Community’s a big help in freshening up the shelter
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By Mickey Zeldes  September 20, 2013 12:00 am

I still call our building the “new” shelter, although I wasn’t working here when the old shelter was in operation. Years of hearing our long-time volunteers talking about it has forever labeled it so in my brain. We love showing off our facility as it is pretty clean and modern, but when really asked, I have to admit the building is more than 17 years old. During that time, more than 20,000 animals have come through our doors.

When you think about it, that’s a lot of fur, dander, saliva, pee, litter, feathers, blood and more going down our hallways. No wonder our walls are looking dingy and dirty. They definitely need a fresh coat of paint, but for the past five years I’ve put it in the budget and each year it gets put on hold because of the City of Rohnert Park’s financial situation. Only critical repairs were being made to buildings and all cosmetic and basic maintenance was put off.

It took an offer from one of our Junior Volunteers to spur us into action. Kaitlin Sisson, 17, has been a JV since 2011. She approached me this summer and asked if she could get the building painted – she offered her mother’s artistic ability to paint cute figures on the wall, her church group to help do the painting and wanted to approach Home Depot about donating the paint. How do you say no to that kind of offer?

Coincidentally, each fall we participate in the United Way’s Day of Caring, where they recruit corporate volunteers to go out into the community and do a one-day service project and separately, Firemen Fund’s Day of Sharing, where they also send their employees out to do one-day service projects. I listed our painting scheme on their lists and had a very positive response. On Sept. 11, a group of Agilent volunteers came and painted our lobby, office and break room and a group from Target came and did a yard project. This week, a group from Firemen’s Fund came and painted our hallways, kennel kitchen and clinic. What a difference!

I know they probably had an interior designer help with the original color choices, but the lobby was a depressing grey. We went with a light, bright cream, and boy did it brighten things up! We definitely would like to thank Home Depot and the Behr Paint company for their generous donation of all the paint for this project. As we have time, and as the animal rooms empty over the winter, we will also paint those rooms (anyone have a group looking for a one-day project?)

Looking back, we could have hired a painter and had the city pay for it, but it seems so much better to get our community involved. We are, after all, your animal shelter and the more each of you personally contribute to it by donating or actually volunteering here, the more we all benefit. We’re very grateful to all the volunteers who helped us take things off the walls and then put them back up – the community groups that came in to paint, our local Home Depot for providing the paint, the Animal Shelter League for purchasing all the supplies (brushes, rollers, drop cloths, etc.) and our staff for managing to work around this chaos. We’re proud of our community for supporting us this way and helping to beautify our shelter. Come by and check out our fresh new look.

Upcoming events

Mutt Strut: A dog walk and pet fair on Saturday, Sept. 28, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. There will be demos, raffles, contests, vendors and more. Come celebrate everything canine at this special event benefitting our shelter. It’s fun for the whole family, including the dog.

• Free pet ID tags and microchips for all Rohnert Park and Cotati pets. Stop by the shelter during our open hours to protect your pet – Wednesday 1-6:30 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday, 1-5:30 p.m. and Sunday 1-4:30 p.m.

Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at

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