Shelter has gift ideas for everyone
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By Mickey Zeldes  December 6, 2013 12:00 am

I find it doubly thoughtful when a gift is not only something useful or shows that the giver knows me and my taste but also in some way supports a worthwhile cause. 

That’s when you can really feel good about spending money and giving gifts.  Knowing you are not just supporting big box stores and buying useless junk that no one really needs – but you know your money is going to really help people (or animals).  Here are some suggestions for everyone on your list.

Shop the shelter. Have a few dog or cat lovers on your holiday list?  Our volunteers have created some wonderful and useful items, and the money goes directly to helping the animals at our shelter.  We have printed a beautiful full-size 2014 calendar with photos of personal pets and information on our shelter and the Animal Shelter League. Who can’t use a calendar?  

We also have wine glasses (both red and white) with small hand-painted hearts and paws, pot holders, earrings (both with animal theme and just abstract), a great kids’ book with a sing-along CD, a few wine bottles filled with dog biscuits, plant pots with seeds for a pet garden (for cats or rabbits) and bookmarks which make great stocking stuffers.

Not only is each gift beautiful, affordable and unique, who wouldn’t want to know that their gift helped local pets in need?  You can also give your friends something for their pets.  If they live in Rohnert Park or Cotati and their pets aren’t microchipped yet, pick up a flyer on our free microchip offer to give to them or a gift certificate to cover the cost if they live outside our jurisdiction. Just stop in the shelter during our regular business hours, Wednesdays 1-6:30 p.m., Thursday through Saturday 1-5:30 p.m. and Sunday 1-4:30 p.m. to shop for the animals.

Looking for a gift with a bigger impact for the person who has everything and certainly doesn’t need yet another tie? Give a donation in their name to the local food bank or order something from the “Give a Gift of Hope” campaign from Plan International. They have options ranging in price from $25 all the way to $15,000 (do you like anyone that much?) in categories titled “water,” “education,” “health and emergency,” “livestock” and “livelihood.” Each one of these gifts can change a person’s life in a simple and direct way.

Most of these things are for people living in the poorest countries in the world. For example for $25 you can buy school supplies and a backpack so a child can go to school, or a swaddling package (booties, hats and blanket) for a newborn (also a perfect gift for baby showers), or provide a family with vegetable and fruit seeds to grow a garden of healthy foods.

It’s amazing to think about the power $50 can have on a person, family and sometimes on a whole community. You can buy a community health center the medical supplies they need to help children, including vaccines, syringes, antibiotics and more, or the same $50 can buy a family some mosquito netting – saving them from malaria and other mosquito borne diseases.  These are things people struggle without every day while we are shopping for the best deals on IPhone app or video game.

To learn more about these gifts go to or call 1-(800) 556-7918, Monday through Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Right now, there is a donor willing to match dollar for dollar any donations they receive, so your gift can go further and help more people.

This year give a gift that you are proud to give and that someone would be pleased to receive. It fits all sizes and comes in all price ranges.  Who doesn’t like to think they are compassionate and caring?  And to think a gift in their name is supporting a wonderful local cause or saving lives is very powerful – and thoughtful.  It’s a gift that’s sure to be appreciated and won’t end up in the garbage.


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

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