For a family-fun Labor Day weekend starring cats, dogs and reptiles of all kinds, take a trip to the Idyllwild Nature Center. Join volunteers from ARF (Animal Rescue Friends of Idyllwild), Living Free Animal Sanctuary and Hope to Home for Cats as they introduce many of their adoptable friends to the public.
The special animal day is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 1. The Nature Center is located at 25225 Highway 243.
ARF has been in the Idyllwild community since 1994. Its mission is to educate people about responsible pet ownership. Besides being spayed or neutered, all ARF animals receive necessary shots and other veterinary care as needed before adoption.
The Living Free Animal Sanctuary in Mountain Center was founded in 1980. Emily Jo Beard purchased the land for a sanctuary to save cats and dogs from imminent shelter euthanasia.
All the animals at Living Free go through intensive training and observation to make sure they get along with kids and other pets. The staff matches the animal’s personality and needs with the adoptive person or family. Edgar Santiago, Living Free Dog Trainer, will be on hand to demonstrate and give tips on training dogs.
Hope to Home for Cats, also a nonprofit, finds permanent and loving homes for cats that have been tested for and are free from feline leukemia and feline AIDS. They are vaccinated, parasite free, spayed or neutered. The adoption fee is $85, which is a tax-deductible donation. The staff knows the kittens and cats well and can recommend the right pet for your family.
Even if you aren’t adopting, these groups will gladly take tax-deductible donations that go toward saving the animals.
Dr. Bill Hayes, Professor of Biology at Loma Linda University, will be speaking the next day. His presentation, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 2, is titled, “Roam the Realm of the Regal, Reclusive, Recoiling Reptiles.”
Hayes’s focus will be on the behavior, ecology and conservation of venomous animals, including rattlesnakes, scorpions, spiders and centipedes.
Participants can touch a live rattlesnake (whose head is in a tube.) Bill’s presentation, which includes a slide show and maybe a live Gila Monster, is kid-friendly and funny.
The only costs for the events are the nominal Riverside County Parks day use fees. For more information call (951) 659-3850.