Flying to the rescue!
Bookmark and Share
By Mickey Zeldes  October 11, 2013 12:00 am

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a network of caring people to rescue animals. Sometimes it amazes me how many people get involved and are willing to help to get just one animal into a rescue situation. Never has this been more apparent than in these two recent situations.

Rose (as we named her), an obvious senior pit bull mix, came to us as a stray. No one came to claim her, and as we mulled over her options we received a call from a man in San Diego saying that she was his dog but he had left her with “friends” when he had to move away. He was not in a financial or physical situation that would allow him to reclaim her, but we learned that her name was Pebbles and she was 10 years old. She was a very sweet dog, so we did a blood panel and extensive dental work, crossed our fingers and put her up for adoption.

A week or so later, a surprise call came in from the owner’s ex-girlfriend. She had just found out the dog was in the shelter and was willing to claim her. But she lived in Riverside, and the logistics of taking time off work and driving up to our area seemed daunting. We reached out to the rescue groups to see if anyone had transports going south. It took a couple weeks to make it all come together but Rose/Pebbles finally found a way down south…by private plane no less. An organization called Pilots ‘n Paws had a volunteer with a small plane flying south who was willing to get her to the Riverside airport.

The next hurdle was finding someone able to take her to the San Jose Airport to catch her flight. Sue Clark, who is a Pilots ‘n Paws volunteer, is starting another nonprofit called RV 2 the Rescue, made of RV’ers who are travelling around the country and are willing to pick up and drop off animals along their way. She offered to pick Rose up, keep her overnight and get her to the San Jose airport for just some gas money. These are great organizations, and if you have a plane or an RV, you might want to join them (or send donations to support their efforts). Pebbles made it down there safely and had a joyful reunion with her former “mom.” We’ve received a thank you note and photos of Pebbles in her new home, and it made all the effort worthwhile.

• A good Samaritan found Bandit, a very senior Shepherd mix, wandering in Rohnert Park. Her microchip led us to a person who had recently moved to Boston because of family issues. He said he gave the dog to friends but wouldn’t be more specific and couldn’t provide contact info. From him we learned that her name was Bandit and that she was 12 years old. She was very sweet and people-friendly, got along well with other dogs, but was frail and elderly. Our typical adopter is reluctant to adopt something over the age of 5, let alone 12. So I knew she would be a hard sell. This is where rescues come into play. Because most rescues use foster homes, they are better than shelters at being able to handle long-term “clients” and offer hospice/end-of-life care. After a flurry of emails, with pictures flying, questions answered and arrangements made, Bandit was picked up by a transport volunteer and taken to the East Bay into a private rescue group.

These are just two of the many special-needs animals that come through our door. And they are great examples of the effort made to help these animals have happy endings. We can’t do it alone – it takes the efforts of a wide network of caring people to make it all happen. 

Upcoming events 

Bunny Day is the second Saturday of each month (the next is Oct. 12 from 1-5 p.m.) at the shelter. Meet our adorable adoptable rabbits, have your care questions answered by our knowledgeable volunteers, bring your bunny for a free nail trim and shop our Bunny Boutique for fresh hay, fun toys and fabulous deals on supplies.

• October Adoption Special: “Pit, Pit, Parade!” All our bully-breed dogs are available for just $25 though October. Come see how great this breed can be. Cats and rabbits will be available for only $20. This is the perfect month to add a new family member.

• Bark, Brew & Boogie: The Lagunitas Tap Room will host a fundraiser benefitting the shelter on Monday, Oct. 28, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Listen to two cool young bands, Sad Tires and Sweet Water, enjoy Lagunitas beer and Mutt Lynch Wine at this dog friendly venue. There will be a dog costume contest and great raffle items. One slice of Old Chicago Pizza is included with admission – $10 in advance (at the shelter) or $12 at the door.

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

Post Your Comments:
 *name appears on your post