Napa Valley’s Animals and Their Safe Keeping
By Linda Bausch
The human and animal bond is essential to community health. We love our pets, the variety of which is far too many to list here. Domesticated pets and captive livestock trust humans, exclusively, for their every need. In times of peril, our animal’s lives depend on brave, fast-acting humans for their safe well-being.
As the summer days march on, so comes to mind the danger of high temperatures and the stretch of long, dry spells. It’s time to remind ourselves to prepare for whatever may come our way—from day-to-day care to emergency evacuation preparedness.
A local equestrian, a mere fourteen years old at the time of the Tubbs Fire disaster of October 2017, Adaline Hanes, recounted for me what it was like during the midst of the great animal rescue.
“It was very much a blur because of how fast it went. In a flash, Valley Brook Equestrian Center welcomed 175-200 animals on property (horses, sheep, chickens and donkeys). We had help from the local rescue groups and from Napa Community Animal Response Team (CART). Trucks loaded with pipe panels came in and we just threw up as many corrals as we could.
“There was an ‘all hands on deck’ urgency with watering, feeding and cleaning constantly. We were able to help a massive amount of animals until we ended up being evacuated and that was crazy. There were trailers pulling in and out of our one-lane driveway and even ended up loading horses into trailers on the street (El Centro). It took about three hours to get everyone out. We were a well-oiled machine at that point. After that initial major fire, the emergency situations in years following were never as bad.”
Caring for animals runs deep in Adaline’s blood—taking after her mom—who has spent countless hours at local shelters and rescue organizations volunteering and working to secure fur-ever homes for helpless little critters. (Together, they have fostered many little ones and an emu!)
That first hectic emergency rescue operation confirmed to Adaline that she had a calling to make a future for herself in the equine world. She is proud to have been accepted to Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, where she will study Equine Science beginning this fall.
A recent interview with Napa Valley Equine’s Claudia Sonder, DVM, began on a positive note of appreciation. “One of my favorite things about the Napa Valley is the amazing group of animal non-profits working together towards a common good. Napa CART works with the Napa County Animal Shelter, Napa Humane, Wine Country Animal Lovers, Jameson Humane, We Care Animal Rescue and Sunrise Horse Rescue to respond to animals in disaster. In addition, the veterinary community in Napa is tight knit as well, and the veterinarians support each other in times of disaster. Napa County’s Emergency Operation Center leaders and first responders have integrated the animal component of response into their emergency action plans. I have worked with disaster groups across the state, and I consider Napa to serve as a template for others to follow in regards to addressing the animal component of disaster response.”
Dr. Sonder continued, “In 2017, we were evacuated from our clinic for 6 days. Our animals were relocated to Valley Brook Equestrian Center and Napa Valley Horseman’s Association. Before 2017, our facility was used almost annually to house client’s horses who were evacuated in small, regional fires. After 2017, we have a more advanced regional sheltering system for horses. We work closely with our amazing team of community advisors during disasters including Napa Humane, Jameson Humane, Sunrise Horse Rescue, Wine Country Animal Lovers, We Care Animal Rescue and Napa Wildlife Rescue, who are all key players in providing resources to the animals in need.
I asked what some of their pressing needs are and Dr. Sonder replied, “Napa CART is in need of shelter supplies for large animals and personal protective equipment for our volunteers. See our Amazon Smile account for more information.”
From the veterinarian point-of-view, Dr. Sonder named a variety of pitfalls. “Covid, pharmaceutical supply chain issues, decreasing availability of large animal veterinarians and inflation have landed large animals behind on their routine veterinary care. An ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure when it comes to the comfort level and welfare of large animals. From the Napa CART and disaster response perspective, priorities remain outreach to inform pet owners to plan for their animals and have an evacuation plan which they drill on Red Flag Days. We do not accept donation of food or bedding in non-emergent times.”
What are your best suggestions for a horse owner to be prepared in case of an evacuation emergency? “Check out the Red Flag Day routine videos on Napa CART’S website and YouTube channel. They provide a thorough review of planning for companion animals and for large animals. If you need help formulating a plan, you can contact email@example.com for assistance.”
