Animal Rescue of Fresno: Second Chances

May 2, 2015 | 2015 Articles, Animal Rescue Adventures

by Wendy Hunter

Wendy Hunter is a volunteer with the Animal Rescue of Fresno. ARF will be sharing their animal rescue adventures with us now every month.

The average dog has one request to all humankind: Love me.
-Helen Exley

This is a story about second chances. This is a story about the brave canine soul. This also just happens to be a story about both the well-meaning kindness of the human heart, and the occasional foolhardiness it can cause. As a weekend volunteer at Animal Rescue of Fresno (ARF), I am privy to all the good, bad, and ugly things that can happen on a dog day afternoon. The Good: Happy dogs running around, yapping, playing, rolling in the dirt, sleeping in the sun, digging to China, and generally enjoying a darn swell life. The Bad: The laundry. Yup, all those towels, blankets, dog beds, dog clothes, and dog toys have to be washed. A lot. The laundry, my friends, is a never-ending battle. The Ugly: The poop. Enough said.


Chance, an ARF rescue shared about later in this article

People often ask me questions about volunteering at a no-kill dog adoption center. More often than not, they don’t ask WHY I do it, but HOW I do it? How is it possible that I don’t get attached to all the critters? I do. We all get attached to the mutts, you really can’t avoid it. And we all have our favorites. I myself am smitten with the senior dogs, because they’re a little mellower, they just want to snuggle, and I always feel they have a tougher time getting adopted. But I also feel they have so much to offer. C’mon folks, they’re older, wiser, and best of all…housebroken! “Hoppy,” “Red,” and “Ella” are just a few of the gentle souls who would be more than happy to make a permanent dent in your pillow.

Also, how do I resist taking every single furry-face home with me? Here’s the thing: I would love to smuggle all our residents into my car for the short drive home. However, my little Honda just isn’t built for any more than a dozen or so ARF critters at a time, and that’s being generous. They’d want to bring all their toys and biscuits and winter sweaters along. Plus, my current roommates, Ma and Pa Hunter, would probably boot me out the door. And then they’d give my room to the dogs.

Lastly, I am frequently asked how I resist the temptation to NOT pummel people into the ground, when they come in to surrender an animal for no good reason. It’s hard, because our opinion of an acceptable reason may be completely different than what they have in mind: “He got fur on the sofa!” “She’s peeing on my Oriental rug!” “He’s digging!” “She’s howling!” Um, they’re DOGS, folks. I tell you kids; sometimes it’s like being on The Island of Misfit Mutts. Those owners and their complaints create the toughest situations for volunteers. I want to slap some sense into their pea-brained noggins so badly, but usually common sense prevails. Well, and the fact that AFR frowns upon that sort of behavior…darn. I can only smile and nod and play nice, as we take in yet another fuzzy friend. Treats all around! Another day, another dog, another second chance for a better life.

Speaking of chances, sometimes you just have to take them. Like when they fall into your lap. Like when you’re feeling lucky. And even when they land right at your front door. Which is exactly how the story of “Chance” begins:

on the steps of Animal Rescue of Fresno. Chance is an adorable, smiling, wiggly package of a dog, with lovely strawberry-blonde fur, and an easy-going temperament. He arrived in a large pickup truck, wearing the traditional “cone of shame” and sporting a small blue wrap on his right front leg. His owners, a father/son duo, apparently adopted Chance about four or five months ago, when a local shelter was holding one of their many “adoption fees waived” programs. These celebratory themes (fees waived for First Responders, Military Vets, National Mutt Day, etc.) certainly have the best of intentions, making it possible for virtually anyone to adopt a dog for a song. But many times, these animals end up singing the blues after winding up in a household that cannot provide for them, or is not educated on the responsibilities of being a competent pet owner.

dogAnyone who has spent an evening watching crime shows on the ID Network can tell you one true thing about human nature: people lie. People lie a lot, and about pretty much everything. This would be why Chance’s owners kept changing and revising and twisting the events that led up to his condition. His haphazardly bandaged leg turned out to be broken, and it hung like a very sad little flag, flapping about in the wind. It was red and scabby and slightly mangled looking, obviously due to being drug around on the ground as an open wound. The owners claimed he had either fallen or jumped out of the truck, thus injuring his leg. It was clear he had some sort of medical care, due to the cone and the various and sundry prescription bottles they had. But it was also very clear there wasn’t a lot of follow-up or much TLC involved.

After much convincing, they surrendered Chance to us, but were somewhat taken aback when asked for a donation. They offered $10. The father begrudgingly bestowed the money on us, but not before mentioning it was money that could be better spent to fill their gas tank. It was eventually determined that Chance’s leg would have to be amputated at the shoulder, as it was too fractured to save.

He recently had surgery, and is doing beautifully. He’s scampering around with his playmates, chasing toys, and always has that amazing smile on his face. He is a real trooper. The vet bills are considerable, but completely worth the results. Despite the pain and discomfort this spunky little dog endured, he has always remained upbeat and perky, seemingly ready to take on the world. His is the kind of story that, truthfully, makes a volunteer like me want to punch his two owners right square in the face. But it’s also the kind of tale that reminds me of why we do what we do, and how good it feels to be, well, sort of a savior. Even if it was only a lousy $10, it still makes me feel like a million bucks. Now that’s a happy ending.

Animal Rescue of Fresno is a 501c3 non-profit organization, and survives on donations by generous community members. We thank you for your continued support. You can learn more about ARF, their adoptables, and how to donate by going to their website:

Don’t miss their event WOOFSTOCK on Saturday, May 2:

The annual event of comedy and music to benefit Animal Rescue of Fresno-A.R.F. This year’s performers include, Johnny Osburn(comedy),The Jacktones(music)Esau McGraw(comedy)Don’t Tell Her That(music),Nick Cobb(comedy),this year’s event Master Of Ceremonies-Central Valley talk host Kris DeVold Event is a 21 and over w/ I.D. The Crystal Ballroom at Smugglers Inn ( Corner of Blackstone & Dakota Ave) Doors open at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $15.00 dollars in advance and $20 at the door.

Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to a local animal rescue.

Wendy Hunter has been volunteering with ARF for just over a year. She grew up in Fresno and recently became an Office Assistant with Fresno County. She has been writing all of her life, though never professionally, and currently writes personalized poetry for birthdays, weddings, pet remembrances, etc.


  1. Sometimes I just hate my fellow humans. Give me a dog or cat any day!

  2. Last week or so a lady was on the MetroLink tracks trying to rescue a raccoon or ground hog (senior moment). anyway, she was killed when the train hit her. There are several ways you can look at this and I still haven’t reached a conclusion.
    Was it worth your life to rescue an animal who was probably hurt and might not have survived. Or is any life worth trying to save.

  3. I live with 2 rescued dogs – and one has a front leg gone, but it was due to cancer surgery. I once had a rescued dog who had been set on fire —-I know what kind of idiot does that? But, I also know there are wonderful people who do wonderful things because those people are naturally good. There are different kinds of people in the world. Some people are absolutely terrific and some aren’t. We need to keep that in mind while we try to take up the slack and help repair some of the damage done by the “aren’t” people.


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