Animal Rescue of Fresno: Nightcap Recap

By Wendy Hunter

I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. — Charles Dickens

After glancing at the calendar recently, I began to wonder and ponder and generally mull over the answer to the proverbial $50,000 question. How the devil is it December already? What the heck happened to this crazy year? Not too long ago I was running around in shorts and sandals, and this afternoon I’m in cozy sweats with the fire going. Stop the darn Circle of Life already because my wardrobe is not even close to being ready. I dunno, this year wasn’t that great anyway. The world is still battling COVID, mass shootings continue ad nauseam, and the energy deprived people of the Ukraine could really use an early visit from Santa. You may not appreciate any coal in your stocking, but they certainly would. It was another weird year for my family, as we gals continued our war with Father Time. My sister Kelly tweaked out her back and had carpal tunnel surgery. My sister Jill has returned to work for the holidays, which has already taken its toll on her feet. As for me, I’ve taken a Leave of Absence to hang with my mom until February. Mom’s Alzheimer’s has worsened since last year, and the doctor doesn’t want her home alone all day. It’s only been two weeks, but I can tell it’s going to be a wild ride. Oh, and funny, and strange, and just like learning a new language, a bit frustrating at times. Mom still knows who I am, but occasionally I’m either Kelly or Jill.

➡ switch to for more articles ⬅

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. — Norman Vincent Peale

After last week, I’ve decided that mom and ARF are very similar creatures. They’re both getting old, they’re both a little rough around the edges, and they both require some serious maintenance. The day before Thanksgiving, mom was trying to wrangle the bird feeder in the backyard, and she ended up on her tush. I didn’t think it was very serious, until I noticed the blood pooling on the kitchen floor. She had fallen on a brick paver, and sliced the bejeezus out of her leg. After a 9-1-1 call and a trip to the ER, she is now on the road to recovery. But wow, this thing is ugly. And lucky me, I get to clean and dress it every day! Yippee! Good thing I have a strong stomach. More gauze please. 

On the other hand, 2022 was a very good year for Animal Rescue of Fresno. Due to some amazing people who donated to our cause, we were able to reach some previously unattainable goals. The ARF property is now mortgage free, a new vehicle for the Heaven Can Wait project has been purchased, fencing was upgraded, and the expansion of our solar system is complete. In addition, we’ve enhanced our housing to include brand new stainless steel kennels, which were very much needed. The dogs can now enjoy even more peaceful slumbering under fleece blankets during these very chilly evenings. Brrr!

Keep your Christmas-heart open all the year round. — J. L. W. Brooks

We thank the wonderful people at Lithia Subaru, who once again matched every adoption in October with $100, up to $3100. This company always blows us away with their Subaru Loves Pets campaign, not only with monetary contributions, but donations of new pet adopters packages. So many lucky dogs found furever homes, including Annabeth, our beloved Boxer who I wrote about earlier. A couple of our volunteers decided they could not live without Riley, a beautiful Husky mix with the most stunning eyes you’ve ever seen. They are repeat offenders, having adopted ARF dogs in the past. 

Other fantastic events were a couple of yard sales, where you could find just about anything you could want or need. Stacks of books, CDs, stuffed toys, glassware, and all manner of clothing were out for the taking. We appreciate all the folks who showed up early in the morning to browse like the bargain shoppers they are, scooping up dog beds, knick knacks, and the ever popular thrift store wine glasses. Because, you can never have too many. Speaking of which, the valley metalheads and fist pumpers  showed up for ARF’s annual Paws for Metal event, decked out in all manner of leather and chains. The loudest celebration in town is always a great success, and the perfect place for people watching. Rock on, Garth!

One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in a living room where eight or ten people have just opened their Christmas presents. It should not be cleaned up too quickly. — Andy Rooney 

For the New Year, ARF is working on an indoor/outdoor housing unit for our big dogs. They are the crisis in shelters these days, with so many unwanted large breeds. We reluctantly turn people away just because we haven’t got the space. Hopefully, the big man up at the North Pole will hear our pleas and put us on the Nice List. Yes, all of our volunteers are nice. As a volunteer who hasn’t been able to help out recently, I always feel guilty about leaving the night crew without enough coverage. We are continually recruiting new blood to keep our crews up to speed and not leaving them hanging. If you have any extra time in 2023, please consider volunteering. If you have any desire to get your hands dirty (literally), be a part of something important, and make some lifelong friends, then come on out and join us. I guarantee you’ll have a lot of fun, get to meet some amazing people, and make a difference. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a long-term resident at ARF find their family and watch them drive off into the distance. Trust me, there’s never a dry eye in the house. Tissue please!

'T is Christmas morn! Awake! Awake! The slumber from thine eyelids shake!... No such delight through all the year. As comes with Santa's Christmas cheer. ~James Henry Potts

ARF has many new projects coming up, including lots of things geared specifically for volunteers. For those of you who might like to volunteer, ARF is starting up a few new areas that may interest you. 

Handy Helpers: They will provide regular maintenance for structures and surrounding areas, keeping visitors, dogs, and volunteers secure.

Cuddlebugs: For the many people who have requested this, volunteers will come and sit with the dogs, spending quality time with those animals who are having a rough adjustment period to life at ARF. Perhaps some light reading will help…Lassie, anyone?

Bathing and Grooming: This team will be responsible for bathing and brushing dogs, along with some toenail trimming (experience required).

We pretty much have something for everyone from kennel care and landscaping, from taking photos and office cleaning to clerical help and fundraising events. We hope that 2023 can be just as successful for Animal Rescue of Fresno, and we encourage you to join our little tribe.

Oh, the Christmas tree's my favorite, Of all the trees that grow.— Laura F. Armitage

I wish I had room to post every single picture of all the dogs adopted this year, but there just isn’t enough space. I wanted to include at least a few of the Subaru dogs because we adopt out so many during this event. They are all very lucky dogs who found their own place in this world. People always ask how I can volunteer at ARF, “Oh my gosh, I could never do it, I’d want to take all of them home!” It’s true, I will not lie, you do want to take them all home. But I know that all of our residents are safe, and they aren’t going anywhere until they find a home. Some of them will stay here until they cross the Rainbow Bridge, but that’s okay; ARF is home to them. They are well loved, well fed, and treated like the kings and queens they are. And yes, volunteers often adopt the dogs from ARF. Or, as in my case, we end up being foster failures. This sounds bad, but it just means we fell in love and decided to make them a part of the family. 

The photo of Francis above shows her with her new mommy, a morning crew member. 

And little Colby, a senior who used to live in the ARF office, went home to a volunteer’s grandmother. How smart does he look in that Halloween costume? 

Thanks for a great 2022, and I wish you health and happiness in the New Year. And remember to keep this in your heart and share it with people you love and total strangers alike: Rescue. Love. Adopt. Repeat.

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmastime. — Laura Ingalls Wilder

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 since 2014. She grew up in Fresno and has been an Office Assistant with Fresno County for 7 years. She has been writing all of her life, though never professionally, and currently writes personalized poetry for birthdays, weddings, pet remembrances, etc.