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'Tis the Season

Every year at about this time we are bombarded by charitable organizations seeking financial support. There are literally scores of humane societies, rescue groups, and wildlife care organizations clamoring for help. What is a charitable contributor to do?

I like to support groups that are LOCAL and DO SOMETHING OF GENUINE BENEFIT. There are many deserving organizations other than those I will name, but these are my favorites.

PALS (Pets Are Loving Support) is a Guerneville-based non-profit dedicated to caring for animals belonging to HIV-AIDS sufferers. This group is managed entirely by volunteers and works in partnership with local humane organizations to provide health care, spay / neuter, and other needed services to the animals whose presence means so much to the chronically ill. We all understand how our lives are made richer by our pets. PALS makes pet ownership possible for HIV victims who are often poor or disabled and are, in fact, our neighbors. It’s been said that to make the world a better place, one should start in one’s own back yard. PALS does exactly that. They deserve our support.

Forgotten Felines of Sonoma County is a special kind of spay / neuter organization. This organization subsidized the neutering of nearly 2,400 cats last year. What’s special about Forgotten Felines is their mission to spay or neuter feral and barnyard cats, animals that belong to no one and whose uncontrolled reproduction results in the birth of literally thousands of surplus kittens each and every year. Un-noticed and un-cared for, these kittens suffer brief, brutal lives until they are removed from the population by natural selection. It’s not a pretty process. A world that contains less suffering is a better world. Forgotten Felines makes the world a better place. They deserve our support.

Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue is a favorite of mine. This is my go-to organization when I take in just about any sick or injured wildlife patient. Each wildlife species needs very precise forms of housing, nutrition, and veterinary care. Often, my facility can do little more than temporarily shelter and immediately transfer a wildlife patient to the appropriate specialist. Who we gonna call when we have an injured, ticked off bobcat in the hospital? Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue, that’s who. They either have volunteers with the needed expertise for a particular species or will handle the transfer to a specialty group that does. For wild animals in our area, Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue is a genuine lifesaver. “I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink…” They deserve our support.

Native Songbird Care and Conservation is another very local wildlife care group specializing in rehabilitation of songbirds. This organization was part of Wildlife Rescue until 2011, when they separated to concentrate exclusively on the unique needs of songbirds such as mockingbirds, robins, blackbirds and chickadees, and insectivores such as swallows, swifts and flycatchers. This group takes in hundreds of baby birds every spring and raises them until they are old enough to care for themselves. “I was naked, and you gave me clothing…” They deserve our support.

The Bird Rescue Center of Santa Rosa is another local gem. When our hospital takes in an injured sea bird, we contact this organization for help. Bird Rescue Center handles many sensitive and needful species including pelicans, grebes, gulls, geese, cormorants, egrets, and other coastal birds, as well as hawks, owls, osprey, crows and ravens. BRC volunteers take injured sea birds to be cared for locally or will sometimes transport them to the International Bird Rescue facility near Cordelia. “I was sick, and you cared for me…” They deserve our support.

Locate any of these organizations by typing the name into Google and pressing “return.” Your donation need not be immense to make a difference. Every little bit helps and every dollar you give makes a difference for an animal in need. Contributions can often be made through PayPal or Amazon, so you don’t even need to pick up a pen. Not everyone can volunteer their time towards this important charitable work, but we can send a few (tax deductible) bucks to help - and we should. They deserve our support.

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