After more than a year of living through the Covid 19 pandemic, we have all become a lot more familiar with immune systems. At the first hint of disease, the immune system kicks into action: dispersing cells, producing chemicals, turning on systems, and orchestrating a beautifully diverse response of actions and reactions designed for one purpose: to keep the body safe. But what would it look like if an entire community had an immune system? Something designed to be prepared, to keep the community safe, to respond to any need that might arise. The Napa Valley has such an immune system. But that immune system is not for one body or even for humans. It’s an immune system for animals in distress, helping an entire community, and its name is Jameson Humane.
Jameson Humane’s Celebrity-Studded Wineapawlooza Raises More Than $1.4 Million for Animal Rescue and Wildfire Protection
FOR THE LOVE OF ANIMALS Monica Stevens, Co-Founder of Jameson Humane, Napa, Reaching Higher for Animal Welfare and Community
Please see page 118-119 for Jameson Humane's story in Haute Living SF.
NAPA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – The financial hardships from the COVID-19 pandemic have not only taken their toll on people… but also on pets.
A North Bay animal sanctuary has stepped up its efforts to help.
A steady line of cars paraded through the Crosswalk Community Church in Napa.
These are families in need, and their pets are part of the family.
“What a great time now that we’re not working you know. Get any kind of help we can get,” said pet owner Luke Ramirez.
“You’ve got the food banks. You’ve got the food drives. But not very many people think about providing the pet food, and the animals need just the same thing we do,” Brenda Burke said.
Jameson Humane has been providing free pet food and supplies for more than five years. Notably during the wildfires that devastated Northern California last Summer.
The pandemic has brought new pain and hardship, and this bi-weekly giveaway is easing the suffering.
“We have two pets at home. We have a cat and we have a dog. We care about those,” pet owner Cesar Hernadez.
When asked if the pet drive makes a big difference Gabriella Arbala said, “Of course. Absolutely! During a really hard time for everyone. Especially for the dogs and cats, a really hard time.”
“Probably 80,000 meals we’ve provided for cats and dogs since we started in April. So it’s a real need in the community,” Brenda Burke said.
And it’s not just food. Pet beds, blankets, collars and toys are also donated by local suppliers.
It’s become so popular and needed that surrounding counties and agencies are reaching out to Jameson to learn how they can set up their own pet food pantries to help animals in need.
“I believe that this pantry, similar to something like this will be a real integral part for another county, other people, other communities to create.”
The pet food drive-throughs will continue on the first and third Thursdays of the month from 2 to 4 pm at the Crosswalk Community Church.
Jameson Humane receives grant to help low-income Clearlake residents with spaying and neutering pets
CLEARLAKE, Calif. – A newly awarded grant will help address canine overpopulation in the city of Clearlake.
Dogs Trust USA, based in New York, has awarded $30,000 to Jameson Humane to help fund its “Neuter Now Lake County Project,” which was launched in November 2020 and will last until October 2021.
Jameson Humane, headquartered in Napa Valley, has begun allocating spay/neuter vouchers, microchipping and vaccinations for dogs of low-income residents from Clearlake.
The group, founded in 2014, offers spay/neuter assistance across nine counties in the Bay Area and beyond.
Jameson Humane representatives said the group was honored to accept this funding so it could continue to directly impact the lives of animals by working with the community and collaborating across multiple organizations to offer financial assistance for those in need.
“Every day in the United States, 70,000 dogs and cats are born against only 10,000 humans – we will never rescue our way out of the problem if we don’t look at the systemic problem - overpopulation,” said Monica Stevens, Jameson Humane president and cofounder. “This is why Jameson Humane funds and facilitates lifesaving spay/neuter surgeries, necessary vaccinations and microchips throughout our extended community. By funding to date 5,000 lifesaving spay/neuter surgeries, Jameson continues to stem the tide of overpopulation, thus addressing the root of the problem.”
Over the past six years, the organization has provided the community with nearly 5,000 vouchers, resulting in an estimated 1,875,000 animal lives saved.
Since its inception, Jameson Humane has offered key assistance to local animal rescue organizations and animal control agencies in Lake County.
