Mission: The Colorado Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps (CO VMRC) program provides veterinary professionals and animal emergency responders with the training and credentialing necessary to support animal health and public health emergency response.

Since 2012, our Director, Char Gonsenica, has been the unit coordinator for the CO-VMRC-West which serves the west half of the state. (This was formerly the Colorado State Animal Response Team.) We have many volunteers who deploy to natural disasters like fires and floods, and we also help law enforcement with large animal cruelty cases. To become a volunteer please contact Char at 970-280-5738 or email use via our Contact Page form.

Sarah Heckathorn is our East Unit Coordinator, you can contact her at

Colorado Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps East or West

Steps to Join


4 Steps to Join the Colorado Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps

  1. Complete the IS 100b (Incident Command System) and IS 700a (National Incident Management System) web classes through the FEMA Emergency Management Institute. These classes prepare participants for understanding the framework under which animal response operates.
  1. FEMA Certificates of Completion for IS 100 and 700 should be submitted along with the CO VMRC Application and COVMRC Volunteer Release to the Unit Coordinator, Char Gonsenica at
  1. Complete the Colorado Animal Response Training. Can be taken in person or online. Topics include:
  • Colorado Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps (COVMRC)
  • Animal Response and Emergency Management
  • Animal Emergency Response Planning
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Basic Sheltering
  • Health and Safety
  • Animal Behavior
  • Animal Handling
  • Euthanasia
  1. Register with the Colorado Volunteer Mobilizer. Any professional credentials will be verified and a background check completed.

Download the Colorado Animal Response Training.

For more information, contact Char Gonsenica at 970-280-5738 or

Lend your support to the cause for paws.

The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated. – Mahatma Gandhi