Doing anything, everything to help RP Animal Shelter
Mutt Strut is still Currier’s ‘pet’ project
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By Natalie Gray  March 14, 2014 12:00 am

It can be said with great confidence that Cheryl Currier is an avid pet enthusiast and all around animal lover.

She has been volunteering and working with the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter for the past nine years now, and even with that, she says it feels like time has gone by quickly. She has been sitting on the board of the Animal Shelter League of Rohnert Park for six of those years, serving in almost every position, including president.

When you call her and reach her voicemail, you are answered by Jazz, the “adorable dog that lives here.” Yes, Currier’s love of animals is quite clear, as is her dedication to those animals, and she seems to love every moment of the work.

“It’s really fulfilling,” said Currier of her work for the shelter and the ASL. “The shelter has a special spot in my heart for me.”


A second job/career

Currier works for Fireman’s Fund Insurance in Novato, but with the amount of volunteer work and effort she has put into the animal shelter and its league, it could easily be considered a second full-time job. Currier is not paid for any of the work. In fact, most of her work involves trying to find and raise money for the shelter, to keep the facilities clean and updated, animals healthy, fixed and micro-chipped and adoptions happening.

The ASL is a nonprofit organization that meets once a month to discuss shelter and community events, fundraising opportunities and to sift through ideas that would benefit the shelter and its animals in any way possible. Currently, Currier sits as president of the board, but elections are scheduled later this month. She doesn’t seem too concerned about the prospect of losing her place, as she has worked – and happily so – every position on the board. The board is made up of four other similar-minded volunteers, and loyal Jazz accompanies her “mom” to every meeting.


Assistance always needed

According to Currier, there is always a need for assistance, TLC and a little more cash at the shelter. Animals are often brought in sick or injured (she recalls a recent drop-off dog brought to the shelter with two broken legs) and vet bills simply are not cheap. Though local veterinarians give shelter animals a good deal, it often still isn’t enough to pay the dues, and sometimes the shelter and city just don’t have the means to fund the medical attention. That is where the ASL steps in.

“We just help support the shelter where the city can’t,” said Currier.

In the years since its founding, the league has helped pay for new Plexiglas doors for animal kennels, half of the new kennels, the shelter’s summer camp program and its accompanying fieldtrips. The ASL also donates animal care and friendly children books to the local library.


Mutt Strut’s the big one

It is the Mutt Strut, though, that can be called Currier’s personal project. She spearheads the event, now entering its fifth year.

The Mutt Strut is one part walk-a-thon, one part pet faire and all parts the largest fundraiser of the year for the animal shelter. It is an event unique to the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter and offers pet parents and shelter supporters the chance to help rescue animals while having fun with their own pets and neighbors. This event also allows for residents, local schools, clubs and SSU students to come together as a community with a common goal.


Money for all things animal

The proceeds from the Strut contribute to all things animal shelter, whether it be funding microchips and tags, other medical expenses or even just food or bedding for animals.

“It’s so much fun,” said Currier of the Mutt Strut. “It’s one of those events where you think ‘I wish I didn’t have to work this, I want to come and have fun (instead).’”

Last year, Jazz represented the Mutt Strut as the program’s “Spokes Pup,” an award granted for Currier raising the most money for any individual at the Mutt Strut.

Preparations for this year’s Mutt Strut began this past week at an ASL meeting, but already Currier believes she knows exactly what the event needs to be a success: More walkers who, of course, would raise more money for the shelter. 

She hopes to attract more pet parents to bring their own dogs out to the walk, but also wants to remind residents that you do not need a pet and that the Strut would eagerly accept any walker wanting to raise and donate money to help out.


Relocating from Oregon

Currier moved to Rohnert Park from Oregon 22 years ago. Then, she had anticipated the stay would only be for 10 years before she moved back north to her home state. She, of course, fell in love with the area. She became involved with the animal shelter simply after deciding she wanted to volunteer her time somewhere and was quickly dedicated after attending a volunteer orientation hosted by shelter supervisor Mickey Zeldes.

Jazz was recued from the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter herself and never seems to tire of helping out other animals find homes, just like she has found with Currier. 

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