Due to the Animal Shelter League of Rohnert Park receiving a $5,000 grant through this year’s small grants program from the Rohnert Park Foundation, the organization will be able to offer two pet wellness clinics this coming year. The clinics will offer low or limited income pet owners the opportunity to receive veterinary exams, vaccinations, parasite control, nail clippings, micro chipping and ID tags for their pets.
“With the health exam, we also note any problems or identify other issues,” says Mickey Zeldes, Shelter Supervisor of the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter and Board member of the Animal Shelter League. “We have done blood panels for animals that may have bigger issues going on, and try to refer people, if they qualify, for the Silver Paws program, a veterinary assistance program for low-income seniors. If it’s something that’s simple enough that we can help with, we just do it. But if we can’t, we try to refer people to other alternatives like a lower-priced vet.”
The Rohnert Park Shelter veterinarians, who take the opportunity to not only provide care but also educate the pet owners on effective pet care, provide the medical care at the clinics.
“There is also a lot of counseling about better diets,” says Zeldes. “Some pets get overfed or get poor quality or junk food, so we try to educate people about that. We also refer owners of intact animals to our fix-it clinics that we offer [monthly through the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter] which is free cat spays and neuters and very low-cost dog spays and neuters.”
While the exact locations are yet to be determined, it is likely that one will be held at the RP Senior Center and one at a local mobile home park. Zeldes hopes that having the clinics conveniently located at or near where low-income people live will overcome any barriers some people may have to getting their pets care, such as lack of transportation or language barriers.
“I love helping animals that would probably otherwise not get the care that they need,” says Zeldes. “It’s a great feeling. The people are truly grateful. The thank you’s we get are very heartwarming.”
The Animal Shelter League [ASL], a private 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 2002, serves as a fundraising and community outreach auxiliary to the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. Being dedicated to providing animal welfare education and community outreach, the organization has been providing one or two pet wellness clinics per year for low-income residents for the past five years, as funding has become available.
“The Animal Shelter League is awesome,” says Zeldes. “It’s a great way to support animals in our local community. They not only help the shelter animals a lot, but they also do these community based programs.”
The $5,000 grant will allow ASL to provide at least two more clinics this coming year and any extra money may also be used for additional free microchip clinics. Having recently spent three days in the field doing animal control and providing animal care in Paradise after the recent firestorm, Zeldes urges all pet owners to microchip their animals.
“These fires have really shown us how important it is to have your animals permanently, clearly identified,” says Zeldes. “A singed animal doesn’t look the same and you may not recognize your pet in an emergency. There must be a hundred black cats in these shelters right now, it will be difficult for anyone to claim theirs.”
Readers interested in donating to the Animal Shelter League can donate online at www.animalshelterleaguerp.org.