Animal Rescue of Fresno: Rescues of 2021

by Wendy Hunter

May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions.—Arnold H. Glasow 

For those of you too busy watching the Hallmark Channel, or still in a Thanksgiving food coma, this tired year is almost over. I don’t know how 2021 treated you, but I feel like it booted me in the bum, threw me down twelve flights of stairs, and then laughed in my face. Let’s face it, this year sucked. It seemed like something earth shattering happened to my family every five minutes. It’s a good thing we’re down to the wire because I don’t know how much more I could take before my brain explodes. This was supposed to be MY year, I was turning sixty, and great things were going to happen. It was time to turn over a new leaf, reach for the stars, and carpe diem! However, the leaves turned brown, the stars fizzled out, and instead of seizing the day, I dreaded most days. I went from Wonderful Wendy to Debbie Downer in a split second. I seemed to have a little black cloud raining over my head. We Hunters battled diabetes, dementia, cancer, cataracts, and one lousy car accident. We tented for termites, replaced a refrigerator, and paid to silence pesky pipes that rumbled in the walls. Oh, and we bought a new garbage disposal because it sounded like the Tasmanian devil had taken up residence in our old one...AARRGH!

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This year, the world continued to battle this crappy virus that doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Seriously, GO AWAY already. We’re tired of rubbing our hands raw with sanitizer and wearing stifling face masks. I’m even beginning to forget what my co-workers look like, which in some cases isn’t a particularly bad thing. We’ve had weird news and wacky stories. History was made when protestors stormed the Capitol, Tiger Woods crashed his car, Captain Kirk finally went into space, and Dolly Parton donated a million smackers to help end the COVID crisis. Her mega-hit, “I Will Always Love You,” speaks volumes. Unfortunately, we lost many celebrities, including Hank Aaron, Cicely Tyson, Larry King, and Christopher Plummer; The Sound of Music wouldn’t be the same without him. We also said goodbye to Cloris Leachman and Ed Asner, stars of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Our next door neighbors were friends of the Asners, and they had a cabin at Shaver Lake. My family was lucky enough to spend a few days with them one summer, and we still reminisce about it. You’ll also remember Asner from Pixar’s movie, Up, as the balloon salesman who defiantly sails away in his house. And let’s not forget Dug the Golden Retriever…SQUIRREL!  SQUIRREL! 

Shepherd pup
After surviving the whole Free Britney explosion, the end of the Kardashian family saga, and the much anticipated reunion of Bennifer, we managed to soldier on as those of us in the real world do. Animal Rescue of Fresno had a lot of things to celebrate this year, despite all the craziness. We began 2021 the same way it ended, with an overflowing puppy yard. We had a puppy palooza almost every month, starting in January, with four fluffy shepherd pups. As you can probably imagine, they were adopted in a heartbeat after over 300 inquiries from the public. 

Shortly thereafter, we adopted out four more snuggly pups, and their mama Roxanne found a home later on. In February, we were blessed with the Fresno Regional Workforce Development Boards and their Construction Trades Pre-Apprentice groups. They provided some much needed tree trimming and fence mending. Go team! When March blew in, ARF was able to hold a yard sale and online fundraiser for our cute little Cookie, who desperately needed heart surgery. Our wonderful supporters answered our plea for help, and Cookie is now living the good life.  

Just recently, a very shy ARF resident was adopted and now has a forever home for the holidays. Gracie arrived with a litter of puppies, and they were quickly adopted. And even though Gracie was shown many times to potential adopters, she just didn’t warm up to them. But after patiently waiting, a small miracle happened. Just after Thanksgiving, she was adopted by a family with a sweet young girl, who picked out Gracie herself from our Facebook page. Now that’s a reason to give thanks! At the Home and Garden Show this year, we were lucky to have so many of our dogs adopted. This event is always draining on the ARF volunteers, and takes its toll on sore backs and feet. But it’s all worth it when one of our fur babies goes home. Now where’s that Advil? When one of the dogs I’ve written about gets adopted, I am just ecstatic, especially for a senior. Zach is definitely one of those special dogs. ARF took him in after a domestic issue landed him at a local kill-shelter. He found his family and now has a little boy as his new best friend. Go Zach! Another dog I wrote about was our fearless Frenchie, who went from rags to riches, after starting life out abandoned in a dumpster. Frenchie had five surgeries for a prolapsed rectum, and after a full recovery, he was adopted by a wonderful couple. We shall miss his squishy face, but we wish him the best. And to those of you who pitched in and donated for Frenchie’s surgeries, we say Merci!  

This was the first year since COVID snuck into our lives that ARF was able to hold many events, including Celebrate a Senior. These are the most overlooked dogs in shelters, and are rarely adopted. Most of these fantastic dogs still have many years ahead of them, and are very active. Of course, there are those who just want to take up space on your sofa, but, hey, that works too. In addition, many seniors are already housebroken, and have better manners than younger dogs. Now that’s a bonus for you. One senior who went home this year was Cassie, an adorable terrier who arrived with several mammary tumors. After raising $1900 for her surgery, ARF found her a loving home. Shimmer and Molly are older dogs that found homes, too, and now they’ll be waiting up all night for Santa. Hey, is that a package of Pupperonis in my stocking? 

In the fall, we held our second annual Make a Dog’s Day event sponsored by Lithia Subaru of Fresno. These good folks are true dog lovers, and for each pet adopted, Subaru donates $100 to ARF. That will certainly buy a few Milk Bones. Just in time for the witching season, Fresno Mopars threw a Trunk or Treat Pawty, and it was a great success. ARF adored all the costumed critters, and scored $900 in donations. Now that’s a treat! One of our biggest events took place twice this year, with the ever popular yard sales. If you can’t find something you need in this ARF grab bag, then they don’t make it. These sales are a huge amount of work, and physically exhausting, but they are always worth it. Thanks to everyone who came by to purchase a book or a beer stein. 

Speaking of which, our new friends at Machine Head Brewery sponsored two events for us, and people raved about the evenings. The New Year will be a new start for a couple more senior dogs that formerly lived in the ARF office. Bo is a white poodle who recovered from a case of vertigo, and Caisson is a blind black poodle. We couldn’t contain our excitement when both were adopted into great families. Good boys!  

Another good boy who got adopted is Amazon, who had surgery for a broken leg. On the streets for weeks, he was found in the Amazon parking lot after being hit by a car. Overwhelming financial assistance from the public made his operation possible, and he made a complete recovery. He now has a home and his very own Prime account. Once again, the Saving Train hit the road to SoHumane in Oregon, for hundreds of dogs with winning golden tickets. To those volunteers who help with the trip, and put in the long hours, I salute you. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention all the love we received in 2021, even from total strangers. Like the great kids at 5HelpFresno who raised funds for a month and donated it to ARF, the three siblings who earned $192 with their lemonade stand and bought goodies for the dogs, and the brave women who rescued a terrified dog from a canal…then came back to adopt him. A personal thanks from myself to all the volunteers who’ve picked up the slack while I’ve been out with my bum eyeballs. I shall see you very soon. 

Oh, and don’t forget to come see Santa on December 4 for the ARF Annual Open House! Are you on the naughty or nice list? 

 Animal Rescue of Fresno
4545 E Dakota Ave.
Fresno, CA 93726

 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.