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June 30, 2013

Black Forest Donation

Due to the hits on the website, phone calls or messages on our Facebook page we’ve decided to speak a little more on our recent donation to a victim of the Black Forest Fires.

Black Forest Animal Sanctuary contacted us last week about possibly donating a dog to the Fortner family at the request of Chief Warrant Officer II Brennan Avants from Fort Carson and his soldiers. As soon as we were asked we knew what we had to do. Having to prep our own family (people and animals) for possible evacuation during both the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest Fires, we knew a small part of the terror that was being felt throughout our community and within this family. The Fortners lost all their pets, their family, and their home in the fire. To reach out and provide a link in the chain of healing to our community is an honor.

Thank you so much for the responses of love and support that we’ve received for donating Basil to a Black Forest Family. This was a small thing we could do. We would like to say “Thank You” to the Black Forest Animal Sanctuary & Romero Wildlife for allowing us to bring some small measure of peace to this particular family.

We would like to remind all our friends and Dortmunder Family that there are many families that still need help. If you can, please donate pet supplies, food, beds,time or money. Please visit their site here and give what you can. The Animal Rescues and Sanctuary’s in the Colorado Springs Area are doing wonderful work and we are proud to work beside them to help bring our community closer and aid in healing after these horrible fires.

Below is the story in the Gazette this morning. Please go Here to see the video coverage by KRDO.

Darrell Fortner, left , hugs Basil, a 11-month old German shepherd who is donated by Linda Smith, owner of Vom Dortmunder German Shepherds, near the Red Cross tent in Black Forest, Saturday, June 29, 2013.   Photo by Junfu Han. The Gazette.

Darrell Fortner, left , hugs Basil, a 11-month old German shepherd who is donated by Linda Smith, owner of Vom Dortmunder German Shepherds, near the Red Cross tent in Black Forest, Saturday, June 29, 2013. Photo by Junfu Han. The Gazette.

Story by Garrison Wells of the Colorado Springs Gazette.
Darrell Fortner lost his dogs to the Black Forest fire. On Saturday, he got one back.

A group of soldiers led by Chief Warrant Officer II Brennan Avants from Fort Carson, The American Red Cross and Black Forest Animal Sanctuary joined forces to find a German shepherd to help replace the dogs buried by Denver firefighters who were battling the wildfire. The Black Forest fire destroyed more than 500 structures and consumed 14,280 acres.

Reminders of the recovery were everywhere Saturday. Trucks hauling heavy machinery trundled through the intersection of Shoup and Black Forest roads about 2 p.m.

Pickups pulling trailers loaded with branches filled up at the Phillips 66. At the American Red Cross tent on one corner, a presentation took place when Linda Smith, owner of Vom Dortmunder German Shepherds in Florissant, unloaded the four-legged gift.

The 11-month-old purebred German shepherd named Basil was presented to Fortner. Fortner hugged Smith, who broke down during the presentation.

“It’s really an honor,” Smith said. “I could not imagine losing my dogs like that. They are my family.”After hugging Avants, Fortner said simply: “Look at her. She’s beautiful.”

Avants got the idea to help Fortner after he and 13 other soldiers from Fort Carson volunteered to distribute bulk goods to fire survivors from the Red Cross tent. Fortner was among those who stopped in. He’d lost the dogs, his home and belongings.

“I was already familiar with the story,” Avants said. “Darrell ended up being a frequent presence at our site and we wanted to do something for him. We got the idea of getting him a German shepherd to replace his loss and help in his recovery process.” There was a personal element to the mission. Avants’ family has two dogs.

“That plays into the emotional aspect of it,” he said. “They are definitely members of the family.” Avants learned about the Black Forest Animal Sanctuary and asked them for help. They found Smith, who was happy to donate Basil. “It’s a very touching story, it really is,” Avants said. “It shows how the Fort Carson and military presence in the area is huge and it’s one of those things where we can help and give back to the community.”