In 2015, just a year after its founding, Jameson Humane played a major role in assisting in the response to the Valley fire, helping evacuees and pets and gathering donations.
The following year, it was part of a team – including the SPCA of Lake County – that opened the “Pet Pantry” in Lower Lake to support Clayton fire survivors and their pets.
The group has continued to support and co-sponsor free spay and neuter and vaccination clinics in Lake County, particularly in Clearlake, in the years since.
Familiar with the continuing need to address pet overpopulation within Lake County specifically, Jameson Humane said it was primed to respond.
The city of Clearlake has a high poverty rate relative to the rest of the county – about 34 percent – which is why it is the top priority for the distribution of vouchers, Jameson Humane siad.
With the dog population in Clearlake estimated at around 8,900, this project contributes to Jameson Humane’s overarching goal to further increase the live-release rate at the two local shelters while also decreasing intake at a rate of 10 percent by 2022.
Jameson Humane representatives Amanda Vollstedt and Alyx Redmayne-Titley, who are part of the community animal assistance program, visited with Clearlake Animal Control staff and toured the new animal shelter on Dec. 17.
Charmaine Weldon, animal control technician as well as the adoption and rescue coordinator for Clearlake Animal Control, estimated that of the dogs that come through the shelter, 99 percent of them have not been spayed or neutered.
Vollstedt said Jameson Humane continues to want to assist Lake County, noting that about 50 percent of its requests for assistance come from here.
“We know the resources are limited,” Vollstedt said.
Jameson Humane estimated that the grant-funded 200 vouchers, some of which have already been distributed, will help prevent thousands of dogs being born who might have otherwise faced euthanasia.
“We are incredibly grateful to Jameson Humane for the ongoing partnership and collaboration the past five years. It takes a community and the success is attributed to the belief in the work that the city of Clearlake is doing for its animals. We thank Dogs Trust and Jameson Humane for making these 200 dog spay and neuters available to our community and keeping their pets healthy,” said Clearlake Police Chief Andrew White.
Ensuring that qualifying residents are aware of the opportunity to get their dog spayed/neutered, Jameson Humane has begun working directly with the SPCA in Lake County in Kelseyville and Totem Animal Small Animal Veterinary Practice in Napa County, which are the two designated clinics where the spay/neuter surgeries take place.
The veterinarians carry out an average of five surgeries per week, or 20 per month, Jameson Humane said.
"As president of the SPCA of Lake County, I am all too aware of the tremendous need in this county of pet owners. Lake County is large in geographical area, yet small in population, in a fairly remote area. Many of the people that live here are retired or disabled and living on a fixed income. The basic needs/expenses of companion animals such as vaccines, spay and neuter are often a financial stretch for this population,” said Brenda Crandall, SPCA of Lake County’s immediate past president.
“Jameson Humane has recognized that need and stepped in repeatedly to assist, through yearly vaccination clinics and through providing free spay/neuter vouchers to be used throughout the year. Because of Jameson’s assistance, the SPCA of Lake County is able to render assistance to a larger number of animals than would be possible without Jameson, and it is my firm belief that through this ongoing process, Lake County will have a reduced number of homeless dogs and cats in the coming years,” Crandall said.
“Totem Small Animal is greatly looking forward to helping the dogs and their guardians of lake county with this spay/neuter project,” said Dr. Katy Wilson of Totem Small Animal.
Impact is measured through shelter data from the two public shelters in Lake County – Lake County Animal Care and Control in Lakeport and the shelter in the city of Clearlake.
Jameson Humane said it focused on intake rates as a measurement metric for this project and obtained data on litters too to better represent the effects of its efforts.
Thanks to its collaborative relationship with local authorities, Jameson Humane also tracks the number of calls to animal control to report stray dogs and expect them to decrease over time.
A limited amount of vouchers are still available, so low-income Clearlake residents are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Jameson Humane helpline at 707-927-3536 as they are allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The requests for vouchers are approved based on a series of questions on income, proof of receipt of government assistance or other type of financial aid.
Those who are allocated a voucher receive instructions on how to schedule an appointment and drop off pets at the hospital.
If it weren't for this award, cross collaboration, and participation by the residents, these dogs’ health would remain at risk, including being more susceptible to cancer and pyometra, Jameson Humane reported.