Napa Valley Equine is located on Silverado Trail. They have three part-time and one full-time DVM on staff, and a veterinarian on call 365 days a year, 24/7. Their team shares on call responsibilities and work together to ensure patients get the attention they need. Call for more information at 707-227-8973.
Jameson Humane Animal Rescue Ranch (founded in 2014), has been actively involved in disaster preparedness and response since the Valley Fire in 2015. Every year since, in collaboration with the volunteer-based Napa, Sonoma, and Solano Community Animal Response Teams (CARTs) and Napa County-operated Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Jameson has provided resources and funding for supplies, food, and medical care for animals and is working to become a central hub for these groups to galvanize as an incident command post, education center and nexus for communication during disasters.
Monica Stevens, Co-founder of Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch, had this to add. “The collaboration between the CERTs, CARTs, and first responders is necessary in having the most impact to protect and save lives. We are humbled to be able to play a role in bringing together our partners during times of disaster so that we can effect real change and quickly. It is so important for ongoing education, prevention, and intervention, which are central themes to Jameson Humane’s mission.”
Then there are the little domestics and wild critters . . .
From Napa Wildlife Rescue volunteer, Doug Walker, “NWR is 99% volunteer and the only organization permitted by the CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife to rescue, rehabilitate and return injured or orphaned wildlife to their native habitat in Napa County. The main facility is located in the Carneros District on Middle Avenue, where we have a Song Bird and Raptor/Mammal Clinics. For example, a group may take care of raccoons, opossums, hares, or squirrels. Our group consists of five people which do squirrel rehab. What makes this even more enjoyable is that we work
Walker added, “Many of the squirrels admitted are baby squirrels which people find when they go for a walk. Baby squirrels sometimes fall out of their nest in a tree. Sometimes a squirrel is found because there was tree cutting or tree trimming in the neighborhood. Unless the animal is injured, we do not normally catch or trap the squirrel. We do not do pest control.”
For squirrel rehab, Walker suggests, “People who discover squirrels that need help should call our help line, called Hawkline 707-224-HAWK (4295) and we will make arrangements to secure the squirrel.”
To join their team and meet great people with common interests, visit their website at napawildliferescue.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 707-685-5411.
Calistoga Wine Country Animal Lovers (WCAL) has also been a blessing—a true life-saver— to countless domestic animals with fostering and rehoming needs. WCAL leads the no kill philosophy in the Napa Valley. They are an all-volunteer rescue group with no paid staff. Their animals live in foster homes until they are adopted (they don’t have a physical shelter or facility of our own). This means that every donation goes directly towards helping animals. WCAL assists with all things animal related in the Upper Napa Valley and do their best to help our neighbors in Napa County, Lake County and Sonoma County. winecountryanimallovers.org
Thanks to three Napa County non-profits: Collabria Care, Jameson Humane, and Sunrise Horse Rescue join efforts along with equine-assisted healing program, Connected Horse, to provide support to the Napa County population suffering from memory loss, including early-stage dementia and Alzheimer’s. Two successful pilot workshops took place in Napa County over April and June, supported by the Elke’s Foundation, Winifred Johnson Clive Foundation, and Collabria Care for those living with dementia and their care partners, over three weeks each. Collabria Care is Napa’s Alzheimer’s Day Care Resource Center and with this designation, it is supporting the program by identifying and screening Napa County community members. Additional workshops will be offered in September and October, by appointment. Spanish translation is offered.
The equine-assisted Connected Horse program resumes in September and October in Napa and Calistoga.
Workshops are 2.5 hours, once a week, for 2 weeks:
• No prior experience with horses is necessary to participate.
• Participants will be engaging with horses from the ground, no riding.
• All participants must be ambulatory and willing to participate together.
• There is no fee to participate, donations are welcome.
Contact information for enrollment inquiries or to help support the program:
• Melissa Gerard, Collabria Care email@example.com
• Lindsay Merget, Sunrise Horse Rescue firstname.lastname@example.org
• Nancy Schier Anzelmo, Connected Horse email@example.com
• Monica Stevens, Jameson Humane
As I began, “The human and animal bond is essential to community health.” If you’d like to contribute by sharing the gift of your time by volunteering or make a donation to any of these non-profits or the alike, please reach out.