Have a Heart Humane Society is working tirelessly to help eliminate the main cause of pet homelessness in Kern County, which we see as overpopulation. Our main thrust as a rescue is to provide low-cost spay and neuter clinics to everyone, regardless of income, to encourage them to make the correct and effective decision so their pets do not add to the unwanted numbers of animals in a county that already has too many.

As a nonprofit organization run by volunteers, we are always working to raise funds. We write for grants, we have bake sales, we sell See's Candies and we have a resale shop, the profits of which support our spay and neuter clinics. We also rescue and in-home foster lost, stray and abandoned pets that come our way. We are working toward “no kill” Kern, and hope to have a brick-and-mortar shelter in Tehachapi some day. That is our goal.

Coming soon, on Sept. 8, is our biggest fundraising event of the year, “Gone to the Dogs” 5K fun run/walk and pet fest. It will be a pet lover’s paradise, with live entertainment, demonstrations, food and commercial vendors, and a chance to bring your pets and meet up with other pet owners who are concerned about Tehachapi’s critter population, too. Hope you’ll be there to help out the group that helps the pets, one paw at a time!

As the summer progresses, people seem to be losing their pets due to numerous reasons. Being away on a trip and leaving your pets in someone else’s care, the fires all over the state and pets roaming because they aren’t neutered are all reasons your pets can become separated from your home and family. Sometimes, your fence is just in disrepair.

At any rate, the best way to be sure your pet is returned to you is to be sure he/she is microchipped. And as you know, a microchip does no good at all if you don’t register it and keep your contact information updated. We at Have A Heart could reunite 100 percent of the animals we scan for a chip if the information with the chip were valid. All three policing departments in Tehachapi have been provided with chip scanners by our organization, so identifications can be made in the field as soon as your pet is lost. Time is of the essence in many cases. We cannot stress enough that you register your pets’ microchips!

Have you ever wondered where your donation money to a nonprofit, especially an animal rescue, goes? Many times, people who wish to donate to a nonprofit organization, whether it is animal welfare and rescue, or some other group or outreach, want to know how much of their donation of cash or gifts in kind actually go to the good cause they choose. There is a way to find out. There is a website you can go to which will list non-profit organizations nationwide called Guidestar. Listed on this website are nonprofit organizations rated and graded on their transparency and you can delve as deeply as you may feel the need to. Have A Heart Humane Society has participated as a member of Guidestar since our inception, and through our financial transparency, we have enjoyed a platinum rating.

And now, if you feel that you would like to help us in our efforts for the animals in Tehachapi, please join us at 6 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 27 at Rescued Treasures. Refreshments will be served, and we will be discussing assignments for our “Gone to the Dogs” event on Sept. 8, and we will hopefully be meeting some new people to help with other aspects of our organization – the shop, fostering, disaster preparedness and community and school outreach. School is back in session – moms, do you have any free time? We would love to see you at this meeting; you could make the difference.

Ann Carroll is with Have A Heart Humane Society.