I wouldn’t normally write about a “special day” unless it was closer to the occurrence; however, extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. In 2009, a group introduced “Change a Pet’s Life Day” that wanted to recognize the work that shelter staff and volunteers do and encourage adoption and raise awareness of the many problems defenseless animals face.

Every year hundreds of pets end up in our own shelter, but we have the power to affect those numbers and we don’t have to wait until January 24 to change the life of a homeless pet. In fact, right now is one of the best opportunities to get involved at Tehama County Animal Care Center (TCACC), located at 1830 Walnut Street, Red Bluff (530-527-3439). I’m begging you to do it. Lives depend on your actions.

If you really want to “Change a Pet’s Life”, adopt a homeless animal. Each animal is extraordinary in its own unique way. All of them have taught me a thing or two about the resilience of the spirit and how precious each life is. The rewards of adopting, both tangible and intangible, are numerous in ways you might never expect.

One is that when you adopt an animal from the shelter, you are changing two lives for the better. You are giving love to an animal that may never have experienced it before. You are also providing a safe shelter for an animal that will occupy the vacated space in the shelter. You end up giving very precious gifts to both animals. At present, without counting the dogs in foster care or exploitation, there are 58 dogs for adoption. Twenty-six adoption costs $45 or less, including spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, heartworm prevention, a microchip, and heartworm testing for dogs over 6 months. It really is a perfect opportunity to adopt.

Adoption may not be a long-term commitment you want or need. Fortunately, foster care is a viable option, even if it’s just for the weekend. Unfortunately, the shelter had 30 dogs come into the shelter in six short days, and they need to empty the kennels because the rush of animals coming in is constant.

Animals that are typically bred may be elderly people, young adults, orphaned babies, or mothers who are pregnant or nursing their newborns. Additionally, there are animals that may require medical treatment or simply need a place to recover from recent surgery. Some animals do not do well in a shelter environment and need a place that is much less scary. Whatever the reason, and whether you adopt it once or decide to adopt it frequently, I can’t put it enough, “an animal will be helped through the most difficult period of its life because of your efforts.”

Nursing helps prepare these animals for permanent homes and, again, helps the shelter have more space and resources to care for other animals in desperate need. If you are considering doing so, please feel free to contact Christine McClintock, Manager at 530-527-3439 as soon as possible.

If you can’t open your home to a pet, consider volunteering as a carrier. A transportation volunteer is simply someone willing to take a dog or cat from the shelter to another location. I would agree to be on an on-call list, but you can accept or decline, depending on your availability. In order to be transported to the shelter, you must complete the Volunteer application (https://www.co.tehama.ca.us/government/departments/animal-services/volunteer/), be 18 years of age or older, have a valid driver’s license valid driving license and insurable driving record and, above all, be willing to transport shelter animals in your personal vehicle.

Animals must be locked inside the vehicles because transport in open beds of pick-up vehicles is not allowed. Transports are typically from TCACC to collaborative rescue organizations and UC Davis for surgical procedures. For more information, please call Christine McClintock, Manager at 530-527-3439 as soon as possible.

If you want to “Change a Pet’s Life” but don’t want to adopt, care for or volunteer, a donation can be just as effective. Oftentimes, shelter residents require medical care that the county budget does NOT cover. For example, last year (January through December) the shelter spent $17,751 on medical care. This figure does not include any drugs purchased directly. At approximately $1,500 per month to meet medical needs, any donation would be greatly appreciated. If you contribute, be sure to check that the funds will be used for the TCACC Medical Fund. If you prefer not to make a monetary donation, contributing an item also helps. If you’re interested, the shelter has an Amazon wish list (https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/1HRT5UOLBNMCO/ref=hz_ls_biz_ex). Thanks in advance.

While you may be aware of the challenges facing our shelter, many others are not. A great way to spread more knowledge is to post it on social media. Let people know what they can do to help. It will only take a few minutes of your time, but it can make a world of difference in the life of a homeless animal. Every little bit done helps them immensely.

Please don’t wait to improve the life of a shelter animal. Start “Changing a Pet’s Life” now!