year we’ve given over $1,000 to deserving nonprofits, and I only give $25 a month! This has opened my eyes to the fact that every little bit counts and it IS possible to have a positive impact on the world around us.

I began thinking of other small ways I could help, and then I realized that I’m THE Mayor! So starting in February, is going to give back to Colorado-based nonprofits this year by offering free sponsorship ad space to a different charity every month.

The monthly nonprofit logo will appear on the blog, and  HeidiTown will also promote this charity all month via Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn and wherever else the Mayor travels in the social media world. On the first Monday of each month, the charity will receive a blog post on, introducing them to the readers.

Because this town is all about “stuff the Mayor likes,” I will be highlighting some of my favorite nonprofits, and many are animal-oriented organizations, however, you are more than welcome to introduce me to any nonprofit you’d like to see on HeidiTown this year. You can either leave a comment here, or email me at

Each nonprofit will be asked/notified prior to appearing on

Stay tuned to find out what organization will be featured in February!

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