Thursday, November 21, 2013

Press release - 11/13/13

Looking forward to 2014...

We have LONG fought hard and diligently to go No-Kill in Ventura County.  We are convinced that until EVERYONE is headed in the same direction - shelters, rescues, county, cities and the general public - No-Kill for Ventura County will continue to be a struggle we may (or may not) achieve in my lifetime.  And at 55, I long ago thought I would have been retired from rescue and we'd have stopped killing healthy, adoptable pets.

For months, TLC has been 'percolating' over an idea - well, many...  Thanks to the generosity of the Simi Valley Town Center, TLC does not pay rent - just everything else (i.e. our average electric bill is $1,200+ monthly, etc.).  We have long ago outgrown our space of 1300 sq. ft. and to realize our dream, we would need triple the amount of space we currently have.

And what is that dream?  It is a rescue center - a facility that operates 7 days a week like TLC currently does, but with enough additional space to do:
  • Community outreach and education
  • Hold weekly workshops and training sessions, designed to teach folks how to retain their pets instead of surrendering them to shelters
  • Have space to do low-cost microchipping and shots clinics
  • Provide space for other rescues (dog, cat, bunny, etc.) to come to and showcase the pets they have saved and are looking to adopt to a good home (the only prerequisite is that the animals come from our county, are up to date on their shots and are spayed/neutered).  Other rescues retain their identities and are not merged into TLC - they operate independently - we just provide the space at no cost to them.
  • Provide the space and mechanism for owners (who are forced to give up their pets) to find a good home - stopping the overflow into our county shelter system
  • Provide space and grow legs to the therapy for senior citizens programs, the 'read to me' programs and other worthwhile endeavors currently limited by not having a centralized location and/or space around our communities
  • Store cat cages and Xpens for other rescues throughout the week in order for their mobile adoptions to be easier to do
  • Have cat traps available 7 days a week for those who wish to volunteer and be a part of the feral cat TNR program (trap, neuter and release)
  • An intake area large enough to stage transports north and to the East where these little dogs are so desperately wanted and can't be found
  • A nursery area that is equipped to house, care for and provide a temporary holding area until a foster family can be found instead of delivering at the shelter and/or dying because of infrastructure and lack of space
  • An overflow area and/or pick-up area providing temporary housing for emergency purposes as it relates to the unwanted overpopulation of pets in our county that stays empty unless needed
Sounds pretty overwhelming, huh?  TLC has a proven track record and a solid base of volunteers, plus the experience and know-how to make this dream a reality.

What is stopping us?  First of all, Simi Valley Town Center is in the middle of remodeling and we at TLC do not know if we will even have a space once the remodeling is done, or if we might have to relocate within the mall.  If we have to relocate, we believe we need to now take that quantum leap and cause this rescue center dream to become a reality.

Naturally, we would like to stay at the Simi Valley Town Center - many people now refer to us as 'the rescue shop at the mall' and it is the first place they come to when looking to add a pet to their lifestyle and home.  A few months ago we were allowed to use a vacant store for a fundraiser and as we walked the area, were were able to visually see just how much space the Rescue Center would need to function well... just about 5,000 sq ft, in fact.

We took the floor plan of that particular store and drew out the Rescue Center with minimal build-out and costs to fulfill every point of our dream:

Should the Simi Valley Town Center find it worthwhile to donate that size of space to us, the additional electric per month and relocation expenses would be approximately $20K for the first year.  We submitted the following idea to Simi Valley Town Center, but as of yet, nothing has been decided.

In the meantime, we continue to move forward, applying for grants and looking at commercial space in Simi Valley that might fit our needs with as little relocation and build-out cost as possible.  For us, it is all about the animals and the less we have to spend to make the Rescue Center a reality, the more we have to save animals from dying in Ventura County.

It is our hope with the efforts to form a rescue coalition within Ventura County, working closely with the Ventura County Animal Services, combined with the mandatory spay/neuter in the unincorporated areas of the county, we as a county will achieve No-Kill by the end of 2014.  We know we can do this, and now we need the community and general public to step into the No-Kill boat and start rowing as hard as we are at TLC.

