by Lorie Lewis Ham
This week I had the chance to chat with Mindi Miller, Volunteer Coordinator and Board Member with Animal Rescue of Fresno (ARF)–one of many great animal rescues in this Valley.
Lorie: How long have you been involved with ARF?
Mindi: Six years.
Lorie: How and when did ARF come to be? And how did you become involved?
Mindi: ARF was founded in 1998. I came to ARF six years ago–first to adopt my dogs from them and then really liked what they did and what their mission was. I embraced their mission. I realized that I might not be able to save all the dogs but it all starts with just one.
Lorie: How exactly does ARF operate?
Mindi: We have an adoption center which can house a little over 100 dogs. We do have foster homes and we are always looking for more foster homes. For moms who are going to have babies. Or young puppies that do not have all their shots, dogs that need a little extra TLC. What limits us from taking mom’s about to have babies or puppies is we do not have enough foster homes.
Lorie: Do you rescue cats and dogs? Any other pets? We rescue dogs.
Mindi:Occasionally we get cats tossed over our fences so we do spay or neuter them but they are not our specialty.
Lorie: What would you consider the hardest part about being involved in animal rescue?
Mindi:The hardest part is getting a dog or puppy and it ends up having Parvo or distemper and we lose the dog. That breaks my heart because it could be prevented if people would be responsible and vaccinate. There are shot clinics out there to help everybody and these diseases can be prevented.
Lorie: Does the Valley provide any special challenges for animal rescue?
Mindi:I would say that the Valley does create challenges, lots of dogs and cats daily need homes and sadly daily they are euthanized because we do not have responsible pet owners. We have owners who will call us and tell us that we have to take their puppies because they can’t afford to take care of them and if we don’t take them they will take them to the pound. I think these people need to start looking to see there is a lot of help out there for free or low cost spay and neuter if they want to search. Along with owners-on-a-whim, the Valley has a lot of unregulated private breeding, this adds to the uncontrolled population and an overwhelming amount of small brown dogs.
Lorie: Do you only rescue animals in Fresno?
Mindi:No we have rescued from Madera, Sanger, Selma, Kings County, Tulare and even southern Oregon.
Lorie: How many animals would you estimate you save a year?
Mindi: A little over 600.
Lorie: What kind and how many events do you do?
Mindi:We try to do events all throughout the year–we do adoption events and fund raising events as we survive on fundraising. In the summer we do Yappy Hours every first Friday night in the summer months, winter months we have our Annual Holiday Party first Saturday in December. Pancake Breakfast in February and various other events. We do adoptions events all throughout the year as well.
Lorie: Do you have any special events coming up in December?
Mindi: Our Annual Holiday Party is coming up this Saturday, December 1st, at ARF – we have silent auctions, raffles, pictures with Santa and dog contest. Learn more on the KRL event page.
Lorie: Are the holidays any harder/easier when it comes to animal rescue?
Mindi: Sometimes it becomes harder. People want puppies for the holidays but after the holidays are over, the dogs are an afterthought.
Lorie: Are you all volunteer? How many volunteers do you have?
Mindi: We have three paid employees–they only work four hours a day on specific days. The rest of us are all volunteer.
Lorie: How can people help?
Mindi: We can use foster homes; volunteers to volunteer daily, donations to ARF can make a difference.
Lorie: Do you have a special stand out rescue story to share?
Mindi: The story that has to stick out the most to me was one of our dogs was rescued right off the table from being euthanized. She received the sedative medication twice on table and she woke up both times. She was rescued off the table by ARF and was later adopted by a family is living the good life a pure miracle.
Lorie: Where can people find you on the internet?
Mindi: Website: www.arf-fresno.com and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Animal-Rescue-of-Fresno/73547090995
Lorie: Anything else you would like to add?
Mindi: Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to share information about a cause that is near and dear to my heart.
Check out more animal rescue articles in KRL’s Pet Perspective Section!