Momentum 24/7 Fitness in Bayfield has the only Christmas tree in Bayfield dedicated to dogs at Annie’s Orphans shelter – and they’re using it to raise food and funds to support 60 dogs for one month.
Annie’s Orphans, a nonprofit animal shelter, has supported dozens of dogs every day for more than three decades. The founders, Annie and Bill Anderson, take in every dog that needs shelter, from those who are aging to those who have behavioral challenges and can’t be adopted. Momentum is pitching in for the pups – this year through a food and donation drive until Jan. 15.
“Any tree that gets us anything is a dollar we didn’t have before,” said Jola Schraub, fundraising coordinator at Annie’s Orphans. “We’re so grateful that someone from Bayfield wanted to step in and help.”
Momentum is trying to feed the dogs for one month, which equals about 1,500 pounds of kibble, 25 to 30 cases of wet food and 20 to 30 pounds of meat.
The goal is 50 bags of food, which Momentum hopes will bring it close to the 1,500-pound mark. People can drop off items during regular business hours and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.
With the Giving Tree, community members can make financial donations in prepaid envelopes and choose which expense they want to support: medicine, treats, highest-need, etc.
“It just seemed like the right thing to do,” said Carol Wine, who helped come up with the idea to support the nonprofit.
Annie’s Orphans, the oldest no-kill shelter in the Four Corners, began in the 1980s when the Andersons started taking in aging sled dogs at their home south of Durango. It became a nonprofit in 1997.
The Andersons help rescue dogs from kill shelters as far away as Raton, New Mexico – a five-hour drive. They take in dogs of all ages, including “sanctuary” dogs, those who are a bite risk, dog-aggressive or feral, and dogs of all ages.
These dogs are not adoptable and could be euthanized at a shelter where the procedure takes place for multiple reasons, like quality of life issues and lack of available space. Annie’s Orphans does not euthanize animals unless there is a terminal quality of life issue.
The nonprofit has organized the holiday Giving Tree fundraiser for about eight years. However, the fundraiser rarely reaches Bayfield. This year, Momentum is the only organization to gather donations, while about 14 businesses are supporting Annie’s Orphans in Durango.
“We really owe a lot to those merchants that let us put trees in there,” said Annie Anderson, the executive director.
The holiday fundraiser supports the shelter until July, when the nonprofit holds a summer fundraiser. In the winter, electricity costs can be as high as $1,600 because the nonprofit heats dog houses, water bowls, the infirmary and the office.
At Momentum next to a life-sized Grinch riding an equally large unicorn, bags of kibble and wet food have already begun to accumulate.
“It’s just a giving type of people (at Momentum),” Wine said. “We’re all like, ‘How are we going to help next? What are we going to do for the next holiday?”