Diana Moll is still mourning the loss of two young lives in a fire at Pet Protection headquarters last month, but she continues to keep the faith at Sanctuary Road, which leads to the organization's no-kill shelter for abandoned animals.
An unfortunate accident led to a fire that destroyed the mobile home where Shawn Wilson, 22, had been living with her two children for two months.
Wilson, who had been a caretaker at the non-profit shelter, and her 2-month-old son, Charles, perished in the fire.
Moll said Wilson was a dedicated caretaker, a volunteer position, at the shelter and had been doing a good job before tragedy struck.
"I fell to my knees at the sorrow I felt in my heart," Moll said.
"I could not believe that this awful thing could ever happen.
I felt like it was over for me.
Like I could not go on."
Moll cares for more than 140 animals at the shelter, located near the White Hills area off U.S.
Currently most shelter residents are dogs of every breed and a few cats, but Moll and her volunteers have also cared for pot-bellied pigs, goats, horses, burros, emus, and a friendly coyote since the shelter first opened its doors almost five years ago.
Smaller creatures, including parakeets, cockatiels, turtles, snakes, chickens, ducks and fish in an aquarium, have also found their way to the shelter.
Some creatures are harder to find good homes for than others, Moll said.
Pot-bellied pigs are the easiest to place.
She had no problem finding a home for the emus and desert tortoises turned in to the Bureau of Land Management.
Dogs are a different story, however, and Moll periodically holds pet adoption days to try to find homes for the animals.
The fire Oct.
25 did not reach the kennels where most animals were housed, but four cats inside the mobile home perished and 23,000 pounds of donated dog food, 40 bags of blankets and medicine for the animals were destroyed.
Moll, the founder and president of Pet Protection, where no animal is abandoned or put to death, started the organization eight years ago.
"I wanted to save as many animals as I could from dying or being abused," she said.
She has a team of about 33 volunteers, but it is not unusual to see Moll making the rounds herself, feeding and watering the animals and cleaning out the dog cages, a task that takes several hours.
While many animals are eventually adopted, some dogs in Moll's care have been at the shelter since it first opened.
Caring for 140 plus animals takes its toll, and Moll often becomes discouraged, especially since the recent tragedy.
"But when I go out to feed the dogs, and start petting them and look into their eyes, it reminds me of why I do it," Moll, a single mother of three, said of her need to help the abandoned animals.
Russell Jemison, a Golden Valley resident, was so moved by Moll's dedication that he donated $5,000 to the organization to "help you get your building project started."
The money will go toward a building with room for a small office, pet grooming and a place for the cats, Moll said.
The Pet Protection organization also operates a thrift store at 234 1/2 3rd St.
Proceeds from the store go toward care of the animals.
Pet Protection is located at 7729 Sanctuary Road on five acres of land at mile marker 49 on U.S.
It is a no-kill animal shelter specializing in animal adoptions.
To adopt a dog, make a donation or become a volunteer call 753-3408.