Tagged: “helping animals”

Thank You to Our Residents

Thank You to Our Residents

When the COVID-19 pandemic first began in March, the shelter, like all businesses in the County shut down.  Our volunteers, who we already knew were wonderful, really stepped up and within 2 days took all our adoptable animals home to foster so they could get the attention they needed and not have to just sit in a kennel or cage.  For the animals, that was huge!  But we worried about our community and the people and animals we serve.

Typically spring is a busy time at the shelter.  Kitten season is beginning and calls start coming in about pregnant cats or unexpected kittens popping up.  Days get longer so kids, and dogs, are outside more – hence more lost pets.  Sadly, we also tend to get in more owner surrenders as pets sometimes conflict with the summer travel plans.  With the shelter closed, except for emergencies, what would happen to all those animals?

Well, our residents really stepped up.  People who found strays did what they could to return the animal home with just some support (scanning for a microchip, taking lost reports) and suggestions from us.  Posting pictures on Craigslist, Facebook (yours and ours), Josie’s Lost Pets Facebook page and Nextdoor.com are just a few ways that individuals took it on themselves to help reunite families with their lost pets.  Awesome!  Why bring it to the shelter if you can do this from home?  And usually the animal belongs to a neighbor anyway so it’s easier for everyone if the animal is close to home – not to mention the favor you are doing by saving the owner the City fees required to redeem a pet from the shelter.

We’re also hearing about kind people who have taken in orphan kittens or moms and babies and are doing what they can to nurse them along until the shelter can reopen.  Double wow!!!  You don’t want to pull kittens from the mom too young.  Their best chance of survival is for the kittens to remain with the mom until they are at least 5 weeks old then pull them to make sure they are tame and socialized with people.  If you don’t know how to age kittens, we have posted a chart on our Facebook page, but basically if they are walking and playing (and look coordinated doing so) then they are old enough to pull.  By keeping the kittens out of the shelter until they are old enough to spay/neuter and put up for adoption you reduce the strain on our budget and our limited staff.  We are happy to help you get the kittens (and mom!) fixed, vaccinated and microchipped, and take the hassle out of finding the right home for them, especially if you did the hard work of raising them.  This makes for a great partnership with our community.

In fact, you did such a good job that we only took in 35% compared to what we received last year during March and April!  This is the beginning of Rohnert Park becoming a model of a humane society where everyone does their part to help out the animals.  Imagine if all the dogs and cats (and rabbits) in Rohnert Park and Cotati were microchipped and currently registered – we offer chips for free to our residents – the shelter could function as just a temporary lost and found and not have to house animals long-term.  What a concept!  What if everyone worked with trainers or behaviorists to resolve behavior issues before surrendering their pets?  Amazing idea!

The silver lining to this COVID virus is that it got our community going on the path of being proactive and involved in helping animals.  As we slowly start to reopen let’s work on keeping this momentum going.  Go to our website for the link to apply to be a foster parent or shelter volunteers.  Together we can save them all!!

Fostering is Fun!

Fostering is Fun!

What’s even better than watching the telly at night? What provides laughing-out-loud non-stop entertainment? Guaranteed to amuse everyone from your kindergartner to your grandmother? A litter of kittens at play! And the best part is that when they finally get tired you get some cuddle time in too. The best of both worlds! I’m not suggesting that you adopt a whole litter – but you could foster a pair or more and have kittens (the politically correct way) to entertain you!

Fostering can be lots of fun. Watching little furballs play fight and wrestle, zoom around the room, explore new territory – it’s better than anything on the TV! As the days go by it’s fascinating to see them grow and develop little personalities. It’s a project the whole family can get involved in – no reason the children can’t help scooping the litterboxes or fill the kibble. And it’s an opportunity to teach appropriate handling, respect for when the animals are sleeping, important priorities (who gets to eat first?) and compassion to your children.

