It’s no secret that Ron Panelli, owner of the Oakdale Pet Station and sponsor of Pet of the Week in the newspaper for the past 20 years, loves animals but what people may not be aware is that, once again, he’s going that extra mile for his furry friends.
Panelli, in cooperation with the City of Oakdale, has kicked off the official campaign to purchase a cat condo for the shelter cats that will be housed in the store, starting off with $1,000 of his own money.
The cat condo is a specially designed enclosure that is more sanitary, larger, and more comfortable for the cats. It has the capacity to house 16 cats. The cat condo will remain in the Oakdale Pet Station so that potential cat adoptions can happen Monday through Saturday during regular store hours, opening up the potential for more adoptions as the animal shelter is only open two hours a day. Only the cats that are adoption-ready will be housed at the Oakdale Pet Station.
Although the specific manufacturer hasn’t been selected Panelli is in negotiations with several, with one in particular that is in the lead. The cost of the cat condo is approximately $7,000.
Given the fact that Panelli was among the volunteers who built the current shelter 30 years ago, the Shelter Pet Alliance group came to Panelli for assistance in this matter and he was more than happy to help. In fact, he wanted to do more than just provide space for the condo, he wanted to be an active participant, which is exactly the kind of can-do attitude the shelter volunteers welcome.
“They’re at their limit at the shelter. Right now, they’ve got cats and dogs sharing the same crates and that’s not great for the animals,” Panelli said. “I’d really like to get this done by the end of the year.”
Panelli, whose family roots in Oakdale date back to 1914 with a background in almond and dairy production, is a firm believer in giving back to community, especially during hard times.
“This is such a great community. I love doing this,” Panelli said. “I’ve always believed that if you take care of people it’ll come back to you and with this economy we’ve really got to start jacking it up to help people out.”
Panelli is the first to praise the loyalty of his customers and was proud to donate $1,100 that was collected in the store to add to the Shelter Pet Alliance exercise yard project. He’s confident they’ll be able to raise the money necessary to purchase the cat condo.
To that end, he’s installed a new ventilation system in the back room formerly known as where the fish were housed and now features the self-wash dog station that has been a big hit with the community. For each wash, Panelli donates $2 to the exercise yard project.
“You know, it’s just the right thing to do,” Panelli said of his avid involvement.
Currently, Panelli is looking for pet product manufacturers that would be willing to donate four-pound bags of food, kitty litter, and other items required for new cat ownership so that following a cat adoption, the new owners are also given a kitty care kit to start their new pet friendship off right.
“I’d like people to be able to walk out the door with one-stop shopping,” Panelli said.
But first, Panelli added, “We need those donations to get things started.”
To donate, community members can either go into the store or they can donate online at www.shelterpetalliance.com but be sure to specify the money is for the cat project as there are many ongoing projects accepting donations at this time.
For more information, call the Oakdale Pet Station at 847-8205.