Home » Business » Antiques Dealer takes on job as matchmaker

Antiques Dealer takes on job as matchmaker

“Unless you’ve lived with a pet and loved a pet, you don’t know what you’re missing.”

So states Cheryl Brazell, an attractive and earnest Central Kansas native. She and her husband Richard own and operate the Past Times antiques shop on Mesquite Street— but that’s the day job. The rest of their time— weekends, evenings and holidays— are spent ministering to the animals through the High Desert Humane Society.

Sitting at her wood harvest table in a red bandana-print blouse and softly styled silver hair, Cheryl shares her life here matter-of-factly. “Richard and I moved to Globe in 1971, and in 1990 we opened Past Times. I just love old stuff, ever since I was a kid. Richard was all for this, and we jumped in with both feet. I couldn’t have done any of this without him.” Married for fifty years come this August, they have two children and four grandkids. Their immediate Globe family is comprised of dogs Lucy, Toby and Daisy, and the solitary cat, Callie. They lived in Mesa for awhile; had a shop in Silver City, New Mexico for a year and a half, and Cheryl worked once for Gila County (“I didn’t really enjoy sitting at a desk”). Their Globe antiques shop is obviously the result of years of hard and happy work. “Richard said I didn’t have to get a job, and then we opened Past Times. I didn’t realize this business is work.”

There’s a sign in their kitchen: MANY PEOPLE HAVE EATEN IN THIS KITCHEN AND HAVE GONE ON TO LEAD NORMAL LIVES. She laughs and shakes her head, “The dogs sleep in there.” The morning silence is split by barking, and Cheryl confides, “This should be a full time job. You could say my business has gone to the dogs!” She and Richard have had as many as seventeen dogs in their shop, although it’s usually closer to ten. Last week they adopted out sixteen dogs and found foster homes for two.

She goes on to explain how she became involved with animal rescue. “Richard and I have always rescued dogs. I believe God put us over the animals to take care of them. Animals can’t tell us what they need. What does an animal do if he’s mistreated? They don’t have a voice– we have to be that voice. We didn’t feel qualified at first, but the dogs taught us.” While running her own dogs at Globe’s Dog Park (located to the east of the Noftsger Hill B&B), she got acquainted with Lisa and Eileen, owners of the Drift Inn Saloon. They told her about the needs of the Humane Society and, at the next meeting Cheryl was sworn in (“I’d never been President of anything except the Democratic Women’s Club”). She has served in this role for two years.

“My first goal was to make the Society visible and accessible,” she says. Local  newspapers and radio stations helped out by placing stories of lost, abused or abandoned animals. “I put my name and number out there because I’m located downtown, and you need a headquarters.” She met with Laurie Manzano, now the Director of Feline Rescue in the old Tom’s Snacks building (“Laurie has saved thousands of cats over the years”) and, one year ago, the Humane Society opened a thrift shop on Broad Street. She proudly adds, “Every dime from the proceeds go to the animals– there are no salaries.” Richard takes care of building maintenance; Glenn Wilt charges $250 a month for the rent on the store and he threw in the next door warehouse at no charge. While Dr. Wilt has seen some bad press lately with regards to some of his properties, he loves animals and the Humane Society is grateful for the reduced rent. The shop generates sustainable income– something the grant people look for. Donations are plentiful, with even more needed, and a staff of selfless volunteers sort, clean and sell merchandise. The High Desert Humane Society Boutique is clean and organized, with a nice selection of goods— household and décor items, books and art, jewelry and clothing. “And just so you know, every pair of tennis shoes are laundered, and [leather] shoes are sanitized with Clorox wipes!”

When asked, ‘where do you go from here?’ Cheryl points out it’s much easier to get assistance— grant money from organizations like the ASPCA, dog food manufacturers and such— if there’s a dedicated rescue facility. Currently, Past Times is the facility, along with various foster homes. There is a piece of property— over two acres with outbuildings and plenty of play areas, with visibility and easy access, but the price takes it out of reach for the Society. “It’s a big chunk of change for us to come up with, unless an angel or two steps forward to help. Honestly? Fifty thousand dollars and we’d have a full-blown dog rescue!”

