By Mark Ackerman

PEYTON, Colo. (CBS4) – Dozens of volunteers cheered as three vans filled with rescue dogs arrived at the National Mill Dog Rescue in Peyton over the weekend.

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The rescue team logged more than 2,000 miles in just 52 hours, rescuing 104 dogs and three cats from commercial breeders across the Midwest.

Theresa Strader, the founder of National Mill Dog Rescue, said many of the dogs lived their whole lives in cages.

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“Their job is to be pregnant all the time,” she said. “When they can’t do that most of them are just killed.”

But instead, Strader and her team takes the dogs off their hands.

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“I’m grateful they give us the dogs instead of killing them,” she said.

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An emaciated Great Dane named “Hope” and a Maltese with a heart murmur will receive immediate veterinary care.

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But, the current vet room at the National Mill Dog Rescue isn’t much bigger than the size of a broom closet. However, that soon will change, thanks to the generosity of volunteer, David Wismer.

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One day Wismer asked Strader, “If you had one dream what would it be?” She said, “A state-of-the-art surgical center and rehab facility” for the dogs she rescues.

Wismer replied, “I’ve sold my business, I’m 80 years old. I’m in a position to help you make that dream come true.”

He then footed the bill for the $1.5 million “Timothy Center” a first-class veterinary hospital named after Wismer’s dog, Timothy, who died last year.

“As you can see I’m not over it yet,” he said.

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The Timothy Center at National Mill Dog Rescue is scheduled to open on Feb. 17, the anniversary of Strader’s first rescue.

“We literally started this in chicken coops on our property 11 years ago,” she said.

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Now National Mill Dog Rescue has saved more than 12,600 dogs.

“Most of the time in my quiet moments, it just makes me cry, tears of joy”, she said. “We can now do absolutely everything for these guys onsite. It means the world.”

Mark Ackerman is a Special Projects Producer at CBS4. Follow him on Twitter @ackermanmark

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