After more than a year of living through the Covid 19 pandemic, we have all become a lot more familiar with immune systems. At the first hint of disease, the immune system kicks into action: dispersing cells, producing chemicals, turning on systems, and orchestrating a beautifully diverse response of actions and reactions designed for one purpose: to keep the body safe. But what would it look like if an entire community had an immune system? Something designed to be prepared, to keep the community safe, to respond to any need that might arise. The Napa Valley has such an immune system. But that immune system is not for one body or even for humans. It’s an immune system for animals in distress, helping an entire community, and its name is Jameson Humane.
Helping Humans by Helping Animals
Situated among vineyards, farms, and other mainstays of California’s wine country, Jameson Humane is an incredibly diverse rescue organization. Founded as Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch in 2014, the story of Jameson Humane is unlike that of any rescue organization we have visited. The diversity doesn’t just come from the animals, which range from senior cats to cows to bunnies, but from the wide range of programs that span every need animals and their human caretakers have across the entire region.
All of Jameson Humane’s programs focus on helping the larger community that spans a ten county area with a focus on Napa, Sonoma, Solano, and Lake Counties. While rescuing animals is one way of helping this community, Jameson Humane maintains a much bigger picture. For example, its spay and neuter mobile clinic works to control community animal populations so fewer animals end up in shelters. From another angle, the Community Animal Assistance Program works to keep animals with their human caregivers. This means providing veterinary care and food for animal caregivers who are struggling financially.
The key theme to every program is this: Jameson Humane supports humans in helping animals by keeping animal welfare at the forefront. Jameson Humane is proud of the fact that the rescue property is 100% vegan, meaning any food brought on property or consumed by humans at Jameson Humane is plant based – this includes food at all fundraisers and events.
Monica Stevens: A Real Life Super Hero
It’s not everyday that you get to meet a real life superhero. But when we met President and Co-Founder Monica Stevens, we found just that. Monica’s superhero uniform includes a pair of unapologetically pink (and 100% vegan) cowboy boots and an infectious smile. Monica has the uncanny ability of being able to bring joy to every situation while simultaneously conveying tremendous empathy and compassion around difficult conversations.
Everything at Jameson Humane radiates Monica’s infectious energy. Following Monica around the stalls of Jameson Humane felt like being paparazzi trailing a movie star on the red carpet. All of the animals were going crazy in preparation for her visit to their enclosures. The pigs perched up on the fence, the cows mooed, the horses gathered around, and everyone seemed anxious to say hi to Mama Monica.
What makes Monica a superhero and not just a celebrity is her humility. She’s not in it for the fame, and there’s no ego involved in what she does. Monica Stevens is in the moment as each animal joyfully reacts to the apples and watermelons she hands them. She’s in it to see two horses finally starting to bond; to visit Hillary the blind cow and tell us her story; to see five goats saved from a fire adopted out into loving forever homes. In short, she’s in it for all the right reasons, and that energy permeates everything that Jameson Humane does.
Changing with the Community
With a focus on responding to community needs, nothing at Jameson stays the same for long. This includes the organization’s name, which changed from Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch to Jameson Humane in 2020. While Jameson Humane most definitely rescues animals, the theme of their work is much broader. In short, Jameson Humane works to improve animal welfare and increase compassion in the local community and the world.
With a new name came a new logo. Inspired by the idea of joy and happiness that is innate in all beings, logo designer Michael Roche turned the letter “u” in the word “humane” into a smiling face. The logo is prominent throughout Jameson, with employees and volunteers wearing it on shirts, hats, and other swag.
Jameson Humane also moved locations to be closer to the community members it serves. In 2018, Jameson purchased its current property which sits on 4 acres of land in the middle of the Napa Valley. This new property offers a better location for Jameson to welcome volunteers. Eventually, Jameson will also allow visitors for tours. The move also brought Jameson closer to some of their biggest supporters: the wine industries of both Napa and Sonoma. Members of the wine industry have enthusiastically supported Jameson Humane’s work and been incredibly generous in fundraising efforts.
Fabio and Cher: Wildfire Survivors
In late 2019, the Kincade Fire raged through Sonoma County burning 77,758 acres over a period of several weeks. It became the largest wildfire during the devastating 2019 California wildfire season. Like so many wildfires, the Kincade fire caused numerous evacuations and devastated many residences. Fabio and Cher – an inseparable mini horse and pony couple – found themselves displaced when the fire devastated their owners’ residence. In fact, animal displacement due to fire evacuations and fire damage has become an important issue affecting animal rescue organizations throughout California. Luckily, this adorable duo found a permanent home with many loyal fans at Jameson Humane.
Today, Fabio and Cher exemplify some important issues that have become the cornerstone of Jameson Humane’s vision. First, they emphasize the importance of helping individuals creating emergency plans that include all types of animals. Second, they represent the importance of community services for animals in need during times of crisis and disaster. Fabio and Cher’s story is just one of many that motivated Monica Stevens and the Jameson Humane family to undertake their current project: the creation of a Regional Disaster Preparedness and Response Center.
A Community Response Center
The story of Fabio and Cher – along with those of many other animals – highlights an important fact many animal lovers do not know: the government does not fund animal response during disasters. In California – where record droughts have caused increasingly violent wildfire seasons – this leaves an incredible need to be filled. So, Jameson Humane is stepping up to be there for their community. The Regional Disaster Preparedness and Response Center is Jameson’s new project that will provide services for animals during times of crisis.
According to Monica Stevens, Jameson’s Regional Disaster Preparedness and Response Center will be, “The nexus between the CART (Community Animal Response Team), the CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), law enforcement, and sheriff’s departments. We all come together in a very special moment to help save more lives.” Focusing on Napa, Sonoma, and Solano counties, the center will also assist other counties in crisis as needed.
The creation of this center is no small undertaking. It will include space for communication, classrooms for educational programs, supplies, safety equipment, a mobile veterinary clinic, and more. In addition, the center will provide training for community volunteers who want to help when disaster strikes. When a crisis comes up, getting these brave volunteers the right equipment is essential. Protective equipment such as helmets ($100 each), vests ($50 each), and kneepads ($25 each) will be ready and waiting for volunteers to help keep them safe while they work to rescue animals in need.
Get Involved with Jameson Humane
With its determination to respond to the ever changing needs of its community, Jameson Humane needs your support. Here’s how you can help!
Sponsor an Animal: Through the Animalship program, sponsor a specific animal at Jameson Humane. The program includes several levels of sponsorship with benefits such as social media shoutouts, pictures of your sponsored animal, invitations to exclusive events, and a private tour.
Volunteer: Like so many nonprofits, Jameson depends on the help of generous volunteers. If you live in the area, volunteering at Jameson Humane means you get to make a difference for animals. You’ll also get a lot of animal love in the process.
Website: To get more info about Jameson Humane, check out their website.
Final Thoughts and Further Reading
An immune system doesn’t just protect a body, it builds it up and it makes it stronger. That’s what Jameson Humane is doing for its community. Jameson is truly an immune system for the Napa Valley’s animals, and all beings in the region benefit from the work they are doing.
There’s another thing about an immune system: it never rests. Even though Jameson Humane has a variety of robust programs, it’s clear in talking with Monica Stevens that they are just getting started. We can’t wait to see what they do next!
Now that you know how to get involved, what is one thing you are going to do to support this amazing rescue? Let us know in the comments! If you liked this post, check out these others:
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