How do they think up names for the dogs? “It’s hard!” she giggles, “We look at them a few times and come up with something silly. Sammy’s come back a few times, and so we call him ‘Boomerang’. And then there’s little Elmer… because he sticks like glue.” When asked to discuss the hard part of all of this: the dogs who never find loving homes, Cheryl chafes. “Approximately one thousand dogs and cats are euthanized each year in this small community. It’s irresponsible and unnecessary to let these animals breed. ‘Real men neuter their dogs’ is a tee shirt design we’d like to create. Spaying and neutering is healthier for the animal: they’re less apt to roam, they’re less aggressive, and now, because of the Humane Society, it’s affordable. You can also apply for assistance if you need help.” All information is posted at the new Feline Rescue building at 669 N. Broad Street.

While the war still rages, some of the battles are easier. “I’m able to delegate– Pegi taking over the Thrift Shop management was just a tremendous help to me, and Sarah, in charge of the Spay/Neuter Clinic took a load off, too!” She’s especially appreciative of the support of Doc Eubank and the staff at Good Samaritan Veterinary Services. “He always takes my calls, even at night, and has helped injured animals after business hours. They will always squeeze us in, and they make it affordable for us.” Additionally, five hundred and fifty dogs and cats have been spayed and neutered in the last nine months through the Spay and Neuter clinic. Cheryl shifts in her seat and says, “You know, Frank Gifford once said, ‘The one thing they’ll never forgive you for is success’. And the Humane Society is successful.”

Asked about what the Society needs from the community, Cheryl acknowledges the terrific cadre of volunteers, approximately forty now, but “while we have incredible volunteers, we definitely need more! We need foster homes, too: those folks who can take in a dog, socialize him, and then let him go on to a permanent home. We provide food and medical care for this.” She tells a brief story about a two Yorkie sisters, one with a neurological disorder which caused her to crawl. This did not stop her from wrestling with her sister. They were both adopted by a loving couple who, with Cheryl, didn’t want to split them up. Her eyes fill. “It was a total blessing when the Curry’s came along,” she says softly. “They want to make her happy for as long as possible. The little one with the spinal problem— her name is Hope, and her bark is like a song— well, we hope she gets stronger so she can beat up her sister.”

Cheryl grows reflective. “I love seeing a good match, and I love it when ‘new parents’ call me or send me pictures and tell me how much they enjoy their new pet! I get photos of dogs sleeping with the kids, or dressed up for Valentine’s Day. And there’s no therapy equal to a lick on the face from your dog. It’s very rewarding to work with the Society, [because] we’re helping people, too!”  She beams. “We’re very impressed with the generosity of this community.”

She grins and adds, conversationally, “You know what? Barking drives me nuts.”



The High Desert Humane Society is a 501-C-3 non-profit organization, and all donations are tax deductible. Besides monetary donations, the Society always accepts pet food, towels and blankets. Especially needed are collars and leashes.

How about donating used items in good condition? Call Cheryl at Past Times: (928) 425-2220.

Interested in volunteering? Volunteers are needed at both the thrift shop and the warehouse (all are half-day shifts), and if you have a truck and can pick up donations, you’ll be the dogs’ best friend forever!

Tell a friend, or share this article with those in your club, office or school. You can also visit the HDHS Facebook page, or email Cheryl at highdeserthumane@gmail.com.

Estate planning is another way to help the animals, and will benefit them for years to come.

“I want people to think about the Humane Society, and if they’ve got money to help the animals, I want them to think hard!”  So concludes the Matchmaker, whose days— and weekends, evenings, and holidays– are devoted to fostering a special bond between people and pets.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *