Riverside animal rescue hosts Christmas event

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From left: Jolina Chavez takes photos with Santa Claus with her two dogs Stevie and Tommy at Foster Army Animal Rescues. Photo by Adriana Lopez.
by Adriana Lopez


Santa Claus came early this year to help save the animals.

Foster Army Animal Rescue hosted an event Nov. 17 that allowed anyone, even those without pets, to get their pictures taken with Santa Claus to raise money for their organization.

The event took place at their thrift store that also doubles as an adoption center on the weekends. FAAR is a non profit organization based in Riverside that works directly with animal control facilities.

The organization focuses on fostering animals that are at high risk of being euthanized which could range from kittens that have been orphaned and need to be bottle fed to dogs with kidney stones that are in need of surgery.

Due to the cost of providing this often intensive care to animals, FAAR relies heavily on donations, events like their photos with Santa Claus and their thrift store.

“The photographer is Kelly Vela and she takes pictures of sheltered animals for free for organizations to post photos on their website,” Leslie Holzrichter, manager of the thrift store, said. “She’s raising funds for her organization and we’re raising funds for ours.”

Holzrichter is passionate in her belief that animals that are often seen as too injured or sick are treatable.

“Once these animals get passed whatever issue they have, they’re wonderful pets. People think of them as throw away pets and are not worthy of being in homes. They’re just as good as any other pet. They’re not broken, they have spirit and joy,” she said.

Throughout the event, FAAR’s thrift store garnishes good business. With the store being the main source of funding, donations are always appreciated.

Karen Rohlf, treasurer for FAAR, explained the importance of donations to keep the organization functioning. 

“I know funds are limited for a lot of people, but if anyone has anything they want to donate to our store that we can resell, that’s very helpful,” she said.

Without a shelter, FAAR relies on volunteers housing pets before they are adopted. This means that the more people that volunteer with the organization, the more animals can be saved.

Kimberlee Powell is the pet care manager for FAAR and she encourages people to volunteer. “All that is needed is love and compassion for animals and patience. When people foster (animals) we do provide all the medical care and all of the food, the foster just needs to provide a loving environment,” she said.

Along with being able to save animals, Powell is also proud of the community that has been created within FAAR.

“The comradery of all the volunteers getting together is rewarding. We’re all working together for the same common goal,” she said.

As well as raising funds for the organization, the event gave people the opportunity to treat their pets to a day of glamour. Jolina Chavez, an event goer, took her Labrador mix and pit bull mix to get their photos taken with Santa Claus and truly believes in the shelter’s cause.

“When you donate you actually see where the money is going. You can come by and see the rescues and you have the opportunity to get involved,” she said.

For more information on FAAR go to fosterarmy.org

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