By Janet McAfee
Bystanders do a double take when an amazing doggie decorated limousine cruises along Coachella Valley streets and highways. Curious stares are riveted when the limo stops and the 4-legged passengers trot out. They are some of our homeless dogs, now freed from the shelters and on the first step of a journey leading to a loving forever home.
Loving All Animals, a Palm Desert animal welfare organization, received a donated limousine several years ago. They had the windows decorated with a dog motif. It serves as a moving billboard encouraging the adoption of shelter animals with the message “FROM A HOME IN A SHELTER TO THE SHELTER OF YOUR HOME” written in bold lettering along the sides of the vehicle. This unique one-of-a-kind vehicle helps change public perception about rescue animals, encouraging people to realize they are marvelous, glamourous, and loving creatures who bring untold joy to the humans who adopt them.
In addition to transporting animals out of the shelters, Loving All Animals now takes humans to the shelters for the purpose of finding their perfect canine or feline rescue animal. Loving All Animals’ shelter tours are a big hit with pet seekers who don’t know where the public and private shelters are located and/or would like to have an enjoyable experience in selecting a rescue animal. Karen, a passenger on a recent tour reports, “I live here part time and didn’t know where the shelters are located. This was a fabulous experience. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable. We met dozens of dogs and had so much fun!” Karen’s Golden Doodle dog accompanied the tour group to ensure compatibility with any prospective siblings pups they would meet. These limousine shelter tours may be the only program of its kind in the country.
Each tour includes a visit to several shelters as time permits. The first stop is the lovely Pet Rescue Center in Coachella where the homelike setting, beautiful grounds, and agility course defy the stereotype of a gloomy animal shelter. The dogs run free in the lovely, home like backyard where visitors can meet them. Next stop is our large Riverside County shelter in Thousand Palms, the Coachella Valley Animal Campus. This modern structure with roomy indoor/outdoor kennels has the largest number of adoptable animals in our Valley. Next door is Animal Samaritans’ state-of-the-art veterinary clinic, and around the corner on Ramon Road there is an opportunity to meet their shelter animals.
If potential adopters are interested in large dogs, the Humane Society of the Desert in North Palm Springs is a good resource. Next stop is the gorgeous new Palm Springs Animal shelter with its inviting artwork, pet boutique, modern surgical suite, and of course more animals! Your knowledgeable tour guide is available to assist in the selection of your new pet.
Loving All Animals is adding something new to the tours this season. Guests will be treated to a tour of the BG Bird Gardens, a bit of paradise in Palm Desert housing 60 exotic birds in the backyard of the African style mansion. Thatched huts, surrounded by cascading water features and tropical landscape, house some of the gorgeous feathered residents. A focal point is the lovely flamingo lagoon. A visit to this desert gem is an exciting addition to your day with the animals.
Upcoming tour dates include Tuesday, December 22, and Thursday, January 14. Additional dates will be added as the shelter limousine tour program expands. A nominal donation includes refreshments and lunch. Join the fun and meet your “purrfect” match. Contact Loving All Animals at (760) 834-7000 or www.lovingallanimals.org.