By Janet McAfee

You may have seen an interesting limousine cruising around Coachella Valley streets with a montage of dogs decorating the darkened windows. Folks in nearby cars do a double take, wondering what celebrities (maybe Caesar Milan?) might be inside. Curious stares are riveted when the limousine stops and the 4-legged passengers trot out. These pups were just adopted from a local shelter and now have a second chance at a new life in a loving home. Loving All Animals, a local animal welfare organization, seeks to encourage people to adopt rescue animals and change the image some may have of them as “mangy flee bitten mutts”. This limousine is part of their many programs to promote the adoption of these animals.

This donated limousine decorated with a long Dachshund dog and the message “From a Home in a Shelter to the Shelter of Your Home” is a moving billboard for rescue animals as it cruises along the byways and highways. Having a rescue cat or dog is becoming a status symbol and a badge of life-saving honor. Rescue animals are special, grateful and loving, wise and wonderful. Yet only 25% of the people seeking a pet will go to a shelter when they want a new canine or feline companion. Some people do not know where the shelters are located, so it’s easier to pick up the Penny Saver. Other folks are afraid they will become sad and overwhelmed by seeing so many homeless animals. This tour transforms that experience into something enlightening, and the reward is huge when you get that new cuddle bug in your arms.

Loving All Animals now offers limousine tours to local animal shelters and rescue organizations for people seeking to adopt a dog or cat. Prospective adopters board the limousine accompanied by an experienced pet adoption expert, and begin the journey to visit hundreds of dogs and cats awaiting homes. They will find the right pet for you no matter what breed or size you seek. It is estimated that 30% of all dogs in shelters are pure breeds. No matter what type you seek, that perfect new fur friend is waiting for you. Let them know what type of dog or cat you want, and they conduct an online search in advance.

The first stop is usually the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms, our local Riverside County shelter, where hundreds of animals are waiting to meet you. If you see one of interest, there are special indoor and outdoor visiting areas where you can meet the animal, check out its personality, and determine if this is a “match”.

Next door we take a look at the Animal Samaritans’ state-of-the-art Veterinary clinic. This modern spacious facility offers lower cost vet services to keep your pet healthy and happy. We journey around the corner to Ramon Road where more kittens, cats and dogs greet us at the Animal Samaritans’ shelter.

The limo then heads out on the 10 freeway toward Palm Springs to the Humane Society of the Desert. This lovely private shelter has many large beautiful dogs and a few small ones for your consideration. The Palm Springs Animal Shelter, now privately operated, is a must see. Their beautiful new building with animal sculptures will change any negative image you have of shelters. If an animal is already spayed or neutered, it may join us on the happy limousine ride home. Otherwise, you complete the paperwork and return later to bring it home.

The tour includes a visit to The Pet Rescue Center in Coachella which specializes in small dogs. This amazing private rescue is “kennel free”, a 3-bedroom house set on an acre of land. It’s a joyful sight to see the dogs run and play as they socialize together. An agility center was recently added where the animals get to exercise and learn new skills. Christine Madruga has lots of information about each dog and how they will fit into your household.

Loving All Animals’ limousine shelter tours may be the only program of its kind in the country. Going to a shelter will no longer be a depressing trip to a concrete building. This program makes it a fun and educational experience. You might even meet new friends on board who will swap pet sitting. No need to spend thousands of dollars at a pet store when a marvelous animal of the same “quality” and beauty awaits you at the minimal shelter adoption rates. Loving All Animals provides training tips and other pet related assistance for pets adopted during the tours. As time permits, other “surprise” fun stops are made.

Call Loving All Animals at (760) 834-7000 to book your reservation on our October 15 shelter tour. The tour leaves Palm Desert at 10:00 am and returns by 3:00 pm. The cost of $20 per person includes a delicious lunch. Shelter tours are scheduled on a regular basis throughout the season. Hop on board and experience the adventure of rescue!