The Almquist family of Phelan has devoted their lives to animals, turning their property into a non-profit shelter for abused and neglected exotic animals. This February, someone will be taking care of them.

Joel and Chemaine Almquist, who run the Forever Wild Exotic Animal Shelter, have been selected to be the recipient of a home makeover by the producers of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, representatives of the show announced Saturday morning.

Victor Valley residents routinely give Forever Wild animals that are no longer wanted or that they can no longer afford to care for, putting the burden on them to care for animals ranging from horses and pigs to exotic African wildcats. The family has provided a home for tigers, tortoises, parrots, alligators, lynx, a cobra and more. In February 2008, the Almquists took in 197 snakes and lizards after they were found abandoned in a Hesperia garage.

But the expenses have meant the Almquists' own home has taken a back seat, even as Joel Almquist works a second job to support the shelter and Chemaine works to raise funds from the community. The family lives in a doublewide trailer without heat or air-conditioning, has leaking pipes, has gaping holes in the doors and is partially held together with duct tape.

On January 26, the producers of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition rallied the support of local builders and other volunteers to work on the as-yet-unannounced Almquist house renovation. Among those volunteering their time and labor are the Steeno Design Studio, Murphy Home Construction and Christianbelle Electric of Hesperia, along with members of the Baldy View chapter of the Building Industry Association.

The Almquists have been sent on vacation to Costa Rica while construction takes place on their new house and the streets around their home will have restricted traffic during construction and filming.

For information on being a spectator or how to be part of the "move that bus" unveiling sequence on Saturday, February 7, visit www.BIABuild.com/extreme

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is seen locally Sunday nights at 8 p.m. on KABC 7.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.