Good Life RefugeBy Kate Jonuska
Dogs and cats may be the first species you associate with animal rescue efforts, but the types of animals who need saving are actually quite diverse. From domesticated ducklings abandoned in parks and turkeys wandering the streets of Berthoud, to potbellied pigs surrendered by retiring farmers and goats seized from hoarders by governmental agencies, Nicole Brecht has seen it all.
“These are problems I don’t know how to prevent, but when we hear about abandoned or found animals, no matter if I have space, I try to step up and get these animals because they won’t have a chance otherwise,” says Brecht, founder and executive director of Good Life Refuge. She moved her family to the organization’s 5-acre farm in Longmont in August 2018.
Today, the farm hosts 60 rescued animals, including cattle, alpacas and a goat named Hellboy, all of whom have profiles on the refuge’s website. The organization’s third birthday is certainly a milestone to celebrate, but Brecht and her team are looking toward the future. Good Life’s mission to provide a safe haven for abused and at-risk farm animals always relies on the generosity of donors, whose funds go directly to the animals. More than half of their yearly budget goes toward vet expenses to nurse sick animals back to health, and roughly another third buys food.
“What we need is monthly supporters who give us calculable funds to rescue animals and to decide how many we can rescue on top of who we have already,” says Brecht, adding that the nonprofit is also seeking hands-on volunteers and additional board members.
An animal lover all her life, Brecht can’t imagine a more rewarding way to spend time or resources than to watch unhealthy animals blossom back to health. “That’s the heartwarming part, knowing that we changed their lives and seeing those transitions,” she says. “All of our animals here are very special. Every single animal. They all have personalities, and there are some real characters!”