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LOVE ME, BUT PLEASE FIX ME!
Christine Gonzalves, a new Parkpoint member, is busy not only with her workouts at the club but as a dedicated volunteer with the Sonoma County Animal Shelter. Christine explains, “People think that because it’s county the animal shelter doesn’t need anything, but it really does.”
Christine actively donates money to help support the Love Me Fix Me (LMFM) program. “Anyone who has an unneutered cat or dog can phone in and make an appointment to have their pet neutered/spayed at a much reduced price ($50 for dogs, $30 for cats). The county-run program offers these services each Wednesday and Saturday. “I volunteer as the gatekeeper, letting owners onto the campus at 7:30am for check-in. There are usually nine to 15 pets on the docket for surgery each day. Pet owners then return at 3:30pm to pick up their groggy loved ones. Everyone is welcome and homeless pet owners’ pets are taken care of at no charge. The program, run mainly by grant monies, covers micro-chipping and catching up on vaccinations,” she explains.
In addition to services at the shelter proper, LMFM also sponsors a van that houses an operating theater. The van is loaned to outside agencies providing neutering/spaying services to residents not in the local Santa Rosa area.
When asked how she got started as a volunteer, Christine said, “I have always loved dogs and helping people and have owned many rescued animals. I applied to be a volunteer with the shelter and learned that there were many different volunteering opportunities. A volunteer can cuddle cats, play with rabbits, walk dogs, and particularly in the aftermath of the fires, help owners find their lost pets. I started working with the LMFM volunteers about two years ago, and I just love it.” Christine is able to take her own dogs with her as she checks people and their pets in for services, and her dogs really enjoy helping out!
“The most important thing that can be done to cut down on pet overpopulation and unwanted pets and saving lives,” advises Linda, “is by fixing animals. The main mission of the Sonoma County Animal Shelter is to put themselves out of business!”
TO BEE OR NOT TO BEE…
…was never a difficult choice for Parkpoint member Linda Hansen. Allergic to bees for many years, Linda’s doctor gave her injections to boost her immunity in case of stings. She has also carried an Epi pen for extra protection. Little did she know then that someday she would make every human effort to protect and maintain bee hives in her very own garden!
For the past 20+ years, Linda has lived on her 1/3 acre in natural surroundings. On her property lived a very large and ancient coastal live oak tree. “For years, I would come home and see all kinds of bee activity in a hole in one of its three trunks. The bees would just be swarming. I called the beekeeper and she came out and explained that she could remove the bees but that might kill the queen. She left me with the decision to keep the hive or have it removed. The beekeeper assured me that the bees weren’t going to bother me if I decided to leave them. Soon that bee colony became a fascination for me and I kept them,” Linda admits.
Linda continues, “On and off for years it has been a strong hive with steady activity. Four years ago during the big wind storm that hit Sonoma, the oak went down and cantilevered over the wall and into the neighbors’ yard. The bees stayed in the tree, the hole now facing the sky instead of my driveway. When the arborist came out to remove the tree, I asked him to keep the stump which weighs about 25,000 lbs. He brought a crane out to my house and carefully put the stump back in the original hole.”
To disguise a 25-feet tall stump, Linda planted climbing fig and grape vines around the hive habitat which seems to please both the bees and the neighbors. Although she is a willing bee host, Linda still can’t get near the hive so she has a beekeeper who comes regularly and tends to not only the tree hive but the other bee boxes that she now has added to her home and garden!
“The bees got me turned around and I have a whole new appreciation for them. I have discovered that they are very spiritual creatures,” Linda shares.
Linda has been a Parkpoint member since 1994 and finds her “zone” in the swimming pool nearly every day. “It’s a great place to go to as I’m really into staying fit,” Linda explains.