Saving pets through education in Humboldt

By Cynthia Martinez Soto
Flapjack staff

Kim Class founded Companion Animal Foundation (CAF), a non profit animal rescue, in 2002. She wanted to start this animal shelter due to the large number of animals being euthanized in Humboldt County. Class stated that there was as many as 6,500 animals being euthanized by animal control about four years ago.
“I would hear of so many wonderful animals that were fit to be in loving good homes,” Class said. “Something needed to happen.”
Class is originally from Rocky River Ohio and graduated high school there in 1982. She now resides in Arcata, where she helps run the two thrift stores, one in Blue Lake and one in Arcata, that help fund her organization. Not only is she the founder and director of the CAF but she is a loving wife and mother. She married in 1989 and currently has a daughter and a son who help her around with the friendly pet business when they can.

Cattissa Kelsey, a store employee at the Arcata Thrift store location, described Class as a genuine woman who cares about her family and work.
“She has such a good heart like she honestly cares about her kids a lot and their safety,” said Kelsey. “She won’t leave work until she knows things are for sure taken care of in the store.”

Class is also a registered vascular technologist. She greatly emphasized how important it is to spay or neuter animals due to the overpopulation of animals on the streets who will end up euthanized. After her goal of creating a successful adoption center, which she currently has made possible, she wants to educate as many individuals and especially the youth on how to be compassionate and responsible caretakers.

Cheryl Boden, who helps run the volunteer work for the Meowie Zowie Program, which makes catnip pillows to continue raising money for the medication and food supply for the animals, said Class is more driven than ever now that her focus is on educating the public on animal care.
“Kim is doing wonderful things here and she is making it a complete personal mission to create an education sanctuary for the kids,” said Boden. “So that they can pass on our teachings of good pet care.”

Class created summer camps educating younger children on pet care hands on. Nutrition, vaccinations, microchips, and running animal tests are also some of the things taught by CAF to the kids enrolled in these camp programs. Class has created as well a spay and neuter assistance program for new owners who financially need it, a trap-neuter-return program for feral cats, and an adoptions and foster families for rescue animals program. Although these are still only a few things she has accomplished for the four legged community. Now the summer camp program which she had begun in 2015 seemed to be so successful it is now a regular thing kids look forward to in Humboldt County.

Heather Shelton is helping direct the 2017 summer camp this year.

“The returning kids get really excited every summer for this camp,” she said. “They just see the puppies and kittens and they just try their best to use all their learnings from the camp on the animals.”

Class wants to continue growing the summer camp program in the next following years to come due to its immediate impact seen on the children by the end of camp. She said that if you get the kids thinking in ways they never thought before on animals then that is a step towards compassion and building a healthy community here in Humboldt. She has received much recognition in her community for her hard work and is now expanding her business into the McKinleyville area where more land was purchased for CAF for the purpose of creating a center for education.
“We get phone calls and walk ins everyday from pet owners wanting to learn about how to be better owners and educating these people has helped in uniting the community,” she said. “It furthers the idea of putting the ‘good work’ out there. Of course it also helps in the building of a better environment for all living individuals and animals in the world.”

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