Saturday, April 4, 2009

When people come together for animals, it’s a beautiful thing

When the Friends of the Kern County Animal Shelters Foundation held a fundraiser for a new water heater for the County animal shelter, the public came through.

It turns out that Kern County Animal Control only has a 12 gallon water heater --- far, far too small to handle even a little bit of dog bathing. Volunteer groomers go to the shelter, donating their time and talent to bathe and groom homeless dogs in an effort to make them more adoptable, but were frustrated that these pups couldn’t even get a warm bath. As word reached Friends of KCASF, they decided to hold a fundraiser and see if maybe, just maybe, they could raise enough money to replace the all but worthless heater with a new, tankless version.

On March 24, Red Brick Pizza Café on Brimhall Road was kind enough to donate 20 percent of all purchases between 4 and 9 p.m. to the cause. Friends of KCASF also provided two great raffle items, a goodie-laden dog house and cat gift basket, and brought T-Shirts for sale to support the cause.

The result? People were waiting in lines that reached out the door for most of the event, happy to support the Friends in their effort. Folks from several animal groups including Alpha Canine, The Cat People and Kern Humane Society showed up, as well as animal lovers and shelter supporters of all shapes and sizes. There were so many people that the owners of Red Brick apologized to the crowd for what was, at times, a nearly two-hour wait. But wait they did, with customers waving off apologies, happy to be a part of such a good cause.

In the end, between Red Brick’s contribution, raffle ticket and T-shirt sales, and cash donations from people who didn’t wish to wait in line but still wanted to help, the Friends of KCASF raised nearly $2,000 in donations --- more than enough to cover the cost of the water heater and its installation, with a little money left over for other projects benefiting the animals at Kern County Animal Control.

Special thanks for this event go to Red Brick Pizza Café owners Robert and Patty Salazar, Suzanne Guest, and Friends of the Shelter member Linda Watson. All were instrumental for getting this event off of the ground. Thank you for time and effort on behalf of homeless pets.

And thank you, community members who took time away from your day-to-day activities to stand in line, buy raffle tickets and T-shirts, and have a little pizza for the benefit of shelter animals. The result of your efforts will linger far beyond that evening, making life a little better for pups looking for a chance to find their forever home.

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