by Wendy Hunter
Wendy Hunter is a volunteer with the Animal Rescue of Fresno. ARF shares with KRL their animal rescue adventures every month.
Open your presents at Christmastime but be thankful year round for the gifts you receive. ~Terri Guillemets
Well kids, the year 2017 has finally tucked its tired tail between its legs and is officially leaving the building. Let’s all say it together; good riddance! What a tumultuous twelve months it’s been, and we’ve seen it all from the Good; an amazing Total Solar Eclipse, the Bad; Mother Nature’s wrath of wildfires and hurricanes, and the Ugly; cruel terrorist attacks and heartless massacres. We never had to worry about missing a news story, fake or not, because our new Twitter-obsessed President was always happy to keep us updated, even if it was at 3 a.m. But, we survived all the absolute craziness together. We made it through fidget spinners, Cloud Bread, Instagram, Snapchat, hashtags, Mermaid hair, Unicorn EVERYTHING, mind-numbing loops of Despacito, and too many powerful men who fell from grace. Shame on you. And so we shall face 2018 as a stronger, wiser, more courageous America. Because really, it can’t get much worse than watching one more disastrous interview with Kellyanne Conway.
Now that the holidays have come and gone, I’m feeling like many of the ARF dogs; I’m another year older, my hair’s a bit longer, and my belly feels like it’s had too much kibble the last couple of months. And just like the dogs, I’m also feeling extremely grateful to all our generous supporters who made 2017 another banner year for Animal Rescue of Fresno. Without your donations, whether it be cleaning supplies, toys, blankets, dog food, or good old-fashioned cash, we wouldn’t still be saving homeless animals. Many of you are die-hard fans, attending every single event we have throughout the year, bringing your own pets to mingle and meet new pals. Some of you are only able to make it out once or twice, because hey, life gets in the way sometimes. We get that. So if you have to attend Great Aunt Helen’s 90th birthday party instead of our Breakfast 4 the Dogs, we understand; we’ll save you some sausages.For sweethearts of all ages, we held a Senior Saver Adoption Event in February. Our good friends at The Fresno Bully Rescue partnered up with us and brought along some of their sweet seniors, too. This event was to showcase some of our available elders, and to show them some appreciation. I’ve written about the plight of our older dogs before and how difficult it can be to find them good homes. To spread the word, we invited all the compassionate people who’ve adopted senior ARF dogs in the past. We asked them to bring their pets and share some stories. Everyone’s experience is different, but these adopters all have one thing in common: the willingness to offer love and comfort to a dog who may not have much time left. And for two dogs that chilly Saturday, time was definitely on their side, because Jacques and Jake from State Farm both found their forever homes. Lady Luck must have an eye for the older gents.
One of the best ARF functions this year had to be the Pints for Puppies gathering at Grogg’s Irish Pub. This great restaurant proved to be a fabulous venue for fun and the friendliest bunch of people in town. What an unbelievable turnout we had, with folks turning up to support the dogs, and turning Grogg’s into a standing room only crowd. Offering a special ARF glass for customers to purchase, and the first pint free, proved to be a bargain the regulars and first-timers alike couldn’t resist. The feedback we received from the public was overwhelming, and nothing but positive. To all of you who attended, we cannot thank you enough, it truly was a fantastic evening. The dogs we took loved all the attention, and we volunteers enjoyed the delicious pub fare, including some of the best crispy fish and chips I’ve ever had. Naturally, I was forced to share my fries; believe me, the doggy side-eye is real.
This year, ARF introduced a new event, inviting the public to participate in a Puppy Shower. We were celebrating the birth of five tiny Chihuahuas and four Boxer mix pups which meant we needed lots of help from our supporters. People showed up on a Sunday afternoon bearing gifts of baby wipes, nursing bottles, potty pads, and much more. Our guests enjoyed treats, played games, and listened to some informative tips about fostering mommy dogs and general care of puppies. Topics included how to potty train, when to offer regular dog food, and the adoption process once the pups reached 8 weeks. One of our volunteers even demonstrated how to properly trim the nails of puppies and adult dogs. I was chosen as her assistant to hold the adult, and I’m not sure who squirmed more, me or the dog. In the future, we may want to use a dog who’s actually HAD their nails trimmed before. Just a thought.
In 2017, we were also fortunate enough to receive a couple large food donations. In October, Weight Watchers members took part in a one-month weight loss challenge. For every pound they lost, they were asked to match that same amount in dog or cat food. In the end, ARF took in 900 pounds of dog food, which was incredible. We were also the big winners of a contest held by the local folks at Plato Dog Treats, sponsored by Fresno State University. Representatives for both organizations arrived at ARF one Saturday morning, with a huge van packed full of food, treats, toys, etc. Not only that, but they brought along Victor E., the charming mascot for FSU, who couldn’t seem to get his squishy nose out of the treats. “Hmmm, what’s in here? Wait, what’s in THIS box?” Maybe he thought his job was guest taste-tester for the day. Additionally, we were presented with a $250 check from the good people at Pet Supplies Plus from their Grand Opening ceremony back in February. For everyone involved in these contributions, we cannot thank you enough, and we appreciate your kindness.
For our December Heaven Can Wait trip up to Oregon, we held a gigantic Yard Sale & Boutique and were completely awestruck by the response we received. So many people came to donate clothes, books, CD’s, dishes, kitchen items, furniture, and all kinds of household goods, it was just astounding. What a wonderful fundraiser it turned out to be, and we were able to take fifty-eight dogs up to our friends at SoHumane, where thirty-six of them were adopted in one day. We’re always astonished at how quickly they find homes up there, and it’s all because of YOU, our big-hearted supporters. Your generosity makes it possible for ARF to transport dogs to Minnesota as well. As a matter of fact, we just flew thirty-seven dogs there a few weeks ago, and they’re sure to find good homes too. Yup, the yard sale was a big hit, and we sold just about everything over the weekend event. Well, almost everything. Gentlemen, while we welcome your used flannel shirts, jeans, and mismatched socks, please leave your tattered old boxer shorts at home. Eww.
I’m happy to report that our annual Holiday Party was a great success once again. Revelers showed up with their pets, all dressed up in their Christmas finery, anxiously waiting for their picture with Santa. The dogs were excited too. With over fifty raffle items on display, delicious desserts for sale, and a slew of vendors advertising their wares, it was a festive time. Despite threats of rain, it was a gorgeous sunny day, and the sky was blue as a basket full of berries. Children played, dogs napped, and the crispy air was filled with merry laughter. I soon discovered this was caused either by the excitement of people winning prizes or from all the sugar they’d ingested after scoring that box of double chocolate fudge. Woo-hoo!
As a volunteer, it’s always gratifying to see former ARF dogs at these functions. A lot of our dogs don’t have the best start in life, so it’s nice to see them thrive in a loving home. Without our supporters, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to take care of them, providing food and shelter, until they find just the right family. So to all of you who donate your time and money and open your hearts to help ARF volunteers keep doing what we love, we thank you. We wish you all the best in 2018!
Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section and check back every month for another animal rescue adventure from ARF. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to a local animal rescue.