It was 20 years ago, July 1999, that co-founders Doug and Betty Rodrigues gathered a small group of concerned citizens looking to do something about the large number of adoptable pets never leaving the county animal shelter. The euthanasia rate was high at that time.
It was their goal to make Plumas County no-kill by 2002. Early success led to construction of a state-of-the-art HSAR facility.
Creating an environment for a unique wellness program, the shelter design still provides a low-stress setting helping increase animal adoptability. Since its founding in 1999, High Sierra Animal Rescue has re-homed over 4,500 otherwise unwanted or stray pets.
HSAR has gone beyond re-homing adoptable pets. Three years ago, the RedRover Reading Program was accepted by the Plumas County office of Education to be presented to all third-grade classes led by HSAR volunteers who have been vetted and accredited through RedRover.
According to RedRover, bullying, neglect, cruelty and violence in schools and communities dramatically impact children’s wellbeing, and research shows the most promising antidote to these issues, empathy, is on the decline. RedRover Readers train teachers and vetted volunteers how to use stories and questions in classrooms to develop critical skills for empathy, emotional competence, positive relationships and well-being.
Students discover together how animal and human characters might be feeling in books and how they feel when hearing and reading the stories; a first step toward responsible pet ownership.
Managing the pet population is also one of the key values at HSAR. November 2013 was the beginning of a two-year community spay and neuter program targeting 450 dogs and 500 cats in Plumas County, funded in large part by PetSmart Charities. The goal was reached, in fact, exceeded reaching 483 dogs and 500 cats. The result has had an impact on helping to keep Plumas County no-kill.
Holding regional influence, HSAR reaches out well beyond Plumas County. Rescue efforts have gone as far as Battle Mountain and Elko, Nevada, when the need arises. =HSAR also works closely with Lassen County taking dogs from Susanville at the Lassen County Animal Shelter. With the ability to house 25 to 30 dogs at a time, HSAR re-homes approximately 200 dogs per year.
All of this, of course, comes at a cost. HSAR is a 501c3 nonprofit organization raising all its funds strictly through donations, fundraisers, boarding income and adoption fees. Monthly giving holds the highest priority, allowing donors to effortlessly schedule a small portion of their resources without having to give it any more thought. It also helps HSAR to better budget knowing what and when income will be coming their way.
Fundraisers require months of advance planning to ensure those attending have an enjoyable experience all the while bringing in enough revenue to further the cause.
The next major fundraiser on the HSAR calendar is Duffers for Dogs, a charity golf tournament to be held Sunday, Sept. 29, at Whitehawk Ranch Golf Club. This will be the 15th anniversary of the tournament at Whitehawk, and features a four-person team scramble, many prizes and BBQ dinner immediately following golf. Information regarding the tournament can be found at www.highsierraanimalrescue.org.
Duffers for Dogs
15th annual charity golf event
Where: Whitehawk Ranch
When: Sunday, Sept. 29
For info/to register: 832-4727
HSAR Mission Statement
“To rescue homeless, adoptable pets and provide them with the care they need until they can be placed into permanent loving homes; in addition advance pet welfare by raising public awareness of responsible pet ownership.”