Where to Donate Money for the Victims of the Sonoma/Napa Wildfires

We’ve gotten emails from many of our readers and customers asking us where to donate money for the victims (furry and otherwise) of the Sonoma/Napa wild fires. Since this is our ‘hood and we know most of these organizations personally you can feel assured that your money will go where you intend it to go. This cannot be said of the American Red Cross – sadly, stories of squandering money have been circulating for many years.

For cats and dogs, and other small animals:
Sonoma Humane Society
5345 Highway 12
Santa Rosa, CA 95407

You can watch videos and see photos on their Facebook page. Many animals are already re-united with their families. They gave shelter to a personal friend’s two dogs when he and his family had to evacuate (they are all back home now)
https://www.facebook.com/SonomaHumane/

For wildlife rescue and rehabilitation:
WildCare
76 Albert Park Lane
San Rafael, CA 94901

Their Facebook page isn’t being updated very often due to the high demand to help wild birds and animals. Our own bunny vet, Dr. Deborah Scheenstra is one of WildCare’s volunteer veterinarians and Auntie Cat Faerie’s chiropractor is on their Squirrel Team.
https://www.facebook.com/WildCareBayArea/

To help farms and farmers who have lost everything or who’s land is being fouled by the toxins and ash falling from the sky:
CAFF (Community Alliance with Family Farmers)
PO Box 363
Davis, CA 956616
http://www.caff.org/north-bay-fires/

Of special interest – the USDA offers assistance to farms who have been affected by disaster anywhere in the US.
https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/disaster-assistance-program/index

 
 
 
 

The Heartbreaking Napa and Sonoma Fires

As you know we are in San Francisco, just a wine bottle’s throw away from the fires. As our skies are full of smoky air we are following this horror closely. In particular we are tracking how it’s effecting animals – and donating. If you’d like to follow the Sonoma Humane Society’s effects to rescue and reunite. Here’s their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/SonomaHumane/

Sonoma and Napa counties are very dear to us in so many ways. We have many friends and business partners there, and friends of friends, so many memories, and so much more. The scenery and the people are like no place else. So many memories and beautiful experiences.

We are so painfully aware of all every tragic event this year and how each of these crises are affecting all of us, including the animals that have been harmed directly or indirectly. Remember, every single action, every single thought has either a positive effect or a negative one. Love. Remember to love. It’s a choice and you can easily make it even on those rough days when it’s so easy to go down the negative road. Don’t do it. Take the high road, persist and be kind. And help others and animals in any way that you can.

 

FOUND CAT 10/9/17: Stray Neutered Male Tabby with white chest. No collar. This sweet cat was found under a car in the Sutter Santa Rosa Hospital lot. He is currently safe at Sonoma Humane Society 707-542-0882. Please spread the word. #LOSTPETSsonomacountyfire2017
 
 
 
 

How To Help Animal Victims of Hurricane Harvey and How to Prepare for Emergencies

Our resident feline expert – Issac Newton – writes on how to help cats and other animals affected by Hurricane Harvey, as well as preparing your own household for emergencies.


Newton’s Purrspective – Hurricane Harvey and Beyond

You have probably heard of the courageous people risking their own lives to save abandoned animals following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in Texas. http://www.lovemeow.com/cats-rescued-houston-residents-stay-behind-to-help-save-stranded-animals-from-flood-waters-2478964880.html?from=homer

You may also be wondering what you can do to help. But aren’t sure who to trust with your efforts or hard-earned money.




Isaac Newton

Most of us are not in a position to physically help with rescue efforts, so you might be considering sending money to a relief organization. Many groups are doing wonderful work, but sadly, not all can be trusted in this electronic world. Since 9/11 there have been many stories, for example, about The American Red Cross not distributing money as they promised.

How can you tell if your potential recipient will spend the money to help hurricane victims? How can you tell if an unfamiliar group is a legitimate charity? The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance http://www.give.org/for-donors/about-specific-giving-guidance/disaster-relief-donations/ is an excellent place to start.

Rescue organizations across the country are partnering up to help the overcrowded Texas shelters by transporting displaced animals to other states. If you live in a state near Texas your local shelter may be accepting some of these cats, dogs and other animals like bunnies. If you know a shelter that is taking in evacuated pets you can donate food, bedding, cat litter, dishes etc.

In general, cats are very “location oriented” and have a much more difficult time with losing their homes than “people oriented” dogs. Perhaps you have experience in foster care. Fostering a displaced animal can not only supply an immediate need, it can also free up room at shelters.

