The Many Lives of Aspen Dogs

BY Christine Benedetti | February 8, 2019 | Feature Features

People say that dogs adopted from the Aspen Animal Shelter won the lottery. Is it true?
Copper landed a home with Jason Cook and Corinna Czink.

After three weeks of picking up the dog bowl to fill it with water, only to remember that she was no longer there, it got old. We swore we’d wait to get another puppy after our 11-year-old shepherd-husky died from cancer, but, then, an adorable photo of five speckled Australian shepherd mixes at the Aspen Animal Shelter popped up on Facebook.

We just went to look and hold one; we brought Chopper home.

He wasn’t one of the speckled pups in the picture, but he was part of the same litter—11 dogs rescued from a reservation in New Mexico and transported to Aspen, via Lafeyette, Colorado’s RezDawg Rescue. They’re likely a mix of border collie, blue heeler and Australian shepherd, all energy and wits, not a lot of bubbly charm with strangers.

Now 4 years old, Chopper has hiked mountains and skied peaks. He hates swimming. He walks around town, getting treats from the people at Alpine Bank, Carl’s Pharmacy and Of Grape & Grain. We joke that dogs adopted from the shelter hit the jackpot, but isn’t that true for adopted pups everywhere? To answer the question about what happens to dogs “rescued in Aspen,” I tracked down his littermates to see if they, too, were living their best lives.


Cute puppies and longing-for-a-home dogs may be the poster canines of the Aspen Animal Shelter, but Seth Sachson is its face. To say the valley native is passionate about his job as the director of the shelter is an understatement. “Sure it’s fun to tell stories of dogs leaving on jets and in limos, but it’s also cool for the guy who works at the local pizza shop, and we get to see those dogs adopted every day,” he says. “That’s what I love: Everybody loves dogs. And dogs don’t discriminate who they love.”

The shelter, located by the Aspen Airport, adopts out several hundred dogs per year. (It also fosters cats, birds, rabbits, goats, ducks and even had a coyote pass through its doors.) Pets come to Sachson through all kinds of situations: divorce, death, moving, shifting family dynamics, allergies. “You hear everything, and every day is like a reality show,” he says. “The shelter is weaved into the fabric of the community.”

Photography Courtesy Of: