Online shop owner promotes Frederick County animal shelter

Graphic designer Colleen Gratzer has set up a website to benefit the Frederick County Animal Shelter.

A local graphic design artist is launching an online store to promote the Frederick County Animal Control and Adoption Center.

Colleen Gratzer, owner of Gratzer Graphics LLC in Adamstown, decided to start a website this month selling animal shelter gear such as calendars, T-shirts and water bottles.

She will donate all of the proceeds back to the shelter, but her larger goal is to draw attention to the animals that need to be adopted. She runs the store as a volunteer and is not sponsored by the county.

Proceeds go into the county's donation fund, which is used for animal welfare purchases ranging from medical supplies to food to toys.

"Adopt a shelter pet" reads a bumper sticker, complete with a photo of a kitten batting a toy.

All of the photographs of animals at the Frederick County shelter were taken by shelter volunteer Mary Bernard.

Gratzer also offers notecards with animal photographs on them, and products, including cat and dog food bowls, that say "I adopted my cat (or dog) from Frederick County Animal Control."

There are some products with different animals such as hamsters.

Gratzer has owned her graphic design business since 2003, and offers print, web and logo design services.

But Gratzer also loves animals.

"It's my passion to help animals, and I've always been like that," Gratzer said.

She has three dogs, all adopted from shelters. Two of them are from Frederick's.

Last summer, she found time to volunteer at the shelter. That's when her third dog came home with her.

"I saw her the day I started volunteering, and I said 'that dog is coming home with me, I just know it,'" Gratzer said.

When life got busy, Gratzer took a break from volunteering, but she wanted to do something to help the shelter. That's when she got the idea for the online shop.

She wants people to know that they don't have to go to a private breeder to get a great dog.

The shelter does get purebreds, and sometimes perfectly good dogs are given up because the owner ran into economic difficulties, she said.

People can get dogs there that are already trained, or a dog that wasn't the right fit for one person but would be perfect for another.

"I can definitely say as a volunteer there, it's about matching the right dog with the right person and the right personality and lifestyle that person has," Gratzer said.

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