Adopt, don't shop. We hear that plea all the time. Each year, thousands of dogs and cats are abandoned, born into feral street lives, abused or surrendered.
Tragically, so many varying circumstances have created a real international epidemic of homeless animals. But here in our valley, we are fortunate to have many shelters, rescue agencies and advocates looking out for our vulnerable four-legged friends.
Animal Samaritans is one such organization and has been helping wonderful and deserving animals find forever homes since 1978.
The decision to bring a pet into our lives is a serious one but one where the rewards are immeasurable, and the ensuing love shared is priceless. But there is a cost to the process of finding homes for these animals.
Valerie Kattz, Animal Samaritans' donor specialist, says: "Improving the lives of animals and people is what we do. We believe in the power of human-animal connections. Every day we see real-life miracles happen with our pet adoptions. But, of course, this all takes money. Caring for so many animals is expensive, and we are very grateful to our community who continually step up and help in so many ways."
The nonprofit regularly holds adoption events at various locations throughout the valley, including at the Shops at Palm Desert. It's a wonderful way to meet and greet what might become a future member of your family.
August is a very special time at Animal Samaritans. Since the actual birthdays of most adopted pups is unknown, "DOGust 1st" has become the universal birthday for shelter dogs across the country.
"We celebrate the birthdays of all our rescues in the month of August, and everyone loves it," Kattz says. "It's also an important fundraiser for us. We love seeing the pets and their families having fun while we raise crucial funds."
On Aug. 27 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the organization will hold its second DOGust birthday bash in the lobby of the Kimpton Rowan Hotel in downtown Palm Springs. For a minimum $20 donation, attendees will receive entry into the event, lunch bites, wine and a chance to win prizes. All proceeds will benefit Animal Samaritans' life-saving programs. There will also be adoptable dogs on hand.
In addition to their adoption events, rescue program, no kill shelter, full service veterinary clinic, animal assisted therapy and animal companion therapy programs the organization boasts a very impressive humane education program.
The program is based on a philosophy dedicated to the principle of creating kinder communities through kindness to animals. Every year they educate more than 12,000 school children.
"We also provide summer camps to children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to bond with animals," Kattz says. "It's so rewarding for the children, and of course the animals love it."
Animal Samaritans is a very important nonprofit in our valley. Helping animals who cannot help themselves is a powerful mission, and it's for this outreach that we award the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation Power of Community $1,000 grant to this animal advocacy organization so they may continue helping our precious furry friends.
"We hear over and over again from our adopting families," Kattz says. "It's not so much the humans doing the rescuing. In so many ways these precious animals are rescuing us."
You can help Animal Samaritans reach its $10,000 DOGust goal by attending the event on Aug. 27 or by donating online at animalsamaritans.org/dogust.
Sandie Newton is an award-winning broadcast journalist who began her career in Los Angeles as cohost of the nationally syndicated show "PM Magazine." She went on to host many local and national shows like "Hollywood Insider" before becoming one of the original anchors for E! and a regular on Hallmark Channel's "Home & Family." In 2017, she moved to the desert full time, creating and hosting NBCares for more than six years, profiling over 300 valley nonprofits. She is currently the host of "Desert Chat," a new half-hour lifestyle show spotlighting all the good people, events and news in the Coachella Valley, debuting in September on KESQ and Fox 11.
This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Help Animal Samaritans celebrate DOGust by attending Aug. 27 event