North Star Rescue: Rescuing Pet Rats & Other Small Critters

Feb 21, 2015 | 2015 Articles, Diana Hockley, Rodent Ramblings

by Diana Hockley

KRL enjoys featuring the many rat rescues around the country. This month we are chatting with Jenn Paz about North Star Rescue in Pacific, Califorina, of which she is the director. They not only rescue pet rats, but other small animals as well.

KRL: Rescuing animals is a labor of love and total dedication. What was the catalyst for the creation of North Star Rescue, and when did it come to be?

NS: North Star Rescue was started 10 years ago by Lauren Paul.

KRL: What sort of set-up do you have–is it a private house, a shed or a purpose-built complex?


North Star rescued rat

NS: North Star Rescue headquarters is located at Dandelion Dreams Pet Supplies in Pacifica, California. We have several adoption outposts in the North Bay and one in the South Bay.

KRL: What type of animals do you take in? Just rats or do you take in others too?

NS: We take in Rats, Guinea pigs, mice, hamsters and chinchillas.

KRL: Are you a registered charity for rescue or tax exemption purposes?

NS: Yes we are a 501c3.

KRL: How does the local community regard your activities and are they supportive in adoption and/or monetary terms?

NS: We do a lot of community outreach and have a great reputation for our animal care and do many adoptions, although more are always needed. We are also running a fundraising campaign on indiegogo.


North Star Rat Rescue

KRL: Do you have many volunteers and how do you recruit them?

NS: We are a volunteer run organization so we would be not be able to do all we do without them. We work with a local high school, the community and advertise on Volunteer Match.

KRL: How did you personally get involved?

NS: I started my rescue Coastside Cavy in Septemeber 2013. In August 2014, we merged North Star Rescue and Coastside Cavy Rescue then I became the Rescue Director. I also have a background in zoology so have been working with animals a large portion of my life.

KRL: Rescues depend on donations from the public – do you charge a small fee for your animals when they are adopted? And do you have PayPal and credit card facilities?

NS: Yes we do have an adoption fee and we take donations via credit card and PayPal.

KRL: What are the special challenges to rescuing rats?

NS: Well I suppose the most challenging part of rescuing and re-homing rats is the public image of rats. We like to do outreach and educate the public on how amazing they are and have done a lot of work in this area.rats

KRL: How many animals do you think you have saved so far?

NS: That’s a difficult question but certainly 1000’s. We are working on getting better programs in place so we can easily retrieve those numbers.

KRL: Have you any fundraising or adoption events coming up and would you like to give the details?

NS: We recently did a medical fundraiser for the rescue and are always looking for new creative ways to make money. Dandelion Dreams, where North Star Rescue is located in Pacifica, is doing a fundraiser at the moment to try to raise more money to keep supporting the rescue but supplying a location to house 100-150 animals at any given time. You can donate to that campaign here:

KRL: Do local vet surgeries help in any way?

NS: Yes! We have some fantastic and generous vets we work with including: Dr Jeremy Grossbard at All Care in Pacifica and Dr Gary Hurlbut at Pacifica Pet Hospital. Both have been very good to us. In addition to these vets and vet offices we also have amazing support from Foothills Vet Tech program. They have several free small animal surgery days a year to help us. So many of the awesome local vets come to work on the rescue animals and teach the aspiring vet techs. It’s an amazing program.

KRL: Have you been involved in any hoarder or big rescues? If so can you tell us about it?

NS: North Star has been involved in several hoarding cases during their 10 years. One in particular that dealt with numbers in the 1000’s. Recently we have dealt with some smaller but nonetheless challenging hoarding cases.rat

KRL: What are your most urgent needs right now and how can people help?

NS: Money and volunteers are probably the most vital but even spreading the word and sharing our name on social media is huge!

KRL: Is there anything you would like to add?

NS: This is our paypal donation link.

KRL: What is your website URL and FB and Twitter details?


KRL: The Mission Statement or motto of North Star Rescue?

NS: North Star Rescue is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area dedicated to the welfare of small companion animals. We are the only rescue organization in the San Francisco Bay Area specifically dedicated to all species of pet rodents. North Star Rescue is a no-kill rescue, which means we do not euthanize animals when they have been at our rescue for a long period of time, or for treatable medical conditions. Our goal is to end the unnecessary euthanasia of small companion animals in the San Francisco Bay Area, and to provide welfare and care information to pet owners everywhere to try and improve the lives of small animals and their owners alike.

Check out more rat rescue profiles & other pet rat related articles and stories in our Rodent Ramblings section and other animal rescue and pet related articles in our Pet Section.

Diana Hockley is an Australian mystery author who lives in a southeast Queensland country town. She is the devoted slave of five ratties & usually finds an excuse to mention them in her writing, including her recent novel, The Naked Room. Since retiring from running a traveling mouse circus for 10 years, she is now the mouse judge for the Queensland Rat & Mouse Club shows. To learn more, check out her website.


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