PARK CITY, Utah — Founded in 1990, Nuzzles & Co. is a non-profit no-kill organization. Its mission is to protect animals, to provide a loving and nurturing place where they can get healthy and learn positive behaviors, and then to find loving homes for each of them. Since its foundation, Nuzzles & Co. has successfully paired over 22,000 pets with homes.
Victoria Koelkebeck is the Nuzzles & Co. Director of Development, she describes the organization’s rescue process. “We work with our local shelters to bring animals to our rescue in an effort to make Utah a no-kill state.”
Because Nuzzles & Co. works to help the most at-risk and vulnerable pets, they do not typically accept animals from individual owners who cannot take care of them. Instead, they focus on rescuing creatures in the direst circumstances.
“We help the Indigenous Communities in the Four Corners, Fort Deschene regions, as well as on the Navajo Nation, and Ute Tribes,” said Koelkebeck. “Once a month, we travel to these areas to help take in dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens from overpopulated and underfunded shelters lacking resources.”
Additionally, Nuzzles & Co. has a Farm Animal Rescue Program. “In the spring, we start accepting all varieties of farm animals– we offer homes to pigs, goats, donkeys, etc.,” Koelkebeck said, “Last year, right before winter, all of our farm animals were adopted.”
Nuzzles & Co. has two locations for folks to interact with rescue animals. The Adoption Center at the Outlets Park City and the 16,000-square-foot Rescue Ranch in Peoa. Both sites are open seven days a week to visitors.
“Our Rescue Ranch is the first destination for an animal coming into our care,” she said. “At the Ranch, animals are given an entrance exam by our veterinary team. All dogs over 6-months undergo a behavioral evaluation from our training team. All animals receive proper medical care post-exam, which usually consists of spay/neuter services, microchipping, and administering vaccines.”
In addition, senior pets receive dental and blood work to screen for diseases. Then, when pets are ready for adoption, they ride to the Adoption Center to meet potential owners. Cats and kittens have dedicated condos at the Adoption Center, where they live until they find their forever home.
“At the end of the day, the dogs are loaded back up and go to spend the night at our Rescue Ranch in their cozy kennels,” Koelkebeck said. “Dogs with more energy or that need some extra care are available at our Ranch, and might not make the trip to our Adoption Center because the environment does not suit their needs.”
“Just because an animal is at our Rescue Ranch does not necessarily mean that they aren’t ready for adoption– we might not have the space at our Adoption Center, or we are putting their environmental needs first, so we are open to having guests at both locations,” Victoria explains.
Nuzzles & Co. adoption specialists perform a crucial role for the organization. She said, “Our adoption specialists consider themselves matchmakers. They review applications and make sure that adopters are prepared for a puppy or kitten, or determine if an adult or senior pet would be best.”
For Victoria, the best part about working with Nuzzles & Co. is witnessing the positive changes in pets. “Rescue animals change with love, veterinary care, and a great diet. It’s a privilege being able to do what we do, and even on the hardest days, we love supporting animals,” said Koelkebeck.