By Christie Barlow
Every morning, Liz Kreitzer gives the 22 guests staying in her home a 6 a.m. wake up call. From there, the chaos ensues.
Liz and her husband Bill run Kreitzer’s Critter Corral, a puppy rescue business out of their home. At any given point you can find a dog in just about any room of the house.
Currently, the Kreitzer’s have 22 dogs they’ve taken in and hope to adopt back out.
“These are Gods creatures,” Liz said. “We don’t have a lot of money to donate anywhere; this is our way of giving back to Christ.”
Both Liz and Bill are big animal lovers. Before they started their own shelter, the duo both volunteered with other rescue agencies. Anytime a new puppy came in, Liz found herself constantly asking Bill if she could bring them home. Bill jokingly issued Liz an ultimatum — bring home another pet and you and the pet can find somewhere else to live. But their first real rescue, a group of abandoned puppies, did Bill in. After bottle feeding them and nurturing them, Bill was on board to start a shelter of their own.
About four years ago they officially started their own shelter and have been finding homes for puppies and abandoned dogs ever since.
Puppy crates line their dining room walls, a playpen is in the kitchen and a heated garage is home to even more dogs, but for the most part, the animals run free around the house. One of the things that makes them different from traditional shelters is the home setting, Liz said. It also provides a more comfortable environment for people to meet the dogs, Liz said.
“The puppies are more socialized,” Liz said. “They’ve begun training in a sense. They’re used to being in a home environment. They hear all the noises of the house.”
For the first few years, most of the costs to take care of the dogs came out of pocket for the Kreitzers. However, costs have decreased over the years thanks to donations and the money they collect from adoption fees. They charge a $150 adoption fee, which includes some vaccinations, a bag of food and heartworm medications. All the money they collect goes directly back into taking care of the animals.
Today, Liz, Bill and their two children share their home with the dogs, and both Liz and Bill work full time jobs. Liz works as an administrative assistant for Bank of America and Bill works as the property manager for the Cabarrus County YMCAs.
Their ultimate goal would be to buy two or three acres of land where they could build a home for themselves and a home for the dogs they take in. This way the dogs could still live in a comfortable home environment, but the family could have its own separate space, Liz said. Liz hopes that once they attain their nonprofit status, they will eventually be able to devote themselves full time to the shelter.
While that dream seems a long way off, Liz and Bill are hoping they can turn the garage into a kennel sometime soon and are just happy to be helping dogs.
“We’re animal lovers,” Liz said. “We’ve had rats and guinea pigs. We’ve even baby sat for hissing cockroaches.”
“We love uniting people and pets because we know we’ve saved a life and started a family,” Bill said.
• Contact Christie Barlow at [email protected] or 704-789-9140.