The dog who is my avatar lived to a ripe old indeterminate age. The reason I don't know how old she was is because I got her at a pound. If you are considering getting a pet for yourself or your kids please consider adopting an animal who is already here, rather than ordering one from a breeder. These animals at shelters or rescue missions are here through no fault of their own. Careless people who do not get their animals fixed help create a surplus of pets. Often animals are abandoned by owners who do not understand the cruelty of their actions. For example, in my rural community, many stray dogs are actually dumped in our county by city owners, no longer able to care for their pets.

These people may not mean to be unkind. They are just naïve and silly. They mistakenly believe the animal will just wander on to a farm and be adopted or return to the wild and live off the land. Neither scenario is likely. Most dumped animals starve to death, patiently waiting for their owners to return. Frightened, hungry, cold they die miserable deaths, confused about what happened to them. Some are hit by on coming vehicles, many are eaten by coyotes. Dogs raised in domestic surroundings lack the capacity to return to the wild. At best, they start congregating in packs, eating garbage to survive. As for the family farm, a dog out here caught eating livestock is likely to get shot.

Cats are even more vulnerable. They can travel miles in a day as they search for the way home. Unlike Disney animals, few will make it. Raccoons, coyotes and mountain lions all find domestic cats easy prey. Unless your cat regularly goes outside, it can become lost quite easily. If you don't mean to abandon your cat, please put a collar with owner information on your pet. Cats reproduce at an alarming rate. Although it isn't healthy for them, they can have a litter before they are even one year old.

In this economy more and more people are finding they must make horrible choices regarding their pets. If you cannot afford to keep your animal please try to find a new home for it, rather than leaving it to fend for itself. If you must turn the animal in to a shelter, the Alpha Canine Shelter in Bakersfield, CA is a no-kill shelter. Some of the dogs there are too old to be adopted by new families, yet they are cared for lovingly by the staff. Located in the foothills on 20 acres, the center is a 501 c 3 non-profit run on donations.

Some of the available services are:

ALPHA's basic programs are:
- Rescue
- Adoptions
- Care for life

ALPHA's auxiliary programs include:
- ALIVE spay/neuter assistance
- Free ID tags
- Free transportation for citizen's pets to the vet or groomer
- More programs are in development

Numerous opportunities are available for community service by both individuals and groups.

Up coming events include:

Saturday, June 12, 2010, 9:00 to….

Work Like a Dog Day at the sanctuary. Because of all the wonderful rain this year,
the grass grew thick and high. Help us rake and bag the cut dried grass. We will
serve pizza around noon. Wear sturdy shoes and bring gloves. If you have a
Leaf rake, please bring it. RSVP 391-8212.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Second $10 spay/neuter day for Lamont dogs at St. Augustine Church,
10601 Myrtle Street. Thanks to the generosity of a local animal lover, this second
day is possible. Also thanks to the many, many great donations we have received
from other animal lovers, we are able to fund the spay/neuter of dozens more
Lamont dogs at AngelDogs regular scheduled day each Thursday, when the mobile spay/neuter clinic is stationed at the parking lot of Kern County Animal Control
(If funding permits, we may sponsor a third spay/neuter day in Lamont)

Directions to the sanctuary

From Highway 99, go north on Airport Drive. Cross James Road. (Do not
turn on James Road) From James Road, go 4.8 miles north on Granite Road.
Turn right into a driveway with a row of eight mailboxes. In 20 feet, turn left.
Go straight at the fork and follow the road to the sanctuary.

Spaying or neutering your animal is the responsibility of every pet owner. The following information is from the Alpha Canine site: Pet overpopulation is a serious problem in Bakersfield and Kern County . Due to the huge number of homeless "excess" pets, tens of thousands die in animal control shelters every year. As many die on the streets. Dog and cat overpopulation exists because far too many are born each year.

It's a fairly simple problem that has a fairly simple answer: spay/neuter.

Owners who spay or neuter their pets become a part of the solution, rather than remaining a part of the problem. There are other benefits. The dreaded heat cycle is eliminated. Pets are far less likely to roam. Hopeful dog or cat suitors will stop showing up. The pet is protected from some cancers and other illnesses. Dog licensing, required in California , is much cheaper.

Pit Bull type dogs are extremely popular in our community and deserve special mention. Because they are so plentiful, they are also the most commonly impounded breed in animal control shelters. Tragically, some of these sweet-natured, loving dogs have been exploited by dog fighters and abusive owners, and have gained a reputation they don't deserve. Those of us who know Pit Bulls understand they are simply like other dogs and are almost ideal family pets.

Low cost spay/neuter is available in Bakersfield and Kern County . In some circumstances, ALPHA provides vouchers to further reduce the cost of altering dogs of any breed. Low income is preferred. Special vouchers with no income requirements are available for Pit Bull type dogs.

*** "80 Voluntary Pit Bull Spay/Neuter program is made possible in part by a grant from Animal Farm Foundation." These $50 vouchers for Pit Bull spay/neuters can be used at any veterinary hospital or clinic which can provide a spay/neuter certificate to ALPHA. Call 661-391-8212 for information.

***Pit Bulls can be spayed or neutered for $40 at AngelDogs Foundation mobile spay/neuter clinic, thanks to funding provided by Fortress Self Storage.

Call 661-831-0923 or 661-391-8212 for information.