Email Vesta
Blog Home Page

Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sonoma County Animal Rescue

The following is a series of articles written by people who have committed their hearts to helping animals. You may want to become involved in any number of ways - from committing time, money and/or resources. Checking into this collection are volunteers from:

There is also a complete list of Sonoma County Animal Rescue organization at the category RESOURCES.

Thanks for being a reader who loves animals.

By Katherine Vasey
Every morning, rain or shine, after feeding my 5 spoiled “house cats”, I mix up a huge bowl of cat crunchies with some wet food, fill a jug with fresh water, and head down the hill to feed my colony of feral cats at the river. Every morning Queenie, a sleek grey and white male cat, trots up to greet me. We walk together to the berry thicket where I put down enough food to feed 6 cats 2 meals a day. By this time we have usually been joined by Freddie, a big grey male cat with amber eyes who loves his tummy scratched, and four other not-so-trusting, but hungry, kitties. All but one have been trapped and either spayed or neutered, given shots, de-wormed and treated for ear mites through Forgotten Felines. The one I am still after has become a regular at the feeding station lately, so hopefully I can single him/her out and complete my mission soon.

The last cat I successfully trapped was a female brown and black tabby, very “feral”, very cautious, but finally, after just a few sporadic sightings over a years’ time, I lucked out and trapped her. When I picked her up after being spayed the vet noted, “lactating female – release tonight.” The usual protocol is to allow the cat a recovery period in the trap overnight and release in the morning, but

Tabby needed to get back to her kittens right away. Kittens! This came as a surprise to me, but no surprise to the volunteers at Forgotten Felines, who have been a wealth of reliable support and information over this past year. We are so fortunate to have this dedicated organization in Sonoma County. They have developed a number of very effective and humane programs to assist our very large feral cat population. The chief goals of Forgotten Felines are to spay/neuter feral cats, provide them with a reliable food source after release, and facilitate adoptions for cats and kittens that can be removed from the colony and tamed.

Tabby has been a good mother and has kept her kittens carefully hidden from the dangers at the river. A few days ago I got my first glimpse of her 3 adorable identical tabby kittens. I hope to trap them soon and foster them for adoption. I am putting the word out to every crazy cat lady I know in hopes of finding them a permanent home. The Forgotten Felines adoption program is so full right now they cannot take in more cats for adoption as of this writing, so my hopes are to connect with one of the many other organizations in the county or individuals that may be able to help find a home for them. Can you help? Please contact me at or 887-1424.

I also encourage anyone with an interest in learning more about Forgotten Felines to visit their very informative web site,, and sign up to receive their biweekly newsletter. You can also support them by shopping at their wonderful thrift store just off Piner Road in Santa Rosa.

On volunteering at
The Humane Society

By Rebecca Wallace MA, CHT
As my life has gradually transitioned from raising a family and full-time careers, to living in the “empty nest” and working part time, I began noticing that I had time on my hands. In fact, I began to feel great discomfort with knowing I did not have much to do!

My life had always been busy, productive and filled with work that made me feel good about myself for contributing! So what to do now that I’m a senior, but with good health, energy and decades ahead to look forward to?

I’ve always loved animals and raised my children in the mountains where we enjoyed quite a menagerie - there were always 4 or 5 horses, a few dogs, several cats, ducks, birds, and the occasional wild animal needing to be nursed back to health. It was a joy to know each and every one and to care for them. They in turn gave back so much.

We’ve all heard DOG is just GOD spelled backward, and I found this to be the case with all the animals in my life. They are right there in the present moment, experiencing life as it comes, loving and accepting us, offering us so appreciation and making us laugh

Now, years later I find myself living in a residential Santa Rosa neighborhood with a lifestyle no longer conducive to having multiple animals.

I’m fortunate to be able to say that I found the answer. This year I became a volunteer at our local Sonoma Humane Society on Hwy 12. I began working in the adoption program, assisting the adoption counselors with multiple tasks, and assisting visitors who come into the shelter. Being surrounded by other animal lovers - the employees, volunteers and visitors - makes for a very enjoyable environment. After a few months, I was hungry for even more and I began working with Henry, our dog trainer, to learn basic dog training techniques. Now I continue to volunteer in the adoption program, while coming in another day each week to work with the dogs.

I have found my volunteer work to be more fun and fulfilling than I ever expected. As much as I felt that I had purpose in my many wonderful and fulfilling careers there was always an important aspect, the reality of needing to earn money from this work. But there is something very pure about doing this work completely from the heart, there simply because we want to be.

I’ve found that I am being drawn to spending more and more time there and rarely feel like leaving when my shifts are over. The emotional rewards and gratification are powerful. We all have a desire to belong, to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. This is a wonderful way to have that experience.

Our modern, domesticated dogs have evolved to having a great need for their own “special person.” Having been surrendered or abandoned, the shelter dogs have lost that connection. Though we are providing the best possible care for our animals in the shelter, they are receiving it from multiple different persons each day. They have little opportunity to build trust and bond with any single person.

When we take the dogs out walking or to play in the yard, the most important aspect of it for me is to really focus on the dog with complete, unhurried attention. Everything else fades into the background, and I concentrate fully on this dog’s personality and energy. In turn, I feel the appreciation flowing back from him.

Many folks do not have the time to volunteer as I find myself doing these days, but many of the volunteers come in for just 2 or 3 hours once a week, sometimes to do something as relaxing and low-key as being a “cat cuddler.”

It’s a great place to give back, and we can always use your help!

Humane Society of Sonoma County
5345 Hwy 12, Santa Rosa
cat/dog rescue/adoption
low cost clinic

Labels: , ,