by Wendy Hunter
Wendy Hunter is a volunteer with the Animal Rescue of Fresno. ARF shares with KRL their animal rescue adventures every month.
All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination. -Earl NightingaleFor some people who volunteer in the rescue world, taking care of dogs in their community is high priority. Since there are hundreds of organizations all over the country, many rescues prefer to stay close to home, getting dogs adopted out locally. A noble cause indeed. But at Animal Rescue of Fresno (ARF), we like to think out of the box, and completely out of the Golden State. ARF believes in not only adopting dogs out in the Central Valley, but also in distributing the wealth of animals to other areas as well. In certain parts of the country, our dogs are adopted so much quicker than they are here, it’s amazing. Animal Rescue of Fresno has a sterling reputation for providing healthy, socialized dogs, which means most of them find homes in a heartbeat. The good folks at Animal Humane Society in Minnesota are always happy to welcome the exotic California Chihuahuas we fly to them several times a year, along with fuzzy sweaters for braving the cold weather. Due to the chilliness of the great outdoors, many of these diminutive dogs may actually be trained to use a litter box. No frosty feet…brrr. Link: Animal Humane Society Another rescue that reaps the benefits of our dog overpopulation is SoHumane in Medford, Oregon. A fantastic and hardworking bunch, they diligently strive to get our Central Valley dogs adopted to the best homes possible: dogs like Buzz, a hearing impaired pup with a chocolate chip ice cream coat; RiRi, a little black and white Chihuahua with a big voice, who’s never at a loss for words, and long legged lookalikes, Shai and Squiggy, whose sweet faces would melt anyone’s heart. It takes weeks of planning and preparation to get our dogs on their merry way, so it’s all hands on deck for the voyage. This includes the exacting ordeal of selecting which of our deserving dogs will be making the trip, assuring they’re all spayed/neutered, given shots, and are in the best health possible. Lots of paperwork is involved, and lots of muscle as well. Dogs are loaded in crates the evening before departure, then taken out for a midnight potty break, before returning to their crates for the lengthy drive. There are name tags to be made, crates to be labeled, and important decisions made about who should bunk with whom. We want a smooth ride up north, not an episode of Big Time Wrestling. Round 3!
On October 9, our rescue’s president hopped into her van, along with forty-eight dogs for company, to start the overnight drive up to Oregon. It would be the sixth time this year that Heaven Can Wait would be hitting the road, with only a few hours of shut eye and caffeine to keep the boss lady going. With scruffy Terriers like Sammy, Cocoa and Peggy Sue riding shotgun, and sweet spaniel mixes Artie and Maci snoozing softly, the time would pass by at a steady pace. As I was fortunate enough to make this same trip last year, I can tell you it’s not an adventure for the weak. There’s whining, drooling, panting, snoring, and some really bad gas. And that’s just the volunteers. There’s also sleep deprivation, questionable highway bathrooms, and the endless search for decent music on the radio. However, it’s a beautiful drive, with emerald hills and snow covered valleys, tangerine sunrises, and amethyst sunsets. Yes, it’s an exhausting jaunt, but crossing the finish line at SoHumane with all the hounds and humans intact, makes it all worth the effort. Just seeing the excitement as the dogs are unloaded, all wagging tails and joyful barking, while volunteers from both rescues work in a whirlwind unison of togetherness. Whew!
Because of our good standing within the Medford community and the surrounding areas, news of Heaven Can Wait’s impending arrival spreads quickly. After a few days of TLC and settling into their temporary digs, the ARF dogs are ready for their close-ups and a chance to shine. SoHumane posts upcoming adoption events on their Facebook page, and the turnout is absolutely astounding. At these functions, potential adopters show up early, sometimes even patiently waiting in line for hours before opening time. Now those are the kind of people who are really passionate about welcoming a rescue dog into their forever home.Large dogs tend to be quite popular in Oregon, which should come as no surprise. There’s a lot of land up there to be discovered, and what better way than with a new best friend: perhaps someone like Mayday, a Border Collie mix with a gorgeous black and white face, who’s just the right size for trail running. Cattle dogs are notorious for covering lots of ground at the speed of light, which is why we sent a herd of five puppies to Medford as well. With a crazy amount of energy, Billy, Jimmy, Frankie, Willy, and Tootsie will put a thousand miles on their giant feet in no time at all. But that doesn’t mean little dogs aren’t in demand too, as a matter of fact, quite the contrary. With a large colony of retired people living in small-scale apartments, a petite dog can be the perfect fit, like Belle, a lovely tan and white Chihuahua who would love nothing more than to curl up on someone’s lap. Always a fan favorite at ARF, she’d be quite content cozied up by the glow of a fire. On October 14, SoHumane held their adoption event, and managed to find thirty-four dogs their furever homes. And that wasn’t over a weekend, that was in ONE day. Over the course of time, the remaining fourteen ARF dogs eventually found homes, making the long trip a great success. The state of Oregon definitely loves our rescue dogs, and they’re not shy about telling us. When I drove up last year with my group, people stopped us everywhere we went, to talk about the pet they adopted from ARF, and what great work we do. Children couldn’t stop staring at the dogs decorating our vehicles, and every shopkeeper treated us like gold. It’s a wonderful feeling, and it makes you want to keep doing what you do. Ultimately, these trips require some cold hard cash to keep them going. In December, we’ll be taking two vans, four volunteers, and seventy-five critters up to Medford. Financing for things like gas and vet bills is needed to get this proverbial show on the road. If you’d like to help out the next Heaven Can Wait enterprise, and maybe get rid of Aunt Fanny’s hand-me-down collection of vintage dish towels, then you’re in luck. ARF is having a huge fundraising yard sale on November 11, where you can donate gently used items for the cause. In addition, you can do some serious shopping because we have just about everything: books, CD’s, movies, clothing, shoes, appliances, dishes, furniture, and anything else under the sun. So if you need a companion piece for that ceramic turquoise elephant, come on by; we probably have the matching giraffe. Safari outfit not included.
Yard Sale Info:
Date: Saturday, November 11 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location Animal Rescue of Fresno 4545 E. Dakota, between Cedar & Maple
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.