CAF gets land for huge animal sanctuary, education center

Jerry and Cara Brockhoff at with some of the greyhounds they have rescued. Photo courtesy CAF

Jerry and Cara Brockhoff at with some of the greyhounds they have rescued. Photo courtesy CAF

Companion Animal Foundation

McKINLEYVILLE – Companion Animal Foundation (CAF) has purchased 18.5 fenced acres from Cara and Jerry Brockhoff with the goal of a future Animal Humane Education Center as well as summer camps for children.
The Brockhoffs recently bid a fond farewell to their home, their friends and their beloved Schroeder’s Swamp to make a move down south to be closer to their children and grandchildren but what they left behind wasn’t the end of something but rather a beginning.
“When we purchased this property in 1994” said Cara Brockhoff, “the realtor told us, ‘you don’t want this troubled property, it will be difficult to build on’.”
But building on the property was not the Brockhoffs’ priority. They were excited at the thought of having private and fenced acreage where their many rescued greyhounds could safely run off-lead. The Brockhoffs have enjoyed this property for 20 years with a total of 35 greyhounds enjoying their freedom – as well Schroeder, a large rescued shepherd-chow mix with a heart of gold, after whom the property was named.
Approximately 20 years ago, Cara and Jerry began North Coast Greyhound Rescue. The Brockhoffs often traveled great distances to pick up elderly retired racing greyhounds and bring them back to their home in McKinleyville. Every day, the “greyhound bus” could be seen traveling back and forth from home to Schroeder’s Swamp for the daily “swamp romp.”
Kim Class and friends at the new sanctuary. KLH | Union

Kim Class and friends at the new sanctuary. KLH | Union

During that time, they watched as the land reclaimed its natural state – from the scraped and drained condition created by the previous owner to the natural wonderland it was meant to be.  With trails meandering throughout the entire property, Mill Creek sweetly flowing west and some of the oldest and tallest trees in all of McKinleyville, this property holds special magic.

This natural beauty will now be safely in the hands of a group dedicated to preserving its natural state.  On Aug. 8, escrow closed and the property officially came into the hands of Companion Animal Foundation.
“I could feel something good was on the horizon for us,” said Director Kim Class. “The way this all came about could be almost a fairy story in itself.
The Brockhoffs were very generous and instrumental in helping us to move forward with our goal of a future Animal and Humane Education Sanctuary and a safe place where we could hold summer camps for our youth.”
With a generous discount on the land as well as an additional private donation of $50,000, the foundation almost completely owns the land with the exception of a short-term interest-free loan from a longtime CAF board member.
“I met the Brockhoffs about 22 years ago and was their pet sitter for Schroeder, a wonderful dog they adopted from Sequoia Humane Society” said Class. “I had also been on their property walking many of their rescued greyhounds. I couldn’t believe it when I went out to look at the property again, the changes when something is left to its natural state and is lovingly tended is something to behold. I have been out there many times in the last couple of months and it takes my breath away every time I go out there.  It’s quite simply the most beautiful piece of property I have ever been on and to be the caretaker and guardian of something so magnificent, well, I believe we are up to the task at CAF!  I’m so excited to share this with our community and have taken many people and their canines out to walk the many trails.”
CAF’s goal is to work with the community to build a very thoughtful Animal and Humane Education Center. So the property isn’t disturbed, there is only one site up for consideration, which is close to the front gate and will have very little impact on the natural state of the property. “If we’re going to teach about being humane, that’s how we must approach all projects” said Class.
How does one fund all this land and ideas? “First, we have saved over the last 12 years since CAF started,” said Class.  “We have persistently held this vision for the future for the children and our community. The Brockhoffs were very generous in their offer on the land and they made us an offer we simply couldn’t refuse!
“We also have a couple of FUNdraisers on the horizon with the first being our Art Auction for the Animals which will be held at the Bayside Grange on Saturday, Sept. 27 starting at 6:30 p.m. We have so much donated original and print art, unique and very special jewelry, a wide variety of pottery, glassware and more. A $10 donation will also get you delicious appetizers and a ticket for a glass of wine (or non-alcoholic drink!).  Come early for the many “buy it now” options.
“When people hear our story and can taste our vision for the future, they are moved to donate art or jewelry or something special for this big gala event. Volunteers are also needed and encouraged to help the evening run smoothly.”
Class was recently contacted by Yolla Montalbin, who adopted Cali the Fire Dog from CAF about five years ago. Montalbin and the Humboldt Bay Firefighters hold Bark in the Park, a 5K a fun walk and run through Sequoia Park each year.
“This is our third annual 5K walk and run through Sequoia Park and each year we choose a different non-profit to give all the proceeds to,” said Montalbin. “This year, we chose Companion Animal Foundation. Everyone put on your walking, jogging and running shoes and be ready to cruise through Sequoia Park with your dogs. It’s a fun dash or walk and the entry fee is only $20, all of which is donated to CAF. There will be a band and vendors and other rescue groups there. “
“I was super excited when Yolla called,” said Class. “The timing and support couldn’t be more perfect. We all feel such a tremendous amount of gratitude that so many supportive hands are coming out to help this vison grow to a reality.”
Class said her new motto is “A donation to Companion Animal Foundation is a donation for you, your children, our community and our beloved animals.”
For more information about the above upcoming events, the land project or any of CAF’s programs, call (707) 826-PETS (7387).
cafanimals.org

The sanctuary's pet cemetery. Photo by KLH | Union

The sanctuary's pet cemetery. Photo by KLH | Union

The sanctuary's pet cemetery. Photo by KLH | Union

The sanctuary's pet cemetery. Photo by KLH | Union

New arrivals at CAF's Sunny Brae thrift store. Photo by KLH | Union

New arrivals at CAF's Sunny Brae thrift store. Photo by KLH | Union

Photo by KLH | Union

Photo by KLH | Union

Photo by KLH | Union

Photo by KLH | Union


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