In fact, if you have been considering adopting a cat, now is a great time to do it. (Of course, attempts will be made to reunite families, but there are many adoptable cats in shelters waiting for forever homes.)

Hurricane season is not over and disasters are possible wherever you live. The Red Cross explains how to prepare yourself for such emergency situations. http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/be-red-cross-ready/get-a-kit However, animals are not considered and may not be allowed in shelters designated for people only.

Redrover has been helping animals in crisis situations for 30 years. Their website provides a comprehensive list of supplies needed for cats. https://redrover.org/disaster-supplies-cats

Cat Faeries flower essences may also help Kitty through a stressful situation. I recommend Moves and Changes, and Calm and Serene. Convivial House Cat can be used in tandem for added calming and the ability to cope with stress.

Having a plan and supplies gathered is as important as having a list of emergency numbers by your phone. You might get a few backpacks and fill them with first aid materials, cash in small bills, food and water for all of the species in your home and keep them near the front door or the garage door in the event that you need to make a quick exit. It’s always a good idea to have carriers in good shape, clean and that contain a carrier pad – Cat Faeries waterproof washable pads are excellent choice. And, of course, the time to make your plan is now – long before you are told to evacuate.

Another wise precaution is posting a sign saying there are animals inside your house to alert first responders. https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack Wallet cards and keyring tags saying “my pet is home alone” are widely available and could save lives if you are sick or injured and unable to return home.

While this story centered on Hurricane Harvey, at the time of this writing Hurricane Irma was threatening to strike. We also cannot forget about the horrible fires in The Pacific Northwest, throughout California including Los Angeles and Yosemite National Park, Montana, Oregon and the people and animals who will be displaced, or worse.

Help others whenever you can, and above all, be safe! And be sure to hug and kiss your cat and loved ones!



Photo courtesy of the Southeast Volusia Humane Society
 
 
 
 

A Reader’s Experience Working At A No-Kill Cat Shelter

Trisha has written for us before. She’s charming young lady who’s always got something to say. This time it’s about her experience as a volunteer at a no-kill cat shelter with some tips on how a volunteer can ease the load for employees so they can get more done.

As a former volunteer I’ll add a bit about how being a cat shelter volunteer has hidden perks for people. During my orientation at the San Francisco SPCA they said that many volunteers reported that their time there was better than therapy. I took that to mean: “Walk in depressed, walk out happy and at peace.” One high school aged girl who was trapped at her abusive parent’s house until she turned 18 said she could tell the cats all of her problems which became less of a burden because the cats listened. Others said that it gave them a mental health break from their own mind’s chatter. And dog walkers reported significant weight loss.


My Experience Working At A No-Kill Cat Shelter

By Trisha Miller

For the last 8 months I’ve had the pleasure of volunteering weekly at a no-kill cat shelter near me, called Simply Cats. Due to time constraints I’ve had to stop volunteering for the time being, but I enjoyed every second of it. If you have a few hours of your day to dedicate to a shelter in your area, I highly suggest that you do so. Even if on a small scale, I knew that I was making a difference in these cats’ lives. I was helping to provide them with a safe, clean home and did my best to provide them comfort. What’s more, I helped to relieve some of the full-time staff so they were able to attend to critical matters that demanded their attention. If you’re wondering if volunteering is right for you, I’d like to share my experience with you and hopefully help you form your own conclusion.

Why Volunteer?

I started volunteering at my local shelter simply because I’m a cat lover and I had a free day each week with nothing to do. Why not help out some cats and make the lives of the shelter employees a little bit easier. In addition, one of my two cats is a rescue cat, and sadly was not living at a no kill shelter. If I wouldn’t have chosen to take him home I’m afraid the worst possible imaginable scenario might have taken place. That being said, I have a soft spot in my heart for rescued animals.

If your local shelter is anything like mine, then you’ll agree that shelter employees have very little time to do so many tasks, and can really use the help. Running the shelter, greeting guests, accepting cats, and trying to organize events is more than enough to make an employee feel overwhelmed, I’m sure.

On top of all of that, my local shelter has about 20 individual rooms that house cats in each. These rooms need to be attended to twice per day. When you have, on average, two or more cats in each room, the room gets messy in a hurry. They need someone to clean up the mess and to just be with the cats and comfort them during their stay.

My Job Duties

My assignment at my particular no kill shelter was to clean the rooms of the cats. As I mentioned before, this needed to be done twice per day. So, I stepped in for an earlier shift on my off day, which only took up about 2 hours of my day. I would scoop litter, clean all surfaces, sweep and mop, and make sure the cats had fresh water. After I was done making sure their living area was sparkling clean, I was able to just enjoy my time with the kitties, play with them, and pet them (the best part!).

