Kids & Pets
December 11, 2018
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Rohnert Park tree lighting ceremony Monte Vista School Student Builders for Dec. 4 Penngrove School - For the life skills of gratefulness Rancho Cotate High School Students for the month of Nov. Hahn Elementary School - Life skills for Nov. 2018 John Reed School Positive behavior winners for Nov. 27 Taking work on vacation Furry fire victims Are you ready for Thanksgiving? Bark After Dark benefit a great success Black is beautiful! Monte Vista Elementary Student Builders-2018 Bark after Dark is coming Nov. 3 John Reed Elementary Positive Office Referral recipients Monte Vista School Student Builders for October 2 Rancho Cotate High School Recognition of Curiosity for the month of October Hahn Elementary School Monte Vista Walk-a-thon The Richard Crane School Cougar Cub Character Assembly students November 5 John Reed Elementary School A beloved dog, a stolen car and...a happy ending Broken legs in cats very costly Penngrove Elementary School A lifetime commitment Hahn Elementary Life skills awards - October, 2018 Young kittens are lots of work RCHS awards for Kindness the month of October Penngrove Elementary Life skills awards- Oct. 24 Disaster preparedness for our pets CPI offers support University Elementary School Monte Vista School Sept. 18 Free-roaming cats – is it safe Living with multiple pets Richard Crane School for Sept. 17 University Elementary for September Penngrove Elementary for Sept. 12 Visiting Cape Town SPCA Step up your kids’ STEM skills Monte Vista Elementary-Student Builders for Sept 4 Penngrove School Lifeskill award for Sept. 5 Penngrove Elementary - Lifeskill Award for Aug. 31 Teacher Amy Miller is wrapped up Some assembly required: Putting together the pieces of your rescue pet University Elementary School life skill awards for the month of August Penngrove Elementary Lifeskill winners for the week of Aug. 22 John Reed positive behavior winners for Aug. 28 Happy Birthday Small dog syndrome: When predators are also prey Richard Crane School walk-a-thon Hope unleashed for pets with cancer Penngrove School Aug. 8 Richard Crane School Cougar Cub Character Assembly students for Aug. 20 Penngrove School for Aug. 15 Penngrove Elementary Lifeskill award winners for Aug. 1 Rescuing Pitbulls: When myths affect reality Try attending Sonoma County VegFest Aug. 18 “Stuff the truck” Time to get immunized before school starts 5 tips for bringing your pet to work this summer School bus safety 101 Living with a 3-legged dog is not easy Can we can clear the shelter?

Helping out in Paradise

By: Mickey Zeldes
December 7, 2018

I’m sure the irony of the fires happening in a city named Paradise has not been lost on you. Really makes you wonder what the world is coming to when Paradise burns down! I, and another staff member, Conner Cimmiyotti, just returned from three days spent helping out animal control in Butte County and we saw first hand the devastation. I had also spent a day in Santa Rosa after last year’s fire so I had the benefit of being a little prepared for what we saw.

The key thing that sticks in my mind was how random and unpredictable fire can be. We were driving through an area completely obliterated and then would see one house standing, completely intact, seemingly unaffected. We went to one home to check on the chickens; the house and everything around it was completely gone except the coop, which didn’t have a burn mark on it and the chickens were fine. Lucky chickens, huh?

The first day we went the rain was so bad there were flash flood warnings so they didn’t let anyone go out in the field. Instead we went to one of the makeshift animal shelters and walked dogs and gave them some attention. The next two days were spent looking for lost pets, feeding those that had been left behind and bringing pet food to residents who remained in their homes but were short on supplies. It is a very strange feeling to enter someone's home (one house we had to crawl through a window in the back!) and care for their pets. We’re honored to have their trust and did our best to earn it – cleaning litterboxes, filling water bowls and replenishing food dishes.

Not surprising, there was a ton of paperwork to document each place we visited – notes about what, if any, animals we saw; if the food was eaten; any other signs of life we may have observed; and any contact we may have had with the owners. It is a massive undertaking and it’s going to continue for several months at least.

The biggest need is for trained officers to handle the volume of calls for service that is piling up. But the animal emergency shelters also need volunteers to help care for all the animals. The agency helping to vet the hundreds of offers of assistance is Caring Choices and can be reached at http://www.caring-choices.org/camp-fire.html or by calling 866-703-3873. Right now they are prioritizing volunteers that live locally since the displaced residents need all the available housing and hotels in the area.

Conner and I were able to stay at the Base Camp, which is, I believe, a National Guard training camp. I have renewed respect for the men and women in the National Guard that’s for sure! Although not primitive, the camp was definitely “rustic” – port-a-potties, narrow hard cots, 10 beds per tent, etc. At least the tents had a solid floor and some heat! Three women who shared my tent were there from AmeriCorps and were assigned to assist at the animal shelter for the next three weeks. It’s so great to know that these groups are available – along with animal welfare professionals from shelters and agencies across the state (and other states as well) willing to come to the aid of an area hit with a disaster like this.

Although we were only there for a few days it was a great experience to be part of an effort as big as this. We met many very committed and compassionate men and women and were very impressed with the efforts made to help the people and animals of Butte County.

Upcoming Events:

“Get Them Back Home” Campaign – Every lost pet should have a way to get back home. FREE pet ID tag and a back-up microchip are available to all residents of Rohnert Park and Cotati. No appointment necessary, just come by the shelter during our regular open hours: Wed. 1-6:30; Thurs.-Fri.-Sat. 1-5:30; Sun. 1-4:30.

Fix-it Clinics – Free spay and neuters for cats; and $60 dog surgeries (up to 80 lbs.) for low-income Rohnert Park and Cotati residents. Call 588-3531 for an appointment.

Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at mzeldes@rpcity.org.