We are open to ideas, thoughts and suggestions - feel free to email me directly with them at  I would love to be as proud of our humane community's efforts as we Simi Valley folks are proud of our town, the Regan Museum and all the things that make our community so great!

~~~ Sincerely,
Linda Nelson, Director, TLC

Anything is possible if only you believe!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fox 11 - Paladin!

Our cute Paladin appeared today on Fox 11's Pet Place... too cute!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

UT OH... 'Owner Surrendered'....

Ah, those ill-fated words... "Owner surrendered"... Immediately the majority of the general public believe a dog must have been surrendered to a shelter because somehow it is defective... 

As humans, our parents taught us to always try and think the best of other folks... In rescue (and especially after many years doing rescue), most rescue folks have seen the absolute worst of the human species and generally have a hard time doing this, regardless of the teachings our parents gave us... Such is the case with the dogs that are surrendered by their owners... 

There is a stigma attached to the term 'owner surrender' that somehow infers a dog is 'damaged goods'... If that is the end of your thinking, then please allow me to share some of my experience from 30+ years...

Folks adopt or buy dogs and puppies with their eyes and not their heads... Oh, that puppy looked so cute when you first saw them... Your boyfriend and you were SO in love and while not ready to conceive a baby, you felt getting a puppy together would cement your relationship...

Now you have broken up with your boyfriend and every time you look at this now grown adult dog, you are reminded of what a putz your ex-boyfriend was... Into the trash went his photos (if not burned first), the romantic gifts he gave you, mementos of your 'firsts' created together... And the dog?... Cute as a puppy, this dog now reminds you of failure and a broken heart - off to the shelter he goes if you can't give the dog away... FAIR? No, of course not, but this is how that dog ended up in a shelter...

Our parents have somehow learned to adapt and compromise their lifestyle around their cherished pet... Dad or mom get old and pass away... While Dad would put down a pitty pad at night because dear old Spot couldn't hold his bladder through the night, you have a brand new house and aren't going to make accommodations for Spot and your carpets... Besides that, you are mourning Dad and you can't emotionally cope with a new dog in your life... Off to the shelter this dog goes...  FAIR? No, of course not, but this is how that dog ended up in a shelter...

Your friend has a dog they can no longer keep and as a friend, you agree to take the dog... Oh my goodness!  This is a great dog and she never potties in the house, doesn't bark and wouldn't it be nice to have a companion in your life?... And you will be doing a favor to your friend (relative, associate, etc.)... Used to coming and going as you like, now you have to go home after work and let the dog out or they will mess all over your house, be destructive because they are left alone too long or get into some kind of mischief... Is it their fault?... No, but now you realize you don't have the kind of commitment needed to have a dog as a pet - you'd have done better getting a guinea pig or fish... Now what?.. Everything the dog does (or doesn't do) is magnified into larger proportions until you come to the realization, "I don't have enough time for a dog"... Or?  "No wonder Becky gave you up - you are a bad dog!"  FAIR? No, of course not, but this is how that dog ended up in a shelter...

What about the owners that don't believe in spaying or neutering their pets?... Or can't afford it?... Or don't have the time to get the dog into the vets to have it done?... Or simply think they'll let the dog have one litter so the kids can experience 'the wonder of life' and then you realize what a HUGE job having a mom with 7 puppies is going to be!  You wrongly think that everyone loves puppies and they'll get adopted... Oh, how wrong you are... In California, if a puppy cannot be spayed or neutered, they cannot be adopted by a shelter or rescue and because we are always so full, most shelters cannot provide 8 weeks of care and space required for those puppies to grow and mature... FAIR? No, of course not, but this is how that dog ended up in a shelter...

People lose their jobs and/or their homes in today's economy...  Many times through circumstances not of their own making... Something has gotta go and usually the pets are the first thing.... FAIR? No, of course not, but this is how that dog ended up in a shelter...

And finally?  As much good as we have in the human species, we have as much bad... Some owners are simply neglectful of their pets and others are just plain out abusive... Officials step in and decide what is best for the animals and remove pets from these types of circumstances... FAIR? No, of course not, but this is how that dog ended up in a shelter...

Do any of these reasons mean that this is a 'bad' dog?... No, but the dog might need rehabilitation, medical care or socialization and training to become the 'Lassie of your dreams'... And if you decide against a dog to adopt because it is an owner surrender, you might want to rethink your position...  It is HIGHLY possible that you might find the true love of your life in a local rescue or shelter... Rescued dogs have an 'attitude for gratitude' not found in other dogs who have had an easy going of it in life...

So next time you hear the term 'owner surrender', please remember what you have read here today and give that dog a second chance at a decent life!