For every pet cherished in a secure home, one hundred more roam homeless, hungry and frightened until they succumb to malnutrition, disease, speeding vehicles or worse fates. A lucky few are rescued by caring humans who work at what can be a lonesome, stressful job.
C.A.R.E. was born in 1992 when a few such people came together to help homeless animals and their human rescuers. We began as 5 women who all volunteered at a San Fernando Valley “no-kill” shelter – although there were certain exceptions to that rule, on occasion. So, we decided to form our own little group to especially look out for the less adoptable animals and to offer support and guidance to individuals who might contact the shelter for assistance in their attempts to rescue abandoned cats and dogs.
After much deliberation, we voted on the name Cat Assistance, Referral & Education with the acronym C.A.R.E. In a year or so, things changed at the shelter for us, so we left and began fostering cats and dogs in our homes and finding them homes at local adoption fairs.
All that changed in 1998 when a Valley private shelter went out of control and was shut down by the Dept. of Animal Regulation. There were over 600 cats and 20 some dogs; half of the cats were euthanized by the Dept. right on the spot. One of C.A.R.E.’s Board members located a wealthy lady who wanted to help and promised she’d always have our backs…right! So, we were able to bail out the remaining cats and dogs and located a properly zoned property in the high desert near Palmdale to set up our Sanctuary. It was a little old house on an acre of land next to the California Aqueduct but the zoning was right and so we rented it and with some handy-females (and a handy male or so) we set it up to house the cats in the house and the dogs in outside runs. We took on the name C.A.R.E. aka: Cat/Canine Assistance, Referral & Education.
Remember we said “right!” about that wonderful lady who pledged to never let us down? In about six months, she decided that animals weren’t really her mission and moved on. But somehow we survived. It was a really tough row to hoe – we started out totally backwards – many animals and little funding – where most rescues start out with few animals. But with a lot of blood, sweat, tears and sleepless nights – we kept on keepin’ on. It’s through our wonderful supporters – people like you, reader – who made it possible.
We were and continue to be especially concerned for animals who are not the most adoptable – older, manageable health conditions, FeLV, feral kitties, etc.. Thus, we have many animals who will never be adopted but we also have many who are and so we constantly look for forever loving homes for them via internet adoption sites, adoption programs, etc.. But it doesn’t matter. They are all welcome with us for as long as they need – 7 weeks, months, years, life.
We never euthanize except to end unrelievable pain and suffering and only via our veterinarian with staff or board members standing by to comfortable the little one as they cross the Rainbow Bridge. Our Sanctuary is run by our Board of Directors, who are entirely uncompensated, and a crew of dedicated Sanctuary staff who care for the animals 24/7 – 2 vet techs, 3 maintenance and 1 “dog man”. These people are truly dedicated and love all the Sanctuary “fur folk” like family. We welcome visitors to tour the Sanctuary by appointment. You can take a virtual tour here .
By operating our cage-free, no-kill sanctuary for orphaned cats and dogs, C.A.R.E. demonstrates that humane alternatives exist to address the pet overpopulation problem. Community leaders across the nation are encouraging people to spay/neuter, adopt from the shelters and sponsor feral cat colonies, all of which certainly contribute to a solution. But even when successful, these strategies take time. And for so many innocents, their time is now, before long-term solutions can take hold. For these animals who are "in-between" solutions, responsible sanctuaries, such as C.A.R.E.'s, present the most humane response to the problem of pet overpopulation.
A rescuer's dream is to one day open a cage-free shelter, where abandoned pets can live, well-fed and well-loved until the right adopter comes along. We had done that but we always had that niggling insecurity of being tenants and having our fur folks’ home sold out from under us!! In 2012 a miracle occurred. Thanks to a wonderful lady’s bequest, we were finally able to purchase our Sanctuary property and the adjoining acre!! Our fur folks’ home is now as safe as we can make it! Only more funding, new housing and volunteers can make it safer!
We have now embarked on a capital campaign to build two new large buildings on that adjoining acre complete with air conditioning and heating for both cats and dogs. The current buildings were built in the early 1950s and the dogs currently have no A/C or heating. They have dogloos, loafing sheds for shade, misters in the summer, wading pools, rubber maid sheds but still, it gets over 100 F degrees in the summer and snows in the winter up in the desert. We have a campaign going on at GofundMe.com but donations can be made towards that project in any fashion…..PayPal (see link in the left column), checks, donations in kind, donations of materials, your know-how…..anything!
C.A.R.E. has now been in existence over 20 years and our Sanctuary almost as long. In addition to homes for our little ones, new housing for them, volunteers to play with the animals, help out at the Sanctuary, promote us on the internet, do public outreach and, of course, funding to keep on keepin’ on, we are seriously looking for people who share our vision, who are on the same page, to join C.A.R.E.; to become part of the heart and soul of the organization; new energetic people to help carry it on into the future. Could you be one of those?