Stray Hearts radiothon a huge success

Stray Hearts Animal Shelter broke the record in it’s long history of fundraising Thursday, March 27, at its annual radiothon. 


Stray Hearts Animal Shelter broke the record in it’s long history of fundraising Thursday, March 27, at its annual radiothon.

KTAOS Solar Center was the venue for this amazing event, which was on air from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. receiving calls from donors in Taos County. Many people also called from out of state to help Stray Hearts reach its goal of $45,000.

Because of the enormous generosity of an anonymous donor, all funds raised from 10 to 11 a.m. and then again from 5 to 6 p.m. were matched. Another anonymous donor also matched from 5 to 6 p.m. and the match was doubled! So, if you donated $100 dollars 5 and 6 p.m., with the matches you actually donated $300!

We were “rockin” and ended the day with a $54,000 total which has grown from donations brought in person and into the shelter the next day. At this point I do not have an actual number, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it neared $60,000 … a record-breaker!

We had so much donated food we ended up taking food at the end of the day to the Men’s Shelter where they were able to feast upon pizzas and cold cuts.

Our speakers were outstanding and included our new Mayor Dan Barrone and First Lady Della Barrone, County Commissioner Chairman Gabe Romero, Taos News Publisher Chris Baker, and Jim Fambro, our long time volunteer fire chief currently running for a commission seat. Fambro adopted Gypsy, a pit bull, from the shelter and has fallen in love with this family-loving dog. He wanted the “world” to know how much he appreciated Stray Hearts for taking care of Gypsy before the adoption into the Fambro family!

Both Mayor Barrone and Commissioner Romero have a long-standing history of working for the animals in our county and Baker has always supported our animal causes along with Taos News Editor Joan Livingston in giving us the “Los Animales” animal page once a month and the Taos Bark column. Baker actually named my column “The Taos Bark” when I approached him almost seven years ago about writing the column.

Cynthia Arvidson, director of Habitat for Humanity, was another invited speaker and spoke about the collaboration she is having with Stray Hearts Director Jan Gordon to build dog houses for a fundraiser where local artists will donate their artistic skills. How fun is that?

Also, a big-big thank you to Bonnie Golden, a mom to at least two shelter dogs and Vicki Magiera, owner of “Beautiful Bones” a really cool gift store located on Taos Plaza, an animal lover big time, especially Chihuahuas. She is my “go-to” Chihuahua person as I have two of those little Godzillas.

And of course, there is Pennie Wardlow of Four Corners Animal League. How could you have an animal event without her? Wardlow spoke about the great collaboration between FCAL and Stray Hearts and promoted shelter animals especially desperate for a home. Stray Hearts volunteers and staff also spoke as did board member Carol Velarde and Shelter Manager Yamuna Devi.

Gordon, Stray hearts director, was so ill and had to stay home with a very serious case of bronchitis. However, trouper that she is, she showed up for a little while with a mask on. Can you imagine being the executive director and not being able to come to your own major fundraiser of the year?

Velarde and Mary “Mattress Mary” Domito have to be singled out with special triple gold stars. Velarde took on organizing the total event, never stopping, constantly going from one area to another and Domito for stepping in for Gordon, helming the entire event — always overseeing on the phones promoting, urging, asking, etc., etc. to keep the donors calling in. Awesome Mary!

Thank you to Smith’s, Albertson’s, Chalupp’s, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Stella’s and Pizaño’s for their delicious and generous food donations. Also, Shelly Hughes for those “butt-kickin” brownies and even more brownies from Sylvia Ford, wife of board president, Ron Ford, also working hard throughout the entire event.

And Judge Jeff Shannon, thank you for those “knock out” cheesecakes you are famous for giving to nonprofits. KTAO Katie Spiers, you are a star. Thank yous to Drew and the rest of your staff who worked hard to make this happen — also, Paddy Mac, Katie Speirs and Brad Hockmeyer for “DJing” for us. The relationship Stray Hearts had with KTAO was the best ever and without a doubt contributed greatly to the radiothon’s success.

The greatest thank you of all goes to our community who contributed their donations to the care of our animals at the shelter. You came through big time. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Trish Hernández may be reached at or (575) 741-5149.


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