AURORA, Colo. - An Aurora teenager has turned her family's basement into a sanctuary. 17-year-old Demi Merritt of Aurora has her own no-kill animal rescue.
"Every kennel gets swept out every day, fresh food, fresh water," said Merritt.
The shelter takes up most of her family's walkout basement.
"Every cat has been tested for feline leukemia, spayed or neutered. So all of them will have to have that done before they go into the play area," said Merritt.
Demi's Animal Rescue is an official 501-c-3 non-profit. She can do this in her Aurora home because she limits the number of cats or dogs she cares for to four.
"Every cat has an individual room. They each get litter box, food, beds, a living space, and something to climb on," said Merritt.
Some dogs or cats Merritt rescues are from some tough circumstances and need time to used to people again.
"Sometimes she gives up her social life for this, but it is a lot of work. She has to put big fund raisers together which is very time consuming. She has to take care of the animals by keeping them fed, clean and healthy," said April Merritt, Demi's mom.
Merritt has done this for three and a half years, earning her the trust of much larger animal organizations.
"Other no-kill shelters put us on their list to take in animals," said Merritt.
Merritt says she has saved close to 60 animals. Now graduated from high school, she wants to make a career of this, but that will require a larger space and more volunteers.
"I have been cleaning by myself, socializing by myself, fundraising by myself, running my web site by myself," said Merritt.
"She takes a lot of pride in doing it herself. And if we try to get too involved, she does not like us to get too involved," Merritt's mom said laughing.