Kids & Pets
July 2, 2020
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Long distance adoptions

By: Mickey Zeldes
July 12, 2019

How far have you gone to adopt a new pet?  How far would you go?  Sometimes a certain breed or type of animal is more common in one area of the country than others.  For example, California is completely overwhelmed with Chihuahuas but in the Northeast they are clamoring for small dogs.  Some shelters have flown their excess dogs across the country to find them homes!  The modern day puppy mills have gone to the internet in order to sell their puppies and people have actually paid large sums of money to have a “purebred” mailed to them!  That is super sad because the first sign of an poorly bred dog is that the breeder has no interest in meeting the buyer.

My sister is coming up from Los Angeles with her family over this holiday weekend – not to visit with me – but to get a new dog from a person in Sacramento who needs to rehome her Golden Retriever.  They connected through a mutual friend who does some rescue work so it seems to be legitimate but that is a long way to go for a dog.  On the other hand, who am I to talk?  When I was looking for a Golden my sister found me one in LA at the rescue she was volunteering at and we drove down there to adopt him!  That’s Brandy, my now 3-legged dog that I’ve had for almost seven years.  Was he worth the trip?  In spite of his dog reactivity and expensive medical issues, I would have to say yes.  

Why go so far for a dog?  If there is a certain breed or type you have your heart set on, why not?  An adopted animal is a rescue, after all (not like going to a breeder).  And there are very few Golden Retrievers in shelters around here, which is surprising considering they are so popular as assistance dogs.  Not that I needed a purebred (and I doubt Brandy is, although he definitely is predominantly a retriever.)  What surprises me more is how far people will go for a mutt!

One of our best long-distance shelter adoptions was a pit-bull that we had for almost a year and finally caught the eye (and hearts) of a couple from Oregon.  They drove all the way down here just to meet and adopt Sheldon and now he has his own Facebook page and we can follow his antics and know that he is truly loved and well cared for.  They named him, and his page, Professor Sheldon the Beef Cookie, if you care to follow him.  We were skeptical at first since we found it hard to believe that there weren’t dozens, if not hundreds, of dogs closer to where they lived that needed a home, but we are so glad they were willing to make that long drive to adopt our guy!  It’s like dating – you have to find the perfect match, the one that makes a connection with you.

One of the reasons my sister is driving so far is all the little things that makes her think this is a good match.  The dog has lived with other smaller dogs (my sister already has 3 smaller dogs but wants a big one).  Her name is Jasmine and my sister’s last name is Rice so all her animals have rice names (risotto, basmati, fried, sticky, minute – but no jasmine so far!)  Coincidence?!  We shall see.  She is definitely excited and thinks nothing of driving 16+ hours round trip for the perfect dog.  Would you?

Upcoming Events

Kidz ‘n Critters Summer Camp – registration is now open for our camp program. 4 sessions for different age levels from 2nd grade to 7th grade.  Educational and interactive – perfect for all young animal lovers!  For details and registration forms go to or stop by the shelter.

“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.-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