Animal Rescue of Fresno: Summer in the City, Hot Tips for a Cool Summer

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.

My dog is lovelier than a summer dream.
-Angie Weiland-Crosby

Well kids, the dog days of summer are back, bringing more heat to our toasty town. It’s time to crank up the A/C, grab a cold one, and fire up HBO for some serious binge watching. There’s this little show called Game of Thrones that’s supposed to be pretty good.

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I remember the days when staying indoors during July and August never crossed my mind—when I didn’t care about the thermometer reading, but only how fast I could get to my friend’s pool down the block. The days when summer was all about sunburns, swimming, and Slurpees. Fast forward a few decades, and it’s all about sunscreen, shade, and Singapore Slings. Priorities, people. Hey, where’s my big floppy hat?

Speaking of lounging poolside, I spent last weekend at my sister Jill’s house for some chlorine and cocktails. I brought along snacks, including a brand new bag of pistachios. After spending Saturday at ARF, I phoned Jill to say I was on my way back. But, she had some bad news. My heart stopped, my nerves started, and my mind raced. Was it our parents? Was it our sister? Um, no. Jill: Gunther ate your pistachios. Me: The whole thing? Jill: Yup. Me: Shells and all? Jill: Uh-huh. Me: OMG. Jill: Wendy, you can’t leave anything laying around. Me: Well, I hope he enjoyed them. Jill: I’m sure, and he’ll be pooping them out for the next week…

Gunther, of course, is one of my sister’s three dogs. He’s a gigantic Great Dane/Mastiff mix, and his monstrous, prehistoric feet look like the Velociraptors’ in Jurassic Park. Not too long ago, he ate an entire bag of chocolate chips. Apparently, it didn’t faze him. And as predicted for the pistachios, Jill found them scattered like tiny hidden gems, all across the backyard. Leaving people treats out for nosy noses is just one thing that can potentially be harmful to pets. Unless yours is the size of a small pony with an iron stomach.

In the summertime we all want to safely enjoy the great outdoors with our dogs. There are ponds and parks, beaches and boardwalks, mountains and molehills, and just about everything under the blazing sun to explore. And even though the ARF residents probably won’t get that seaside vacation, they’re happy to give you some tips for having a great summer with your best friend.

For example, Lexi would like to remind you to make sure your dog has unlimited access to fresh water during these blistering days. A beautiful black Terrier mix, Lexi loves splashing around, and can often be seen curled up in her water bowl. Ah, heaven. Lexi’s family adopted her from a high kill shelter as a puppy. Unfortunately, they were moving, and because she wasn’t housebroken, they kept her outside. Lexi has been at ARF just over a year now, but for some reason, nobody has shown any interest in her. She’s currently learning leash manners, and really enjoys her walks. Which is why Lexi advises you to go walking during the cooler hours, and to stay off hot surfaces, like asphalt. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog. Burned tootsies are no fun. Lexi is now kennel trained and would do well in a house with older kids, age 10 and above. Lexi is playful with other dogs, but she can be a little rough. A meet and greet with your dog is always a good idea. Lexi would be fine as an only dog, too, happy to spend the rest of her summers with you, running through the Slip ‘N Slide. Whee!

For last minute items you need for that weekend up at Shaver, a trip to the drugstore is a must. However, a special girl named Rose would like to recommend that you leave your dog at home. Even if the windows of your car are cracked open, the inside temperature of your car can rise incredibly fast. This chart on the American Veterinary Medical Association’s website shows just how frighteningly hot a car can get in a short period of time.

Rose is a shy Chihuahua mix with long legs, white socks, and soulful eyes. Rescued from a bad situation by her former owner, she was surrendered to ARF after the owner moved and was unable to keep her. Although Rose is a bit bashful, she easily comes out of her shell after getting to know you. Rose loves being held in your arms, or rolling in your lap, and just wants someone to love her. She adores playing with other dogs, but she’d rather be snuggling with her person all day. Rose is very food motivated, which helps with training; keep lots of chicken on hand. We took Rose to her first outing recently, for the Pet and Reptile Expo at the fairgrounds. I was amazed how well she did, letting complete strangers pet her, and loving all the attention. I have to admit, I have a bit of a girl crush on this sweetheart, and I’m hoping someone will give her a chance. Cool walks in the evening? Yes, please. Netflix on the couch? Sounds good. Kisses before bedtime? Definitely!

Even though we’re smack in the middle of summer, winter is right around the corner. Actually, she’s at ARF and has been a resident since December 2018. Winter is a black and tan Terrier/Spaniel mix, with a winning smile and a love of belly rubs at bedtime. She has fun playing with her buddies, and chasing them around the yard. The ARF volunteers are working with Winter, as she’s not a big fan of having a leash around her neck. It’s possible she had a bad experience when she was seized by animal control and kept there for almost two months. We’re trying to teach Winter that the leash is okay, and nothing to fear. We wouldn’t recommend her with younger children, as they tend to grab and pull. Being a black dog, Winter encourages everyone to make sure their pet has access to shade outside. Black dogs are highly susceptible to overheating; their fur can actually be hot to the touch. If your pet isn’t crazy about dog-paddling in the pool, you can mist their head, back, and abdomen, to help avoid heat exhaustion. Winter gives two paws up for this refreshing idea. If you’re looking for someone to be your constant companion, through thick and thin, then Winter is your gal. Her name may be chilly, but her personality will melt your heart like a cup of cocoa.

There are some people who truly relish the flame-broiled heat of summer. For example, my 85-year-old mom, who contentedly sits outside in triple-digit weather. “It’s ONLY 102 Wendy, you’re such a wimp.” I may be a wimp, but at least I’m a cool one. Now let’s turn that fan up a notch. Just like humans, older dogs shouldn’t be out in the scorching sun, as they’re more prone to heatstroke. So invite your elder indoors, set your A/C to a comfortable temperature, and stretch out on the sofa. I know a senior Schnauzer named Nala Bear, who would gladly join you on that comfy couch. Her owner was unable to care for Nala anymore, and contacted ARF for help. Nala has many fantastic qualities that make her a wonderful pet. She walks nicely on a leash, she sits, shakes paws, and dances for treats. However, Nala can be very stubborn, and if she doesn’t like her food, pushes it toward the garbage can. Waiter, please return this to the kitchen! She likes being called Nala Bear, and yelps out loud when you talk to her. Like most dogs, Nala is scared of certain noises, like fireworks and gunshots. We feel that Nala Bear would be best as an only dog. On a final note, she’s not fond of cats, and snores very loudly. Well, don’t we all?

If you are interested in any of the aforementioned dogs, please give us a call and we will set up an appointment for you to meet the dog of your dreams. Check out our website for even more adoptable cuties!

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.

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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.