Being a homeless or injured pet is no fun on any day, but thanks to dedicated staff and volunteers at Animal Friends Rescue Project, Monterey and Santa Cruz counties are pretty good places to be rescued.
The Pacific Grove-based rescue group was started 10 years ago by Monica Rua and Kelly and Dave Lehrian, and is now under the leadership of Alexandra McCabe. Since its inception, AFRP has placed more than 11,380 pets in loving homes. Cats, dogs and rabbits that need extra attention are pulled from local animal shelters, treated, cared for in foster homes, and eventually adopted.
McCabe arrived last November from Seattle, where she had finished law school and was working for a domestic violence nonprofit. She calls AFRP her “dream job” as she provides a quick tour of the purple-painted adoption center on Lighthouse Avenue.
“I’ve always done [animal] rescue since I was a girl, and this is a very caring group,” she says.
“There is integrity and complete dedication from the staff.There is such heart and soul, and I just want to keep that moving forward.”
Beyond the fact that 2008 is AFRP’s 10th anniversary, the year started off great, with an extra $40,000 in the bank from a win by Ron Boust and Joey Sindelar in the GoGirlGo.com Charity Shootout at February’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament.
To see the help that the money has already provided to some animals, go to www.animalfriendsrescue.org.
“It was so exciting to be down on the course when that happened!” smiles McCabe. To further celebrate its anniversary, AFRP is having an open house in June, and plans are in the works for a community music festival in Carmel Valley on July 19. The importance of a group like Animal Friends Rescue is the support it provides to overwhelmed shelters. Cats and dogs that have medical or behavioral issues can often be given extra time to rehabilitate in foster care. Animals with major injuries (from accidents or abuse) or intense fear of shelter settings, or very young and very old animals, can become happy pets with personal
attention. These “least adoptables,” as McCabe calls them, come in almost daily from the City of Salinas shelter and Monterey County shelter.
According to its medical report, AFRP spends around $350,000 a year on care such as mending broken bones, Parvovirus treatment, eye surgeries, and dental extractions.
“What I’d really like to emphasize to the community is the importance of spaying and neutering pets,” McCabe says. “We have a lowcost voucher program with several vets to provide spay and neuter services. It’s best for the health of your animal, and the pet population overall.”
In a recent newsletter, McCabe writes that 1,326 healthy or treatable pets were euthanized in Monterey County in 2006. AFRP welcomes calls about pet adoption or volunteer programs.The website also offers pet care and training resources. Animal advocates like McCabe can’t help but have several pets.
She speaks fondly of Sir Winston, her blind Shih Tzu mix, and Tupelo Honey, her almost-deaf Golden Retriever/King Charles Spaniel mix. She also has four cats and is fostering a Dalmatian. In the staff website photos, every person has at least one animal, showing how beneficial pets can be to our lives by providing happiness and companionship.
In addition to AFRP’s adoption center at 620 Lighthouse Ave. in Pacific Grove, adoptable cats and rabbits can be seen at Posh Pets just down the street, and cats are at PetSmart in Sand City and Santa Cruz, and now at PETCO in Monterey. Dogs are usually in foster homes, but can be viewed online, or potential owners can meet them at special adoption days. The adoption center is open Tuesday-Saturday, noon-5pm. 831/333-0722.