Help a shelter dog this holiday season by visiting a Sebastopol giving tree

By Katherine Minkiewicz-Martine, Staff Writer, SoCoNews, December 16, 2021


Joelle Hoffman collects giving tree donations for the shelter dogs at Compassion without Borders. Photo Katherine Minkiewicz-Martine

Giving trees are often set up for humans but Joelle Hoffman, a volunteer with the dog rescue organization Compassion Without Borders, has set up giving trees for the shelter’s rescue dogs at select locations in Sebastopol.

In an effort to fundraise for the shelter and to support local businesses, giving trees were set up at the Feed Store in Sebastopol and at the Sebastopol Hardware Pet Center. There’s also a tree at Pawsarotti’s in Santa Rosa. The trees will stay up until the end of January.

Each tree is adorned with photos of dogs who have been rescued over the years and photos of volunteers working with the animals and there’s also a laminated wish list of goods at each tree.

To participate in the giving tree, you simply pick out an item that’s placed under the tree — such as bully sticks, chew toys or treats — and let the store associate know you’re donating that item to Compassion.

The donated goods are then set aside at each location for Hoffman to pick up and bring back to the shelter in Santa Rosa.

On Friday, Dec. 10, Hoffman returned to the shelter with a hatchback full of donated items, bags of dog food, toys, leashes, treats and other dog goodies that the shetler may not always have the funds for.

“It means a lot to a dog sitting in a kennel,” said Christi Camblor, a veterinarian and the executive director and co-founder of Compassion Without Borders.

Hoffman said she typically does a couple of pickup runs from the Sebastopol giving tree locations and always gets boxes and boxes worth of doggie goods.

Camblor, who co-founded the shelter and rescue organization with her husband Moncho Camblor, said it’s heartwarming to see the generosity of the community and to have them step forward to provide for homeless animals who are in the shelter over the holidays.

Hoffman has been organizing the giving tree drive for three years now. After working with various dog rescues for 10 years she started noticing the giving tree concept and decided to set one up for Compassion Without Borders.

“It’s a way for the animal lovers to be able to do something really quickly without too much hassle and it also supports local businesses which is incredible,” Hoffman said.

Just last year the organization helped 10,000 dogs through rescue, adoption, veterinary care and mobile clinic work so they go through lots of supplies like dog food and could always use more. They also provide dog food and toys to homeless individuals with dogs.

“All these pet stores have been so supportive,” Camblor said.

About Compassion Without Borders

Established in 2001, the nonprofit has several programs, including a mobile vet clinic and dog rescue from Mexico and the California Central Valley where many shelters are overcrowded and the enthuanisa rate is high.

Each month, Compassion Without Borders hosts a mobile vet clinic for low-income and underserved communities in Sonoma County. They provide basic health care and spay and neuter services.

According to the organization’s fact sheet, last year 942 animals were rescued, rehabilitated and adopted into homes; 8,617 animals were provided with access to veterinary care and spay/neuter services. They have an active volunteer base of about 150.

“The majority are here, but they also volunteer at the clinics, they’re out in the community, they’re helping in the office. There are all different facets,” Christi Camblor said. “We could not do the work without them. They really help us to save the lives and get the work done, so we’re enormously grateful.”

“And the dogs get so much out of this interaction,” said Moncho Camblor.

To adopt, you visit their website — where you can look at the available animals and their profiles — and fill out an application. The shelter will reach out and set up an appointment for you to come visit the dog and see if it is a good match.

Where to find the giving trees

Sebastopol giving trees can be found at The Feed Store, Inc., located at 265 Petaluma Ave, and at Sebastopol Hardware Center at 660 Gravenstein Hwy N. There’s also a tree located in Santa Rosa at 106 Calistoga Road.

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