Kitten season is in full swing and we are seeing a second wave of litters now. With school and other life changes, we have lost a few of our foster families so we need to replenish our roster. If you think you are up for fostering (whether that be just a pair of kittens or a litter of 4-6 babies) –please sign up now to become a foster parent. It’s usually a commitment of usually just 2-3 weeks depending on the age and size of the kittens you take, and no experience is required – we provide all the food and supplies you need and are available for any questions. You just have to give them a safe small area in your house (a bathroom is perfect, or we can provide a cage), some time and love! More details are available on our website, https://rpanimalshelter.org/get-involved/foster-program/.

All applications to volunteer, for any position, are now done on-line. There is a link to the application on our website at https://rpanimalshelter.org/get-involved/volunteer-information/. We have streamlined our process to onboard new volunteers and more of it is done digitally. There is still a personal interview (for adults) and training, of course, but there is no longer a long wait for the next general orientation. If you have applied in the past and become frustrated with the delays, try again and submit an application online. If you don’t have a computer there are free ones available to use at the public library or you can stop by the shelter and one of our friendly staff will assist you with the application process.

In addition to foster parents, we need help in our front office, people willing to do some of the cleaning in the morning and closing in the evening, adoption outreach assistants and bunny huggers! Interested in fundraising? Our non-profit, the Animal Shelter League, can use a few helping hands for our upcoming fundraiser, Bark after Dark. When you apply on-line there is a spot to indicate your interests and skills, so we can match you up with the most appropriate position.

Come join our life-saving team – either by directly taking in and raising some kittens or by helping the shelter overall. We have a great group of animal lovers so you will have lots of good company! We know we couldn’t possibly do all that we do without the help of every single volunteer and we appreciate their energy and time. Come make a difference – apply today!

Join our Life Saving Team!

Join our Life Saving Team!

What are you doing this summer?  Actually for the next six months?  Looking for a way to put your love of animals to good use?  Have a couple hours free each week?  We need you!  Come join our team of life-saving animal lovers by volunteering at the shelter.  Whatever your skill level we have a job for you.

Love dogs but aren’t very physically strong?  Come read to them!  Having positive experiences in their kennels help make their stay here more pleasant. It also teaches them to relax and present well when the adopting public comes through; who would want to bring home the dog flinging himself at the kennel door and acting out of control?  We’re working on a lot of new kennel enrichment practices to help the dogs stay sane while waiting for their new homes.  Of course they do enjoy their time outside and going for walks too.

Did you know that cats should have two 10-15 minute sessions of interactive play each day?  It helps to relieve stress and boredom and mimics their natural life cycle to some small degree.  We certainly don’t have enough staff to spend that kind of time with each of our feline guests.  Thank goodness for our awesome cat cuddlers.  Sure it’s hard work – but someone has to play with these cats!

Have any computer skills?  We need help with data entry – there’s always paperwork in a business, right?  Assist our volunteer coordinator with tracking volunteers’ hours and scheduling.  Assist our vet tech with our busy foster program – tracking who’s next for follow-up appointments, inputting treatments in the computer and more.

Are you a creative writer?  Help showcase our adoptable animals with fun, upbeat and creative descriptions – something that would make people want to come meet them!  Help with press releases and other publicity for upcoming events.  In fact, we need people to help at these events too!  Are you a people person?  Work the shelter’s adoption desk or assist at outreach events and feel the joy when you help a family find their new BFF.  There’s nothing more satisfying than convincing someone to take the time to get to know a shy cat that would be perfect in their home.  We love match-making – do you?

Don’t forget our bunnies!  They crave daily attention and playtime.  Our monthly Bunny Days, where we set up the rabbits outside and invite the public to come interact with them, are very popular.  Our Bunny Boutique does a brisk business and so does the Bunny Nail Salon!  We could definitely use an extra pair of hands to help out.

As you can see there are a lot of different ways that you could get involved.  The only requirement is that you are at least 18 years- old and can make a regular weekly commitment.  Come find out more at a one-hour orientation Saturday, April 29 at 10 a.m. in the shelter lobby.  We are located at 301 J. Rogers Lane, off Redwood Drive (by the Costco).  No harm in at least learning more…. right?  After all, what else are you doing this summer?