Animal Rescue of Fresno: Summer Fun

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.

Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it. —Russel Baker

People, I am coming for you. You know who you are. I spy, with my little eye, your bad behavior. I see you strolling the neighborhood in your Bermuda shorts and sea green sneakers. You’ve slathered on a pound of 75 SPF sunscreen, straightened your big floppy hat, and put on the darkest pair of Ray Bans you could find. Bring it on, UV rays. It’s a pretty picture of a happy, healthy, lifestyle right out of a Land’s End catalogue. But while you’re safely protected from the summer sun’s roasting rays and the smoldering cement beneath your feet, that little critter on the other end of the leash is not. While you’re enjoying a brisk walk around the block, your little Fido’s feet may be burning like a small brushfire. Walking is a fantastic way to get some exercise and bond with your mutt, but maybe not at 5:47 p.m. in 107 degree weather. Try getting out early in the morning, or later in the evening, when the weather is cooler. An easy trick to see if the pavement is too hot handle, is putting your palm on the ground and holding it for 10 seconds. If your hand feels like a juicy ribeye steak sizzling on the backyard BBQ, then you better believe it is WAY too hot for your dogs’ tootsies. Ouch!

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As you can see from this selection of photos, the dogs at Animal Rescue of Fresno spend a great deal of summer playing in the water. We are lucky enough to find great deals on kiddie pools, and our supporters and volunteers are gracious enough to donate many of them to us.

It’s important for the dogs to stay cool and hydrated, especially when the temperatures climb into the triple digits. There’s nothing happier than a mutt splashing about in a plastic pool, then plunging into a mud puddle for some crocodile rolling. And there’s nothing more challenging than trying to stay dry while putting that same wet dog to bed. Before you know it, there’s a big set of filthy paw prints smack on your smock. Bleah. A kiddie pool is a great way for your dog to get a little swim time in during these sweltering months, so why not throw on your suit and join him? C’mon, you know you want to. At ARF, we also have many shade sails installed, because some of our yards get more sun than others. If your yard is a bit short on shade, you might want to check them out. They come in several pretty colors, in case you need your shade sails to match your chaise lounge. Okay, I’m done being shady…
Cherry Blossom
You probably noticed one particular dog in the photos, who believes that pools are made more for napping than swimming. That would be Cherry Blossom, one of our senior dogs, and she loves nothing more than to hide herself amongst the fuzzy blankets in her yard. With her grizzled hair and enormous ears, she can be a cranky old lady sometimes. This elderly Chihuahua is not at all pretentious, and couldn’t give a hoot whether her hair is combed, or sticking straight up in the air. Cherry Blossom came to ARF from a kill shelter, and needed lots of love and medical care. Her favorite pastime is basically, well, doing nothing. She’s happy to spend the day in her pool, under a big pile of blankets. I am absolutely positive that in my previous life, I really was Cherry Blossom. A little cranky? Check. No hair worries? Check. Sleep all day long? CHECK. She’s good with other dogs, and will eventually warm up to people when she gets to know them. Cherry Blossom can be very loving, and would do best in a quiet household without young children. If you think you have the right home for this little girl, please go to our website, and fill out an application. We will contact you to set up a meet and greet with Cherry Blossom. Well, that’s if we can find her buried under those blankets…

Now, I’m not a big fan of dressing dogs up in adorable outfits for the holidays, or other special occasions. However, I am not one to judge the obsession of people who purchase a Wicked Witch of the West costume for themselves, and a Toto ensemble for their tiny terrier. Go ahead, turn some heads as The Wicked Queen and Snow White, Darth Vader and Yoda, or Lady Liberty and a Patriotic Hot Dog. As they say, you do you, and I’ll do me. Having said that, you might want to invest in a pair of doggie shoes for your Dalmatian, for another layer of protection this summer. There are several companies out there who make booties, and also ones for colder weather. They offer protection from the sun’s scorching heat, and also from winter’s freezing frost. Brrrr. Speaking of chilly, all dogs appreciate some good, sub-zero air conditioning in the summertime - hey, they’re no dummies. Dogs also enjoy munching on frozen treats, so try offering up ice or broth cubes, plain frozen yogurt or even their favorite toys in frozen form. If you and Scooter need a change of scenery, head over to the Lazy Dog in River Park, where canines are welcome and have their own menu. And don’t forget, any dog is welcome at the Starbucks drive-thru for a delicious and refreshing Puppuccino. As for us humans, we’ll take a slushy margarita, lightly salted, with a lime wedge. Ole!

It's safe to say that dogs love the summer as much as people do. Well, SOME people. Not for those of us who start sweating in mid-March. That being said, there are a ton of things to do with your best friend during summer vacation. Here are a few ideas I came across recently, that would be great fun to try out, at least once. How about setting up a photo shoot with your little Miss Milly as the star? Your backyard would be the perfect setting. Take your crazy cattle dog to the dog park, where he can burn off some energy with fellow playmates. Hit the hills for some camping and hiking, or perhaps a trip to the beach. There are plenty of dog-friendly Bed and Breakfasts around, including several in the wine country. You could even start your own walking group, set up an Instagram account for your shaggy star, or see if your dog might qualify as a therapy dog. Hey, you never know…

Just remember wherever you go, whatever you do please remember one important thing; NEVER leave your dog alone in a car. From 2018-2019, seventy-eight pets suffered heat stroke and died in a hot car. Here are some other scary numbers:

Regardless of the exterior temperature, the interior temperature of a car left in anything other than cold conditions, even with the windows partially open, rises 19 degrees in the first 10 minutes, and 29 degrees in the first 20 minutes. (

I’m not trying to freak anybody out, I just want you all to have a fun-filled summer. It’s so easy to say you’re dashing into the store for five minutes, but you know how life goes. You run into an old high school friend you haven’t seen in ages, you start sharing Facebook pages and Instagram photos. The next thing you know it’s been twenty-five minutes and you haven’t even checked out yet. The best thing to do is leave Pebbles at home, where the air is cool and her surroundings are safe. Tips for keeping your dog comfortable in the summer are really just simple ones. Make sure your pet has access to fresh water, shade, and perhaps an ice pack or wet towel to lay on. Avoid walking on hot pavement, and consider keeping exercise and playtimes to the early morning or evening hours. That’s it! Now get out there and have a great time. Since we can finally leave the four walls of our quarantined prison cells, take advantage of this big wide world while you can. Don’t forget your face masks, practice social distancing, and make sure your furry friend is doing well. A couple of extra kisses on the nose at bedtime are highly recommended…

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.—John Lubbock

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.