By Jeanne Sager
NORTH BRANCH It’s a place to rescue animals, but the former Oasis in North Branch has rescued Liz Keller too.
The head of Glen Wild Animal Rescue, made famous in dog rescue circles 11 years ago for rehabilitating “Miracle,” the puppy buried alive and left to die in the Town of Thompson, has bounced around in recent years.
She worked with the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. She took care of animals in Oneonta.
But she wanted to come home, to Sullivan County. And then she heard the news. Oasis in North Branch was looking for someone to take over.
Former owner Ed Lama wasn’t able to keep it running, but there were animals there, animals living out their lives in the quiet town, with room to run and no one to bother.
And so Keller took them up on the offer. She would move Glen Wild Animal Rescue to North Branch and continue her work hooking dogs up with kids in detention centers and helping to train dogs to go into service for military vets. But she’d do it while caring for animals who needed a home, animals who were unadoptable but not unlovable.
She moved in last fall and tackled the aging shelter with zeal, fixing structural issues, determining the shelter’s weaknesses and strengths.
And Keller and the animals 35 to 40 dogs and some cats have made it out onto the other side of the winter, entrenched in the community and with a mission at hand.
A recently ordained minister, Keller says God is guiding her as she works with troubled youth at the detention center in South Kortright, acquainting them with animals who teach them at once about love and responsibility. She’s developing her Rescue Dogs & Rescue Soldiers program, training service dogs for wounded veterans.
And she’s once again looking to the Miracle Fund, a fund started when that little puppy was discovered near Monticello, to help dogs who just need a little medical help to get them back on the road to life.
And she’s doing it all from Oasis, a home from which she’s adopting out a few dogs those ready for a family but also a home for the animals who need rescuing, who need a place to call home because none has worked for them.
“This is a beautiful property,” Keller said. “Our dogs are quiet here, they’re happy here . . . I always say quiet dogs are happy dogs!”
And like her dogs, Keller is happy too. She’s been rescued, her plans have been rescued.
But that doesn’t mean they couldn’t use some help.
Glen Wild Animal Rescue is welcoming volunteers to come help at Oasis. Volunteers can visit her online at http://www.glenwildanimalrescue.org/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Funds to help the animals can be sent to Glen Wild Animal Rescue, 130 Dyker Road, North Branch, NY 12766 - in particular monies dedicated to the Miracle Fund, which is used to pay for medical costs for abused or sick animals, can be sent to the address with “Miracle Fund” in the memo line.