Animal Rescue of Fresno: Do the Right Thing

by Wendy Hunter
Wendy Hunter is a volunteer with the Animal Rescue of Fresno. ARF shares with KRL their animal rescue adventures every month. You can learn more about them on their website.

Ask the beasts and they will teach you the beauty of this earth.
-St. Francis of Assisi

People have priorities. I get it. Your priorities may not be the same as your sister, your best friend, or even that perfect couple across the street. You may throw down some serious cash for six-inch lacquered nails, and your sister might burn a hole in her Visa card for the latest Justin Timberlake concert. Hey, don’t judge. Your best friend would sell his soul for a new iPhone, while that perfect couple throws an amazing birthday bash for their twins, complete with pepperoni pizza, ponies, and party favors. My monthly priority is trying to bang out these stories for Animal Rescue of Fresno, before that looming deadline comes knocking at my door. “Hey! What’s going on in there? Aren’t you done YET?”

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In the meantime, the clock keeps ticking down like a time bomb, and just when I’m about to throw in the towel, inspiration strikes at the Eleventh Hour. The words begin to flow, and while I’m practicing my speech for the Pulitzer Prize in Literature, my old pal procrastination shows up and talks me into my jammies, and an evening on the sofa with TCM. Then Ben and Jerry arrive, and it’s all over after that; Chunky Monkey slays the mighty pen. I wipe the chocolate from my mouth and vow to start anew in the morning. This article comes first, and my stomach will not be distracted! Uh oh, I smell something yummy…who’s making popcorn?

ARF pup Lennox
For some people, their priority is to treat their family right. Maybe Tom and his wife Judy have made the important decision to add a dog to their busy household. The kids have been pestering Tom for a pet, and Judy doesn’t want to disappoint them, and before Tom’s head completely explodes, he acquiesces. After all, it will be fun for everyone. So they cram into the station wagon, and head over to Uncle Archie’s place out in the country. Archie runs his own “rescue,” and gives dogs away to family and friends. After strolling through the dusty grounds, and getting their faces slobbered with doggy kisses, the family decides on a lovely Beagle puppy named Daisy. She’s a happy gal, with brown and white markings, big beautiful eyes, and a tail that never stops wagging. Tom’s family think she’s perfect. After paying Archie a small fee, they drive to Petco for some serious shopping. Three-hundred dollars later, they welcome Daisy into their two-story stucco home in the suburbs, with a sizable backyard, lots of plush toys, and a brand new doggie bed. Eventually, Daisy learns the ropes of potty-training, the joy of chasing squirrels, what happens when you find a skunk, and how much better sleeping under little Johnny’s covers is than on that new bed.

ARF pup Acacia
Daisy’s content in her new home, and after a few weeks, is quite familiar with the routine of day-to-day life. She loves her walks in the park, chasing balls, laying by the fire, and sneaking cheese from the kitchen table. Her family adores their new addition, taking care of her, feeding her, and giving her the occasional bath. Because a lavender scented dog is better than a hey-I-just-rolled-in-a-pile-of-cat-poop dog. Bleah. Sounds like Daisy’s family is doing everything they can for her, right? Um, nope. As soon as they adopted her, Daisy went from a priority to a responsibility. I know what you’re thinking: hey you bonehead, what in the Wide Wide World of Sports are you talking about? I’m talking about a very simple and affordable thing that every responsible person can, and should do, for their best friend. Simply put, I’m talking about spay and neuter. And no, I’m not referring to your bartender buddy Raymond down at the Leaky Boat Pub, unless his poor wife is pregnant again with their ninth kid. That guy really needs a hobby. A lot of people have a lot of excuses for not getting their pets spayed or neutered. At Animal Rescue of Fresno, we’ve heard them all. They may seem valid at the time, but after you step back and give them a second look, they seem as credible as a Judge Judy defendant. “I can’t afford it.” Yes, yes you can. “I don’t have the time.” Really, you do. “My dog never gets out.” Heavy sigh. And from every man who owns a male dog, “I don’t want his ‘parts’ cut off!” Insert eye roll here…

So for all you naysayers out there, let’s step into the classroom for a quick teachable moment. C’mon boys and girls, it will be fun! For starters, here are some facts that will quash the aforementioned excuses.
Fact #1: At HOPE Animal Foundation, you can get your pet fixed for as little as $10. That’s less than a twelve-pack of Coors Lite, and you’ll feel a whole lot better in the morning.

