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Lending a helping paw after the Ridgecrest earthquakes

Grassroots Tehachapi

The recent collection of earthquakes were unsettling for us in Tehachapi. I was about to head out of state to visit family when the first earthquake hit on July 4. It was honestly hard to tell if the initial shaking was just the busy hustle of gathering appropriate toys and snacks for a long road trip with two kids. But that long, rolling movement of the earth made itself known.

I felt strange leaving my home and family after such a strong earthquake, but started my journey east, hoping help would be here if they needed it. Thankfully, the bigger quake to come didn't have any devastating impact on our beautiful town. But my thoughts immediately went to our neighbors in Ridgecrest.

As Mr. Rogers always said, in times of worry or crisis, "look for the helpers." Many from Tehachapi, including our own city officials, offered support to Ridgecrest when it needed it most. But help didn't just come from people. A few local pups stepped up to make a difference, too.

Six dogs from Marley's Mutts, part of the Miracle Mutts Therapy Dogs Program, headed with their people to a Ridgecrest emergency center to offer emotional and snuggly support. Chowder, Lucy, Jade, Helix, Bentley and Maggie helped to ease anxiety from the quake with crafts, books and calming snuggles.

"I was so proud of our volunteers! They risked their safety to be able to help our community. Our program is all about spreading love and hope to the community however we can," said Tori Beck, Miracle Mutt coordinator. "I know this was an event both volunteers and residents will never forget and we are grateful to work further with the Red Cross on future situations."

In addition to emotional support, Marley's Mutts helped by temporarily housing eight adult dogs from Socks & Paws Animal Rescue in Ridgecrest. Two of the dogs were placed in foster care, while six spent some relaxing time at the Marley's Mutts Ranch.

"It was a traumatic experience, between the moving of the earth and moving facilities for the dogs," said Marley's Mutts Foster Coordinator Lucy Anderson. "But the dogs had good time to decompress at The Ranch."

Though Sock & Paws Animal Rescue didn't receive any major structural damage, the threat of continuing strong quakes was a concern. For the safety and well-being of the dogs, Marley's Mutts stepped up to help.

One of the Sock & Paws coordinators came to visit and help with the Ridgecrest dogs on The Ranch, giving them a familiar comfort from home.

"It's always rewarding when you can help anybody during a scary experience. To offer some form of assistance. It benefits us all in a way," said Anderson.

Sometimes the best helpers are our canine companions and I'm so glad Marley's Mutts was able to provide both emotional support and a safe haven for Ridgecrest residents and pups.

See you next time and be kind to one another!

Do you know an inspirational group, individual or program that should be featured in an upcoming Grassroots Tehachapi? Email me at [email protected].