By Angela Greenwood

VACAVILLE (CBS13) — The sudden death of a longtime animal advocate in Vacaville has left dozens of rescue animals without a home.

Nearly 30 dogs and a few horses were displaced when Marline Mortensen passed away unexpectedly. The community is now honoring her legacy, racing to find new homes for her pets.

“Those were her heart and soul,” said Mortensen’s friend Colleen Berumen.

Anyone who knew Marline Mortenson knew what her world revolved around.

“Animals were her life,” said Berumen.

The 70-year-old passed away unexpectedly inside her Vacaville home, which was turned into an animal sanctuary. For years, she rescued and adopted sick and old animals.

“Not only saving them but giving them a wonderful end,” said Berumen.

John Fair said Mortensen was a long time customer at the Western Ranch and Pet Supply where he worked.

“She was one of the nicest people you’d ever meet,” said Fair, “She’s the only person I know that no matter what would take in any animal.”

Now, those animals need a new home. Mortensen’s 28 senior dogs are now being housed at the Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco awaiting adoption. A few of her horses were taken to the Glide Foundation in Davis. Western Ranch and Pet Supply is already accepting donations of horse supplies and for every dollar that’s purchased, the business will match in Mortensen’s honor.

“Someone’s going have to step up and fill those shoes of hers, or her muck boots as she always had on,” said Berumen.

They’ll be big boots to fill as the community looks to care for the animals that Mortensen dedicated her life to.

Fair said, “There’s a lot that she did for the entire community and this is what we can do to give back.”

“It makes me want to cry. She’s looking down on everyone and thanking everyone so much,” said Berumen.

The Muttville Senior Dog Rescue will be holding an adoption party this weekend and all fees will be waived to help find Mortensen’s dogs forever homes. Shelter officials say this is also a good reminder for pet owners to have a plan in place for any kind of unexpected event.

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