Fact #2: At most facilities, you can drop your pet off in the morning, and pick them up after work. And for some of us, we’d certainly rather be in a waiting room full of barking dogs and crying kitties than be at work. True.
ARF pup Aspen

Fact #3: By saying your dog never gets out, you’re just asking the universe for trouble. Never? I can pretty much guarantee the ONE and only time your dog tunnels her way out of the backyard, she’ll come back knocked up after a night on the town. Are you ready to care for the seven puppies she has on your best chenille blanket? Yikes.

Fact #4: Guys, your dog isn’t even going to notice his ‘parts’ are missing. Check your masculinity at the door.

Another thing that Daisy’s parents might think they can’t afford is regular vaccines. At ARF, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of vaccinations. Parvo and Distemper are horrible viruses that can wreak havoc on a dog. For young puppies, Parvo can mean a death sentence, and is a painful way to die. Telltale symptoms are bloody diarrhea, lethargy, fever, vomiting, and severe weight loss. The scariest thing about Parvo, is that this virus can live in the soil for 5 to 7 years, if not properly cleaned. Parvo is basically The Bachelor of the germ world; it just won’t go away. That’s why it’s so imperative for puppies to be held and never put on the ground when visiting public places, since Parvo can be tracked indoors on people’s shoes. Distemper is a ghoulish airborne disease, spread via coughing or sneezing. It’s another virus that’s most harmful to puppies under four months. Both Parvo and Distemper can both attack unvaccinated adult dogs, too. At Fresno Humane, you can get the Parvo and Distemper shots for a mere $10. You might miss your morning Mocha at Starbucks for a few days, but isn’t that worth saving your doggy’s life? I think Daisy would agree, and she probably wouldn’t mind a Puppuccino either.
ARF pup Magnolia

St. Francis of Assisi is commonly known as the patron saint of animals, and earned his stripes by coaxing a wolf to lay down at his feet. “Papa” Mike McGarvin, founder of The Poverello House, also had a soft spot for animals. The Poverello House is a haven for the homeless, offering shelter, hot meals, and a plethora of other services for those in need. But because many of the clients who stayed at his facility had dogs, Papa Mike found himself in a bit of a muddle. Health department regulations would not allow dogs in the dining hall or at their Holy Cross Clinic. And so he created “Papa Mike’s Homeless Doghouse,” so people were able to house not only themselves, but their companions as well. The pets receive love and medical attention, and are cared for while their owners are off campus for appointments, etc. Sometimes, these animals are all a homeless person has. For someone to give a stranger and their pet a little compassion, can be a big life changing experience. If you think you can’t afford to spay/neuter your dog, or pay a few bucks to get them vaccinated, think again. If you have a job, you’re one of the lucky ones. If you have a roof over your head, you’re definitely lucky. If you have a dog as your bestie, you know how lucky you are. Now go forth, and fix your furry friend. St. Francis would approve.

There’s a whole litany of animal clinics and hospitals that offer affordable vaccinations and spay/neuter services here in the valley, including Petco, Abby Pet Hospital, and VIP, a mobile shot clinic.

Animal Rescue of Fresno is located at 4545 E Dakota in Fresno, CA

Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section on Kings River Life, and the Pets section here on KRL News & Reviews. 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. Learn more about ARF on their website.

Wendy Hunter has been volunteering with ARF for four years. She grew up in Fresno and recently became an Office Assistant with Fresno County. She has been writing all of her life, though never professionally, and currently writes personalized poetry for birthdays, weddings, pet remembrances, etc.