As volunteers we also had the opportunity to spread awareness about the shelter via social media and throughout the community. My shelter has regular events that we were encouraged to attend in order to help raise funds to keep the shelter open and get the cats all the necessities for maintaining a fulfilled and happy life while they are at the shelter.

What You Need to Know

A friend of mine recommended that I volunteer at the shelter because she is currently a volunteer as well. We discussed the possibility back and forth and among my many other delights, I was especially happy to volunteer for a no-kill shelter. However, even if you choose to volunteer at a no-kill shelter, you should prepare yourself for some things you might see or learn during your stay.

Some cats do come from hoarding or abuse situations. My local shelter has a veterinary staff on hand to help any kitties that need medical attention. You may come into contact with cats that have illnesses or impairments due to their neglect or abuse. So, you’ll want to mentally prepare for that before you walk in the door. As heartbreaking as it is to see, all of the cats that I encountered with illnesses or impairments were completely healed, thanks to the dutiful veterinary staff, and were as full of life as any other cat I came across in the shelter.

All in all it was an absolutely wonderful experience that I am sad has come to a temporary close. I plan on volunteering again as soon as my schedule opens up again and I suggest that you do the same if you are able. There is simply no experience like it. It is extremely gratifying, fulfilling, and rewarding!

Have you volunteered at a shelter? I’d love to hear about your experience 🙂
 
 
 
 

Fort McMurray fire hero who fed cats, bunnies, and dogs

Wasn’t that recent fire in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada just horrible! The photos were heart wrenching, and of course we always think about the plight of the animals. Thousands of people evacuated so quickly that many animals were left behind. Read this story about Lee Ellis, a very brave man who stayed, and using Facebook he was able to communicate with evacuees. They would tell him how to enter their homes and what animals to look for. In turn he’d post photos of the animals and their homes so they could see if there was any damage. In Lee’s charge were cats, bunnies, and dogs. We’ve read that Lee has gotten many marriage proposals! Not surprising! Real men do love cats!

http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/british-columbia/kelowna-man-stays-behind-to-feed-pets-in-fort-mcmurray-1.3579610

 
 

Petting shelter cats might be better than therapy!

Many years ago I decided it might be fun and rewarding to volunteer at a local shelter as a “cat socializer.” The job of a cat socializer is to spend time with a cat one-on-one. Sometimes the cats just sleep when you sit with them. Some of them try to hide. Sometimes your visit prompts them to groom or eat. Some cats want to be brushed, some don’t. Some cats love being petted and some need you to back off and let them come to you. Some of those cats don’t trust humans so this quiet and gentle time is vital and allows them to overcome fear, adapt to people, heal from emotional abuse, and become friendly towards people. I saw most of the cats come out of their shell and shine.

During our orientation the leader said that working with cats can be like therapy. She related a story of a lonely and mistreated teenage girl who reported that she could tell the cats all of her problems and worries. She could cry into their fur. They’d look her in the eye and give love right back to her. Eventually she felt that everything would be ok and she overcame her past. She was as much a therapist for the cats as they were for her.

Being a cat socializer was truly rewarding, and certainly more fun than therapy! Just stroking them, talking to them about nothing in particular, feeling protective of them, and watching them blossom was doing me as much good as I was doing for the cats. It was almost meditative and Zen like sitting on the floor while letting a cat take all the time needed to approach me. They’d slowly check me out, sniff at my shoes, purr at me, meow at me, rub against me, all those darling things that cats do. There were no rules about how much time I could spend with each cat and I loved that. The quiet time was priceless for me. I found that hanging out and being silent was very meditative and problem solving. I left floating on air, my troubles dissolved, and I was ready to face anything.

When you look for a shelter talk to other volunteers and ask if the shelter’s paid staff treat their volunteers like the pieces of gold that they are, or if they are treated like they are a dime a dozen. Sadly I found that many of the volunteers, myself included, seemed to threaten the status quo with our enthusiasm and new ideas. This shelter was highly political with much game playing, back stabbing, and broken promises. They had a total disregard for the volunteer’s enthusiasm and time.

But don’t let that stop you because great shelters are there, and they want and need you. Once you find the right one dive right in. The time and effort that you generously give will come back to you in the form of peace and courage, as well as a deep satisfaction. You’ll see cat after cat find a good home. I still remember the names and faces of my favorite shelter cats just as I remember some of the beautiful people who adopted them.

Pet cats. Feel good. Get perspective on your troubles and cares. Let the love inside of you flow to the lucky felines who get to have you in their presence. They’ll become your feline therapists.