My name is Kimberly and I started in 1989 as a Social Worker and Counselor for severely emotionally disturbed and abuse children. Over the years I have had many different roles in the mental health and counseling professions. I started counseling with a focus on adolescents that had experienced severe abuse and or neglect in their lives. From there I transitioned into juvenile delinquency and working with adolescents in the criminal justice and delinquency system who were involved as gang members in Denver. I worked at getting them off of drugs, alcohol and out of their affiliated gangs. That was by far one of my most challenging jobs, but it helped to build on who I am today. Following my work in criminal justice I took a position as an investigator doing child welfare and protective services for children who were victims of child abuse and neglect. I spent about 10 years in this field and thoroughly enjoyed being the voice for so many infants and children that had none. My last position in child welfare and investigation was with the State of Colorado as a Licensing Specialist regulating and enforcing child care facilities in compliance of State licensing regulations on child care. Every single one of these positions I've held has been responsible for creating the person I have become. After retiring from child welfare I found it a natural progression to fall into the world of animal rescue. I think think animal protection and child welfare mirror each other tremendously as they both speak to rescuing those without a voice.
I started rescue and helping puppies about 5 years ago when my first puppy (Dany) followed me home when I was taking a walk on the beach only 5 days after my 13 year old pup named Lilo passed away from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and cancer. Dany was dumped on a deserted desert beach in Puerto Peñasco Mexico. She was covered in fleas and ticks, severely malnourished, emaciated and drinking sea water. She had areas or fur missing around her eyes, chin and belly where insects had been eating away at her for months. I called the local dog rescue and they were full to capacity (around 250 dogs) and I was told they had no room. They inquired if might be willing to hold onto Dany until they had an opening in a few weeks.
June 4, 2015.....This is the day I became a foster parent to dogs in need for a rescue in Mexico.
The rescue I volunteer for and help rescue and foster for is called Barb’s Dog Rescue. I fell head over heels in love with this new puppy and I ultimately became a foster failure and ended up adopting her. A foster failure is a person that intends on fostering, but ends up adopting, thus "failing" as a foster. I continued to foster for Barb while I was in Mexico and found it to be very rewarding. It was something I could easily do to give back in the world and there were so many beautiful puppies and dogs needing foster care. I typically helped out by donating food, visiting the shelter to play with the puppies or drop off needed supplies they were running low on. I quickly figured out I had room in my home and heart down in Mexico to take on a foster pup or two every time I came to visit. Barb asked me to foster for her when she was either too full or if a dog or puppy was too sick to be left in a kennel in the shelter. Eventually I started taking foster puppies that were not doing well because they were too tiny, too sick or too traumatized to do well in the rescue or confined in a kennel. Since I spend a large chunk of time in Mexico (3 months at a time) it was only logical that I care for the ones that needed more time in foster care to heal and become adoptable. It has been my job to get these pups healthy enough or old enough (some were bottle fed babies) to return to the rescue to eventually find their forever homes.
My second foster failure was 1 1/2 years ago. I was asked to foster a puppy from Hermosillo Mexico that had been hit by a car and had its hind leg severed and broken requiring amputation. The rescue named her “Hope”. She was found left in a dumpster to die. Yes, some sick human being threw her away as trash. She came to the rescue and started to fail to thrive, wasn’t eating and had severe kennel cough that they were frightened would turn to pneumonia. She was not expected to survive. She was also somewhat feral and not very friendly towards people. Again, for some reason this little puppy stole my heart and I adopted her into our family. She returned home with me to Colorado 2 years ago this July. We named her Rio. She's affectionately called Rio Rio, my special kind of special!
I have continued to rescue and foster every time I go down to say in Mexico and it has become my passion to give back and help these street dogs and puppies find forever homes. I have found it to be extremely addictive and incredibly rewarding.
In October of 2019 I was again asked to foster another puppy that would ultimately capture my heart so deeply and change my life in rescue forever. I was asked to foster her on October 29th 2019 at the age of 2 weeks. She was taken from her mother and litter mates by a vacationer and when that vacationer tried to return this sweet baby to her mother’s den the mother had moved all the puppies and could not be located. The vacationer dumped the puppy, that I later named Tazzy, at the rescue and Barb called me to see if I could take her since she needed bottle feeding. I only had 5 weeks left for my stay in Mexico and I promised Barb I would get this puppy eating on her own and independent enough for adoption before I had to return to the United States on December 5th. Within a week I had suspected this poor puppy was not well and something was very seriously wrong neurologically. We started the numerous Mexican vet visits that ultimately diagnosed her with Cerebellar Hypoplasia. The rescue had made a decision that she would need to be euthanized due to the lack of resources in Mexico to treat and care for these types of fragile dogs. There are really no other options for puppies in Mexico with these types of severe brain disorders and they are just not viewed as adoptable and seldom find forever homes.
I refused the thought of euthanasia and asked the rescue owner if I could try to find Tazzy help in the United States. This is how ended up connecting with the Be Like Josh Foundation and how they became Tazzy's guardian angel. Without them, I’m not sure I would have had the resources to help this puppy or ultimately find her the care and treatment she deserved. The Be Like Josh Foundation helped me to get Tazzy her MRI and helped to ultimately get her the diagnosis of Degenerative Cerebellar Abiothrophy. During this time I fell head over heels in love with this special needs girl and went to every possible means to give her the very best care. Tazzy eventually lost her battle to this horrible disability and with her loss I found a new meaning in my life. Tazzy taught us all unconditional love, and what it means to live every day with a disability, but to be accepted. Tazzy taught thousand of people that followed her on Facebook and Instagram the meaning of perseverance and giving everything you have to be yourself, live with your disability and to love unconditionally. Tazzy showed me how to be a better person, how to "Simply Love" and "Love Simply" which is a Colorado Paws logo. Unfortunately, during this time I had the displeasure to discover some very concerning rescue practices and people that don't necessarily have all animals best interests in mind. Tazzy inspired me to pursue my dream of creating a better type of animal rescue and to be the voice for those that do not have one. She awakened my understanding about the interconnection and fragile dependence of humans and how we co-exist with animals and need each other. Through Tazzy, Colorado Paws was born, and she is our mascot and inspiration for everything Colorado Paws is about. You can read more about Tazzy in my blogs or on my mission link.