Woman rescues hopeless animals through her “Christmas angel tree”

Dec 16, 2021, 5:23 PM | Updated: 8:48 pm

SALINA CITY, UTAH– It was important for Mishka to look her best. You never know when her fur-ever human might walk in.

Jeannine Fullmer has groomed hundreds, if not thousands, of dogs but wanted to make sure Mishka looked perfect.

“Should we get those ears? Good girl,” Fullmer said.

She figured the dog certainly deserved it.

“Mishka here was abandoned. Literally. She was left outside in a yard,” said Fullmer with a look of anger on her face. “What kind of animal would do that to such a sweet dog?”

It’s a tale Fullmer has heard too often. She started rescuing animals when she was a young girl. Fullmer remembers feeling sad for those animals who didn’t have a loving home.

“I had a dog named turkey and that was my best friend. It was a bird dog,” said Fullmer with a laugh. “I also had a crow. We named him Edgar Allen Crow.”

Her love of animals and taking care of them became her passion and career.

“I love animals better than I love people,” she said.

She created Fullmer Menagerie Animal Rescue in Salina and now has all sorts of animals that were either found or abandoned: dogs, cats, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, ducks… you can find them all, and more, on her dozen-plus acres in this quiet part of Sevier County.

“We have people who leave their dogs in rentals, or cats in rentals, or their animals, horses, they just abandon them because they can’t afford to feed them anymore. And that’s what we’re here for,” said Fullmer.

Lately, though, she has been taking in more animals than ever before.

Ever since COVID started, Fullmer says people have been bringing their pets to her rescue. In most of those cases, Fullmer says it was a tough decision for the people to do so.

“People are having a hard time getting jobs. They have no choice,” she said. “We’ve heard stories of people feeding their pets before they would eat food for themselves. At some point it becomes too much.”

The tough part for Fullmer is that every animal that comes in has to eat: several meals, everyday.

“We’re funded completely out of our pocket, my pocket, and my pockets are very empty. We spent $30,000 just on hay. And where does that come from? It comes from us,” she said.

So, Fullmer decided to start a Christmas Angel Tree. Normally, an Angel Tree is where you would see a tree at a business with the names of people and families on tags who could use a little help on Christmas. You would pick a tag, buy gifts for that family, bring the gifts back to the business, which would then get the gifts to the family.

However, Fullmer’s tree is for animals.

“We want to get them all food and blankets and maybe a toy and anything else,” she said. “Christmas is important. It’s important for everybody.”

Customers coming to the rescue to have their dog groomed or boarded have been seeing the tree and started donating. It helps Fullmer to make sure all her good boys and girls are on Santa’s nice list. The animals stay at the rescue until they are adopted, and if they’re not adopted, Fullmer says they can stay for the rest of their lives.

“It’s hard,” she said. “It’s really really hard. But we do what we have to do.”

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Woman rescues hopeless animals through her “Christmas angel tree”