Animal Rescue of Fresno: Life in Dog Years

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.

Don’t be discouraged. It’s often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock. —Anonymous

Welcome back, my friends, to more meandering musings from this heat-soaked blonde, chilling under the blades of a ceiling fan. The peanut butter and honey sandwich I just devoured was pretty tasty, but definitely not as good as the tomato and mayo one I was going to have. Just as I was about to slice into that perfect red globe of juiciness, my mother walked in and startled me, “You’re not eating our last tomato for TONIGHT, are you?” The guilt quickly overwhelmed me, and I felt like a teenager caught making out with her boyfriend on the couch. I’m almost sixty and my mother is eighty-five, but she can still bring it. Speaking of which, this tired summer is still bringing on the triple digits, and the dogs at Animal Rescue of Fresno are definitely feeling the sun’s wrath. It was so gross and sweaty out there yesterday, I almost put myself to bed in one of the kennels, where the air conditioning is cranked up to a nice cool temperature. I ended up just dousing myself off with the hose, and sucking down enough ice water to sink a ship. I even thought about taking a quick dunk in one of the doggie pools, but I was afraid the other volunteers would think my brain was fried. They would be right, of course…

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As you go through life, you will see that there is so much that we don’t understand. And the only thing we know is things don’t always go the way we plan. —Simba, The Lion King

As we continue on this journey of homemade face masks, Portland protesters, and election nonsense, we begin to think of distractions. Like the fact that there are only 145 days until Christmas. There’s nothing more frightening than that, except this year, the Grinch will be played by the COVID-19 virus instead. No word on Max, but we hope he’s not replaced by Cujo. Speaking of which, there are several dogs at ARF that would have made an amazing Max. Sweet little dogs who have been with us for way too long. For example, Simba, a terrific terrier with a sandy-colored coat. With a smiling face and a twinkle in his eye, you can see what potential he has. Simba came from a shelter, and has been with ARF almost nine years. For Simba, it’s a bit of a trust issue; he’s not fond of a lot of people and will require multiple visits for an interested applicant. He loves jumping into my lap and giving me slobbery kisses. For a long time, Simba paid no interest in me at all, but now he and I are best buddies. Perhaps he could be yours too?

One must take what comes, with laughter. —Olivia de Havilland

Olivia, oh, Olivia...what a delight you are! This charcoal-blue Chihuahua is one little ball of energetic happiness. She loves to scamper and play, and she runs circles (literally) around us volunteers at bedtime. The good thing is, she’s very treat motivated and will eventually hop into her kennel with the temptation of a biscuit. It’s hard to believe that Olivia has been at ARF since 2012 because she has such a great disposition. She was dumped by her original owners and in pretty bad shape when we got her. She was adopted for three days when she was returned after biting her owner. An unforeseen mishap because we later discovered she does not care for kids or men. Remember, we know almost nothing about our dogs when they arrive, especially if they were discarded somewhere and picked up as strays. Olivia is now nine-years-old, and I believe she deserves a chance to be in a loving home, where there is lots of room for playtime. I would hate to see her caught up in a “revolving door” situation where she’s returned once again. Olivia can offer your home lots of smiles, love, and laughter!

You don't understand what happens, do you? They make ten thousand cars, they make them exactly the same way, and one or two of 'em turns out to be something special. Nobody knows why. —Herbie, The Love Bug

If I told you that we have a dog who has been at ARF since 2014, and NEVER been adopted, would that surprise you? Would that make you sad? Would you shake your head in disbelief? As a matter of fact, for all the years we’ve had Herbie, we’ve received only ONE inquiry on him. I suppose it’s because he’s very shy, and many people don’t have the patience to work with him. Just like Simba, he needs to feel as though he trusts a person before he completely opens up to them. Herbie is a small brown terrier and doesn’t really stand out, which is another reason he hasn’t received much attention. Herbie came from animal control, and is almost ten-years-old now. He’s good with other dogs, treat motivated, and goes to bed on his own. However, we recommend a home with no children, considering his shyness. Even though we are a no-kill shelter and Herbie will be here until he crosses the Rainbow Bridge, he has many good years to spend in a home of his own. He could truly be a Love Bug, just given the right chance. Come meet him...on your mark, get set, GO!!!

You can always dream. Life is full of dreams that you can fulfill. —Sophia Loren

For those of you who’ve read my articles before, you know my heartfelt affection for the senior dogs. Well, just last month, one of our beautiful seniors got her Golden Ticket to SoHumane in Oregon. Sophia had been with us since she was a puppy, and she is now nine-years-old. She is an unassuming brown dachshund/terrier mix, with a bit of Chihuahua thrown in. Because of this, Sophia was considered a Plain Jane to potential adopters. She’s what my dad and I would call a “basic brown dog.” Sophia is a sweet girl, but very shy and quiet. We’ve had many people look at her, but finding the right match proved very difficult. She was not recommended for homes with kids because they frighten her. I feel the same way. One of Sophia’s nicer traits is that she loves her treats. She has a neat little trick up her sleeve if you have any snacks. She sits back on her haunches, with her paws up, like a tiny kangaroo! Because Sophia acted very much like a feral dog, we had no idea how she would do in a home. But, we knew this sweetie had more to offer, so the volunteers at ARF began to work with her, taking her for walks, introducing her to new things, etc. She is doing very well at SoHumane, and settling into her new digs quite nicely. Hopefully, she’ll be in her forever home soon. Hmm, anyone looking for a mini marsupial?

And now, a few words from our sponsor, Mr. Soap Box. Don’t worry, I’m not in the lecturing mood today. Just wanted to address those of you who may have adopted a dog during the Shelter In Place phase of the pandemic. First of all, good for you, we at ARF thank you. Secondly, if you recently returned to work, and now discovered that you have no time for Scooter, kindly return him to the original shelter. Pretty much all shelters will accept their dogs back. Please don’t give Scooter to your cousin’s fifteen-year-old daughter, who’s only aspirations in life are becoming a Tik Tok celebrity and to meet Billie Eilish in person. Goals. Because you know just the idea of picking up dog poop would be enough to send her into a total tailspin. OMG. And don’t feel bad, none of us knew when or if we’d ever return to our jobs. You gave that lucky dog a few months of what it feels like to be in a real home, and that says a lot. Now pack a lunch, grab your Starbuck’s, and get back to work. Our economy is counting on you!

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.