Lots of teens love animals, but few go to the lengths that Demi Merritt did. As a 14-year-old, she founded Demi’s Animal Rescue (DAR), transforming her family’s basement into a no-kill animal shelter. Ten-years later, she’s extended the Denver non-profit’s reach well-beyond the family home, with a large network of fosters, donors and volunteers.
Demi’s mission – helping to solve pet homelessness through adoption, spay/neuter programs and pet retention – has never wavered. She and her team of volunteers work tirelessly to keep pets safe and loved. Sometimes, that means supporting pet owners in need of a helping hand.
Demi recalls one such client, a homeless woman who needed a safe home for her cat Geo, until she got back on her feet. The woman called regularly to check on Geo, and ultimately found a stable place to live. “I will never forget the warmth I felt by helping keep them together,” Demi recalls. “It was so clear that Geo was dearly loved.”
Pet retention is a priority for DAR, as a first line of defense to lower Colorado’s euthanization numbers. In addition to providing temporary housing, the non-profit offers coaching, assistance with pet supplies, behavior modification and training, and veterinary help. Of course, as a rescue, DAR also takes in animals in need of new homes.
“We don’t discriminate against any animal in need,” Demi emphasizes. “Once an animal reaches us, our tagline says it all: It only gets better from here.”