2017 was quite a year and I don’t just mean politically! We were busy at the shelter and there were lots of changes and events during the past year. Here’s a summary of the year in review.
We started the year by bringing a new fee schedule before the RP City Council and having it approved. First increase since 2009! Many adoption specials were held to get our shelter animals into real homes of their own and we partnered with both PetSmart and Petco to give our animals as much exposure as possible. We thank KSRO and The Community Voice for giving us time and space for our “Pet of the Week” promotions. In March we hosted Sonoma County’s first annual Bunfest – a celebration of everything bunny! It was well attended and seemed to be enjoyed by everyone that came.
By far the high point of the year was the grand opening of our new kitten adoption room. The change from individual stainless steel cages to four open community rooms where kittens could live and play in a less restrictive environment was dramatic and exciting. This was the culmination of over two years of planning, fundraising, and construction and we couldn’t be happier to see it finished and actually in use!
The four sessions of Kidz ‘n Critter Summer Camp were a big hit as they are each year. Close to 80 students spent a week at the shelter learning about various animal issues, how to be a responsible pet parent and socializing shelter animals. Hard to know who enjoyed the camps more, the kids or the critters!
The fires, of course, brought quite a flurry of activity. We took in about 110 evacuee animals in just two days – an all-time high for us! Then sent almost 60 of our resident shelter animals to out-of-area facilities to give everyone just a bit more space and reduce the workload for our staff. To say it was a hectic couple of weeks is an understatement! The strangest part was that after the evacuees claimed their animals back, which for the most part happened within three weeks, we were actually low on animals and it was hard to re-adjust after the high pressure and stress of the fires.
Because of the fires, too, the Animal Shelter League’s annual fundraiser, “Bark After Dark” was cancelled. Thankfully, the community was also very generous during the crisis and we received donations to help cover the additional expenses of housing the evacuated animals. It didn’t fully substitute for what the fundraiser would have brought in but it helped to replenish the coffers a bit. Speaking of ASL – they helped us with a lot of special cases this year including dogs and cats with broken legs, parvo puppies, ringworm and other extraordinary expenses. With their support we were able to go above and beyond to save these animals. If you are looking for a place to make a last end-of-year donation, they are an organization worthy of support. Go to www.animalshelterleaguerp.org to make a donation.
What a year – with record high’s and low’s! We’re ready for some calm but the nature of our business is to always expect the unexpected. We’re here 365 days of the year – ready to help the animals that need us!
Kidz ‘n Critters Winter Camp has one session still open – Jan. 4 & 5 for 5 & 6 graders. Hours are 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Your child will have fun while learning about animals and responsible pet care. Cost is $50 and registration forms are available at the shelter.
Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org