By Janet McAfee

Record breaking heat throughout California brought suffering to humans and animals alike over the Labor Day weekend. After the nearby Apple fire threatened our high desert last month, we breathed a collective sigh of relief only to have the El Dorado fire darken our sky with smoke. Our hearts break for the families evacuated from their homes, as well as the animals injured and displaced from the inferno.

In one tragic Labor Day story, a home owner returned to rescue his dog only to find his house burnt to the ground and his dog perished inside. We animal lovers care about the wild animals as well. Many of these animals will perish, and the food supply in the survivor’s habitat diminishes for decades. Frightened domestic animals, horses, dogs and cats flee approaching fires, the lucky ones saved by fire fighters and good Samaritans. In addition to housing the pets of evacuated families, local animal shelters will take in additional lost and abandoned pets. As we humans struggle through another crisis, every day is a crisis for a homeless animal sitting in a kennel grieving for the family he loved.

It’s more critical now to keep your pet safe. While we stay hunkered down in air conditioned homes, animals kept outdoors suffer from the combined heat and smoke. BRING YOUR DOG AND CAT INDOORS DURING THIS RECORD BREAKING HEAT AND SMOKE. Cats, that have a slightly higher resistance than dogs to hot weather can also experience medical problems and death from heat stroke. With smoke inhalation, a pet’s airways can become irritated and injured by ash, chemicals and heat. Damaged airway linings increase the risk of pneumonia. Smoke inhalation can cause thermal injuries to a pet’s airways without any immediate apparent signs.


Take dogs for walks only when it cools down in the mornings and evenings. Try to walk them in shady grass covered areas. Another option is to have dogs wear protective dog booties. A friend sent me a photo of a dog’s bloody paw prints on a neighborhood sidewalk, reminding us that dogs should not be walked on concrete or asphalt in hot weather. Burns from hot pavement can cause limping, darkening of the skin, and injury to your dog’s paws that can become infected without vet treatment.

If you are thinking about adopting a rescue dog or dog, there is no time like the present. Did you know that at least 25% of the animals in shelters are pure breeds? Did you know that instead of spending thousands of dollars at a breeder or online puppy mill, you can adopt a precious rescue pet (of all ages, sizes and breeds) and give them a second chance home? Southern California rescues and shelters initially saw an increase in adoptions during the early days of the pandemic, but are now preparing for fire evacuees and stray animals exhausted by the heat.

While taking time to protect your beloved pet, why not get him a new buddy? There is no time like now to open your heart and home to a wonderful rescue animal. With their pure hearts and loving souls, these “second chance” creatures have much to teach us about handling adversity. People suffering from anxiety, loss, and loneliness will have those feelings replaced by the unconditional love received from a new best fur friend. You may transform a loss of your own when you help a deserving animal by volunteering, donating, fostering, or adopting. Below is a list of local animal shelters and rescues with a variety of animals currently seeking homes. And PLEASE ENJOY THE COMPANIONSHIP OF YOUR NEW PET INSIDE YOUR HOME!


Below is a partial list of shelters and rescues in the Inland Empire with animals for adoption. They are currently closed for walk-ins, so call for an appointment. You can view most of their animals online before calling.

COACHELLA VALLEY ANIMAL CAMPUS – The county shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. You can view the animals at all four Riverside county shelters at, and get the ID number of the animal you want to adopt. Email them the animal’s ID number at, or schedule a virtual adoption appointment at, 72050 Pet Land Place, Thousand Palms, (760) 343-3644. (Public)

PALM SPRINGS ANIMAL SHELTER – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. They schedule appointments Wednesday through Monday. View their animals online at, 4575 E. Mesquite Ave, Palm Springs, (760) 416-5718. (Public)

ANIMAL SAMARITANS – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. View their animals at Email to foster. Located at 72307 Ramon Rd, Thousand Palms, (760) 601-3918. (Private)

CALIFORNIA PAWS RESCUE – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. Located at 73650 Dinah Shore, Palm Desert. View their animals at, (760) 656-8833. (Private)

HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE COACHELLA VALLEY – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt a dog or cat. View their animals at Located at 17825 N. Indian Canyon, Palm Springs, (760) 329-0203. (Private)

KITTYLAND – The shelter is closed so call for an appointment to adopt a cat. Located at 67600 18th Avenue, Desert Hot Springs,, (760) 251-2700. (Private)

FOREVER MEOW – Foster based rescue for cats located in Rancho Mirage. Contact them at, (760) 335-6767. (Private)

PRETTY GOOD CAT – Foster based rescue for cats located in La Quinta. Contact them at, (760) 660-3414 (Private)

LOVING ALL ANIMALS – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. Located at 83496 Avenue 51, Coachella,, (760) 834-7000. (Private)

MORONGO BASIN HUMANE SOCIETY – Located at 4646 Sun View Rd, Joshua Tree,, call between 11am-4pm for updates (760) 366-3786 (Private)

CITY OF SAN BERNARDINO ANIMAL SHELTER – Shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. Hours for adoption 10am – 4pm Tuesday thru Sat. Google “City of San Bernardino Animal Shelter” for website to view animals and get the ID number of the animal you want to meet. Located at 333 Chandler Place, San Bernardino, (909) 384-1304 or (909) 384-7272. (Public)

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY ANIMAL SHELTER AT DEVORE – Shelter closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. Call (909) 386-9280 daily. View animals at and get the ID number of animal you want to meet. Located at 19777 Shelter Way, San Bernardino (Public).

DREAM TEAM ANGELS RESCUE – Foster based rescue located in Grand Terrace/San Bernardino area. Contact them through website, (360) 688-8884. (Private)