Turns out after shaking my fist a few times, wondering when someone was going to start doing something to help ease the pet overpopulation situation around here, I needed to stop looking anywhere beyond my own mirror. If critter-crazy me wasn’t going to step up, I had no right at all to criticize anyone else. Hate when that happens.
I started small, by writing a column about pets and pet issues in a local community newspaper. From there, I used the column to raise enough money to sponsor a low-cost cat neuter clinic where, in one day, we neutered over 150 cats.
I then decided to take it up a notch, so in January, 2010, I joined the board of Friends of the Kern County Animal Shelters Foundation.
Friends exists to raise funds to cover the cost of items and services that are outside of the County budget. When the shelter needed a new water heater so they can give the pups a bath and get them cleaned up so they are better adoption prospects, Friends raised the money for the purchase and installation of the water heater. Friends volunteers hold off-site adoption events so more dogs find their forever homes; we raised funds to install an off-leash area at the shelter in Lake Isabella so the shelter dogs have a place to exercise and stretch their legs; we provide funds to reduce the cost of adopting pets from the shelter; and last September we held our first low-cost spay-neuter clinic in Lamont, where over four dozen companion animals were altered. In December, when a terrible case of animal cruelty was discovered, Friends raised the funds to cover the cost of the care and rehabilitation of Lacey with enough donations to spare that we were able to establish an Emergency Medical Fund so we may provide additional assistance in the future for other cases of abuse or neglect.
Friends is an all-volunteer group. Our board consists of eight people, all of whom have full-time jobs, families and pets of our own, but who are committed to doing what we can to reduce the number of homeless pets being killed in our shelter system through increased adoptions, low-cost spay/neuter programs and education.
What we need most (besides large piles of money to start a low-cost spay/neuter clinic), are more willing hands to help us with our mission. You don’t need special skills or an advanced degree to help (though we won’t turn you away if you do), just a desire to work towards positive change for companion animals. Volunteers can do everything from taking photos at our events, to helping sweet-talk businesses into donating prizes for our fundraisers, to helping staff booths at fundraising events. We have so many things we’d love to accomplish in the coming year, but need more hands to make it happen.
Pet lovers in Kern County, please consider giving a little of your time to Friends. The projects we work on may not seem glamorous or all that high-profile, but we make a real, actual difference in the lives of companion animals in our community. Head over to the Friends website and download our volunteer guidelines and application.
Help be the change you wish to see in the world.
Check out some of the other folks hoping to change the world: