What a hectic year 2018 was! In some ways it was very sad too. Here are some of the highlights, good and not so good:
*In the past we’ve rarely had a case of an abandoned animal, this year was exceptional. We found several animals waiting for us in our dog fields when we arrived to work; and there were several more found by dumpsters or left in crates in parks and creek areas of our city. This is something that I really don’t understand. We accept all strays found in our city without question. Owner surrendered pets are accepted by appointment as we have space and we are always willing to work with people to expedite their appointment if needed or to waive fees if there is a financial hardship. By doing the surrender officially we’re able to get some crucial information about the animal and processing them for adoption isn’t held up. It’s so helpful to know the animal’s name and age, to get any health records and to find out their likes/dislikes. It can make placing them so much easier and more successful. In any event abandoning animals out in a park is illegal and unsafe!
*We held the second Annual Bunfest, which was bigger and better than last year! We were so pleased with the turnout and the great speakers! Looking forward to the next one, scheduled for March 30. That along with our monthly Bunny Day’s and ongoing partnership with Pet Smart has increased our rabbit adoptions dramatically. Bunnies are often overlooked in shelters but we treat them like any other animal here!
*Our monthly Fix-it Clinics were booked as we helped low-income residents get their cats spayed and neutered for free! We need to figure out a way to reach those we aren’t currently reaching as despite this program we received in numerous kittens during breeding season. We’re open to any ideas so please share if you have one! We also offer free microchips to all our residents pets as a way to ensure they can get returned home – it will be interesting to look at our statistics and see if our return to owner rate has improved.
*An exciting highlight is the remodel of our kennel kitchen. Not only does it look much nicer – important because it’s the centerpiece of the shelter and seen by everyone – it’s so much more functional! With tons of storage space (which I’m sure we’ll fill in no time) and easy to use drawers, we are loving it! Still working on the other side of the kitchen and that’s this year’s goal.
*Our Summer Camp program ran without a hitch and expanded to five sessions this past year. That means we could get in even more animal-loving children! The camps are fun, educational, noisy and experiential with lots of hands on time with our shelter animals. Sadly, we lost one of our beloved, long-term counselors as she moved out of state. We will do our best to find someone as wonderful for this coming summer!
*The Camp Fires gave us all a flashback to the devastation of the prior year. We went up twice (so far) to help out; once bringing back adoptable dogs and cats from their shelters to help make space for the evacuees and once to help out in the field. This will be a long-term situation and we’ll take more animals to help out as we can. Sadly, this state of fire crises is becoming the new normal.
*The Animal Shelter League's big annual fundraiser, Bark After Dark, was a huge success raising over $31,000 for life-saving projects at our shelter. It’s held the first Saturday in November so mark your calendar now!
Other than that it’s been animals in and animals out – that’s what a shelter is all about. We’re here 365 days caring for the lost and unwanted pets – and working on getting them all into a home! Want to join us? Become part of our volunteer corps and know that your efforts are making a difference.
Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at email@example.com.