The Atlas Pet Rescue event had a dog-painting contest. Photo by Michelle Chance

A non-profit group seeking to start Maricopa’s first animal shelter held a fundraising event over the weekend to raise money for a facility.

Tammie Crawford, founder of Atlas Pet Rescue said the group needs to raise $2.8 million to fund the project.

“We are providing a multi-million-dollar facility, and that’s why we’re here raising money today … to pay our architect so we can start this building,” Crawford said.

She said she hopes the rescue group can eventually raise enough funds to break ground in less than a year.

The “dog days of summer” event held at the Copper Sky dog park Saturday was the group’s first effort in meeting that goal.

It featured a raffle, food vendors, music and various community organizations. The event provided kids the opportunity to cool off inside an inflatable pool and a slip and slide.

The most colorful attraction, however, was the dog painting competition.

Competing for a trophy, contestants used non-toxic paint and spray paint to express their creativity using their pup’s coats as canvases.

Although the event was canine-centered, Crawford said the future shelter and rescue would house not only dogs, but cats and horses too.

Plans for the shelter include training some of the shelter pets as full-service animals and companions.

“The best part is that we are taking animals from the shelter and working with two trainers to give dogs to veterans for PTSD,” Crawford said. “Then eventually we are going to be doing equine assisted therapy with some of our rescue horses.”

For more information contact Atlas Pet Rescue at 520-709-3966 or email


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