Limousine Tours Make Pet Adoption an Adventure
You may have seen a unique limousine cruising around Coachella Valley streets with a montage of dogs decorating the windows. Folks in nearby cars do a double take, wondering what celebrities are behind the darkened windows. Curious stares are riveted when the limo stops and the doors swing open. The little passengers trot out. There are real live dogs inside, some of our Coachella Valley shelter dogs now in foster homes living the high life, and now on a journey to find their forever homes. Loving All Animals, a local animal welfare organization, seeks to change the image some folks still have of rescue dogs being “mangy flee bitten mutts”. These former shelter dogs are absolutely gorgeous, loving, grateful creatures who bring untold joy to the people who adopt them. Furthermore, it is estimated that about 30% of all dogs in public shelters are pure breeds. The donated limousine is decorated with a long Dachshund dog and is a moving billboard spreading the message “From a home in a shelter to the shelter of your home”.
Now Loving All Animals’ adoption program, Mobile Mutts, has reversed things a bit. Their limousine now offers tours of local animal shelters and rescues for the humans! Prospective adopters board the limousine accompanied by an adoption expert and begin the journey to visit hundreds of dogs and cats awaiting homes. The first stop is usually the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms, our local Riverside County shelter. An adoption expert takes animals out of their kennels so participants can visit and temperament test to see if the they have a “match”. Next door, Animal Samaritans’ director Fred Saunders gives everyone a tour of their state of the art veterinary clinic. Tour participants meet more cats and dogs at the Animal Samaritans shelter on Ramon Road. Then it’s on to Desert Hot Springs to visit Save A Pet, a private nonprofit animal shelter.
On the last tour Wayne and Erika Sharpe adopted a lovely labrador mix dog they named Ona from Save A Pet. Pictured are the Sharpes with Ona and Stacey Lawler, a dog adoption expert at Save A Pet. Ona was abandoned by her previous owners and left tied up outside the shelter one night. Ona went home in a limousine to a better life in Palm Desert with the Sharpes, joining the happy adoption celebration on board the limousine. Also pictured is Rhonda Taplin adopting a tiny Chihuahua from Animal Samaritans. What a cutie!
Each tour tries to include as many shelters as time permits. Another popular stop is the Humane Society of the Desert in Palm Springs, and a tour group is pictured with their director Malinda Bustos. Time permitting, the limousine heads out to the East Valley to The Pet Rescue Center in Coachella, a lovely private organization that specializes in small dogs. Indio Animal Shelter is a public shelter where many more gorgeous animals await homes. The trip ends with a stop at a luxury pet hotel, The Pet Hotel at Barkingham Palace, where there are yet more rescued foster dogs awaiting adoption.
Going to a public shelter is no longer a depressing trip to a concrete building. This may be the only program like it in the entire country. This makes pet adoption a fun and educational experience. You might even meet new friends on board who will pet sit. There is no charge for the tour, although voluntary contributions for gas are appreciated. The tours are offered twice monthly even during the summer months. Attendees should be in the market to adopt a pet. They are asked to become “rescue advocates”, joining the effort to promote homeless shelter animals. For information or to make a reservation for a tour, call Loving All Animals at (760) 776-9397.