This Saturday, Aug. 18, Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue will present their first “Stuff the Truck” fundraising event at 49er Pet in Rohnert Park. The Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue hopes the event will bring much needed items, particularly now during baby season, that will help their efforts to rehabilitate native wildlife. The organization rescues, rehabilitates and releases about 1,500 sick, injured and orphaned animals per year with the most current and innovative care possible.
“This week actually we’ve been getting in a lot of squirrels,” says Desiree McGunagle, Community Support Coordinator for the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue. “We’ve gotten in a lot of baby opossums. Raccoons are starting to come in and we’re starting to see some of the larger mammals like foxes and coyotes. Baby season runs through fall. It ebbs and flows but it’s not officially over until late September and even into October we can still see babies coming in.”
Some of the items needed include pet food, brooms, mops, bleach, rubber gloves, materials which can be used for enrichment (such as animal toys), a cat tree, heating pads that do not have automatic shut-off and animal carriers. Gift cards and financial donations are also always appreciated.
“Any little thing helps,” says McGunagle. “We used to get donations from Target so we never really had a concern of where we were going to get things but they’ve really tightened their fists. They’re not helping us out at all anymore so we’re really relying on the public for that.”
The event will take place at the store at 375 Southwest Blvd., from 12 to 5 p.m. Given that this is the first year, McGunagle doesn’t quite know what to expect or how successful it will be, but hopes that it can be an annual fundraiser that can both bring in much needed donations as well as support the local pet store.
“I would like to say how grateful we are to Kitty Collins and 49er Pet because it is really amazing for her to let us do this and set up our truck,” says McGunagle. “We couldn’t have done it without her.”
Kitty Collins, Owner of 49er Pet which has been in business first in Cotati and now in Rohnert Park for 40 years, spent many years volunteering for Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue, mainly as an animal foster parent.
“The Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue is a wonderful organization that really does great things,” says Kitty Collins. “They get animals back out in the wild where they belong.”
49er Pet is not new to helping out non-profits. The store has hosted or donated products to several organizations over the years including animal shelters, school districts, and dog assistance groups. They provide all the dog food for the Cotati Police canine unit and used to provide dog food for the Sherriff’s department and the Rohnert Park canine unit while they had one.
“We always provide food for working dogs,” says Collins. “I hope it’s successful [the Stuff the Truck event]. Especially with all the fires happening it’s gotten more difficult to get enough funds to keep the operation going.”