Animal Rescue League’s “Mason’s Place” – One Step Closer to Home

When you picture an animal shelter or a place to house multiple animals you usually think that there will be cages involved – lots and lots of cages. Animal Rescue League (ARL) however likes to think outside of the box or the cage in this case, and in 2005 opened their unique adoption center, Mason’s Place.  Mason’s Place is a real house. Why did ARL choose a house for an adoption center facility? What better atmosphere for a homelike environment? Since ARL’s goal with every rescued animal is to place it in a loving, responsible home the first step to getting them there is to allow the animals to live in a real home environment and to not be confined. This allows the animals the ability to socialize with one another and helps in the transition to an adopted home where they will be able to easily live with other animals and family members.

ARL’s adoption center is a 3-bedroom house on a 2 acre lot where the animals (currently all cats) are allowed to roam freely surrounded by furniture, plenty of cat trees, scratching posts and toys. The only time they are ever in a cage or a pen is when they are first brought in and are being evaluated for illness/temperament, when they are being introduced to the group (for everyone’s safety), and occasionally if someone needs a “time out” (sometimes you just need your own space for a minute). The animals watch out the windows for birds from their various perches on cat trees, chase each other playfully from room to room in a feline version of tag, groom one another while lounging on the bed or just hang out on the loveseat watching TV. Yes, these cats like TV. Currently they’re hooked on the DVD “Desperate Housewives”.

Mason’s Place is not only where the cats live, it is Animal Rescue League’s adoption center. Families wanting to adopt are invited to Mason’s Place, during their adoption hours or by appointment only, to meet the cats. Some cats do not do well in a pet store environment, and while being in a pet store provides great exposure for them it can be a very negative and stressful experience. Since ARL’s animals are rescued from abuse and abandonment, there are many who are shy or who have been traumatized that would not do well in the noisy environment of a store. They need to be seen where they feel comfortable and where their true personalities can shine. Mason’s Place provides them this opportunity.

When a family is invited to Mason’s Place it is always with the hopeful expectation that a match between cat and family will be made. ARL believes that quite often a kitty will pick their family and that cats have great instincts about people. Especially ones they want to be with. Potential adopters are asked to look around and see if there is a cat that they are attracted to, but to also take special note of any cats that come to them.

Mason’s Place is named after a rescued cat whose story had a huge impact on members of ARL. In November 2004 ARL received a call from a family who said they almost hit this unfortunate animal who they thought was a kitten and to make it worse they thought the kitten was blind and very sick. The poor cat was orange in color with matted and dirty fur and his hipbones and ribs were clearly visible. It turned out that Mason was about 15 years old, extremely malnourished and was practically blind. The vet believed that Mason had been on his own for many, many years. Mason was such a friendly cat that he must have belonged to someone at one point in time. ARL tried to save Mason by giving him fluids and
feeding him with a syringe – his mind was alert but his body was not absorbing the fluids and he could not keep food down. Mason was part of the ARL family for a little over a month, but he could not be saved.

Mason’s story is a sad story but unfortunately he is not the only cat to be outside with no family. These types of animals appear to the public as being wild or “feral” but in reality they have had to protect themselves from people and other animals and they have had to learn to survive outside. Therefore, ARL believes that their behavior can be attributed to fear and a general mistrust of people.

ARL focuses on stray and abandoned animals and tries to bring these animals back to health while restoring their trust in human beings. Once healthy ARL works to find them a loving, responsible home that will not result in future abandonment. Mason’s Place helps accomplish this goal by providing the homelike environment where the public can meet the animals and see their true behavior.

ARL’s motto is “It’s about the Animal” and to that end they strive to be the advocate for the animal in everything that they do. But they cannot do it alone. ARL is funded solely through the generosity of donors who believe in their mission. All of the funds received are used exclusively for the care of the animals and to support their welfare.

If you are interested in volunteering with ARL or in adopting a wonderful animal please call (916) 714- 2894. The animals available for adoption can also be seen at Petfinder.com. By contributing money or volunteering your time, you can make a difference in the lives of individuals and animals in our community. ARL is based out of Elk Grove and is a qualified 501(c)(3) humane organization. Donations are fully tax-deductible and much appreciated.