“The education that results from such a service such as this, helps affect real change and save animal lives,” the organization said.
When two large shipping containers were recently delivered to a parking lot in Napa last month, passersby may have assumed that they were simply temporary storage vessels or dumpsters for trash. Instead, the 20-foot structures were quickly transformed into a life-saving resource center for animals in need.
Faced by unprecedented challenges with the pandemic and fires that have resulted in shut-downs, loss of tourism and massive layoffs, many people are struggling to keep their homes and challenged to feed family members, human or not.
As the shutdowns began last spring, Brenda Burke, community outreach manager for Jameson Humane, began to seek donations of dog and cat food.
Historically, Jameson has been involved in community outreach, founding the Paws on Wheels program that delivers donated pet food to Meals on Wheels food recipients who also have pets, and collaborating with Adobe Homeless Shelter and the Napa Sheriff’s Office to distribute pet-friendly holiday gift bags for individuals living in an open environment with companion animals.
When the pandemic hit, a partnership with OLE Health provided the opportunity to distribute donated pet supplies along with food for humans. Within a few months, 25,000 pounds of dog and cat food had been distributed, rapidly growing to 40,000 pounds by August.
While food and survival assistance for people are common, especially during the holiday season, the need for an established location to support the feeding and care of animals sparked the idea for a local pet pantry dedicated to animal family members.
Last month the new Community Pet Pantry and Disaster Supplies Program opened to help pets and their guardian families.
According to Monica Stevens, co-founder of Jameson, “Beginning in March when COVID hit, we immediately came together and said, we’ve got to provide dog and cat food, and we have been doing that for several months. Then we decided, can we erect a pet pantry and do this year-round, no matter if we are in a disaster or not? Disasters are not the only time that people need pet food.”
The pantry will be open one afternoon each week. Already, more than 100 families in need have accessed the pantry, which in turn has helped with the feeding and care of more than 100 dogs and 23 cats. In addition to food, an array of supplies such as leashes, collars, beds, crates, litter pans, cat trees, and ramps for animals who need assistance are available, as well as supplies for other animals such as bunnies and birds.
Located at CrossWalk Community Church, 2590 First St., Napa, the pet pantry will also serve as a county-wide disaster relief distribution center when disasters occur in the future.
Darlene Valencia, executive pastor of CrossWalk as well as the food co-chair for Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD), cut the ribbon to officially open the pantry,.
In her role with COAD, Valencia said that one of the needs has always been pet food, “People will go without a meal to feed their pet. This way they don’t have to, they can still eat and they won’t have to relinquish their pet."
The church site is already designated as an official evacuation shelter by the Napa County Office of Emergency Services. Napa Recycling and Waste donated the huge containers that have been transformed into the permanent distribution center, with additional support from Pet Food Express, Doris Day Animal Foundation, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Greater Good Charities, RedRover and Beverly Wendel in memory of her late husband Barry Wendel.
“It’s amazing work that Jameson Humane is doing for the community,” said Michael Murray of Napa Recycling and Waste Services, which helped procure the storage units.
Napa County Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht praised the program. “This pantry is very important. It gives people a chance to have animals and to help,” he said.
“Jameson does not want any animal to go hungry, ever. Keeping humans with their pets — and out of shelters — is one of our primary goals," said Stevens, noting that everything has been donated.
Anyone in need is welcome to visit the Community Pet Pantry, which is set up as safe and socially-distanced drive-by site. Strict COVID-19 precautions are in place to protect both recipients of supplies as well as the volunteers.
The hours of operation are listed on the Jameson website at JamesonAnimalRescueRanch.org. Operating hours for the balance of 2020 are on Tuesday, Dec. 22 and Tuesday, Dec. 29 from 1 to 4 p.m.
Donations from the community are also welcome online. The Pet Pantry is currently in need of leashes, collars, harnesses, beds, jackets, sweaters and bowls of all sizes that can be delivered to Jameson Humane at 1199 Cuttings Wharf Road, Napa.
Feel free to contact Monica Stevens via email at monica@JamesonHumane.org or call 707-927-3536 for more information.