A local place of hope and refuge is celebrating a milestone this month.
In honor of its fifth anniversary, Good Life Refuge held a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Longmont Area Chamber of Commerce in recognition of the shelter’s dedication to caring for abused, neglected and at-risk farm animals.
For Nicole Brecht, president and founder of Good Life, the idea of opening a shelter dates back to her childhood.
“I have loved animals since I was a little one,” Brecht explains. “I started in rescue more than 20 years ago with domesticated animals.”
Brecht was involved with a rescue for dogs and cats for more than a decade after seeing the need to provide homes for surrendered animals. It didn’t take long for her to realize that farm animals needed many of the same resources.
“There just are not enough places taking in these animals,” Brecht said. “It became clear that I needed to focus on farm animals. There are not enough sanctuaries in the state to satisfy the demand.”
Good Life provides a home for nearly 80 different animals. Most of the animals at the refuge were rescued from Colorado.
Teddy and Rosalina are the exceptions. The two cows were seized from what Brecht calls a “hobby farm” located in Indiana. When the pair arrived at Good Life, they were sick and starving. Now the two are healthy and thriving. Rosalina in particular eagerly sought the attention of those attending the ribbon-cutting event, giving chamber members affectionate licks when they tried to pet her. A Good Life volunteer laughed that the bovine is “a 1600-pound lap cow.”
According to Brecht, Good Life believes in “ethical animal stewardship” and the team of volunteers on the farm work hard to provide a nurturing home for creatures who had a difficult beginning in life.
“We work closely with veterinarians and other rescues to make sure that these animals can live out their years in the best way possible,” she explains.
The operating costs for Good Life are paid through donations.
“The work we do is expensive. We have a mostly volunteer staff, so the money we receive goes directly to supporting the animals,” Brecht said. “This year, we have generous donor matches of up to $64,500 from now through Colorado Gives Day on December 5. It is a tremendous opportunity for us to secure animal care for another year.”
Brecht and her team of volunteers are proud of the work they have done but recognize that there is still so much to do in the future.
“I’m hopeful that we will have the funding to provide more animals with a safe haven, and to do some educational programs and expand our footprint in the community,” Brecht said.
Good Life offers farm tours by appointment along with other programs like farm yoga in the summer months.
Correction: Good Life is around 96% volunteer run. Brecht did not run a shelter for dogs and cats, she was involved with such a shelter.